Ultra Records and Ultra International Music Publishing (UIMP), a record label and a music publisher, have filed a lawsuit in California federal court against beauty blogger and popular YouTube personality Michelle Phan accusing her of using the companies’ music in her beauty videos without permission. UIMP v. Phan, No. 14-5533 (U.S. Dist. Ct., C.D. Cal., filed July 16, 2014). Ultra and UIMP, which produce dance music, allege that “Phan, without license, authorization or permission from Plaintiffs, has embarked on a wholesale infringement of Plaintiffs’ musical compositions and recordings” by using their music in videos she uploaded to YouTube and to her own Website.
A spokesperson for Phan has said that Ultra agreed to allow her to use its music in her videos and that Phan plans to file counterclaims against the record label and publishing company. On YouTube, Phan has almost 7 million subscribers, and her most popular video has accumulated more than 55 million views in four years; her online popularity has led to a position as Lancôme’s official video artist and her own L’Oréal cosmetics line. Noting this success, Ultra’s complaint has alleged the infringing use of its music in 55 of Phan’s videos—with some videos featuring more than one alleged infringement— and requests $150,000 per infringement, as well as an injunction and attorney’s fees. See BBC, July 22, 2014.