Here’s Exactly What a YouTube Rep Told Zoë Keating

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Last week, YouTube called our coverage of their demands on Zoë Keating ‘patently false,’ and demanded that we change it.  What they didn’t realize is that the entire conversation was transcribed by Keating, word for word.

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YouTube Rep: We can’t have music available in the free but not in the paid version. So we need to have catalog parity between the services because essentially it’s just one service, it’s just that there are features that are added on for our music key subscribers. So I think where we got stuck was that there’s a catalog commitment language in the agreement that I think your legal team wasn’t comfortable signing with that language in there

So unfortunately we’re kind of at a period where because we have to launch the product fully at this point any music content has to be licensed under this new agreement otherwise we basically don’t have the proper licenses to keep that content up on youtube

Zoë Keating: Right. So can you tell me how the music service is related to content ID?

YouTube Rep: So the content ID part is not really affected so all of that part will remain exactly the same the difference that is added to the contract is that the music rate went up so the party who has rights to the music gets 40% so there’s a benefit there. And then the other part is that to the extent that you make the content available on any other streaming services we ask that you make that available on youtube as well.

Zoë Keating: So do I opt into the music service agreement in addition to the content ID?

YouTube Rep: No, so all of that is opted in. So what happens basically is that on this service, the assets that you provide to us, that are licensed on Youtube through you are all available for the music features because you’re a music partner. So even if you don’t explicitly deliver us every single song in your catalog if we have assets and they are fingerprinted by content ID to contain that music then it will be included to the subscription service and you’ll be earning subscription revenue in addition to the existing ad revenue

It helps to think about it on our service because it is in a way already, like a streaming service right? like if i wanted to listen to your music but you didn’t upload an official music video but someone else uploaded a version of it or like a performance of it that you are claiming, that content is licensed under the same music agreement.

The really unique thing about our platform and kind of the benefits of it is that we get users of all sorts of demographics that come to youtube to consume this content in various ways. some people are looking for a video clip to watch the visuals that it contains but there are also heavy music users that come to youtube to specifically listen to music and they don’t really care about the visuals.

Zoë Keating: If i wanted to just let content ID keep doing it’s thing, and it does a great job at and i’m totally happy with it and i don’t want to participate in the music service, is that an option?

YouTube Rep: That’s unfortunately not an option.

Zoë Keating: Assuming i don’t want to, then what would occur?

YouTube Rep: So what would happen is, um, so in the worst case scenario, because we do understand there are cases where our partners don’t want to participate for various reasons, what we basically have to do is because the music terms are essentially like outdated, the content that you directly upload from accounts that you own under the content owner attached to the agreement, we’ll have to block that content. but anything that comes up that we’re able to scan and match through content ID we could just apply a track policy but the commercial terms no longer apply so there’s not going to be any revenue generated.

Zoë Keating: Wow that’s pretty harsh.

YouTube Rep: Yeah, it’s harsh and trust me, it is really difficult for me to have this conversation with all of my partners but we’re really, what we’re trying to do is basically create a new revenue stream on top of what exists on the platform today.

The way to think about this streaming service is that, i mean, this content is already available on the platform in one way or another and you’re doing the smart thing by claiming everything so in some ways there’s not that much changing on that end it’s just that features are being added to the content that’s already available and how it can be consumed.

So the other thing i want to lay out, and I want to lay out all the options for you., this is kind of like a loophole in our system where like, you know if you’re not so concerned about revenue and its not driving millions of dollars for you then what you can do is essentially um, end the commercial terms, the sound recording audiovisual agreement that you have with us, which is outdated and I actually have to close this out before we can move forward with our product, so this kind of a last call. But what you could do is basically unlink your channel from the content owner that is associated with the deal, so that when the deal terminates on that content owner, your channel will be separated from the deal and you can enter into a regular youtube partner commercial terms which allows you to monetize the content. The content owner account will no longer have commercial terms but it will have the content ID agreement terms which means you can continue to track.

