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First off today, Reuters reports that Spotify has been hit with yet another lawsuit over mechanical royalties, this one a $1.6 billion lawsuit by Wixen Music Publishing.
Mechanical royalties are the royalties paid to songwriters and publishers when a copy of a song is sold, such as a CD or a digital download. They have been a point of contention for Spotify, which has historically not paid the compulsory license fees. That led to a class action lawsuit by songwriters and an eventual $43 million settlement that is awaiting approval from a judge.
However, other publishers haven’t been very happy with that settlement and several, now including Wixen, have filed separate lawsuits over the issue. Wixen, which represents Tom Petty, Neil Young and the Doors, claims that the settlement is inadequate and has filed their own lawsuit over damages worth “at least” $1.6 billion and seeking an injunction to stop Spotify from using the songs they own.
Next up today, Michelle Fabio at Fortune reports that Bruno Mars and Mark Ronson are facing yet another lawsuit over their hit song Uptown Funk, this one from the members of the 1970s rap group The Sequence.
According to the lawsuit, Uptown Funk has “significant and substantially similar compositional elements” to The Sequence’s hit song Funk You Up. As such, the group is seeking unspecified monetary damages.
Released in 2014, Uptown Funk has been the subject of several other copyright infringement lawsuits. One filed in September 2017 accused the song of being an infringement of Roger Troutman and Zapp’s More Bounce to the Ounce and another in 2016 accused the song of being “indistinguishable” from the Collage song Young Girls. Finally, a 2015 lawsuit resulted in members of The Gap Band getting songwriter credit on Uptown Funk after an out of court settlement over the song Oops! Upside Your Head.
Finally today, Ernesto at Torrentfreak writes that Google has announced it has begun accepting Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) notices for links that have not currently been indexed by the search engine.
The DMCA requires search engines, such as Google, to remove allegedly infringing URLs from its index after receiving a notice. Historically, Google has only done that with URLs currently indexed, meaning that if a URL is reported before it reaches the index the notice would be denied and the URL would later be indexed normally.
Google says that it has now stopped that practice, accepting notices for valid URLs whether they have been indexed or not. This will prevent some pages from ever reaching the Google index at all and Google claims that will help reduce the amount of pirate pages in the search results.
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.