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Fullscreen Sued by Music Publishers Group Over Songs in YouTube Videos

National Music Publishers’ Assn. also announces settlement with Maker Studios

The National Music Publishers’ Assn. filed a copyright-infringement lawsuit against Fullscreen, alleging the big YouTube multichannel network has used unlicensed songs in video clips, while the trade group said it had reached a settlement with another YouTube MCN, Maker Studios.

Fullscreen declined to comment. The company’s investors include Chernin Group, Comcast Ventures and global ad agency WPP.

“Fullscreen directly profits from advertising revenue generated by unlicensed music videos on their channels but does not compensate songwriters or music publishers,” NMPA said in announcing the lawsuit Tuesday.

In February, Fullscreen announced a licensing pact with Universal Music Publishing Group, under which the YouTube MCN’s musician partners would be able to “legally cover and monetize hundreds of thousands of songs,” according to the company.

Fullscreen runs more than 15,000 YouTube channels, which reach 200 million subscribers, and claims its videos garner more than 2.5 billion views per month. Startup’s customers include media companies like NBCUniversal and Ryan Seacrest Prods. and individual YouTube personalities.

Separately, NMPA said it had reached an agreement in principle with Maker Studios to settle similar copyright issues. Once finalized, the agreement with Maker will allow music publishers and their songwriting partners to “be compensated for past infringement and license Maker going forward,” the trade group said.

“The problem of copyright infringement and unlicensed use of music is endemic to the MCN industry,” NMPA president and CEO David Israelite said in a statement. “We must build a digital marketplace that can thrive and give music fans what they want, when they want it. Ignoring the law should not be allowed as a business model.”

Washington, D.C.-based NMPA is a trade group for music publishers representing 3,000 members.

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