Spotify faces $1.6 billion lawsuit from music publisher alleging copyright infringement

Wixen Music Publishing Files $1.6 Billion Lawsuit Against Spotify Jeffrey Yau

In its lawsuit, filed in federal court in California on December 29, Wixen Music Publishing is seeking a whopping $1.6 billion-plus dollars from Spotify. The company claims that Spotify is streaming "tens of thousands" of Wixen songs ("Free Fallin'" included), without proper compensation or licensing, and not-so-kindly asks that Spotify now pay its tab.

Since then, Radiohead's music has gradually made its way back to the streaming service.

Wixen's lawsuit says the proposed settlement "does not adequately compensate Wixen or the songwriters it represents". Last year, the company settled a class-action one for $43 million spurred by songwriters David Lowery (from the bands Camper Van Beethoven and Cracker) and Melissa Ferrick.

At the time, they argued: "The Settlement Agreement is procedurally and substantively unfair to Settlement Class Members because it prevents meaningful participation by rights holders and offers them an unfair dollar amount in light of Spotify's ongoing, willful copyright infringement of their works".


This was "in part because of their belief that the proposed settlement is inadequate, because too much of the settlement is going to legal fees, and because the terms of the go-forward license in the settlement are not in their long-term best interests", the statement said.

Spotify did not immediately comment on the latest suit.

Before Spotify launched in the US, the company made deals with major record labels to obtain the appropriate rights to the sound recording copyrights in the songs, the lawsuit states.

The complaint also claims that more than 20 percent of Spotify's 30 million songs could be unlicensed. As Spotify has publicly admitted, and as recent lawsuits and settlements confirm, Spotify has repeatedly failed to obtain necessary statutory, or 'mechanical, ' licenses to reproduce and/or distribute musical compositions on its service.

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