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Spotify Facing Two Major Class-Action Lawsuits
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Summary: Spotify, a digital music provider, is now facing two lawsuits from artists over the use of their music without obtaining proper licenses or payment.

2016 is starting out to be another year of legal battles for digital music service Spotify. After being slammed with a class action lawsuit for $150 million by musician David Lowery, Spotify is also facing a lawsuit for $200 million from artist Melissa Ferrick.


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Los Angeles law firm Gradstein & Marzano filed a complaint of behalf of Ferrick, seeking class-action status. They are accusing Spotify of “wholesale copyright infringement” by not first receiving permission from Ferrick before making her compositions available for streaming. The details of the suit allege that her songs haven’t been properly licensed on more than one occasion and have been streamed “approximately one million times” without licensure.

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Rhapsody and Google Play Music are also seeing these types of complaints arise from artists, but Spotify is seeing more since they are a more heavily used service. Spotify admitted to allowing music to stream before confirming the rights holder but said they plan to pay them back in a company blog post: “When one of our listeners in the U.S. streams a track for which the rights holder is not immediately clear, we set aside the royalties we owe until we are able to confirm the identity of the rights holder. When we confirm the rights holder, we pay those royalties as soon as possible.”

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Spotify, valued at $8 billion, has already paid out more than $3 million for royalties and has another $17 to $25 million set aside for rights holders that have not yet been confirmed. Spotify is searching for a better way to pay artists since it is apparent that they don’t feel they are being properly paid with the current system Spotify uses.




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