back to article REVEALED: Google's proposed indie music-killing contract terms

A leaked version of one of YouTube's controversial secret contracts with independent record labels has been published for the first time - and it appears to be stuffed with clauses that could land Google in trouble. Google wants to launch a new Spotify-style streaming service under its YouTube brand, and so requires music …

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  1. DaveLeeTravis
    Facepalm

    Hmmm....

    Do some evil? But hope no one lets on...

    1. lurker

      Re: Hmmm....

      It seems of late that they have decided that it's not "Evil" if you're not actually shooting bunnies or similar, and that just being ruthless and dirty like every other big corporate entity is "fine".

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    They do not have to sign. They could do their own music video site if they wanted.

    1. Crazy Operations Guy Silver badge

      Wow, I'm surprised that no one ever thought of that before! Writing streaming software, designing a website, moderating forums, maintaining the infrastructure, and getting the word out about the website while financially supporting it yourself until you get enough ad revenue or user support is so damn simple, you'd be an idiot not to!

      Or they could get screwed over by Spotify, Pandora, Apple, Amazon, etc. while not getting anywhere near the same number of ears listening to their music that they'd get on YouTube.

      1. Tom 35 Silver badge

        Well they do clame to be independant.

        Next you will be saying that Sony and the other big music companies should be forced to give everyone the same deal.

        That guy that plays a great harmonica down in the subway is way better then Justin Beber so they should give him a contract and a fat advance too.

        1. Richard Jones 1
          Happy

          Re: Well they do clame to be independant.

          My daughter's dog can howl better than Justin Beber and she is house trained and does less damage to neighbour relations.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        They probably could develop a web site and have it paid for by labels, bands and fans. In return for a contribution would be a share of any profits when they start to come in, which would be funded by adverts, subscriptions, or the bands and labels themselves who would find themselves with a reasonably cheap way to promote themselves.

        I'd give them a few K of my dosh.

        1. Crazy Operations Guy Silver badge

          @ Anonymous Coward

          Why would the labels support a website when YouTube already exists and the contracts they are signing will give them a share of the ad revenue. It just doesn't make business sense to go with anything else and Google knows that, which is why they are able to put independents over a barrel like this.

          The reason everyone wants to use YouTube is that it has become the one-stop-shop for the great unwashed for music and videos, everything else might as well not exist.

      3. TTG

        If collectively they are as big as a major, then there is evidence of scale of demand. There are a lot of people with twatloads of cash who would claim to support the music industry, there's kickstarter, there's a huge base of fairly affluent middle-class fans of independent music, there are the likes of Bandcamp who are already doing things in that space. It's not an insane suggestion that they should tell Google to sling it, and make their own arrangements.

        Independent music has been telling 'the man' where to go for as long as there's been a man to tell.

        1. Lallabalalla

          Tell google to sling it?

          I thought the point was that they CAN'T do that, because Google will just allow world+dog to upload "unofficial" versions ("first and fast"):

          "Once you cannot upload your official versions, then you are dealing with endless crappy, low quality lyrics videos that are often monetized by someone else if not policed properly. And, usage patterns show that everyone goes to those videos if the official video isn’t uploaded fast and first."

          Read the article, at least!

      4. saundby

        Meanwhile, they'll be competing against their own material on Youtube, with someone else getting paid for uploading it there.

      5. keith_w Bronze badge

        you seem to have forgotten 1 important fact. People will still be uploading crappy ripped versions of the music to eviltube.

      6. bigtimehustler

        You just explained exactly why Google deserves to make so much of the money...none of that stuff is easy and they can't do it themselves.

    2. Squander Two

      > They do not have to sign.

      And indeed they are not signing. What's your point?

      > They could do their own music video site if they wanted.

      Did you not read the article? Google (having successfully persuade far too many governments to reverse the principle of copyright law) refuse to take down illegal content unless forced, and forcing them costs more money than the independents have. So, even if they did create a convincing competitor to Youtube, their legal content would be competing with Google's illegal content. Which would make monetising it fucking difficult, to say the least.

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
        Paris Hilton

        So, even if they did create a convincing competitor to Youtube, their legal content would be competing with Google's illegal content.

        Amazingly, this is exactly Big Music's old argument of "Imma being robbed blind by the Interwebs" from the 90s, just with different actors.

        1. Squander Two

          > Amazingly, this is exactly Big Music's old argument of "Imma being robbed blind by the Interwebs" from the 90s, just with different actors.

          Not quite. The music establishment refused to acknowledge that their technological monopoly had ended, and so did not only fight illegal downloads but also fiercely resisted any suggestion that they themselves might create legal downloads, on the grounds that a legal download was too easy to copy and distribute illegally. So they unwittingly actively helped create the market for illegal downloads by refusing to provide a legal alternative -- until Apple came along.

