Universal Music chief blasts YouTube, MySpace over copyrights!

September 16, 2006

Universal Music Group CEO Doug Morris said 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,” Morris told investors Wednesday at a conference in Pasadena.

“How we deal with these companies will be revealed shortly,” he said.

Universal’s talks with YouTube Inc. have deteriorated and the recording giant is set to file a copyright infringement lawsuit against the San Mateo-based company if no agreement is reached by the end of the month, according to a person familiar with the talks who spoke on condition of anonymity, citing the confidential nature of the negotiations.

Universal’s talks with News Corp.’s MySpace have been progressing, the person said.

A call to YouTube seeking comment was not immediately returned. MySpace declined to comment.

The remarks by Morris to Merrill Lynch investors were seen by some analysts as a signal that negotiations could be stalled between the world’s largest record company and the two online sites, and that legal action was in the works.

“They’re getting frustrated with how the negotiations are going,” said Rob Enderle, an analyst with the Enderle Group.

“To drive the negotiations in the directions they want, they’re starting to make it clear there are legal alternatives for not complying with what Universal wants done,” he said.

The prospect of Universal Music or other record labels suing MySpace or YouTube represents a departure from the way the recording industry has interacted with the sites thus far.

In less than three years, MySpace has emerged as a choice destination for young people and a hub for bands to promote music. Record labels big and small have created Web pages on the social networking hub for their bands, typically allowing visitors to listen to the artists’ music for free.

Since launching last year, YouTube has grown into one of the most popular video portals on the Web, thriving off user-generated videos that sometimes include people lip-synching to copyrighted songs or incorporating footage from movies or music videos.

The company has said it promptly complies with notices to remove copyright-infringing material uploaded by computer users.

Commercial music videos – some posted with the blessing of the record labels – can also be found on the site.

The company recently added branded channels and videos that enable companies to advertise on the site, a service Warner Bros. Records used to promote Paris Hilton’s debut album.

Capitol Records, meanwhile, has released videos on YouTube by The Vines, Cherish and OK Go.

Universal, however, has made it a priority to get compensation for content that was once seen as purely promotional.

Last year, the company began charging Web portals such as Yahoo Inc. and Time Warner Inc.’s AOL for playing its artists’ music videos online or over video-on-demand services.

News From: http://www.mercurynews.com

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3 Responses to “Universal Music chief blasts YouTube, MySpace over copyrights!”

  1. […] Yes, you read the title right…that was free Madonna music videos available on YouTube. Why? Warner Music has just signed a deal with the site which lets it broadcast videos and interviews of its artists. And Madge is one of their artists. Interesting move considering Universal is considering suing the site for copyright infringement… […]

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