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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.

 

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Maybe Youtube should go one step further and start charging THEM for using their service. After all, its one of the best advertising and marketing mediums there is for the music industry, and i'm sure that there many of the artists whom the PRS represent who probably will greatly miss the facility & resulting publicity when its blocked, more so given the number of 'official' music videos on there, perhaps even uploaded by the record labels themselves, some already have well over 2,000,000 views.

 

I'm surprised that Youtube hasn't even researched the possibility of offering legal pay-to-downloads alongside the uploaded videos, seems it could do both entities a whole lot of good.

 

I think this comment from the BBC reporter sums it up completely

 

Consumers must be scratching their heads in amazement at such obstacles to delivering legal content in a timely and straightforward fashion.

 

I think its time the whole stuffy, outdated copyright laws in the UK where updated to reflect the many changes in technology which have evolved in the decades since they were written

"The voice of the devil is heard in our land"

 

'War doesn't determine who is right, war determines who is left, and you wont win this war.'

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*Story Update*

 

YouTube will not reverse its decision to block music videos to UK users despite a plea from the Performing Rights Society to change its mind.

 

It is removing all premium music videos to UK users after failing to reach a new licensing agreement with the PRS.

 

Patrick Walker, YouTube's director of video partnerships said it remained committed to agreeing terms.

 

But such agreement needed to be done "at a rate which is sustainable to us", he told the BBC.

 

Thousands of videos were made unavailable to YouTube users from late on Monday.

 

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

 

"But it is in everyone's interests to agree terms at a rate which is sustainable in the long term," he said.

 

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 licence.

 

While not specifying the rate the PRS was seeking, he said: "It has to be a rate that 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 $1.65bn 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 past 12 months.

 

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The perception of the PRS reputation by the general public will be severely tarnished in my opinion.

 

I too also feel its time the whole stuffy, outdated copyright laws in the UK where updated to reflect the many changes in technology which have evolved in the decades since they were written.

 

"air time " to promote an artist is very valuable whether it is radio ,TV, the web or a DJ ....charging those individuals and companies to promote products seems unfair in my opinion but that is the way the law is structured at the present time.

 

youtube has effectively done what many DJ's have done when the produb licence came into effect..promoted other stuff they already had and not promoted content that would cost them a fee.

 

there is only so much blood you can get from a stone IMHO

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Own goal by the PRS in my opinion.

 

YouTube must be very near the top as regards an advertising medium, and the PRS expects Google to pay them?

 

I can barely believe the stupidity and short-sightedness of the organisation.

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*Update*

 

 

YouTube music row with PRS 'could spread to MySpace'

The licensing dispute that has led YouTube to begin taking down thousands of music videos could spread to MySpace, industry experts fear.

 

YouTube has already begun deleting popular tracks from its site despite "positive" talks with the Performing Rights Society (PRS), the governing body that collects royalties for artists, aimed at solving the row yesterday afternoon.

 

But there are now concerns that the financial demands made by PRS may force other music streaming websites – which allow users to listen to tracks online without paying to download the songs – to close down.

 

The social networking website MySpace is used by many musicians to promote their work, but its plans to launch a fuller music service for British users later this year may be under threat if negotiations to secure a new deal fall through.

 

"A lot of service providers are negotiating and renewing licences PRS right now, but the rates are widely known to be uneconomical," a source close to the negotiations told Media Guardian. "Nobody could run an online business on those terms."

 

The smaller music streaming website Pandora was forced to cut off its service for UK users in January after it failed to renegotiate terms with PRS.

 

A PRS for Music spokeswoman for said that its discussions with Google, which owns YouTube, had been "positive" and said more meetings were scheduled.

 

"We are committed to ensuring our 60,000 songwriter and composer members receive a fair deal and that UK consumers continue to enjoy music videos on YouTube," she said.

 

"PRS for Music and Google are due to meet again over the next few days."

