Spotify has been hit with a $1.6 billion lawsuit over claims they didn't receive proper licenses for 10,784 compositions.
Wixen Music Publishing alleges that while the streaming giant gained the rights to use recordings of compositions, they did not secure the mechanical rights to distribute the compositions themselves. As THR reports, Wixen is looking to receive the maximum payout possible for their allegedly infringed compositions, including Tom Petty's "Free Fallin'" and The Doors' "Light My Fire."
"Spotify brazenly disregards United States Copyright law and has committed willful, ongoing copyright infringement," Wixen claims in the lawsuit. "Wixen notified Spotify that it had neither obtained a direct or compulsory mechanical license for the use of the Works. For these reasons and the foregoing, Wixen is entitled to the maximum statutory relief."
This lawsuit feeds into the ongoing criticism that Spotify shorts songwriters due to improper licensing and bad deals with record labels.
“Consequently, while Spotify has become a multibillion dollar company, songwriters and their publishers, such as Vixen, have not been able to fairly and rightfully share in Spotify’s success, as Spotify has in many cases used their music without a license and without compensation," the publisher alleges.
Wizen represents some of the most successful songwriters of all time, including Petty, Stevie Nicks, David Cassidy, Neil Young, Weezer's Rivers Cuomo, Steely Dan's Donald Fagen, The Black Keys' Dan Auerbach, Sonic Youth's Kim Gordon and Rage Against the Machine members Zach De La Rocha and Tom Morello.
Spotify has not publicly commented on the lawsuit.