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David Lowery Sues Spotify for Copyright Infringement, possible $150 Million

David Lowery is an advocate for musicians’ rights. He is suing over copyright violations.Spotify has been sued for copyright infringement in a case that accuses it of failing to properly license songwriting rights in the United States. The suit highlights an escalating fight over the complex system of royalties for online music.

David Lowery, the leader of the rock bands Cracker and Camper Van Beethoven, and an outspoken advocate for musicians’ rights in the digital age, filed the suit on Monday in federal court in California. It contends that the company makes many songs available on its service without properly securing — or paying for — “mechanical rights,” which date back to the era of piano rolls but are still a major kind of music copyright.

Mechanical rights refer to a copyright holder’s control over the ability to reproduce a musical work. Mr. Lowery’s suit contends that Spotify copies and distributes versions of his songs on its service, which streams music to some 75 million people around the world, 20 million of whom pay for monthly subscriptions.

In his suit, filed in United States District Court in Los Angeles, Mr. Lowery applied for class-action status, arguing that Spotify has failed to handle the mechanical licensing for a huge but unspecified number of songs by many songwriters. Citing statutory damages for copyright infringement, which range from $750 to $30,000 — or $150,000 for each instance of willful infringement — Mr. Lowery’s suit says that Spotify could be liable for up to $150 million.

“We are committed to paying songwriters and publishers every penny,” Jonathan Prince, a spokesman for Spotify, said in a statement. “Unfortunately, especially in the United States, the data necessary to confirm the appropriate rights holders is often missing, wrong or incomplete.”

As streaming has grown, the songwriting rights — which are handled separately from those of recordings — have become more valuable and their licensing increasingly contested. Songwriters like Mr. Lowery often complain of low royalty rates or of not being paid at all, while online outlets and music publishers alike say that incomplete or conflicting data often hampers proper accounting.

In October, Spotify removed from its service thousands of songs from Victory Records, an independent punk and metal label, after the label’s publishing arm complained that Spotify was not paying for millions of streams. Spotify said it did not have enough data to resolve the issue, but Victory and Audiam, a company that administers its royalties, disputed this, saying they had provided data with years’ worth of information.

Victory’s songs were quietly restored to Spotify a few weeks later, but the issue has continued to simmer. The National Music Publishers’ Association estimates that 25 percent of the activity on interactive streaming services like Spotify is not properly “matched” to the right data to let songwriters and their publishers get paid.

Last week, Spotify announced that it would create a “comprehensive publishing administration system” to fix the problem of faulty royalty information.

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Razor Sues Hoverboard Maker Swagway Over Copyright Infringement – Tech Times


Tech Times

Razor Sues Hoverboard Maker Swagway Over Copyright Infringement
Tech Times
27 against Swagway, the distributor of hoverboards in the U.S., for copyright infringement. Razor signed an exclusive licensing agreement from the toy’s inventor, Shane Chen, last month, which holds the patent for “a two-wheel, self-balancing vehicle
Hoverboard maker Swagway sued by Razor over copyright infringementMashable

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SoundCloud Sued For Copyright Infringement

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Streaming music service SoundCloud is being sued for copyright infringement. The Performing Rights Society for Music, a U.K. songwriters licensing group, has taken the company to court, charging that SoundCloud is not properly compensating its members for licensing fees owed for streaming their works on the service.

“After careful consideration, and following five years of unsuccessful negotiations, we now find ourselves in a situation where we have no alternative but to commence legal proceedings against the online music service SoundCloud,” Karen Buse, PRS executive director for membership and international, announced in an email to members. PRS represents more than 111,000 songwriters and publishers. Read the rest of the story…

http://www.techtimes.com/articles/80456/20150831/soundcloud-sued-for-copyright-infringement.htm

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NMPA Sues Wolfgangs Vault For Copyright Infringement – JamBase


Billboard
NMPA Sues Wolfgangs Vault For Copyright Infringement
JamBase
The National Music Publishers’ Association (NMPA) today filed a lawsuit in U.S. Federal Court alleging copyright infringement against Wolfgang’s Vault. The NMPA claims the online live concert audio and video platform does not have proper licensing in
Music Publishers File Lawsuit Against Wolfgang’s Vault, Daytrotter For hypebot.com
Wolfgang’s Vault Sued By 26 Music CompaniesBillboard

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