Universal Music is Stealing Indie Artists Song Rights on YouTube...

Like it isn’t hard enough for up-and-coming musicians to make a living off their own musical creations but it becomes so much more difficult when the likes of major labels blatantly rip-off and cheat indie artists.

Sadly, the guys at Torrent Freak have reported on the terrible story of a Norwegian musician, Bjorn Lynne, who’s music had been hijacked by Universal Music Group (UMG), the giant company monetising Lynne’s music on YouTube despite having no ownership of his songs, Lynne forced to fight for the return of his own music.

This is a messy, almost unbelievable case!

Lynne claims that “UMG, or somebody who produces content for them” found his song ‘Kingdom of the Persians’ and used it as background for an audio book that has also been released on CD – to which he says, “fair enough, if they have paid the license fee).” The issue arises when UMG loaded the audio book containing Lynne’s song into YouTube’s Content-ID System.

When a song is uploaded into YouTube’s Content-ID System, any other duplicates that appear will instantly be sniffed-out by the system which will send an automated “Copyright Notice” to the uploader informing them that the music they’ve just loaded to YouTube is owned by somebody else, giving the uploader the option of removing the song, in addition to this advertising can be placed on the video, to which revenue from that advertising is then paid to the original uploader (and owner) of that music.

In the case of Lynne versus Universal Music Group, the audio book that plays Lynne’s song ‘Kingdom of the Persians’ on YouTube now features advertisements, however this money is being paid to Universal Music Group who have claimed ownership of the material, leaving Lynne with nothing despite it being his music being played.

Outraged, Lynne has of course reached-out to YouTube to dispute the current situation, explaining this on his Facebook, “I feel powerless and I’m left to watch my music being raped by a media giant, who sits behind closed curtains, ignores the rightful owner of the music and just goes ‘Nah, we’ll take it anyway’. Screw you, Universal Music Group!

Adamant to halt UMG from earning money from his music, Lynne took his case to the highest appeal on YouTube, to which he reveals that his videos have finally been freed, and he beat UMG.

Since telling his story his post has been flooded with other artists who have shared similar stories of how they were squeezed out of earning profits from their own music by major labels, Lynne of course is not the first person to suffer at the hands of UMG and the ilk.

Advising others who had gone through the same situation, he wrote to Facebook, “Going through the ‘appeal’ at YouTube is a pretty scary process, because YouTube uses some very strong language to warn you that you may face legal action and/or your YouTube account may be shut down. I did it nevertheless, I was that hell bent on getting UMG to stop monetizing my music and claiming ownership of it.”

A victory for the little guy against major corporations is always cause for celebration, however Lynne should never have had his music hijacked in the first place, nonetheless, kudos to the Norwegian musician for his fearlessness in fighting for ownership of his own music.

Read the full Facebook post


  1. Thanks for this post. They solicited 72 songs from me. They lied on several occasions and after over five months and more than 70 emails, they ceased interaction without any explanation. They were eager to get my lyric sheets and demos. I've been sharing the message below to warn their artists and labels.

    Dear Artist,

    This is a friendly warning for you to avoid the consequences of copyright infringement whether rewritten, slightly altered or translated. I am Meena Khan, formerly Ali and I am a songwriter. Over the course of five months, 72 of my songs were solicited from me by an organization to which you are entrusted. Please be assured however, that I am the sole writer and have not entered into any legal contract with the below mentioned firm.

    To avoid needless penalties when you are offered songs,
    1.) please ask to meet the songwriter in person,
    2.) please ask about the inspiration behind each song
    3.) and please ask for a sworn declaration or affidavit that will hold both 'the songwriter' and the company in question for their unscrupulous activities in case any copyright infringement case is filed against anything you record on their behalf.

    There are more than 70 email correspondence between myself and this company before they cut off their responses without explanation. If you do not accept songs or you write your own, please ignore my warning for yourself but do please warn others who do not write their own songs and accept songs from A&R. Below is a copy of a the first eager solicitation by the firm.
    Thank you,
    Meena Khan

    Ihre Anfrage: ***SPAM***
    Deutsche Grammophon 10/10/16 at 1:11 PM
    Meena Ali
    Message body


    ##- Please type your reply above this line -##
    Charis (Universal Music Germany)
    Oct 10, 19:11 CEST

    Dear Mr. Ali,

    Thank you very much for your e-mail and your interest in Deutsche Grammophon!

    Please send the demo CD & biography to my colleague Theresa Moog,

    The address is:
    Deutsche Grammophon GmbH
    Theresa Moog
    Stralauer Allee 1
    10245 Berlin

    Please do not hesitate to contact us for any further inquiries.

    With best wishes,
    Miguel Neiva

    Deutsche Grammophon Customer Service Team
    When inquiries are e-mailed to us, we store the question and the e-mail address information so that we can respond electronically. Any information submitted may be used by Deutsche Grammophon and the affiliated companies of the Universal Music Group (UMG), and may be shared with our promotional partners. We do not sell or lease any personal information or e-mail address lists to a third party.

    Deutsche Grammophon GmbH - Stralauer Allee 1 - D-10245 Berlin
    Sitz / Registered Office: Berlin, Amtsgericht Charlottenburg HRB 138012 B
    Geschäftsführung / Board: Dr. Clemens Trautmann, Frank Briegmann

    Diese E-Mail wurde versendet von: Universal Music GmbH | Geschäftsführer: Frank Briegmann
    USt-Ident.Nr.: DE198690616 | HRB: 85604 | Registergericht: Amtsgericht Charlottenburg
    Postadresse: Universal Music GmbH | Stralauer Allee 1 | 10245 Berlin
    Telefon: +49-30-52007-01 | E-Mail:info@universal-music.de
    Meena Khan