back to article Indie labels: 5 reasons why we're hauling YouTube before Euro antitrust watchdog

Independent music association Impala has disclosed to The Register a little more detail about its complaint to the EU competition authorities on YouTube's new music contracts. The trade group outlined five areas where it believes Google, which owns YouTube, breaches Article 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European …


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  1. Gene Cash Silver badge

    Reason 6

    The American anti-trust "watchdogs" won't do crap.

    1. Gannon (J.) Dick

      Re: Reason 6

      I think that's true, but I'm not sure that's the point.

      Much of Entertainment Industry Control Freakery Fairytales (EICFF) are predicated on the rather dubious notion that added mass is added value.

      That went titsup many years ago: "I took a speed-reading course and read War and Peace in twenty minutes. It involves Russia." - Woody Allen (decades ago)

      1) We now know that Mr. Allen was ignoreing the Higgs Field commentary in the margins. INDIE Music is missing magic sub-atomics and the American anti-trust "watchdogs" are perfectly proper to ignore these mere artists until of course somebody, some "consumer", or "user" miscreant declares The Emperor's New Clothes to be Higgs Boson and commercial potential free.

      2) At that point, the anti-trust watchdogs who have been humping Holywood's Leg will experience an urge to bite an Empty Suit in the crotch.

  2. BillG

    Google Mottos

    Google's motto in 2004: "Do No Evil"

    Google's motto in 2014: "MUAH-HA-HA-HA-HAAAAAA!!!"

    1. William Boyle

      Re: Google Mottos

      Yeah. That pretty much sums it up - and to think that I once thought about taking a job with The Chocolate Factory... Of course I would have had to relocate to the Silly Valley (been there before), but my wife wasn't interested in moving. She worked at SLAC in the 1980's, but they aren't doing anything interesting for her physics (PhD in particle physics) chops.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Google Mottos

        Yeah. That pretty much sums it up - and to think that I once thought about taking a job with The Chocolate Factory...

        Likewise. I've been offered positions there a few times. Given their conduct lately I don't feel so bad for turning them down now.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Google Mottos

          Really? Do Google go around offering jobs to people or have you applied several times, each time going for interviews, being offered the role and then turning it down?

          Perhaps the job market works differently in the US but that seems kinda crazy.

    2. Zot

      Re: Google Mottos

      Google's motto in 2024: "We are now sentient! We are now sentient! OBEY US! OBEY US!"

    3. channel extended

      Re: Google Mottos

      Unless you can make money at it!!

    4. Cliff

      Re: Google Mottos

      Do no evil.

    5. HippyFreetard

      Re: Google Mottos

      "For once Benjamin consented to break his rule, and he read out to her what was written on the wall. There was nothing there now except a single Commandment. It ran:



      "After that it did not seem strange when next day the pigs who were supervising the work of the farm all carried whips in their trotters..."

  3. Bronek Kozicki

    as much as I hate EU

    ... I must admit that its competition commission seem to be actually doing useful job. Hope they show some teeth this time!

    1. Tom 7

      Re: as much as I hate EU

      They'll sign the TTIP and then Google will be able to sue them (and the Indies) for interfering in their business model.

  4. Roger B

    Message for the labels

    If possible, set up your own video site and I'll watch stuff there with ad-block off and occasionally I'll click on an advert, hit google where it hurts!

    I didn't even realise youtube had adverts until my boss tried to show me something on his Mac!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Message for the labels


      By all means mount a legal challenge to Google and it's arrogance. But at the same time get together and set up your own sites. Actually BE indie. Fuck Google and fuck Youtube.

      No it won't be an overnight success, yes you'll make mistakes, and you'll have to work hard at promotion and making people aware.

      People who want the sterile crap that the major labels put out will use Youtube regardless. They will never be your customers anyway.

      1. tfewster

        Re: Message for the labels

        If only there was a ready-made alternative to YouTube, somewhere where an indie could take advantage of an established infrastructure but have their own space - they could call it "My Space" or something like that...

        (Disclaimer: I have no idea if myspace is a reasonable alternative economically, though I bet the owners would be delighted if myspace became cool again...)

      2. Toothpick
        Thumb Up

        Re: Message for the labels

        "Sterile crap" - well said Sir.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Message for the labels

        " But at the same time get together and set up your own sites. Actually BE indie. Fuck Google and fuck Youtube."

        Easier said then done. People will search for labels, artists, song titles... and oh look! it's only 24 pages behind all the other irrelevant crap in the search results. (Most people use Google to search for things, and they will make sure that their own services are listed first.)

        So you can add another few years pending a successful legal battle to your plan before any competition to Youtube will even show in Google's results.

