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How To Collect Your Share Of $43.5 Million Spotify Songwriter, Publisher Settlement

Spotify New $You may be eligible for a share of the $43.45 million class action lawsuit brought successfully against Spotify on behalf of all songwriters and publishers by musicians Melissa Ferrick and David Lowery. Both sides have agreed to the settlement, which is now just awaiting final court approval.

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If you wrote a song or own a copyright that has been registered with the U.S. Copyright Office and available on Spotify between December 28, 2012 and June 29, 2017, and you contend that Spotify did so without a license, you may be eligible to collect a share of a proposed $43.45 million class action settlement.

What’s this about?

A settlement has been reached in the class action Ferrick v. Spotify USA Inc., No. 1:16-cv-8412 (AJN).  The plaintiffs contend that Spotify made certain musical compositions available on its service without a license.  Spotify denies any wrongdoing.  The parties have agreed to a settlement to avoid the uncertainties and expenses associated with further litigation of the case.  The Court has not decided whether the plaintiffs or Spotify is right. 

Am I a class member?

It depends.  The Settlement Class consists of all persons or entities who own copyrights in one or more musical compositions (a) for which a certificate of registration has been issued or applied for; and (b) that were made available by Spotify for interactive streaming and/or limited downloading during the class period (December 28, 2012 through June 29, 2017) without a license.  Excluded are (i) Spotify and its affiliates, employees, and counsel; (ii) governmental entities; (iii) the Court; (iv) persons and entities who in 2016 executed a Participating Publisher Pending and Unmatched Usage Agreement in connection with the Pending and Unmatched Usage Agreement, dated as of March 17, 2016, between Spotify and the National Music Publishers’ Association, or any other person or entity who has agreed not to bring a claim against Spotify in this lawsuit; and (v) any person or entity who has already provided Spotify with a release with respect to claims concerning musical compositions for which a certificate of registration has been issued or applied for, but the exclusion applies solely with respect to such released claims.

What can I get it?

If the settlement is approved by the Court and you submit a timely, valid claim form, you will be an authorized claimant and entitled to receive a payment from the settlement fund ($43,450,000, less deduction for attorneys’ fees and certain expenses).  Authorized claimants will receive a minimum pro rata payment from a fixed portion of the net settlement fund.  Depending upon the number of streams of your qualifying musical compositions (through the preliminary approval date), you will also receive a pro rata share of the net settlement fund determined by dividing the total number of streams of your qualifying musical compositions by the total number of streams of all qualifying musical compositions.  You will also receive payment of future mechanical royalties calculated using the statutory rate.  Spotify will also provide nonmonetary benefits to class members, such as by taking steps to facilitate payment of royalties for unmatched works.

How do I get a payment? 

You must submit a timely and properly completed claim form no later than 210 days after the Settlement Claims Start Date.  You may complete a claim form online at www.SpotifyPublishingSettlement.com.  You may obtain payments for future royalties, but not a share of the settlement fund, by submitting a claim form after the Claim Deadline.

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