The Mom Who Fought for her Tot's Right to Dance on YouTube

Cynthia Dermody

Want to make a YouTube video that will be an instant hit? Feed your toddler some sugar, play Beyonce or other pop artist on the TV or iPod, and press "rec" on the video cam. It makes sense that the YouTube video above is just one of gazillions like it. Whose day wouldn't be brightened by a cute, happy, dancing toddler?

But this one in particular is extra famous -- do you remember it?

This is Holden Lenz. He's the then 13-month old that caused the singer Prince, or whatever keyboard characters he uses to describe himself now, to threaten YouTube with copyright infringement if the website did not pull the video three years ago. I would think Prince's time would be better spent in his studio trying to come up with another hit rather than policing the web for unauthorized uses of his older songs, but apparently that's what he does.

So do The Village People, or at least the people that own their music, apparently. I can understand them having a little extra time.

Two years ago, Universal Music, which owns the Prince song "Let's Go Crazy" used in the video of then 13th month old Holden Lenz a boppin' with his walker, asked YouTube to pull the video, which it did. But Holden's mama, Stephanie Lenz, complained that the song was fair use and enlisted a free speech rights legal firm to fight the music company, according to American Lawyer.

The federal judge hearing the case hasn't ruled on the fair use issue yet, but has said that if he does rule in favor of Lenz, she's entitled to damages. That's a precedent, and a good indication things will go her and YouTube's way.

And it probably means that you can show the world your kid dancing to "Y-M-C-A" without fear of ego-maniacal musicians threatening you with lawsuits, yet no guarantees against bad wedding flashbacks.

Have you ever posted your dancing toddler on YouTube? What song gets him/her moving?


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