YouTube Launches Red Down Under as Labels Fight 'Old-School' Piracy

 Australian flag music 2016
Paul McConnell/Getty Images

A music festival-goer displays an Australian flag in Sydney, Australia.

YouTube's premium subscription service has arrived in Oz. The video giant, currently in the midst of a fierce war of words with the global music industry -- RIAA head Cary Sherman told Billboard this month that "the ­feelings about YouTube are organic... people have been bitching about this for a very long time" -- launched Red in Australia today, bringing with it ad-free viewing and, presumably, a more lucrative royalty structure for musicians and songwriters.

The subscription costs $11.99 AUD (about $8.71 USD) and includes access to Google Play Music as well as unlocking useful features on the YouTube Music app. The service, launched in Octover in the U.S., has not released subscriber numbers.

Judging by the company's recent newfront presentation, which it calls its #Brandcast, music is not intended to be the primary focus for Red subscribers. The evening focused on its original programming and grassroots-grown stars, like host Lily Singh.

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Meanwhile, while the industry continues to focus on YouTube's "value gap," it also continues to fight "old school" piracy. In Sydney court today (March 18) the majors and performing rights organization APRA presented its case, filed in April, for an application seeking to compel several internet service providers to block access to the torrent portal Kickass Torrents by blocking their customers' access to specific web domains. The news was first reported by Computerworld.

Last year the country made additions to copyright law which made it easier for rights holders to be granted injunctions against sites linked to piracy, though the labels aren't seeking a "rolling injunction," which allows a judgement to adapt to the mercurial homesteading that piracy sites take advantage of on the web. Instead, Foxtel, a major internet provider in the country and one of the businesses named in the majors court application, is the one seeking this type of judgement against Kickass Torrents and many other sites.


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