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Spotify and Ministry of Sound

Written by Michael Coyle on 05 September 2013

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Ministry of Sound, the London based dance record label is suing the music streaming service- Spotify for alleged copyright infringement.

Spotify is a Swedish based internet music service, it allows users to create playlists to share with fellow users.

Ministry of Sound claim that several playlists created by users of Spotify were direct copies of Ministry of Sound's dance compilation albums, the label have demanded that they be removed.

The two companies have been in talks in the hope of reaching an agreement. They have failed to reached an agreement and on Monday 02 September 2013, Ministry of Sound launched legal proceedings in the High Court in London.

Although Ministry of Sound's compilations are not on Spotify, the label argue that Spotify have infringed copyright as some users playlists mirror the albums track listings. Ministry of Sound contend that the law protects “the expertise and creative effort involved” in curating titles such as the Sound of Dubstep Classics. 

Ministry of Sound does not own the copyright to many of the tracks on its compilations, the majority of which have been licensed from other record labels. 

Ministry of Sound allege that in some of these playlists, users have used the Ministry of Sound name in the titles of their playlists. Ministry of Sound chief executive Mr Lohan Presencer claims he asked Spotify to remove the name from the titles. Spotify refused to do so.

The company is now seeking an injunction to require Spotify to remove the offending playlists and to permanently block playlists that copy their compilation. Further they are seeking damages and costs.

Spotify's business model is relatively new, and thus there is little precedent for this type of dispute.

Mr Presencer stated “ I have got a team of 10 people that work on the albums full time, we have built a reputation on a brand recognised the world over on its ability to curate playslists. There's clearly intellectual property and value in what we pull together, but Spotify has continued to question that”

He further stated that Ministry of Sound would welcome a licensing agreement with Spotify, but that Spotify had been unwilling to compromise.

“I'd love to have a commercial conversation with them and we have endeavoured to do that for the last three or four years but they have said they don't value what we do. It's not a question of whether they are good for consumers it's a question of our intellectual property” Mr Presecner said.

Spotify have not commented on the legal proceedings.

 

This article was written by work experience student Fozia Cheychi

 

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