Spotify Faces $1 Billion Lawsuit Over Intentional Copyright Infringement, Deceptive Trade Practices

United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida, Jacksonville (photo: Michael Rivera, CC-BY-SA-4.0)

Spotify is about to battle another billion-dollar lawsuit alleging mass-copyright infringement and deceptive trade practices.

Back in August, we first reported that Eminem publisher Eight Mile Style was slapping Spotify with an elephantine, multi-billion-dollar infringement lawsuit. That suit, spearheaded by Marvin Gaye Estate litigator Richard Busch, questioned certain provisions of the Music Modernization Act (MMA) that effectively absolve Spotify from previous non-payments and copyright infringements.

“The MMA’s retroactive elimination of the right of a plaintiff to receive profits attributable to infringement, statutory damages, and attorneys’ fees, is an unconstitutional denial of due process (both procedural and substantive), and an unconstitutional taking of vested property rights,” the filing slammed.

Now, there’s another monster lawsuit landing on Spotify’s doorstep.

The suit, filed by PRO Music Rights, LLC, and Sosa Entertainment, LLC, alleges that Spotify failed to pay on over 550,000,000 musical streams.  A major part of the non-payment stems from a contested removal of content, starting in May of 2017.

“Plaintiffs bring this action to redress substantial injuries Spotify caused by failing to fulfill its duties and obligations as a music streaming service, willfully removing content for anti-competitive reasons, engaging in unfair and deceptive business practices, obliterating Plaintiffs’ third-party contracts and expectations, refusing to pay owed royalties and publicly performing songs without license,” the lawsuit declares.

As for the content removal, it looks like Spotify was yanking catalog based on certain rules violations.  But both PRO and Sosa contest that determination as unjustified.  “Starting in or about May 2017, Spotify removed all of Plaintiffs’ songs from its digital music streaming platform… without advance notice, without ever telling Plaintiffs why their songs were removed, without ever giving Plaintiffs an opportunity to address the issue, without ever providing Plaintiffs with an opportunity to cure whatever the reason for removal, and without adhering to the rules, procedures, policies and obligations to which Spotify holds itself out to the public,” the complaint continues.MORE NEWS:  Big Machine Backs Down, Agrees to Let Taylor Swift to Play Her Own Music Live

The teardown apparently caused serious complications in the relationship between Sosa and Merlin, which represents a large number of independent labels and directly negotiates with Spotify.

“Pro Music Rights intends to ask a Florida jury at trial to hold Spotify responsible for its reprehensible conduct of intellectual property infringement and unfair and deceptive trade practices,” Jake Noch, founder and CEO of Pro Music Rights, stated.

The case, Pro Music Rights LLC et al v. Spotify AB et al., Case No. 2:19-cv-00843, was filed earlier today (November 25th) in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida.  Attorneys representing PRO are Richard Gora and Sinead Rafferty of Gora LLC, and Vito Roppo of Colosseum Counsel, PLLC.

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