Schwartz & Ponterio, PLLC holds lawyers responsible for legal malpractice.

Spotify accused of violating copyright law with podcasts

On Behalf of | Feb 25, 2020 | Copyright Law

When musicians create a song, they often feel as though they are putting a piece of themselves into it. To hear it get played on the radio is often a dream come true after many years of hard work. Artists in New York and elsewhere haven’t always had a great relationship with streaming services since those sites don’t always pay royalties in the same way, but most sites have worked out a way to properly compensate the artists. However, Spotify has recently come under fire for distributing podcasts that allegedly contain illegal music in what may be a violation of copyright law.

Reporters claim that some Spotify users are uploading podcast episodes that contain music tracks that have either been illegally obtained or are being illegally distributed, since the artist receives no payment. The tracks are often songs that don’t appear on an artist’s album, so they are typically popular with users looking for new content from their favorite singers or rappers. Critics say that Spotify hasn’t done enough to prevent these podcasts and that even if they eventually get removed, the number of streams is sizable. In some instances, these bootleg podcast “episodes” are just one song, so users can, in a sense, create a “playlist” with these illegal songs.

Besides the illegal distribution of this music, Spotify doesn’t pay royalties for podcasts. This means that users who listen may not be hearing the official song released by the artist, which would result in royalty payment. That translates to a missed opportunity for revenue. Spotify says that it is looking into this issue, but critics say that it isn’t happening quickly enough.

No matter the distribution platform or medium, artists deserve to be compensated for their work. Those here in New York with concerns about how to protect their music or other artistic work may want to involve an attorney. A legal professional who is experienced in copyright law can help artists protect themselves.