          In today's argument, the only thing the labels are doing that helps create the illegal market is charging anything at all for their products. They're not trying to restrict the types of media which their product may be released; they're just asking to be paid.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        > reverse the principle of copyright law

        Google have not reversed copyright law. It has always been the case that it is up to the rights holders to enforce their rights, not a third party.

        Google publishes content and makes the assumption that those publishing it have the rights to do so.

        As for the content ID system it has numerous problems. It has far to many false positives and it puts the burden of proof (that it isn't infringing) on those with the fewest resources - namely you and me. It also allows content providers to hijack ad revenue from legitimate uninfringing content.

        1. Squander Two

          > It has always been the case that it is up to the rights holders to enforce their rights, not a third party.

          It's impressive the job Google have done of persuading people of this -- and, indeed, of persuading people to regard them as a third party. As I pointed out in another thread, try asking Harper Collins to publish Casino Royale under your name and see how far you get. They won't just go ahead and publish it and wait till Ian Fleming's estate ask them to stop; they will assume that the onus is on them not to breach copyright. Because it is.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            > try asking Harper Collins to publish Casino Royale under your name and see how far you get.

            Completely different. Casino Royale is a well known work so Harper Collins wont publish it.

            Try instead digging out an obscure book that sold ten copies and ask Harper Collins to publish it. Or try including a couple pages from Casino Royale in your book. They will not search through the millions of works in print to see if it is a copy, instead they will publish it. It doesn't even have to be obscure, it only has to be a book the Harper Collins editors/proof readers, involved in your book, are not familiar with. They will make the assumption that you have the appropriate rights to the material.

            1. Squander Two

              > Completely different. Casino Royale is a well known work so Harper Collins wont publish it.

              > Try instead digging out an obscure book that sold ten copies and ask Harper Collins to publish it.

              Yes, there are cases where it is difficult for a publisher to detect copyright infringement, and I for one don't expect Google to somehow know whether the amusing cat video uploaded by Barry from Wolverhampton is really his to upload or was in fact nicked by Barry off his brother-in-law Dave's phone. However, you might have noticed that one of the indie artists involved in this spat is Adele. That's Adele, one of the biggest selling artists on the planet, who's done a Bond theme, whose face would be recognised by at least a billion people. So can you explain why you think her output is "completely different" from "well known work"?

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                A publisher like Harper Collins will have at least one person read a book before it is published. Google do not have that luxury so if somebody posts a song by "Adele" google does not know if it is a 3 year singing "Happy Birthday To You"* or Adele singing "Rolling in the Deep". If Adele, or the owner of Ian Flemmings copyrights, bring the infringement to the attention of Google, or Harper Collins, then they have to take action. It is the rights holders responsibility to protect their rights.

                * The 3 year old would be infringing copyright since the copyright on "Happy Birthday To You" does not expire until 2030 in the USA and 2017 in the EU even though it first appeared in print over 100 years ago.

                1. Squander Two

                  > A publisher like Harper Collins will have at least one person read a book before it is published. Google do not have that luxury

                  Luxury? What are you on about? It's not a luxury; it's a choice. All this boils down to is "Oo, it's very inconvenient for us to obey the law because Internet, so you need to let us off." One of the reasons Google is swimming in money is that they figured out that, where other companies were having to spend lots of money on all that tedious obeying-the-law crap, it was far cheaper to run a massive propaganda campaign to persuade people that obeying laws wasn't necessary for Google. They like to portray themselves as being in this unfortunate situation of it just being so damn difficult to follow the same laws and regulations as other companies because how can you possibly police gazillions of users, but, in fact, that should be their problem, not anyone else's. Imagine, for instance, that the BBC were to set up a system where you could upload your own videos and they'd be broadcast automatically on BBC3 (hey, anything would be an improvement). Would they just leave it unpoliced, wait for the shit to hit the fan, and then claim that the various broadcasting anti-obscenity laws didn't apply to them on this occasion because they can't possibly police users? No, obviously not: they would simply be expected by the law to police their users and would be punished if they didn't.

                  These contracts, though, put the lie to even Google's pretence: it's clear that they love monetizing their own refusal to police their users:

                  Under the terms of the published version of the contract, indies must promise not only to never sue Google - under a “Covenant Not To Sue” - but give immunity to punters who continue to upload the label's own material to YouTube's massively popular video service.

                  That's not "Oh dear, if only we could police our users"; that's "We will do whatever we can to stop even you policing our users for us."

                  Besides, as I said above, I have some sympathy for the genuinely difficult-to-enforce cases. Music videos aren't one of them. It would be a piece of piss to let every record label or artist have a unique login and refuse to allow any videos labelled "NEW ROLLING IN THE DEEP VIDEO WITH LYRICS" to be uploaded by anyone other than adelepavements1. But Google refuse to do so.

                  Finally, let's remember that Google did not build Youtube; they bought it, knowing full well that this very thing was a problem, as lots of people pointed out to them at the time. They have not ended up in this situation through misfortune; they have deliberately manoeuvred their way into it. Fuck 'em.

