August 8, 2019
As recently reported by the Hollywood Reporter, Spotify has settled two large lawsuits in which the Swedish streaming behemoth was alleged to have committed “staggering” infringement of thousands of songs.
The lawsuits, originally filed by songwriter Bob Gaudio of the Four Seasons and publisher BlueWater Music Services, had become increasingly contentious over the last number of months, with Spotify CEO Daniel Ek even set to testify in the proceedings.
The settlements come at a time when Spotify is reportedly looking to focus on continuing to build its business. Just earlier this year, Spotify also settled a $1.6 billion dollar lawsuit over Tom Petty, Weezer and Neil Young songs. The settlement also comes after the passing of the US Music Modernization Act, which came into law in October 2018. The Music Modernization Act established a government database to manage the process and mechanics of securing musical licenses. One of Spotify’s biggest complaints about the previous process was the difficulty in identifying and locating the co-authors of the copyrighted musical works on its streaming platform.
While it appears that Spotify is now free from any major infringement lawsuits, it can be expected that, more generally, copyright issues related to the streaming of music are far from being definitively resolved. As the music industry continues to move away from the ownership model to a streaming model for consumers, artists will need to continue to fight to protect their intellectual property, and we can expect further legal developments as a result.
Authors: Jaclyn Tilak and Adam Voorberg