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YouTube To Block Music Videos In the UK 161

ChunKing writes "YouTube is to block all premium music videos to UK users after failing to reach a new licensing agreement with the Performing Rights Society. For many of us in the UK this is great news. The two main music licensing agencies in the UK — Phonographic Performance Limited and PRS — have a stranglehold on music use in this country and are stifling creativity."
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YouTube To Block Music Videos In the UK

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  • by Goffee71 ( 628501 ) on Tuesday March 10, 2009 @08:57AM (#27133189) Homepage
    This Jimmy Page is left intentionally blank
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by CmdrGravy ( 645153 )

      It looks to me like the PRS needs Google more than Google needs them. Hopefully Google will refuse to show any more of their dross until they can come back with some reasonable and sensible licensing terms for all their music.

      The most ridiculous part is that the PRS apparently can't even tell Google which artists would be covered by their licence. If they don't know who they're representing then how are the artists ever going to get any money from them ? Totally ridiculous !

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Obviously they have no intention of passing the money on to the artists. Just like they have no problem collecting money for artists they don't represent.
  • "Great news?" (Score:3, Insightful)

    by lanes ( 1484749 ) on Tuesday March 10, 2009 @08:58AM (#27133193)
    What am I missing? Is the idea that people are going to complain about it until something changes?
    • Re:"Great news?" (Score:5, Informative)

      by lilo_booter ( 649045 ) on Tuesday March 10, 2009 @09:02AM (#27133253)
      I think the intention is that it will raise public awareness of the issue, and is thus a good thing.
      • Re:"Great news?" (Score:4, Insightful)

        by slim ( 1652 ) <> on Tuesday March 10, 2009 @10:11AM (#27134079) Homepage

        Public awareness might well be a good thing.

        It's quite common to see PRS stickers on the instrument cases of amateur musicians. Presumably the logic is "I'm a performer. I support the society that protects my right to perform.". The "Performing Rights Society", right? PRS encourages that misunderstanding with the slogan "keep music live".

        So it's good to spread the word that that is not what this organisation is about. This is the organisation that lobbies for more grasping application of copyright law. They're the ones that want you to buy a license just to have a radio in your workplace. They're the ones want it to be illegal to perform Happy Birthday in a public place without the premises having a license.

        They campaign to restrict the rights of performers, not protect them.

        • >>>They're the ones that want you to buy a license just to have a radio in your workplace

          You're joking. It's bad enough the UK makes you "rent" your television set, but now you have a license on radio too??? Frak that. The airwaves belong to the People, collectively, and we don't need to rent our own property.

          • Re:"Great news?" (Score:5, Interesting)

            by slim ( 1652 ) <> on Tuesday March 10, 2009 @10:32AM (#27134405) Homepage

            You're joking. It's bad enough the UK makes you "rent" your television set, but now you have a license on radio too???

            Actually I support the TV license. Most people get more value back for that than they get in return - not only BBC TV, but also its web content, radio, podcasts etc.

            The PRS radio-in-the-workplace thing is another matter. They consider that if a customer hears music coming from a radio (or CD player, whatever) that it counts as a 'public performance'.

            The insulting thing with radio in particular is that they've already been paid for the content by the broadcaster.

            Looking on the bright side, PRS is doing what it's meant to do: lobbying for those it represents; copyright holders. It's government's job to slap them down when they ask too much.

            And back on topic: it's Google's right as their customer to say "no thanks, the price is too high, come back when you're cheaper".

          • He's not joking.

            But it's not a license to own the radio, it's the right to have it on in a shop or office, or anywhere where people can hear it that isn't for personal use.

            Yes, it's ambiguous. Yes, it's pretty unenforcable. Yes, there are enough loopholes that I think a lot of people wouldn't even pay lip service to the idea. Yes, it's ridiculous but it's there as long as people are paying it

        • It's quite common to see PRS stickers on the instrument cases of amateur musicians.

          Perhaps some of those "PRS stickers" on those instrument cases might be about what's *inside* [] those cases?

          Just sayin'.


          • by slim ( 1652 )

            Except that the logos are completely dissimilar, and it's seen on violin cases as well as guitar-like instruments.

