Spotify settles lawsuit with Pro Music Rights founder who sought over $1bn in damages (update)

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Spotify has settled in a legal case with an independent Florida-based music company called Sosa Entertainment and its founder.

Today’s news marks the latest development in a case which first began in 2019, when SPOT was sued by the independent music company seeking “over $1bn in damages” from the streaming platform for an alleged series of offences.

Florida-based Sosa Entertainment LLC and its sister company – royalty collection firm Pro Music Rights LLC (PMR) are both owned by Jake P. Noch.

At the time of the original lawsuit’s filing (back in 2019), Sosa alleged that it had not received full royalties associated with over 550 million streams on Spotify. In addition, the company claimed that SPOT removed the tracks linked to said streams.

Sosa said that this removal process began “in or about” May 2017 and alleged that all the tracks were cut from the service “without advance notice [and] without ever telling [Sosa and PMR] why their songs were removed”.

When contacted by MBW about the new settlement, a Spotify spokesperson said: “Spotify and Sosa have agreed to drop their claims against each other, without any payment by Spotify.

“Both Spotify and Pro Music Rights agree that fraudulent streaming hurts legitimate songwriters, composers, publishers, and artists, and they share a mutual commitment to help combat fraudulent streaming practices.”

Jake P. Noch claimed in response: “Spotify’s statements [above] are categorically false. I suggest that Spotify’s legal team contact my attorney Richard Gora, Esq.  and his Lawfirm Gora LLC. before there is no settlement agreement.”

In January, the United States District Court For The Middle District Of Florida Fort Myers Division filed a document revealing SPOT had moved to enter into settlement negotiations with Noch and his company Sosa.

Spotify now appears to have officially settled with Sosa and its founder Jake Noch, according to a legal document filed in a Florida court today (March 24).

The filing, which you can read in full here, states: “Plaintiff/Counterclaim Defendant Sosa Entertainment LLC and Counterclaim/Third-Party Defendant Jake P. Noch, and Defendants Spotify AB and Spotify USA, Inc. pursuant to Local Rule 3.09(a), hereby notify the Court of the settlement of all claims in this matter by a Settlement Agreement and Release”.

It adds that the parties “expect to file their joint stipulation for the dismissal of this case, with prejudice, on or before May 7, 2021”.

The lawsuit filed by Sosa in November 2019 alleged that Spotify “manually blanket-banned” the tracks associated with the 550 million streams, and then “deliberately and maliciously blacklisted from its platform the Plaintiffs and their founder, Jake Noch, along with each and every single artist, composer, and writer associated with [the parties]”.

Spotify countersued in May 2020, with the music streaming company directing a number of serious allegations against Noch and Sosa.

SPOT claimed in the countersuit, which you can read in full here, that “Noch directed third parties to create millions of fake Spotify accounts, and deployed these fake accounts to artificially stream his and Sosa’s content up to hundreds of thousands of times daily, and upwards of hundreds of millions of times in total.”

In June 2020, Sosa asked a federal Judge to dismiss Spotify’s countersuit, calling the streaming company’s action “procedurally defective” and “legally deficient”.

PMR also hit headlines in early 2020 for suing “the entire music industry” over what it alleged was a potential “conspiracy to shut PMR out of the market and to fix prices at infracompetitive levels”.

On July 2, 2020, PMR and Napster owner Rhapsody jointly filed a notice at the US District Court in Connecticut, stating that the two parties had agreed that PMR’s action against Rhapsody should be dismissed “with prejudice”.

On July 8, 2020, an almost-identical filing came from iHeartMedia and PMR, followed, on July 10, by another filing that indicated an agreed dismissal (also “with prejudice”) between PMR and UK-based 7Digital.

Meanwhile, on July 27, 2020, another agreed dismissal (again, “with prejudice”) was filed by the Radio Music License Committee (RMLC), which you can read in full here, following the same wording as the other filings.

Bloomberg Law noted in July last year that the fact that all of these dismissals have been made “with prejudice” suggests that each party has been settling out of court with PMR. (It also means the suit can’t be refiled against the defendants in each case.)

In January, MBW reported that Pro Music Rights (PMR) is preparing to go public in the United States.

The Florida-based company filed a form S-1 registration statement filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) at the end of 2020, which revealed that the company’s listing won’t be underwritten by an investment bank.

The document added that PMR intends “to request a market maker to apply to make application for quotation on the Over the Counter Bulletin Board”.Music Business Worldwide

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