 

43 Responses

  1. Anonymous

    essentially, gotta go stone age on them, which sucks, but no more digital music then, thats the reality, because you cant take that deal, so you have to leave it, and you dont have the clout to get them to do their job in keeping your property illegal shared by others off their servers, essentially google is sitting on possibly the most stolen property in the history of mankind, and conveniently fly through loopholes and drag their feet… im not an anti google person, as a consumer its incredible and super helpful, but as an entrepreneur and property owner and content creator, it sucks, so essentially i would tell them to shove it, and then spend every last waking second all up their butts to remove content, like just super hardcore, hire trolls, hire whoever, put out an SOS to get a team of people together to just pummel them non stop, send law suits, just up the ante as far as possible, and then look to other non digital ways to make money from music…

    they have every right to offer a take it or leave it deal, its not some one on one business partnership, its a platform that you choose to use, its getting them to do their job, thats the tough part…

    Reply
  2. Anonymous

    Zoë Keating: If i wanted to just let content ID keep doing it’s thing, and it does a great job at and i’m totally happy with it and i don’t want to participate in the music service, is that an option?

    YouTube’s Department OF Extortion: That’s unfortunately not an option.

    Disgusting.

    Reply
  3. Anonymous

    “the content that you directly upload from accounts that you own under the content owner attached to the agreement, we’ll have to block that content

    Ouch.

    Reply
  4. Anonymous

    YouTube’s Department Of Extortion: “it is really difficult for me to have this conversation with all of my partners”

    Then don’t.

    Reply
    • Sarah

      Well, it’s not as if the YouTube rep has any control here. If she doesn’t, she’ll probably get fired – and her replacement will then do it, so there’s no benefit.

      The problem is YouTube and the people running it, not the employees who are just doing as they’re told.

      However, I’d say that when one, as the head of a company, sets out a new policy that one’s own employees dislike having to implement, one might want to consider whether one is being an ass. 🙂

      Reply
  5. Anonymous

    YouTube’s Department Of Extortion: like, you know if you’re not so concerned about revenue and its not driving millions of dollars for you then what you can do is essentially um, end the commercial terms

    Translation: If you don’t want to sell your music, we’ll steal it.

    Reply
  6. so

    “If i wanted to just let content ID keep doing it’s thing, and it does a great job at and i’m totally happy with it…”

    Trying to figure out how someone could be totally happy with the content ID side (earning relatively very little) and want to stay out of the Music Key side (earning considerably more). Is the main issue the fact that they are asking for first-day delivery of new music? If that’s the case, are they not asking for the opportunity to offer the music at the same time as their *direct competitors* like iTunes, Spotify etc.? It is difficult to see how YouTube / Google, or any other digital retailer, has any authority over your official artist store, which you own and control. I can’t see how artist shops, BandCamp, etc. create a problem here. Zoe should just ask this question explicitly. If YouTube is simply asking for delivery of the music at the same time as the rest of digital retail, offering a higher rate than content ID via Music Key, and the music is going to wind up on YouTube anyway via user-generated uploads, it may be worth considering.

    Reply
    • Sarah

      Perhaps the issue is less about the money, and more about control. Content ID makes it easy for her to see how her work is being used. She’s quite liberal with allowing others to use her work, but as she’s said before, she does care if her work is being used in certain ways (e.g., in videos by hate groups, or for clearly commercial purposes). Content ID lets her monetize that, and taking it away is a big freaking deal because otherwise she’d have no practical way to monitor uses of her work on YouTube.

      So, if the issue is control rather than money, it’s clear why she has a problem with this.

      YouTube is hell on copyright – it’s just how the business works. Without Content ID, artists have to continuously monitor YouTube for uses of their work, which is a full time job (and still isn’t effective), and then laboriously submit take down requests. For a professional artist, it’s an impossible system. So YouTube created this huge copyright problem, and then YouTube introduced Content ID, which somewhat alleviated the copyright problem.

      It would be different, perhaps, if Content ID’s sole purpose wasn’t to alleviate a problem created by YouTube itself. In that case, it would simply be another feature offered by a company and the company could reasonably restrict and condition its use for its own purpose.

      It would also perhaps be different if YouTube’s business were merely inconveniencing artists like Zoe, rather than directly eroding the legal protections she has in her copyrights.

      That, alas, is not the case. Because Content ID addresses a problem caused by YouTube itself, it’s not cool to tie its use to other features. The right thing to do is offer Content ID as a free service available to artists, without any strings.

      Reply
      • Sarah

        Typo, should be:

        “Content ID lets her monitor that, and taking it away is a big freaking deal because otherwise she’d have no practical way to monitor uses of her work on YouTube.”

        Reply
      • Anonymous

        “Because Content ID addresses a problem caused by YouTube itself, it’s not cool to tie its use to other features. The right thing to do is offer Content ID as a free service available to artists, without any strings.”

