Wixen Music Publishing, which handles songs by Tom Petty, The Doors, Stevie Nicks, and many other well-known artists, filed the lawsuit in a California federal court on Friday seeking at least $1.6 billion in damages, plus injunctive relief, as was first revealed by The Hollywood Reporter. The publisher claims Spotify is using "tens of thousands" of songs, including Petty's "Free Fallin" and "Light My Fire" by The Doors, without paying all the necessary royalties for them, the report notes.
Spotify did not immediately respond to PCMag's request for comment.
In its complaint, Wixen Music Publishing explained that recorded songs are protected by two separate copyrights; one covers the sound recording and the other covers the musical composition. The company said Spotify has struck deals with major record labels to obtain the necessary sound recording copyrights for the songs in its library, but has failed to obtain the rights for the compositions.
"As a result, Spotify has built a billion dollar business on the backs of songwriters and publishers whose music Spotify is using, in many cases without obtaining and paying for the necessary licenses," the complaint claims.
The complaint further suggests that Spotify is not paying royalties on approximately 21 percent of the 30 million songs in its library.
"Spotify brazenly disregards United States Copyright law and has committed willful, ongoing copyright infringement," the complaint states.