Lessig lecturing in 2010. ManoelNetto / flickr Illegitimate or simply unnecessary copyright claims are, unfortunately, commonplace in the Internet era. But if there’s one person who’s probably not going to back down from a claim of copyright infringement, it’s Larry Lessig, one of the foremost writers and thinkers on digital-age copyright. Lessig has been advocating for reforms to copyright for many years now.

If Liberation Music was thinking they’d have an easy go of it when they demanded that YouTube take down a 2010 lecture of Lessig’s entitled “Open,” they were mistaken. Lessig has teamed up with the Electronic Frontier Foundation to sue Liberation, claiming that its overly aggressive takedown violates the DMCA and that it should be made to pay damages. Liberation Music owns the exclusive license to “Lisztomania” by the French band Phoenix, and snippets of that song featured prominently in Lessig’s lecture.

According to the complaint, Lessig showed clips of different groups of amateurs dancing to the song in Brazil, Israel, Brooklyn, Latvia, and Kenya. His point was such spontaneous outbreaks of online culture are “the latest in the time-honored ‘call and response’ tradition of communication.”     

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