In Eminem Streaming Lawsuit, Is Spotify or Kobalt At Fault? Judge Says It’s Too Early To Say
A federal judge has said that it will take time to decide whether Spotify or Kobalt are ultimately on the hook in a lawsuit claiming Eminem ‘s illegal streaming of the music.
Eminem’s publisher, Eight Mile Style sued Spotify in 2019, alleging that the streamer failed to obtain proper licenses for hundreds songs of the rapper. Spotify quickly blamed Kobalt, claiming that the rights management company had given it permission to stream the songs. Kobalt strongly denies the claim.
So, is Eminem’s lawsuit Spotify’s problem or Kobalt’s?
Wednesday’s ruling by Judge AletaTrauger stated that the crucial question would not be answered soon. The judge rejected Spotify’s request to address the issue early and said that Kobalt should be allowed access to expert witnesses to prove it isn’t liable.
“Spotify claims that a quick resolution of that issue would eliminate uncertainty and potentially speed up the resolution of this case. Judge Trauger wrote. “Kobalt argues that it would be premature to address the issue of indemnity at this time, especially considering that there has been no expert discovery
Eight Mile Style claimed that Spotify had streamed hundreds Eminem songs, including high-grossing tracks like “Lose Yourself”, billions of times without securing mechanical licences. Although the 2018 passage was intended to address this problem, Eight Mile Style claimed that Spotify had essentially ignored the law and was still on the hook.
Faced by these allegations, Spotify replied by blaming Kobalt . Spotify responded to those allegations in a May 2020 lawsuit by blaming Kobalt.
Kobalt claims it doesn’t have the authority to license the songs in question and has not claimed to do so. It has made statements to the media calling Spotify’s accusations “baseless” as well as mischaracterizing its licensing agreement with Spotify.
Earlier this year, Spotify sought to quickly resolve the dispute and requested the right to request a summary judgment. This would resolve the issue permanently. The company claimed that the contract was clear and required Kobalt to “indemnify Spotify” in such situations.
But Judge Trauger stated Wednesday that music industry contracts can be more complicated than they appear on paper. She said she would need to see an expert analysis before she could determine which company was correctly interpreting the agreement.
” All of the underlying transactions were made against the unique background of the music publishing business, with its preexisting norms and customs. This can make it difficult for outsiders not familiar with industry practice to understand the details of the dispute. “Expert testimony is likely the most clear and comprehensive way for a finder to cut through the dense web of highly specialized knowledge that frames the dispute .”
She agreed with Spotify that there were “obvious reasons why Kobalt might wish to know, earlier rather than later, if it should expect to become liable for indemnification, in this case,” but the judge stated that Kobalt had presented valid arguments for putting off the decision.
Both sides’ attorneys didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment on Thursday.
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