A YouTube video that is part of a Harvard University online course on copyright law is once again accessible to students after Sony Music Entertainment unblocked it and released its copyright claim.
As Corporate Counsel reported earlier, Sony had the lecture taken down from YouTube on the grounds of copyright infringement. The videotaped lecture, which explains aspects of copyright law as it applies to music and licensing, is taught by William Fisher, a noted copyright expert who is the WilmerHale Professor of Intellectual Property Law at Harvard Law School. The lecture includes clips of several versions of the Jimi Hendrix song “Little Wing,” which prompted Sony Music, which owns the rights, to have it removed.
The irony of an online course on copyright law being blocked because of alleged copyright infringement was especially remarkable because copyright owners’ organizations have long insisted that the public needs to be educated about copyright law. Fisher said the purpose of his online course, which is offered in the U.S. and overseas and is available to lawyers, artists, musicians, writers, librarians and others whose work is intertwined with copyright, is designed to do just that.
Harvard University, which runs the CopyrightX course through its distance learning program, HarvardX, worked with Fisher to get YouTube and Sony to reinstate the videotaped lecture. They followed the usual practices for challenging takedowns and also reached out informally to Sony contacts, Fisher said. Sony was slow to respond, according to Fisher, but now his students are finally able to access all of the course lectures.