 

MySpace UK declined to comment.

 

Meanwhile...reports elsewhere

 

'Top musicians unite to form copyright lobby group'

 

They earn millions and the extent of their diva-esque demands is often mind boggling. But tomorrow, Robbie Williams, KT Tunstall and the members of Radiohead will join a group of high-profile musicians to protest at how badly they are treated by record companies and music streaming websites like YouTube.

 

The inaugural meeting of the Featured Artists Coalition (FAC), which will be held behind closed doors at a secret West End venue is aimed at giving famous names a greater say in how music industry contracts are struck in an increasingly opaque digital age.

 

The FAC, which describes itself as a “coalition, not a union”, has been organised by Billy Bragg, the veteran protest singer, Dave Rowntree, the Blur drummer turned Labour Party candidate, and Radiohead, who walked out of a deal with EMI to release their last album In Rainbows directly over the internet.

 

It says it does not seek to compete with the Musicians Unions and aims to represent the famous names in the business - the so-called “featured artists” who appear on the covers of CDs and are named as those behind the songs - who generate an estimated 95 per cent of industry revenues.

 

But the timing of its birth is pertinent, coming as YouTube prepares to block thousands of music videos on its site amid a dispute over the royalties.

 

“Google, YouTube’s owner is a company that makes billions in profits; we think they should be paying artist royalties from the advertising revenue they make,” Billy Bragg told The Times. “A dispute like this illustrates the needs for the creation of the Featured Artists Coalition, so we have have a voice and the public understand that sites like Google should be paying for music.”

 

The stars complain that performers often do not receive any royalties from digital music deals - struck on confidential terms none of the artists understand - and that music companies unfairly restrict creative expression by hanging on to copyright for up to 50 years.

 

Radiohead guitarist Ed O’Brien, said: “The music companies did a deal with Nokia recently, so they could launch phones with access to all sorts of music. We think they all received advances from Nokia, but nobody is saying who got what - and we think some of that money should go to the artists.”

 

Another target of complaints is MySpace, the social networking website owned by News Corporation, parent company of The Times. Billy Bragg said: “I don’t know how much money MySpace makes from advertising, but we don’t receive any royalties from it. They are not putting any money back into content.”

 

Musicians’ pages on MySpace are categorised by the company as a “promotional platform” and a result the site does not believe it has to pay a royalty of the kind that falls due whenever a song is played on radio, live, or on a stereo in a shop, bar or restaurant. Royalties are paid on a separate MySpace music downloading service, which only operates in the US.

 

Under pressure from rampant illegal downloading, record companies are increasingly striking new kinds of digital music deals, in which they license their entire catalogues to internet providers who are willing to charge their customers a fee.

 

Last year, Nokia offered a pay-as-you-go mobile, priced at £129.99, which also gave owners the right to download and keep any song recorded on one of the four major labels, Universal, Sony, Warner and EMI.

 

The performers believe that only by representing themselves will they be taken seriously by the music industry - who they accuse of ignoring their managers - digital music companies such as Nokia and MySpace and politicians. “To get the attention of these people we need somebody like Robbie Williams on board,” Bragg said.

 

Complaints about copyright are also expected to dominate, amid concerns that record companies insist on keeping ownership of songs for the entire fifty year period they remain under copyright. “It’s like taking out a mortgage on a house, paying off the mortgage and you still don’t end up owning the house,” O’Brien said.

 

However, there are signs that the effort at collective action is not impressing the record companies. One senior industry executive, who asked not to be named, said: “I don’t know if the the industry needs another lobby group; there are already plenty out there. We need to all pull together here.”

 

Other attendees are expected to include singer-songwriter Kate Nash, the Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason and Limahl the former frontman of Kajagoogoo. But to form a plan of action will require agreement from a string of famous names who are not used to collective action. “We’ll have to see how it goes,” O’Brien said. “It could all end up in a great big ruck.”

 

And...

