Prince Orders Takedown Of Multiple 6-Second Vine Videos

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Ultimate_PrinceOne of the longest-running copyright battles of the last decade has been the saga of Lenz v. Universal Music Corp. Here’s a quick summary: in 2007, Lenz posted a short clip on YouTube of her adorable toddler dancing around to the song ‘Let’s Go Crazy’ by Prince. Universal Music sent a take down request, per the DMCA, claiming copyright infringement, and Lenz decided to fight it. The case has become something of a cause celebre for strong advocates of fair use. Over the years, the case has dragged on and on, as best documented over at the EFF. Most recently, this January, a district court judge denied both parties’ motions for summary judgment, so this slow-moving epic may yet make it to a jury.

The reason we bring up the Lenz case, is because of a separate-but-similar development, which hit the headlines earlier this month. You may have heard of Twitter’s new Vine video app, which allows users to post very short (6-seconds is the limit) videos to their feeds. Haven’t quite figured out the point of it ourselves, but it seems to be gaining some popularity. (Robert De Niro is on board, at least). Apparently, Prince’s record company, NPG Records, has been filing DMCA take down notices this month based on finding his music in the background on Vine clips. As reported by The Next Web:

A representative of NPG Records wrote to Twitter to say eight video clips hosted on Vine contained “unauthorized recordings” and “unauthorized synchronizations” and asked the company to remove them immediately.

The request was sent on March 22, 2013.

The links to the Vine clips were included in the letter and no longer lead to playable videos, so it’s safe to assume Twitter followed up on the NPG representative’s request rather swiftly.

Not surprisingly, this move was seen as heavy-handed by the online community. The Verge wrote:

Vine hasn’t been confronted by rights holders to the same degree as YouTube — likely owing to the brevity of hosted clips and their whimsical nature. Clearly neither of those factors were enough to shield Vine from Prince’s herculean quest to protect his content.

Prince once declared that “the Internet is over” and it certainly is a shame that such a talented artist is trying to make that happen himself. Let’s just hope nobody tells him about parody Twitter accounts.

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