Saturday, February 09, 2008

BPN 1003 Collecting society questions embedded video links

This week Dutch bloggers got frightened. The Dutch music copyright collecting society Buma/Stemra had released an e-mail., stipulating that bloggers who incorporate music movies from video sites in their blog will have to get a license. However Buma/Stemra told the bloggers that the e-mail was released prematurely and that for the time being they did not have to fear any legal action.

A number of music blogs received an e-mail from the collecting society. It said that Buma/Stemra had noticed that the sites actively offered material from the world music repertory, which is guarded by the collecting society. In order to continue legally with offering the music the bloggers would have to pay an annual fee to Buma/Stemra. One of the blogs was (MOMI), which promptly ask Buma/Stemra for an explanation.

The collecting society answered promptly with an explanation and statement about the e-mail. The explanation, which also was published by MOMI, made clear that it concerned movies from for example YouTube which were integrated in the site of the blogger. This was seen as a new publication, which should be licensed. Just linking to the respective movie is not seen as a problem, as the source is responsible for the use of the music.

Buma/Stemra said that the e-mail had been sent pre-maturely. The organisation has started up a new department dealing with online music and they are still researching the phenomenon of integrated music videos. The collecting society said that it is happy with the present licensing models, but that it had to look ahead and see what was possible in the future and feasible. It said that it is having meetings with organisations having experience with offering copyrighted material.

The discussion on the weblog MOMI is rather fierce. The collecting society is portrayed as a police ticketing machine. Some web loggers give advice not to answer as Buma/Stemra has asked for the their name and license number. And only a few web loggers analyse the problem. Buma/Stemra sees the integrated movie as a new publication, while the web loggers see it as an embedded link. Embedded video has become popular with website as YouTube. This video site picks up almost half of its traffic from third party blogs and sites. The embedded video is online video in which the video screen of the sender through html code is integrated with the webpage of third parties. In the meantime broadcast companies like BBC offer their video material to integrate video and audio in third party websites.

Embedded video bears some likeness with the problem of frames, whereby pages from a site were framed by a third party site in their site. It was a hype for some time as it could be created by a simple link. So in most cases no permission was from the original site owner. Framing eventually was legally contested and has disappeared as feature.

Update 11/02/2008: The Swedish Performing Rights Society (STIM) has shown willingness to sign cooperation agreements with ISPs. STIM wants to sit down with the ISPs and discuss how it can work together to enable their customers to pay - via their internet subscription - for the music streaming through the providers' networks, thereby allowing them to become legal music surfers. According to STIM's model, an average user's monthly internet costs will rise in proportion to the total amount of music being downloaded. In return, internet users will be able to access and download all the music available on the internet at a given time. But STIM also concedes that a number of technical, financial and legal barriers need to be overcome before their proposal gains general acceptance.

Blog Posting Number: 1003

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