Fans of Faustian pacts will be pleased to hear that Facebook is offering hundreds of millions of dollars to labels and publishers to enable users of the social network to legally include songs in videos they upload.
Clearly, complexities have arisen in the last few years as individuals posting videos exploded across the platform, resulting in a great deal of unauthorized content appearing. Yes, sound tracking your latest cat video with ‘Cool for Cats’ is in fact illegal and rights holders must ask Facebook to take down such videos.
According to this report in Bloomberg, Facebook has pledged to build a system to identify and tag music that infringes copyrights but anticipates that the solution is up to two years away and the platform is prepared to throw loadsa money at rights holders in the meantime. A deal would obviously mean that Facebook would no longer need to frustrate users or indeed advertisers by taking down their videos- although it could be argued that a little education around music copyright in the wider public realm would be no bad thing.
It’s a double edged sword- on the one hand, labels and publishers would get stacks of cash and could pretend it is the 80’s again for at least a week or so-and not waste resources trying to police what The Gen imagines is an immense amount of illegal videos. On the other, it could mean that in the short term at least, Facebook becomes a great promotional tool that doesn’t actually generate much revenue in comparison to the rate of consumption beyond this windfall. If this all sounds familiar then yes, please refer to the ongoing ‘value gap’ battle that the industry is having with YouTube.
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