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Irving Azoff Threatens to Sue YouTube over Song Copyrights

Irving Azoff

Entertainment mogul and music manager Irving Azoff is suing YouTube over its refusal to remove 20, 000 songs from the popular website. The songs in question include those by The Eagles, Pharrell Williams and John Lennon.

The confrontation comes as YouTube has announced plans to launch a new subscription service called Music Key.

Under copyright law, just about anyone can load anything to the website. If the material in question is copyrighted then the holder of said copyright must then file a complaint demanding its removal. Until this happens YouTube is not required to remove the material in question.

You may have followed a link to a song or a movie clip on YouTube only to see a message stating that it was removed as per the request of the copyright holder.

Last week Azoff sent YouTube two letters asking that it remove the songs. He is planning a new service called Global Music Rights (GMR), aimed at extracting higher performance rights royalties for songwriters. The music mogul told The Hollywood Reporter that he is prepared to take 42 of his clients, representing some 20, 000 copyrighted works, away from the YouTube.

“The way fans listen to music is evolving daily. GMR is going to give songwriters and publishers an opportunity to engage in meaningful licensing for their intellectual property. The trampling of writers’ rights in the digital marketplace without any regard to their contribution to the creative process will no longer be tolerated, ” said Azoff.

A letter sent to YouTube’s counsel read:

“YouTube has failed to comply with our two letters of November 14, 2014 demanding the immediate cessation of public performance of almost 20, 000 songs… based upon YouTube’s failure to obtain public performance rights from Global Music Rights. In defiance of our demands YouTube continues to broadcast… songs controlled by GMR.”

The letter further demanded that if YouTube believes that it has the proper license to use these materials then it prove so to GMR.

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