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YouTube to block UK music videos

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YouTube is blocking all premium music videos to UK users after failing to reach a new licensing agreement with the Performing Right Society (PRS).

Thousands of videos will be unavailable to YouTube users from later on Monday.

Patrick Walker, YouTube's director of video partnerships, told BBC News that the move was "regrettable".

Steve Porter, head of the PRS, said he was "outraged... shocked and disappointed" by YouTube's decision.

In a statement, Mr Porter said the move "punishes British consumers and the songwriters whose interests we protect and represent".

The PRS has asked YouTube to reconsider its decision as a "matter of urgency".

The body, which represents music publishers, added: "Google has told us they are taking this step because they wish 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.

"This action has been taken without any consultation with PRS for Music and in the middle of negotiations between the two parties."

Mr Walker told BBC News the PRS was seeking a rise in fees "many, many factors" higher than the previous agreement.

He said: "We feel we are so far apart that we have to remove content while we continue to negotiate with the PRS."

"We are making the message public because it will be noticeable to users on the site."

Videos will begin to be blocked from 1800 GMT with the majority of them made inaccessible over the next two days.

YouTube pays a licence to the PRS which covers the streaming of music videos from three of the four major music labels and many independent labels.

Stream online

While deals with individual record labels cover the use of the visual element and sound recording in a music video, firms that want to stream online also have to have a separate deal with music publishers which covers the music and lyrics.

In the UK, the PRS acts as a collecting society on behalf of member publishers for licensing fees relating to use of music.

YouTube stressed that it continued to have "strong partnerships" with three of the four largest record labels in the world.

Mr Walker said the PRS was asking for a "prohibitive" rise in the cost of a new license.

While not specifying the rate the PRS was seeking, he said: "It has to be a rate than can drive a business model. We are in the business for the long run and we want to drive the use of online video.

"The rate they are applying would mean we would lose significant amounts of money on every stream of a music video. It is not a reasonable rate to ask."

New deal

YouTube has also complained of a lack of transparency by the PRS, saying the organisation would not specify exactly which artists would be covered by any new deal.

"That's like asking a consumer to buy a blank CD without knowing what musicians are on it," a statement from YouTube UK says on its official blog.

YouTube is the world's most popular online video site but has been under increased pressure to generate more revenue since its purchase by Google for $1.65 billion in 2006.

"We are not willing to do this [new licensing deal] at any cost," said Mr Walker.

He said the issue was an industry-wide one and not just related to YouTube.

"By setting rates that don't allow new business models to flourish, nobody wins."

Services such as Pandora.com, MySpace UK and Imeem have also had issues securing licence deals in the UK in the last 12 months.

Source

Basically, to cut a long story short, any music that is owned by WMG (Warner) is being silenced. They're being pissy about how much YouTube/Google are paying them, or wanting to pay them, for it, so they've demanded that all their music be removed from the service. I'm pretty sure MTV have boycotted them with regards to Rock Band, again because of money issues. Don't expect to see your favourite artist from a WMG owned label in that game any time soon.

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I read about this earlier today. That really does suck to those who are in the UK. Unfortunely, the recording industry seem to love screwing people over one way or another.

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Meh, it doesn't matter. I'm sure some british hackers/tech experts somewhere will find a way for us to get past the restrictions :3

Edited by Gerkuman.2

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I heard about this on Radio 1 this morning. I just can't believe they're doing this...where am I gonna listen to my music now?? ;__; If this goes on, I will just go to some other video site instead of Youtube.

WMG, you suck. Youtube, you suck too.

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Gabz...I don't think there is another music video site like Youtube anywhere because no other video sharing site (Veoh, Dailymotion etc) has rights to put up music videos... ^.^;;

YouTube isn't at fault on this one, it's PRS. They are demanding more money from Google/YouTube.

Edited by Spicylicious

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Sorry to hear for you guys up north. I should make it clear, though, that is actually happening to UK folk is separate from the Warner Music issue (which is not limited to the UK) - I suspect it will not be handled in the same way either (WMG content being muted, as opposed to these videos being blocked entirely). It's not correct to lump the PRS and WMG cases together, as they are two different sides of the same copyright coin.

