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YouTube blocks music videos on German site in licensing tiff

AFP · 2 Apr 2009, 08:49

Published: 02 Apr 2009 08:49 GMT+02:00

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GEMA, a body representing 60,000 German artists, said in a statement: "YouTube has announced that it is blocking videos from recording firms on the German YouTube platform - similar to what happened in Britain two weeks ago."

Talks between GEMA and YouTube, owned by US Internet giant Google, about extending a licensing deal have collapsed for the time being, it said, although GEMA said it has signalled that it ready to resume talks.

YouTube premium music video service in Germany was suspended on Wednesday when the old contract expired and will remain disconnected until a new deal is struck.

GEMA said the parties were "not in agreement over fees" levied for the publication of music videos online.

"In the interest of its members, GEMA would like an appropriate share in YouTube's income and value," the statement said.

In early March YouTube began blocking certain copyrighted music videos in Britain due to an impasse in a licensing deal with the Performing Rights Society (PRS) for Music.

GEMA is demanding one US cent per song streamed online, a payout many times the sum that the PRS is requesting, according to YouTube.

"They are essentially asking us to lose money with every video playback," said YouTube spokesman Chris Dale. "We can't pursue unsustainable economic practices, especially in this business environment. Until we can get rates sustainable for our business, we can't afford to keep (premium music video service in Germany) up."

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Dale said the "door is open" to negotiations with GEMA.

He added that talks with the PRS in Britain were showing promise but premium music video service remains suspended there in the absence of a deal.

"At the end of the day, we want artists to be paid for their work on YouTube," Dale said. "But the money they get paid is between the label and the artist not between the artists and YouTube."

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