Spotify At Centre Of Class Action for Copyright Infringement
Written by Fozia Cheychi on 05 January 2016« Return to Reading Room
Lowrey is claiming that Spotify has knowingly reproduced and distributed copyrighted material through their service to 75 million users, without obtaining permission.
The lawsuit filed in U.S. District court in the Central District of California reads: “Spotify has- and continues to-unlawfully reproduce and/or distribute copyrighted musical compositions … to more than 75 million users via its interactive commercial music streaming service,” it continues “indeed, Spotify has publicly admitted its failure to obtain licenses for the musical works it distributes or reproduces or to pay royalties to copyright owners for its use of their Works.”
Further the lawsuit states that “unless the court enjoins and restrains Spotify’s conduct, plaintiff and members will continue to endure great and irreparable harm that cannot be fully compensated or measured in monetary value alone”. The lawsuit also alleges unfair business practices operated by Spotify and states that its payment structure was arbitrary and ‘depresses the value of royalties’.
Spotify have released a statement in relation to this matter via global head of communication and public policy Jonathon Prince. It states; “Unfortunately, especially in the United States, the data necessary to confirm the appropriate rights holders is often missing, wrong, or incomplete. When rights holders are not immediately clear, we set aside the royalties we owe until we are able to confirm their identities. We are working closely with the National Music Publishers Association to find the best way to correctly pay the royalties we have set aside and we are investing in the resources and technical expertise to build a comprehensive publishing administration system to solve this problem for good.”
Lowery has commented “The point is not that they didn’t set aside royalties; the point is that they never got the licenses in the first place, there appears to be no licences on my songs and a great number of songwriters’ song. Setting aside the royalty, what is that royalty based on? There’s no license.”
Sanford Michelman- Lowery’s lawyer states that Spotify may owe tens of millions of dollars not just in unpaid royalties but also for copyright infringement, which can run as high as $150,000 per violation.
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