Just a few weeks ago, Google started to block music videos on YouTube in England, after its negotiations with the UK's artistic royalty-collecting body PRS for Music failed because of disagreements about the price of the license and a lack of transparency. Today, Google's negotiations with the German music rights association GEMA also failed, and Google will now block music videos in Germany as well. Google's contract with GEMA expired yesterday, after the two parties failed to come to an agreement about the price of a new license.

In its statement, Google cites exactly the same reasons for taking down the videos and fighting the German music rights association as it did when it announced that it would start to block music videos in the UK after its negotiations with PRS for Music failed: lack of transparency about which videos would be covered by the agreement, and the extraordinarily high price of the license.

According to Google, GEMA's prices would be more than fifty times as high as those that PRS for Music was looking for in Britain. According to Google, GEMA's prices would mean that Google would have to pay the equivalent of about 500 Euros for one traditional CD - without even knowing which songs it would be getting on that CD.

YouTube, according to Heise Online, would also prefer to pay a flat rate, though the German music rights association would prefer a more nuanced payment model.

Controlling Costs at YouTube

Fighting these music rights organizations is also clearly a sign that Google is trying to keep the costs of operating YouTube under control. After all, it still hasn't found a way to monetize the service to the point where it would break even.