Today was the day. YouTube finally came around and decided that videos with copyright infringing music need to be taken down. Instead of removing the videos entirely, they just muted all of the audio. The story is all over the web, and folks are pretty mad about the “mass muting of millions of videos”. This issue at hand is that for years now, users have been uploading videos to YouTube that contain major record label music and the video creators have never appropriately secured a synch license to use this music in their productions. Synch licensing has typically been reserved for feature films and major television production companies and anyone that needed music for a small YouTube production had to choose among the following options:
1. Make unauthorized use of their music collection,
2. Pay a hefty synch fees to be used in their unmonetizable productions, or
3. Turn to royalty free music libraries, like AudioMicro.
As of today, for the millions of YouTubers, there are now only 2 choices – either purchase stock music (easy, painless, and affordable) or try and legally license a track from a label (nearly impossible). Copyrights are being protected and despite the chants of “boycott YouTube”, it’s likely that the other online video communities will eventually cave under RIAA pressure if they are to allow videos with record label material to be posted.
The future of music copyright online seems to be unfolding in 2009 – you can listen to music online for free, if you are willing to deal with advertisements; however, you can no longer synch music to your videos without secure a proper synch license.