The news to start 2018 is not so hot for Spotify. Though the lawsuit was filed on December 29, the case is just being made public now and it is a doozy. Wixen Music Publishing is suing Spotify for a whopping $1.6 billion over the rights of some huge artists like Tom Petty, Neil Young, Janis Joplin, Journey, Weezer, The Doobie Brothers, Santana, Al Green, Tom Morello and more.
The lawsuit, according to the Hollywood Reporter, alleges that Spotify is using songs Tom Petty’s “Free Fallin’” and The Doors’ “Light My Fire” among tens of thousands of other songs without a license and compensation. Wixen is seeking at least $1.6 billion in damages, plus injunctive relief at $150,000 per song.
According to the complaint, it cites one report that claims that Spotify fails to pay publishers 21% of all 30 million songs on the service. Wixen states that Spotify is not following the Copyright Act and has not properly obtained the mechanical licenses from Wixen. This is normally done through a third party Harry Fox Agency, but the lawsuit alleges that Spotify knew that HFA could not handle all of the mechanical rights and did not have the licenses.
The move comes as another blow to Spotify’s growing problem with copyright on its platform. It has been sued multiple times by different plaintiffs who argue that Spotify has either not been paying out the proper royalties or don’t own the rights to stream their music.
Read the new filing here.