NMPA changes tune on YouTube

Org drops copyright infringement claims against Google

The National Music Publishers Assn. said it is dropping its copyright infringement claims against Google after reaching a settlement to streamline the way that music is licensed for videos posted to YouTube.

Pact, announced Wednesday, could mean the appearance of many more fan-created homemade videos using copyrighted music.

The NMPA said the settlement will allow publishers to grant the rights to their works on YouTube and receive royalties when the vid site runs ads alongside the user-generated videos.

David Israelite, prexy of the NMPA, called it a “new licensing opportunity for songwriters and publishers.”

The license agreements will be administered via NMPA subsid the Harry Fox Agency. Details will be announced in the coming weeks.

YouTube said in a blog post that, with agreements already in place with a number of music publishers, the settlement will offer “more choice for rights holders in how they manage their songs.”

“When these publishers allow YouTube to run ads alongside user-generated videos that incorporate their compositions, the publishers, and the songwriters they represent, can make money,” said Elizabeth Moody, YouTube’s head of strategic partner development for music.

YouTube said it has been its policy to run ads alongside videos with commercial music only when they have authorization from the copyright holders for the sound recording and composition.

The site already has agreements with the four major record labels and dozens of independent labels. YouTube identifies copyrighted works through its Content ID system with information provided by music publishers.

NMPA sued YouTube in 2007, alleging that YouTube infringed on publishers’ copyrights when users posted videos containing their works. But a federal district court last year ruled that YouTube was not liable because it removed videos when given notice by the copyright holder.

Viacom filed a concurrent copyright infringement suit against YouTube, and its appeal is expected to be heard later this year.

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