    • Because finally, Real Artists [] will get some online respect.
    • I dunno, but at least UK users will stop posting me youtube links that I can't watch. If only the RIAA manages to get the same thing done, then soon I won't have to worry about music vids I can't watch ever again.

      @google: would it *kill* you to at least give me the title of the video I can't watch. srsly

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 10, 2009 @08:58AM (#27133197)

    At least i won't be able to be rick rolled now

  • youtube...hulu... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by wjh31 ( 1372867 ) on Tuesday March 10, 2009 @08:58AM (#27133203) Homepage
    who knows what else, anyone got a half decent US proxy?
  • Anarchy in the UK? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by elrous0 ( 869638 ) *
    Between your new "WON'T SOMEONE PLEASE THINK OF THE CHILDREN?" Firewall [] and this, it makes me wonder WTF is going on in the UK? I thought things were getting bad in the U.S. with the RIAA/MPAA and their thugs, but lately it seems like the UK and Australia are outpacing everyone on this sort of stuff.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by M-RES ( 653754 )

      What's going on is:

      1. US moneyed interests think up some new globally hegemonic business plan and/or legislation.*
      2. The US political 'allies' (better known by the local indigenous populations as 'lapdogs') step in to help spread this insidious new plan/legislation to their own parts of the world by helping to steer it through the local legislative processes for a personal cut of the profits.
      3. Profit!

      And voila, we have finally solved the underpant gnomes' quandry and sold our individual nation states down the to

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Hatta ( 162192 )

      They thought 1984 was an instruction manual.

  • Their own fault (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ledow ( 319597 ) on Tuesday March 10, 2009 @09:05AM (#27133275) Homepage

    Record industry (or their representative in some manner) gets stroppy, demands multiples of the usual licensing fee.
    Google tells them to get stuff (made $7bn last year by NOT caving in to people like you)
    Record industry up in arms, tries to gather sympathy
    Everybody else in the UK goes on Youtube to look for the latest Rhianna, finds it's still online, it's just certain "official" and HD versions that you're missing, and carries on as normal (or, at worst, moves to a better video place if they REALLY want high-quality music videos).
    Google carries on making $7bn a year
    Record industry misses out on a share of Google's IMMENSE revenues.
    Artists revolt and put their work on Youtube themselves.

    Seriously, is it just me or is the record industry TRYING to commit commercial suicide?

    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      (made $7bn last year by NOT caving in to people like you)

      That's a nice way of saying "gets away with murder because it's the new Microsoft." When Google bought YouTube, everybody wondered why they were taking on that huge liability. People made the mistake of thinking that Google would be held to the same standards as other web sites. You should try hosting millions of videos without first clearing the copyrights. Google negotiates after the fact and the only punishment is that it has to change its ways if the deal doesn't happen. You try that.

      The Pirate Bay is o

      • Re:Their own fault (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Malenx ( 1453851 ) on Tuesday March 10, 2009 @09:30AM (#27133539)

        Man, such an ignorant post.

        Google barely scratches a profit from youtube currently. That $7 billion profit your crying about is from other aspects of the company, not form advertising on youtube.

        Google negotiates after the fact because they are big enough that other companies can't exploit them. It's not murder, it's user generated content. It's not Google throwing up those videos. Google if anything, is inadvertently acting as a wall currently, between users and corporations trying to squash the information paradigm shift.

        Sure they're making billions in return, that's what companies do. If they weren't making it, someone else would be.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          That $7 billion profit your crying about is from other aspects of the company, not form advertising on youtube.

          You mean Google did NOT make "$7bn last year by NOT caving in to people like you." and "ledow" ignorantly made that connection just to express his Google-is-the-savior argument?

          It's not Google throwing up those videos.

          I wrote "hosting", not publishing. Again, you try that. The Pirate Bay isn't even hosting copyrighted material, but they get dragged in front of a judge.

          It's not murder, it's user generated content

          No, it's called an expression.

        • "If they weren't making it, someone else would be."

          Yeah, but that's the problem - the someone else should be the artist / originator. OK, that's the pipedream, but the fact is that the PRS is a non-profit organisation that collects royalties for musicians (not very efficiently these days, it has to be said), and YouTube / Google _are_ taking money out of their pocket.

