The legendary compiler of dance music albums, Ministry
of Sound, has settled copyright infringement proceedings it
initiated in the U.K against Spotify, the massive music streaming
What was the dispute?
Ministry of Sound, which is famous for its compilations
including "The Annual", "Chillout Sessions" or
"Clubbers Guide", became aware that subscribers to
Spotify's database of about 20 million songs were creating
identical playlists which can be searched for and accessed by
Spotify's 24 million active subscribers.
Ministry of Sound alleged that the making of the playlists by
Spotfiy subscribers constituted an infringement of its copyright in
the compilation albums.
Copyright can protect tables, databases, forms and compilations
such as an anthology of poems. However, the U.K, U.S and Australia
have never dealt with a case in respect of the compilation of songs
in a compilation album.
Based on what the courts have previously said, we think that
many of Ministry of Sound's compilation albums would satisfy
the copyright test. There is no reason why a compilation of songs
should be thought to require less independent intellectual effort
as, say, a collection of poems.
Ministry of Sound would also have to prove that Spotify
"authorised" the infringement by its subscribers, making
it liable for their acts.
Apparently, as part of the settlement, Spotify has agreed to
remove the playlists from its search function and block new
subscribers from following these playlists, but not agreed that the
playlists be deleted from Spotify.
We reckon if Ministry of Sound had proceeded with the litigation
in the UK or had a crack at Spotify here in Australia, they
would've got up, and forced Spotify to delete the playlists.
Now we'll never know.
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