Skip to menu
Skip to content
The Yau Law Firm
Focused on Protecting Businesses and Representing the Injured

A London nightclub sues Spotify, claiming copyright infringement on arrangement of songs in playlists

Imagine this: all of the songs on your playlist are properly licensed for streaming and replaying, but someone is claiming copyright infringement on your song compilation. How can this be? As Yau Law Firm attorneys handling intellectual property issues on a daily basis, we couldn’t help but comment about the interesting international copyright lawsuit in the United Kingdom.

Enter Ministry of Sound, a nightclub in London, England, that is famous for its song compilations and record label. The lawsuit stems from the argument that Spotify, a commercial music streaming service launched in Sweden, is infringing upon Ministry of Sound by allowing Spotify users to keep playlists with songs compiled identical or similar to the Ministry’s. Chief Executive of Ministry of Sound, Lohan Presencer, argues that the song compilations are more than just arranging playlists together, but that a lot of research is put into the song compilations. For the Ministry, their service exemplifies excellent curation skills. The Ministry filed its lawsuit on September 2, 2013 with the UK High Court to have these infringing playlists blocked and permanently removed. The Ministry is also seeking damages.

Now, the interesting thing about this case is that Spotify actually holds the rights to stream these songs. But, the question that the UK High Court must determine is whether the arrangement and structure of compiling songs together can be protected under copyright laws.

How does the United States deal with compilations in copyright? Under US Copyright laws, a compilation can only be copyrighted if the materials selected are coordinated/arranged in such a way that it becomes new original work. Thus, the act of simply putting things together, like a phone book of telephone numbers, will not be afforded copyright protection. The protection extends only to the compilation of the materials, and not to the materials itself.

We look forward to seeing what the UK High Court has to say. What do you think? Should the Ministry of Sound be able to claim copyright protection over Spotify users’ playlists and song compilations?

To find out how the Yau Law Firm can protect your intellectual property, or to find out how to handle conflicts involving intellectual property, give us a call today!

Article by Florence Monauer

Leave a Reply

« »