Technical advancements and have made it possible for many individuals in the United States, and throughout the world, to use electronics to access things they once had to go to a store to physically purchase. Having access to media, like music, at one’s fingertips, has been a game changer for all, and has prompted the creation of a variety of companies to manage the material. In some situations, the management of this material presents intellectual property issues. The music-streaming website SoundCloud knows this all too well.
Recently, PRS for Music, filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against the streaming business. In it, PRS alleges that by failing to pay royalties of obtain a license for the music, the copyrights of PRS members were being infringed upon. PRS represents more than 100,000 publishers and songwriters, including Adele and Paul McCartney. In a release, PRS indicated that for use of their music, members of PRS must be able to secure a fair return for that use.
For its part, SoundCloud believes that it is providing a way for artists to connect with their audience. While SoundCloud has been able to secure licensing deals with several small record companies, the same cannot be said for larger labels, prompting at least one label to pull songs recorded by many of its artists. When this claim was filed, the negotiations had been going on for a total of five years.
How this matter will be resolved remains to be seen. What is clear is the importance of artists taking steps to protect their work. A qualified intellectual property lawyer can help with this.