Harvard Professor Settles Fair-Use Dispute With Record Label

An Australian record label has agreed that a Harvard University law professor’s use of a popular song in a lecture that was posted online constituted fair use of the material, as part of a settlement that ends a legal dispute between the two parties.

Liberation Music had threatened to sue the professor, Lawrence Lessig, over his use of the song. But Mr. Lessig, who is a prominent scholar of Internet law and a supporter of reduced copyright restrictions, responded by suing the company for what he said was its abuse of copyright laws.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation, which supported Mr. Lessig in the case, announced on Thursday that the dispute had been settled. The record label agreed that Mr. Lessig’s use of the song was fair use, and said it would “amend its copyright and YouTube policy to ensure that mistakes like this will not happen again.”

The foundation said the settlement also required the label to pay Mr. Lessig “for the harm it caused,” but the amount was confidential under the terms of the agreement.

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