Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

YouTube U.K. Settles Royalty Fight, Turns Music Videos Back On Again

anarchy-in-the-ukRejoice, British Web surfers! You’ll soon be able to watch your favorite music videos on YouTube again.

Google has reached a settlement with a British licensing group in a dispute over royalty payments, which means that YouTube’s U.K. outpost will begin showing licensed music videos again. The clips disappeared five months ago when YouTube and PRS for Music, the U.K. body that collects money on behalf of songwriters, couldn’t come to terms.

Google (GOOG) executives wouldn’t disclose how much they’re paying songwriters for the rights to play videos that feature their songs, but said they would be cutting PRS for Music a single check that covers the length of the deal. The new pact will extend through June 2012 and will retroactively stretch back to the beginning of this year.

The deal may provide a blueprint for resolving a similar dispute between the video site and a German rights society. But I’m not sure it will do much for the one Google is still (still!) stuck in with Warner Music Group (WMG).

Meanwhile, this video doesn’t feature a British composer or performer and wasn’t shot in Britain. No connection at all, really. But if you like Lou Reed, louche ’70s fashion and/or awesome ’70s facial hair, you’re gonna like it.


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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work