Music copyright owners target FaceBook

January 2017

Music publishing


Universal Music Group is leading a pack of music companies who are issuing takedown notices against FaceBook in an effort to remove unlicensed covers of popular tracks – unsurprising given that FaceBook currently doesn’t pay to use music to the likes of PRS for Music.
But there some significant casualties – a number of unsigned artists for whom the fallout is causing major headaches. MBW highlights Samantha Harvey, the British singer/songwriter who has attracted 1.97 million ‘Likes’ on her official Facebook page: In a video update to fans originally posted on December 10th, Harvey explained that Facebook had started removing her cover performances on copyright grounds. This, she said, was “on the instruction of publishing companies” saying  “There isn’t a [licensing] deal in place at the moment like there is on YouTube which allows people like me and thousands of others on Facebook to record covers of artists we absolutely love.” Harvey’s manager said that 45% of Harvey’s cover videos have now been removed from Facebook as a result of publisher notifications.
Since the takedown notifications began to pour in, the artist has been busy encouraging her Facebook fans to migrate to YouTube – where her official channel now has more than 275,000 subscribers and nearly 25m views. It’s this that might force Facebook to negotiate, with MBW saying that “Facebook appears to be tooling up for negotiations: in recent months, Mark Zuckerberg’s company has been hiring for both a music-related product manager and a global head of music licensing.”
Music Business Worldwide

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