What rights are covered by the YouTube licence?

Are my rights included in this deal?

This depends on whether your works are published and, if so, who they are published by. Some large publishers license YouTube directly. If you are a writer, you can check how your rights are licensed for use on YouTube and other multi-territory digital services via our online royalty flow.

What is ICE?

ICE was established by PRS for Music, STIM and GEMA to encourage collaboration between Collective Management Organisations (CMOs), music publishers and digital service providers to ensure composers and songwriters are compensated accurately and fairly for the use of their works online. One of the key functions of ICE is to drive forward multi-territory licensing of digital service providers such as YouTube for PRS for Music, STIM and GEMA to get the best deal for our members whose rights we administer.

What is an ICE core licence?

An ICE core licence agreement is a licensing solution for digital service providers who require a multi-territory licence for online usage. The ICE core licence currently covers the aggregate repertoires of PRS for Music, GEMA & STIM (where the society administers the rights) as well as certain independent publishers. ICE hopes to increase the repertoire it makes available to digital service providers by onboarding further societies and publishers in the future.

What period does the deal cover?

From 1 January 2017 to 31 March 2020.

What are the financial terms of this deal and why are they confidential?

ICE push for the best terms possible and benchmark the deals they have with various streaming services to ensure they offer an appropriate return for our members.

The deal better reflects the ongoing increases in music usage across the online streaming market. It covers both professional and user-uploaded content, and we expect the increase in the value of the new licence to improve the amounts we distribute to our members.

The commercial relationships ICE has with all digital music service providers licensed on a multi-territorial basis are specific to the repertoire it represents. Therefore, ICE needs to remain commercially confidential, as separate negotiations and separate deals will apply for other repertoire. However, all ICE core licence agreements go through a rigorous approval process with a committee of member representatives who see and approve the detail of significant core licence agreement terms.

How much will songwriters, composers and music publishers be paid for the use of their music on YouTube, and how will the licence fee be distributed?

There is an established distribution policy for YouTube, where royalties are divided across all matched repertoire identified by ICE in the streams reported by YouTube. However, there will be some differences between this deal and the last, therefore we are not yet in a position to confirm what the distribution policy will be for the new deal as yet. As soon as we can confirm the distribution approach, we will let you know.

What will be the first PRS and MCPS distributions covered by the revised licensing terms?

Once a distribution approach has been confirmed for this new YouTube deal, we will be in touch to let you know when the first distribution will be.

What type of music uses does the deal cover?

The deal covers PRS for Music controlled repertoire contained in videos streamed via YouTube across 130 territories. This covers a range of music uses including music videos, lyric videos, fan-uploaded videos, vlogs, concert videos TV-style content that has music in the background and YouTube’s new subscription services, YouTube Music and YouTube Music Premium.

Will I get paid for every single stream on YouTube?

Due to the very high volume of tracks streamed, many of which have been streamed only a few times, and the relatively low value per stream, it is not possible to make distributions where a video using music has been played only a few times. We will also need to rely on the usage data provided by YouTube.

Initially, we will identify music in videos with over 2,000 streams or at least $2 in revenue value. Distributions will be made in accordance with our distribution policy.

Does the deal include user generated content (UGC)?

Yes. The agreement covers music videos, audio-visual content and user uploads. It covers the use of music whether it is uploaded and licensed by a record label or official content partner such as VEVO, or uploaded by an individual user. YouTube uses Content ID and other technologies to identify the music used on the platform. We also use these recognition technologies but have ensured that we are not wholly reliant on them. We continue to process the data supplied by YouTube to enable further identification and more accurate distributions.

What should I do if I want to have a video removed from YouTube?

We monitor usage on YouTube to ensure it is in line with rights granted under the ICE YouTube licence. We rarely take down videos, however, should you have concerns please contact our team at

A video containing my song is embedded via a YouTube Player on a third party website or app – is that allowed under the deal?

Yes. The agreement grants YouTube the limited right to make an embedded player available in a standardised form to third party sites and applications, subject to clear restrictions and exceptions. By way of example, these third parties should not be blocking or removing advertising, modifying the player or any part of the video content, or excerpting the audio from the video in any way.

What proportion of the licence fee applies to music videos, audio-visual content and UGC?

During the term of the agreement, YouTube will provide us with usage data by territory, which we will use to apportion and distribute the licence fee to members and affiliated societies. The amounts paid will be determined using a combination of the royalties, the volume and quality of data reported as well as our distribution policy - which is set by our Boards.

What repertoire is excluded and included in the deal?

The licence includes the rights to all repertoire previously licensed by us in the UK and Ireland, with the exception of repertoire licensed by other societies or third parties on a pan-European basis. For example, the licence excludes the repertoire of all the major publishers: SonyATV, Universal and Warner Chappell, as well as the local society repertoire of collecting societies SACEM, SIAE and SGAE.

Which territories are covered by the YouTube licensing deal?

Europe, Asian territories formerly part of the Soviet Union, the Middle-East and Arabian Peninsula, the African Continent and associated territories, certain territories of the Caribbean and the territories of the Indian Sub-Continent.

Are there any Repertoire Works exclusions?

The licence contains exclusions that are standard in our online licences, for example, exclusions around the use of music for advertising or sponsorship, including moral rights or licensing music which is part of a dramatico-musical work (except under certain circumstances).

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