Spotify has been hit with a landmark lawsuit over unpaid royalties to artists under the streaming service.
According to Billboard, Camper Van Beethoven and Cracker frontman David Lowery are suing Spotify for $150 million in damages, alleging the company “knowingly, willingly, and unlawfully reproduces and distributes copyrighted compositions without obtaining mechanical licenses.”
Retaining the law firm services of Michelman & Robinson, LLP the lawsuit comes just as Spotify was in negotiations with the National Music Publishers Association over the its already alleged issues of letting users play music that hasn’t been properly licensed. NMPA also claims they’re doing it without making mechanical royalty payments to music publishers and songwriters.
According to the complaint by Van Beethoven and Lowery, the streaming service unlawfully distributed copyrighted music to more than 75 million users while failing to identify or locate the owners of those creators for payment. They also claim they did not issue a notice of intent to employ a compulsory license.
Spotify issued a statement regarding the lawsuit after it was filed yesterday (December 28): “We are committed to paying songwriters and publishers every penny,” said the Spotify global head of communications and public policy Jonathan Prince. “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.”
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