According to media reports, digital music service Spotify is facing a $200 million copyright infringement lawsuit, which was filed on Friday by indie-folk singer Melissa Ferrick at a Los Angeles court.
Spotify is the subject of a new complaint, following a similar court action initiated in late December. The two complaints, each filed by an individual artist, asked the judge to authorize a class action lawsuit, which could be grafted by other artists.
The new complaint was filed on Friday by 45-year-old Melissa Ferrick, who teaches at the prestigious Berklee College of Music. She had reached certain notoriety in 1991 when she was invited, at the last minute, to ensure the first part of singer Morrissey’stour.
Melissa Ferrick criticizes that the site does not prevent copyright infringement when it creates a folder for listening to songs online, which implies that artists have not given their permission to be streamed.
According to the singer, the site, which does not waste time in its development, uses “a familiar strategy now many online music services: violate copyright now and apologize later.”
The Swedish site and its competitors have already been cited repeatedly and accused of not paying artists whose music they put on the website[s].
Melissa Ferrick says her songs were listened to or downloaded over a million times in the past three years, but Spotify has not managed copyrights as it should have. The singer then demanded that Spotify must payat least $200 million on behalf of the copyright holders.
The Swedish website has more than 75 million users and is valued at $8 billion.
The first complaint was filed against Spotify.com in late December by another American artist, David Lowery, the leader of alternative rock bands Cracker and Camper Van Beethoven, who is also a teacher. He demanded $150 million from the Swedish company, on a slightly different basis: he accused Spotify of not respecting the mechanical rights (CD, DVD, vinyl, etc.) relating to the registration of a work.
In response to the first complaint, Spotify.com had affirmed respect for the rules of copyright and recalled that it had signed agreements with record labels and compensated every rights holder.
“We are committed to pay to songwriters and publishers every penny. Unfortunately, especially in the United States, data needed to determine the legitimate rights holders are sometimes missing, erroneous or incomplete,” said a spokesman for the Swedish company.