YouTube: And the beat no longer goes on — in the UK

March 10, 2009

It’s Day 2 of YouTube versus PRS For Music, the British organization that collects royalties for songwriters and publishers whenever songs are broadcast over the air and the Web or performed in public venues .

As you may know by now, YouTube started blocking UK visitors from watching professional music videos and users’ videos that feature licensed music. The reason, as usual, is each side said the other guys are being unreasonable in their fee negotiations. YouTube says PRS wants many times more than a previous deal, while PRS says YouTube actually wants to pay less than they currently pay.

There was some signs of progress today when PRS put out a statement:

Talks between PRS for Music and Google took place today to discuss the licensing of YouTube following Google’s sudden decision to block premium video content on the service in the UK.

The meeting was positive. We are committed to ensuring our 60,000 songwriter and composers members receive a fair deal and that UK consumers continue to enjoy music videos on YouTube.

PRS said both sides are due to meet again in the next few days.

And like in the US and every other country on the planet, Brits will miss their YouTube music, so much so that the UK’s Minister for Communications, Technology and Broadcasting Lord Carter commented on the row to a House of Commons business committee, according to the BBC.

The headline of the same BBC story might lead readers to think online radio service was also about to fall out with the PRS: “Last.FM joins Google’s rights row”. But the story in fact quotes founder Martin Stiksel saying while his company has an agreement with PRS, the licenses are getting expensive:

It is a fundamental problem that we have been facing in that online music licensing is getting more complicated and more expensive.

(Photo: Michael Jackson’s Thriller performance by prison inmates in the Philippines, which was made popular on YouTube/REUTERS)


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My children have got on they favourite’s their favourite programmes with music and songs been added they watch these when there’s nothing else to do and know they have become unavailable on youtube. Even clips of strictly come dancing Tom chamber showdance that became unavailable. I can see youtube not be as a poplar as it was once was due to the music videos not showing. This will be the end of youtube

Posted by jill | Report as abusive

From what i have heard and seen about PRS in newspapers and on TV they are starting to get a bad reputation, this argument is with Google which is one problem that affects millions of people but PRS have been hounding small businesses in a tough economic climate as well and that is not going down well with nearly everyone i have spoken to about it. Personally i have a great love for music but really believe PRS are taking pushing their weight too far at times.

Posted by Alex | Report as abusive

BMI ASCAP and SESAC are all a greedy bunch.The song writers see very little of the moneythey extort, it simply goes on to furthur thecollective bargaining machine. If you are fromthe U.K. please remember cutting off servicewas probably a difficult Public Relationsdecision for YouTube.

Posted by Paul Wampum | Report as abusive

[…] links but with the current UK music video licence arguments it would be pointless, check it out here). Discovered a new amazing band thanks to my mate last night – ‘Casiotone for the painfully […]

Posted by Euans insight » Blog Archive » Where has the time gone? | Report as abusive

i for one think this is a good thing its putting more controle on music through the internet and will hopefully eventually lead to the resurection somewhat of the music buisness wich has been crippled since the use of the internet and diffrent ways to hear music free of charge became popular if this is done corectly all it will mean is more money for musicians wich will atract more and more people to make more music wich is never a bad thing

Posted by dave | Report as abusive