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    So you seriously believe that google should watch and listen to every video before its published? Do you have any idea on how much is published every day?

                    > "Oo, it's very inconvenient for us to obey the law because Internet, so you need to let us off."

                    They obey the law. If they are notified of copyright infringement they take it down.

                    > Imagine, for instance, that the BBC were to set up a system where you could upload your own videos and they'd be broadcast automatically on BBC3

                    Complete bollocks as an analogy as the BBC can broadcast, at most, 24 hours worth any given day whereas google can have hundreds of thousands of hours worth uploaded. Vetting 24 hours worth is trivial. Broadcast content also comes under different rules and regulations to internet content and this alone would prevent the BBC from doing this.

                    > These contracts, though, put the lie to even Google's pretence: it's clear that they love monetizing their own refusal to police their users:

                    Wanting to make money out of content and being required by law to vet the content are two entirely different things.

                    That interpretation of the covenant not to sue clause is simply wrong. The covenant exists for the term of the contract, not forever. They only agree not to sue users for infringing rights that they have already granted to google. Google will also make their content identification system available to them,

                    > refuse to allow any videos labelled "NEW ROLLING IN THE DEEP VIDEO WITH LYRICS"

                    Why should they refuse it? There are numerous videos on google with "Rolling in the Deep" in the title that are parodies of Adele's version. Why should google block these artists from publishing their own work just because it is a parody of Adele's song? Why should Adele get priority over these artists?

                    Google are not required by law to hunt down copyright infringement and block it, it is up to the copyright holders to protect their copyrights.

                    1. Squander Two

                      > So you seriously believe that google should watch and listen to every video before its published?

                      No, I believe that how Google identify copyright infringement should be Google's problem. Companies develop tech with legal problems all the time. Solving the legal problems is their responsibility. It's a shame when some small business gets screwed by excessive red tape, but this is the opposite: a case of one of the world's biggest businesses foisting their red tape onto much smaller businesses.

                      > They obey the law. If they are notified of copyright infringement they take it down.

                      They obey the law that they successfully lobbied governments to write. Which is my point.

                      > Complete bollocks as an analogy as the BBC can broadcast, at most, 24 hours worth any given day whereas google can have hundreds of thousands of hours worth uploaded.

                      Since the BBC have a website and media player, I'm not convinced that's true. But that wasn't my point anyway. My point is that a broadcaster, when developing new technologies and business plans, will incorporate the question "How do we obey the law?" into their planning. Google instead ask "The law is inconvenient to our business plan. How do we get it changed?" There's been quite a lot of coverage on El Reg of their ideological infiltration of the Intellectual Property Office. Have you not read it?

                      > google can have hundreds of thousands of hours worth uploaded. Vetting 24 hours worth is trivial.

                      Again, if Google's business plan is inconvenient to them, that is Google's problem. But I don't think you're following your own logic here. If it's impossible for Google to police Youtube, it is also impossible for any other firm to do it. And, in fact, thanks to Google's lobbying, copyright owners aren't just expected to police Youtube but to police the entire Internet. Your argument is that Google shouldn't be required to do something because it's too difficult, but you're simultaneously arguing that everyone else should therefore be required to do something even more difficult. All that boils down to is "Google's business plan trumps everyone else's." Why should it?

                      > Broadcast content also comes under different rules and regulations to internet content and this alone would prevent the BBC from doing this.

                      What? You're saying the BBC wouldn't do certain things even if they could due to their understanding that the law trumps their business plan? Why, yes, you're right. Are you even listening to yourself?

                      > Google will also make their content identification system available to them

                      Which is it? Is it technologically impossible for Google to vet content or do they have a content identification system?

                      Hey, even if they don't, they could buy Shazam. Identifying songs automatically isn't even new tech any more.

                      > Why should they refuse it? There are numerous videos on google with "Rolling in the Deep" in the title that are parodies of Adele's version. Why should google block these artists from publishing their own work just because it is a parody of Adele's song? Why should Adele get priority over these artists?

                      The example I gave didn't just have "Rolling in the Deep" somewhere in the title; it was clearly titled to imply that it's the real original song. How about a pop-up message saying "The title you have provided is that of a copyright work owned by someone else. If your video is a parody, please start its title with the words "Parody of"."? Since "ROLLING IN THE DEEP BY ADELE" generates far more ad revenue than "PARODY OF ROLLING IN THE DEEP WITH ADDED SQUIRRELS" and no-one clicks on the latter hoping for the former, that would pretty much solve the problem.

                      > Google are not required by law to hunt down copyright infringement and block it, it is up to the copyright holders to protect their copyrights.

