Publishers Walking Away from YouTube Lawsuit

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The National Music Publishers’ Association (NMPA) has now dropped a copyright infringement lawsuit against YouTube and parent Google, a move that paves the way for a more cooperative agreement.

According to NMPA president David Israelite, this does not involve many of the largest publishers, whose agreements were forged within prior, major label deals.  “The major publishers already have licensing deals with YouTube,” Israelite told Digital Music News by phone.  “When the major companies did their licensing deals several years ago they included their publishers.  So the four majors have had a licensing deal and were not part of our lawsuit.”

The ‘voluntary dismissal’ was filed Wednesday in federal appeals court in Manhattan, and publishers are now sifting through the details of the agreement.   “This is a positive conclusion for all parties and one that recognizes and compensates the work of songwriters and publishers going forward,” Israelite continued.

A major figure in this kinder, post-litigatory landscape is the Harry Fox Agency, which will help to track and administer royalties for participating publishers.  These services will be available regardless of the publishers’ existing affiliations, according to the parties.  “We are excited to be working with YouTube, and our participation in this landmark deal is a testament to our continued commitment to bringing to market innovative licensing solutions,” said HFA president Gary Churgin.

Google still faces serious legal opposition from Viacom.  That was an 800 lb. NMPA ally, thanks to a high-profile, billion-plus infringement claim that remains ongoing.

Both the NMPA and HFA are now posting details on the resolution on their respective sites, and mailing information to publishers in the coming weeks.