YouTube signs broad licensing pact with EMI

Chad Hurley (R), CEO and co-founder of YouTube speaks in Washington May 10, 2007. Google Inc.'s YouTube has agreed to a breakthrough deal with major music label EMI Group Plc to give users of YouTube's video sharing site broad access to music videos by EMI artists. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Google Inc.’s YouTube has agreed to a deal with major music label EMI Group Plc to give users of the video-sharing site broad access to music videos by EMI artists.

The companies said Thursday that YouTube users would be allowed not only to watch and play authorized videos and recordings from EMI artists including Coldplay, Norah Jones and David Bowie, but also to incorporate elements of the videos in YouTube users’ own “user generated content.”

“With this deal, all four of the world’s major music companies are now official YouTube partners,” Chad Hurley, chief executive and co-founder of YouTube, said in a statement.

Following news of the deal, Google’s shares rose 1.5 percent to $506, the first time they have broken $500 in five months. EMI shares were little changed, down 0.09 percent at 275 pence.

The deal follows copyright lawsuits filed by media companies that accuse YouTube of allowing its users to pirate their programs on the popular video sharing site.

Though YouTube has had talks with media companies, they have not all been convinced by its claims that the site will be able to efficiently identify and remove illegally uploaded video clips by its users. In March, Viacom Inc. filed a $1 billion copyright suit against Google.

London-based EMI, the No. 3 music company, is the last of the four major record companies to sign a deal with YouTube. The statement from the two companies said EMI will use the YouTube content management system to help the music company track its content and pay its artists. No financial terms were disclosed.

Last year, Warner Music Group Corp., Universal Music Group and Sony BMG Entertainment each signed a content deal with YouTube. As part of the agreements each music company took a small stake in YouTube, prior to it being bought by Google, according to sources familiar with the talks.

Additional reporting by Yinka Adegoke in New York