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Universal Music Threatens MySpace, YouTube

Firm says user uploads of music videos violate copyright

     
12:24 pm on Sep 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Universal Music Group, the world's largest record company, contends the wildly popular Web sites YouTube and MySpace are violating copyright laws by allowing users to post music videos and other content involving Universal artists.

"We believe these new businesses are copyright infringers and owe us tens of millions of dollars,"Universal Music CEO Doug Morris told investors Wednesday at a conference in Pasadena."How we deal with these companies will be revealed shortly."

[foxnews.com...]

Credit to ytswy [webmasterworld.com] for posting this here [webmasterworld.com].

3:51 pm on Sept 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

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But if the record company gets nothing ... then the artist gets nothing.

Is this rocket science, or are these advocates of copyright theft in a parallel universe? ;)

Don't get me wrong; I am not in any way advocating that Robin Hood syndrome is what is justified here. I am not upset about the record companies making money (nor any other company for that matter), as they are not getting any of mine if the only thing they offer is 'crap'.

What is annoying is that even though posting a video on YouTube is copyright infringement, it is not harmful to the record companies, and they fail to see that. In my previous post I described how I have found out about two music tracks simply because of YouTube, and have turned around and bought the track from iTunes.

The record companies have filed countless lawsuits trying to eliminate illegal downloads. Have they succeeded? Isn't it time to try something different?

5:02 pm on Sept 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

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it is not harmful to the record companies, and they fail to see that.

That is so wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong...

The minute any copyright infringement on such a massive scale is left unchecked then it implies the copyright has no value so why not steal the music too, it's a slippery slope.

Besides, with video capabilities on iPods and similar devices these companies will be selling those videos and people stealing them are very harmful.

5:51 pm on Sept 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Kufu:

What is annoying is that even though posting a video on YouTube is copyright infringement, it is not harmful to the record companies, and they fail to see that.

This is an essential part of the problem: people think they have any right to tell the copyright owners what is wrong and what not, and subsequently acting upon their belief, i.e. supporting YouTube if they think that the copyright owners are acting wrongly. Some complain that the record companies are earning money, some claim that the companies should change their strategies.

Don't you think that the record industry (at least their strategic departments) do little else these days than thinking on how to respond to the new challenges? I think they see the Internet as "harmful" (in fact: "very harmful") - otherwise they would not file suit.

The record companies have filed countless lawsuits trying to eliminate illegal downloads. Have they succeeded?

Yes, I think so. Their "witch hunt" for copyright infringers (most prominently Napster in the past) has created a market for legal (paid) music downloads. I remember that (back then) in the case of Napster it was also argued that it might stimulate additional record purchases, but the industry thought different and now we do have a working online ecosystem for music. Go figure.

To the average main stream user, it is not very easy to get a free (yet illegal) copy of a music track. It's not as easy as hacking in the song title into Google and -hey presto- have a working download link to a .mp3 file. But this is exactly the case with YouTube. And I understand that the record companies are upset about YouTube earning money (through ads) with "their" content.

I predict that YouTube will undergo the same evolution as Napster: First embraced by the masses for being so easy, then haunted by the copyright owners/record companies, then removing all illegal stuff, then a re-birth as commercial service that fails to attract the masses as in the past.

6:52 pm on Sept 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I predict that YouTube will undergo the same evolution as Napster: First embraced by the masses for being so easy, then haunted by the copyright owners/record companies, then removing all illegal stuff, then a re-birth as commercial service that fails to attract the masses as in the past.

But wouldn't it be more constructive if the record companies approached companies like YouTube and MySpace (I hate myspace), to try and form an alliance instead of suing them?

All I am saying is it would be better to try and find a way to benefit from the new distrubution method instead of trying to stop/fight it.

I for one do hope that eventually we'll be able to buy from the artists directly.

Just to reiterate, I do not condone copyright infringement, but would rather see a more innovative way of dealing with issues like this.

6:55 pm on Sept 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

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What if the 'utube', etc, type sites stopped copyright infringements!

Do you think the record industry would see any difference in returns, up or down?

7:10 pm on Sept 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

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But wouldn't it be more constructive if the record companies approached companies like YouTube and MySpace (I hate myspace), to try and form an alliance instead of suing them?

How could an alliance look like? Monetizing through ads (like the Warner deal) is not going to work. If a video is seen by 100,000 users, let's assume a rather optimistic CTR of 1%. After all, people are there to watch videos. That's 1,000 clicks. Let's further assume a low EPC of 0.05$, e.g. from Adsense. That's a revenue of a whopping 50$ - yowsa! And this shall be SHARED with the record companies?

Nope, this model is not going to work.

8:36 pm on Sept 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I agree with Kufu and don't get the other arguments at all.

YouTube videos are not end products with commercial value. They are advertising, just like radio and MTV. The record companies don't get paid from those outlets either, they have to convince them to add the music to the playlist (well, not for the bigger players).

As far as I know, record companies can't stop a radio station from playing their artist's music or sue for copyright, but I could be mistaken on this.

8:48 pm on Sept 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Do a search for ASCAP.
11:29 pm on Sept 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

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How could an alliance look like?

That's like asking me how we should end our dependence on oil. That is a question no one (let alone me) can answer in a short thread.

