Harvard prof, record company battle over song use

BOSTON (AP) — A Harvard law professor and an Australian record company are embroiled in a legal battle over a video the professor used in an online lecture.

Record company Liberation Music threatened to sue Lawrence Lessig, a leading scholar of Internet law and an advocate for fewer copyright restrictions, for allegedly violating its rights by using music from the hit song “Lisztomania” by the band Phoenix during a lecture.

Lessig used dance videos featuring the song in a 2010 lecture in South Korea that he recorded and posted to YouTube. He used the song to illustrate how people around the world communicate on the Internet.

Liberation Music claimed to own the license for the song.

The Boston Globe (http://b.globe.com/1djRx2T) reports that the professor filed suit in federal court in Massachusetts last week accusing the record company of abusing copyright laws to stifle his free speech, and of improperly targeting him even though it was aware his use of “Lisztomania” is protected under the fair-use doctrine of copyright law.

He is asking a judge to rule that his video does not violate copyright law, and for damages for the financial losses and legal fees.

Lessig has teamed up with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a San Francisco digital rights nonprofit, in the lawsuit.

“Excessive copyright enforcement can suppress free speech,” said Daniel Nazer, an attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

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Information from: The Boston Globe, http://www.bostonglobe.com

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