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EU Sides With RIAA, Says YouTube Underpays For Music Streaming

Profits from both CD sales and digital downloads are declining, while online streaming now accounts for the majority of the $7.7 billion U.S. music market, according to a new article. And the music industry’s newest complaint is that 25% of music streaming is happening on YouTube, which they believe is paying them too little. An anonymous reader quotes the San Jose Mercury News:
Now, the battle is heating up as the European Union is expected to release new rules later this year for how services such as YouTube handle music, potentially upending some of the copyright protections that undergird the Internet… The E.U. has formally recognized that there is a “value gap” between song royalties and what user-upload services such as YouTube earn from selling ads while playing music… How such a law would address the gap is still being decided, but the E.U. has indicated it plans to focus on ensuring copyright holders are “properly remunerated.” Even the value gap’s existence is disputed.
A recent economic study commissioned by YouTube found no value gap — in fact, the report said YouTube promotes the music industry, and if YouTube stopped playing music, 85 percent of users would flock to services that offered lower or no royalties. A different study by an independent consulting group pegged the YouTube value gap at more than $650 million in the United States alone. “YouTube is viewed as a giant obstacle in the path to success for the streaming marketplace,” said Mitch Glazier, president of the Recording Industry Association of America… YouTube pays an estimated $1 per 1,000 plays on average, while Spotify and Apple music pay a rate closer to $7… The music industry claims YouTube has avoided paying a fair-market rate by hiding behind broad legal protections. In the United States, that’s the “safe harbor” provision, which essentially says YouTube is not to blame if someone uploads a copy-protected song — unless the copyright holder complains.
YouTube argues that its automatic Content ID system recognizes 98% of all copyright-infringing uploads — and that each year they’re already paying the music industry $1 billion in royalties.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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