Fullscreen is one of YouTube's top partner networks, aggregating more than 15,000 separate channels to attract nearly 35,000 unique viewers in June alone. However, the National Music Publishers' Association recently asserted that the online innovator may be flouting accepted royalty management best practices.
In a copyright infringement suit filed this week, the NMPA objected to Fullscreen's distribution of unlicensed cover song videos. While it would appear that Fullscreen brazenly collects profits from video advertising revenue without any intentions of compensating songwriters or publishers, it is far from the only multi-channel network (MCN) employing such tactics.
"The problem of copyright infringement and unlicensed use of music is endemic to the MCN industry," NMPA CEO David Israelite suggested. "We must stop the trend of ignoring the law, profiting from someone else's work, then asking forgiveness when caught."
Consumer trends suggest that music will continue to be a primary content pillar for the YouTube platform, and that lingering copyright questions will have to be confronted. But the fact that VEVO (the only partner outpacing Fullscreen in its segment) has agreed to dispense equitable artist royalties suggests that mutually beneficial models can be constructed.