Lenz v. Universal: A Call to Reform Section 512(f) of the DMCA and to Strengthen Fair Use

Marc J. Randazza · 18 Vand. J. Ent. & Tech. 4

Abstract

Under 17 U.S.C. § 512(f) of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), those who issue materially false takedown notices are liable for damages. However, Section 512(f) has not effectively protected fair use. Currently, the DMCA issuer only has to prove he considered fair use before issuing a takedown notice, but faces no liability for actually taking action against fair use. The outcome of the recent Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals case Lenz v. Universal shows the flaws in the language of the DMCA. This Article calls for a mild adjustment to Section 512(f) for the purpose of protecting fair use and free expression rights.