Posted March 17, 2009 7:49 am by with 10 comments

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I’ve never been much of a BitTorrent user–I’d have to pull up Wikipedia to give you a decent explanation–but I do know that the music industry has long hated the practice of downloading music without a single royalty being paid.

Enter Google; the owner of YouTube, the world’s largest BitTorrent host.

I know, I know, YouTube’s not exactly a BitTorrent, but it’s annoying the heck out of the music industry by allowing music to be downloaded for free–with little making it back to the music companies in the form of royalties.

How little? Consider the juvenile web practice of RickRolling. Users post links to what appear to be legitimate web sites but instead the user winds up on YouTube watching Rick Astley croon “Never Gonna Give You Up!” Oh, the fun factor is way up there with wedgies and prank calls that start “Is your refrigerator running?”

But I digress. Of the 40 million times the music video has been viewed on YouTube, Pete Waterman, the man who co-wrote the ’80s hit, has earned…wait for it…$16!!!

Now the UK’s PRS is raising cane that Google is using its muscle to avoid having to pay the royalties songwriters and artists are entitled.

So, at $0.0000004 royalty paid per view of Astley’s video, what can we learn from this. Either YouTube is really, really, REALLY bad at generating revenue, or Google is really, really, REALLY tight with its royalty payments.

Anyway, click here for more on the story. 😉

  • I’ll grant that YouTube is facing in impossible task blocking copyrighted content from ever being uploaded, and they do act when violations are reported. However, I would think when the video is titled with the author and piece’s exact name and has previously been removed… just saying a few hundred PHD’s ought to be able to figure that one out.

    But, I would also tell the handlers of Rick Astley and Mr. Astley himself, that you are grossly undervaluing the exposure he has gotten in return of this YouTube activity. If it weren’t for Rick Rolling he would NOT have been in the Macy’s Parade and no one under 30 would even have an inkling he ever existed at all. If he has sold a single record in the last 10 years, it is precisely because people have been sending Rick Rolls. He was never even a huge star in the 80’s… so I have a hard time feeling sorry for him or anyone else who equates mass exposure to piracy while at the same time reaping the rewards of it. While, yes, you technically are within your legal rights to complain, you are also emphatically, a moron and missing the boat.

    Terry Howard’s last blog post..Mark Gormley Is The Answer

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  • Wow, you got me. I have been seeing a lot more regulation on said videos (ie. videos taken down due to copyright infringement, users forced to take the music out of the background).

  • Interesting post in that I have been wondering how Google was handling paying royalties. They should have to pay at the same royalty rate as the internet radio stations have to pay. I can just see the teams of lawyers on both sides racking up their hourly fees as they drag this type of case through the court system for a couple of years.

    I had not heard of the term RickRolled but thanks for that. I clicked. I saw. I laughed.

    @Terry Howard – you made a good point but you ruined it at the end when you resorted to name calling. That was not necessary and you lost all credibility in my book with that remark. I’m not saying that to offend you or start a flame war – I am trying to help you. I don’t know why – perhaps that’s just my nature to help people.

  • It’s all about the all mighty $$$ and it always will be, what a pain.
    Amber Kimball

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  • I think it’s just the fact that youtube has such a low CTR combined with google paying less to publishers recently.

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  • All $$$$$$$$$ and tricks ……..

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  • @Jillian – I can appreciate your viewpoint, and you are certainly entitled to form your choices regarding credibility based on whatever criteria you feel applicable to yourself. I call a spade a spade, and always will. I think we sugar coat far too much in this world at our detriment, and my criteria for credibility lies in people not doing that. I personally find less credibility in a viewpoint that gives me the impression of holding back the true nature of the situation or one’s true feelings in the name of so called civility. I just don’t buy that there are only “misunderstandings”, “misconceptions”, and “misrepresentations” in this world. Some people truly are “crooks”, “idiots” and “liars” we do ourselves no good by throwing out vagueries to avoid “name calling”. Just wanted to explain where I’m coming from, I saw no flame at all in your response.

    Terry Howard’s last blog post..Mark Gormley Is The Answer

  • But, back to the point, I find it hard to reconcile that if it is all about “money” then how can Astley and Co. be so oblivious to how this activity has given his long dead career a massive resuscitation? They should be milking this for all it’s worth, encouraging it, setting up a Rick Astley channel, favoriting popular and creative Rick-Mashups uploaded by other users… on and on. There is no good motivation to them bringing down cease and desists (and they have been doing this on Facebook video uploads as well I can confirm for you) on the very people who are providing free promotion, and that therefore leaves only the possibility that Rick Astley and his management are entirely inept and lack basic fundamental business logic.

    I wonder, has Matt Cutts received a nasty gram of his own for using the Astley likeness on his halloween blog post from 2008?

    Terry Howard’s last blog post..Mark Gormley Is The Answer