HOLLYWOOD—The perils of being a songwriter is that you may have to endure copyright infringement along with a possible litigation that could drag for years. Copyright infringement disputes are usually resolved through direct negotiation, a notice and take down process, or litigation in civil court or a settlement deal. A settlement deal is exactly what Ed Sheeran did, he struck a deal to end a $20 million copyright infringement legal claim over his hit song “Photograph.”
Songwriters Thomas Leonard and Martin Harrington sued the singer last June, claiming the hit ballad had a similar structure to their song. According to published reports, an attorney for the pair confirmed the claim had been settled. Sheeran settled a $20 million copyright infringement claim against him, however, no comment has been released on the settlement terms. Leonard and Harrington’s track was released by former “X-Factor” winner Matt Cardle in 2012. Last week, court papers were filed dismissing the case with prejudice, stipulating that a California federal court would enforce the terms of an agreement.
The songwriters originally claimed the chorus of the two songs shared 39 identical notes, with similarities “instantly recognizable to the ordinary observer.” They submitted the chord structures from both tracks in court documents. The attorney Richard Busch, who represented Harrington and Leonard would not comment on the settlement terms. Busch is the same attorney who won a case for the family of the late soul singer Marvin Gaye. He successfully sued Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams for copyright infringement last year over their single “Blurred Lines,” winning a $7.4 million settlement.
Leave it to Jay-Z to pull most of his music off Spotify. Nine of the rapper’s 12 albums are no longer on the Swedish music streaming service, with only his first three records available plus two collaboration records with R. Kelly and a handful of other big singles. Jay-Z bought his own streaming service, Tidal in 2015 for $56 million.
Jay-Z is not the only artist pulling out. Taylor Swift removed her entire back catalogue in 2014 after a rift over artist payments and Adele’s last album, “25,” was only on CD for the first seven months of release. Beyonce, Jay-Z’s wife also withheld her latest album, “Lemonade,” from Spotify. Prince’s back catalogue returned to Spotify, Apple Music and Napster in February after only previously being available on Tidal. Even though Spotify was valued in 2015 at $8.53 billion, it hasn’t made a profit in the 9 years since it was launched.
That will probably change after it signed a new long-term licensing deal with Universal Music Group last week, the world’s largest record label. Spotify currently pays 55 percent of its revenue to record labels in royalties, with extra money going to music publishers. Spotify is still thinking about going public and listing on the stock market, which could raise much needed money for the firm.
Spotify has about 100 million listeners, though only about 50 million paid subscriptions; Apple has 20 million subscribers; Tidal’s subscriber numbers are believed to be less than 3 million. While Deezer, Google Play Music and Amazon Music still lag behind. Jay-Z sold a third of Tidal to Sprint, in January 2017. Because of the deal, Sprint customers now have access to exclusive Tidal content. Most of Jay-Z’s music is still available on Apple Music.
Rose’s Scoop: Superstar soccer player Cristiano Ronaldo’s curvy sister Katia Aveiro is stealing his fans, as her global singing career is taking off globally. Wishing everyone a Happy and safe Easter!