This is what I imagine: some technoslaves or computer software constantly peruses YouTube looking for infringements. It finds them and the music companies send YT an almost daily list of take-down notices per the DMCA. YouTube takes down. Problem being everything gets taken down and the effect is that legitimate use of copyright material gets caught up in the net. Enter Stephanie Lenz who posted a video of her kid with some Prince song playing in the background. No way that's infringing. But it was taken down. So Lenz and EFF are pushing the issue by suing Universal over the improper takedown, saying she was damaged by the take-down. It's an effort to force companies to do better (if any) reviews of so-called infringements before requesting they be removed. News.com quotes EFF lawyer Corynne McSherry:
"This video is so clearly noninfringing," McSherry said. "What we've seen is that Universal Music had the view that they could take down Prince content as a matter of principle. But what they were obligated to do was form a good-faith belief that the video was infringing...They may not have formed a good-faith belief at all."
But it seems unlikely this will go EFF's way. The judge has already signalled he thinks their argument is an expansion of duties imposed on copyright holders. According to the SF Chronicle, the judge is "concerned that requiring copyright holders to consider the possibility of fair use before ordering a takedown puts judges in the business of 'trying to read their minds' and seems to be an expansion of the 1998 law." On the other hand he noted, the law is "intended to prevent misuse of takedown notices."