                      Look, this all started with the books. Before Google did it, it was unequivocally illegal for you to scan a copy of Consider Phlebas and put it online. Neither Iain Banks nor his publishers were obliged to police the entire Internet and track you down and ask you to stop. Google then decided to scan every book they could get their hands on just because they could. This wasn't a case of third-party users uploading books to a Google server; Google were doing it themselves. They could have opted to spend a bit of money on checking the copyright status of each book -- hey, it's easy: it's printed on page one. But that was inconvenient to them, not because it was prohibitively difficult, but because they didn't want to acknowledge that they knew full well that their plan was plainly illegal. This was the point at which they announced their lovely scheme of "Hey, don't worry: if you see that we're breaking the law, just tell us, and we'll stop. But only if you tell us. In writing. Don't be evil, now!" It is sad that they successfully persuaded government and law enforcement to go along with this farce, and it's sad that they've now persuaded people like you that that's the way it's always been. And now they've persuaded you that it has to be that way because policing Youtube is difficult.

                      Here's a thing. If I make a load of knock-off copies of OK Computer and sell them down the market, is it Radiohead's responsibility to find me and ask me to stop, or will the police arrest me if they see me?

                      1. Anonymous Coward
                        Anonymous Coward

                        It has always been the case (even pre-internet) that it is up to the rights holders to enforce their rights. Even in the case of books. Content providers (eg. book publishers) have a duty to act upon infringement that is brought to their attention by the rights holders.

                        Lets pretend Adele has written a follow-on song called Barrelling In The Chasm (BITCH) and the notorious pirate Squander One Baddie (SOB) is going to pirate it.

                        Scenario 1: BITCH is released on DVD and SOB uploads it to YouTube. Adele can sue SOB. The contract with Google allows it since Adele has not yet granted Google the rights to host BITCH.

                        Scenario 2: BITCH is released on YouTube by Adele and SOB also uploads it to YouTube. Adele has granted Google the rights to host BITCH so under the contract terms can not sue SOB. She can, however, inform Google of the copyright infringement and Google will take it down.

                        Scenario 3: Adele enters BITCH into Google's Content Identification system, which is free under the terms of the contract. BITCH is released (DVD or YouTube) and SOB uploads it to YouTube. YouTube will now automatically do whatever it is that Adele has told it to do via the Content Identification System. This could be: add a copyright notice to the start of the uploaded video, block the uploaded video, divert the ad revenue stream to Adele, ignore it etc. The decision as to what to do is Adele's as the rights holder, not Google's.

                        In all of the above it is Adele who pursues and protects her copyrights, not Google. All Google have done is provide her with the tools.

                        > Here's a thing. If I make a load of knock-off copies of OK Computer and sell them down the market, is it Radiohead's responsibility to find me and ask me to stop, or will the police arrest me if they see me?

                        Will the police arrest you or the owner of the market that you are using to sell the magazines?

                        Is you you, who copied it, or the owner of the market, who let you run a stall, who is infringing?

                        Should the owner of the market be required to inspect everything that the stall holders are selling before they sell it?

                        1. Squander Two

                          > It has always been the case (even pre-internet) that it is up to the rights holders to enforce their rights. Even in the case of books.

                          I suggest you talk to an author. They will be able to describe to you the massive pain in their arse that is now a regular feature of their life and barely existed pre-Google.

                          > Will the police arrest you or the owner of the market that you are using to sell the magazines?

                          Er, firstly, you do know OK Computer isn't a magazine, right?

                          That aside, it depends. If the market is a known den of illegal goods and the police come to suspect that the market owner knows about all the illegal activity and is not taking any measures to try to discourage it, or is even encouraging it, then yes, they will try to build a case against them and arrest them.

                          Oh, look! Google's business plan is built on monetizing illegal content, and they know that, and they pour resources into resisting attempts to get them to discourage it.

                          1. Anonymous Coward
                            Anonymous Coward

                            > I suggest you talk to an author. They will be able to describe to you the massive pain in their arse that is now a regular feature of their life and barely existed pre-Google.

                            Google makes it easier for the author to publish their works and get it distributed. This ease of use also means the author might have to do more work in protecting his work. Swings and roundabouts. No gain without pain etc etc.

                            > If the market is a known den of illegal goods and the police come to suspect that the market owner knows about all the illegal activity and is not taking any measures to try to discourage it, or is even encouraging it, then yes, they will try to build a case against them and arrest them.

                            So you mean if the market owner didn't ban people who repeatedly offended, didn't provide ways of reporting the illegal activity and didn't have 99% of the other stall holders behaving perfectly legally then the police might try and build a case? Sounds like Google is in the clear then.

                            1. Anonymous Coward
                              Anonymous Coward

                              So you mean if the market owner didn't ban people who repeatedly offended, didn't provide ways of reporting the illegal activity and didn't have 99% of the other stall holders behaving perfectly legally then the police might try and build a case? Sounds like Google is in the clear then.

