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Takedowns amp up the pressure on Twitter over music-licensing


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A complaint from a musician about Twitter taking down a clip he posted of himself playing Elton John’s ‘Crocodile Rock’ turns out to have a bigger significance. Scott Bradlee of the group Postmodern Jukebox actually had his Twitter account suspended after a copyright takedown from Universal Music Publishing Group, although Variety reports that the complaint has since been withdrawn, and Bradlee’s account reinstated. The bigger picture here appears to be a ramping up of pressure on Twitter to strike licensing deals for music with publishers (and labels), following the example set by Facebook.

“Twitter does not have licenses to stream music. If Twitter wants to provide its users with the ability to stream music, they should obtain music licenses like other social platforms have done,” one unnamed publishing executive told Variety. “Universal Music is issuing mass takedowns of anything they own. The goal is to force Twitter and other social media sites to come to the bargaining table and work out a system of content ID,” suggested Bradlee.

Twitter, Snapchat and TikTok are the three western platforms most in focus at the moment, with rightsholders hoping that Facebook’s deals – not to mention the future impact of the new European copyright directive, once it’s implemented by EU countries – will provide plenty of leverage at the negotiating table. As, it seems, will a ratcheting up of takedowns for music shared on these platforms.

Stuart Dredge

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