my company wrote, directed, filmed, and edited a music video for a lesser known artist who is a friend. We did it pro bono because he is a friend. We posted the video to YouTube and he started using it successfully to promote himself and get more appearances. [...] That bigger company claimed they owned the copyright on the video. Google happily revoked our right to monetize it and gave us the option to take it down or let the bigger company monetize it.
Well, this sucks, but it might actually be legally correct: When you friend signed away his soul to the record company, he gave them every right to act this way. As such, your company would have had to make a contract with the soul owner, not with the poor remains.
Many musicians seem to be very naive and don't realize this when they sign up with a publisher, not even years later. Many don't even seem to think it necessary to point this out when they're doing contract work, like for indie games, even though it's very relevant. YouTube casters (which are the main PR for indie games) are not allowed to review games that come with this kind of tainted music. They are not even allowed to show trailers of the game. The casters not getting paid for their work is the mildest of results from violating this law.
I've even seen musicians that tried to argue with their masters about that they would like them to allow game reviews, but it's a very sorry sight.