          Yes, it's shortsighted of the PRS to block YouTube, especially since they have no viable alternative, and the PRS has a very haphazard ap
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by ledow ( 319597 )

        No... my point is that $7bn means that they can ENTIRELY abandon music videos (and, thus, enforce a policy to remove music videos from YouTube) and not even care. In fact, they would probably make MORE money through less hassles. None of that $7bn came from people paying Google to look at music videos, except a TINY, TINY proportion of Google's ad earnings which are probably FAR outweighed by the licensing required for them. But I bet some of those ads fund the record industry indirectly (e.g. a CD-Wow a

      • Anonymous Coward write:
        >>>The Pirate Bay is on trial for making money by furthering copyright infringement, yet here you are, touting a $7 billion profit as if that were something Google earned as a defender of fair business?

        I suspect the poster "AC" would be better represented by the initials "RIAA". Obvious shill.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      Is it just me or were Music Videos given away free as adverts for the product at one time... when did they become the product?

    • by elrous0 ( 869638 ) *
      Their stupidity isn't intentional. It is not to be confused with strategy.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Tuoqui ( 1091447 )

      I have an idea...

      How about Google stops indexing their web pages and removes them from their database. Oh yeah and deprecate their advertisement down a few tiers so they get even less hits. I'm sure the RIAA and its international clones would consider this evil but the rest of us would relish an internet without their bullshit. Oh or make searching the RIAA direct to [] instead as the top hit.

  • by Fuzzypig ( 631915 ) on Tuesday March 10, 2009 @09:06AM (#27133295)
    Well done PRS, you managed shut out a big advertising opportunity to the artists to supposedly represent. I'm sure the record companies will be round later with a big bunch of flowers to say thanks!

    Well done for now forcing people onto sharing sites to pick up ripped DVDs!

    Well done for forcing people to go to dodgy malware ridden proxy sites to get around Google's stupid IP range blocking!

    Well done for screwing the lesser known and poorer artists who really do get benefit from appearing on YouTube vids, getting some recognition and maybe a handful of those really important sales to keep going.

    Big round of applause!
    • Do you really think that the average Rihanna or Beyoncé or Estelle listener even knows what a proxy site is, or could configure it to work in IE? I'm sick and tired of the same old dogma that "people will just do something else". Actually, they won't. They just do without. It's people who understand computers (such as slashdot readers) who can do all that stuff, and Katy Perry listeners won't have a f---ing clue. And I don't want to hear that "the internet routes around damage" bunk, either - the
      • 1. Clear out your cookies
        2. Go to YouTube
        3. It says "You haven't set your country. You appear to come from the UK. 'OK' or 'Cancel' ?"
        4. Click 'Cancel'
        5. ???
        6. Profit !

        Kids can do that no probs without having to mess with proxies or anything.

        (And yes, the 'blocking' is as brain-dead as that.)

        • I repeat: will your average Beyoncé listener even know what a cookie is, much less the steps needed in IE to clear cookies? And then after that, she'll be pissed off because she has to log into facebook and every forum she posts on again and all her preferences from have vanished.
  • If youtube is blocked, then in some other site... But why blocked? Don't the people have chance to see those videos in MTV/VH1?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by sunking2 ( 521698 )
      Videos on MTV/VH1? That's so 20 years ago.
    • The point is that YouTube does not want to serve the videos, because they lose more money in royalties than they gain in British viewings. They are boycotting the RPS tax.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      I don't know if you have watched recently but MTV no longer shows music videos, it is full of My Super Sweet 16 and The Osbournes/Run's House or whatever celebrity they can dig up from decades past.
    • by slim ( 1652 )

      MTV/VH1 are paying the copyright holders the licensing fees they demand.
      So is "some other site" (unless it is breaking copyright law)

      Simplified it goes like this:

      PRS: You are currently paying $0.001 per play of our videos. Now we want $0.01.
      YouTube: Since we get less than $0.01 per play in average revenue, we can't pay you that much. What's your next offer?
      PRS: If you want the videos, that's what you have to pay
      YouTube: OK, we won't have the videos then
      PRS: Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

  • FTA In a statement, Mr Porter said the move "punishes British consumers and the songwriters whose interests we protect and represent".
    Uhm, guys... You are the ones responsible for the songwriters. youTube have no obligation to them. They have a certain obligation to their own customers, but only as long as serving their customers is profitable for them. They have no obligation to make a net loss.

    youTube have shown that they don't need the PRS. The PRS doesn't absolutely need youTube either but i
  • by Shrike82 ( 1471633 ) on Tuesday March 10, 2009 @09:15AM (#27133387)
    From TFA:

    Services such as, MySpace UK and Imeem have also had issues securing licence deals in the UK in the past 12 months.

