Spotify and Ministry of Sound Settle Music Playlist Copyright Lawsuit | Spotify

Dance brand Ministry of Sound and streaming service Spotify have reached an out-of-court settlement in their legal battle over music playlists.

The ministry sued Spotify in September 2013, saying it refused to remove playlists based on ministry compilations that were created and shared by users.

The company sought an injunction forcing Spotify to remove the playlists and permanently block others who copied track listings from ministry compilations and used its brand name and/or artwork.

The case caused a stir in legal circles due to the department’s belief that if the individual tracks in the playlists had been properly licensed by Spotify from their original labels, its compilations were copyrighted. author because of the selection and arrangement involved.

A brief statement was jointly released by the two companies today announcing the settlement. “The Ministry of Sound welcomes Spotify’s willingness to work together to reach an agreement,” said chief executive Lohan Presencer.

“Spotify and Ministry of Sound are delighted to have reached an amicable resolution,” said James Duffett-Smith, Head of Licensing Business Affairs at Spotify. No further details of the terms have been made public at this stage.

The Guardian understands that Spotify will remove the offending playlists from its search engine and prevent new users from “following” them on its service. However, the playlists will not be deleted from Spotify.

Many playlists remain available on Spotify today, but will stop appearing when its users search for them over the next few weeks. People will still be able to create Spotify playlists mirroring ministry compilations for their personal use.

The settlement means the department’s claim that music compilation track listings are eligible for copyright protection will not be decided by the High Court.

However, it is likely to pave the way for more positive discussions between the two companies: for example on the streaming of Ministry’s label division catalog on Spotify, or on the possibility of exploring ways to create an economic model for its compilations on streaming. service.

The latter is a tricky task, as Ministry does not own the streaming rights to much of the music on its compilations. It could create official Ministry of Sound playlists on Spotify, but the resulting royalties would go to the labels and publishers who own the rights to those tracks.

One option – reportedly considered at some point before the lawsuit was filed – would be a ministry-branded app within Spotify’s app platform and an agreement to share advertising and/or media revenue. subscription generated by its listeners.

George L. Hernandez