Warner: Spotify just lied about India injunction – and its comments on negotiations are ‘appalling’

Earlier today, a Spotify spokesperson sent MBW a victorious statement regarding a notorious High Court case in Mumbai. They said that their jubilation was “based on the court’s decision today to deny Warner/Chappell’s request for an injunction”.

Warner Music Group has now hit back at that claim. In fact, says the major music company – in no uncertain terms – it’s flatly not true.

A WMG spokesperson just told MBW: “For Spotify to claim that the court denied our injunction is a lie.”

Instead, from Warner’s side, a picture being painted that the Bombay High Court’s decision is something of a tie… for now.

Essentially: Spotify has not been granted a statutory license – yet. And Warner has not lost hope of getting an injunction – yet.

In layman’s terms, Spotify must now submit complete records of any use of Warner/Chappell’s music in India to the High Court, in addition to records of all revenues generated by user consumption of this music.

Spotify will also effectively pause its application for a statutory license for Warner/Chappell’s rights for four weeks, which becomes something of a grace period. Whether or not Spotify is legally infringing on Warner’s copyrights by launching in this four-week period will be decided at a later date.

Spotify, then, could still launch in India over the next 24 hours. But as one music industry source told MBW: “If Spotify launches in India now, they are essentially launching, at best, in a grey area. It sets a dangerous precedent for them going forward, and shows the industry their true colors.”

Regarding the Bombay High Court decision, a Warner spokesperson explained in a statement: “We welcome 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. These are positive steps to protect our songwriters’ interests.

“We’re also pleased that Spotify cannot pursue proceedings for their claim to a statutory license before the Intellectual Property Appellate Board for a period of four weeks. Our copyright infringement case will continue on an expedited basis.”

“Spotify’s comments yesterday about our fair market negotiations were appalling to us, and we’re shocked that they would exploit the valuable rights of songwriters without a license.”

Warner Music Group spokesperson

They added: “Spotify’s comments yesterday about our fair market negotiations were appalling to us, and we’re shocked that they would exploit the valuable rights of songwriters without a license. That said, we remain optimistic that we can reach a strong, balanced commercial agreement.”

To recap, then: in the past 24 hours, the world’s third biggest music rights-holder, Warner Music Group, has sued Spotify; in reaction, Spotify has publicly accused Warner of “abusive behavior” and of reneging on a previously agreed deal; Spotify has also claimed that Warner’s application for an injunction in India has failed; Warner has strongly denied that claim, accused Spotify of lying, and suggested that comments from the streaming company on the matter have been “appalling”.

Make no mistake: this is becoming one of the bitterest fallouts between a major music rights-holder and a market-leading retail partner in the history of the entertainment industry.

Stay tuned!Music Business Worldwide

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