Pharrell Williams is just one musician whose music videos are on YouTube illegally, at least according to music-business attorney Irving Azof. He founded the new legal group Global Music Rights, and has told YouTube that it does not have performance rights to thousands of songs by about 40 of his clients, including the Eagles, Chris Cornel, John Lennon, and Pharrell Williams. Global Music Rights is suing YouTube for a billion dollars.
At the same time this suit is in full force, Google is planning to launch Music Key–their own subscription music service to compete with Spotify and Pandora. They are claiming they do have the rights to these music videos, prompting huge concerns about a music-industry showdown. Copyright holders insist that it’s Google’s responsibility to get a license while Google claims that the responsibility is on rights-holders instead to say what they specifically want removed and when.
The threat of a lawsuit against YouTube comes in the middle of a broader debate about the rights of musicians in this era of digital access to songs.
— Hollywood Reporter (@THR) December 22, 2014
YouTube has enacted anti-piracy measures since the video site’s early days a decade ago, however some things haven’t changed much at all.
Will musicians like Pharrell Williams actually be able to remove their content from YouTube? Even if his lawyer loses the lawsuit, will The Voice judge still be ‘Happy?’
Do you think YouTube has committed copyright infringement by allowing music videos from people like Pharrell Williams on its site?