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Spotify faces $150 million lawsuit for unpaid royalties, copyright infringement

Published Dec 30th, 2015 7:45PM EST
Spotify Class Action Lawsuit

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Ever since it became the most popular music streaming service on the Internet, Spotify has been making artists angry. The streak continued earlier this week when musician David Lowery filed a class action lawsuit claiming that Spotify “has — and continues to — unlawfully reproduce and/or distribute copyrighted musical compositions.”

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The lawsuit claims that the affected artists will never be able to recuperate everything owed to them, but Lowery is asking for at least $150 million in damages for allowing its 75 million members to play music for which Spotify never obtained licenses.

Lowery also notes that Spotify has “publicly” admitted to its wrongdoing, and has created a reserve fund of up to $25 million which it has “wrongfully withheld from artists,” which Spotify global head of communications and public policy Jonathan Prince explains in the following statement:

“We are committed to paying songwriters and publishers every penny. Unfortunately, especially in the United States, the data necessary to confirm the appropriate rightsholders is often missing, wrong, or incomplete. When rightsholders are not immediately clear, we set aside the royalties we owe until we are able to confirm their identities. We are working closely with the National Music Publishers Association to find the best way to correctly pay the royalties we have set aside and we are investing in the resources and technical expertise to build a comprehensive publishing administration system to solve this problem for good.”

This would be a huge win for the artists that have complained about their relationship with Spotify in the past, even if their songs have not been unlawfully distributed through the service. We’ll be keeping an eye on the case as it develops.

Jacob Siegal
Jacob Siegal Associate Editor

Jacob Siegal is Associate Editor at BGR, having joined the news team in 2013. He has over a decade of professional writing and editing experience, and helps to lead our technology and entertainment product launch and movie release coverage.