PRS Outraged by Youtube UK Video Block

Dennis Faas's picture

YouTube has exterminated all legally uploaded music videos viewable to British users. The move, which revolves around licensing disagreements, has sparked a public relations war with the music industry and fans.

As of late last night, all music videos uploaded legitimately by record labels will be unavailable. The site has fallen out with the Performing Rights Society (PRS), which administers and collects royalties for the music industry in the country.

PRS Outraged by Decision

The two sides both blame the other for the failure to renegotiate a new licensing deal after the previous one expired. YouTube says "PRS is now asking us to pay many, many times more for our license than before," and "we would lose significant amounts of money with every playback." The site also complains that the Performing Rights Society won't provide a full list of the music which would be covered by a license. (Source:

However, PRS disputes the claims, saying YouTube "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 has been quick to point out that it did not ask YouTube to pull the videos and says it is "outraged" at the decision. (Source:

It's not yet clear which side is telling the truth about the royalty demands, or if the disparity is caused by different interpretations of the deal -- for example, the balance between flat fees and pay-per-view royalties.

Move A Boost For Unlicensed Clips

In reality, most users won't see any difference, since a majority of the videos affected are also available through unauthorized uploads. The problem there is that the music industry doesn't receive any royalties, and if those clips start getting more viewers there'll be even more anger from record labels accusing YouTube of failing to crack down on such uploads.

The blocking of the videos comes seven months after Internet radio station Pandora had to close its website in the UK after failing to reach a renewal deal with the Performing Rights Society. However, the future for online music in the UK had looked brighter after the country became the first to get complete access to Spotify, an ad-funded site which offers millions of streaming tracks for free.

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