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New Lowery v Spotify filing seeks more details of NMPA deal


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The class-action lawsuit against Spotify filed by musician David Lowery has taken another twist.

A new filing on behalf of Lowery and his co-plaintiffs is seeking more details of the streaming service’s proposed publishing-royalties settlement with the National Music Publishers Association (NMPA).

The filing requests that “all communications between Defendant Spotify USA Inc. (‘Spotify’) (and those in concert with Spotify) and putative class members concerning a settlement with Spotify be produced for review by Plaintiffs and this Court”.

The Spotify/NMPA agreement was announced on 17 March, and will see a reported $30m payout pool shared among publishers who sign up – an act that will prevent them from joining Lowery’s class-action suit.

The new filing also calls for a further court order: “To the extent that any misleading communications have already occurred, authorising issuance of corrective notices to putative class members and invalidating any releases obtained in connection therewith; and prohibiting Spotify (and those in concert with Spotify) from making any future misleading communications to putative class members in connection with settlement with Spotify.”

The filing goes in to more detail, questioning whether Spotify and the NMPA are advising settling members that “they are entitled to these royalty payments as a matter of law, and do not need to waive any of their rights against Spotify to receive said payments… Simply put, neither Spotify, nor any person acting in concert with Spotify, should be encouraging prospective class members to waive their copyright infringement claims and remedies without providing appropriate information about the pending class lawsuit as well, so that the putative class members may make an informed decision.”

Lowery’s filing also claims that the three-month opt-in period for the Spotify/NMPA settlement “appears intended to force prospective class members to select the Spotify Settlement before the class certification is even determined in this lawsuit”, adding that the NMPA has “refused” to send a copy of its settlement agreement to Lowery and his co-plaintiffs’ counsel.

It goes into some detail about public comments by NMPA boss David Israelite about the Spotify settlement, as well as “disturbing and disparaging remarks” about the motivations of Lowery’s attorneys in pursuing the case.

Music Ally has contacted Spotify for its response, and will update this story accordingly on our website today.

Stuart Dredge

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