Peabody Awards Winner YouTube Blocks Access to German Users
Article by George Norman
On 02 Apr 2009
We have good news and band to report about the Google owned, popular video sharing site YouTube. The good ness is that YouTube won a Peabody Award. The bad news is that German users cannot access music videos posted on YouTube because the contract between Google and GEMA expired as of April 2nd. It seems that the situation is mostly to blame on Google, who refused GEMA’s proposal to come up with an interim agreement that would give artists 1cent for each time a video would be played.

Starting with the good news, here is what the YouTube team had to say: “We must admit, given all the trickery going on today we didn't quite believe it when we heard it, but it's true: YouTube has won a Peabody Award. The Peabody Awards recognize outstanding achievements in electronic media, including radio, television and cable. Naturally, we are extremely honored to receive this prestigious accolade. But it goes without saying that this honor truly belongs to you, the YouTube community and everyone who contributes their hard work and creativity to the site every day.”


Their timing to announce this award was a bit off – since they announced it yesterday, on April Fools, users were more than doubtful about it all. A quick visit to the Peabody page (scroll down, it’s at the bottom of the link) revealed that indeed YouTube received and award for being an “ever-expanding archive-cum-bulletin board that both embodies and promotes democracy.”

Moving on to the bad news, what do you thing Google did when the contract between itself and GEMA, Germany’s royalties collector expired? The same thing it did when its agreement with the PRS (Performing Rights Society) expired in the UK (details here) – it denied users access to videos. To my mind that is the most annoying thing YouTube can do, from a user point of view. The official explanation that Google provided is that since it does not charge users to view videos, it cannot accept GEMA’s proposal (the one that asked for 1cent per video playback).

Tags: Google, YouTube, Peabody, Germany, GEMA
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
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