Feeds

YouTube blocks music videos in UK

Content yanksploitation against royalty collectors

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

YouTube is blocking most of its music videos from UK viewers after negotiations with British royalty collectors turned sour.

The Performing Rights Society (PRS) for Music, a group representing artists and publishers, and YouTube both blame each other entirely for the impasse, of course.

Patrick Walker, YouTube's top pact-maker in Europe said in a blog post today that the site will block all "premium" music videos in the UK until it can strike up a new contract with PRS that is "economically sustainable."

"But PRS is now asking us to pay many, many times more for our license than before," he wrote. "The costs are simply prohibitive for us - under PRS's proposed terms we would lose significant amounts of money with every playback."

He also claims PRS is unwilling to even tell the video streaming site what songs are included in the licensing renewal being negotiated. Walker claims the deal is "like asking a consumer to buy an unmarked CD without knowing what musicians are on it."

PRS appears to have been taken off guard by YouTube's sudden yanking of content. Shortly after the site said it's pulling UK music videos, PRS chief Steve Porter announced he was "shocked and disappointed" to receive a call late in the afternoon informing him of YouTube's drastic action.

The music group claims YouTube wants to pay "significantly less than at present to the writers of the music on which their service relies, despite the massive increase in YouTube viewing."

PRS said YouTube's decision to block music videos in the UK was done in the middle of licensing negotiations, and urged the site to reconsider "as a matter of urgency." As a jab — apparently to show that YouTube should have plenty of money to spend on fees — PRS noted the site's parent company Google made $5.7bn in revenues in the last quarter of 2008.

The situation draws obvious parallels to how the automated streaming music service Pandora decided to block UK listeners in early 2008 because it couldn't afford a license with PRS and music labels. Pandora had attempted to work with copyright holders from the outset, as opposed to YouTube, which only more recently has been scoring licensing deals in an effort to generate more revenue.

But YouTube is the most popular online video streaming site out there — so it certainly begs the question of who can earn enough money in the biz if YouTube can't?

Yanking content off streaming sites appears to be an increasingly common negotiating ploy for both sides of the table. In December 2008, Warner Music Group began removing its videos from YouTube after claiming it wasn't getting enough cut of the profit. Apparently companies are betting customer outrage will spur the other side to bend to their demands. But when customers can get their content elsewhere easier (and often illegally, where nobody gets paid) the licensing e-tantrum can certainly backfire on both. ®

Top three mobile application threats

More from The Register

next story
Stick a 4K in them: Super high-res TVs are DONE
4,000 pixels is niche now... Don't say we didn't warn you
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
Philip K Dick 'Nazi alternate reality' story to be made into TV series
Amazon Studios, Ridley Scott firm to produce The Man in the High Castle
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Bose says today is F*** With Dre Day: Beats sued in patent battle
Music gear giant seeks some of that sweet, sweet Apple pie
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
Too many IT conferences to cover? MICROSOFT to the RESCUE!
Yet more word of cuts emerges from Redmond
Joe Average isn't worth $10 a year to Mark Zuckerberg
The Social Network deflates the PC resurgence with mobile-only usage prediction
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.