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Spotify is being sued for $150 million in allegedly unpaid royalties

Spotify’s less-than-friendly relationship with the music industry stems from one thing: royalties. To be more precise, it stems from Spotify’s self-confessed inability to distribute royalties quickly and accurately, many times neglecting to pay royalties at all. That’s why Camper Van Beethoven and Cracker frontman David Lowery is suing the music streaming service for at least $150 million in damages, on the grounds that it knowingly and illegally distributed copyrighted compositions without first obtaining the necessary licenses. 

Camper Van Beethoven and Cracker frontman David Lowery, retaining the law firm of Michelman & Robinson, LLP, has filed a class action lawsuit seeking at least $150 million in damages against Spotify, alleging it knowingly, willingly, and unlawfully reproduces and distributes copyrighted compositions without obtaining mechanical licenses. The lawsuit comes amidst ongoing settlement negotiations between Spotify and the National Music Publishers Assn. over the alleged use of allowing users to play music that hasn’t been properly licensed, and also without making mechanical royalty payments to music publishers and songwriters. According to sources, Spotify has created a $17 million to $25 million reserve fund to pay royalties for pending and unmatched song use. The lawsuit was filed on Dec. 28 in the Central District Court of California. According to the complaint, Spotify has unlawfully distributed copyrighted music compositions to more than 75 million users, but failed to identify or locate the owners of those compositions for payment, and did not issue a notice of intent to employ a compulsory license.

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