Saturday, July 19, 2014

IMO: Michelle Phan's Legal Problems

Quick post before bed. I'm sure many have heard about MP being sued for copyright infringement.

What boggles my mind in particular is the fact that many have failed to grasp that she did something wrong. Yes, she credited the music she used in her tutorials but that isn't the same as asking permission and, if needed, paying the proper usage fees. She probably just assumed things would be okay since no one called her out on it. And copyright law is a very confusing thing for many to understand (though most do not even care to read up on it anyways). The fact of the matter is that she chose to monetize her videos (allow commercials for profits) and she didn't own everything used in them. Just like running a red light or speeding, just because you aren't caught doesn't make it any less illegal.
And frankly, shame on all those fans of hers who commented saying that "musicians shouldn't expect to make money from their work" or that "they watched the videos for Michelle, not for the music so musicians should be glad they're getting free promotion". Nuh-uh. It doesn't work that way. You do not tell an artist of any sort that they their payment is free promotion. That is a slap in the face to anyone who works a job that requires skill and creativity. If they want to do that, that is up to them. But it shouldn't just be assumed artists are just chomping at the bit to make you things for free.
This isn't a blame everything on MP post though. Kaskade apparently has no  involvement in this lawsuit according to his Twitter. This is his label making a fuss. And while I do think they absolutely have legal ground concerning this subject, I do not think it is fair for them to demand all her earnings period. The view count on the videos with copyrighted music should be adequate to figure how how much she has earned from ads.
I hope things work out for MP in the long run; I hope Ultra doesn't take everything from her. While I may not be a diehard fan, I do like her videos and am super impressed at how she became so successful from a beginning of posting humble makeup tutorials with her webcam.


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