Musician Kaskade calls former record label “dinosaur” for suing YouTube star Michelle Phan

Lynsey Barber
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Michelle Phan (centre) hit with lawsuit alleging copyright infringement (Source: Getty)

The Grammy-nominated musician Kaskade has called his former record label a “dinosaur” for filing a lawsuit against YouTube star Michelle Phan which claims she infringed copyright by using his songs in her videos.

Sony-backed Ultra Records, the label of artists Deadmau5 and Calvin Harris, has filed documents in a California court with its associated publisher Ultra International Music Publishing claiming Phan makes money from advertising on her YouTube channel.

The LA-based video blogger has six million subscribers to her channel and publishes make-up tutorials which gain millions of views.

Phan has worked with big name brands such as Lancome and Dr Pepper and launched a make-up line with L’Oreal. She also partnered with YouTube to promote its channels.

Kaskade tweeted:

The record label claims it has at least 50 examples of copyright infringement and is seeking $150,000 (£88,000) for each proven infringement.

Kaskade has previously spoken out against the issue of music rights, most recently publishing a blog post about the issue after his own songs were pulled from music service Soundcloud.

He wrote:

“When I signed with Ultra, I kissed goodbye forever the rights to own my music. They own it. And now Sony owns them. So now Sony owns my music. I knew that going in. Soundcloud is beholden to labels to keep copyright protected music (read: all music put out by a label, any label) off their site unless authorized by the label.”

Sony, one of the world’s biggest music labels, invested in the independent label Ultra last year. Kaskade departed Ultra earlier this year.

The record industry has been slow to respond to developments such as digital streaming, and Kaskade said the industry had yet to catch up and see that innovation was good for the industry.

“There’s always been this cagey group of old men who are scared to death of people taking their money… The laws that are governing online music share sites were written at a time when our online and real-life landscapes were totally different. Our marching orders are coming from a place that’s completely out of touch and irrelevant.”

Phan’s legal team issued a statement saying the lawsuit lacked any merit and claims the label agreed to allow Phan to use the work, also pointing out Kaskade’s support of Phan