BakerHostetler Files Copyright Infringement Complaints for Freeplay Music against Multi-Channel Networks
Freeplay is seeking to protect against continuing and systemic copyright infringement by MCNs
BakerHostetler has filed three complaints in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York seeking to put an end to the practice of certain multi-channel networks (MCNs) that exploit music without authorization and without compensating copyright owners. The complaints allege that the following MCNs have exploited hundreds of copyrights owned and/or controlled by Freeplay Music, Inc.: Awesomeness, LLC; Big Frame, Inc.; Maker Studios, Inc.; and BroadbandTV Corp.
The complaints, prepared by BakerHostetler attorneys Oren Warshavsky and Tatiana Markel, allege that the four MCNs were aware of the rampant infringements yet refused to remedy their conduct. According to Warshavsky, "Freeplay Music was forced to bring these lawsuits in order to protect its rights, just as any other copyright owner in any other industry would do. The systemic misappropriation of its copyrights without authorization has harmed our client. And if this conduct continues unchecked, it will continue to harm Freeplay Music and the hundreds of composers it represents. We seek to right that wrong through this action.”
The complaints all allege that beginning in 2014, when YouTube required MCNs to take certain responsibility for videos on their managed channels, various MCNs failed to properly monitor music usage. Freeplay Music, a music publisher since 2001, administers a catalogue of tens of thousands of songs, 15,000 of which are available for download on its website. Freeplay Music's website has garnered over 200 million views and since it revamped its website in August 2013, Freeplay Music has issued over 1.8 million licenses. After working with TuneSat, LLC, a related but independent company that operates the premier music identification software technology, Freeplay Music identified hundreds of unauthorized uses of its copyrights across MCNs and reached out to these MCNs to request remedy of these violations.
"Freeplay Music and TuneSat worked together to identify an industry wide problem: MCNs are exploiting music without authorization. TuneSat's technology allowed Freeplay Music to seek out and discover instances where its copyrights were being exploited. What they uncovered was various unauthorized uses of their copyrights by various MCNs. Together, Freeplay Music and TuneSat approached various MCNs about solving this problem. Ultimately, the MCNs were unreceptive and the unauthorized uses continued. Nearly all of the infringements are undisputed by the MCNs, rendering this conduct indefensible. Unfortunately, this willful copyright infringement demands court intervention, as Freeplay Music must seek damages and other remedies," said Warshavsky.
The complaint against BroadbandTV alleges that Broadband is infringing over 70 Freeplay Music's copyrights in at least 128 videos.
The complaint against Maker Studios alleges that Maker is infringing over 45 Freeplay Music's copyrights in at least 60 videos.
The complaint against Awesomeness and Big Frame, who now are part of the same company, alleges that Awesomeness and Big Frame are infringing approximately 14 Freeplay Music's copyrights in over 20 videos.
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