Fortnite could be forced to pay royalties for presenting popular music

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Musicians are said to have launched efforts to use new copyright laws to achieve lower royalties on music featured in the hugely popular world of online games.

PRS for Music (the organization that ensures that 140,000 songwriters, composers and publishers receive royalties across the world) says payments hit a record £ 746million last year.

While PRS earned royalties on 11.2 trillion musical performances, including streaming and downloads, it marked a 70% increase from 2017.

But as Marshmello begins to perform cyber concerts in games such as FortnitePRS chief executive Robert Ashcroft said he was studying whether licensing deals should be made for the use of music in multiplayer games – with Fortnite currently has some 250 million registered users worldwide.

According to The Guardian, Ashcroft believes the new EU copyright directive could make online games a source of music royalty revenue for the first time.

The new laws, which Google and Facebook oppose, could see tech giants license the music industry before being allowed to use their content online.

“We currently license a lot of digital services, like YouTube music, already anyway,” Ashcroft said.

“It’s really important for us to have a level playing field for those services that we don’t yet have licenses for, like music used in the massive multiplayer online gaming market, like Fortnite. This is one of the areas we will be looking at. Does this fall under the new provisions of the law? Is this an opportunity [for licensing revenues]? [The new law] clarifies the responsibility of key technology platforms to pay for their use of copyrighted material.

It comes after it was revealed that royalty income from songs played on streaming giants such as Spotify and Apple Music climbed to £ 145.7million.

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