YouTube pays music labels far less in fees than streaming sitesCHRIS RATCLIFFE/GETTY IMAGES

Google has been accused of running a “cynical” behind-the-scenes campaign to torpedo new EU copyright rules that would force it to pay music labels substantially higher fees for streaming their songs on YouTube.

The internet search giant and other US tech goliaths are funding a slew of lobby groups seeking to quash a proposed change in the rules.

The European Commission is aiming to reshape copyright law for the digital era, levelling the playing field between content creators and digital platforms. At present, YouTube and other sites that let users upload content are protected from stiff copyright infringement penalties under “safe harbour” provisions dating back to 2001.

The result is that YouTube, which boasts 1.3bn monthly users, pays music labels far less than streaming sites.…