                              What he is saying is that an entity that is structured in a way to support illegal activity instead of making it clear from the outset that that isn't tolerated could indeed be considered complicit in that activity and get thus rightly in trouble with law enforcement. And, to be frank, I personally think Google is well beyond the point where it can say "oops, that's not what we intended" - from everything I have seen so far (and that includes how they treat people's right to privacy), Google seems to operate on the principle that as long as it gets away with something it can claim it is legal, and as soon as it gets called to pay attention to the law it prefer to roll out lobbyists and try every kind of blackmail it can think of to get from underneath compliance. But actually following laws seems not to be part of the business model - "fuck society and its rules, give us the money" seems to be the prevailing attitude.

                              As far as I'm concerned, Google got out of control quite a while back. They are presently competing with tobacco companies and Monsanto for the top slot of global evilness, but they are much slicker going about it, partly because they actually control the information you can gather.

                            2. Squander Two

                              > Google makes it easier for the author to publish their works and get it distributed. This ease of use also means the author might have to do more work in protecting his work.

                              What complete bollocks. Here's a description of the process by the great Michael Marshall Smith. I started reading his books before Google were invented, so I hardly think they've made it easier for him to get published.

                              1. Anonymous Coward
                                Anonymous Coward

                                WTF does that have to do with anything?

                                Are you trying to say that Google is evil because a site called ebookr.com ripped off your favourite author and Google did nothing about it?

                                Are you trying to say that Google should have issued a take down notice on behalf of MMS?

                                Are you trying to say that an author having to send an email with details of the infringement is far to onerous a task for them to do?

                                1. Squander Two

                                  Can't you read or something? What I've pointed out, repeatedly and correctly, is that Google lobbied hard for the DMCA to be worded the way it is, and that the DMCA makes life very easy for copyright infringers and much harder for copyright owners.

                                  > Are you trying to say that an author having to send an email with details of the infringement is far to onerous a task for them to do?

                                  The onerosity of the task is surely something to be judged by the author. However, what you have repeatedly claimed is that there has been no change, that the principle of copyright law is exactly the same as it's always been. The fact is, MMS didn't have to do this before, and now he does. And so do other authors. That is what we in the reality trade call a "change".

                                  1. Anonymous Coward
                                    Anonymous Coward

                                    > However, what you have repeatedly claimed is that there has been no change, that the principle of copyright law is exactly the same as it's always been.

                                    What I have repeatedly claimed is that the onus has always been on the copyright holder to assert their rights, not on any third party to assert them for them. The DMCA has not changed this.

                                    > the DMCA makes life very easy for copyright infringers and much harder for copyright owners.

                                    > The fact is, MMS didn't have to do this before, and now he does. And so do other authors.

                                    Pre DMCA the copyright holder would have to go to a lawyer who then goes to a court and obtains a court order instructing the site to remove the offending material. The site could appeal and leave the material up while the appeal is heard. It was expensive, cumbersome and time consuming.

                                    Post DMCA the author sends an email. The site must take down the content even if it appeals.

                                    Hmm, I can see how the DMCA has made life so difficult.

                                    > Google lobbied hard for the DMCA to be worded the way it is

                                    Google was founded September 4, 1998 and the DMCA was passed October 12, 1998 which gave Google precisely 38 days to lobby. Prior to that it existed as a research project at Stanford University in California. I doubt they had either the time or resources to lobby for anything in 1998.

                  2. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    One of the reasons Google is swimming in money is that they figured out that, where other companies were having to spend lots of money on all that tedious obeying-the-law crap, it was far cheaper to run a massive propaganda campaign to persuade people that obeying laws wasn't necessary for Google. They like to portray themselves as being in this unfortunate situation of it just being so damn difficult to follow the same laws and regulations as other companies because how can you possibly police gazillions of users, but, in fact, that should be their problem, not anyone else's.

                    Well formulated.

    3. Zarko

      > They do not have to sign.

      Or, Google could make their own music! After a day of coding in Mountain View, go to a studio and record some music.

  3. Crazy Operations Guy Silver badge

    Must suck to be an musician in these days...

    Either get pushed around by a major label or pushed around by Google and all the other streaming and distribution companies...

    That is on top of the problem of indie music where you have to differentiate yourself from all the bland hipster crap out there also labeling themselves as 'Indie'. I've heard quite a few good ones, but have been overwhelmed by the sheer number of terrible bands.

    1. qwertyuiop
      Facepalm

      Re: Must suck to be an musician in these days...

      "That is on top of the problem of music where you have to differentiate yourself from all the bland crap out there. I've heard quite a few good bands, but have been overwhelmed by the sheer number of terrible bands."

      There FTFY.

      "Indie" doesn't have a monopoly on pretentious bands/fans or on bad bands either.

      1. thomas k.

        Re: Must suck to be an musician in these days...

        "That is on top of the problem of music where you have to differentiate yourself from all the bland crap out there. I've heard quite a few good bands, but have been overwhelmed by the sheer number of terrible bands."

        This problem extends to classical music as well, although it's usually the fault of the conductors rather than the bands (one can easily forgive some performance lapses if the interpretation is alive and vibrant).

