10/03/2009

YouTube Blocks British Music Videos In Licensing Row

Thousands of music videos are to be blocked from the YouTube website, after Google blocked viewings during a dispute over licensing.

YouTube - the third most visited website in the UK after Google and Facebook - said today it would be taking unprecedented action after it failed to reach a new deal with the Performing Rights Society for Music (PRS), the royalty collection body in the UK.

PRS said it wants a new licence to include payment at a "fair rate" to reflect the increase in music video viewing on YouTube.

Patrick Walker, Director of Video Partnerships for YouTube in Europe, said: "In the UK we've had a licence from the collecting society called PRS for Music to make music videos provided by our record label partners available to our users in the UK.

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

Google, the owners of YouTube, called the decision "painful" and said it knew it would cause "significant disappointment".

In a statement it said: "We value the creativity of musicians and song writers and have worked hard with rights-holders to generate significant online revenue for them and to respect copyright."

In a statement PRS said: "This action has been taken without any consultation with PRS for Music and in the middle of negotiations between the two parties. PRS for Music has not requested Google to do this and urges them to reconsider their decision as a matter of urgency."

Steve Porter, Chief Executive Officer of PRS for Music, added: "We were shocked and disappointed to receive a call late this afternoon informing us of Google’s drastic action which we believe only punishes British consumers and the songwriters whose interests we protect and represent."

YouTube has begun removing all premium music videos from the site, and it is understood the majority is expected to be removed within two days.

(JM/BMcC)

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