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'Dancing Baby' Case Settles in Time for Middle School

By William Vogeler, Esq. on July 03, 2018 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

If you saw this 'dancing baby' video, you probably didn't realize you were witnessing the beginning of a decade-long lawsuit.

After all, who sues a music company for shutting down their YouTube video of their baby rocking and rolling? Stephanie Lenz, for one, along with a lot of help from the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

They chased the case up to the U.S. Supreme Court and back again, finally settling on a "fair use" process for takedowns of copyrighted videos. It's a good thing, too, because there are a lot of dancing babies out there.

Dancing Baby

Lenz posted her video in 2007, and it went viral. Nearly 2 million views and counting.

Universal Music Publishing Group, however, was not a fan. The company owns the copyrights to the song that inspired the baby dance, and wanted the video taken down.

The company succeeded at first, but Lenz won an argument before the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals that she had a right to fair use under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the case, and it was headed back to trial. That's when Lenz v. Universal Music Corp. settled.

"Fair Use" Settlement

The parties filed a Stipulation of Dismissal, which does not disclose any terms except that the parties dismissed their claims with prejudice.

But commenting on the settlement, the company said the case had helped develop a "fair and tempered process for evaluation of potential takedowns." EFF said the "dancing baby has done his part to strengthen fair use for everyone."

It took a while. That dancing baby is 12 now.

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