Google appears to have most of the main record labels onside (except WMG of course), who hold the copyright in the recording. The flipside is the copyright in the words and music, which is what organisations like the PRS in the UK collect for (and APRA/AMCOS in Australia, and ASCAP/BMI/SESAC in the United States, and so on). Without the all-clear from both, Google would be leaving themselves open to action - and even the threat or first signs of a lawsuit over rights (such as the Viacom $1-billion case) is enough to make them crap their pants over it - and probably with good reason, considering the big bikkies being splashed around in this market.

The article states that they are blocking "premium music videos" - I'm not sure what this is supposed to mean, but I presume these are the videos being uploaded by the record labels themselves, rather than by other users. I suspect two things here as to why they are limiting it to that:

1/: they hope to be able to reach a settlement sometime - as much as PRS' proposed rate would reportedly cripple them, it's still revenue they are not getting by having them blocked - and

2/: they realise the backlash they would get from UK users by muting the sound of just about all videos from everyone who added a backing track (a la the Warner solution). I definitely hope for you guys that it doesn't go down this road, especially if the discussions break down completely later on.

PS: Whether the rates are reasonable or not, I'm not in the right business to know, so I won't place the blame on either PRS or Google here - for all I know, Google could just be trying (continuing) to play hardball with them. I know we had a couple of issues here where the PPCA (the recording-copyright society down here) came under fire for the size of licence increases to certain business types (eg. nightclubs), but without any reference about how long ago the rates were last set, it's hard to pass judgement on whether an increase was too excessive.

Edited by Spikeda

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Fuckbollocks. Now there's an even increased chance I'm gonna get some pointless and shite "HELLo INTERNUTZ here i playz DE GUITARR" videos whenever I try to look up the video for some song.

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That really sucks I have noticed that happen with a few youtube videos I have happened upon the music has been removed but the video is still up purely because the video is copy right to the creator but the music used is owned by WMG. It's really crap but it doesn't surprise me that they are doing it.

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So that explains why I couldn't watch that new Koda Kumi x misono video last night ("This video is not available in your country"). Arse balls. Got the PV myself anyway so no big deal, but still really annoying.

What I find funny is how ignorant the PRS is acting over all of this. Youtube's providing a brand new source of revenue - one that some years ago, never existed. Instead of treating it as a golden opportunity to gain some additional funds, PRS are acting as if they now own the rights to milk the revenue stream for all its worth. As Youtube has proved (and Torrent sites have in the past), it simply doesn't work like that, and all the PRS are doing is shooting themselves in the foot.

No wonder they were responding like headless chickens in that BBC report. Go Youtube I say, kick them in the bollocks. Fuck Bono and Metallica while we're at it as well. </randombutsortofrelevantasthey'remoneygrubbingarseholestoo> :3

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I noticed they updated the article...with now the title, "YouTube stands by UK video block." So it looks like for a long while now the people in the UK won't be able to watch any music video.

None owned by Warner. Non-Warner music labels (MoTown/Universal, for example) should be fine unless they too cannot agree on payment.

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Gabz...I don't think there is another music video site like Youtube anywhere because no other video sharing site (Veoh, Dailymotion etc) has rights to put up music videos... ^.^;;

Shitballs! Back to the olden days then...watching TMF and/or any other music channel on tv. -__-;

Edited by Gabz Girl

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Don't worry Gabz - if you're determined, you can find the videos. I learned that the other day when looking for some of those Japanese music videos. Just do a search on Veoh (they may not be licensed to use the videos, but that doesn't stop people from uploading them ;)) or Google and they may appear on dailymotion too.

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last.fm is a good alternative for your online music streaming needs, although I don't think they have videos though. Eitherway, I'd be extremely suprised if this didn't end up resolving it self at some point, surely with the amount of revenue these videos could potentionally generate on Youtube, one party is going to cave in, after they've both finished having their little bitchfit.

Edited by FeathersMcGraw

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None owned by Warner. Non-Warner music labels (MoTown/Universal, for example) should be fine unless they too cannot agree on payment.

Well they should be clear on what the headlines say then. D=

Shitballs! Back to the olden days then...watching TMF and/or any other music channel on tv. -__-;

...or unblock yourself using a proxy. =D

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Well said TitanFifty. *claps hands*

In a sense if I really want to hear a song I do not search for it on YouTube I tend to try and find it through music sites instead so this doesn't affect me but it does suck for people who do so I sympathise with them.

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