Music Site Uses YouTube API – Causes Record Labels to Pull Videos

Adam DuVander, February 11th, 2010

YouTubeStories of record labels sicking their legal teams on individuals aren’t new. However, it’s worth noting the skirmish between label-owned Vevo and Muziic because it is unclear if the third-party site did anything wrong.

Vevo, a website owned by three major record labels, holds a massive collection of official music videos. It partnered with YouTube to make much of its collection available on the video sharing site, with ad revenue shared between the companies. Next, Muziic used the YouTube API to provide a new way to access the videos.

Sounds fine, right? The problem is that, when embedded from the API, the YouTube videos contained no advertisements, meaning no revenue for either company. Further, the videos were then available in countries where the Vevo site restricts access. Combine those two and neither Vevo nor YouTube were very happy with Muziic, or its father-son founders Mark Nelson and David Nelson. Vevo quickly decided to pull their videos from YouTube.

Muziic's David Nelson

The younger Nelson, 16 year-old David, explained the situation to Hypebot:

“I saw the opportunity to innovate using an open platform to create a unique user experience.. so that’s exactly what I did. In doing so, Muziic did not violate any of the terms, policies or guidelines that we are held to as users of the YouTube API.”

According to PaidContent, YouTube isn’t so sure that terms weren’t violated and the video site is investigating.

The arguably bigger issue here is that legal side of using and providing APIs is often not a simple thing, particularly in the world of copyrighted content. If Muziic was within the terms, then it’s a reminder that the use of another’s platform can be subject to not only to the provider but also to their partners.

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5 Responses to “Music Site Uses YouTube API – Causes Record Labels to Pull Videos”

February 11th, 2010
at 1:01 pm
Comment by: A. Wolff

At the risk of sounding like an arm-chair quarterback: wouldn’t embedding advertising IN the content (e.g. a non-skip-able ad at the front of the video stream) be the SMART way to monetize a free content API like this?

February 19th, 2010
at 7:43 am
Comment by: Crece el conflicto musical en la red | Undernews - Internet, negocios y tecnología, de bloggers para bloggers.

[...] No contentos con esto, además, los videos pasan a estar disponibles en países en donde Vevo tiene instauradas restricciones de acceso. Vamos, que entre una cosa y otra, Youtube y Vevo están que echan humo con Muziic. La primera consecuencia ha sido la decisión de Vevo de retirar sus videos de Youtube. [...]

June 24th, 2010
at 11:14 pm
Comment by: Shaun

If youtube has a problem with people taking advantage of their api, maybe they shouldnt provide it…

January 20th, 2012
at 6:07 pm
Comment by: Today in APIs: Facebook Music, New AppFog Features and 11 New APIs

[...] years ago one developer’s use of the YouTube API created a bit of a kerfuffle. The website searched Vevo music videos, embedding them without advertisements. By switching to Facebook, Vevo videos would no longer be [...]

July 16th, 2012
at 12:02 pm
Comment by: Startup Makes MTV From YouTube and Radio Playlists

[...] Vevo relationship may be an important part of the puzzle. In 2010, Vevo pulled its videos from YouTube after a mashup made the content easily available [...]

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Adam DuVander
Executive Editor, ProgrammableWeb. Author, Map Scripting 101. Lover, APIs.