YouTuber Michelle Phan Sued By Ultra Music For Copyright Infringement

Image via Michelle Phan on Facebook
Image via Michelle Phan on Facebook

As we move deeper into how the recording industry can (and will) monetize streaming audio, we’re hearing interesting stories. Last year, a shift in Billboard‘s line of thinking caused Baauer’s “Harlem Shake” to go from a viral hit to #1 on the charts due to a meme that had little to do with the actual song. Today, TMZ is reporting that a popular YouTuber, makeup tipster Michelle Phan, is being sued by Ultra Music for using tracks from Kaskade, Calvin Harris, deadmau5, and other popular EDM artists.

Ultra says that the videos in question have accumulated 150 million views in total. While we can’t say that if Phan used unreleased music instead of the popular videos if she’d have the same number of views, it really doesn’t matter in the court of law, especially when it comes to whatever monies Phan might have made off of these videos. Billboard reports that Phan “was made aware she’d need to obtain a license in order to continue implementing the songs into her videos,” but that apparently didn’t happen. Ultra will more than likely look at these the same way they (may) look at these YouTube accounts that seem to upload music for streaming on their own accounts.

Unless Phan is getting permission, it is illegal. How much money Ultra will be asking for (and how much Phan will have to come up off of) is yet to be seen. And while it doesn’t look like she’s officially spoken on this matter (yet), Phan did leave the following tweet:

mphan01 YouTuber Michelle Phan Sued By Ultra Music For Copyright Infringement

If you remember, the recent batch of SoundCloud violations to hit Kaskade’s account were over his songs on Ultra; he also opened up about label issues back in March. He had the following to say about his material being cited in Ultra’s lawsuit against Phan:

mphan02 YouTuber Michelle Phan Sued By Ultra Music For Copyright Infringement

mphan03 YouTuber Michelle Phan Sued By Ultra Music For Copyright Infringement

Here’s one video that features material from Kaskade. It’s been up for four years and has amassed over 48 million views:

She did credit the use of Kaskade’s “4AM” in this video (with an iTunes link), but it doesn’t look like that’ll be enough for Ultra:

  • ughUH

    guess it’s “phuck ultra” then, right?

  • ಠ_ಠ

    I think it’s cool that a really pretty girl is doing a cover of someone else’s song….. :

  • Jason Williams

    the thing people do when money is involved.

  • Dustin Tolman

    I don’t have one drop of feel-bad for her. It’s common sen$e to make sure that you license, and or clear music for content.

  • Luke

    That sucks for her

  • KJ

    Ultra music gone broke, they need money. Asshole ULTRA, they just want to fuck her!!!

  • Victor Ware

    What’s going to happen is content producers will stop using music from big labels and look to independent labels and artists. It just makes sense.

    • khal


  • Kalis Konig

    I mean no offense but as big of a Youtuber she is, she should have known better. Using copyrighted music without an okay is the biggest Youtube “no-no” ever. A lot of youtuber’s use Royalty free music or music created by independent sources with their say so.

    • khal

      It’s a licensing issue. Think of it in the same way that Rockstar has to get permission to put songs into their video games. It might not be them saying “I made this,” but you need to get permission for that copyright material.

  • Alvarez


  • yup

    I don’t get it. She needs permission to do a make up tutorial with Kaskade’s music in the background? She isn’t sampling or saying the music is her’s. She’s simply letting it play in the background of her make up tutorial

    • lolmayonnaise

      She’s making money from the videos, so legally Kaskade/Ultra are entitled to some of that monetization, as the music they put hours of work and probably a good amount of money creating. It is apparent that Michelle was not passing on an amount of profit, and did not have the license to use the music, so Ultra feel they deserve fees for damages (and the law tends to agree). I’m not saying I think it is right (or wrong, for that matter), I’m just laying it down.

  • Haitian Jack

    lol. got her pretty ass

  • kaitlynn