 

It is a bit of a mess and for millions of British music fans who use YouTube to get their daily video hit, it is a bit of a nightmare.

 

Thousands of music videos by the most popular artists on the planet are going dark on YouTube because the Google-owned video site cannot agree a new licensing deal with PRS for Music which represents songwriters and composers.

 

So who is to blame? The mud has been flying since YouTube shocked PRS with its decision to pull all professional music videos from the UK version of the site. Some blame YouTube for failing to pay a decent sum for the millions of plays of videos that have helped make it one of the most popular websites on the planet. If I was a composer watching how many times my work was being viewed on YouTube I would expect my money to be upped.

 

PRS, a not-for-profit body, gathered in more than £600m in royalties for UK songwriters, composers and music publishers in 2008, a rise of 8 per cent on the previous year, driven in part by new licensing deals for online services.

 

But some are blaming PRS for failing to get with the digital revolution. After all, isn't YouTube just one huge advertising hoarding for these bands?

 

There are countless examples of bands or songs that have made it big because of the viral power of YouTube. What's more, YouTube has been making strides in helping music labels make money from the plays of their videos with better advertising overlays and simple ways to click through to buy the track being viewed. Universal said recently that it is making millions of dollars from YouTube.

 

The real problem with working out the rights and wrongs of this is that because there is a confidentiality clause in the talks, neither side will give us the actual numbers.

 

What we do know is that in 2007 YouTube and PRS agreed a lump sum licence fee covering music videos until the end of 2008. The PRS wants to up that lump sum figure by a factor of more than 10, reflecting the huge rise in the number of videos wanted on YouTube. YouTube says that this new figure makes streaming every music video in the UK uneconomical. YouTube has huge bandwidth costs associated with streaming its videos to so many viewers. Because it is a free-to-view service, YouTube can only make money from advertisers and it says it cannot charge them enough to cover PRS's royalty payments on each video.

 

Without the figures, it is difficult to say who is trying it on more. YouTube is under pressure to make profits and resents any stance that, just because it is owned by Google, it has huge piles of cash to fall back on. There is certainly something of this in PRS's statement on Monday which pointedly ended with "Google had revenues of $5.7 billion in the last quarter of 2008". In other words "stop being so bloody tight-fisted".

 

So what we have is an old-style licensing agreement coming up against the new era of music delivery. YouTube and PRS are exploring whether they should factor in some sort of pay per play in the new licence. But the future of professionally produced music on YouTube is far from clear. The number of views are rocketing but the music labels may soon set up their own premium music video site (with YouTube's help) which could affect things drastically. Neither YouTube nor PRS want to lock themselves into an agreement that means they lose out.

 

The reality is that we are in the middle of the dying days of the old model of the music industry. Millions of people listen to music online in completely different ways than just five years ago. The availability of streamed music tracks, the retreat of DRM and the social acceptability of illegal downloading are forcing the labels and the licensing authorities to cast round for new ways and formulae to make money while desperately clinging on to the old ways of pulling in revenue. The economic downturn and the consequent pressures on all sides to make every penny count is provoking the sort of clash that we are seeing here.

 

Lord Carter, the communications minister, has proposed a rights agency in the UK to deal with this type of dispute. "We clearly need some legislative backstop for the protection of rights," he said yesterday. He is right but with little detail, it is difficult to see just how the rights agency would work in this instance, except as some sort of conciliation service.

 

Evidence that new business models are needed also came yesterday from Martin Stiksel, co-founder of music website Last.fm, who said it was getting prohibitively expensive for new services to get off the ground. Many have pointed out that Pandora online radio service pulled out of the UK last year because the licensing fees were too big. It is thought MySpace Music is also in negotiation to launch its service in the UK and is having trouble agreeing a royalties deal.

