Universal, Bolt Reach Rights Agreement

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Following its contentious copyright tiff with YouTube, Universal Music Group has forcefully forged another partnership, this time with online video competitor Bolt.com. Both parties reached an agreement yesterday that Universal hopes will further strengthen its power in regards to negotiating content rights with other Internet sites.

The Bolt deal officially ends Universal’s lawsuit against the company, which was filed originally in October 2006. Among other resulting benefits, Universal will now gain about half of the proceeds from Bolt’s sale to GoFish. According to London’s Financial Times, the damages allude to previous copyright infringement. Additionally, a licensing fee will be given to Universal for every song that is played on the GoFish website, as well as a cut of the revenue from advertising. Through filtering technology, which will be added to the Bolt.com website in three months, Universal will be able to decipher which materials have been posted to the site

The Bolt deal arrives in the wake of UMG’s settlement with YouTube, which now provides the former with millions of dollars in YouTube company stock and advertising revenue in exchange for Universal’s content. Sony’s Grouper and MySpace are two other websites that are currently involved in legal woes with Universal.

In a statement, UMG’s chief exec Doug Morris defended his company’s actions, stating, “While our preference is to work out similar arrangements with other user-generated sites so that we can bring our music to the widest possible audience, we will continue to be vigilant in protecting our rights and those of our artists and songwriters.”

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