Spotifty sued by Warner Music Group over licensing rights in an Indian court, asking the court to block the service from playing its music.
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Spotify’s much anticipated launch in India has once again hit a roadblock. The Apple Music rival was sued by music label Warner Music Group over licensing rights in India, asking a Mumbai court to block the streaming service to stream music from its label in the country. WMG also revoked a previously agreed upon deal for reasons, according to Spotify, are wholly unrelated to the company’s upcoming launch in India. WMG filed the complaint with the Bombay High Court and asked for an injunction from an Indian court, according to a report by Bloomberg.
Spotify’s continued struggle to launch in the second-largest smartphone market in the world is in stark contrast to Apple Music, which has had no problem striking deals with music labels to stream their content in India, including Warner Music Group. When the year began, the streaming-service was set to launch in India within a few weeks.
The Swedish streaming service is reportedly planning to use an Indian rule that allows radio stations to broadcast songs from the music label. Spotify essentially wants to use a 2012 amendment made to the Indian Copyright Act of 1957 when the section 31D was added which expands the compulsory licensing of copyrighted works for broadcasters. However, while most of the law has been amended over the years, what hadn’t changed was the definition of broadcast. It was only defined by “communication to the public”. However, in 2016, the definition of broadcast was expanded to include internet broadcasting organisations also. This expanded definition is what Spotify plans to use to stream music from Warner’s catalogue.
Spotify is presently operating in 78 countries worldwide and has over 200 million users while Apple Music is available in over 100 countries with around 50 million subscribers. The company has been wanting to enter India for quite some time now, where the market is already being split between homegrown services like Gaana and JioSaavn, and international giants like Apple Music, Amazon Prime Music and Google Play Music.
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