For a New York songwriter, music royalties are an important method of sustaining income. In the past, royalties were largely affected by record sales, but modern musicians earn money through licensing agreements with streaming services, such as Pandora, Amazon Prime and Spotify. These agreements give the services the right to offer certain songs to listeners for a fee. While the U.S. Congress considers legislation to broaden the intellectual property protection in the music industry, at least one music streaming service is settling a class action lawsuit.
Spotify recently settled a $113 million class action lawsuit filed in the name of over 500,000 musical copyright owners. The lawsuit's plaintiffs alleged that Spotify did not obtain the appropriate licensing or pay royalties before streaming their songs to the public. Spotify had already paid about $30 million in a similar lawsuit two years ago.
To the music streaming company, this settlement ties up some loose ends before Congress passes its new law. The proposed legislation would restructure the licensing process for streaming services in the hopes of eliminating many confusions that lead to lawsuits for unpaid royalties. Additionally, the new law will provide royalties for those artists who own the rights to music not covered by copyright law because it was published prior to 1972.
Copyright laws provide protection for the royalties and uses of intellectual property created by songwriters and others in the music industry and beyond. Those in New York and elsewhere whose work falls under these protections have the right to fight for what they deserve under the law. Seeking the assistance of an experienced attorney is the first step toward righting the wrongs of copyright infringement.
Source: biglawbusiness.com, "Spotify to Pay $113M to Settle Copyright Class Action", Anandashankar Mazumdar, May 24, 2018