    The Pandora fiasco is particularly annoying for UK music fans. I was poised to become a subscriber and pay a very reasonable fee to listen to music tailored for my tastes. Instead Pandora were forced to pull the plug in the UK, so everybody loses. Pandora lose subscription funds and advertising, the artists lose income from potential UK subscribers and Pandora adverts, and the listeners lose out on the chance to hear great music.

    Actually, the PRS don't seem to be losing out. How strange.

    • Actually, Pandora 'pulled the plug' on anyone accessing the site from ANYWHERE outside of the US (and possibly Canada?). I'm in the same boat as you are, here in Australia. Used to love Pandora, but now ... no love :(

      Anyway, point is, Pandora becoming US-only had nothing to do with UK authorities/organisations. It happened purely due to American laws/regulations.

      • After Pandora pulled the plug on the world it still worked in the UK for around 6 months. They were forced to block UK IPs due to royalty demands.
      • They were all set to continue streaming to any country where they could secure a deal with the local body responsible for music royalties (PRS in the UK it seems from TFA). Apparently no reasonable offers were made, and they had no choice but to restirct it in the UK. It seems they only stream to the US as it's the only place they could secure a fair contract.

        In the UK, IIRC it was again related to unreasonably high fee demands, and the arrogant assumption that Pandora would be happy to operate at a loss
    • We Brits have got Spotifyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy [] !!!

  • Last I heard, you can still compose your own music and perform it without going near those agencies.

    In fact, you can produce your own version of anything that is out of copyright and do exactly what you want with it. Anything you created, you can assign the copyright to anyone you like. You can play it on local radio, post it to YouTube, sell your own CDs, and you can tell the PRS to go reproduce itself off. So how does this inhibit creativity?

  • the what? (Score:3, Funny)

    by thanasakis ( 225405 ) on Tuesday March 10, 2009 @09:29AM (#27133529)

    For a moment I read:

    The Pornographic Performance Limited has a stranglehold on music use in England?

    I almost spit my coffee.

    • Well, have you SEEN some of the stuff those singers wear nowadays? Not that I have!!!..uh....what?

    • Re:the what? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by gsslay ( 807818 ) on Tuesday March 10, 2009 @12:02PM (#27135883)

      Congratulations, you are the one millionth slashdotter to have cracked this joke.

      Still, isn't it nice to know that in an ever changing technological landscape, one thing can always be depended on to surface in a slashdot thread regarding music licencing.

  • From now on, the only music we in the UK are allowed to show our friends is the music NOT controlled by these people?

    So the only way you can legally hear music that these people want you to pay for is either on the radio or by borrowing the CD from someone?

    Can we still legally borrow CDs?

    Irrespective of that, it's been years since I paid for music, for the simple reason that if they don't want me to hear it before I buy it, then I'm going to hear it and not buy it, because I hate them now.

    So they want us, w

    • Can we still legally borrow CDs?

      Yes, but it's an offence for anyone to lend you theirs.

    • by slim ( 1652 )

      From now on, the only music we in the UK are allowed to show our friends is the music NOT controlled by these people?

      The problem is, as unpleasantly monopolistic as these organisations are, if you want to get paid royalties for a musical composition, they're your only realistic option.

      Licensees want a one-stop clearing house. They don't want to negotiate a license soup.

      It's easy to roll your own license and sell downloads to private customers. But claiming royalties for public performances, radio play etc. is something you really have to go to the PRS for.

  • Well tor users will not be (much) affected (as long as the exit server is not U.K based). We may as well get used to the speed drawback from Tor as soon it is the only way we will be able to have any privacy online....
  • Not just Youtube (Score:5, Informative)

    by sfraggle ( 212671 ) on Tuesday March 10, 2009 @09:47AM (#27133743)
    It's not just Youtube that has been harassed by these people. Check out the Youtube blog post [] on the issue for some interesting comments, eg.

    ... I used to run a small business specilaising in car audio. They made me pay an extortionate fee because I had radios on display in my showroom. - Well, of course I did... That was what I was selling.

    ... We used to listen to the radio in my workplace but we now have to work in silence because the PRS decided someone from the public might hear it so the company would have to pay.

  • by jonnyj ( 1011131 ) on Tuesday March 10, 2009 @09:55AM (#27133849)

    The PRS is guilty of long-standing idiocy. In one celebrated incident [] a few months back, they attempted to fine a garage owner £2,000 unless his customers turned off their car radios before driving onto his premises.

    This thing is absolutely fine with me. I've never watched music videos on Youtube, but I don't for a moment imagine that the kids who did will be queuing up to stuff fistfuls of fivers in the PRS's pockets in some other way. Instead they'll turn to piracy or give up on music and play with Facebook.

    In due course, big media will realise that their so-called guardians are actually their enemies and they'll fire them. But, by then, there might not be a music industry that's worthy of the name. It'll be a well-deserved outcome.

  • Oblig (Score:3, Insightful)

    by CopaceticOpus ( 965603 ) on Tuesday March 10, 2009 @09:57AM (#27133889)
    This brief music video []
    1. Is still available in the UK.
    2. Shows the appropriate reaction to this news.
  • by coofercat ( 719737 ) on Tuesday March 10, 2009 @09:59AM (#27133911) Homepage Journal

    I know it's not 'the done thing', but I RTFA. Lord knows, the BBC aren't famed for their excellent technology journalism, but even they managed to show how incredibly stupid and "woe is me" the PRS are.

    In the article, the PRS say that they've been pleading with Google to re-instate the videos in the UK. Google of course basically say the PRS made it too expensive for them. The PRS carry on acting like they're the ones who've been kicked in the teeth, and say that Google doesn't want to pay more, "despite the massive increase in YouTube viewing". Of course, as we know, video-views only cost Google money - and only ad-clicks actually make them anything.

    So just because a video gets viewed lots of times means nothing - it's how many ad-clicks you get that counts.

    However, where a music video is concerned, those views may, in a small number of cases, lead to the viewer deciding to buy that music or video. Of course, Google make nothing out of that sale, but the PRS does.

    So the PRS is saying they want Google to pay them for advertising their product, regardless of how much money Google makes or loses from doing so.

    So in this story, Google is the closest thing to a representative of the music buying public that we have. The PRS really serves itself, and to a lesser extent the music producers. As a consumer, I'm quite happy with Google's choice - if people don't want to sell me music, then I won't buy it. If someone else on the Internet wants to show me those videos instead, then maybe I'll go there, maybe I won't.

    However, if I was a producer, I'd probably be rather upset by the PRS's actions (although given the spin the PRS is putting on this, the producers are probably blaming Google).

    • by slim ( 1652 )

      However, if I was a producer, I'd probably be rather upset by the PRS's actions (although given the spin the PRS is putting on this, the producers are probably blaming Google).

      Everything you write is correct in spirit. But to nitpick - I think PRS represents songwriters, not producers. I think they license songs rather than recordings.

  • ... of transmitting a music video from one computer to another is roughly zero.

    However, when multiplied by significant numbers of users (10s of millions in the case of Youtube), this actually does turn into a real number that is larger than zero.

    If the PRS is unwilling to work with a distribution model that they can collect some small royalty on (revenue collected from ads), people will find other methods of getting the same content at the marginal cost (which rounded down equals zero).

    TL;DR Don't
  • YouTube do not seem to be doing a very good job of blocking music videos. I am in the UK, using a UK ISP and have just watched 2 music videos uploaded by the artists, and 3 uploaded by two different record labels (Universal Music and Quinlan Road). Also there are several music videos uploaded by 'ordinary' YouTube members.

  • I thought the whole point of music videos used to be that they were glorified ads to get you out there buying music and tickets to shows.
    Has that changed or have they forgotten?

Nothing is finished until the paperwork is done.