(UPDATE) Sony Relents on Dispute with “Experiment 80,” Allowing Production of CHS Advanced TV’s 1980s Lip Dub After Months of Work and Preparation

Carlo Iacono
All of CHS stops to pose after the completion of "Experiment 80s"

Matt Stavalone, Editor-in-Chief

Watch Advanced TV’s “Experiment 80s” here


We thought that Cinnaminson High School’s Advanced TV Production had created their magic once again.

After three years of waiting, and months of preparation, the Cinnaminson Advanced TV (ATV) put together another successful one-take lip dub, entitled “Experiment 80,” possibly looking to top the popularity of the Taylor Swift “Shake It Off” Lip Dub from 2015 or the Loverboy song of 2011, “Working for the Weekend.”

However, as is the case often with many big companies when they get into disputes with smaller entities, Sony Inc. is crushing the dreams of the CHS, pulling the video from YouTube on Monday because of “copyright infringement”

All the hard work from many months is now put to waste.  One of the stars of the video, senior Maddy Thompson, thinks Sony is overstepping their boundaries.

“So the song, ‘Wake Me Up Before You Go Go’ has three different owners, one of which being Sony. Within the last couple of months, Sony changed their copyrights and eventually took it down, even though we only used thirty seconds of their song.”

This action by Sony has left many students and teachers disappointed, mainly with Sony. Advanced TV teacher and advisor, Mr. Sean Wilson, is not only upset with Sony, but feels sympathy for the graduating class.

“I’m disappointed with the students who put their time and energy into this. Because of a technicality of a copyright law, they have to suffer now. It’s pretty obvious that we did this as a tribute and not as any sort of copyright infringement. I really feel bad for the kids.”

After sympathizing with the students, primarily the seniors, Mr. Wilson had a word to say to Sony about the issue.

“We just want to make something cool that people will enjoy. I hope Sony comes to the realization that this was a school project and our main intention was to entertain and make tributes to artists.”

According to the doctrine of “fair use” as defined by the United States Supreme Court based on a 1994 case, Stanford University’s explains the use of copyrighted material when it says, “Fair use allows limited use of copyrighted material without permission from the copyright holder for purposes such as criticism, parody, news reporting, research and scholarship, and teaching. There are four factors to consider when determining whether your use is a fair one.”

Further, an online article outlines what is fair use on YouTube as well, which seems to defend CHS and ATV here as well.

Copyright violations are equivalent to theft, both legally and morally. … If your work is for educational purposes, then use of copyrighted material falls under the “Fair Use” provision, which allows reasonable use of copyrighted work, without permission, for research, criticism, or education.”


Ultimately, the defense by Mr. Wilson and his Advanced TV Crew was that they were making tributes to the artists of the 1980s songs, but the use of all the songs were to have fun and parody them in an educational environment in which nobody was looking to benefit in any way, especially financially, something Mr. Wilson’s classes have not done in any respect through their publications of any of their material.  Sony’s claim of copyright infringement could be seen as nothing short of bullying because they have not contacted or discussed the infringement with Mr. Wilson or Advanced TV, they simply just flagged it and will not listen to the rationale behind it.

One would think that if Sony looked into the ATV class and what they have done a little more, they would see it was a fun parody that the entire community looks forward to when coming together.  This controversial move by Sony has the rest of the 2018 senior class infuriated.

Senior Michael Lutz, when asked, thinks that taking down the video will leave a bad impression on the senior class.

“It’s really disappointing because it represents our class as a whole, and for it to be taken down, it really brings our morale down right before graduation,” Lutz said.

Fellow graduating senior Kelly Kane, who is also in ATV and was a significant part of the Lip Dub, is going the extra mile in making sure Sony will make the right decisions. She has been posting on Twitter with tags linked to Ellen Degeneres and former President Barack Obama.

“All this hard work is going down the drain. We all worked so hard on this, and it’s just being taken away from us. It’s terrible how they could do this. We didn’t mean to do anything wrong,” Kane said.

The ATV team is currently appealing Sony’s move for the third time. It only took Sony two days to reject the second appeal, but CHS is gaining more momentum from outside groups on Facebook and other social media websites and hopes that Sony will change their minds on the issue.

For now, the video can be seen at the link on Cinnaminson High School, but the hope is that Sony will repeal their claims and allow it to exist on YouTube.