BPI chief executive Geoff Taylor has responded to Lyor Cohen’s Five observations from my time at YouTube blog post, contesting his point that the safe harbour loophole is a ‘distraction’ for the music industry.
In a comment released yesterday (Monday), Taylor disputed Cohen’s previous claims that YouTube is good for the music business and for music discovery.
He also said that safe harbour is ‘hardly “a distraction” in the relationship between YouTube and the music industry’, adding: ‘If the music industry is getting paid around 1/20th as much as it should by one of the biggest users of music on the planet, that’s a reasonable thing to obsess about.’
Under the EU’s e-Commerce Directive, published in 2000, safe harbour allows providers of certain online hosting services, in certain circumstances, to be exempt from liability for infringing content uploads which take place on their service.
However, rather than empowering the artist community, as Lyor suggests, Taylor said safe harbour takes away an artist’s freedom to choose.
‘Artists aren’t given the opportunity to decide whether they want their music to appear on the platform, or at what price. For most artists, the only option is to accept pitiful compensation for the use of their work, at a rate dictated by YouTube – since effectively blocking use of their work using the Content ID tool (if it’s even available to them) is not realistic,’ he said.
‘The simple way for YouTube to fix its disconnect with the music industry is to confirm publicly that it does not qualify for safe harbour protection for music content, because it does not play a merely neutral, passive and technical role,’ he concluded.