March 23, 2009

Warner songs silenced on YouTube

Thousands of amateur videos have either been pulled or silenced on YouTube because of a copyright dispute with the Warner Music Group, The New York Times said.

Thousands of videos disappeared, Fred von Lohmann, an attorney for the Internet civil liberties group Electronic Frontier Foundation, told the Times. Either they turned off the audio, or they pulled the video.

A Warner Music spokesman said the YouTube Web site's system for identifying copyrighted material doesn't distinguish between professionally created music videos and user-generated, non-commercial amateur material that may feature copyrighted works.

Reportedly included on the list of affected user offerings are family home videos that contain part of a song playing in the background, as well as creative or funny videos that incorporate covers of popular tracks.

We and our artists share the user community's frustration when content is unavailable, Warner Music spokesman Will Tanous told the newspaper. YouTube generates revenues from content posted by fans, which typically requires licenses from rights holders. Under the current process, we make YouTube aware of WMG content. Their content ID tool then takes down all unlicensed tracks, regardless of how they are used.

Warner and YouTube have failed to hammer out a new licensing pact that would have paid Warner a part of the Web site's advertising revenue in exchange for permission to stream the music company's videos. Due to their failure to ink a new deal, Warner has removed many of its clips from YouTube, the Times said.