Britain’s Ministry Of Sound label has sued the music streaming service Spotify, claiming that user playlists that mirror the track listings on their compilations constitute a copyright violation.
Chief executive Lohan Presencer claims that his company has been asking Spotify to remove the playlists – some of which include “Ministry of Sound” in their titles – since 2012. “It’s been incredibly frustrating: we think it’s been very clear what we’re arguing, but there has been a brick wall from Spotify,” said Presencer. A Spotify spokesperson confirmed to the Guardian that it had received the lawsuit, but declined to comment further. While Presencer is known to be no fan of Spotify according to industry sources, the lawsuit came as a surprise to the company. The Guardian understands that Spotify has held talks in the past with Ministry of Sound about licensing tracks from its label division, albeit without a deal being struck. The case will hinge on whether compilation albums qualify for copyright protection due to the selection and arrangement involved in putting them together. Spotify has the rights to stream all the tracks on the playlists in question, but the issue here is whether the compilation structure – the order of the songs – can be copyrighted.
Spotify currently has over 24 million users who have created over a billion playlists. (I’ve made a few dozen myself.)