Facebook has agreed to a music licensing agreement with European rights company International Copyright Enterprise Operations (ICE), as part of efforts to compensate music rights owners of soundtracks that are represented by ICE. Some of the ICE's works represent PRS in the UK, STIM in Sweden, and GEMA in Germany. It should be pointed out that the licensing deal covers tracks used on Facebook, Instagram, Oculus, and Messenger, with the exception of WhatsApp, which the ICE considers being purely for private communication use only, though it does not rule out the idea of including the service in the licensing deal pending a review of the matter. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed as the ICE wants this piece of information to remain non-public.
The multi-territorial license encompasses 160 territories and 290,000 rights owners, covering video content uploaded across Facebook's internet properties. At the same time, those videos covered by the license will also become part of a repository of content that will be accessible to users who wish to use those media files for videos they are making. As part of the agreement, Facebook and ICE will jointly develop a reporting system for the royalties paid.
The deal is part of Facebook's broader efforts to fulfill its obligation to music rightsholders by making sure the soundtrack included in video creation is paid for. In fact, the social networking site has recently struck similar agreements with record labels and other companies in the music industry over the last couple of months as part of that effort. In December last year, Facebook and Universal Music Group inked a multi-year agreement to let users of the social networking site upload videos containing licensed music to the core Facebook service as well as Oculus and Instagram without having to worry that the video might be flagged and removed due to copyright infringement. Last month, Facebook and Sony/ATV Music Publishing also signed a content licensing agreement to make sure the users of the largest social media network don't infringe on the copyrights of music rights owners. Under the deal, Facebook licensed the whole Sony music library, currently estimated to cover more than three million songs.