        Spot on.

        Reply
  7. Anonymous

    Last summer, my Youtube rep also seemed very apprehensive with having to lay down for us the edicts from the YT higher-ups. And Paul, I’m sure you’ve noticed the exodus of bigtime YT execs and other top employees who have left the company since the blowup with indies started last June.

    There is more internal dissension happening over there than most probably suspect, and certainly more than Youtube themselves expected.

    Reply
  8. Irving Mindreader

    It’s amazing to me how artists see Google as a primitive actor here, rather than Google solving for the participation of diverse constituents. Having explained this on DMN threads so many times, I’m starting to feel like a climate scientist speaking at a Tea Party rally.

    Dear People, the way you think is part of the problem.

    There is a cognitive disconnect wherein you seem to believe Google should magically develop *something* the consumer will pay for, while paying you more in the meantime, plus give you all the dashboard-level administrative control you dream about.

    Here’s the difference between that fantasy and real world product reality:

    Google has lots of content, and lots of users. In order to get *any* of those users to suddenly start paying for *any* of that content, they have to experiment. A lot. Hundreds or even thousands of A/B tests to divine the optimal alchemy of traffic, engagement, design, utility, and hopefully funneled (free to paid) conversion. It’s literally like trying to land a rocket on the moon. Meanwhile, YOU guys want to drive the rocket ship.

    Suffice, something has to give, and that something is your control.

    Here’s the bright side — you didn’t have control to begin with. There is no such thing anymore. Your music is already *out there* in space, drifting around, without a prayer of compensating you.

    Google is trying to change that. They (and others) are trying like hell to save you, in spite of all the whining about how uncomfortable the rescue seats are. To me, the above transcript reads like a company making difficult choices, while at least trying to communicate them as humanely as possible.

    Yes, change is hard…but the alternative is worse. Imagine what Lord of the Flies you’ll have if Google changes their mind about a paid service. Think about the signal to any other would be savior or tech investor that a company of Google’s size and immense resources could not make it work.

    Be careful what you wish for.

    Reply
    • David

      Google is trying to strongarm artists and labels into signing up to a service (for 5 years) which will directly compete with existing services like Spotify, or potential future services, which may well offer them better terms than Google/YouTube. (Note Zoe’s comment in her Billboard interview that her payouts from YT are ‘far far’ lower than from Pandora.) But Google will have an unfair competitive advantage over such other services by way of its control of the existing YT service, which allows them to evade the intentions of the DMCA. If Google want to demontrate their bona fides to artists they could take steps to actively prevent or discourage the use of YT as an audio streaming channel, which is not its ostensible purpose at all.

      Reply
      • David

        By ‘them’ of course I meant Google, not the other services.

        I think also the ‘5-year’ point needs to be emphasised more. Maybe 2 years would be justified, to give the new service a fair chance to get established, but 5 years is an eternity in such a fast-moving business. It is also a large part of most artists’ career.

        Reply
      • Irving Mindreader

        Solid points, David. We’re not disagreeing, but a snapshot never tells the story of evolution.

        My read is, Google is hedging payouts because the new service is a huge undertaking. Five years is a lot, but may be a poker tell that they’re in for the long haul, girding for battle, and playing to win. Imagine unseating Pandora and Spotify while keeping Apple at bay. Literally giants at war.

        And yet, at best, they’re taking these enormous risks for highly uncertain rewards. So it’s cheaper to standardize participation and accept a modicum of churn. That insures deep catalog without the admin nightmare of a thousand custom deals. (Sidebar: How many services have sunk under the weight of a thousand custom content deals? Answer – all of them.)

        Rest assured, market forces will eventually foster equilibrium in revenue share. Google must accede to that or incentivize competition.

        Thus in the big picture, if not nothing, this momentarily kerfuffle is much ado about intermediate steps.

        Take the long view. It expends a lot less energy and accomplishes the same result.

        Reply
    • Sarah

      Wow, you have an awful lot of faith in Google.

      You also seem to be quite certain that your understanding is the absolute correct understanding of Google’s actions and plans. It’s not smart to be too sure of what you know – particularly when “Google” is actually the collective actions of many different controlling individuals, who likely all have their own different visions of what Google is, what it does, and what it should and will do. Because “Google” is just the collective actions and decisions of many people, Google could (and will) change over time.

      Even if your comments are absolutely correct about Google’s actions and intentions today, the concern over losing control is still legitimate because no one, including you, knows who will be running Google, or what their intentions will be, even a year from now.

