Music Publishers Group Sues Fullscreen YouTube Network Over Copyright Infringement


The National Music Publishers Association is suing multi-channel network Fullscreen for copyright infringement by alleging that they use unlicensed music in their videos.

In a statement, the organization said that Fullscreen “directly profits from advertising revenue generated by unlicensed music videos on their channels, but does not compensate songwriters or publishers.” The NMPA said they are doing this to make sure that their songwriters and music publishing companies are fairly compensated.

David Israel, president and CEO of the NMPA, said in a statement that copyright infringement is a serious problem with multi-channel networks: “Fullscreen’s success and growth as a digital business is attributable in large part to the prevalence and popularity of its unlicensed music videos. We must stop the trend of ignoring the law, profiting from someone else’s work, then asking forgiveness when caught.  It is not only unfair, it is unacceptable.”

A spokesperson for Fullscreen would not comment to NMR about the lawsuit at this time.

Brandon Martinez, co-founder and CEO of INDMUSIC, the largest music network on YouTube, chimed in on the NMPA’s lawsuit against Fullscreen. He told NMR that music publishers focus on long-term rights of their works while multi-channel networks are focused on one video at a time. The differing priorities, he said, could be the “beginning of a bloody battle” between music publishers and YouTube networks.

Martinez said: “Until a best practices standard that fits both parties needs is established, we’re going to continue to see disputes like this one and the recent issues with Universal Music Group. As part of the YouTube and music ecosystems, we’re working with artists, labels and publishers to start cleaning up the current system but ultimately it comes down to publishers and MCN’s syncing up on a big picture level.”

Fullscreen, which is the No. 1 independent multi-channel network on YouTube according to Comscore, made a deal with Universal Music in February to open their music library to the network’s content creators.

The lawsuit against Fullscreen comes as music companies and traditional media companies like Viacom have filed lawsuits against YouTube on the same grounds of copyright infringement. Even though a federal judge ruled in favor of YouTube back in April for a lawsuit filed by Viacom, Variety reported that the media company is seeking to overturn the ruling with the backing of Hollywood’s biggest unions.

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