YouTube facing $3 billion lawsuit

It seems Pharrell Williams is not so ‘happy’ after all.

A performing rights group representing Pharrell, among other artists, called Global Music Rights (GMR) has hit out against YouTube, demanding the company removes some 20,000 videos from the site, or else it will face a costly lawsuit.

This is a sequel to the same story from mid-November 2014, when the company’s founder Irving Azoff warned YouTube to remove videos it doesn't have licence for.

Azoff said that Youtube “are the ones that have been least cooperative and the company our clients feel are the worst offenders,” in terms of hosting unlicensed content, The Guardian writes.

It’s possible that YouTube has a multi-year agreement with a performing rights organisation that handled their rights before Global Music Rights, however, GMR lawyer Howard King thinks that YouTube’s silence on the matter means it doesn't have the rights.

YouTube “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”, he said.

Even though Azoff doesn’t mention a lawsuit, his lawyer hints it, says Hollywood Reporter.

If a lawsuit does come, it could theoretically be a $3 billion (£1.9 billion) case, the site writes.

King also noted that YouTube’s upcoming music streaming service, Music Key, also doesn’t have the necessary licence agreements to stream music.

Music Key is a music streaming service, designed to rival the likes of Spotify. It’s currently in beta, and is expected to become generally available some time in 2015.