EDM label Ultra sues Youtube star for millions, while one of their biggest acts leaps to her defence

Ultra Records is suing a make-up vlogger for alleged copyright infringement.

DJ and producer Kaskade has come out in support of a YouTube celebrity being sued by his label, calling copyright law “a dinosaur”. While the EDM star might be a little out of FACT’s ballpark musically, the story is a pretty interesting example of how labels and artists are dealing with copyright claims in the digital age.

Ultra Records, which also represents the likes of deadmau5 and Calvin Harris, says Michelle Phan has used about 50 of its songs without permission in her YouTube make-up tutorials and on her own website.

The label and its associated publisher claim Phan makes money from advertising attached to her YouTube channel and website, adding that “the full extent of Phan’s infringement has not yet been determined”. They’re asking for $150,000 for each proven copyright infringement.

But despite the fact the lawsuit revolves largely around Kaskade’s music (with 13 of the 45 songs listed in the suit being his own work), the producer has come out in support of Phan, writing on Twitter: “Copyright law is a dinosaur, ill-suited for the landscape of today’s media.”

He added: “Summary: I’m not suing @MichellePhan + @ultrarecords isn’t my lapdog. I can’t do much about the lawsuit except voice support for her.”

Phan, who has over six million YouTube subscribers, thanked him and gushed: “Your music inspired not just myself, but millions of my followers to dance and dream on.”

Kaskade has also faced his own copyright claims lately, resulting in him shutting down his Soundcloud with the intention of setting up “my own portal where I can share what I like when I like.”

In a blog post last month, he complained that since he sold the rights to his music to Ultra, his songs are now automatically taken down from Soundcloud when he uploads them.

“The laws that are governing online music share sites were written at a time when our online and real-life landscapes were totally different,” says the producer, adding:

“Our marching orders are coming from a place that’s completely out of touch and irrelevant. They have these legal legs to stand on that empower them to make life kind of a pain-in-the-ass for people like me. And for many of you. Countless artists have launched their careers though mash ups, bootlegs, remixes and music sharing. These laws and page takedowns are cutting us down at the knees.”

Ultra has since released a statement saying that it is the label’s responsibility to protect what artists have created:

“Enforcing copyrights is fundamental to the survival of artists, writers and producers, and to Ultra’s ability to continue to invest in and support them, so that they can continue to bring great music to music fans around the world. Whatever Ultra collects enforcing these important rights is shared with its artists according to their agreements.”

Meanwhile, Phan is planning to bring her own claims against Ultra, saying the label agreed to allow her to use the music.[via BBC]

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