August 8, 2022, NEW YORK CITY: Music Creators North America (MCNA), the umbrella group and international representative for the independent songwriter and composer communities of the United States and Canada, is elated by the decision rendered this week by federal judge James Donato to allow the copyright infringement suit brought two years ago by composer Maria Schneider against YouTube to move forward.
MCNA congratulates Ms. Schneider on her perseverance in asserting that the removal of metadata identifiers from music posted on YouTube (and other unfair business practices concerning YouTube’s Copyright ID system) represent willful violations of creators’ rights under the US Copyright Act, factors which may be leading to a significant resurgence in the theft of copyrighted works on the Internet. The case, Schneider v. YouTube LLC, 5:20-cv-04423, US District Court, Northern District of California (San Francisco), will now continue to proceed with the denial of YouTube’s motion to dismiss.
According to a new Oxford University Study released in July 2022, YouTube has utilized its heavy reliance on music distribution to drive its current market share of the US economy to over a whopping $25 billion annually. Ms. Schneider’s lawsuit, in essence, asks the very relevant question applicable to all digital distributors of music who refuse to adequately fight piracy or render fair compensation (or sometimes any compensation at all) to creators for the use of our works:
Is it really necessary, when standing on our shoulders as you build your wealth, to stand on our necks, as well?”
According to the suit, YouTube (a subsidiary of mega-corporation Alphabet, Inc. along with Google), is denying the use of its Content ID copyright management and anti-piracy system to independent creators, limiting access to only major music copyright-owner conglomerates. The complaint also suggests that YouTube may know, or have reason to believe, that the stripping of identifiers is regularly taking place across the entire YouTube platform, causing severe damage to the rights and incomes of independent songwriters and composers by artificially and unnecessarily rendering their works unidentifiable.
These very serious allegations of unfair business practices and potentially willful violations of copyright law, according to Judge Donato, deserve to be heard and adjudicated. MCNA could not possibly agree more, and looks forward to supporting Ms. Schneider’s continuing efforts.
(Image: Marek Lazarski via Wikimedia Commons)