ArtsWatch: Fullscreen Settles With NMPA

Songwriters to be compensated for cover song videos distributed on YouTube
January 13, 2014 -- 7:08 am PST
By Philip Merrill / GRAMMY.com

In recent news ...

Leading YouTube Multi-Channel Network Gets Licensed
On Jan. 8 the National Music Publishers' Association announced a settlement agreement with Fullscreen to ensure the multi-channel network's music videos on YouTube are properly licensed. Participating publishers will be compensated for cover song videos that have already been viewed by the network's monthly traffic of 30 million unique YouTube visitors. Fullscreen will take down music videos containing unlicensed compositions. Additionally, Fullscreen CEO/founder George Strompolos said, "We commend the NMPA for their proactiveness and helping to clear the way for us to establish new relationships with music publishers. Fullscreen will continue to pioneer 'win/win/win' solutions for emerging musicians, their audiences, and existing rights holders within the music industry." NMPA President/CEO David Israelite said, "As the digital marketplace continues to evolve, music publishing rights must be recognized and built into future business models, and we applaud Fullscreen for working with us to recognize the contribution of songwriters." The NMPA announced it was suing Fullscreen in August 2013, at which time it also announced a previous agreement with multi-channel network Maker Studios.

AT&T Sponsored Data For Mobile Sparks Controversy
At the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas on Jan. 6, AT&T announced an innovative "sponsored data" option, enabling wireless content to reach eligible 4G customers with cost-free convenience comparable to using a 1-800 phone number. Net neutrality advocates swiftly objected the concept despite AT&T's commitment to deliver sponsored data at the same speed as other wireless data and the fact that Federal Communications Commission open Internet principles were less restrictive for smartphones because of mobile data's higher cost. Consumer advocacy organization Free Press Policy Director Matt Wood said, "Letting the carriers charge more or less money to reach certain sites is discriminatory, and it's not how the Internet is supposed to work." While conceding that sponsored data "seems like long-awaited relief from frustrating data caps," Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) said, "The announcement of a sponsored data program by AT&T puts it in the business of picking winners and losers on the Internet, threatening the open Internet, competition and consumer choice. It's exactly why Net neutrality rules came to exist in the first place and why these rules should apply equally to all forms of broadband Internet service." Responding to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler's Jan. 8 interview at CES, consumer advocates Public Knowledge penned a letter, insisting that mobile data caps and AT&T's sponsored data plan merited an FCC investigation. The issue at stake will directly affect online music and music video streaming as indie labels lack major labels' financial resources to shoulder the costs of sponsorship.

German High Court Narrows File-Sharing Liability
On Jan. 8 Germany's Federal Court of Justice ruled that the stepfather of a 20-year-old was not liable for his adult son having made 3,749 infringing music tracks available in 2006 via file-sharing over the defendant's Internet connection. Reversing lower court decisions, the court's finding was based on the lack of evidence indicating that the stepfather had a reason to suspect his Internet connection would be misused by another adult. It is not yet known whether the plaintiffs will sue the stepson for the infringements, but the ruling does provide them with a solid basis.

The Recording Academy actively represents the music community on such issues as intellectual property rights, music piracy, archiving and preservation, and censorship concerns. In pursuing its commitment to addressing these and other issues, The Recording Academy undertakes a variety of national initiatives. ArtsWatch is a key part of an agenda aimed at raising public awareness of and support for the rights of artists. To become more involved, visit Advocacy Action @ GRAMMY.com and sign up for Advocacy Action E-lerts.

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