        Never ceases to amaze me that the same piece of music can be electrifying in the hands of one conductor and totally lifeless in another's (and others can encompass either extreme, depending on their mood - looking at you, Karajan).

    2. Squander Two

      Re: Must suck to be an musician in these days...

      Speaking as someone who once signed a record deal, I am flabbergasted by how bad it's got. We thought record companies were bad -- indeed, they were bad -- but they are sweet cuddly bunnies compared to the Internet Bastards.

      1. Sander van der Wal

        Re: Must suck to be an musician in these days...

        Lots of people wanting to make music and very few people being able to create attention for that music. Supply and demand.

        The only way to get rid if that is to stop making music. Or be so good that everybody wants to listen to you so you can be The Man.

      2. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: Must suck to be an musician in these days...

        "We thought record companies were bad -- indeed, they were bad "

        The real badness was moderated by a bunch of legal actions 50+ years ago.

        Google isn't as bad as the labels used to be, but it needs to be slapped into shape by the FTC and EU equivalents.

    3. Law

      Re: Must suck to be an musician in these days...

      "Must suck to be an musician in these days...

      Either get pushed around by a major label or pushed around by Google and all the other streaming and distribution companies..."

      On the plus side, at least they aren't writing software for a living.

      Did you not get the memo about putting the coversheet on the TPS reports? :'(

    4. Phil_Evans

      Re: Must suck to be an musician in these days...

      Agree entirely. 'Indie' is a word I associate with a bit of 'take-me-or-leave-me-anti-establishment-notquiteintune' as a genre. As such "It's a contract so bad that you would never sign it in normal circumstances. But Google has a gun to your head," doesn't sound very 'indie' to me. It sounds like indie-principles, me-too revenues.

    5. This post has been deleted by its author

    6. SVV Silver badge

      Re: Must suck to be an musician in these days...

      Actually, I can never recall it being a better time, as an aging indie musician for the past 25 years or so.

      Really affordable high quality digital recording equipment / software enabling you to produce way higher quality recordings than would have been possible back in the old days (and at a tiny fraction of the cost it was then). A fairly thriving small pub / bar venue scene to play live in. Of course, I've never done it for the money, but playing live generally tends to pay enough to cover the costs of maintaining a band. And it's so much fun that it's well worth the effort. As I posted a few days ago, the indies should just tell them where to stick it and set up their own service (and cater for unsigned stuff too with fair terms and coditions). It would soon catch on and get the support of most big music fans.

      BTW, I never ever got paid for singles I played on or co-wrote songs for back in the old days - the business side of small labels was often very shabby, but hey. I got to make records (and get up to all sorts of other fun too)

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Yahoo is about to launch their video website

    They got a good opportunity right now to do the right thing.

    1. xperroni
      Paris Hilton

      Re: Yahoo is about to launch their video website

      [Yahoo] got a good opportunity right now to do the right thing.

      So the future of independent music rests on My Little Pony Marissa Meyer's Yahoo! not fscking up?

      We're all gonna die.

  5. ratfox Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    Content ID

    In theory Google has a content ID system that could block the unlicensed uploads - but nobody can compel it to use the system

    Huh? Is that a claim that Google is not taking down videos through Content ID?? That I remember, most of the complaints about that system is overflagging videos for content that should be in the public domain, or is not even owned by the claiming entity. I have never heard of content producers complaining that the Content ID system is not working… And God knows they know how to complain when they feel like it.

    1. Will Godfrey Silver badge

      Re: Content ID

      It works just fine for the big 3 who have a 'special arrangement' with Google and an automated scatter-gun that nukes everything including lots of stuff they have no rights to at all.

      ... but for the indies? Nothing.

      1. ratfox Silver badge
        Stop

        Re: Content ID

        Sorry, this is FUD.

        Content ID is not just for the big 3 who have a special arrangement. If you'll remember, one of the famous cases of over-flagging was a NASA video removed because some outfit called Scripps Local News was claiming to own the copyright. They're not in the big 3 of anything.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Content ID

          I've uploaded a video to Youtube with a soundtrack from a DJ Shadow track. No problems, no content ID notification, nothing.

          1. Alan Brown Silver badge

            Re: Content ID

            "I've uploaded a video to Youtube with a soundtrack from a DJ Shadow track. No problems, no content ID notification, nothing."

            OTOH stuff automatically uploaded by dashcams is being flagged and hit because of car radios playing in the background.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Content ID

            It wont work if the person hasn't submitted information to the content id system. Plenty of super minor individuals have managed to make it work for them (including minor companies that do digital music batches for use in indie game/content development)

  6. Daggerchild Silver badge

    Scalpel, chainsaw, or flamethrower?

    Any Googelians able to define the dimensions of this tumour? I notice this Youtube top bod is an ex-Netflix creature. Wonder what the morale readings are in the engine rooms right now.

    Now we just need a leak of the terms offered to the big boys for comparison. I suspect they'll be rather chummy if my guess is correct.

