Spotify hit with $150 million copyright infringement lawsuit
Jan 03, 2016 09:16 AM EST
Spotify is currently facing a class action lawsuit for copyright infringement. The streaming giant, which was founded in 2006 in Sweden, is being accused of distributing copyrighted music to its million users.
David Lowery, a longtime musician who’s also the guitarist/vocalist of Cracker and Camper Van Beethoven, has filed the class action lawsuit against Spotify at the US District Court in the Central District of California on Tuesday. The Washington Post first reported the news.
“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,” the claim reads.
The company, according to the court papers, has admitted that they have failed to obtain licenses for the songs they stream while also neglecting to pay royalties to artists for the copyright of their works.
Lowery is seeking for monetary damage amounting to $150 million should the court favors their side.
Lowery asserts that Spotify must be restrained from continuing their unlawful use of music taken from the plaintiff and other members of the class action suit. As long as no proper sanction is implemented, Lowery and co. will be helpless to endure "great and irreparable harm" which cannot be pacified through cash settlement alone.
Atty. Sanford Michelman, Lowery’s lawyer, told CNN that “putting money aside to pay out royalties later is a clear indication Spotify knowingly violated copyright law.”
"It's like saying, 'We know we've taken these people's work, we've never made an attempt to find them, but we know we're playing something without the proper license," he said.
The defendant, for their part, said that they are devoted to paying musicians/artists what they deserve. It has been reported that Spotify has paid out $3 billion in royalties so far.
Jonathan Prince, Spotify’s global head of communications released a statement following the filing of Lowery. He said via The Verge: “We are committed to paying songwriters and publishers every penny."
However, Prince noted that they are unable to pay royalties in a timely manner due to some data errors necessary to verify the rightsholders -- as they are often "missing, wrong or incomplete". During situations when rightsholders are not identified correctly, the company set aside the royalties they owe until identities have been correctly confirmed.
In 2013, Spotify also faced a copyright infringement lawsuit. The company was sued by Ministry of Sound for their refusal to delete user-created playlists “that mimicked their albums”. The case was settled out of court.