A video of Prince’s fans singing Purple Rain has been restored to social media, after being hit with a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) takedown order by Universal Music Publishing Group.
A photojournalist for the Star Tribune, the daily newspaper in Prince’s hometown of Minneapolis, posted on Twitter a video of a street crowd spontaneously singing the Purple One’s celebrated ballad on the day of his death in 2016.
The video, was retweeted more than 13 500 times, suddenly vanished and the photographer, Aaron Lavinsky, said Universal Music Publishing Group, which holds rights to Prince’s songs, ordered it removed.
“DCMA takedowns are an important tool for artists who need to protect their intellectual property online, but a major corporation abusing the system to remove a news video shot by a newspaper photographer is inappropriate,” Lavinsky tweeted.
Representatives for Universal did not immediately return a request asking for comment, but Billboard reported that Lavinsky restored the video saying that Universal had retracted its takedown order.
— Aaron Lavinsky (@ADLavinsky) April 22, 2016
Prince vigorously took aim at online postings during his life, with his team demanding that fans take down footage of live performances and their own covers of his songs.
Most famously, Universal in 2007 demanded that a mother, Stephanie Lenz, remove a half-minute video from YouTube of her toddler son dancing to Prince’s Let’s Go Crazy.
The case went to the US Court of Appeals, which did not fully back Lenz, but said copyright holders needed to consider fair use, meaning the right to use material for social commentary and criticism.