Usually, when it comes to issues over music rights on YouTube it’s the content creators that are the ones feeling the effects, and usually it’s nothing more than having their videos removed for using background tracks during a recording that they didn’t have licensing rights to. Now it seems, according to Time that a group of some of the most popular musicians in the world are gearing up to face Google in court and slap them with a $1 billion lawsuit over the use of unlicensed music. Not just a few songs either, but some 20,000 songs from various artists.
The musicians themselves are not preparing to sue Google individually though. Global Music Rights is the group responsible for going after Google over the music being shared through their YouTube service, and Global Music Rights represents the collection of artists that those songs belong to. There is apparently a laundry list of involved musicians, including some of the biggest names in music like Pharrell Williams, John Lennon, The Eagles and others. Google claims that it indeed does have the rights to the music that they’re sharing through YouTube, and so they have refused to the demands of Global Music Rights to remove the songs from the site. It’s this display from the search company that will reportedly be earning them the threat of the lawsuit.
Google’s alleged use of songs without the consent and licensing rights from the musicians is sure to stir up some negative attention, but what’s interesting is that Google is not the only company or website where some of this music can be found or shared. Google is said to be the most difficult to work with according to Irving Azoff who is at the head of Global Music Rights, which is part of the reason why GMR is going after Google and seemingly no other companies. This impending lawsuit is in the wake of the recently launched YouTube Music Key where users are offered access to tons and tons of music videos and songs for the paired subscription fee of $9.99, which also grants them the use of the service Play Music All Access for streaming music. The next step for Google it appears as demanded by GMR will be to produce documented proof that they have the licenses for the music that is in question.