 

In the end, while I don't blame PRS for trying to do its job, which is to represent its members and to try to squeeze every penny it can from the distribution channels, I think that YouTube is going to win this one. All the time the videos are not being watched on YouTube UK, the music labels are losing money from their take of the associated advertising. They have their own licensing deals with YouTube, effectively for the "performance" rights for each video, rather than the underlying content, but while the videos are blocked, those deals are meaningless. The UK is an important market, one of the biggest after the US. They cannot be happy about this.

 

After Monday's war of words the PRS and YouTube met yesterday for talks which were said to be "positive", whatever that means. Meanwhile music fans look on in bewilderment, wondering when the bickering will stop.

 

 

And...

 

Billy Bragg has argued that Google should pay artists when their promo clips feature on video-hosting website YouTube.

 

The singer-songwriter and co-founder of the Featured Artists Coalition (FAC) told The Times that the company has a duty to the artists whose songs are on the site.

 

Bragg said: "Google, YouTube's owner, is a company that makes billions in profits. We think they should be paying artist royalties from the advertising revenue they make.

 

"A dispute like this illustrates the need for the creation of the FAC, so we have a voice and the public understand that sites like Google should be paying for music."

 

Coalition member Ed O'Brien of Radiohead said: "I don't know how much money MySpace makes from advertising, but we don't receive any royalties from it. They are not putting any money back into content."

 

The FAC was due to hold its first meeting last month in London, but the event was cancelled because of heavy snow.

 

Side note...

 

In 2003, the group Garbage led by lead singer Shirley Manson disbanded. In the mid-1990s, the Scottish siren drew big crowds with her distinct voice and looks.

 

The band got back together in 2005 for a fourth album. But the business lost all its appeal to the lead singer.

 

"The decision to walk away from the music world was sparked by industry changes."

 

“I was sickened by my record company’s approach, which was, to me, essentially an uncreative process. I felt like there was nothing I was ever going to be able to do that was going to please them. I didn’t want to play the corporate music gig where they want women to make nursery rhymes. I wasn’t prepared to do that,” Manson says.

 

“They keep churning out pop hits that no one gives a (expletive!) about a year later. The business is not being run in a smart fashion.”

 

Now, Manson (42) is acting. She’s currently playing Catherine Weaver in the TV series Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles.

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The perception of the PRS reputation by the general public will be severely tarnished in my opinion.

 

What about the artists they represent?. I bet they are well chuffed that their tracks are being deleted en-masse from one of the biggest free marketing portals there is. How many record companies see youtube as an important tool in their marketing arsenel?, one which is now being cruely snatched away.

"The voice of the devil is heard in our land"

 

'War doesn't determine who is right, war determines who is left, and you wont win this war.'

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Complete load of :cense:

 

The Internet is supposed to be about sharing content, not restricting it.

Oliver Head, OTronics Media Services Ltd, Covering Wiltshire, Somerset, Dorset and surrounding areas.

 

Professional Mobile & Radio DJ

PLI (£10m), PAT and DBS (Disclosure) checked

Tel: 07835 485535

Email: enquiries@otronics.co.uk

 

www.otronics.co.uk

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*Update*

 

PETE WATERMAN says Google are giving everyone a raw deal.

 

THIS week UK users were blocked from accessing professional music videos on the YouTube website.

 

Owner Google says PRS for Music, formerly the Performing Rights Society, are asking too much money in royalties.

 

Here, PETE WATERMAN, the man behind huge acts like Rick Astley, says Google are giving everyone a raw deal.

 

GOOGLE is blocking UK users’ access to premium music videos on YouTube as it is not prepared to pay the going rate for the music that plays on it and contributes to its £3billion annual profits.

 

YouTube routinely peddles the worthy notion of giving consumers greater choice as a cloak to disguise the fact it is engaged in, and benefits from, copyright infringement.

 

I co-wrote Never Gonna Give You Up, which RICK ASTLEY recorded in the Eighties and has had a bit of a resurgence on YouTube recently.

