Spotify CEO Daniel Ek to Be Deposed in Eminem Copyright Infringement Suit

Spotify CEO Daniel Ek to Be Deposed in Eminem Copyright Infringement Suit thumbnail

The streamer claimed Ek wasn’t “directly involved in Spotify’s day-to-day licensing” in a case filed by Eight Mile Style in 2019.

Daniel Ek, Spotify

Daniel Ek, chief executive officer of Spotify, speaks about a partnership between Samsung and Spotify during a product launch event at the Barclays Center, August 9, 2018 in the Brooklyn.
Drew Angerer/GI

A federal judge says Spotify CEO Daniel Ek must sit for depositions in a copyright lawsuit over Eminem’s music, rejecting the streamer’s arguments that he’s not personally involved in “day-to-day” licensing operations or that he’s too busy to participate in the case.

Spotify claimed Ek had very little information about the lawsuit and that Eight Mile Style tried to drag him into a deposition to “harass” him. But U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeffery S. Frensley ruled Thursday (March 31) that the executive would need to find the time.

“Undoubtedly Mr. Ek is very busy [and], the Court credits Spotify for claiming that he is very busy indeed.” Judge Frensley wrote. “Yet, the issue regarding proper licensing relationships with artists whose work constitutes the entirety Spotify’s business is surely also an important matter to Spotify, and deserves some of Mr. Ek’s time and attention .”

The ruling came in a copyright lawsuit filed by Eight Mile Style in 2019 that claimed Spotify had streamed Eminem’s music “billions of times” without obtaining the proper mechanical licenses. The 2018 passage of the Music Modernization Act was designed to fix that problem, but Eight Mile Style said the company had essentially ignored the law’s requirements and was still on the hook for infringement.

Spotify had sought a protective order to protect Ek from a deposition before Thursday’s ruling.

Spotify had sought a so-called protective order to protect Ek from a deposition before Thursday’s ruling.

But Judge Frensley did not buy it: “The Court tends to agree with plaintiffs’ that ‘Mr. Ek’s whole argument for burden is that he is busy .'”

The judge did concede some points. Judge Frenlsey stated that Ek could only be deposed for a maximum of 3 hours to “minimize Mr. Ek’s likely annoyance and disrupt his schedule.” The hearing will be conducted remotely.

A trial is currently scheduled for September 2023. It is not known when Ek will be deposed.

Spotify didn’t respond to an immediate request for comment.



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