According to Variety, PRS for Music, a British songwriter agency, has initiated legal action against music streaming site SoundCloud amid claims that the service is not paying royalties and securing licenses from its artists. A letter to the group’s members stated that the action follows five years of unsuccessful negotiations. A SoundCloud spokesperson told Variety that the service is “working hard to create a platform where all creators can be paid for their work, and already have deals in place with thousands of copyright owners, including record labels, publishers, and independent artists.”
According to Variety, A federal judge has reopened a $20 billion racial bias case filed against Comcast and Time Warner Cable by Byron Allen’s Entertainment Studios Networks, which claims that Comcast shut out African-American owned channels from its lineups. Allen, who says he will file an amended complaint with “greater detail and greater clarity,” now has until September 21. The National Association of African American Owned Media is a co-plaintiff in the suit.
First filed in February, Allen’s suit also names as defendants the NAACP, the National Urban League, Al Sharpton, the National Action Network, as well as Meredith Attwell Baker, a former Comcast executive and FCC commissioner. The suit claims that, in getting approval for the 2011 acquisition of NBC Universal, Comcast entered into “sham” memorandums of understanding with civil rights groups to cover up its discriminatory business practices.
US District Judge Terry Hatter had dismissed the lawsuit without prejudice earlier this month, concluding that the plaintiffs had “failed to allege a plausible claim for relief,” but then reopened it last week. The burden is on the plaintiffs to overcome Hatter’s original objections. Comcast previously called the suit “frivolous,” while Sharpton said it is without basis.
According to Billboard, the attorneys general of both New York and Connecticut are looking at Apple’s new streaming service to determine if Apple pressured or conspired with record labels to withdraw support from other streaming services. The European Commission is also investigating Apple’s dealings with record labels. At issue is the lack of an advertising-based freemium model as offered by Spotify and other companies. Apple is offering a three-month free trial period instead.
Universal Music Group’s legal firm responded that it has no agreements with Apple or other labels that might impede the availability of free or ad-supported services and that it is committed to a robust and competitive market for music streaming services.
Though the attorneys general investigation is currently in “suspended” status, there could be further action in the future.