California musicians as well as their fans may know that Spotify was sued by a musician in December for allegedly reproducing copyrighted material. Now a second musician has filed a similar lawsuit against the music-streaming service, joining with the first plaintiff to request that class-action status be granted to them and other musicians allegedly victimized by the company.
On Jan. 8, indie folk singer Melissa Ferrick filed a $200 million lawsuit against Spotify in Los Angeles federal court. She claims that the Swedish-based streaming company failed to notify copyright holders when phonorecords, the files that make instant online streaming possible, were made of their music titles. She accuses the streaming service of taking an "infringe now, apologize later" approach by creating the digital music files without permission in order to quickly make the music accessible and increase company profits. Meanwhile, the suit alleges that songwriters and music publishers have been unable to share in the profits because the songs have not been licensed.
According to the complaint, Ferrick, a native of Massachusetts, has had her songs downloaded over 1 million times on Spotify without proper licensing. Last month, Cracker and Camper Van Beethoven frontman David Lowery also sued Spotify for $150 million over copyright infringement claims. Ferrick and Lowery are asking a judge to combine their complaints into a class-action suit. In response to Lowery's complaint, Spotify said it would pay music publishers and songwriters what they were owed.
California writers, artists, programmers and musicians have the right to have their creative works protected from copyright infringement. An attorney could provide essential guidance on the most effective ways to guard books, performance art, software, artwork, and music from infringement and help negotiate licensing agreements that are in the best interests of the copyright owner.
Source: Spotify, "Spotify Copyright Lawsuit: Musicians Seek Class-Action Status For Complaints Filed In Los Angeles," Aaron Morrison, Jan. 9, 2016