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Music publishers file copyright infringement claim against Fullscreen

A group of music publishers is suing Fullscreen, a company which supplies videos to YouTube, for allegedly infringing copyright on popular songs, particularly with cover versions.

A group of music publishers is suing Fullscreen, a company which supplies videos to YouTube, for allegedly infringing copyright on popular songs.

The complaint, filed by the National Music Publishers’ Association (NMPA) in the Disctrict Court for the Southern District of New York on Tuesday, claims Fullscreen misrepresented itself to YouTube as being licensed and paying royalties to music publishers. It claims that the company reproduced copyrighted works without authorisation, particularly through cover versions.

According to the complaint, Fullscreen is valued at $110 million and is one of the largest multi-channel networks, the Internet equivalent of a broadcast television network. It produces videos that it disseminates over platforms such as YouTube and generates revenue from advertising.

The publishers filing the claim include Warner/Chappell, which was recently sued over the validity of its copyright claims to the song Happy Birthday to You. They are suing for direct copyright infringement, contributory copyright infringement, inducement of copyright infringement and vicarious copyright infringement and are seeking unspecified damages and an injunction against Fullscreen.

In a statement, NMPA president and CEO David Israelite described copyright infringement as “endemic” to the multi-channel network industry. “We must stop the trend of ignoring the law, profiting from someone else’s work, then asking forgiveness when caught,” he said.

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