      There’s no harm in your optimism (I even hope you’re right), but you should be wary of unwarranted certainty.

      Reply
      • Irving Mindreader

        Hi Sarah.

        Companies with twelve digit market caps don’t undertake massive initiatives like this casually. There is intense research, analysis, and planning involved. Approval comes from the top.

        Larry Page is not going anywhere. He’s 41 years old and set on changing the world.

        Reply
        • Sarah

          Because, in all of history, nothing significant has ever unexpectedly happened to anyone. 🙂

          Nonetheless, perhaps you’ll appreciate the simple idea that, as a rule, people do not like having another’s vision forced upon them, no matter what that vision is. If his long term vision is indeed so great for artists, there are many ways he could get them on board without resorting to coercive tactics.

          Or, viewed differently, if his long term vision can only be accomplished by coercing mass participation and stripping artists of control of their own work, perhaps it is simply not a good vision.

          Relinquishing control is a risky thing. Sure, there might be great reasons for it today and it might work out nicely for some time. The problem arises when it eventually stops working for you and you want control back, because you may find that’s no longer an option.

          Reply
          • small labe1

            and bingo was her name-o.

            Not to mention the fact of Google’s track record to date of slimy behavior… I would err on the side of caution with this and everything from them without actual concrete proof they can be otherwise trusted…

    • GGG

      I think you’re skating around the actual issues here. As Zoe herself even says, ContentID is a great thing. We all agree on that. Some people won’t want to be part of YT’s subscription service. Fine. You can argue that the service is the future, or will be worthwhile or whatever, and I’m sure I would have if it wasn’t for the stipulations. I’m sure you’ve seen me defend streaming on here plenty.

      But when you disqualify artists from ContentID for not signing up, that’s petty, and stupid. ESPECIALLY since ContentID is finding music OTHER people have uploaded mostly without your permission. So it’s not like anyone’s trying to pull a fast one on Google. They’re pulling a bait and switch with that service.

      And similarly, stipulating you MUST release all your shit on YT anytime it’s up anywhere else is dumb, too. At least give people a window so they can run some promo gimmick if they want.

      Reply
      • Anonymous

        My interpretation of this convo is that they want to be able to dump whatever they sweep up using Content ID into the paid service if it isnt “officially” available. Which makes perfect sense for them (why would anyone pay if the free service has a bigger catalog?) and a lot of sense for the artist too (if youre letting it out there & monetizing via Content ID anyways, why block the service that pays MORE?). Basically “catalog” in this case refers to whatever’s on Youtube, including 3rd party uploads, not the artist’s entire catalog as it exists anywhere. Its a pretty important distinction to make

        I haven’t read the agreement so I dont know if thats what the language there says, and I assume that she’ll still be able to block third party uploads if she declines the service since Youtube is obligated by law to either pay or take the content down

        What are your thoughts

        Reply
    • Versus

      No. GoogleTube is the major infringer here.
      They create the problem by allowing so distributing content illicitly, allowing illegal uploads to stay up, even tough they have the tech (ContentID) to block them.

      Now they come forward as the savior to monetize that content which they stole.

      Reply
    • Anonymous

      My first wish I won’t say what is, however mostly the only thing I wish, is that I never made music to begin with, my life has been ruined and become a nightmare all thanks to making music… whether from music or tech or from being so spied and surveiled and tracked, whether the showbiz or fashion or people looking for some leader or the resurection of tupac, of course the industry and labels, the fame whore frauds stealing and threatening etc. or what the f ever, its been awful and so little good has come from it, I wish I never ever ever made music… it brings forth so many weird and awful people and criminals and scammers and crazy dreamers and dream sellers, its been so awful… life is essentialluy ruined until I can get it all to stop…

      Reply
    • steveh

      Sarah I don’t think it’s as clear cut as that. More spin and subterfuge from Google. They really are bastards!

      I think Zoe Keating already covered this:- if the Music Key contract is not signed an element of Content ID may be retained but all it can do is to entirely block the content-controlled videos from Youtube. I think this is specifically what Zoe does not want to happen, as she sees varied benefits from numerous 3rd party uploads. Earning a few cents from these is an added bonus. Please read her blog.

