The plot thickens! Richard Silver, the man who claims to own the silly line dance known as the electric slide is now being sued by the Electronic Frontier Foundation on behalf of Kyle Machulis. Kyle had uploaded a video onto youTube where, among other things, folks do the electric slide for about ten seconds. Silver said they were doing it wrong and infringing his copyright, so issued a DMCA takedown notice. The EFF is now suing Silver for violating Machulis’ right to free speech as a videographer.
While this seems like it’s just another part in a story that keeps getting more and more ridiculous it is actually pretty important. It isn’t important because the electric slide is a dance that we all need rights to (I would gladly wave that right if we can abolish the dance step from all history), but because the precedent that will be set. This is something that needs attention. Seriously. The issue is fair use, which is the issue that dominates most discussions about DMCA abuses. The Digital Millenium Copyright Act is terribly problematic, mostly in that it hinders fair use, and (even more absurdly) free speech. Kudos to the EFF for taking on the issue, I’m proud to have donated to a organization dedicated to ensuring people’s rights extend into our current and future technologies. Without people like the EFF the electric slide could soon refer not to the dance, but to describe the trend of our digital rights.