Harvard Law School professor Lawrence Lessig is one of today's preeminent thinkers in the field of digital copyright enforcement. Now his academic and legal knowledge will be put to practical use as Lessig goes on the offensive against an Australian music publisher which previously issued a takedown request regarding one of the professor's lectures posted on YouTube.
According to the Boston Business Journal, Lessig's lecture actually took place in 2010 but was not uploaded online until earlier this summer. His presentation highlighted several clips containing samples of the song "Lisztomania" performed by French band Phoenix as a means of illustrating a point on media theory. Australia's Liberation Music label, which holds the rights to "Lisztomania," promptly issued a request to have the lecture removed from the website on account of infringement.
With assistance from advocates from the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Lessig has now pushed back with a suit suggesting that Liberation Music stifled his rights to free speech and that the audio samples contained in the lecture are defensible under fair-use doctrines.
While experts are unsure if Lessig will prevail in this instance, the exercise could reinvigorate copyright enforcement debates. According to The Boston Globe, critics insist that the barriers to filing content takedown requests remain far too low and could have a chilling effect on valid creative expressions.