Music streaming giant Spotify has been slapped with a $1.6 billion lawsuit after being accused of offering users access to songs without a licence.
Wixen Music Publishing claims that it's been offering "thousands" of songs by artists such as Neil Young, the Doors and Tom Petty without the permission of the music publishers.
The music publisher says that it is the exclusive licensee of Tom Petty's "Free Fallin'", Weezer's "Good Thing" and the Doors's "Light My Fire", but claims that Spotify has been streaming these songs to users via its extensive library.
Wixen is demanding punitive damages from Spotify claiming that it has failed to provide it with sufficient compensation for using the songs, adding that it hasn't even sought a licence from the publisher.
It filed the lawsuit in a California federal court last week. Wixen also claims that Spotify has been outsourcing work to licensing and royalty management firm Harry Fox Agency.
This isn't the first time that the Swedish company has had to deal with legal problems over the issue of artist and publisher royalties. In May last year, the company paid $43 million to avoid a class action lawsuit.
Artists regularly complain (not unjustifiably) that online streaming companies have radically cut their income from royalties -
Although Spotify faces increasing competition from the likes of Apple Music, it's grown by 20 per cent in the past year and is now valued at around $19 billion.
According to reports, it will list on the stock market - probably the New York Stock Exchange - in 2018.
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