Your YouTube Metallica Cover Could Get You Sued, No Matter How Terrible It Is

Before uploading your Jew’s harp cover of Metallica’s “Phantom Lord” to YouTube, know this: you can be sued for doing so, and not because of all the physical harm you’ve caused. The New York Times reports that a group of music publishers are going after Fullscreen, one of YouTube’s largest multichannel networks, saying that “many of Fullscreen’s videos — particularly cover versions of popular songs — infringe on the publishers’ copyrights.”

Among the most popular videos on YouTube are cover versions of popular songs, often by amateurs or semiprofessionals who have built a following online. But according to the suit, filed in United States District Court in Manhattan on Tuesday by groups represented by the National Music Publishers’ Association, most of these lack the proper licenses and do not pay publishers and songwriters the royalties earned from ad revenue. (Publishers represent the music and lyrics underlying songs, not recordings of them, which are covered by a separate copyright.)

According to the suit, Fullscreen and its founder, George Strompolos, who is named as a defendant, “have willfully ignored their obligation to obtain licenses and pay royalties to exploit the vast majority of the musical content disseminated over Fullscreen’s networks.”

The publishers represented in the suit include Warner/Chappell Music, which is owned by the Warner Music Group and is one of the biggest publishers, along with several independents like Songs Music Publishing and Peermusic. An exhibit submitted with the suit lists dozens of songs that Fullscreen is accused of using without proper licenses, including hits by Lady Gaga, Kanye West, Britney Spears and others. (Via)

This baby is so screwed.

(via Getty Image) (Via NY Times)