@illusionofmore: Lenz Ruling Isn’t Really About the Little Guy


Let’s not buy into the BS–there was one reason and one reason only that Google Shill List Member the Electronic Frontier Foundation took on the Lenz case against Universal.  That reason was disclosed by their own client Stephanie Lenz in no uncertain terms according to CNET:

Last fall, the case appeared to be winding towards a conclusion when something rare occurred. As both sides were preparing to request summary judgment–when lawyers try to persuade the court that there’s enough evidence to rule in their favor–Universal instead argued that Lenz had waived her attorney-client privileges.

The record label showed the court how Lenz “disclosed repeatedly–in e-mails to friends and family, Gmail chats, and on her personal blog the substance of what she and her lawyers have discussed.” Universal suggested in court documents that Lenz’s writings reveal she suffered no injuries as a result of her video being briefly removed from YouTube. Universal argues that she was nudged into filing the suit by EFF, which believed the Lenz case “would make an excellent vehicle for trying to change the legal standards and public debate.”

“I don’t care that YouTube doesn’t want to host it [my video],” Lenz wrote to one associate, according to court documents. “Not like I’m paying them” and another missive included this passage “EFF is pretty well salivating over getting their teeth into UMG yet again.” [emphasis mine]

This is a battle of the behemoths–Google’s proxy the EFF versus Google’s real enemy, Universal Music Group.  Why does Google and the EFF have such besotted blood lust for Universal?  Because Universal has the means to stand up to the EFF’s sponsor.  Lenz just happened to be in the right place at the right time to further the goals of a multinational media company like Google to destroy artist rights.

In an insightful post from 2015 that is well worth re-reading in light of the Supreme Court’s denial of review in the Lenz case, David Newhoff sets the record straight and foreshadowed the result:

In practical terms, what the ruling likely does mean for independent creators in the present is that they may feel even more confused about fair use than they already were, and they will have greater fear with regard to enforcing legitimate infringement claims, at least via the DMCA takedown procedure.  And this is what truly galls me about the ruling and all the crowing about it:  the pretense that this a victory for the little guy over the big, bully corporation. Because in reality, this ruling may further disenfranchise individual creators while probably doing very little for general users; but it does at least appear to move the ideological needle toward legal conditions that favor the biggest corporate bullies in the room. So, bravo, EFF!  You’ve won at least a partial victory for the underdog we call Google.  First some basics…