      I quote:- “She can sign the contract and allow YouTube and Music Key access to her entire catalog, along with the contract’s other provisions, allowing her to make money from its presence on the site. Or she can refuse the contract and leave her music unmonetized on YouTube. She will still retain control over her Content ID account, and can allow or block her music as she likes, YouTube explained.”

      Reply
      • Sarah

        Thanks for the comment. I was not suggesting that Zoe is wrong. The article I referenced was from today (so a few days after Zoe publicly announced that she has an accurate transcript of her call with the YT rep).

        If it is factually correct, then that suggests that (1) YouTube has changed its policy on this issue very recently or (2) the rep Zoe spoke with made a mistake.

        I am inclined to think it’s the former. If I’m right, I would bet that Zoe’s efforts in making her situation and concerns public played a significant role in their change of heart. In which case, thank you, Zoe!

        In any case, I happen to agree with you completely – they really are bastards 🙂

        Reply
        • Anonymous

          Thanks for posting the Billboard link Sarah, it was really not in your interest to do so. Not on the short term, anyway.

          I’ve had it with these guys, though. And I’ve never been more ready for an alternative. Or two. 🙂

          Reply
          • Sarah

            You’re welcome. 🙂

            I think it was in my interest. Seriously, we’re building our platform largely because we couldn’t stop thinking “YouTube is being a freaking jerk and oh my gosh that is just not okay.” We don’t like the way YT is behaving or treating people, and we’re betting a lot on the belief that other people don’t like it either.

            Our motto is “honesty in business” – not sexy like “don’t be evil,” but I think it’s the right way to go.

            I assume you’re already using Videscape? If not, you definitely should. A big problem facing every potential YT alternative is that artists don’t want to leave YT because that’s where the traffic is – but if artists don’t leave YT, that’s where the traffic will always stay.

            A good strategy for artists, as a group, is to start putting some of your content on all legitimate potential YT competitors’ sites even before they get traffic; by doing so, you’re increasing the likelihood that they will get traffic, succeed, and give you a real YT replacement. My opinion, anyway.

          • Manny Sheehan

            That Billboard article is REALLY misleading. First of all, the author tries to make it sound like Zoe is not representative of other independent artists (or as one of the Google shills said she’s a “crappy edge case”). Obviously that’s not true.

            Then an undisclosed Google spokesperson tells Billboard that indie artists can continue to use ContentID–and the author has the decency to actually get a response to Zoe on that which she says is not what what her contract says so Google evidently changed their position. Or that’s what Google wants Billboard to believe and Billboard isn’t questioning it further.

            But the real kicker is when Google says that Merlin has 30,000 labels that signed up to similar terms
            implying that maybe that will shut up this meddlesome artist. BIG MISTAKE–the only people who know what Google’s deal with Merlin is are Google and Merlin and MAYBE the Merlin labels. All of whom are under NDA and Google would sue them if they talk. So that means that Billboard got the info from an undisclosed source at Google about a secret deal with Merlin that’s covered by an NDA.

            Does anyone really think that Merlin signed a deal with Google and got no advance? No “framework” payment? No goodies? And if Merlin’s deal was such happy talk, why did the Merlin labels continue their complaint against Google at the European Commission and not settle it as part of the license agreement?

            And if Merlin thinks there’s something wrong with Zoe, why did IMPALA (a trade group that represents pretty much the same labels as Merlin does for licensing) cite to her dispute with YouTube in their filing this week at the European Commission?

            It’s called fact checking, there’s these people called “editors” they like that shit.

          • Anonymous

            I assume you’re already using Videscape? If not, you definitely should

            Haha, you may even be smarter than I thought!

            I’ll personally try Videscape and your platform when they’re ready. I know it’s an egg-hen situation, but nobody wants to spend months on a video and present it on a less than perfect platform.

            Then again — embedded, monetizable videos on Twitter and Facebook are less demanding than stand-alone videos, at least in terms of brands and traffic. Basics need to be OK, though (and I’m thinking bandwidth problems, out-of-sync audio, no quality selector, no apps, phone problems, general player issues).

            Oh, and I like your slogan. There’s this myth in tech circles that artists don’t like tech and they don’t like businesses, and it’s completely bs. We want to make money and we want you to make money, period.

            We just want a bit of transparency, but the only transparency we get from Google is the word itself (as in ‘Transparency Reports’). The rest is totally Pyongyang.

          • Sarah

            You just made my day, I’m thrilled you like our slogan. 🙂

            I think that on a new platform artists should try to forgive lack of traffic, less than perfect design, and minor bugs (assuming that they are reliably fixed in a timely manner). The more you like the vision of the platform, the more forgiving you should be in the early days.

