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YouTube star sued over copyright Beyonce, Eminem lead MTV awards nods

LOS ANGELES, July 18, (Agencies): R&B singer Beyonce and rappers Eminem and Iggy Azalea led the nominations for the MTV Video Music Awards, one of the industry’s top televised showcases, the cable TV network said on Thursday. Beyonce garnered eight nominations and will go up against Azalea in the coveted Video of the Year category at the Aug 24 awards show, which attracts a young audience prized by advertisers. Eminem and Azalea, an Australian rapper who has broken out internationally this year with the hit “Fancy,” each scored seven nominations.

Beyonce’s hit “Drunk in Love,” featuring her husband, the rapper Jay Z, earned her nods for best video and best collaboration. Her songs “Partition” and “Pretty Hurts” also earned nominations in categories including best cinematography, direction, choreography and social message. Pharrell Williams’ “Happy,” which has spawned fan videos worldwide, Sia’s “Chandelier” and Miley Cyrus’ “Wrecking Ball” are also up for best video. Pop singers Katy Perry and Ariana Grande, as well as New Zealand teenage singer Lorde and British R&B vocalist Sam Smith earned multiple nominations.

The awards show, which hands out “Moonman” statuettes of an astronaut planting and MTV flag, will also help unveil Madison Square Garden Co’s revamped Forum arena in Inglewood, California. The Video Music Awards began in 1984 and helped propel the young cable channel, now owned by Viacom Inc, as a player in the entertainment industry. Grande, R&B singer Usher and Australian rock group 5 Seconds of Summer are slated to perform at the awards show. At last year’s show, Cyrus’ sexually explicit “twerk” dance overshadowed the awards ceremony and dominated news headlines the following week.
 
Michelle Phan has garnered millions of adoring Internet fans for teaching them how to look like Lady Gaga, Angelina Jolie or even Barbie, but a popular dance music record label is not one of them. Ultra Records LLC and Ultra International Music Publishing LLC are suing Phan for copyright infringement, alleging she used songs and compilations from some of the world’s biggest dance music DJs and groups in her creative videos without a license. The case, filed on Wednesday in the US District Court in Los Angeles, makes it clear the label has only begun its search of Phan’s many online productions, but has so far uncovered dozens of infringements, according to the complaint. Those videos have been viewed more than 150 million times, the plaintiffs said.
 
Among the Ultra artists Phan seems to have used the most, the complaint said, is Kaskade, a globally renowned US DJ who was nominated for a Grammy last year. Phan rose to prominence on the Internet with cosmetic and make-up instructional videos. Her “Barbie Transformation Tutorial,” in which she instructs on how to look like the iconic plastic doll, has been viewed more than 54 million times. Her Lady Gaga how-to, more than 45 million times. Phan has more than 6.6 million subscribers to her YouTube video channel.
 
As one of YouTube’s biggest stars, she has participated in an advertising campaign for the online video service and in national advertising for Dr Pepper. Her videos have become increasingly sophisticated, showing Phan in different locales, some resembling music videos themselves. They continue to offer make-up advice, and are often accompanied by music. The record label and music publisher contend Phan has profited from the use of their artists’ tracks and compilations. For instance, in her “Night Life Favorites” video, Phan advises on what to carry for a night on the town. The suit said the video uses Kaskade’s song “4AM.”
 
Her Internet fame has also led to a book and the design of a makeup line, according to the complaint.
The plaintiffs said Phan had been informed she did not possess a license “and yet continues to willfully infringe in blatant disregard of Plaintiff’s rights of ownership.” The companies are seeking an injunction to stop Phan’s use of the music and either maximum statutory damages of $150,000 for each infringed work or unspecified damages to be determined. Attorneys for Phan or the plaintiffs could not immediately be reached for comment. The case is Ultra International Music Publishing LLC and Ultra Records LLC vs Michelle Phan, US District Court, Central District of California, No. 14-05533.
 
A man who converted his US home into a cluttered, quirky Elvis Presley shrine was found dead Thursday on the front porch, two days after police said he fatally shot a man who forced his way into the museum.
A motorist called police Thursday morning after seeing Paul MacLeod, 71, slumped in a chair outside the shrine known as Graceland Too, said Marshall County Coroner James Richard Anderson. He said there was no blood or trauma to MacLeod’s body. “It appears to be natural causes but it is pending until we get the autopsy,” Anderson said. MacLeod’s death comes two days after police say he killed Dwight Taylor, 28, at the 1850s home. Police questioned and released MacLeod. No charges were filed. MacLeod’s attorney Phillip Knecht said Taylor forced his way inside and demanded money, and the two men fought before the shooting.
 
Graceland Too — which is not affiliated with the original Graceland or the Presley estate — became a pilgrimage for fans. People could arrive at any hour, pay $5 and get a tour from the hyper-caffeinated MacLeod, who said in 2009 that he drank 24 cans of Coca-Cola a day. His home holds a floor-to-ceiling mix of photos, records, figurines, cardboard cutouts, clocks and other random items featuring Elvis.
“My ex-wife told me, ‘Make up your mind. Either me or the Elvis collection.’ So that put an end to that,” MacLeod, who named his son after the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll, told The Associated Press in 2009.

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