YouTube Quietly Settles Lawsuit with Music Publishers Association

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If you’re the kind of person who finds themselves trawling YouTube for music videos from your youth to remember whether or not that crush you had on that lead singer was reasonable or just teenage hormones (don’t judge me), then rest assured that you can finally do so without upsetting musicians over lost income. YouTube has announced a new settlement with the National Music Publishers Association of America, giving music publishers a share in ad revenue from the site’s music videos.

(MORE: U.K. Revises Music Copyright Law for MP3 Era (Finally))

The official blog announcement explains:

“We already have deals in place with a number of music publishers in the U.S. and around the world, and today’s deal offers more choice for rights holders in how they manage use of their songs. Going forward, the 46,000 music publishers already affiliated with [NMPA subsidiary Harry Fox Agency] will be able to license the musical compositions they represent for use by the YouTube community. 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. We’ll also be working with HFA to invite other publishers to sign up, even if they’re not affiliated with HFA… It’s simple for publishers to opt in to this licensing opportunity, and advances in our technology help publishers to find even more performances of their songs, providing the opportunity for more revenue.”

What is missing from the official announcement, as PaidContent points out, is the word “lawsuit.” The settlement comes as the NMPA drops out of a class action suit against YouTube over the site’s use of copyrighted material; in particular its perceived slowness in taking down material belonging to others.

It’s an interesting way of dealing with a class action suit, settling with individual plaintiffs, but if it works—and each settlement gives a positive PR opportunity—then why not?

MORE: Study: 71% of Online Americans Use Online Video Sites

Graeme McMillan is a reporter at TIME. Find him on Twitter at @Graemem or on Facebook at Facebook/Graeme.McMillan. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.

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