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First off today, Tracey Lien and Ryan Faughnder at The Los Angeles Times reports that Spotify has filed paperwork with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to go public. The filing comes just days after the company was hit with a $1.6 billion lawsuit over its alleged use of unlicensed musical compositions.
The lawsuit was filed by Wixen Music Publishing, which controls the right to compositions by Tom Petty, Neil Young and Stevie Nicks among others. Wixen claims that Spotify did not properly pay mechanical royalties, royalties typically paid when a song is sold, Wixen alleges that the process Spotify had for paying out the statutory license was inadequate, resulting in unlicensed use of the compositions they control. They are suing for $1.6 billion in damages.
The SEC filing has been much anticipated and is moving forward despite the lawsuit (and related ones). To make things more risky for Spotify, the company has chosen to simply list its shares on the New York Stock Exchange rather than going with a traditional initial public offering. While this helps them avoid underwriting fees, it does mean that the company is more vulnerable to losing value after its stock is offered.
Next up today, James Batchelor at Games Industry reports that Epic Games, the company behind the popular Unreal Engine, has announced a new crackdown on assets in its marketplace that either imitate real-world products or otherwise violate copyright.
Epic makes the Unreal Engine available to other video game developers to base their titles on. It also provides a marketplace where creators can provide assets for purchase by developers. However, Epic has increasingly had an issue of those assets violating copyright including models of real-world guns, copyrighted characters/places and so forth.
Epic, in a statement, said that it’s policy has always been to not allow copyright infringing content on its marketplace but users have reported much more stringent enforcement of that rule over the past few weeks with regard to new submissions. However, Epic announced that it will be soon performing an audit of all the current marketplace assets and removing any that violate its policies. This comes as a part of Epic’s efforts to increase manpower with regards to marketplace approvals in a bid to both speed up the process and better enforce its policies.
Finally today, Gene Maddaus at Variety reports that Taylor Swift has responded to the lawsuit over her song Shake it Off and is claiming that the phrase “players gonna play and haters gonna hate” is not protectable under copyright.
The lawsuit was filed by Sean Hall and Nathan Butler, who wrote the song the 2001 song Playas Gon’ Play for the group 3LW. They claimed that Shake it Off was an infringement of their work and specifically cited that line, which also appeared in their song.
However, according to Swift, the concept of players and haters is a “public domain cliche” and that short phrases can not be copyright protected. Swift, in her reply, went on to cite multiple other examples of players and haters in music, going back to the 1977 Fleetwood Mac song Dreams.
That’s it for the three count today. We will be back tomorrow with three more copyright links. If you have a link that you want to suggest a link for the column or have any proposals to make it better. Feel free to leave a comment or send me an email. I hope to hear from you.