Rumblefish, YouTube Team Up to Offer Music Licensing Service for Consumers

6/24/10

One of the complications of living in an information age is the fact that an endless amount of digital content is available anywhere and at all times, no matter who owns it. For creators—artists, writers, musicians—the massive influx of digital information has meant intellectual property is more easily reprinted, plagiarized, pirated and downright stolen virally. For the average person not up to date on the latest in copyright infringement law, it means that cute video that you posted on YouTube of your 6-year-old nephew dressed up as a zombie and dancing to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” could get flagged for copyright violation, blocked, or even taken down.

But believe it or not, many Web content powerhouses, like YouTube, don’t enjoy slapping their users with copyright infringement citations. In fact, yesterday Portland, OR-based music licensing company Rumblefish announced a partnership with YouTube to launch a non-commercial licensing service that would give the everyday home movie maker legal rights to use thousands of tracks worldwide in any non-commercial video.

“We’re really looking to service the average YouTube user with this and we would like to reach as many of these filmmakers as possible and just make music as easy to use as we can, and to get them the best music that we can under a non-commercial license,” Rumblefish founder and CEO Paul Anthony said on a conference call with media representatives Wednesday.

The service, called Friendly Music, will roll out on Tuesday, July 29, and will allow the average Joe to search through a catalogue of over 35,000 tracks by independent artists and labels from over 35 countries. Users can select a song, and purchase the license for $1.99 per track, per video, for as long as the video is online. An official license will be sent to the user via e-mail upon purchase.

“We’re selling an official license with each song,” Anthony said. “It allows users to have unlimited views, and the rights are in perpetuity for as long as the video is online.”

YouTube’s current editing tools, AudioSwap and Video Editor, allow users to swap out their existing audio for songs from a preapproved list, much of which is already serviced by Rumblefish, into their already uploaded videos on the website. How Friendly Music licenses will be different is that they will give users the ability to download the track, edit it into their video using their own video editing software, and upload it to back up to YouTube legally. This capability reaches an un-serviced group of users, according to Glenn Brown,YouTube’s head of music partnerships.

Usually when users upload videos that violate copyright laws, “we generally leave the video up and set it to monetize and pay our partners out for it,” Glenn said.

With Friendly Music, he says, it will be clearer to consumers what tracks they can and cannot use legally before putting their video online.

“Right now there’s not a lot of clarity for users that when they upload the video, their video is going to stay up for as long as they’d like it to,” Brown said. “This is just basically the first step toward … Next Page »

Thea Chard is a correspondent for Xconomy Seattle. You can e-mail her at theachard@gmail.com or follow her on Twitter at http://twitter.com/theachard. Follow @

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