The Electronic Frontier Foundation is representing Kyle Machulis who is being sued by Richard Silver. The EFF explains:
EFF’s client, Kyle Machulis, shot [a] video at a concert last month. In one ten-second segment, a group of fans in the audience attempts to dance part of the Electric Slide. Machulis later uploaded the video to YouTube. Within just a few days, Richard Silver, owner of www.the-electricslidedance.com, filed a takedown demand under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Silver claimed he owned the copyright to the Electric Slide and that Machulis’ video infringed his rights. The removal appears to be part of a broad campaign by Silver to misuse copyright allegations to prevent dancers from performing the dance “incorrectly.”
The EFF will argue that even if Silver has a copyright on the dance (which is doubtful), Machulis’ video would constitute fair use, not infringement. Thus, Machulis is well within his right to make and distribute the work (even commercially). Whether the dance is being performed “incorrectly” simply doesn’t enter into the situation.
Come along and ride on a fantastic voyage to defending your fair use rights.
Update (2007-05-22): Richard Silver settled with Kyle Machulis out of court. Part of that settlement requires Silver to license the dance under a Creative Commons license which allows everyone to perform, display, reproduce or distribute any recorded performance of the dance in any medium for non-commercial purposes. Silver’s DMCA threat against Machulis is no longer valid.