Spotify launches in India despite WMG copyright challenge


Spotify launches in India despite WMG copyright challenge

kaspars grinvalds /

Spotify has launched its music streaming service in India despite a legal challenge from Warner/Chappell Music (WCM) accusing it of copyright infringement.

News of Spotify’s Indian launch was confirmed in a statement issued yesterday, February 26. Last week, Spotify’s plans seemed in doubt after WCM filed for an injunction to prevent the use of its music on the platform.

Spotify has so far failed to obtain a licence to use music owned by WCM, a publishing division of Warner Music Group (WGM), in the jurisdiction. On February 20, Spotify filed notice of its intention to apply for a statutory licence to the rights before India’s Intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB), which is part of India’s Copyright Office.

This licence would grant Spotify the rights to the music for an initial period of 12 months.

In its notice of application for the statutory licence, sent to the Copyright Office and seen by TBO, Spotify said that WCM’s refusal to grant it a licence to use its music in India amounted to “arbitrary, discriminatory and anti-competitive” behaviour.

Separately, WCM filed an injunction with the Bombay High Court to block the service from using its music. The company owns the publishing rights to songs by artists including Led Zeppelin, Radiohead and Madonna.

After the initial filing for a statutory licence, Spotify had transferred €528,000 to WCM in exchange for the rights. The payment was made via ICE Operations, a copyright processing company, in exchange for the rights. The High Court yesterday, February 26, ordered the payment to be returned and for Spotify to deposit the sum in court.

Proceedings in the Bombay High Court will resume on March 25.

In a statement sent to TBO, Warner Music Group said that it “welcomes the Court’s decision to direct Spotify to deposit monies with the Court and to maintain complete records of any use of our music as well as all advertising and subscription revenue earned by Spotify”.

The statement added that WMG found Spotify’s conduct “appalling”, and that the company was “shocked that Spotify would exploit the valuable rights of songwriters without a licence”.

TBO has contacted Spotify for further comment.


Spotify, Warner Music Group, Warner/Chappell Music, licensing, music, copyright, streaming, copyright infringement, statutory licence

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