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Spotify finally settles over unpaid streaming royalties

Written by Mark Reed on 03 June 2017

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Spotify, one of the world’s leading music streaming sites, has settled a lawsuit in the US over unpaid streaming royalties, also known as ‘mechanical royalties’. The settlement has seen Spotify allow over $43 million dollars to be distributed to artists and songwriters for streaming songs without authorisation.

In Spotify’s defence, it is sometimes difficult to know which songs copyright is controlled by who, due to the lack of a publicly accessible database. However, by not conforming to copyright laws, if streaming platforms do not notify the owner, or those who have control, then they are affectively committing copyright infringement.

It is not the first lawsuit filed against the streaming giant though. However, this lawsuit is certainly the biggest action against them. The Lowery and Ferrick case was merged into a pricey action against Spotify. It was settled with an agreement that they would cough up with unpaid royalties, as well as a pot set aside for a compensation fund, and assurances that they would try and fix the ongoing issues with data problems not keeping up with the evolving digital economy.

In will be interesting to watch with keen eyes as to whether Spotify will succeed in working with the National Music Publishing Association to get a firmer hold on ensuring whether songwriters, publishers and of course artists themselves get the royalties they deserve.

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