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Tuesday, January 4, 2011

YouTube will pay royalties for videos viewed in Israel

Under agreement, if an Israeli views music video by Israeli or foreign artist, artist will now be paid royalties; "3 mil. Israelis visit YouTube each month."

ACUM, a nonprofit corporation administering the rights of musicians and other artists, signed an agreement on Wednesday with the video-sharing website YouTube, under which musicians whose music videos are viewed in Israel will be paid royalties, to be a percentage of the revenue YouTube gets from ads run alongside the videos.

According to a TIM survey from November, three million Israelis visit YouTube every week. Google Israel figures indicate that 60 percent of YouTube users watch music videos on the website. Under this agreement, if an Israeli views a music video by an Israeli or foreign artist, that artist will now be paid royalties.

According to Yorik Ben- David, ACUM’s director general, YouTube has a system that enables them to identify the works and produce reports that will aid in accurate royalty distribution.

“Prior to signing the agreement with us, YouTube had no income-generating system in place. Now that we signed the agreement, YouTube can run [advertisements] and for the first time generate income from displaying the material on its website,” said Ben-David.

“Neither YouTube, nor I can estimate the earnings they stand to gain and therefore can’t tell you how much the artists stand to earn as a percentage of YouTube’s advertising earnings.”

Ben-David said he was contractually forbidden from revealing the percentage of income to be paid as royalties.

Ben-David stressed that ACUM represents all the authors, composers, lyricists, musicians, poets, editors and music publishers, both Israeli and foreign, whose works are presented to the public in Israel, thus the agreement covers all copyrighted material by both Israeli and foreign artists.

“The distribution of royalties depends on YouTube’s technology, but we will oversee the process so that no one is left out,” said Ben-David.

According to Ben-David, Israel is one of the first countries to sign such an agreement, which is part of a worldwide effort by YouTube to prevent copyright violations on its website.

“I would recommend to anyone who wants to produce original music or videos to register with ACUM and upload their material to YouTube,” said Ben-David.

“YouTube is at the height of a process of signing royalty agreements,” said Meir Brand, CEO of Google Israel. “In 2009 and 2010 alone, YouTube signed music royalty agreements in several countries, including with PRS in Britain, with Buma Sterma in Holland, with SGAE in Spain and with SACEM in France.

“We are glad to have signed an agreement with ACUM that will assist Israeli artists in receiving payment for their original works played on YouTube and encourage the growth of new musical talents.”