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Ultra Records suing YouTube star Michelle Phan

By | Published on Tuesday 22 July 2014

Michelle Phan

Sony-affiliated EDM label Ultra Records is suing YouTube star Michelle Phan for using tracks owned by the company in her videos without permission. The producer of one of those tracks, Kaskade, however, has distanced himself from the legal action.

According to Reuters, Ultra’s recordings and publishing divisions are jointly suing Phan, whose make up tips videos have clocked up over 150 million views. In the lawsuit, Ultra says that Phan had been warned that she was infringing copyright “and yet continues to wilfully infringe in blatant disregard of plaintiff’s rights of ownership”.

The lawsuit identifies multiple alleged instances of copyright infringement, and seeks an injunction to force Phan to stop, and the maximum statutory damages for each infringement of $150,000.

One of the tracks used by Phan is ‘4am’ by Kaskade, a producer who recently spoke out against takedowns of mixes he had created on SoundCloud. The Ultra-signed artist also criticised his label, when it appeared that one of the tracks that had triggered a takedown on his account was some of his own original work.

After news of the lawsuit emerged, Kaskade tweeted a message to Phan, saying: “You’re awesome. You’ve turned millions of people on to my music. Which, ironically, I cannot say for my label”.

He added in messages to all of his followers: “I’m not suing Michelle Phan and Ultra Records isn’t my lapdog. I can’t do much about the lawsuit except voice support for her. I find that Michelle Phan has great taste in music *ahem*, and knows secrets on how to make my eyes really POP. What’s not to like?”

All this, of course, raises the question of why Ultra hasn’t actually issued takedown notices through YouTube against the offending videos. Though Phan is repped by one of those Multi-Channel Networks, FAWN, which often complicates even further music licensing on the video platform.