Spotify sued for $1.6 billion for allegedly ignoring songwriters' rights

Neil Young performs during the 30th Anniversary Bridge School Benefit Concert at Shoreline Amphitheatre on Oct. 23 2016 in Mountain View Calif

Wixen, an exclusive licensee of songs such as "Free Fallin" by Tom Petty, "Light My Fire" by the Doors, (Girl We Got a) Good Thing by Weezer and works of singers such as Stevie Nicks, is seeking damages worth at least $1.6 billion along with injunctive relief.

If not settled quickly, and there are no signs that will happen, this latest lawsuit along with the class action suit others that are pending, could delay or even derail Spotify's initial public stock offer tentatively planned for later this year.

The lawsuit goes on to say, "As a result, Spotify has built a billion dollar business on the backs of songwriters and publishers whose music Spotify is using, in many cases without obtaining and paying for the necessary licenses", the lawsuit alleges.

While Spotify has worked to track down the rights to the sound recordings of the songs it streams, it has never adequately secured the equivalent rights for the songs themselves as published works, according to the suit.

Wixen also alleges Spotify has "knowingly, intentionally, and repeatedly" reproduced those songs over the Internet to California residents. In May, the streaming company proposed a $43 million settlement to resolve a lawsuit that alleged Spotify hadn't paid mechanical licenses for songwriters David Lowery and Melissa Ferrick's compositions.

The suit includes a 265-page list of thousands of its songs that Wixen says Spotify is streaming without proper licensing and compensation, including some of the biggest hits of acts like the Beach Boys, Rage Against the Machine, Tom Petty, Journey, Missy Elliott, Santana and the Black Keys.

The new lawsuit ratchets up a battle already raging between Wixen and Spotify. The case is Wixen Music Publishing, Inc. v Spotify USA.