Well it is drumbeats at dawn between Ministry of Sound (“MOS”) and the music streaming application know as Spotify – just to mention, Spotify themselves are an interesting business model in that the music is free to listen to if you have the version with adverts, and, for a fee of about €12 per month the user can have the version without the adverts – I would add that currently Spotify are not making a profit but that is a different topic altogether albeit it will no doubt have an impact on the legal case in terms of negotiating stances etc.
MOS are well known for producing dance anthems and they want Spotify to remove various music compilations from its service put together by its users which MOS claim are copied from their musical anthems – it seems that although MOS did grant Spotify a license to use individual songs it did not grant a license for its users to compile them into musical anthems and Spotify refuse to take down the offending music even though it seems Spotify’s users are naming the compilations as being “Ministry of Sound” – Spotify are claiming that it is not their responsibility to police their users.
MOS here will no doubt be claiming (it is not all yet out in the open on the pleadings) breach of copyright in so far as the expertise and ability required to create their database of compilations provides protection under copyright and that such copyright has been breached by Spotify by reproducing the same on their application. The case is interesting because under English law (and Irish law) music is indeed protected by way of copyright as being an “original literary work” (as are computer programs) but here, MOS do not actually own the copyright in each of the songs in the music compilation, rather, it is the way that they put them together that they are claiming protection over.
It appear to me that the media slant on this case will go back to the ye olde online piracy days and “big corporates v small nice guys” and “David v Goliath” viewpoints as Spotify was seen to be he saviour of those wishing to listen to music but not pay for it (imagine) – this is going to prove to be an interesting case for those interested in copyright law (and database law!) and we shall update this post with more information shortly as the case progresses.