Google facing $1 billion lawsuit over 20,000 unlicensed songs on YouTube

youtube-for-tv
Irving Azoff manages the performance rights for roughly 20,000 songs from artists such as Pharrell, John Lennon, and The Eagles through his company, Global Music Rights (GMR) — and he’s planning to sue YouTube for over $1 billion. Azoff’s claim: The online video site has not secured necessary licensing to include those songs in its upcoming subscription music service, Music Key.

The same day YouTube announced a beta version of MusicKey, Azoff informed The Hollywood Reporter that Google had not secured the proper rights for the songs to be included in the new service and threatened to remove the 20,000 tunes. YouTube pushed back, claiming it has already secured the necessary rights.

ASCAP and BMI, the two major publishing companies that have managed the vast majority of artist performance rights for decades, have not made similar threats towards Google, presumably because the companies have previously reached an agreeable licensing deal with Google. Google has also reportedly reached deals with the three major record labels, Sony Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group, and Warner Music Group. But GMR attorney Howard King wants more than reports.

In a letter he sent to YouTube earlier this month, King noted Google’s failure to disclose terms for any licensing deal, “presumably because no such agreements exist for YouTube’s present uses of the Songs in any service, but certainly with respect to its recently added Music Key service.”

Google’s lawyer, David Kramer, responded in a letter on December 4 characterizing GMR’s request for YouTube to instantly remove those songs as an attempt to “circumvent the straightforward DMCA notice-and-takedown process that Congress devised to handle situations like this.” According to Kramer, rights holders must identify each individual YouTube video infringing on their copyright. For 20,000 songs from numerous popular artists, that would mean collecting the URLs for potentially hundreds of thousands of videos.

Google’s apparent lack of action with regard to content takedowns has provided an unexpected revenue stream for record labels. Since 2007, YouTube has allowed content rights holders to identify which videos infringe on the rights holder’s copyright with the technology platform Content ID. Content ID also allows rights holders to monetize user-generated videos which illegally use their copyrighted material by having ads placed against those videos for a 55 percent revenue share. Last month, YouTube announced it has paid over $1 billion to the 5,000 companies which have chosen this form of monetization. The very existence 0f Content ID means YouTube “can find sound recording by The Eagles and program it [to remove them] in a millisecond,” King told The Hollywood Reporter.

Which songs could potentially be removed as a result of GMR’s complaints is not readily known. Though, Azoff started GMR last year, the company’s official site does not list which works it manages, and, even now, still states that information will be available Fall 2014.

Smart Home

How’s your Spanish, Alexa? Some Amazon Echo devices pick up a new language

Amazon's Alexa voice assistant and Echo devices are now available for customers in Mexico. Alexa has been customized for the Mexican market with local knowledge, a new voice, and support for the Spanish dialect spoken in Mexico.
Smart Home

How to stream music from Google Home to Bluetooth speakers or headphones

Want to stream music on Google Home, but listen to it through a different speaker or a pair of headphones? Here's how to play streaming music on Google Home through Bluetooth headphones or a Bluetooth speaker.
Virtual Reality

Think virtual reality is just for games? These awesome apps will change your mind

Virtual reality isn't all about gaming. Swim with turtles, paint in 3D, and immerse yourself in some unique experiences the platform has to offer with our curated list of the best VR apps.
Home Theater

Google Chromecast and Chromecast Ultra: Everything you need to know

Google's Chromecast plugs into your TV's HDMI port, allowing you to stream content from your tablet, laptop, or smartphone directly to your TV. Here's what you need to know about all iterations, including the 4K-ready Chromecast Ultra.
Mobile

These 100 best iPhone apps will turn your phone into a jack-of-all-trades

The iPhone is the most popular smartphone in the world, and we want to bring out the best in yours. Behold our comprehensive list of the best iPhone apps, from time-saving productivity tools to fun apps you won’t be able to put down.
Mobile

New Tidal app will bring a wave of music to your Samsung smartwatch

Tidal fans now have another way to enjoy their music collection. The Tidal app is coming to Samsung wearables, including the Samsung Galaxy Watch, Gear Sport, and more. Tidal will also be bringing its wearable app to other devices.
Music

Music to our ears: Spotify at long last arrives on the Apple Watch

Spotify subscribers are now able to jam out to their favorite tunes on their favorite workout accessory, as the Swedish streaming service has finally released its official Apple Watch app.
Digital Trends Live

Hip-hop artist Rakeem Miles talks musical upbringing, ‘Dante’s Toys’

Rakeem Miles may be best known for his musical endeavors, but he's looking to change that with his forthcoming animated show. On Monday's DT Daily, we discuss Miles' origins, what drives his passions, his favorite superhero, and more.
Home Theater

Looking for a podcast? Pandora’s Podcast Genome Project is just the ticket

Pandora has created a brand new service for podcast listeners. Powered by calls the Podcast Genome Project, the new podcast offering uses an advanced combination of algorithms and human curation to deliver the perfect podcasts for you.
Home Theater

Get the most boom for your buck with the best headphones under $100

Everybody wants a bargain, and this list has a bunch. For those looking for a solid set of headphones without spending a big stack of cash, this list is is your starting point. Check out our picks for the best headphones under $100.
Home Theater

5 gorgeous turntables that spin stacks of wax in style for less than $500

Vinyl records are awesome, but they're also finicky. To get the best out of your stacks of wax, it's best to play them on a quality turntable. Here are the best turntables to be had for under $500.
Music

Here's our head-to-head comparison of Pandora and Spotify

Which music streaming platform is best for you? We pit Spotify versus Pandora, two mighty streaming services with on-demand music and massive catalogs, comparing every facet of the two services to help you decide which is best.
Digital Trends Live

DT Daily: Waymo’s driverless cars, ‘Fallout 76’ tips, and Racella

In today's episode of DT Daily, we discuss Waymo's foray into the ridesharing sector, along with various tips for making the most of the recently launched Fallout 76. We also sit down with singer Racella to chat about her new EP, Waves.
Home Theater

A recent Twitter leak may show the upcoming AirPods 2 model

Apple plans to release new AirPods much the same as it does new iPhones, and a wireless charging case, water resistance, and better Siri integration are among the improvements we can expect in future models.