Spotify, the music streaming web-application, faced certain legal issues before its launch in India. Spotify reportedly entered into license agreements with major record labels such as Sony, T-Series etc. to broadcast their music through its application. It would pay royalties to the owners of the works held by these labels as per the provisions of these license agreements. However, its negotiations with one of the international record label Warner Music Company apparently did not work out. It is reported that the parties could not agree upon the royalties to be paid.

Spotify, in view of its forthcoming launch, nevertheless decided to proceed with statutory license as per the Copyright Act. The Copyright Act allows broadcasters to obtain licenses without the express permission of the owner at royalty rates fixed by the "Intellectual Property Appellate Board ("IPAB").

Warner Music decided to injunct Spotify and approached the Bombay High Court for this. The Bombay High Court rejected the injunction but asked Spotify to deposit an amount to the tune of INR 6 Crore with it. Since the process of obtaining the license is dealt with by the IPAB, the High Court stated that its Order is without prejudice to the IPAB’s decision regarding statutory license which Spotify seeks to obtain from the Board. If Spotify fails to obtain a statutory license, the Court will hear the parties and decide whether Warner’s musical works have been infringed/ exploited. The case is listed for further hearing in March, 2019. Watch this space for updates!

Compiled by: Adv. Sachi Kapoor | Concept & Edited by: Dr. Mohan Dewan

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