by / March 10th, 2009 /

YouTube block music videos to UK users

YouTube is blocking all premium music videos to UK users after failing to reach a new licensing agreement with the Performing Right Society (PRS). Thousands of videos were made unavailable to YouTube users from late yesterday.

Patrick Walker, YouTube’s director of video partnerships, told BBC News that the move was “regrettable”, while Steve Porter, head of the PRS, said he was “outraged… shocked and disappointed” by YouTube’s decision. In a statement, Mr Porter said the move “punishes British consumers and the songwriters whose interests we protect and represent”. The PRS has asked YouTube to reconsider its decision as a “matter of urgency”.

The body, which represents music publishers, added: “Google has told us they are taking this step because they wish to pay significantly less than at present to the writers of the music on which their service relies, despite the massive increase in YouTube viewing. This action has been taken without any consultation with PRS for Music and in the middle of negotiations between the two parties.”

Mr Walker, meanwhile, blamed PRS themselves, claiming that the organisation was seeking a rise in fees “many, many factors” higher than the previous agreement. He said: “We feel we are so far apart that we have to remove content while we continue to negotiate with the PRS. We are making the message public because it will be noticeable to users on the site.”