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Music Publishing News Weekly Roundup: January 10, 2014

The NMPA and Fullscreen have reached an agreement to settle copyright infringement claims the NMPA made regarding the unlicensed use of musical compositions by creators on Fullscreen’s multi-channel YouTube network. The settlement will compensate publishers for past uses of their content by opting into the agreement. In the future, Fullscreen will license the use of musical compositions through YouTube’s direct licenses with publishers.

Licensing the use of music in YouTube videos has proven to be a controversial topic between rightsholders and content creators. YouTube allows rightsholders to claim content to supplement its Content ID technology used to automatically detect the use of recordings and compositions in UGC. Despite these efforts, unlicensed content often falls through the cracks and remains unmonetized. Legal uses of music, such as parody videos, are also commonly taken down because these largely automated processes can’t differentiate between a legal parody and infringing content.

Google is also dealing with the issue of removing URLs that link to infringing content from its search engine. According to Google’s Transparency Report, the search engine received over 235 million takedown requests – at least 70 million of which came from music rightsholders and reporting organizations. Takedown requests are way up this year – they had received 50 million and 10 million requests in 2012 and 2011, respectively.

David Lowery and the UGA Music Business Program have began updating their list of unlicensed lyric websites. The original list prompted legal action – the NMPA sent take-down notices to the 50 unlicensed lyric sites on the list, most notably Rap Genius. Lowery and his students will update the list as sites enter and conclude licensing negotiations and when licensing agreements expire. They are also expanding their list of brands that advertise on the unlicensed sites.

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