A music publishing company which represents well-known artists filed a $1.6 billion lawsuit against streaming giant Spotify on Friday.
Documents filed in a California court revealed that Wixen Music Publishing, which handles copyright management and royalty compliance for artists including Tom Petty, The Doors and Neil Young, accused Spotify of using artists’ music “without a license and without compensation.”
More than 10,000 songs are listed in the lawsuit, including Petty’s “Free Falling,” for which Wixen is seeking the maximum award possible under the U.S. Copyright Act — $150,000 per song.
Under the U.S. Copyright Act, two separate copyrights are granted for every recorded song, one for the sound recording and another for the musical composition, which include the song’s lyrics and musical notation.
In the lawsuit, Wixen contends that Sweden-based Spotify “took a shortcut” when dealing with major labels to obtain the necessary rights to the songs’ sound recordings, and failed to acquire the equivalent rights for compositions, CNN reported.
Spotify currently faces three additional lawsuits in Tennessee that were filed by songwriters and music publishers, which accuse the company of using songs without properly paying royalties.
The music streaming service settled a $43 million class action lawsuit in May filed by a group of songwriters that accused Spotify of using their songs without a license and without paying royalties.
Spotify, which is reportedly valued at $19 billion, is expected to list its shares on the New York Stock Exchange in 2018.