Spotify is facing a copyright lawsuit from Wixen Music Publishing, California-based music administration company who claim that “tens of a thousands” of songs by artists they represent are on the streaming platform without proper compensation or licensing, reports The Hollywood Reporter.
Spotify is facing a staggering $1.6 billion copyright lawsuit claiming that a large chunk of their music is unlicensed, including songs from Tom Petty and The Doors.
According to THR, Wixen is suing Spotify for damages of “at least $1.6 billion plus injunctive relief” for using songs such as Tom Petty’s Free Fallin’ and the Doors’ Light My Fire, plus a massive catalogue of compositions by artists they represent, including Neil Young, Kim Gordon from Sonic Youth, Dan Auerbach from The Black Keys and many more.
The Wixen suit reads: “Prior to launching in the United States, Spotify attempted to license sound recordings by working with record labels but, in a race to be first to market, made insufficient efforts to collect the required musical composition information and, in turn, failed in many cases to license the compositions embodied within each recording or comply with the requirements of Section 115 of the Copyright Act.”
This “musical composition information” refers to what is known as the mechanical license of a recorded composition, which is owned by the songwriter and publisher (in this case, Wixen).
“In 2011, Spotify faced a choice to either obtain all the required rights to the songs and significantly delay its US launch, or move forward without proper licenses and face the legal ramifications later,” the publisher stated.
“As a result, Spotify has built a billion dollar business on the backs of songwriters and publishers whose music Spotify is using, in many cases without obtaining and paying for the necessary licenses.”
The publisher alleges that up to 21% of the songs on Spotify are unlicensed.
“Spotify brazenly disregards United States Copyright law and has committed wilful, ongoing copyright infringement,” the complaint reads.
“Wixen notified Spotify that it had neither obtained a direct or compulsory mechanical license for the use of the Works. For these reasons and the foregoing, Wixen is entitled to the maximum statutory relief.”
Last year Spotify was hit with multiple accusations of copyright infringement. This lawsuit comes just months before the platform is set to go public.