Benjamin Appelbaum, Attorney at Law

David Lowery seeks class action intellectual property litigation

Copyright infringement is becoming an increasingly debatable issue as more and more online venues are providing music streaming services. David Lowery, lead singer of the well-known bands, Camper Van Beethoven and Cracker has requested class action intellectual property litigation against streaming provider, "Spotify" for allegedly failing to obtain appropriate mechanical rights when making songs available to its subscribers. The recent lawsuit, filed outside the state of New Jersey, is being closely followed by many musicians who remain concerned that they are not being paid the royalties due them when companies like Spotify make their music available for streaming.

Lowery filed his lawsuit in a federal court on a recent Monday. The claim states that Spotify has failed to honor copyrights when making songs available through its service. Mechanical rights protect a song owner's interests by preventing others from reproducing copies of musical work without permission.

Spotify has an estimated 20 million monthly subscribers, with approximately 75 million listeners using their streaming service worldwide. The company asserts that there is a problem obtaining necessary data in the United States in order to confirm appropriate rights. A spokesman for the company said that it is committed to paying artists every penny owed them for their music, but that information provided in the United States is often inaccurate or incomplete.

Apparently, Spotify recently removed all songs by another artist after a dispute accusing the company of failing to pay for millions of streamed songs. The record label company said that it provided all necessary information but had still failed to receive appropriate payments. Spotify has announced an intent to publish a new information system to rectify the current problems associated with faulty royalty data. In similar cases in New Jersey, intellectual property litigation is sometimes pursued when issues have been deemed unresolvable without legal intervention.

Source: The New York Times, "David Lowery Sues Spotify for Copyright Infringement", Ben Sisario, Dec. 29, 2015

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Benjamin Appelbaum, Attorney at Law - Intellectual Property

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