Universal Music Group Doug Morris has stepped up his ‘rant’ against YouTube and MySpace, accusing them of infringing the copyrights of its artists’ music videos.
Universal CEO Doug Morris described YouTube and MySpace as “copyright infringers” during a Merrill Lynch investors’ conference speech on Tuesday that was closed to the press.
Morris said YouTube and other sites “owe us tens of millions of dollars. How we deal with these companies will be revealed shortly.”
“The poster child for (user-generated media) sites are MySpace and YouTube,” said Morris, according to a transcript obtained by Reuters. “We believe these new businesses are copyright infringers and owe us tens of millions of dollars.”
He added, “How we deal with these companies will be revealed shortly.”
A Call of legal action?
“His remarks strongly suggested the company was planning to take legal action in the near-term to either prevent the illegal use of their content on these Web sites or to ensure the company is compensated for the use of its content,” Jessica Reif Cohen, analyst at Merrill Lynch, wrote in a note on Wednesday. “This could be the first salvo from a content player against business models based on user-generated content, much of which relies on copyrighted material.”
Can’t build aÂ successful business model giving away free products.
Record companies are keen to avoid repeating the mistake they believe they made when Viacom Inc.’s MTV was set up 25 years ago — allowing their artists’ music to be aired for free.
MTV built a billion dollar business airing artist videos and it won’t happen again.
Morris in his remarks to investors on Tuesday said MTV “built a multibillion-dollar company on our (music) … for virtually nothing. We learned a hard lesson.”
What about the American soldiers who are filming amateur videos in Iraq and posting on YouTube? This creates more competition for CNN and Fox.
I watched Tornadoes rip through farm houses on the Weather Channel and Discovery. Now I type in the search box “Tornado” and receive pages of tornado clips on YouTube. This creates more competition for major networks.
I can understand the label perspective of “copyright infringement”, but it’s not realistic especially in the internetÂ age. Legal action is not a cure to the pain as much as building a brick wall won’t stop a 10 mile wide Tsunami. The YouTube idea was genius. Build a site that is ‘user friendly” with a simple search button and call it “Youtube”. No signups, no pop-up advertisements, and a simple search for your favorite video. Every business starts with an idea. One would have thought that labels would have come up with ideas and platforms to expose ‘artists’. The problem is that they are not and everyone else is. That is the reality.