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News October 27, 2015

YouTube refuses to remove 20k songs at Irving Azoff’s request

Former Editor
YouTube refuses to remove 20k songs at Irving Azoff’s request

Days after industry magnate Irving Azoff announced his decision to pull over 20,000 songs from YouTube, the video streaming service has refused to comply.

Azoff's decision was sparked by the launch of YouTube’s subscription version,YouTube Music Key, which Azoff believes misrepresents artists in the digital space. Now, Azoff – who represents 42 acts including Pharrell Williams, Bruno Mars, John Lennon and the Eagles on his new rights management venture Global Music Rights – has filed a cessation letter.

The Hollywood Reporter has obtained the letter sent by lawyer Howard King to YouTube General CounselKent Walker. Azoff told THR he issued takedown notices to YouTube but the service is hiding behind copyright safe harbour (immunity) and claims it has a multiyear license for the public performance of works represented by GMR through its deals with US PROs like BMI and ASCAP.

“In defiance of our demands, it appears that YouTube continues to broadcast videos containing the songs controlled by GMR, with each broadcasting constituting a wilful copyright infringement,” reads King’s letter. Obviously, if YouTube contends that it has properly licensed any of the songs for public broadcast, a contention we believe to be untrue, demand is hereby made that we be furnished with documentation of such licenses."

A spokesperson from YouTube gave the following statement to THR: "We've done deals with labels, publishers, collection societies and more to bring artists' music into YouTube Music Key. To achieve our goal of enabling this service's features on all the music on YouTube, we'll keep working with both the music community and with the music fans invited to our beta phase."

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