YouTube Music Videos Blocked for UK Users
Article by George Norman
On 10 Mar 2009
The Google owned video sharing site YouTube has recently announced that UK users will no longer be able to view “premium music videos”. If you live in the United Kingdom, access to these videos is no longer possible following a negotiations breakdown between YouTube and the Performing Rights Society (PRS). The whole problem seems to revolve around money: YouTube says the PRS is asking for too much, while the PRS says YouTube wants to pay less. To my mind, the only losers here are the users, since they couldn’t care less about this money squabbling.

Since we’re big fans of YouTube, we will start with what Director of Video Partnerships, Europe, Middle East and Africa, Patrick Walker had to say on the matter:


“Our previous license from PRS for Music has expired, and we've been unable so far to come to an agreement to renew it on terms that are economically sustainable for us. There are two obstacles in these negotiations: prohibitive licensing fees and lack of transparency. We value the creativity of musicians and songwriters and have worked hard with rights-holders to generate significant online revenue for them and to respect copyright. But 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. In addition, PRS is unwilling to tell us what songs are included in the license they can provide so that we can identify those works on YouTube -- that's like asking a consumer to buy an unmarked CD without knowing what musicians are on it.”

Patrick Walter goes on to say that the YouTube team will not let this go and will continue to negotiate with the PRS until a mutually beneficial agreement is reached. The downside is that until this goal can be achieved, UK users will have their access to premium videos blocked – even though this will undoubtedly not go well with the British crowd.

Not to be accused of being biased, here is what CEO for PRS for Music, Steve Porter had to say: “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. 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. PRS for Music has not requested Google to do this and urges them to reconsider their decision as a matter of urgency.”

Tags: Google, YouTube, PRS, Performing Rights Society, UK
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
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