Business News Digital

YouTube includes ‘non-disparagement agreements’ in its artist deals, says Bloomberg

By | Published on Thursday 25 January 2018


YouTube has included ‘non-disparagement agreements’ in partnership deals it has struck up with various artists, according to sourcesĀ who have spoken to Bloomberg.

Presumably those artists wouldn’t be able to admit to having entered into such ‘non-disparagement agreements’ as a result of concurrent ‘non-disclosure agreements’. All these NDAs. I wonder if there’s a ‘no-dick-moves agreement’ clause in there too? Probably is since all thatĀ Logan Paul hoo haa.

The ‘non-disparagement agreements’ have apparently been included in deals where YouTube agrees to pay for video production and marketing costs on behalf of certain artists. Given all the “fuck YouTube and its fucking fucked up fucking fuck fuck” sentiment that has been coming out of the music community in recent years, the inclusion of the “you’d better not go and diss us” clause in such contracts is probably unsurprising.

Though Bloomberg notes that, while “non-disparagement agreements are common in business … YouTube’s biggest direct competitors in music don’t require them” when likewise making a content or promotional investment into a specific artist.

The music industry has been very busy trying to get copyright law rewritten, of course, so to increase the liabilities of platforms like YouTube. Record companies and music publishers reckon that the Google site exploits a loophole in the law created by the copyright safe harbour to secure unfair terms in its deals with the music industry. Plenty of artists and songwriters agree and have backed the industry’s safe harbour reform campaign.

At the same time, lots of artists and songwriters, and labels for that matter, concurrently work with YouTube to distribute their content, build a fanbase, and even generate some income. Which can result in a bit of cognitive dissonance. Unless, of course, you’re contractually obliged to suppress your “fucking YouTube” tendencies to achieve your video making ambitions and get on a billboard at Google’s expense.

Although that does sound a bit like I’m suggesting YouTube’s ‘non-disparagement agreements’ are actually there to help artists deal with their own inner hypocrisies, rather than existing entirely for the benefit of Google’s PR machine. Look at me defending YouTube. You’ll be thinking I’ve signed some sort of ‘non-disparagement agreement’ if I’m not careful. So, just for the avoidance of doubt, fuck YouTube.