Spotify, the music-streaming giant that was sued last month on claims of reproducing copyrighted material, was sued again this week for similar reasons. This time it’s Melissa Ferrick, a Massachusetts-based indie folk singer best known for being the last- minute opening act on Morrissey’s 1991 tour.
Ferrick’s lawsuit seeking $200 million was filed Friday in federal court in Los Angeles, Agence France-Presse reported. She and an earlier plaintiff have asked a judge to grant them class-action status along with other alleged victims of Spotify’s streaming service.
In Ferrick’s case, she alleged that the privately held Spotify failed to inform copyright owners when it created co-called phonorecords, or the files that allow instant music online. The Swedish-founded company, which provides a huge selection of on-demand music to 75 million global users, unethically created the files without getting advance clearance to do so, according to the lawsuit.
Spotify took "a now-familiar strategy for many digital music services — infringe now, apologize later," Ferrick’s lawsuit states. "Spotify chose expediency over licenses. Thus, while Spotify has profited handsomely from the music that its sells to its subscribers, the owners of that music (in particular, songwriters and their music publishers) have not been able to share in that success because Spotify is using their music for free.”
Ferrick’s songs had been streamed or downloaded from Spotify 1 million times over three years without the required licensing, according to the lawsuit. Spotify, in its response filed last month, said it was committed to “paying songwriters and publishers every penny" it owed over licensing issue, the AFP reported.
David Lowery, the leader of alternative rock bands Cracker and Camper Van Beethoven, brought a $150 million lawsuit against Spotify in December over the company’s failure to seek permission for copying and distributing his songs.