back to article Spotify to cough up royalties, just toss your copyright claims over there ... in the bin

Spotify says it has struck a deal with the National Music Publishers Association (NMPA) to pay out more royalties to songwriters. The music streaming service said in an announcement with the NMPA that it would begin paying out to artists who claimed music previously unclaimed by a performer or songwriter. "I am thrilled that …

  1. x 7

    what if the artist doesn't want his/her music on Splotify at all?

  2. The Nazz Silver badge

    I'm a tad confused

    as to who Spotify are going to pay. The article makes mention of all of Songwriters, publishers and artists.

    Spotify paying artists directly would be a good thing of itself but i reckon the majority of payments won't be made directly to them.

    Came across an interesting article ( a bit dated mind and admittedly predigital, pre Spotify) the other day re Bill Nelson of 70's group Be Bop Deluxe and his receipt of ZERO royalties from that work. Interesting how the "Music Co", involved either refused or couldn't (as if) provide any accurate data on what was received in and what was due out. Perhaps they'd no money left after splurging it all out of Robbie Williams.

    Speaking of which, if i did play Robbie Williams's "South of the Border" please tell me that Spotify WILL be paying out royalties to Shel Silversteins* estate :

    "I got a freaky old lady by the name of cocaine Katie who embroiders all my jeans......on the cover of the Rolling Stone"

    * I would add RIP but i somehow suspect he'd maybe not want that.

  3. x 7

    Spotify are theives

    for instance, from http://www.dgmlive.com/diaries.htm?entry=24025

    "THIRD NOTICE OF INFRINGEMENT AND DECLARATION

    dear Spotify legal,

    This quote comes from an email sent by Robert Fripp, legal owner of ALL King Crimson copyrights to Spotify on August 21st 2009:

    so, please be informed: any king crimson content on your site at all is unauthorised & illegal; and you are formally notified of such by both declan, as my agent, and myself, as rights owner / controller.

    This was sent to Spotify's content director at the time. It was true then. It was true in January of that year when Spotify first went live with a variety of King Crimson/Robert Fripp material, music which, as it was on the DGM label directly operated by Robert Fripp & David Singleton, could only have been delivered by DGM. DGM never delivered music to Spotify or authorised any third party to do so.

    It has been true at all points since & remains true to this day.

    Let me reiterate as Spotify's legal department's grasp of copyright ownership appears to be somewhat challenged:

    The copyright owner of ALL King Crimson material has refused permission for ANY King Crimson material to feature on Spotify.

    We asked Spotify in 2009 to tell us who had delivered this music that Spotify was giving away in breach of Robert Fripp's copyrights, but Spotify never answered.

    Spotify has, since then, featured King Crimson music on its services on more than one occasion.

    The copyright owner has, to date, never been paid for any of this usage.

    Spotify states in its email response to Grayzone, the company requesting urgent takedowns of King Crimson material on our behalf (several requests have been necessary to draw even this inadequate response):

    "a review of our in-bound licenses indicates that sound recordings that include performances by King Crimson and Robert Fripp are licensed to Spotify by, among others, Universal Music Enterprises, Virgin Records and A&M Records."

    None of these companies has EVER held a legitimate license for the sale or distribution of King Crimson material in digital form.

    Any King Crimson material delivered by UME has been in breach of Robert Fripp's copyrights.

    Any King Crimson material delivered by Virgin Records has been in breach of Robert Fripp's copyrights.

    There is no King Crimson material on any of the above labels that can or should have been delivered by these companies.

    Senior lawyers at both Virgin & UMG (now the same company) are copied on this email.

    If either of them can show a single instance where their respective labels or companies have had the rights to deliver King Crimson material to Spotify, then let them do so.

    They won't, as no such license exists.

    At this point, Spotify will, doubtless, fall back on the usual "but it was delivered to/uploaded us so it's not our fault if we made it available.." - otherwise known as the 'ignorance is always an adequate defence' line used by Grooveshark, Last.FM & other copyright thieves....

    But, even this doesn't work for Spotify as the company was clearly told, in 2009, by the copyright owner, leaving no room whatsoever for any interpretation, that no King Crimson material should appear on the service.

    Spotify has no rights whatsoever to any music by King Crimson. So Spotify's willingness to repeatedly make King Crimson music available on its service - from whatever source - having been told unequivocally by the copyright owner of all King Crimson music four years ago that no such music should be made available on Spotify, can only be viewed in terms of copyright theft.

    Indeed your opening statement to Grayzone is directly contradicted by your actions with regard to King Crimson music:

    "Spotify respects the rights of copyright owners and for that reason we only use content where we have been authorized to do so."

    The situation with Robert Fripp material may be slightly more complex due to collaborations with other artists.

