US indie publishers settle with YouTube

September 2011

Music publishing, internet

While Viacom’s long-standing copyright lawsuit against YouTube has grabbed all of the headlines, a second related suit has been running ion parallel – the class action brought by the Premier League and other major content owners against youTube. Now one big part of that class action suit, the US independent music publishers, have bowed out of the case after striking a deal with YouTube. Whilst the terms of the settlement weren’t disclosed it appears to be based on a share of advertising revenue that YouTube’s collect from identified music videos. The record labels, which represent the artists that perform the songs, already have similar deals going as did the major label’s music publishing xompanies.  Its interesting to note that YouTube settled the suit despite the fact that it in the actual court case, at the first hearing the judge ruled that YouTube was protected from copyright lawsuits because YouTube had followed the rules of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). .
The settlement has no bearing on Viacom’s lawsuit. In that case, Viacom says that YouTube should pay up to $1 billion in damages, because it knowingly built up its user base with pirated material. However, Viacom isn’t seeking any post-2008 damages from YouTube, suggesting that the company finds YouTube more acceptable now that it has incorporated software filters. Viacom’s case, like the class action, is being argued on appeal.

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