3 Count: Gated Community

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1: Spotify Preparing to Offer Premium-Only Content, Sources Say

First off today Paul Resnikoff at Digital Music News reports that Spotify is weighing the possibility of limiting some content to premium subscribers as it scrambles to both find a successful business model and renew its licensing deals with the major record labels.

Currently Spotify offers a free tier and a $9.99 per month premium tier. The free tier is ad supported but is otherwise unrestricted. Record labels, however, have repeatedly expressed dissatisfaction with the free tier as paying customers generate many times more revenue. According to sources, the contracts with the three major record labels are due for renewal on October 1st and the free tier is said to be a point of contention.

Spotify previously said it would never restrict its free tier but is now considering multiple variations including only granting free users access to a few songs off of a new album or time-limiting access to certain releases. In addition to battles with the record labels, artists such as Taylor Swift and Adele have also fought with Spotify over their free tier.

2: Judge Wants Dr. Luke to Stand Trial Over Breakbeat on Jessie J Hit Song

Next up today, Eriq Gardner at The Hollywood Reporter Esquire reports that New Old Music Group has sued producer Lukasz “Dr. Luke” Gottwald for copyright infringement over a “backbeat”, a drum sample used in Jessie J song Price Tag.

According to the lawsuit, New Old Music Group president Lenny Lee wrote the composition for the 1975 song Zimba Ku. The backbeat from that song has gone on to be extremely popular for other musicians, having been used in dozens of other songs. The group sued Gottwald for his use of the beat but Gottwald filed a motion for summary judgment, saying that the beat was so common it didn’t qualify for copyright protection and, failing that, that there were previous examples of the beat.

However, the court disagreed on both fronts, dismissing Gottwald’s motion and setting the stage for a potential trial. The ruling comes months after the Blurred Lines ruling, which saw Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams get hit with a multi-million dollar verdict over similarities between their song and Marvin Gaye’s Got To Give it Up.

3: Anti-Piracy Group Hits Indie Creators for Using the Word ‘Pixels’

Finally today, Andy at Torrentfreak writes that the anti piracy group Entura International has sent a series of Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) takedown notices to video hosting site Vimeo that have errantly removed a series of non-infringing films and the official trailer for the movie they were trying to protect.

The group was representing the new movie Pixels but sent takedown notices to a variety of independent movies, most of which used the word “Pixel” in their name and nearly all of which predated the 2015 film. The takedown spree also caught up an official trailer for the film.

Vimeo is recommending that those affected file a counter-notice if their video was non-infringing but is saying that the matter is out of their hands without one.


That’s it for the three count today. We will be back tomorrow with three more copyright links. If you have a link that you want to suggest a link for the column or have any proposals to make it better. Feel free to leave a comment or send me an email. I hope to hear from you.

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