Freeplay Music, a New York firm that manages an online music catalog, has countersued Machinima of West Hollywood and Collective Digital Studios of Beverly Hills, accusing both YouTube networks of multiple copyright infringements.

The countersuits, filed separately in New York federal court, allege that Machinima used 80 copyrights and CDS used 40 copyrights without authorization. Freeplay is asking for $150,000 in statutory damages for each violation.

The complaints are in response to Machinima and CDS’ separate lawsuits filed in early February that claimed Freeplay operated a “bait and switch” copyright scheme to extort money from the MCNs and their talent.

But Freeplay claimed that after it alerted the two networks of their unauthorized uses of music, Machinima and CDS instead “chose to sue rather than pay for using Freeplay’s copyrights.”

“Rather than dealing with this infringement, Machinima and CDS went on the offensive, blatantly mischaracterizing Freeplay and its business model,” said Freeplay attorney Oren Warshavsky of BakerHostetler in a statement. “Ironically, Machinima and CDS are commercializing Freeplay’s copyrighted music, and then cry foul that Freeplay seeks to enforce its rights to do the same.”

Freeplay filed similar suits against Walt Disney Co.’s Maker Studios of Culver City and AwesomenessTV-managed Big Frame, owned by DreamWorks Animation, last month.

A Machinima spokesman declined to comment. Representatives of CDS could not be reached.

Staff reporter Melissah Yang can be reached at MYang@labusinessjournal.com. Follow her on Twitter @MelissahYang for the latest in L.A. tech news.

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