By Sahil Patel
In the ongoing battle between content creators on YouTube and music copyright holders, there has not been a lot of good news recently for YouTube networks and creators.
That’s about to change.
Fullscreen, one of the largest networks on YouTube, has reached a settlement agreement with the National Music Publishers’ Association after being sued by the organization for copyright infringement.
The NMPA filed a lawsuit against Fullscreen in August in an effort to combat the network’s creators’ use of unlicensed music in their videos. With the settlement, music publishers (who opt in) will now be compensated for previous use of their songs in videos. Going forward, Fullscreen says it will also work with publishers to legally license their music.
The settlement also extends to channels “affiliated” with Fullscreen — videos by these creators that contain music will be licensed under YouTube’s existing deals with music publishers. As for channels “managed” by Fullscreen, the network is promising to remove any videos that contain unlicensed NMPA musical works.
“This settlement demonstrates the fundamental value of songwriters and their music publishing partners, and highlights NMPA’s mission to fight for fair compensation and protection of songwriters’ rights,” said David Israelite, NMPA president and CEO, in a statement. “As the digital marketplace continues to evolve, music publishing rights must be recognized and built into future business models, and we applaud Fullscreen for working with us to recognize the contribution of songwriters.”
“Fullscreen’s mission is to empower the next generation of creative talent,” added George Strompolos, founder and CEO of Fullscreen. “To that end, Fullscreen is pleased to be one of the leading multi-channel networks to establish landmark licenses with major music publishers on behalf of Fullscreen’s music artists. We commend the NMPA for their proactiveness and helping to clear the way for us to establish new relationships with music publishers. Fullscreen will continue to pioneer ‘win/win/win’ solutions for emerging musicians, their audiences, and existing rights holders within the music industry.”
When the NMPA sued Fullscreen, it claimed that the network was turning a blind eye to its channel partners who were monetizing videos that contained songs that were not licensed by the MCN or the creator. With this new agreement in place, and provisions to ensure that both managed and affiliated channel partners are properly using copyrighted songs, that’s no longer the case. And while it’s still too early to tell if this is when the tide turns in the uneasy relationship between creators and rights-holders on YouTube, the NMPA’s deal with Fullscreen, which is responsible for more than 3 billion monthly views on YouTube, means we’re getting closer.