So this is basically yesterday’s news, but it bears repeating. As of December 20, 2008, you’ll no longer be able to find Warner Music content on YouTube. Although not watching sanctioned videos from Nickleback, Linkin Park and Simple Plan is hardly the worst thing in the world, the fallout extends far beyond butt-rock.
Warner Music Group also includes Warner/Chappell Music Publishing, which means no more cover tunes, either. (Technically these were always illegal, unless you secured permission.) Judging from the statements issued by the company, the takedown notices are likely to be fast and furious. “We simply cannot accept terms that fail to appropriately and fairly compensate recording artists, songwriters, labels and publishers for the value they provide,” says an official WB statement.
When is the content industry gonna realize that their brands are enhanced by the free marketing from community-driven services? Surely there’s some middle ground to be established between giving your shit away and protecting trademarked property. And it’s the labels‘ copyright we’re talking about, anyway — most artists sign away the rights to their sound recordings when they sign with a major.
So is this the beginning of a YouTube backlash by the big copyright aggregators? Not necessarily: Universal Music Group (who have their heads up their asses on other matters) has actually produced value from the social video phenomenon. A UMG rep recently highlighted the “tens of millions” in new revenues his company has pulled in from a source that is “growing tremendously.”
So enjoy view those Metallica videos while you can, before the WB lawyers are unleashed.