Online video-sharing platform YouTube has launched a German version. went live yesterday, having forged licensing partnerships with more than 60 content providers, including Universal Music and Sony BMG.

"The high click rates of videos and the demand is so big, that we have join in," comments Sony BMG VP digital and audio-visual Joe Hugger.

EMI and Warner Music were not listed among the participants at launch.

The launch of a German-language site had been postponed several months when negotiations reached an impasse with authors' rights society GEMA, among other copyright protection organizations. Those issues have now been resolved.

"We welcome the launch of YouTube in Germany and are delighted with this important agreement", commented Harald Heker, chairman of the GEMA management board, in a statement.

The deal, said Heker, "creates a fair settlement for the music authors and publishers represented by GEMA. This shows that it is possible to reach fair agreements for all parties involved in Web 2.0 services."

GEMA refused to give further details on the structure of the agreement.

Until now, an English-language version of YouTube served Germany, reporting more than 6.5 million unique users, said a spokesman for the company's parent, Google.

International versions of the YouTube have already rolled out in France, the U.K., Ireland, Netherlands, Spain, Japan and Brazil.