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YouTube has pulled the plug on music videos in Germany as Western Europe starts to look like a hostile environment for Web-music services. A YouTube spokesman confirmed that YouTube is no longer playing music videos belonging to the largest music labels after talks with Germany's biggest royalty-collections group, GEMA, broke down. The conflict is almost identical to YouTube's spat with a royalty group in the United Kingdom, but with one important twist. According to YouTube, GEMA is asking for royalty rates that are 50 times higher than those asked for by PRS, the British organization.

Talks are ongoing but until a deal is worked out, it's unlikely German YouTube fans will be seeing any music clips.

At least in Great Britain, YouTube can make the claim to record labels that the site promotes music sales. A survey done by the BBC recently asked Brits what they do as a result of watching YouTube music videos.