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Hey YouTube! 750 indies have signed the Fair Digital Deals Declaration


The 32 pages long YouTube horror story

Some time ago I happened to read the long, horrible contract that YouTube asked indie labels to sign for launching their new premium streaming service. A copy of the leaked contract is here but I guess you won’t go far: their legal patois is unintelligible to a normal human being.

The contract is not only horrible to read: it is also greatly unfair toward indies. So indies promptly replied by taking off content from YouTube (Adele was said to be missing although I was much more concerned about XX and Anna Calvi).


Indies’ next bold move

Now it seems that indies have taken another move toward the Cupertino’s giant: more than 750 of them have signed the Fair Digital Deals Declaration (and notwithstanding the longish hashtag #fairdigitaldeal4artists, they quickly created a buzz on twitter), an initiative launched by the WIN- Worldwide independent network, that represents the interests of independent labels.

Indies’ rights, made easy

The five key points of the declaration are

  • We will ensure that artists’ share of download and streaming revenues is clearly explained in recording agreements and royalty statements in reasonable summary form.

  • We will account to artists a good-faith pro-rata share of any revenues and other compensation from digital services that stem from the monetization of recordings but are not attributed to specific recordings or performances.

  • We will encourage better standards of information from digital services on the usage and monetisation of music.

  • We will support artists who choose to oppose, including publicly, unauthorized uses of their music.

  • We will support the collective position of the global independent record company sector as outlined in the Global Independent Manifesto.

Sounds like a good program, doesn’t it?

This is to amplify our commitment to fairness and transparency, and to ensuring a sustainable economic relationship between the independent recorded music industry and the artists it partners with to bring their music to market

said WIN.

It goes without saying. Business relationships need mutual trust.


Always look on the long term

Last week, Costas Andreou, musician and sound designer, meaningfully said:

It takes more than a legal template file and a click on a form button to develop a long lasting cultural communication. (…) It is not a matter of awareness, but of choice: if companies are excited about establishing and maintaining profound relationships with artists, they know what to take care of. If they are interested in building and handling asinine machines, that is common knowledge, as well. Calling the trivial availability of a machine and its interface a relationship is not a reasonable approach.

 That’s very much what WIN stands for. And what we stand for as well. Good luck to indies!

Serena Manzoli is the founder at Wildcat, legal search for curious humans, a free legal database to empower artists.

Reader Comments (2)

Google is based in Mtn View not Cupertino. Apple is based in Cupertino.

July 22 | Unregistered CommenterPeter

Youtube is located in San Bruno, Google in Mountain View. Apple is the only tech giant located in Cupertino, and is certainly not involved in Youtube matters.

July 22 | Unregistered CommenterOrcasauce

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