Freeplay Music Sues Disney’s Maker Studios and Other MCNs for Copyright Infringement
Freeplay Music, a music licensing company that owns rights to 50, 000 works by various composers, is suing separately four YouTube multi-channel networks (MCNs) Disney’s Maker Studios, DreamWorks Animation’s Awesomeness, Big Frame and BroadbandTV Corp., alleging the defendants misappropriated its licensed music in YouTube videos.
More specifically, Freeplay claims Maker infringed over 45 copyrights, AwesomenessTV and Big Frame together infringed on 14 copyrights, and BroadbandTV infringed on more than 70 copyrights.
It was only last week that Freeplay was in the news when two other major MCNs Machinima and Collective Digital Studio sued Freeplay for being a “Copyright Troll.” The term refers when a licensing company uses a “bait and switch” strategy by alluring consumers with “free music” but later demanding “outrageous” license fees when the music is used in the video.
While “preparing a response that will clearly demonstrate that the allegations and characterizations in the [Machinima and Collective Digital Studio] complaints are baseless,” Freeplay explains their business strategy differently in the current lawsuits.
Typically, video producers need two types of licenses: synchronization license (to synchronize music and screen visuals) and public performance license. The lawsuit says Freeplay’s free offer of synchronization license incentivizes the producers to use its licensed works, allowing Freeplay a competitive advantage in the marketplace. By expanding its market share, Freeplay “would generate additional performance fees, especially when a television program was successful.” It further states that the company would continue to offer free synchronization license for national television broadcast, in-class education and “non-commercial” personal use.
Although YouTube runs a copyright-infringement identification system Content ID that allows copyright owners to track when their licensed contents are used without their consent in videos, it began requiring major MCNs to police copyright infringement for their channels at the beginning of 2014.