Just after Christmas, musician and music industry critic David Lowery filed a lawsuit against Spotify seeking class action status and $150 million in damages for using songs without obtaining the proper licences. Friday, independent singer and songwriter Melissa Ferrick enlisted some heavy legal firepower to file a $200 million lawsuit vs. Spotify.
Independent singer, songwriter and music publisher Melissa Ferrick has filed the second major lawsuit in as many weeks against Spotify. This suit, which is seeking class action status to include other creators and publishers, is demanding $200 million in damages for "systemic and willful copyright infringement."
Ferrick is a respected singer and songwriter who controls her own publishing. In the filings, she alleges that her songs have been streamed “approximately one million times” on Spotify without the appropriate mechanical licenses. Filed in the Los Angles federal District Court on Friday by Gradstein & Marzanno, the same law firm behind ongoing litigation on behalf of the Turtles vs. Sirius XM and Pandora over pre-1972 recording royalties. The new lawsuit alleges that, over a multi-year period, Spotify reproduced and distributed many musical compositions without the proper licenses.
"This case is brought to vindicate the rights of the owners of the copyrights in the musical compositions embodied in phonorecords that Spotify has reproduced and distributed – without a license – as part of its extraordinarily popular interactive online subscription music streaming service...
Spotify chose expediency over licenses. Thus, while Spotify has profited handsomely from the music that its sells to its subscribers, the owners of that music (in particular, songwriters and their music publishers) have not been able to share in that success because Spotify is using their music for free."
Spotify recently announced that it “will invest in significant resources to build a comprehensive publishing administration system to solve the problem. But the new lawsuit hopes to use that effort against the music streamer. "That is an investment and process that Spotify should have undertaken before it decided to reproduce and distribute phonorecords embodying unlicensed musical compositions to the Service’s millions of users," states the filing, "not over four years after Spotify launched the Service in the United States.
The Other Spotify Lawsuit
In another lawsuit filed against Spotify just before the end of 2015, Cracker and Camper Van Beethoven front man and musician advocate David Lowery made similar allegations. Lowery is also seeking class action status and $150 million in damages, alleging that Spotify "knowingly, willingly, and unlawfully reproduces and distributes copyrighted" compositions without obtaining the proper licences.