November 29, 2019

Spotify Faces Lawsuit Over Intentional Copyright Infringement and Deceptive Trade Practice

[ by Kavita Krishnan ]


A lawsuit has been filed in Florida against Spotify by PRO Music Rights, LLC, and Sosa Entertainment, LLC, (Sosa) alleging that Spotify failed to pay on over 550,000,000 musical streams. Principally, part of the non-payment has stemmed up from a contested removal of content, starting in May of 2017.

According to the lawsuit, “Plaintiffs bring this action to redress substantial injuries Spotify caused by failing to fulfill its duties and obligations as a music streaming service, willfully removing content for anti-competitive reasons, engaging in unfair and deceptive business practices, obliterating Plaintiffs’ third-party contracts and expectations, refusing to pay owed royalties and publicly performing songs without license.”

The plaintiffs alleged that in May 2017, Spotify abruptly removed all of the Plaintiffs’ music from its platform due to abnormal streaming activity without advance notice and without even telling Plaintiffs why their songs were removed.

Generally, when Spotify has reason to believe illegitimate streams are coming especially from brand-new user accounts, it removes their music.

In this case however the plaintiffs claim that their streams are the real deal, and that Spotify removed them in order to avoid having to pay royalties.

The lawsuit has also roped in global digital rights agency Merlin, which entered into a licensing deal with Spotify in April 2017. Sosa, which was a member of Merlin at the time, would have been entitled to equity in Spotify under the agreement. However, according to the plaintiffs’ claim, Spotify’s “blacklisting” of their catalog soiled their relationship with Merlin, thereby terminating its contract with Sosa.

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