Spotify has been hit with a massive copyright infringement lawsuit from Wixen Music Publishing, which represents songwriters such as Neil Young, Stevie Nicks, Tom Petty, Zach De La Rocha, and Rivers Cuomo and alleges that the streaming service is using tens of thousands of Wixen’s artists’ songs without proper license and compensation.
As first reported by the Hollywood Reporter, Wixen is seeking at least $1.6 billion in damages.
Wixen’s complaint, filed Dec. 29 in California federal court, contends, “Prior to launch, Spotify struck deals with major record labels to obtain the necessary rights to the sound recording copyrights in the songs by offering the major labels, in many cases, equity stakes in Spotify: But Spotify failed to properly obtain the equivalent rights for the compositions. 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.”
A Spotify spokesperson declined to comment on the lawsuit.
Wixen’s lawsuit comes six months after Spotify reached a proposed $43.4 million settlement to resolve a class-action lawsuit with songwriters and publishers led by David Lowery and Melissa Ferrick. The Swedish-based streaming service was also hit with two more copyright lawsuits in July.
In a statement Tuesday, Wixen said the company and its clients decided not to participate in the Ferrick v. Spotify lawsuit “in part because of their belief that the proposed settlement is inadequate, because too much of the settlement is going to legal fees, and because the terms of the go-forward license in the settlement are not in their long-term best interests.”
Randall Wixen, the company’s president, added, “We’re just asking to be treated fairly. We are not looking for a ridiculous punitive payment. … All we’re asking for is for them to reasonably compensate our clients by sharing a miniscule amount of the revenue they take in with the creators of the product they sell.”
Read Wixen’s lawsuit above.