Universal Music Finally Sues Video Sites… Just Not YouTube

from the who-else-can-we-sue? dept

A month ago, Universal Music Group head honcho Doug Morris threatened to sue YouTube and MySpace, claiming that both companies owed UMG a lot of money for all the videos on those sites that used UMG music. As we noted at the time, this seemed mainly like a negotiating ploy — and it worked. The same day that Google bought YouTube for $1.65 billion, YouTube signed deals with Universal Music Group and a variety of other content providers. However, that was apparently just the beginning for Morris and UMG. They’re not happy about all the other video sites out there who haven’t agreed to pay up. Now they’ve finally pulled the trigger and filed lawsuits against smaller sites Bolt.com and Grouper, which was just acquired by Sony. They’re pushing for the maximum, claiming each view is an infringement worth $150,000 (the upper boundary of what they can claim). Of course, the DMCA has said that the sites aren’t responsible for what their users do, so to get around that, UMG’s lawyers are playing a word game to make it seem like these sites have much more control over the content than they really do. They accuse the sites of “copying, reformatting, distributing and creating derivative works from Universal’s musicians.” Of course, all of that is done automatically as part of the platform, rather than as a conscious decision of anyone at these sites — which makes it seem like a pretty big stretch to think that the DMCA protections shouldn’t work here. Still, the bigger issue, honestly, is UMG’s inability to recognize that they’re probably doing a lot more damage to their own business here than helping it. Music videos have always been about promotions. They promote the band and the music and get people to buy CDs, go see concerts or get them involved in a variety of other business models. So, here are a bunch of people trying to do Universal’s promotions job for them… for free… and Universal is trying to sue them and kill off the promotional value of its own content.


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Comments on “Universal Music Finally Sues Video Sites… Just Not YouTube”

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17 Comments
MadJo (profile) says:

huh promotional value?

What do you mean? I have to give away something for free, so I can get more sales? I don’t understand this hippy-talk you are babbling, SECURITY!
— anonymous UMG manager

I can just hear it now.
The music industry has just completely lost it…

And why even that high a number for each viewing?
I’m sure MTV would love to pay that amount of money to play the tracks on their music stations, for *each viewer*… [/sarcasm]
Don’t these music-head-honchos notice, how moronic they sound, when they are trying to defend this tactic?

Rick says:

Geee Go figure

Has nothing to do with rights infringment. Its all a money game, as long as they can get every dime squeezed out of evey little video clip or song clip, they will do it. They dont care about artists rights anymore then they do our rights. It wont stop till people stop putting things like videos and song s on their sites and web pages, and you know that will never happen. We as a people dont care who has to pay for it as long as it is not us. And when youtube and myspace decide to charge us, cause they have to pay up, then we complain. Its a no win, fix it or live with it, stop complaining about it if you wont do anything about it.

Ed Magik (user link) says:

My Thoughts...

Since the Internet is reaching into more homes, or should I say more homes are reaching to the Internet for entertainment, both record companies and movie studios have taken some big hits on profits. Sales are down so much that record stores like Tower, for example went out of business, along with mom and pop type stores, and other chains stores are consolidating. People are leaning towards buying on-line or making illegal digital copies of music and movie products.

Also in-play is the big super-stores like Walmart. They have forced a lot of record stores out of business.

The record labels now only focus on the music superstars and all the other signed talent’s music gets shelved for a tax write-off.

This whole thing is helping independent recording artists because people aren’t buying into the cookie-cutter music that the big record companies are putting out.

I’m not surprised that the UMG is going after folks.
They are scrambling to make profit in a changing environment where Internet media is becoming the main product of consumer choice, and they didn’t plan for it to happen so quickly.

# # #

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