This Naked Lawyer is distressed to read that YouTube is to be stripped of music videos in the UK. Everyone is up in arms: the public (check out some of the comments on the Guardian article) and journalists (including those at Radio 1, who say "it's a lose lose situation"). Google (owners of YouTube) blame the Performing Rights Society, following the breakdown of negotiations:
"PRS is now asking us to pay many, many times more for our licence than before. The costs are simply prohibitive for us - under PRS's proposed terms we would lose significant amounts of money with every playback."
Guess who the PRS blames?
"[We are] outraged on behalf of consumers and songwriters that Google has chosen to close down access to music videos on YouTube in the UK ... [Google wants] to pay significantly less than at present to the writers of the music on which their service relies."
It is disappointing that the battle for supremacy in the digital era between content owners (represented by the PRS) and content distributors (like Google) is being played out quite so publicly and so much to the detriment of users (and presumably artists, who won't receive anything from YouTube plays if no deal is reached with the PRS). I am sure that there is a bit of posturing here and a deal will be done eventually - but in the meantime we all lose out.
I (hazily) remember a provocative presentation by Alexander Carter-Silk at the SCL conference last year in which he said that "content is no longer king" and talked about content as "pebbles on the beach":
"the content owner must de-facto control the means of replication and/or distribution to retain value in the copyright work ... if the creative work is a pebble on the beach no amount of legislation will make the pebble valuable".
I am particularly concerned about the likely detriment to the progress I was making in learning the open chords of the Kings of Convenience's back catalogue. Know-how and Misread (and perhaps Paul Weller's Broken stones) might need to wait until Google and the PRS have finished squabbling.