 

It has been used in a Rickrolling campaign — in which pranksters post fake links that lead people to his video — by all and sundry.

 

That song must have been played more than 100million times on YouTube.

 

It has become one big advertising campaign for the site. And last year, they paid me £11 for that! That’s crazy.

 

Ah, but everybody says YouTube has promoted your work to new audiences who have then gone out and bought it. That’s BS. Nobody buys music they can get for free on sites like YouTube.

 

YouTube works by letting people create something and share it with the rest of the world.

 

And that’s the point — something they create.

 

Did anyone ask me if they could use my creation? No.

 

Until this week, YouTube has been paying the organisation I joined 30 years ago, PRS for Music.

 

It ensures I and thousands of others are paid when our work is used.

 

But Google doesn’t want to pay what the music is worth any more. It is using more and more music but wants to pay less and less for it.

 

And it can’t work out how many videos my music is on to pay me properly anyway.

 

The copyright in my creations helps me make a living and pay my staff.

 

Kids, how will you make a living out of your music when everybody’s out there giving it away for free?

 

Music videos and music generally is at the heart of YouTube and most other user-generated content sites.

 

As well as arguing with them over royalty rates, we should be fighting them to get proper recognition for the part we have played in building their businesses.

 

Overpaid rocker vs illegal downloading

 

U2's Bono said recently about the growth of music piracy, just weeks after the band's new album leaked online ahead of release.

 

The singer said he believed it was time someone stopped the “madness” that was affecting new artists.

 

But he also appeared to suggest that he wasn't the person to lead the rebellion, because “it's not the place for rich rock stars to ask for more money”.“People think people like me are overpaid and overnourished, and they're not wrong.

 

“What they're missing is, how does a songwriter get paid? There's no space for a Cole Porter in the modern age.

 

"It's not the place for rich rock stars to ask for more money, but somebody should fight for fellow artists, because this is madness. Music has become tap water, a utility, where for me it's a sacred thing, so I'm a little offended."

 

He added: "From punk rock to hip-hop, from heavy metal to country, musicians walk along with a smile and jump like lemmings into the abyss.

 

“The music business has been thrown to the dogs legislatively."

 

Downloaders not criminal?

 

A lobby group consisting of well-known UK musicians has argued that individuals should not be prosecuted for downloading illegal music from the interwebs.

 

The Featured Artists Coalition (FAC) was stitched together last autumn and is made up of 140 or so of Blighty’s rock and pop stars including Blur drummer Dave Rowntree, Annie Lennox and Radiohead’s Ed O’Brien.

 

At the outfit’s inaugural meeting last night, the FAC said the likes of YouTube and MySpace should be required to remunerate the artists when their music is used for advertising.

 

It’s also seeking support from the government in the hope of creating a “nationwide education programme” to offer advice about the music industry biz to young artists.

 

Billy Bragg, who sits on the newly-formed group’s board of directors, told the Independent last night that the majority of artists who had registered their support of the FAC’s charter were opposed to criminal prosecutions against individuals accused of downloading music illegally.

 

He did not reveal which musicians supported such a move that some execs within the music industry have recently been pushing for.

 

The coalition also plans to meet with Lord Carter, who has previously come out in favour of throwing the book at ordinary members of the public who illegally download music.

 

"What I said at the meeting was that the record industry in Britain is still going down the road of criminalising our audience for downloading illegal MP3s," Bragg told the Indie.

 

"If we follow the music industry down that road, we will be doing nothing more than being part of a protectionist effort. It's like trying to put toothpaste back in the tube.

 

"Artists should own their own rights and they should decide when their music should be used for free, or when they should have payment."

 

The group's gripes against "under the table deals between multi-national corporations" came just 48 hours after Google pulled the plug on UK access to most music videos on YouTube's website on Monday.

 

The world's largest ad broker yanked music vids from the UK wing of its popular site after negotiations with the Performing Rights Society, which collects royalties for musicians, turned sour.

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