In 2007, the US music publishers, together with other content owners, launched a class action against YouTube. At the same period, Viacom launched its suit against Google. The two cases were concurrently treated with obviously some interferences. The case with Viacom is not yet settled, although the last round benefited to YouTube. In August 2011, YouTube and the US music publishers (at least the ones affiliated to the National Music Publishers Association (NMPA)) reached an agreement.
Some details on the settlement are available on YouTube’s blog: “Creating new opportunities for publishers and songwriters“. YouTube will share some part of the advertising revenues when the content uses one of the registered songs. YouTube’s content identification technology (ContentID) should detect any occurrence of a song. No financial details are publicly available.
This is another step of Google, YouTube’s parent company, towards the normalization of its relationship with content owners. YouTube may become one major legal distribution platform in the future… Will the free model win? Or will we see a YouTube++ with paid content? Your guess?