Wixen Music Publishing, Inc. - which holds rights to songs of major artists including Neil Young, The Doors, Tom Petty and Santana - charged in a lawsuit that Spotify failed to seek licenses for significant parts of its 30 million-song catalog.
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The suit, which alleges that Spotify is using thousands of songs without a proper licence, was filed on December 29 in California federal court.
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Spotify, which is planning a stock market listing this year, has grown around 20 percent in value to at least $19 billion in the past few months.
Before Spotify launched in the US, the company made deals with major record labels to obtain the appropriate rights to the sound recording copyrights in the songs, the lawsuit states.
Spotify has been plagued by complaints and legal action from the music-publishing industry, which widely feels that labels are getting the fairer share of royalties from the company. That suit, Wixen alleges, "does not adequately compensate Wixen or the songwriters it represents".
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Wixen's lawsuit is the result of performers' and publishers' unhappiness with a separate action Spotify took in May, when it offered to pay $43 million to settle a class-action lawsuit brought by a group of songwriters.
The suit goes on to accuse Spotify of outsourcing licensing-obtaining responsibilities to a third party, the Harry Fox Agency, which was "ill-equipped to obtain all of the necessary mechanical licenses".
Wixen called the settlement, which still needs final approval from a judge, "grossly insufficient" and said that it would opt out of the deal insofar as possible.
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