Apr 25, 2016

Is Youtube a Motley Crew with regard to Royalty Payments?

Youtube has faced further criticism relating to the level of royalty payments it makes to musicians in respect of music video streams.

Nikki Sixx, a co-founder of the Motley Crew, claimed that Youtube pays "about a sixth" of the royalties which the likes of Spotify and Apple pay artists, stating that music artists are "a big part of what built" Youtube – music being the highest searched term on the website.

Youtube, along with other similar websites, is currently protected from liability for copyright infringement providing it removes any infringing material once notified by a rights owner. Rights owners are required to send "take-down" notices in respect of each infringement.

However, several collaborative bodies in the music industry have begun to generate support for reform of the laws relating to this. In the US, Rod Stewart and over 100 other artists and managers filed a petition with the US Copyright Office to make amendments to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, the statute governing such laws and under which music artists allege tech and upload sites generate profits from advertising associated with infringing content uploaded by their users.

Sixx was clear to make his point that whilst he and others involved in the petition and debate have enjoyed success and achieved financial gain they were at one point the "little guy", arguing that the opportunities for up and coming artists will be curtailed should Youtube continue to profit under current laws whilst enjoying a stronger bartering position with artists looking to benefit from royalty payments for Youtube music streams.

A Youtube spokesman defended its position and interests, claiming it believes in providing greater visibility and exposure for artists and songwriters.

In summary, Sixx argues that the technology exists to enable Youtube and similar websites to manage their user's content more effectively and root out infringing videos and content, to the extent that they should be held accountable for that as opposed to sticking their head in the sand, as such, until they are in receipt of a take-down notice. It will be interesting to see if the pressure from the music industry results in proper grounds for a change in the law.

Posted by: in: Copyright, Digital/Tech, News

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