YouTube blocks UK music videos

A spat has broken out between YouTube and the Performing Rights Society (PRS) in the UK over licensing fees, meaning thousands of music videos will be blocked from UK visitors on the site from Monday.

"Our previous licence from PRS for Music has expired, and we've been unable so far to come to an agreement to renew it on terms that are economically sustainable for us", Patrick Walker, director of Video Partnerships, Europe, Middle East and Africa said in a blog post on the YouTube website.

YouTube's response has been to block premium music videos in the UK that have been supplied or claimed by record labels.

From Monday, visitors to the site from the UK won't be able to see thousands of legally uploaded music videos. Elsewhere users around the world won't be affected.

"We were shocked and disappointed to receive a call late this afternoon informing us of Google's drastic action which we believe only punishes British consumers and the songwriters whose interests we protect and represent", said Steve Porter CEO PRS for Music.

However YouTube state that PRS's terms were just too much to bare: "the costs are simply prohibitive for us - under PRS's proposed terms we would lose significant amounts of money with every playback".

However PRS has hit back at the claims saying: "Google has told us they are taking this step because they wish to pay significantly less than at present to the writers of the music on which their service relies, despite the massive increase in YouTube viewing".

Blaming the organisation, Walker says that the issues are not with the record labels but says that "PRS is unwilling to tell us what songs are included in the license they can provide so that we can identify those works on YouTube -- that's like asking a consumer to buy an unmarked CD without knowing what musicians are on it".

PRS says that it hasn't requested "Google to do this and urges them to reconsider their decision as a matter of urgency".

YouTube says it hopes "that professional music videos will soon be back on YouTube for our users in the UK to enjoy.