Streaming giant Spotify agrees to fund to settle copyright suits

Source:AFP Published: 2017/5/30 15:58:39

Music streaming leader Spotify has agreed to set up a $43.45 million fund to settle a potentially costly pair of US copyright lawsuits from artists, lawyers said Monday.

The move marks the latest effort by the Swedish company to turn the page on messy disputes as it considers a public listing amid the soaring growth of streaming.

The settlement would end lawsuits spearheaded by two indie songwriters who double as academics - folk rock singer Melissa Ferrick and David Lowery, frontman of alternative rock bands Cracker and Camper Van Beethoven.

The two had pursued class-action cases with Ferrick seeking $200 million and Lowery asking for $150 million.

The artists had accused Spotify, which boasts of offering instant access to 30 million songs, of recklessly putting music online without securing mechanical rights - the permission to reproduce copyrighted material - from the tracks' composers.

Spotify and other streaming services pay royalties both to performers and songwriters - who are often lesser known and more difficult to identify.

Under the settlement filing that needs to be approved by a federal judge in New York, Spotify would set up the $43.45 million fund to compensate songwriters for lack of licensing.

Spotify would also pay for streams of the tracks afterward - which the filing said would "easily total tens of millions of dollars in future royalties."

Steven Sklaver, a Los Angeles-based lawyer who co-led the case, called the settlement especially significant as Spotify had already reached a deal last year with the National Music Publishers' Association.

The association, which represents songwriters under major US publishers, secured substantially less at around $21 million over songs whose composers had been difficult to identify.


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