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Spotify faces eye-watering $1.6bn copyright lawsuit over ‘unpaid’ artist royalties

It has emerged that music streaming platform Spotify is being sued by Wixen Music Publishing Inc for indexing thousands of songs, including those of The Doors, Tom Petty and Neil Young – as well as the likes of Rage Against the Machine, Sonic Youth, and The Black Keys – without the correct licensing agreement.

Wixen is seeking an eye-watering $1.6 billion (~£1.18bn) worth of damages to recompense for Spotify’s failure to retrieve a license and compensation arrangement, which would allow it to legally distribute and reproduce the copyright-protected songs.

The plaintiff alleged that the Sweden-based company outsourced its work to the Harry Fox Agency, a third party licensing and royalty services provider that was “ill-equipped to obtain all the necessary mechanical licenses,” reports Reuters.

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This lawsuit couldn’t have come at a worse time for Spotify, which is planning a stock market listing this year. It’s currently valued at $19 billion (~£14bn), though a loss in the courtroom could cause its value to plummet, thus taking a toll on its stock price.

Spotify has found itself in hot water over failure to pay royalties in the past, so much so that it agreed to fork out more than $43 million (~£32m) last year to settle a proposed class-action lawsuit claiming it failed to compensate independent artists.

Do you think Spotify was in the wrong to outsource its work to a third-party agency? Do you agree with Wixen’s decision to file a CDMA lawsuit? Be sure to let us know over on Facebook or Twitter @TrustedReviews.

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