The Proliferation of Illegal Cover-Song Videos on YouTube
by Dave Segal
on Thu, May 3, 2012 at 4:56 PM
Andy Baio of Wired has written an interesting article about the rampant proliferation of cover songs uploaded to YouTube and explains why many of them are technically illegal. Here are a few key passages:
I don’t think it’s an act of civil disobedience; nobody’s making a statement. Most people don’t know that cover songs need a synchronization license, and even if they did, trying to get one is a confusing and expensive proposition. Unlike the mechanical licenses used to release a cover song on an album, video sync licenses don’t have an affordable flat rate and require the publisher’s explicit permission....
Cover songs on YouTube are, almost universally, non-commercial in nature. They’re created by fans, mostly amateur musicians, with no negative impact on the market value of the original work. (If anything, it increases demand by acting as a free promotional vehicle for the track.)
The best solution is the hardest one: To reform copyright law to legalize the distribution of free, non-commercial cover songs.