            But you’re absolutely right that it should have solid “bones” before you use it. Honestly, it should be solid before it’s made public – otherwise you’re just wasting people’s time and creating bad first impressions.

  9. Kenny

    Look Youtube have every right to demand what they want for your music to appear on their servers. You also have options. Create another Youtube account, stick 2 fingers to their Content ID and upload whatever video you like and monetise it. If YouTube puts up music that you don’t authorise you take them to court. I’m sure you can take them to small claims court and sue them for the maximum amount in these courts. A few visits will swing them into action. FWIW I don’t think their deal is so bad but I would go to AIM (Association of Independent Music) or AFIM in the US and make sure your music is under their blanket agreement. But I am keen to hear what other think.

    Reply
    • Sarah

      Interesting suggestion, but I’m not sure it’s a solution.

      1. If I were YouTube, I’d catch this pretty damn quick and block the account. Here’s the thing: they already have all of her content in Content ID, so it’s easy to monitor: “hey, someone just created a new account with all of an artist’s content – maybe it’s the artist?” Even if they won’t let her use it, they probably use it themselves to police for compliance.

      2. I don’t think monetization is the point, but rather the ability to monitor how other people are using her work on YouTube, which she loses even under your suggested scenario.

      3. Small claims courts don’t have jurisdiction over copyright claims. Even if she could sue in small claims court, it wouldn’t even matter if she won – the money at stake is so insignificant that it’d be less trouble for YouTube than swatting at a fly, and a judgment in her favor would have no value as precedent. A federal court lawsuit is a huge hassle, and not a cheap one.

      As for your position that YouTube has every right to demand what they want, normally I’d agree with that but this is a special case.

      Because Content ID’s purpose is to address a serious problem caused by YouTube itself, it’s not cool to tie its use to other features. That’d be like me coming and vandalizing your home, then saying I’ll clean it all up but only if you agree to let me use it whenever I want for parties. If you cause or significantly exacerbate a problem, you should just fix it, not use it as leverage.

      The right thing to do is offer Content ID as a free service available to artists, without any strings.

      Reply
    • Sarah

      Interesting suggestion, but I’m not sure it’s a solution.

      1. If I were YouTube, I’d catch this pretty damn quick and block the account. Here’s the thing: they already have all of her content in Content ID, so it’s easy to monitor: “hey, someone just created a new account with all of an artist’s content – maybe it’s the artist?” Even if they won’t let her use it, they probably use it themselves to police for compliance.

      2. I don’t think monetization is the point, but rather the ability to monitor how other people are using her work on YouTube, which she loses even under your suggested scenario.

      3. Small claims courts don’t have jurisdiction over copyright claims. Even if she could sue in small claims court, it wouldn’t even matter if she won – the money at stake is so insignificant that it’d be less trouble for YouTube than swatting at a fly, and a judgment in her favor would have no value as precedent. A federal court lawsuit is a huge hassle, and not a cheap one.

      As for your position that YouTube has every right to demand what they want, normally I’d agree with that but this is a special case.

      Because Content ID’s purpose is to address a serious problem caused by YouTube itself, it’s not cool to tie its use to other features. That’d be like me coming and vandalizing your home, then saying I’ll clean it all up but only if you agree to let me use it whenever I want for parties. If you cause or significantly exacerbate a problem, you should just fix it, not use it as leverage.

      The right thing to do is offer Content ID as a free service available to artists, without any strings.

      Reply
    • Sarah

      Interesting suggestion, but I’m not sure it’s a solution.

      1. If I were YouTube, I’d catch this pretty damn quick and block the account. Here’s the thing: they already have all of her content in Content ID, so it’s easy to monitor: “hey, someone just created a new account with all of an artist’s content – maybe it’s the artist?” Even if they won’t let her use it, they use it themselves to police for compliance.

      2. I don’t think monetization is the point, but rather the ability to monitor how other people are using her work on YouTube, which she loses even under your suggested scenario.

      3. Small claims courts don’t have jurisdiction over copyright claims. Even if she could sue in small claims court, it wouldn’t even matter if she won – the money at stake is so insignificant that it’d be less trouble for YouTube than swatting at a fly, and a judgment in her favor would have no value as precedent. A federal court lawsuit is a huge hassle, and not a cheap one.

