Music Industry

Published on January 21st, 2018 | by Alan Cross

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Lawyer suing Spotify explains what this legal action is all about

Spotify wants to hit the stock market later this year. But standing in the way is some legal action that throws a wrench into everything. This is from Digital Music News.

My law firm currently represents multiple songwriters and publishers in copyright litigation against Spotify that, in total, involve approximately 2,500 musical compositions.

The allegations are that Spotify built a multi-billion dollar business with no assets other than the songs available on its digital platform, but without building the infrastructure needed to ensure that songs appearing on Spotify were properly licensed or that appropriate royalties were paid.

Plaintiffs assert that Spotify has publicly admitted that it is required, as an interactive streaming service, to obtain mechanical licenses to reproduce and distribute the compositions on its service.  Additionally, they knew that it was committing copyright infringement of literally hundreds of thousands of musical compositions by not doing so.

The plaintiffs assert that Spotify made the conscious decision, in the effort to be first to market and to have as many compositions on its service as possible, to commit infringement now — and ask questions later.  They further assert that Spotify continued infringing even after put on notice of the lack of licenses for specific compositions, and/or Spotify’s failure to comply with compulsory licensing requirements, as well as the subsequent termination of any licenses that had been in effect.

The plaintiffs are seeking damages and profits of Spotify attributable to the infringement, or, in the alternative, statutory damages for willful infringement of $150,000 per composition at issue.  Statutory damages against willful infringers of up to $150,000 per infringed work is in place to punish infringers for making the deliberate decision to infringe, and, in my view, is particularly appropriate in cases like the case against Spotify.
More here.




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About the Author

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.


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