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Spotify Faces Two New Lawsuits From Music Publishers

Variety logo Variety 7/18/2017 Janko Roettgers
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Spotify has been sued by two Nashville-based music publishers, Rob Gaudino and Bluewater Music. Both allege in separate lawsuits that the music streaming service failed to obtain the proper licenses to stream thousands of songs from both publisher’s catalogs.

A Spotify spokesperson didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday.

Some of the compositions at the center of the dispute include “Bye, Bye Baby,” “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” and “Rag Doll.” Altogether, Gaudino’s suit lists a total of 106 compositions, whereas Bluewater Music’s lawsuit claims that Spotify infringed by streaming 2399 songs.

Both lawsuits were filed Tuesday by Richard S. Busch of the Nashville law firm of King & Ballow, who said in a statement that “songwriters and publishers should not have to work this hard to get paid, or have their life work properly licensed, and companies should not be allowed to build businesses on the concept of infringe now and ask questions later.”

Spotify previously entered into settlement agreements with the National Music Publishers Association (NMPA) as well as class of songwriters led by former Camper van Beethoven front man David Lowery. The two lawsuits filed Tuesday however allege that the terms of these settlements were “woefully inadequate,” in part because they didn’t properly punish Spotify for its past behavior.

Both lawsuits instead are demanding that Spotify be made to pay $150,000 per instance infringement, which is the maximum statutory damage amount under U.S. copyright law.

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