Facebook offers to pay labels for music in homemade videos

Your Green Day-themed montage could soon be legal.

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Ollie Millington/Redferns
Ollie Millington/Redferns

You've probably seen more than one homemade Facebook video that uses a popular song to spice up an otherwise plain clip. How many graduation videos have Green Day's "Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)" blaring in the background? That soundtrack isn't legal, however, and Facebook reportedly wants to fix this. Bloomberg sources claim that the social network is offering labels and publishers "hundreds of millions of dollars" to clear songs for use in video uploads. You wouldn't have to worry about a copyright takedown ruining a precious moment, in other words.

The tipsters hint that the would-be deal is as much about expediency as it is the freedom to post what you like. Facebook has supposedly vowed to implement a system that flags music which violates copyright, but it could take up to two years to finish. A licensing deal would at least buy some time -- videos would stay up and labels would stay happy.

There's no guarantee that Facebook will clinch the agreement it wants, provided the rumor is accurate. However, it has a strong incentive to license tunes. The company is investing heavily in video, and that doesn't just mean the professionally-made shows in its Watch section. The more videos you can watch on Facebook, the more likely it is that you stick around (and please advertisers) instead of wandering to YouTube.

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