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Google Blocks YouTube Music Videos in U.K.

10 Mar, 2009 By: Chris Tribbey


Google has blocked people in the United Kingdom from watching music videos on YouTube indefinitely, after negotiations with Britain’s music royalty collections group hit a standstill.

Google claims the group — PRS for Music — is seeking too much money for royalties, to the point that Google would lose money every time a video was played. PRS argues it’s looking out for its 60,000-plus members, and that the massive amount of YouTube views warrants more money for artists.

“Our previous license from PRS for Music has expired, and we've been unable so far to come to an agreement to renew it on terms that are economically sustainable for us,” wrote Patrick Walker, YouTube
director of video partnerships, Europe, Middle East and Africa. “There are two obstacles in these negotiations: prohibitive licensing fees and lack of transparency.”

Walker wrote that PRS does not want to disclose what songs are included in the license.

In a statement, PRS for Music said it was “outraged on behalf of consumers and songwriters,” adding that negotiations with Google were still underway.

“We were shocked and disappointed to receive a call (March 9) informing us of Google's drastic action, which we believe only punishes British consumers and the songwriters whose interests we protect and represent,” said group CEO Steve Porter.

Google and PRS were back at the negotiating table March 10, a meeting that PRS called “positive.”

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