Not even six-second clips are safe from Prince’s well–documented copyright fury, it seems, as the artist’s label has served Vine and its parent company, Twitter, with several Digital Millenium Copyright Act complaints over videos posted to the service. In all likelihood, this was the result of innocent people innocently Vining something that happened to involve the man’s music.
Vine videos are extraordinarily short, and there’s no direct way for either the company or its users to monetize them. Prince’s crusade against piracy may have started in a reasonable place, but over the years it has quickly descended into absurdity. You may recall the six-year legal battle that ensued after a mother uploaded to YouTube a video of her baby dancing to “Let’s Go Crazy.”
Fortunately, the nature of the DMCA’s Safe Harbor provision is such that as long as Vine or any other online service takes down infringing media after a complaint, they’re legally in the clear. The Prince incident (Princident?) perfectly illustrates while all the clamor over SOPA and PIPA last year was perfectly well-founded: had the bills passed, the artist and his label would have been on firm footing to sue Twitter over the offending Vines.
Let’s just hope the estate of Whitney Houston doesn’t get in on the DMCA action. I wouldn’t want to lose this classic: