Google pays French royalties on YouTube clips

In an attempt to mollify grumpy Frenchmen, Google has agreed to pay three agencies royalties for content that appears on its video-sharing site YouTube.

It is certainly a bit baffling how the content cops chase after file-sharers willy-nilly while the biggest - and indeed most most commercial - video-based site on the whole Interwibble operates largely unhindered.

But in a new deal thrashed out with the French, YouTube has agreed to compensate artists represented by the SACD (Société des Auteurs et Compositeurs Dramatiques), SCAM (Société Civile des Auteurs Multimedia) et l’ADAGP (Société des Auteurs dans les Arts Graphiques et Plastiques). Members represented by the societies will get royalties for their work appearing on YouTube in a deal which will apply retroactively back to 2007 when the site launched in France.

In a statement, Google's vice-président of southern, eastern Europe the middle east and Africa Carlo d’Asaro Biondo, said Google was determined to support French artistic creation. "The partnerships we've created over the past few months with artists, authors and editors illustrate this stance," he spun.

Film maker Bertrand Tavernier reckoned the agreement reconciled the rights of the author with the principle imagined by Beaumarchais with regard to the development and use of new technologies.

The revenue- sharing model for the deal, which will cover works viewed in France, hasn’t yet been fully determined, they said.

According to the statement, YouTube has agreements with some rights organisations in Britain, Holland, Spain, Italy Ireland, the Czech Republic, South Africa and France. But in many territories there are numerous bodies representing performing artists. And there are also many more countries in which YouTube clips are viewed.

The GEMA rights agency in Germany is suing Google over the use of content on YouTube.