Warner Music Group Corp. said it began removing its songs and videos from Google Inc.'s YouTube video-sharing Web site this weekend, after the two sides failed to renegotiate a licensing deal.
For now, the decision doesn't appear likely to escalate into a broader battle between YouTube and the music industry, as people close to the other major labels said they didn't anticipate taking down their content in the immediate future.
Still, the dispute reflects frustration within media companies over how little ad revenue is generated by their deals with YouTube.
Warner, like two of the three other major-label groups, Vivendi SA's Universal Music Group and Sony Corp.'s Sony BMG Music Entertainment, licensed its recording and music-publishing catalogs to YouTube shortly before the site's acquisition by Google in 2006.
EMI Group Ltd. reached its own deal in 2007.
In exchange for the use of their music videos and songs, the companies are paid a share of revenue generated by ads displayed alongside their content.
Warner executives have privately expressed frustration with the amount of money they receive from YouTube, saying the site's payment levels are below those of competitors like Time Warner Inc.'s AOL or News Corp.'s MySpace.
Like Warner, Universal and Sony BMG are both renegotiating their YouTube licenses, which are up for renewal in the next few months.
MySpace is owned and operated by News Corporation, which also owns and operates both the Wall Street Journal and FoxNews.com.