Spotify hit with $1.6 billion lawsuit over copyright

Ben Travis
Copyright suit: Spotify is being sued by Wixen Music Publishing over rights dispute: EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty

Spotify has been hit with a $1.6 billion lawsuit over an alleged copyright breach.

The music streaming service is being sued by Wixen Music Publishing, which claims that Spotify is streaming thousands of its songs without a license or compensation.

The lawsuit was filed in California on 29 December 2017, and claims that Spotify did not get a direct or compulsory license to distribute Wixen’s music.

Songs reportedly streaming without a license include Tom Petty’s Free Fallin’, Light My Fire by The Doors, and (Girl We Got A) Good Thing by Weezer.

Other artists represented by Wixen include Missy Elliot, Stevie Nicks, and Neil Young.

While Spotify has deals in place with major record labels, the Wixen case addresses the separate rights that songwriters and publishers have to the music.

“As a result, Spotify has built a billion dollar business on the backs of songwriters and publishers whose music Spotify is using, in many cases without obtaining and paying for the necessary licenses,” the lawsuit states.

Spotify has declined to comment on the lawsuit.

Last May, Spotify paid out over $43 million to settle a proposed class action which alleged that the service did not pay royalties for some of the songs it makes available.

The company’s current valuation is said to be at least $19 billion.