Spotify Slammed With $150 Million Lawsuit For Unpaid Royalties

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The complaint says the streaming service “publicly” admitted its failure to obtain licenses for the songs.

Musician David Lowery is suing music-streaming site Spotify for illegally distributing several of his copyrighted songs. Lowery, the frontman for the bands Cracker and Camper van Beethoven, is seeking a minimum of $150 million in damages.

According to the complaint brought by Lowery, Spotify has illegally streamed copyrighted music for over 75 million users and failed to locate the owners of those compositions for payment.

Lowery is representing a group of over 100 other members who are also reportedly frustrated with the streaming service, making this a class action lawsuit. The lawsuit was filed on Dec. 28 at the Central District Court of California.

Lowery’s complaint states Spotify has “publicly” admitted its failure to obtain licenses and created a reserve fund of somewhere between $17 million and $25 million for royalty payments which have been “wrongfully withheld from artists.”

Distributing content without the proper licensing, the complaint says, “creates substantial harm and injury to the copyright holders, and diminishes the integrity of the works.”

Lowery is seeking damages for the unlawful distribution of his songs “Almond Grove,” “Get On Down the Road,” “King of Bakersfield” and “Tonight I Cross the Border.” Statutory penalties for this case include judgments between $750 and $30,000 for each infringed work and up to $150,000 per song for willful infringement.

Spotify is currently embroiled in settlement negotiations with the National Music Publishers Association for allowing users to access music that has not been properly licensed and without paying artists their royalties. Last week, in a blog poston Spotify’s site, the company admitted to having an issue paying musicians “fairly, rapidly, and transparently.”

The streaming service has also had similar cases brought against it in the past by record labels the Ministry of Sound and Victory Records.

Article courtesy of Nadya AgrawalEditorial Fellow, The Huffington Post
12/29/2015 04:15 pm ET

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