Published: Wed, January 03, 2018
Culture | By Wayne Carr

Tom Petty's Publisher Sues Spotify for a Measly $1.6 Billion

Tom Petty's Publisher Sues Spotify for a Measly $1.6 Billion

Streaming service Spotify has been sued by a music publisher who says that the streaming service has infringed the copyrights of thousands of songs, including the Tom Petty hit "Free Fallin'" and The Doors' classic "Light My Fire". The music licensing company says it represents Tom Petty, Rage Against the Machine, Missy Elliott, Neil Young, Weezer, and the Beach Boys, among other artists.

Per The Hollywood Reporter, Wixen Music Publishing has filed a lawsuit against Spotify, seeking damages worth "at least $1.6 billion plus injunctive relief".

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. Overall, Wixen alleges, more than 6 million of Spotify's songs are improperly licensed, representing about a fifth of its catalog.

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The suit goes on to accuse Spotify of outsourcing licensing-obtaining responsibilities to a third party, the Harry Fox Agency, which was "ill-equipped to obtain all of the necessary mechanical licenses".

I've reached out to Spotify and Wixen.

Wixen also alleges Spotify has "knowingly, intentionally, and repeatedly" reproduced those songs over the Internet to California residents.

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The streaming company has faced a string of lawsuits in recent months, and in May agreed to a $43 million settlement with songwriters and publishers in response to a proposed class-action suit that accused the company of failing to pay royalties.

Wixen's complaint, filed December 29 in California federal court, contends, "Prior to launch, Spotify struck deals with major record labels to obtain the necessary rights to the sound recording copyrights in the songs by offering the major labels, in many cases, equity stakes in Spotify: But Spotify failed to properly obtain the equivalent rights for the compositions".

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