Spotify has been slapped with a copyright lawsuit for the second time in two weeks. Massachusetts-based artist Melissa Ferrick claims Spotify failed to notify her and obtain a license when it copied her compositions and made them available on its streaming music service. Ferrick, who filed the suit on Friday in the US District Court in Los Angeles, is seeking class-action status and wants Spotify to pay out $200 million to songwriters, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The suit comes on the heels of another class action lawsuit filed just last month by musician David Lowery, who is seeking $150 million from Spotify for copyright infringement. Lowery is the frontman of the California-based bands Cracker and Camper Van Beethoven, and he also claims Spotify illegally duplicated and distributed his bands' songs without his permission. In response to Lowery's lawsuit, Spotify spokesperson Jonathan Price told The Verge it was "committed to paying songwriters and publishers every penny." Spotify, which is valued at around $8 billion, says it's paid out more than $3 billion in royalties to artists, songwriters, labels, and publishers since it launched in 2008.
The second copyright lawsuit in two weeks for Spotify
Spotify denies purposefully copying artists' songs for distribution without their permission. But it also admits that it sometimes plays songs without knowing who to pay for them, blaming the issue on a lack of accurate data. "Unfortunately, especially in the United States, the data necessary to confirm the appropriate rights-holders is often missing, wrong, or incomplete," Price said. "When rights-holders are not immediately clear, we set aside the royalties we owe until we are able to confirm their identities." The company did not respond to a request for comment on Ferrick's suit.
Spotify is in the process of settling a lawsuit filed by the National Music Publishers Association, and it acknowledged its problem managing royalties in a blog post last month. The company plans to create a "comprehensive publishing administration system" to remedy the situation, but it may be too little too late. Ferrick says her songs have been streamed around 1 million times on Spotify without a proper license.