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Lawyer for Pharrell Williams Threatens YouTube with Lawsuit
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Summary: The lawyer for Pharrell Williams and other musicians has threatened YouTube with a massive lawsuit regarding copyrighted material. 

Irving Azoff, a heavyweight in the music industry, manages the performance rights of more than 20,000 songs from John Lennon, The Eagles, Pharrell Williams and many others, according to The Hollywood Reporter.


Azoff manages the songs using a new group called Global Music Rights. The majority of the songs used to be managed by BMI and ASCAP.

Azoff has told YouTube that it does not have performance rights for the 20,000 songs he manages. Other artists he handles include Chris Cornell, Smokey Robinson and George Gershwin.

To read more about YouTube, click here.

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YouTube announced back in November that it will launch a subscription service to compete with Spotify and Pandora. Azoff is prepared to wage a legal war with YouTube if the two parties cannot negotiate a deal to remove the songs.

When asked why he is going after YouTube, Azoff said, “Because they are the ones that have been least cooperative and the company our clients feel are the worst offenders. It’s also their attitude.”

Howard King, the attorney for Global Music Rights, sent a letter to YouTube that said the following:

“Without providing a shred of documentation, you blithely proffer that YouTube can ignore the Notices because it operates under blanket licenses from performing rights organizations other than Global. However, you refuse to provide the details of any such license agreements, 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.”

YouTube created anti-piracy measures when it first came into existence, but copyright holders claim it is the responsibility of Google to get a license. Google says that the responsibility rests on the rights-holders to tell it what needs to be removed.

To read more about Google, click here.

David Kramer, the attorney for Google, responded to King’s letter on December 4 with the following:

“This is now your third attempt to circumvent the straightforward DMCA notice-and-takedown process that Congress devised to handle situations like this,” writes Kramer. Kramer is a partner at Wilson Sonsini.

Global Music Rights must submit a statement under penalty of perjury that it is allowed to act on behalf of the song owners and identify the URLs where the infringing material is housed, according to Kramer’s letter.

“It is disingenuous that they can keep their hands over eyes until we tell them the URL,” King said. “They know where it is. We don’t want this to become whack-a-mole.”

“This will result in someone blinking, and if it is not them, there will be a billion-dollar copyright infringement lawsuit filed,” King said.

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Image credit: The Hollywood Reporter


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