Growing lawsuits against Spotify have earned the attention of lawmakers to reforming music licensing for effective management of future lawsuits with copyright infringement claims.
Wixen Music Publishing files a fresh lawsuit worth $1.6 billion against Spotify alleging copyright infringement. The suit covers music from Missy Elliot, Steely Dan, Neil Young, David Cassidy, and many others. Wixen Music Publishing is the publisher that represents a host of artists which a few has already been mentioned.
It is expected that music licensing rules would take new shape since new industries that make billions through broadcasting will always face license charges even in hazy or complex conditions. Every individual in the music industry would insist on the need for reforms capable of facilitating clearer legal rights for increased revenue. The moment to shove for that fantasy may have come for Wixen Music Publishing as Spotify is caught in their nest while they contend that the Sweden-based streaming giants have gone public with thousands of their songs without a proper license.
Reporters from the Hollywood revealed that the suit which is filed December 29, 2017, is alleging copyright infringement by Spotify and asking for at least $1.6 billion in damages and injunctive relief.
While Wixen’s lawsuit remains fresh, many who have been following up the rising copyright challenges faced by Spotify would not be surprised by this development.
Spotify is yet to leave the hook of a group of songwriters led by Melissa Ferrick and David Lowery, whose suits claimed that Spotify is yet to service mechanical licenses for song composers in cash. This case had forced Spotify to propose $43 million for settlement to resolve the case as at May 2017, after admitting to having no statutory license of reproducing or distributing musical compositions through its platform as claimed by the lawsuit. However, this has not been resolved as most of the songwriters were not satisfied with the offer.
Two lawsuits similar to the Melissa Ferrick and David Lowery were also filed against Spotify in July 2017 which one of them includes suit from Bob Gaudio (songwriter). The plaintiff in these cases claim that Spotify is yet to fully comply with the U.S. Copyright Act obligations under Section 115, the act mandates a license for musical composition (mechanical reproduction), available only with proper payments and “notice of intention.”
In reaction to the fresh lawsuit worth $1.6 billion, Spotify is asking to know if the aggressive actions taken by Wixen were authorized by its clients who include Kenny Rogers, Andrew Bird, etc. Spotify is claiming that the administrative agreements between Songwriters and Wixen which authorizes publishers to negotiate license deals are not effective in litigations.
All these events and more have earned lawmakers attention to reforming license for music in a bid to curb or effectively manage future lawsuits related to those facing Spotify.
This is because more litigation from songwriters and their publishers are now predictable since Spotify has grown to become a multibillion-dollar company through efforts of the music industry. Though publishers such as Wixen have not succeeded in benefiting from the company’s success, more cases are not far from being filed, including additional pressure from the existing cases with a bridge of licensing claims.