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Spotify Dealing with Second Big Copyright Lawsuit in a Year
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6 Jan 2018 03:46 PM EST

-by Laura Tucker, Staff Writer; Image: Spotify Logo (Image Source: Public Domain)

Streaming music instead of buying countless CDs or spending numerous hours downloading your favorites sure seems like the way to go these days. However, the big giant in the streaming game, Spotify, seems to have been cutting copyright corners, if you're to believe the new lawsuit from Wixen Music Publishing.

Spotify could be headed for a momentous year in that it may go public. However, first it has to deal with the pesky lawsuits. It handled one last year, and now it's being hit with more.

Wixen Music Publishing has an impressive catalog with offerings from Tom Petty, Zach de la Rocha and Tom Morell of Rage Against the Machine, Donald Fagen of Steely Dan, Rivers Cuomo of Weezer, the late David Cassidy, Neil Young, Stevie Nicks, etc.

Last week, Wixen filed a lawsuit alleging that the streaming service is using songs from their catalog without a license and without compensation. They are looking for $1.6 billion in damages plus injunctive relief.

They aren't the first to go after Spotify. A class action lawsuit claimed the streaming service hadn't adequately paid mechanical licenses for song compositions. They reached a settlement, but it still needs to have a judge's approval.

After that initial lawsuit, they racked up two more, with one being filed by Bob Gaudio, a founding member and songwriter for Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. These lawsuits alleged that Spotify hadn't completely complied with Section 115 of the U.S. Copyright Act.

Wixen is also objecting to the settlement in the class action case.

The songwriters in the group claimed, "The Settlement Agreement is procedurally and substantively unfair to Settlement Class Members because it prevents meaningful participation by rights holders and offers them an unfair dollar amount in light of Spotify's ongoing, willful copyright infringement of their works."

Spotify, though, is concerned that Wixen hasn't been authorized by its clients to pursue this. They also note that Wixen sent a letter to its clients that gave them confusing instructions, and they believe that the silence of their clients would unwillingly give Wixen power.

"Spotify brazenly disregards United States Copyright law and has committed willful, ongoing copyright infringement," Wixen's own lawsuit states. "Wixen notified Spotify that it had neither obtained a direct or compulsory mechanical license for the use of the Works. For these reasons and the foregoing, Wixen is entitled to the maximum statutory relief."

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