Spotify v. Ministry of Sound

In current copyright infringement debacles, Ministry of Sound, a dance music record label is in the process of suing Spotify, a free music-streaming application. MoS feels that they are being unfairly denied compensation for their compilation albums of other music art’s songs. MoS adamantly claims that what they “do is a lot more than putting playlists together”, (which is in fact the only thing they do) but they feel that Spotify user’s ability to chop their album order is an infringement on their “research” and puts their “intellectual property” at stake.  As defined by MoS, their recycling of other artist’s original work should be considered as original, which is just absurd.  Spotify has paid for the rights to use the songs MoS has recycled already, which makes MoS’ lawsuit seem arbitrary and like a jostling for money rather than a legitimate concern for copyright infringement. This lawsuit will address whether the order of the songs can be copyrighted because as of now, no such law exists. The only similar lawsuit previous to this (concerning football league fixture list orders) was overturned on appeal by the High Court. (Good work on that one y’all.)

Kant would agree that “a large degree of civic freedom appears to be of advantage to the intellectual freedom of the people”, there is an importance of intellectual freedom over intellectual property. If MoS has the right to pick apart other artist’s work, then Spotify users should have the right to pick apart MoS’, and not only is it a right, but it is an “advantage” and “civic freedom” to do so (according to Kant). In accordance to Lessig, denying Spotify users right’s to disassemble MoS’ compilation album order, will cause the constraints to “instead be burdens created by law—by intellectual property as well as other government-granted exclusive rights.” Instead of creating a law that would be beneficial to the majority of society, copyright infringement laws constricting the dismantling of fixture lists such as compilation albums would be disadvantageous to intellectual property. Milton has stated clearly that “no Book, pamphlet, or paper shall be henceforth
Printed, unlesse the same be first approv’d and licenc’t” in accordance with some regulation. Spotify has clearly, fairly, and justly received permission to the rights of all the songs MoS has recycled previous to MoS’ compilation album release. It would be illogical to require Spotify to receive permission to allow playlists to be made from a record label that doesn’t even own the original songs on the album.

And so the argument stands: is it fair that “music fans can enjoy the fruits of Ministry of Sound’s curatorial expertise without paying the label a cent”? Or should Spotify be “liable for allowing its users to make these playlists”? The decision is up to the court, and whether or not they rule that playlists can be protected by copyright. It seems the majority of writers online do not see this particular form of intellectual property isn’t justified in being considered for copyright infringement since the MoS record label does not own the rights to the songs they are including in their compilation albums.


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