    However, I will address separately once I have had an opportunity to look at what's currently available on Spotify.

    Any instances of Robert Fripp music where the artist did not grant a specific right to make available digitally will be the subject of immediate takedown notices.

    Irrespective of this & specifically with regard to "King Crimson Radio" & "Robert Fripp Radio", "King Crimson" & "Robert Fripp" are subject to trademark protection operated by DGM on behalf of the artists.

    Neither consent to having their name used in this manner & both would regard the usage of the name in association with such a "radio" as a form of endorsement/Passing Off, involving a breach of the protection offered by the respective trademarks.

    As it is possible that a user of the service would regard "Robert Fripp Radio" or "King Crimson Radio" as having an association with, or recommendation from, the named artists, these services must be discontinued immediately & permanently.

    Kind regards,

    Declan Colgan

    on behalf of DGM"

    1. TechnicalBen Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      Sad. It is the state that these services have created. As with Youtube, who is to stop the other bigger companies making this claim?

      I know Spotify and Youtube are not innocent, but when a massive multimillion dollar company such as Universal Music Enterprises, Virgin Records and A&M Records say they "own" a record/track/album, how are Spotify to prove this is not true? (Or with Youtube, that the video is not owned)

      I personally think they should do better house keeping, but I doubt with the size of their content lists, it's even possible to do this.

      So the case is between Universal Music Enterprises, Virgin Records, A&M Records and King Crimson. As those are the studios selling their content and "passing off". However, perhaps legal proceedings could stop Spotify, but directly they have no method to confirm who is telling the truth...

      ... but do know who is pulling the purse strings. :(

      1. x 7

        "So the case is between Universal Music Enterprises, Virgin Records, A&M Records and King Crimson"

        Its a bit more complicated than that....because there was an earlier dispute between Fripp and Universal over copyright, which was finally resolved after many years. But the interesting thing is that Universal then sued Spotify over copyright on ALL of its recordings, and that post I quoted was then used by Universal as part of the evidence in that case. The implication was that NONE of Universal's recordings were licenced to Spotify.

        Certainly Universal screwed up over selling Fripp/Krimson records to which it had lost copyright, but Spotify were selling / playing a much wider range of songs which had never been licenced to it

    2. ecofeco Silver badge

      If so then lawyer up and drop the hammer.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    $1.3 billion turnover but a loss of milions

    So another 'not making a profit' unicorn Internet company. When the bubble burst, this will get flushed away with the rest of them.

    1. Graham Dawson

      Re: $1.3 billion turnover but a loss of milions

      Hardly. They were profitable up to the end of 2013, which demonstrates that they have the ability. They may end up like Amazon, which has never posted a profit in its entire history as far as I can tell.

      1. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

        Re: $1.3 billion turnover but a loss of milions

        Amazon reported a rather tidy profit overall and for each of their major business units for the last fiscal year.

        1. Graham Dawson

          Re: $1.3 billion turnover but a loss of milions

          Wow.

    2. localzuk

      Re: $1.3 billion turnover but a loss of milions

      Don't believe the reported profit/loss. Spotify is part owned by a bunch of major record labels. Have no doubt that the rather interesting music industry accounting methods will be in use there.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Accidental payments

    In my experience, the usual time you play a track from an unknown artist is when you search for a well-known song, which Spotify doesn't have but instead offers you 50 different karaoke and cover versions. You don't realise, so you accidentally play one; and then wonder if it wouldn't be better spending £10 per month buying individual MP3 tracks from the real artists.

    Not everything on Spotify is even music. Search for "Derek and Clive" - but don't play it while the kids are around.

    1. TechnicalBen Silver badge
      Mushroom

      Re: Accidental payments

      In the past, and present, certain companies have been known to scrape the internet and torrents for any and all music and audio. Then upload them to Youtube or sell on Amazon, stream on Spotify etc. Claiming "ownership" and pulling DMRC claims AND taking the earning back off the originators in the process.

      As they can do this en mass, and make enough to fund a defence in any possible court case, this leaves individual artists and small bands defenceless. As while the court case may find in favour, the money for the individual would run dry before the "LTD" company does a quick runner and rebrands/renames with the existing catalogue of stolen content.

      1. Oli 1

        Re: Accidental payments

        This!

        There is a music producer called plastician, his early music went under plastikman which suffered the expected trademark infringment letter hence the name change. he still has material uploaded to youtube by someone else who has claimed ownership and no matter what he tries - will never see those royalties.

        Google / YouTube arent interested.

        Similar to the nonsense going on over on soundcloud where signed artists have been banned for uploading their own music. insane.

  6. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

    "I am thrilled..." David Israelite said.

    I bet he is. What percentage cut does he get for "managing" the collection of the fees?

    1. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: "I am thrilled..." David Israelite said.

      Too much?

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