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The European Commission is considering a proposal which would force platforms like YouTube, Vimeo and Dailymotion to make better deals with the music industry. Record labels and artists claim there is a “value gap” between the royalties paid by advertisement supported platforms and those paid by subscription based services. Rights holders point to platforms like Spotify as generating more revenue for the music industry despite having a smaller userbase than platforms like YouTube. Google has previously responded to such claims by stating that YouTube has generated $2 billion for rights holders.

Record labels claim to lack the bargaining power to negotiate fair deals because YouTube has such a huge share of the market. The proposal seeks to address this concern by requiring sites that host content to seek deals with rights holders “reflecting the economic value of the use made of the protected content.”

The proposal also requires platforms hosting user-uploaded content to implement “appropriate and proportionate measures, such as content identification technologies, to ensure the functioning” of agreements with rights holders. YouTube uses a system called Content ID to automatically detect copyright infringing videos on its platform. This system was set up voluntarily by YouTube, however, this proposal would make it mandatory. Platforms which do not currently have such a system would be required to implement one. It is also possible that, depending on the law’s final form, Content ID may not be strong enough in its current form to meet the Commission’s requirement.

This proposal is just a draft, and may undergo revision. It is part of a larger copyright overhaul the Commission is working on, which is expected to be in its final form by late September. We have previously covered another proposal within the copyright overhaul, which requires news aggregators to pay royalties for posting snippets of articles.

Is there really a value gap as the record labels claim, and should content hosting platforms make better deals to correct for it? Should automated content identification systems be mandatory? Leave your comments below.


Max Michael

Senior Writer

I’m a technology reporter located near the Innovation District of Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario.



  • oldirtybaron

    Rome is burning. I never thought it’d smell like corporate ball washing, but here it is.

  • BurntToShreds

    Music is not the primary reason people go to YouTube. Why should they and other video services be forced to pay musicians more? Oh right, record labels and musicians have an entitlement issue since governments have spoiled them rotten in the past, so they expect everyone to give them more money now.

  • Nope Naw

    Can we please have one day. A single 24 hour period where someone -isn’t- trying to destroy the internet? No?

  • Hobo-Tobo

    You might want to check your facts on that. Single music videos regularly get more views than pretty much all other videos I’ve seen in the last year combined.

  • FlamingoJet

    They just want more money and the ability to DMCA.

    They are still trying hold onto their dying models.

    Fuck ’em, let’s get this proposal thrown out immediately.

  • FlamingoJet

    These are not copy right revisions I want. I want it to be EASIER to use copyrlighted materials for general, non commercial use and make it harder and more restrictive for companies to file DMCA’s.

    I want my products to be able to be used on any platform I so desire to use them on.

    These are the copyright laws we need.

  • Sarusig Musicman

    Lol, musicians being entitled. These assholes making $1 on every $10 album sold. So entitled.

  • BurntToShreds

    So then why are they still pissing and moaning about revenue? It’s because they aren’t being given a better deal than everyone else that creates videos for the platform. Record labels and musicians are still pining for the good old days when they made a killing on CD sales, and are willing to do anything, including screwing over consumers, the very platforms they use to get their music out, and the Internet at large, in order to get that kind of revenue back.

  • Kev Lew

    musicians are not the problem is the distributors/companies they sign up with. The console industry learned many bad habits form these leeches but without the mass of human talent (owned by the corporations) available to give them the money and leverage to force consumers, producers and artists into equally horrible contracts.

  • Kev Lew

    indeed, a revenue share should be built into the system so if a creator properly flags company content in-upload then a small (literally 1-4% split evenly between copyright holders taken from youtubes share) split should go to them while guarding the producer from false flagging and blatant SMCA/strike abuse. give them a little and take a lot of the pointless busywork away form people better served by releasing regular content.

  • Kev Lew

    there are already rules against piracy and duplicating existing videos so those should not need to be touched.