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EFF Settles ‘Electric Slide’ Lawsuit

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Richard Silver, the man who takes responsibility for creating the cultural phenomenon known as the “Electric Slide,” has agreed to stop issuing takedown notices for video clips that feature the signature dance, The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) announced today.

The suit was brought on behalf of Kyle Machulis, whose video of a dance party was removed from YouTube at Silver’s request (YouTube reposted the video after Machulis issued a counter-notification for letter).

Silver’s stated motivation was going after people performing the dance “incorrectly,” according to statements he’s published. Silver has also gone after commercial productions such as the Ellen DeGeneres show for infringing on his rights to the choreography. According to his site, the dance is now listed as being under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial license.

Machulis’ clip was just one of hundreds that feature the dance on YouTube, and his motivation for bringing a suit against Silver was to stop him from issuing requests every time someone posted a video. “People are used to being able to share their memories now,” Machulis said in a phone interview Tuesday.

“Copyright law is meant to encourage creativity. It must not be used to chill free expression,” argued EFF attorney Jason Schultz in the release. David Weinberger has proposed that penalties for bogus takedown requests should be more on par with penalties for copyright infringement. Schultz and fellow EFF attorney Wendy Seltzer say they agree.

While this doesn’t set any binding legal precedent, at least the world is now safe for party guests to post embarrassing home video of their friends and family doing the slide at weddings worldwide. Hopefully no one comes forward to claim credit for the “Chicken Noodle Soup” and other popular dance crazes.