YouTube has been warned to remove 20,000 videos by artists, including Pharrell Williams and the Eagles, or face a $1 billion lawsuit, it has been reported.
Irving Azoff and his company, Global Music Rights (GMR), are behind the complaint and are said to be representing the interests of around 40 music stars.
Mr Azoff has reportedly told the video-sharing site that they do not have the performance rights for thousands of songs they offer on its streaming service.
Through a new outfit called Global Music Rights, music industry heavyweight Irving Azoff manages the performance rights of some 20,000 songs including works composed by The Eagles, Pharrell Williams, John Lennon and others. Many of the songs were previously handled by ASCAP and BMI, which thanks to consent decrees with the Justice Department, were subject to blanket licenses anytime a digital outlet like YouTube requested one. Not anymore, the Hollywood Reporter says.
Mr Azoff has reportedly claimed that although YouTube may have negotiated deals with the record labels, they have not done the same with the artists.
He told the Hollywood Reporter that his clients wanted to pursue YouTube, as apposed to other sharing sites, because they have been 'least cooperative' and are 'the worst offenders.'
The website claims that YouTube has said they do have the rights for the public performances of the videos due to prior deals.
However, Mr Azoff has said that he is prepared to purse legal war if negotiations don't prove fruitful and if youtube refuses to remove the works.