    Apart from some code, bandwidth and storage, what do you need to startup a video site these days?

  7. JLV Silver badge

    An opportunity to vote with your wallet...

    and not sign up for YouTube's premium pay-for music channel.

    Not even a great sacrifice for me. Far as I am concerned, minus the independents, I am left with what? Biebers, Celines and Beyonces?

    Thanks, but no thanks.

    On the other hand, I could see ponying up $5-8/mo a la Netflix, if they did carry good artists and did not screw them. Although, to pay that much, I'd prefer to have an audio-only component as well.

    Vimeo should jump on this opportunity.

    1. Babbit55

      Re: An opportunity to vote with your wallet...

      Actually aren't they all signed to "Indie" record labels? I think Dion and Byonce may have been with Sony for a time though left for Columbia and Beiber is on Jay Z's is he not?

      So you wouldn't get those 3. You would be left largely with older records and manufactured bands for those labels.

  8. Oh Homer
    Headmaster

    Author retains copyright

    Having read the contract, it's clearly a far better deal than would be offered by Universal, Warner or Sony, all of which would assume copyright ownership of the material in question, unlike Google:

    2. LICENSE.

    a. Provider Content License. Provider grants to Google a non-exclusive, limited right and license to host, cache, route, index, transmit, store, copy, [etc.]

    ...

    g. Reservation of Rights. Except for the licenses granted hereunder: (i) as between Google and Provider, all rights, title and interests (including all intellectual property rights) in and to the Provider Content, Reference Files, ID Files (created by Provider and furnished to Google by Provider), Provider Brand Features, and Provider cover art and associated materials furnished to Google by Provider will remain with Provider in accordance with and subject to applicable law

    Sorry, but I'm having a hard time seeing how this can possibly be worse than completely losing title to your own property, as would be the case with any other music publisher.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Author retains copyright

      Because unlike a major, they still "take" your music and "sell" it, even if you don't want them to. Something even the majors don't do.

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: Author retains copyright

        'Because unlike a major, they still "take" your music and "sell" it, even if you don't want them to. Something even the majors don't do.'

        And this is different to a commercial radio station..... how?

        This should be about airtime royalties, and not in the stupid greedy way that RIAA/APRA and others tried to screw over web radio stations last time round.

    2. Kristian Walsh

      Re: Author retains copyright

      "Sorry, but I'm having a hard time seeing how this can possibly be worse "

      Different contracts for different purposes. Google are not publishing the music, they are merely requesting the right to play it to its customers. If nobody listens, then they don't pay a cent.

      A record-company contract (big or small) would be for production and publication, where the record company takes on the costs of turning your music into a saleable product (usually that involves recording and production, sometimes just production), and then promoting and delivering it to a market. In this case, the risk of loss is higher for the record company, so the potential reward is split more towards them: If nobody listens, the record company has lost all the money they spent to produce and promote the music.

      "completely losing title to your own property"

      Er, no. In a normal record deal, you keep the music copyright, the record company gets the recording copyright but shares proceeds of the the recording sales with you.

      The dispute has always been how big that share is and how long it lasts, but the other side of the argument from the record companies is that it's not cheap to produce a record (instrumental electronica aside, you still need a studio, and competent studio techs to produce anything decent), and there's no guarantee that it'll ever recoup its costs.

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: Author retains copyright

        In a normal record deal, you keep the music copyright, the record company gets the recording copyright but shares a fraction of the proceeds of the the recording sales with you, after charging you the full cost of recording, production, manufacture, distribution and promotion, plus interest.

        There, FTFY.

    3. Squander Two

      Re: Author retains copyright

      Would the relevant comparison be to a publisher or to a broadcaster, though?

  9. bex

    All we have got from the useless EU is the unnecessary in 2014 M$ confusing to users browser choice BS, it's quickly coming scrap and replace time

  10. Fluffy Bunny
    Facepalm

    Why would you...

    Why would you pay good money for something you can download completely legally off the existing YouTube? Are you suggesting that YouTube isn't showing all this copyrighted material legally?

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Unhappy

    Google....

    The new Microsoft...who were the new IBM....who were the new Bell.....

    As soon as a company gets to large, it thinks it can shit on everyone.

    Time for Europe to step in a slap it down with a multi-billion euro fine....lets face it, the yanks won't.

  12. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    Covenant Not To Sue

    Any contract that includes such an item is something to be treated with the greatest suspicion.

    Besides, is a clause like that legal in any way ? I don't think so.

    But of course, if you do go and sue, Google will suddenly have a malfunction whereby all your stuff is immediately removed from YouTube and, oops, sorry, we lost it permanently, honest.

    I've got the feeling that if Google leaves the copyright to the indies it is only because it has no need to care about that detail, since anything legal on YouTube has a dozen illegal copies posted right alongside it and those are what makes its money pile bigger.

    1. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: Covenant Not To Sue

      Dunno about you, but I make extensive use of adblock pro / noscript and others.

