The Home Video Prince Doesn't Want You to See

"The 'Let's Go Crazy baby?'" she asked rhetorically. "When you look at the facts, it's obvious that a take down notice should never have been sent. ... I mean, nobody downloads a video from YouTube with a song on it -- particularly 29 seconds of a song and says, 'OK, I don't have to buy the song' -- so clearly this was a type of use that didn't violate copyright."

Source: Prince 'Scours the Internet' Looking for Violations

For it's part, Universal said it was simply acting at the behest of one of its top artists.

"Prince believes it is wrong for YouTube, or any user-generated site, to appropriate his music without his consent,'' the company said in a statement released to ABC News Thursday. "That position has nothing to do with any particular video that uses his songs. It's simply a matter of principle. And legally, he has the right to have his music removed. We support him and this important principle. That is why, over the last few months, we have asked YouTube to remove thousands of different videos that use Prince music without his permission."

A well-placed source directly involved in the situation confirmed to ABC News that Prince was directly involved in seeking the takedown of Lenz's video.

"This guy scours the Internet,'' the source said of the legendary artist, who once changed his name to an unpronounceable symbol and wrote the word "Slave'" on his cheek until he won back the rights to his music from another publishing company.

"He's really intense about this stuff," the source said, adding that Lenz's video "happened to be one of many'' that artist apparently located online and demanded be taken down.

A publicist for Prince directed ABC News to the artist's personal assistant's cell phone. The assistant did not return a call for comment.

The case is part of what some cyber rights advocates says is an alarming trend in aggressive copyright protection that can sometimes go too far. Entire companies have sprung up to troll the Internet and send thousands of take down notices, warning of legal action if videos that could be deemed to violate a copyright are not immediately removed.

"This is the first major case that we've seen where someone like a housewife is being targeted by a major recording company, but we're starting to see more and more of these kinds of abuses,'' said Jason Schultz, an attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

"Because of the way the law is set up, it's very easy for people to send copyright complaints to any Web site and demand that videos come down or music comes down, and a lot of providers can't verify.

"What's going on here is that people like Universal are abusing the copyright law in order to censor, take down videos they frankly don't like, but aren't actually infringing copyright,'' Schultz said.

"They aren't violating copyright law. So here Stephanie Lenz posted a video of her kids dancing,'' Schultz said. "It's just a home video. She wanted her friends and family to see it, and Universal had no right to [have it] take[n] down. And by sending an abusive copyright complaint, they really abused the law.''

Lenz and E.F.F. are seeking unspecified damages from the music company.

"I'd like to see [Universal] say that I wasn't a copyright infringer,'' Lenz said.

By Law, YouTube Honors Takedown Notices -- and Counter-Notices

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