1 April 2009
Additional industry groups sign up to campaign
On the day that Google has announced it will begin pulling videos from the German version of YouTube following its refusal to pay German copyright society GEMA, the Musicians Union (MU) and Featured Artists’ Coalition (FAC) have published statements in support of PRS for Music. The MU and FAC join other industry bodies including UK Music, BASCA, MPA and PCAM in publicly declaring their support for the collection society in its negotiations with Google.
The Musicians Union on its website says “royalties are vital in nurturing creative music talent. They make sure music creators are rewarded for their creativity in the same way any other person would be in their work.”
The Featured Artist Coalition which includes the likes of Billy Bragg, Kate Nash, Dave Rowntree and Robbie Williams says in its statement “We condemn Google’s use of its near-monopoly to dictate terms to PRS for Music. We ask them to get their tanks off our lawn and to either accept the decision of the Copyright Tribunal or else negotiate a reasonable offer based on a transparent analysis of YouTube’s advertising revenue income."
Following the announcement that negotiations had broken down with the German collection society on Tuesday evening, Google has begun pulling content from the ‘.de’ version of YouTube.
The action follows the launch of www.fairplayforcreators.com, the online forum that allows creators everywhere to publicly demonstrate their concern over the way their work is treated by online businesses such as Google.
About PRS for Music
PRS for Music represents the rights of over 125,000 songwriters, composers and music publishers in the UK. As a membership organisation it ensures creators are paid whenever their music is played, performed or reproduced, championing the importance of copyright to protect and support the UK music industry. The UK has a proud tradition of creating wonderful music that is enjoyed the world over and PRS for Music has been supporting the creators of that music since 1914.
PRS for Music provides business and community groups with easy access to over 10m songs through its music licences. In an industry worth over £4.1bn PRS for Music is uniquely placed to be a voice for music and music creators. Collecting £537.4m in 2015, PRS for Music is one of the world’s most efficient combined rights organisations. With over 100 representation agreements in place globally, PRS for Music's network represents over two million music creators.
Full statement from Musicians Union:
On Monday 9 March 2009, Internet giant Google began denying UK music fans access to premium music videos on YouTube which, they say was prompted by PRS for Music asking too much for music rights.
Google say they cannot operate YouTube if they have to pay a royalty – however small – every time a video containing music is played. Google bought YouTube for $1.65bn in 2006 and made operating profits of £3bn in 2008.
In 2007, the UK’s independent Copyright Tribunal established that a minimum royalty per play was an essential requirement in the licensing of online services. Google is failing to recognise this and ascribes little value to music - in spite of a huge increase in music usage on YouTube’s UK service in the past year alone.
PRS for Music, the not-for-profit collective of 60,000 songwriters and composers, is asking Google to pay the going rate for music. Music creators rely on receiving royalties whenever and wherever their work is used. Royalties are vital in nurturing creative music talent. They make sure music creators are rewarded for their creativity in the same way any other person would be in their work.
Neither PRS for Music nor its 60,000 songwriter and composer members asked Google to remove any music content from YouTube. It was a unilateral decision taken mid-negotiation by Google.
Many music fans in the UK are confused by Google’s action and the creators of music share their concerns. It is not in anyone’s best interests to block access to music. Fans are denied enjoyment, creators aren’t paid and illegal music sites benefit from the resulting displacement of web traffic.
www.fairplayforcreators.com is an online forum set up by PRS for Music so that creators everywhere can publicly demonstrate their concern over the way their work is treated by online businesses.
Fair Play for Creators believes that fans should have access to the music they love, and that music creators should be fairly paid by the online businesses who benefit from its use.
The Musician’s Union is backing the Fair Play For Creators campaign.
Visit the website and show your support at www.fairplayforcreators.com
Full statement from Featured Artists Coalition:
The Featured Artists Coalition (FAC) supports PRS for Music in its dispute with Google over the issue of what constitutes a fair royalty for music and videos posted on the YouTube network. While we do not expect the public to be charged for viewing videos, we do expect YouTube to remunerate artists whose content it uses to attract advertisers from whom it makes an estimated $500m in revenue every year.
While Google are raking it in, one artist-member of FAC reports receiving a royalty of just 6p from YouTube for the last quarter, despite the fact that the band's videos have been viewed over 10,000,000 times in the past two years. Clearly something is wrong with the current agreement.
PRS are asking that YouTube pay the per-stream rate established by the Copyright Tribunal in July 2007 in the Joint Online License. YouTube’s response has been to unilaterally block access to PRS member’s videos. These bully-boy tactics, aimed at intimidating songwriters represented by PRS, do not bode well for the creation of a digital music industry in which all participants can make a living.
FAC is committed to working with consumers, artists, record labels, internet service providers and platforms such as YouTube and MySpace to help fashion this new environment. However, we condemn Google’s use of its near-monopoly to dictate terms to PRS for Music. We ask them to get their tanks off our lawn and to either accept the decision of the Copyright Tribunal or else negotiate a reasonable offer based on a transparent analysis of YouTube’s advertising revenue income.
The Featured Artists Coalition has been formed to give artists a voice in the important decisions about the music industry that are currently under review on both national and international levels. The Board of Directors includes: Billy Bragg, Ed O’Brien of Radiohead, Dave Rowntree of Blur, Howard Jones, Kate Nash and Mark Kelly of Marillion.