For many, the streaming music service Spotify has become the go-to app for cranking up some tunes. I’ve always wondered how they can offer so many songs, even to free accounts, without running into copyright trouble. It looks like the short answer is: they can’t (allegedly anyway).
Wixen Music Publishing is suing the bajeezus out of Spotify for using thousands of songs without obtaining the necessary rights.
Music streaming company Spotify was sued by Wixen Music Publishing Inc last week for allegedly using thousands of songs, including those of Tom Petty, Neil Young and the Doors, without a license and compensation to the music publisher.
Wixen, an exclusive licensee of songs such as “Free Fallin” by Tom Petty, “Light My Fire” by the Doors, (Girl We Got a) Good Thing by Weezer and works of singers such as Stevie Nicks, is seeking damages worth at least $1.6 billion along with injunctive relief.
Spotify failed to get a direct or a compulsory license from Wixen that would allow it to reproduce and distribute the songs, Wixen said in the lawsuit, filed in a California federal court.
Wixen also alleged that Spotify outsourced its work to a third party, licensing and royalty services provider the Harry Fox Agency, which was “ill-equipped to obtain all the necessary mechanical licenses”.
Obtaining the appropriate licenses and agreements for all the music in Spotify’s enormous library can’t be an easy task.
Spotify slapped with $1.6 billion copyright lawsuit over Tom Petty, Stevie Nicks songs https://t.co/YGqcp1evdk
— Entertainment Weekly (@EW) January 2, 2018
A Spotify spokesperson declined to comment on the lawsuit.
Wixen’s lawsuit comes six months after Spotify reached a proposed $43.4 million settlement to resolve a class-action lawsuit with songwriters and publishers led by David Lowery and Melissa Ferrick. The Swedish-based streaming service was also hit with two more copyright lawsuits in July.
In a statement Tuesday, Wixen said the company and its clients decided not to participate in the Ferrick v. Spotify lawsuit “in part because of their belief that the proposed settlement is inadequate, because too much of the settlement is going to legal fees, and because the terms of the go-forward license in the settlement are not in their long-term best interests.”
Spotify plans to go public this year and the company is valued somewhere around $19 billion.