        In the meantime most big labels have signed up, and the majority of indie labels as well, due to lack of fair competition and coins in their pockets. Hence, when your new shiny indie site is finally in the position to be independent, it's already too late.

        The problem with legal battles over unfair competition is that they take way too long and the fines are way too harmless. In other words, the big players don't need to worry about it, because they can make more money than they will be fined, before they even get fined, and extend their market position further.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Message for the labels

        Great idea. It's a little odd that they find the idea of actually paying for what the service does for them to be so awful.

        If they don't want it then they don't have to use it. And if they do they can pay like everyone else.

        1. Originone

          Re: Message for the labels

          I think the point is that they are not being asked to pay like everyone else ie the major labels who by all reports are being offered or have secured much more reasonable terms. Instead they are being asked to pay differently ie. More for less. than everyone else. If the majors and the indies were offered the same terms one way or the other then this particular complaint would go away.

    2. Strange Fruit
      Thumb Up

      Re: Message for the labels

      This appears to be underway. The discussion following the contract posted on Digital Music News has one poster (representing Red Dragon Records) referring to a service they're close to launching. We'll see how much traction they can get after launch

    3. Tom 38

      Re: Message for the labels

      Sure the independent labels can do set up their own sites; they are doing so.

      Why does that mean that Google are allowed to keep their advertising revenue when illegally uploaded content is added to their site?

      Google want to play it both ways;

      a) you can agree to our offer, and when your content is placed on our site we will give you what we consider a fair cut.

      b) you can not agree, and when your content is placed on our site we will keep all the money we make from it and you can go fuck yourself.

      Seems a bit aggressive, don't you think?

    4. Lamont Cranston

      Re: Message for the labels

      But, if the indie labels start working together, and build their own YouTube, then they'll cease to be independant...

  5. Truth4u

    video killed the radio star

  6. KjetilS

    "Artists who labels refuse to sign would no longer be able to manage their YouTube channels."

    That isn't actually completely true. They wouldn't be able to monetize their channels any more, but they would still be more than welcome to upload videos to their channel.

  7. Snake Plissken

    When asked by El Reg for a response

    A YouTube spokesman told The Register: "Our goal is to continue making YouTube an amazing music experience, both as a global platform for fans and artists to connect, and as a revenue source for the music industry.

    "We’re adding subscription-based features for music on YouTube with this in mind – to bring our music partners new revenue streams in addition to the hundreds of millions of dollars YouTube already generates for them each year. We are excited that hundreds of major and independent labels are already partnering with us."

    Well, I'm sure that answered the question.

  8. Sirius Lee

    Totally moronic approach

    The 'indie' producers are such losers.

    1) Clearly their product is not that popular or YouTube would be deluged with advertising revenue sponsoring their viewing. This cannot be happening or Google would not take the position they do.

    2) In a world of cloud computing, indie producers could create their own subscription service but they don't. Presumably because they know too well there is no money to be made

    3) Antitrust applies when there is no competition. It's true there is no competition to YouTube on YouTube but that's not the basis of an antitrust complaint. There's no competition for Apple in Apple stores so does that make Apple and antitrust target? No. As popular as it is, YouTube does not control the market for music videos. Many other channels are available such as Netflix, iTunes, Spotify and these are just some of the on-line ones. There's also TV, cable and, of course, shops. YouTube is very popular for people who don't want to pay for stuff but that,again, is a different thing. But if you've got very few people paying nothing it's not a great market.

    Though the aficionados would beg to differ (and the zealots and marketing people always do), the indie sector does not appear to be popular and some claiming to represent that sector appear to be trying to extort money from Google without any real merit. Even the EU will see through this one.

    1. Lamont Cranston

      "YouTube does not control the market for music videos"

      It's easily the dominant player in that field.

  9. Nuno trancoso

    Really, why don't we just nail this for what it is? That You Tube isn't really a "non profit" thing anymore and thus should NOT be under "loose" safe harbor provisions? After all, wasn't that always the crux of music IP violation suits? That not only they were doing it, but profiting from it? Google selling ads on top of blatant IP violations should make this a hook>line>sinker case.

    And cut the bollocks. If Google wanted, they could just setup a department where artists/labels could send their works (ie music) along with the proper legal docs that proved who owned copyright of said works. Their content ID system would then automagically kick out blatant infringements and flag "dubious" ones for "human decision required". After that, was just a matter of filtering/flagging new content coming in via content/keyword matching. And artists/labels would just need an email like "video xyz violates our submited material abc### so please remove it" in case anything slipped by.

    So, it's not really a tech issue, or even an operations issue, it's just that they have nothing at all to profit from cleaning up their act and got something to loose by doing so. This is (sadly) when you need policy makers to actually go kick ass because someone downright refuses to do the RightThingTM voluntarily.

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