Music industry targets Fornite for royalties

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by Josh Hall

Songwriters and composers have set their sites on video game Fortnite, whose developers they say could owe them thousands in royalties.

The game has recently staged virtual concerts by DJs such as Marshmello, and rightsholders now believe that they could be set for streaming royalty payouts.

The UK’s music rightsholders organisation, PRS For Music, collects payments when its members’ compositions are used in streaming, downloads, on radio, or on TV.

Now, the body says licensing agreements may be required in order to ensure that composers are paid for music appearances in games.

Last month, a change was made to European copyright law requiring tech companies to licence content from rightsholders such as music companies if they want to use it online.

PRS For Music says this change may mean that developers of games such as Fortnite will have to seek new licenses.

PRS For Music chief executive Robert Ashcroft told the Guardian: “We currently license a lot of digital services, like YouTube Music, already anyway. It is really important for us to have a level playing field for these services that we don’t yet have licenses [for], such as music used in the massive multiplayer online gaming market, like Fortnite. That is one of the areas we will be looking at. Does that fall within the new provisions of the law?”

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