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Warner Music Sues Fullscreen Over YouTube Video Use

Aug. 6 (Bloomberg) -- Fullscreen Inc., a YouTube content provider, was sued by music publishers including Warner Music Group over claims it promotes music videos without paying royalties.

Fullscreen, based in Culver City, California, has engaged in “willful copyright infringement” by using music videos without obtaining licenses or paying royalties, according to the complaint filed today in federal court in Manhattan by the National Music Publishers’ Association. The trade group represents American music publishers and their songwriting partners.

“Fullscreen’s success and growth as a digital business is attributable in large part to the prevalence and popularity of its unlicensed music videos,” David Israelite, NMPA’s president and chief executive, said in an e-mailed statement. “We must stop the trend of ignoring the law, profiting from someone else’s work, then asking forgiveness when caught.”

Fullscreen is a multichannel network that operates and aggregates thousands of YouTube channels, with content that is comprised mainly of cover song videos, according to the complaint.

Founded by former YouTube manager George Strompolos, Fullscreen claims to have 200 million subscribers across 15,000 YouTube channels with more than 2.5 billion monthly views, according to its website.

Among the songs allegedly infringed are hits by Kanye West, Justin Bieber, Ke$ha, Lady Gaga and Katy Perry. The NMPA said today the group settled similar copyright issues with Maker Studios Inc., another multi-channel network.

Jen Lum, a spokeswoman for Fullscreen, didn’t immediately return a phone call seeking comment on the lawsuit.

The case is Warner/Chappell Music Inc. v. Fullscreen Inc., 13-cv-5472, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

To contact the reporters on this story: Sophia Pearson in Philadelphia at spearson3@bloomberg.net; Christie Smythe in Brooklyn at csmythe1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net

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