      As for your position that YouTube has every right to demand what they want, normally I’d agree with that but this is a special case.

      Because Content ID’s purpose is to address a serious problem caused by YouTube itself, it’s not cool to tie its use to other features. That’d be like me coming and vandalizing your home, then saying I’ll clean it all up but only if you agree to let me use it whenever I want for parties. If you cause or significantly exacerbate a problem, you should just fix it, not use it as leverage.

      The right thing to do is offer Content ID as a free service available to artists, without any strings.

      Reply
    • Sarah

      Interesting suggestion, but I’m not sure it’s a solution.

      1. If I were YouTube, I’d catch this pretty damn quick and block the account. Here’s the thing: they already have all of her content in Content ID, so it’s easy to monitor: “hey, someone just created a new account with all of an artist’s content – maybe it’s the artist?” Even if they won’t let her use it, they use it themselves to police for compliance.

      2. I don’t think monetization is the point, but rather the ability to monitor how other people are using her work on YouTube, which she loses even under your suggested scenario.

      3. Small claims courts don’t have jurisdiction over copyright claims. Even if she could sue in small claims court, it wouldn’t even matter if she won – the money at stake is so insignificant that it’d be less trouble for YouTube than swatting at a fly, and a judgment in her favor would have no value as precedent. A federal court lawsuit is a huge hassle, and not a cheap one.

      As for your position that YouTube has every right to demand what they want, normally I’d agree with that but this is a special case.

      Because Content ID’s purpose is to address a serious problem caused by YouTube itself, it’s not cool to tie its use to other features. That’d be like me coming and vandalizing your home, then saying I’ll clean it all up but only if you agree to let me use it whenever I want for parties. If you cause or significantly exacerbate a problem, you should just fix it, not use it as leverage.

      The right thing to do is offer Content ID as a free service available to artists, without any strings.

      Reply
      • Versus

        “The right thing to do is offer Content ID as a free service available to artists, without any strings.”

        Absolutely right. Anything less is extortion.

        However, this ContentID does not compensate for all these years of infringement. How will GoogleTube make that right? How will intellectual property holders be paid back for all those losses?

        What about the cases that ContentID does not catch? I assume it is not a perfect system, and thieves, sorry, I mean “fans”, have ways to circumvent it.

        Reply
        • Sarah

          Hmmm…. sorry, but it won’t.

          Honestly, even if Google had a complete change of heart and decided it wanted to repay every artist whose work was infringed as a result of their sites and practices, I don’t think there’s any practical way to even accurately measure those losses, let alone compensate for them. The best it could do is improve going forward.

          As for the cases that Content ID doesn’t catch, there’s also little to do about that. You’re right, it’s not a perfect system.

          There will never be a perfect system. There wasn’t even a perfect system before the internet. There will always be relatively easy ways to steal content.

          Maybe the best question is, “how could we build a system that takes into account the realities of technology and consumer behavior/preferences, and is fair to artists?”

          Reply
  10. David

    I don’t think there is any dispute between Zoe Keating and Google/YT that artists who don’t sign up to Music Key would still be able to use ContentID in some form to track and (if they want to) block third-party videos that use their music.

    It is also undisputed that artists who take this approach will not have the option of monetizing third-party videos (or indeed any music videos they upload themselves). Since monetization is a key feature of ContentID as it stands, it is a matter of semantics whether it should still be called ContentID.

    Google/YT’s justification for not allowing the monetization option is that they cannot have content on the ‘free’ service that is not also available to paying subscribers to Music Key. This argument looks superficially reasonable (from Google’s commercial point of view), but it overlooks two points:

    a) unless YT takes the initiative to block all music uploaded to YT which is not on Music Key, there is bound to be content on the ‘free’ service that is not also available to paying subscribers. But Google/YT have stated no intention to block such music, and it is highly unlikely that they would. Imagine the outcry if they started taking down harmless music videos while leaving Jihadi beheading videos and the like still on YT!

    b) Google’s argument tacitly assumes that videos on YT are the ‘free’ alternative to music streams on Music Key. In practice, we know that many people do use YT for music streaming, but as I have pointed out before, it is not the ostensible purpose of a video platform, and YT should be trying to prevent or discourage it, not glory in it. Above all, if Google admit that YT is de facto a music streaming service, this raises the awkward question why they are not paying the same royalties as other on-demand streaming services. This is not just an issue for content-owners, but for competing streaming services like Spotify.

    Reply

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