Much, much more scattering of reaction from around the world to Google's decision to pull music videos off YouTube.
First up, Helienne Lindvall called for us to think about the songwriters:
[A]s a songwriter myself, I can tell you that most songwriters haven't seen any income from YouTube at all, since a music video has to be viewed hundreds of thousands of time, to take it over the required threshold where you even get a payment. I've been told that videos by Coldplay and similar acts would make a couple of hundred pounds, at most, for getting millions of hits on a single video.
To which the obvious response is: well, yes - but where do you think the money is going to come from? There isn't a great deal of money in the expensive business of pumping video across the internet; any visitor to YouTube would attest that it's hardly a site swimming in high-quality advertisements. Perhaps the reason why the artists don't get much money is because that's all there is.
Indeed, this is the problem - nobody who controls music seems to be able to grasp that an individual song is worth considerably, considerably less in a multi-digital environment than it would have been when music lived on vinyl discs and a handful of radio stations. And you can't simply wish the price back up.
Another point that Google has failed to address is that a large part of the content they have or plan to take down is music written by people who are not covered by the PRS.
Yes, that's awful. But the PRS seems reluctant to actually do anything to stop that happening, doesn't it, Helienne?
Google wants the PRS to give them a list of who they represent and what songs and then Google will pay those composers if they get enough hits. The PRS want Google to give them the data of all that is being streamed on their site, and then they'll tell Google which songs are covered by the PRS.
If the PRS won't tell Google who it represents, then Google are going to have to guess?
Lindvall also argues that Google didn't have to take the music down:
The PRS has been in negotiations with sites like MySpace for years and never blocked them from using music while the negotiations are ongoing. My guess is that Google are trying to force PRS's hand by taking down all this content and trying to portray them as greedy and backwards thinking. A shrewd move, as they've gagged the collection society from revealing the real facts and details of the, no doubt, paltry deal that is on offer.
Well, yes. But then Google aren't obliged to pay the promotional and distribution costs of major labels, and if the PRS believes that Google is grievously underpaying for tracks on YouTube, surely it should be delighted that the people it represents are no longer being ripped off? It seems a little strange to claim that someone is robbing you blind, and then complain that they've stopped robbing you blind.
Of course, Google is not a plucky little David and is using the YouTube wipe out to make a point. But the PRS seems surprised that someone should call its bluff, as if there's something wrong at saying "we can't agree, let's just not bother."
Last FM are hoping to bang some heads together. Martin Stiksel knows that the end result if there isn't a quick resolution isn't going to be pretty for the PRS:
"We have to find commercially workable rates otherwise illegal services will win and take over," he said.
The suggestion that it's Google being greedy has taken another knock, with Jemima Kiss in the Guardian reporting that MySpace might be in a similar position:
MySpace UK and other sites are struggling to renegotiate their own licences with PRS, which pays royalties to artists.
One source close to the negotiations said that the launch of MySpace UK's comprehensive music service later this year could be thrown into jeopardy unless it secured an economically viable licence with PRS.
"A lot of service providers are negotiating and renewing licences with PRS right now, but the rates are widely known to be uneconomical," said the source. "Nobody could run an online business on those terms."
The report claims that the PRS is looking for rates based on the 2007 Copyright tribunal rates [pdf], at figures which make advertising-supported services unsustainable.