The ongoing (never-ending?) intellectual property battle against YouTube lost one of its major plaintiffs on Wednesday, as the National Music Publishers' Association made its own deal with the video service.

“We are pleased to have resolved NMPA’s litigation claims and to work with YouTube in providing a new licensing opportunity for songwriters and publishers,” said NMPA President and CEO David Israelite on a press release on the organization's web site. “This is a positive conclusion for all parties and one that recognizes and compensates the work of songwriters and publishers going forward.”

A positive conclusion for all parties does not include Viacom, England's Premier League, or any of the other parties who are continuing to appeal last year's ruling by a US District Court, which found in favor of YouTube.

The legal claim was originally filed in 2007, led by the Premier League but soon being merged with another $1 billion lawsuit brought by Viacom. The basic argument was that Google's YouTube was profiting from massive copyright infringement from all of the plaintiffs.

Google (as well as Facebook, Yahoo, eBay, and the EFF) felt strongly that they were abiding closely to the safe harbor provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, and that any legal win for Viacom et al would lead to a chilling effect on free speech on the Internet in general.

The legal conflict became extremely heated on both sides, with Google claiming that Viacom was intentionally uploading videos, and Viacom accusing YouTube and Google executives of intentionally deleting pertinent emails and exhibiting an unbelievable level of amnesia. As the months became years, both sides lost any claim to the moral high ground -- but YouTube's compliance with DMCA 'take down notices' was ultimately deemed sufficient to decide the case.

The NMPA's unique role derived from the fact that music publishing is legally distinct from sound recording, and therefore requires a separate deal from those that YouTube already signed with major music labels such as Universal, Sony, Warner, and EMI. Ultimately, Google must have agreed -- although due to the confidentiality of the agreement, the terms of the deal are unknown and nobody is saying what, if anything, Google offered in the way of a settlement.


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