“[Spotify] should have reached out to the various artists and said we want to enter – engage in to a license with you, and enter into a royalty agreement. Just like you would in any other situation.”
Michelman & Robinson, LLP filed a $150 Million class action against Spotify over unpaid royalties on behalf of musician David Lowery of the bands Cracker and Camper Van Beethoven. The suite alleges that Spotify unlawfully reproduces and distributes copyrighted material without first obtaining mechanical licenses. According to Courthouse News Service, Lowery “seeks class certification, an injunction preventing Spotify from infringing on copyrighted works, restitution, and compensatory and statutory damages.” CNS also quotes Sanford Michelman, the lead attorney for the class, stating:
“I hope that Spotify acts in a corporately reasonable manner. These individuals – especially songwriters – put their hearts and souls in their works.”
Read more about the case at the:
UPDATE: NPR adds additional color to the story including the following:
“Lowery’s lawyer, Sanford Michelman, says Spotify may owe tens of millions of dollars not just in unpaid royalties but for copyright infringement, which can run as high as 150-thousand dollars per violation.”
Sanford quoted by Reuters:
Hanna’s co-lead counsel, Sanford Michelman, said Spotify typically negotiates royalty amounts in advance with top artists who have the resources to defend their work, but is less diligent about tracking down the license holders of music by lesser-known or independent artists.
“This is fundamentally wrong for the entire industry,” he said. “Spotify shouldn’t be playing ‘catch me if you can.’ (Lowery) has raised his hand and said ‘I’m going to stop this.'”
CNN Money is on the case:
Lawyer Sanford Michelman, who’s representing Lowery in court, said that putting money aside to pay out royalties later is a clear indication Spotify knowingly violated copyright law. He said those have to be paid via contracts hashed out before copyrighted work is used.
“It’s like saying, ‘We know we’ve taken these people’s work, we’ve never made an attempt to find them, but we know we’re playing something without the proper license,” he said.
Mega-stars like Taylor Swift and Adele are among the artists who have kept some music off Spotify. Some have criticized streaming services for cutting into industry profits by weakening album sales and offering small royalty payments.
But Michelman said the plaintiffs in this case were never contacted by the streaming service for a contract, and therefore have not received any royalties at all. He said it’s just like “stealing a car” off the lot.
Michelman & Robinson, LLP is pleased to announce that four M&R attorneys have been selected for inclusion to the list of 2016’s Best Lawyers in America.
Congratulations to Sanford Michelman (Commercial Litigation, Insurance Law), Mona Hanna (Commercial Litigation, Insurance Litigation), Dana Kravetz (Labor Law – Management), and Andrew Selesnick (Health Care Law)!
Best Lawyers is the oldest and most respected peer-review publication in the legal profession. A listing in Best Lawyers is widely regarded by both clients and legal professionals as a significant honor, conferred on a lawyer by his or her peers. For more than three decades, Best Lawyers lists have earned the respect of the profession, the media, and the public, as the most reliable, unbiased source of legal referrals anywhere.
View the Best Lawyers in America Michelman & Robinson, LLP page.
Sanford Michelman’s appointment to The Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation (IICF)’s Western Division Board of Directors was highlighted in Property Casualty 360’s July 30, 2015 People on the Move Section.
Read more here.
“Sanford is a brilliant strategist. He’s always five steps ahead of everyone else. Sanford has great foresight and foresees the multiple paths in which situations can play out… He asks great questions, actively listens and is very creative, yet on point, with his advice.”
Last month Law360 announced its inaugural list of the Top 100 best U.S. law firms for minorities, “based on the firms’ minority representation at the partner and nonpartner levels and their total number of minority attorneys.” That Michelman & Robinson, LLP (M&R) ranked 39th on the list is, in part, a reflection of Sanford’s commitment to providing superior client service, and top-notch business and legal advice. At M&R, we have long realized the tangible benefits of having a diverse workforce that is a reflection of our clients’ varied backgrounds and life experiences.
“This move responds to M&R’s need for additional space and brings us closer to many of our clients,” stated M&R Managing Partner, Dana Kravetz. “The approximate 27,000 square foot suite is equipped with state-of-the-art capabilities that link us easily to clients and our four offices in California and New York.”
M&R also added an in-suite café, along with a spacious and versatile multi-purpose room that the Firm can configure to accommodate all sizes of meetings, seminars and social gatherings. Everything is cutting edge in design.
Working with a designer on all the updates, the new space reflects a firm that is committed not only to growth, but collegiality. “A Collaborative Room outfitted with a floor-to-ceiling white board, casual environmental surroundings, and videoconferencing will help facilitate the interactive and innovative way we work,” noted Sanford Michelman, M&R’s co-founder and Chairman. “We created a space where attorneys and staff will enjoy working together.”
We may now be reached at 310.564.2670