Allow me to make this very simplistic. By filing a lawsuit the record companies are likely to spend millions to try and get their videos off of YouTube; but with your 'idea' of using AdSense they would make $25.00 each. Even with that simplistic approach, which is a silly business plan in this case, they would be ahead.

The RIAA lawsuits have not had a tangible impact on the sale of new CDs, since people are buying fewer CDs in general, not because they are downloading the music illegally. I will make this argument till I am blue in the face, but the problem with the record companies having slower sales is not illegal downloads, it's bad music. I often wonder if the sales of classical music has been effected by illegal downloads.

1:20 am on Sept 19, 2006 (gmt 0)

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All laws must be based upon most people wanting them to be in place or they plain won't work. Whether the general population likes a law sometimes changes, in particular where the application of that law or the circumstances within which it is applied changes.

This is what we are seeing with copyright, in particular music copyright. In short, copyright is being abused in the music sector by the record companies. Instead of using the law to ensure a fair payment for the creative work they are using the law to attempt to gain profits somewhat greater than warranted by the product on sale.

A CD (cost 8 cents) in case (cost 15 cents) with insert (cost 9 cents) means 32 pence physical production cost. Assume 1000 hours recording and production time at a rate of $20/hour, totalling $20k. For a short run of 100,000 CDs it that would add up to $32k. Total cost so far is $32k. Multiply that by four to allow for a big profit for the retailer and the record company and get $128k. Divide it by the 100,000 CDs and get a total retail price of $1.28 a CD. Now, tell me why the CD is on sale for $20+?

The record industry would claim that production time etc. are very expensive. They aren't. The prices they attach are just part of the way they justify their value to the artist.

1:52 am on Sept 19, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Sorry folks, the music co's are right here. They are a business like any other. Would you open up your webstie ad space for free for the good of the customer? Heck no, you probably wouldnt.

I agree with previous posts that the artists get exposure. One even suggested - "i'd like to give the money direct to the artist"

- if this were the case, the individual artist would never be able to afford production, marketing, and all of the other functions the record labels serve.

Maybe all artist should band together, create a non-profit guild, where they pool resources, and creaate their OWN record company.

The current record companies simply have to protect their investments, just as any business owner would. Someone steals your script, or site content, you don't think to yourself 'oh - its for teh greater good of the web business" NO - you generally get angryt.

3:45 am on Sept 19, 2006 (gmt 0)

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For a bit of info on how an independent musician works take a look at
[columbia.edu...]
Some of it's a bit offtopic but Ani Difranco is pretty interesting whatever the topic.

I respect Ani Difranco and I admire her for what she's managed to accomplish but there are a pile of musicians out there without her perserverance that do need the 'industry' to help them. Not only that, but I'd take a guess that downloading and distributing an independent musicians album/song hits them much harder than one protected by the record companies.

3:48 am on Sept 19, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I just hope the people siding with YouTube aren't guilty of participating in this lawlessness and don't get caught in the next wave of RIAA lawsuits.

Oh who am I kidding, I hope the whole bunch that think it's OK get nailed so these idiotic threads about how it's "ok to steal" and "copyright infringement is harmless" end with the swift bee sting of justice and thousands in fines for all those uploading and downloading the crap.

[edited by: incrediBILL at 3:49 am (utc) on Sep. 19, 2006]

7:33 am on Sept 19, 2006 (gmt 0)

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In short, copyright is being abused in the music sector by the record companies. Instead of using the law to ensure a fair payment for the creative work they are using the law to attempt to gain profits somewhat greater than warranted by the product on sale.

Again - it is SOLELY the content owner (artist, creator, writer, photographer) who actually has the right to say how his creative work is being used. That's the law, and it is good this way. If the content owner finds a record company willing to give him 1 million USD in advance for his work, fine. Just don't buy the records if you think the CD is overpriced. But then again - should YOU suddenly becoming creative, have a great idea and write the song of your life, then YOU want YOUR work to be protected by copyright laws.

Why does everyone and his friend think they have a say in defining what a "fair payment" is? If you don't like the way things are, just don't buy the music and listen to "free music". Honestly, I don't get it.

Also the whole "a CD costs X and it is completely overpriced" discussion is far off the track. First, the production cost is actually higher (you can't hire professional recording talents cheap), then there is the marketing (probably very expensive), and finally there are the artist and record company profits. Ever wondered why the stars live in villas and you don't? Yup, that's the answer - they earned some money.

Again, if you think CDs are overpriced, just don't listen to that music. Look for free stuff.

4:25 pm on Sept 19, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Look for free stuff.

And by FREE STUFF, I'm pretty sure that is intended to mean things that weren't purchased by others and uploaded for you to steal, but things originally offered for FREE and never sold in the first place.

6:32 pm on Sept 19, 2006 (gmt 0)

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And by FREE STUFF, I'm pretty sure that is intended to mean things that weren't purchased by others and uploaded for you to steal, but things originally offered for FREE and never sold in the first place.

Yes, that's EXACTLY the way I would want to interpret my post! If someone does not like todays' interpretation of copytright - just do not go for this type of content. Look for unprotected, not copyright protected stuff!

(Thanks to Incredibill for the clarification.)

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