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Spotify Hit With Copyright-Violation Claims by National Music Publishers Association

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Jem Aswad Executive Editor, Music Spotify was hit with a cease-and-desist letter from the National Music Publishers Assn. over its use of lyrics in its recently launched video function and podcasts, and its remix feature that enables users to speed up or otherwise edit songs to create derivative works.

The trade association claims that such uses are copyright violations and must be paid for. The letter is the latest move in several areas of conflict between the NMPA and songwriters’ groups on one side and Spotify on the other.

The two side are also at odds over Spotify’s new premium subscription plans that combine music and audiobooks, which will mean a lower mechanical royalty rate for songwriters on those plans, although Spotify claims that earnings for creators will continue to rise due to increased volume.

Contacted by Variety on Wednesday morning, a rep for Spotify said a comment is forthcoming. “It has come to our attention that Spotify displays lyrics and reproduces and distributes music videos and podcasts using musical works without the consent of or compensation to the respective publishers and/or administrators (our members) who control the copyrights in the musical compositions,” the letter, from NMPA’s general counsel and addressed to her counterpart at Spotify and the streaming giant’s head of music and audiobook businesses. “As such, these uses of musical works on the Spotify platform are not licensed or will soon become unlicensed.

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