Spotify hit with new copyright suit in US


A podium with the Spotify logo is pictured in the cafeteria of the company headquarters in Stockholm is pictured

A podium with the Spotify logo is pictured in the cafeteria of the company headquarters in Stockholm is pictured

NEW YORK – A music publisher is seeking at least $1.6-billion (R19-billion) from Spotify for alleged copyright violations, the latest lawsuit to hit the fast-growing streaming company.

Wixen Music Publishing, Inc. -- which holds rights to songs of major artists including Neil Young, The Doors, Tom Petty and Santana -- charged in a lawsuit that Spotify failed to seek licenses for significant parts of its 30 million-song catalogue.

"While Spotify has become a multibillion-dollar company, songwriters and their publishers, such as Wixen, have not been able to fairly and rightfully share in Spotify&39;s success, as Spotify has in many cases used their music without a license and without compensation," said the lawsuit filed last week in a federal court in Los Angeles.

The lawsuit said that Spotify initially tried to work with record labels but, "in a race to be first to market, made insufficient efforts to collect the required musical composition information."

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Wixen, which is seeking a jury trial against the Swedish company, presented a list of 10,784 songs for which it questioned Spotify&39;s permission to stream. The publisher said it was seeking the maximum allowed $150,000 in damages for copyright damages for each song, meaning an award of at least $1.6-billion, along with the fees of its lawyers.

Spotify did not immediately comment on the latest suit. In May, it reached an agreement to settle a pair of two similar lawsuits under which Spotify said it would set up a $43.45-million fund to compensate songwriters.

Wixen called the settlement, which still needs final approval from a judge, "grossly insufficient" and said that it would opt out of the deal insofar as possible.

Even if unsuccessful, lawsuits amount to a headache for Spotify as the company considers going public. Spotify, which has been valued at anywhere from $8-billion to $16-billion, has maintained its dominance as streaming rapidly grows and transforms the recorded music market.

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Spotify said in July that it had 60 million users worldwide who pay for subscriptions, with 80 million more using its free tier.