We reported yesterday on PRS for Music’s decision to sue SoundCloud for copyright infringement. Over the course of the day, the key contradiction between the two parties’ statements became clear: it’s about whether SoundCloud is willing to strike a licensing deal, and specifically whether that deal would apply to both its existing free service and its upcoming subscription tier.
Meanwhile, it also became clear that this lawsuit may have strong implications for YouTube, not just SoundCloud.
In recent months, when rightsholders have complained about what they see as misuse of safe-harbour protection, they have often grouped SoundCloud and YouTube together as examples. YouTube, of course, has a licensing deal with PRS for Music last renewed in 2013.
If PRS for Music takes SoundCloud to court and wins, delivering a blow to that mooted safe-harbour defence, think how much stronger its hand will be when the time comes (as it soon will) to renegotiate its YouTube deal. Multiple sources have suggested to Music Ally that this is the real significance of the SoundCloud lawsuit. “The stakes are super high,” as one of them put it. Indeed.
2016 may turn out to be ‘The Year Of The Shake-Up’.