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Songwriters set up new website to protect online work

Background to the launch of Fair Play For Creators

  • New website – www.fairplayforcreators.com - launches on Wednesday 25 March to highlight the growing concerns of songwriters and composers over the treatment of their work on the Internet.
  • The following music industry names have already provided their support: Tom Robinson, Jools Holland, Pete Waterman, Bjorn Ulvaeus (Abba), Guy Chambers (‘Angels’), Simon May, Mark Kelly (Marillion), Poly Styrene (X-Ray Specs), Peter Sarstedt, Carol Decker
  • On Monday 9 March 2009, Internet giant Google began denying UK music fans access to premium music videos on YouTube - the video sharing site it bought for $1.65bn in 2006
  • Google claimed this was a move to highlight its ongoing licensing negotiations with PRS for Music – the not-for-profit organisation owned by songwriters and composers which licenses content on their behalf. This includes for any public performance including the enormous online community
  • A PRS for Music licence is a legal requirement for any business wishing to play, perform or reproduce music.
  • Google’s decision to remove premium content was made unilaterally, without any consultation with PRS for Music, and indeed, PRS for Music did not wish them to remove content
  • In our view this was a tactic by Google to try to influence the commercial negotiation. In reality, it only punishes the music fan and the songwriter/creator
  • Understandably, many music fans in the UK are confused and angry at Google’s decision
  • The members of PRS for Music – the composers and songwriters of the music that has been removed from YouTube – share UK music fans’ concerns.

It cannot be 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.

Composers and songwriters did not ask for their music to be removed from YouTube, nor would they expect Google to continue to benefit from operating a service that relies so heavily on their music, without properly recognising and rewarding them for providing it.

Fair Play For Creators

Wednesday 25 March sees the launch of a new website fairplayforcreators.com. It has been established by PRS for Music to highlight the strength of feeling amongst creators about the treatment of their works on the Internet.
What will the website and campaign achieve?

There are three things that creators intend to result from the launch of this website and campaign:

  • That Google should re-instate all music it has removed from YouTube to enable UK music fans to continue to enjoy a wide range of music across all genres and that Google should properly recognise and reward creators for providing them with the business benefit they derive from their work
  • That composers and songwriters should earn what they rightfully deserve from the use of their music in the online space
  • That this should highlight the importance of royalties in nurturing creative music talent and providing them with an income stream which rewards their creativity in the same way any other creative person would be eg fashion designer, playwright or author.
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