Michelle Phan has found herself in some legal trouble in recent months. She’s getting sued by Ultra Records for allegedly using the music of its dance music artists in her makeup tutorial videos without permission. Phan’s people maintained that the music was not used without consent and now, they are firing back at Ultra with a counterclaim saying so.
Phan claims that she contacted Ultra Records Senior New Media Manager Jason Kilgore in 2009, requesting the green light to use music from one of the company’s artists, Kaskade. According to Phan, Kilgore wrote back that the label would be “more than happy” to grant Phan permission. She says that she struck up a deal with Ultra, allowing her to use music from the label’s artists, as long as she added the proper credits and provided iTunes links to any of the music used. By suing her, she says Ultra isn’t holding up its part of the deal. Ultra agreed to not file any Content ID claims against her.
The relationship seemed to be going well until March of this year when Ultra, seemingly out of the blue, accused Phan of using the music without asking. It pressured YouTube to take down 12 of her videos, which Phan says caused her to lose a lot of money.
Sounds like a serious case of she said, he (and by “he” we mean “corporation,” since in America, businesses count as people) said. But if the content of the emails are what Phan’s people say they are, then Ultra has some explaining to do. Granted, it’s easy to understand why Ultra might want to collect a few checks from Phan — it is a business, after all. Over the past year, Phan’s business has grown quite a lot; she started em cosmetics, released a book and became one of the faces of YouTube’s ubiquitous campaign showcasing three successful vloggers. Perhaps all the success made the folks at Ultra rethink the arrangement and pursue a more lucrative one.