      People might be making money of ad revenue on illegally uploaded videos on Yourtube, but they're not making that money on MY views.

      If more people did that, there would be less incentive for the illegal uploads in the first place

      FWIW, most uploaders do it because the material isn't there in the first place and don't care about the ad revenue. The ones doing it to benefit from ad revenue when the artist's official channel is there should be hung over a pot of boiling oil for a while. This is about systematic copyright abuse by a few entities for personal gain (a criminal act in most jurisdictions), not Joe Schmo uploading his fave tracks becauise he loves the music.

  13. You Are Not Free

    Hey, if you choose to use their platform. Then you choose to use their platform, part of which is a requirement to agree to their terms and do things their way.

    Personally, I think Google is now a very creepy and untrustworthy organisation but if someone is hell bent on trying to make money through their online platform then they will have to bitch themselves out first so Google can take everything they can. Like it or not, that's the truth, the only people that will ever change that situation is Google themselves. Legal, lawful, illegal, it doesn't matter, they will do what they want one way or another. People should wake up and consider their choices and who they do business with.

  14. Zombieman
    Thumb Up

    Nice pic used to feature/highlight the story

    Full marks to whoever at El Reg chose a still from Emma Blackery's song about Google+ for this post in the "top story" area...

  15. FuzzyTheBear
    Joke

    Attorneys or cyanide anyone ?

    Man , what a document !.. anyone reading through that is either desperate for punishment or an attorney.

    What a pain ! I'm more confused now that after spending a half hour tumbling in a dryer .

    Congratulations to anyone finishing that document , i'd rather enjoy a capsule of cyanide. :)

  16. Mr. Flibble
    Thumb Down

    "Convenant not to sue" worse than just the headline

    "Page" 15:

    "Provider covenants for itself and respective agents and representatives not to.... directly or indirectly support, assist, fund, lend resources to, or otherwise participate in any litigation...... alleging any form of copyright infringement arising from Google's exploitation of the rights licensed by the provider....."

    So it's specifically about copyright infringement, not any other part of the contract, but still, it means if one of your mates (or a group you are member of) has a beef about it, u can't even help...

  17. earl grey Silver badge
    WTF?

    i would put my indie stuff on porntube first

    Considering there IS a group working for the indies, i would expect them to get their act together and put up indietube.com ® and go to town with it.

  18. Stretch

    Sigh.

    Again, to be clear:

    You have absolutely no right to be paid. Just get that out of your heads. Otherwise I'm going to brute force copyright every combination and permutation of notes, letters and bloody 1s and 0s.

    If you want to be paid, you work on commissioned work, on a contract, and get paid up front. Everything else is wishful thinking.

  19. David 138

    Why don't they just stand together an let Google remove all indie music? They could form some kind of giant label with massive bargaining power........No that would be a silly idea.

    More companies should protect against exclusive\timed contracts. Spotify is already screwing the streaming service with exclusives. Soon we will have to have 20 different streaming services at £5 a month before we can listen\watch even a small selection of music. The music industry is slowly pushing itself back into piracy by making it too difficult to get hold of their music.

  20. Lallabalalla
    FAIL

    Google shot in foot?

    Isn't there a case for telling Google to shove it, and then uploading your own "bootleg" "unofficial" versions "fast and first" anyway, from some proxy name and address? Huh?

  21. Xenobyte
    Stop

    Windowing must go

    Whatever it's called, that window of pre-release exclusivity for radio stations and similar, must go. It is one of the primary causes of piracy.

    Before the Internet, it went like this: You turn on the radio and hear a new awesome song. You note the band and the title and go to your local record store and ask for it. No, it's not out yet. You go home and next day the song is playing again. Now you want it even more and go to the record store again. Nope, still not out. The you hear it again on the radio and want it still more. Again to the record store. Nope, not yet. This repeats until suddenly the record store has it and you buy it and run home to enjoy it.

    Now it goes like this: You turn on your radio and hear a new awesome song. You note the band and the title and log on to your favorite search engine. A quick search later you find several places where you can preorder the song but realize it won't be out for a month. Right next to these offers you see dozens of links to places where you can simply click to download right now. No charge. You click on one and have the song a few minutes later. It's illegal but you don't care. They wouldn't sell it to you so it's their fault you had to steal it. Now you can listen to it whenever you want. A month later when everybody can buy the song legally, nobody does because they already have the song and they've listened to it so much they really don't care about it anymore.

    1. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: Windowing must go

      The "windowing" I referred to here is being able to choose which distribution channel gets the new tracks and when. In music, I think long lead times for radio disappeared ages ago. The tracks are released on iTunes and Amazon etc within a day or two - only journalists get to hear them earlier. It doesn't make sense for The Black Keys to put their albums on Spotify, if you were The Black Keys, neither would you. And there is no excuse for not paying for something if you want it - other than being an unethical cheapskate :)

      So many good posts in your posting history Xenobyte, but on this you have a real blind spot.

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