Music Labels Playing More YouTube ‘Whack-a-Mole’, Calvin Caught In The Net

The British Phonographic Industry (BPI) says it’s apologised to Calvin Harris after mistakenly deleting one of his own videos in what appears an increasingly wide-ranging copyright enforcement effort.

The perky electropop songsmith threw a profane but amusing wobbly on Twitter on Thursday, when he learned the official promo for his forthcoming Ready For The Weekend track had been deleted due to a “copyright claim”: “Fantastic use of time combating piracy by removing my own videos,” he said.

The BPI, labels’ umbrella org, tells paidContent:UK: “On behalf of labels, we liaise with YouTube to take down infringing content – either remixed videos or prerelease music synched to video or pictures. Unfortunately, yesterday we made a small mistake when taking down a batch of Calvin Harris videos – we inadvertently took down one that was on his official channel. We’ve corrected it and apologised to Calvin.”

A spokesperson spoke to the scale at which the takedown effort has been operating recently: “We’ve taken down hundreds of thousands of infringing videos over the past few months. We receive from labels lists of videos they wish to address. There is a lot of unofficial and illegal material that goes up on YouTube; we liaise with YouTube almost on a daily basis to request removal … you’re playing whackamole with unlawful content.”

After letting its PRS For Music license expire in March, YouTube was not even supposed to showing any professionally-produced music in videos. But that encompasses only songs “claimed” by labels using its content ID system. So, by not claiming a track, a label can nevertheless promo its artists’ work outside of the royalty framework.

On the PRS-YouTube spat, YouTube tells paidContent:UK: “We’re still in talks – both sides are still determined to reach a breakthrough.”