Musician David Lowery, frontman for alt-rock bands Camper Van Beethoven and Cracker, sued Spotify in California District Court (PDF) this week for alleged copyright infringement. Lowery’s complaint accuses Spotify of failing to license musicians’ works before putting them up for streaming.
“Spotify reproduces and/or distributes the Works despite its failure to identify and/or locate the owners of those compositions for payment or to provide them with notice of Spotify’s intent to reproduce and/or distribute the Works,” Lowery’s complaint alleges.
According to Billboard, the music-streaming service is in settlement negotiations with the National Music Publishers Association over its alleged practice of pre-emptively placing artists’ work on Spotify before obtaining licenses for it, then using a fund to pay for the music when the company makes contact with the licensee. “Spotify has created a $17 million to $25 million reserve fund to pay royalties for pending and unmatched song use,” Billboard’s sources say.
In a statement e-mailed to Ars, Spotify’s global head of communications and public policy, Jonathan Prince, said, “We are committed to paying songwriters and publishers every penny. Unfortunately, especially in the United States, the data necessary to confirm the appropriate rightsholders is often missing, wrong, or incomplete. When rightsholders are…