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QUIZ: Which Digital Versions of Lenny Kravitz’s Penis Violate Copyright Law?

Let Lenny Kravitz teach you how to pierce through the issues.

by Sarah Jeong & Jordan Pearson
Aug 7 2015, 7:27pm

Image: Flickr/El Hormiguero

Lenny Kravitz really, really doesn't like that his studded dong—which unceremoniously flopped out of a gaping hole in his leather pants on stage in Stockholm earlier this week—has gone viral.

According to reports, Kravitz's legal team have warned that the many vines, YouTube videos, GIFs, and JPEGs of his uncontainable manhood violate their "clients' copyright, human rights, right-of-publicity and performer's rights." Which is odd, because since Kravitz once crooned, "Does anybody out there even care?" you'd think he'd be pleased to learn decades later that we do, in fact, care. We all care, Lenny. About your schlong.

But here's a question for you: what, exactly, is copyrighted here? Surely it couldn't be the video, which was shot by fans in the crowd. Could it be the song, although it's a cover of Canadian dad-approved classic "American Woman?" Could it be, well… his dick? It's impressive, we'll admit, but is it an original work of authorship with a modicum of creativity fixed in a tangible medium? Nah.

Like everything to do with the often nonsensical world of copyright law, it's an intensely knotty question. And, since this is the internet, there really isn't a better way to untangle it than with a good old fashioned quiz. So, which versions of Lenny Kravitz's penis violate copyright law?


Here is the original, the ground zero, the Ursprung of #penisgate, a 19 second fan-made video of the concert where it all came down.


Did that all happen a little too fast to see? No worries, the denizens of YouTube have your back, with this four minute loop of the most important six seconds from that concert, set to music that's… not Lenny Kravitz.


Wait. Can Vines be copyright infringement? So… if we stood in front of a mural and took a Vine selfie while Taylor played on the stereo of a car that drove by… would that be copyright infringement?


OK guys. It's a freaking GIF. It's short. It's soundless. It's tweetable. It's not even at particularly good resolution.


Maybe this is a photo taken at the concert, maybe it's a screengrab of another video. These are all very interesting questions but there's something a little more interesting sitting right out in front of us.