Google-owned video sharing website YouTube on Monday announced that it will block premium music videos to British users after negotiations with the Performing Right Society (PRS), which collects royalties for music composers and labels, failed.
The world’s largest video sharing website notified that the British collection society was demanding it to pay “many, many times” more than the erstwhile licensing agreement that has expired.
The website announced the move by saying that the costs are “simply prohibitive” for the company and the new licensing structure would lead to significant losses for the company with every playback.
The move, which indicates towards surging tensions between the music industry and YouTube, led to removal of several music videos from the website later on Monday. Furthermore, the website also notified that PRS was also not clear about which music tracks are included in the renewed licensing structure.
In his response to YouTube’s move, Steve Porter, chief of PRS said that he was “outraged…..shocked and disappointed” with the decision, and asked the website to reconsider the decision as a “matter of urgency”.
“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”, PRS added.
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The ban comes a few days after rumours of Google planning to take on MTV with the help of Universal emerged. Whether this is purely coincidental remains to be seen. The Performing Right Society is right to defend the rights of the performers and the copyright holders but it would be great if a free service could be maintained as well.