YouTube buys a friend in the music biz

russell copyright school
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YouTube has purchased music royalty processing startup RightsFlow for an undisclosed sum, the companies announced Friday. Another day, another acquisition for YouTube parent company Google, right? Not so fast, this deal has big implications and could make YouTube a much more music-friendly place.

RightsFlow was founded in 2007 and operates a copyright compliance system that manages a database of more than 30 million song licenses. Think of the company as a content licenser (and digital debt collector) that ensures publishers, record labels, artists and songwriters get royalty fees whenever their copyrighted tracks are used.

“By combining RightsFlow’s expertise and technology with YouTube’s platform, we hope to more rapidly and efficiently license music on YouTube, meaning more music for you all to enjoy, and more money for the talented people producing the music,” YouTube product manager David King said in blog post on the acquisition.

The popular video streaming site is not exactly known for its copyright-obeying user base. Earlier this year, it instituted a new program called YouTube Copyright School to slightly admonish and better educate members on proper copyright code-of-conduct.

Ideally, today’s news will mean that more copyrighted music would become YouTube-friendly, which could lead to fewer video take-downs and less user-admonishing. One can only hope.

YouTube was previously a client of RightsFlow, but as the company’s new owner, it remains to be seen how this deal will affect other RightsFlow clients, which include Rhapsody, Zynga and Clear Channel.

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