Harmony restored as YouTube deal with PRS ends video dispute

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PostThu Sep 03, 2009 8:17 am » by Lordgaga

http://technology.timesonline.co.uk/tol ... 819283.ece

Music videos featuring the world’s leading artists will return to YouTube today after the website settled a royalty dispute that left British users unable to access tens of thousands of videos for six months.

Google, owner of the video-sharing website, has signed a deal with PRS for Music, which collects royalties for songwriters and composers for music played in Britain.

A previous licensing agreement expired in December, and YouTube tried to put pressure on PRS by removing music videos from the site.

Although PRS had offered the website a choice between paying 0.22p per song played or 8 per cent of its UK music turnover, it is understood that the new deal is a one-off lump sum. Neither party would reveal the figure, but it is thought to run to tens of millions of pounds.

The new agreement is backdated to January and runs until June 2012. It covers not only official music videos, but also user-generated content and music played in the background of television shows uploaded to the site.

Andrew Shaw, managing director of broadcast and online at PRS for Music, said: “It is important that those who are creating music — the writers and composers we represent — be rewarded when their works are used.”

To mark the deal, YouTube is going to hand over its front page to a series of musicians to guest-edit the videos that are featured. Those on the list include the Brit Award winners Florence and the Machine and the grime artist Tinchy Stryder.

Patrick Walker, YouTube’s director of video partnerships, said: “We are extremely pleased to have reached an agreement with PRS for Music and look forward to the return of premium music videos to YouTube in the UK.”

When YouTube removed the videos in March, it was seen as a ploy to pre-empt new per-play rates that PRS was setting for internet companies. In July PRS dropped the rate from 0.22p per-stream to 0.085p.

Mr Walker said that the move to pull the videos from the site had been a difficult decision for the company.

YouTube is still in a dispute with Warner Music, which has resulted in videos by artists such as Madonna and Kid Rock being pulled from the site.

The company is also planning to offer new films to rent. YouTube is said to be in talks with major film studios including Lions Gate Entertainment, Sony and Warner Bros about putting full-length films on the site. It is thought that titles would become available on the same day that they come out on DVD.

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