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Ministry of Sound Suing Spotify Over User Playlists 201

AmiMoJo writes "The Ministry of Sound, a UK dance music brand, is suing Spotify because it has not removed users' playlists that mirror their compilation albums. The case will hinge on whether compilation albums qualify for copyright protection due to the selection and arrangement involved in putting them together. Spotify has the rights to stream all the tracks on the playlists in question, but the issue here is whether the compilation structure — the order of the songs — can be copyrighted."
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Ministry of Sound Suing Spotify Over User Playlists

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  • Glorified mixtapes (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TheP4st ( 1164315 ) on Wednesday September 04, 2013 @09:49AM (#44755829)

    "What we do is a lot more than putting playlists together: a lot of research goes into creating our compilation albums"

    Ouch! My sides are hurting from laughing after reading that.

    Seriously, how much research does selecting a a number of Top 100 chart songs that aren't too dissimilar really involve that make it so vastly different from the mixtapes many of us made back in the days?

  • by interkin3tic ( 1469267 ) on Wednesday September 04, 2013 @10:04AM (#44755993)
    Having a fiscal duty to make their shareholders money doesn't change the ethics or ridiculousness of the situation. It simply explains what their goals are. They should still be shamed. You only point out that their shareholders should ALSO be shamed. Their "buisiness model" isn't under attack here anyway. The order songs play in isn't their business model.
  • Easy solution (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 04, 2013 @10:07AM (#44756015)

    Tell MoS to suck it. It's not Spotify's fault that its users are creating playlists that are "copies" of compilation albums and neither is it Spotify's job to prevent such a thing from happening. If they wanted to stay profitable, perhaps they should have taken the time to form a business around providing an actual product and/or service rather than stumbling around a 1 room "apartment" saying "Duuuuuude" oh, sorry, UK: "Maaaaate, that mixed tape is wizard. You should sell it and cut me in on the profits!"

  • by TAZ6416 ( 584004 ) <mccormackj@rocke[ ] ['tma' in gap]> on Wednesday September 04, 2013 @10:40AM (#44756339) Homepage []

    Turns out they didn't have standing to sue for the actual music as they were basically DJ mixtapes which they had licensed the music for, so they where suing over the copyright of the tracklistings..
  • by Dogtanian ( 588974 ) on Wednesday September 04, 2013 @11:24AM (#44756831) Homepage

    I went [to the Ministry of Sound club] before it was popular. Twice! And I regret it. Twice! It was all about owning the most expensive shirt when, at the time, everyone in the scene was wearing jeans, t-shirts and trainers.

    Doesn't surprise me. The Ministry of Sound was a major part of the corporate appropriation and commercialisation of the UK dance music scene. It rose to prominence around the same time (early to mid 90s) that the Tories were trying to outlaw the "underground" egalitarian Ecstasy-related house music and rave culture that had taken off here in the late 1980s- via the likes of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 (with its infamous "repetitive beats" definition)- and the "superclubs" like them were on the rise.

    Shouldn't be surprising that MoS was founded and owned by James Palumbo, a privileged, Eton-educated son of a Conservative peer, then.

    To be fair, I never liked most Ecstasy-related dance music full stop and wasn't into that culture, but I could respect some of that early stuff for its energy as a youth culture. MoS et al, OTOH, seems to be responsible for the endless, life-sapping, unoriginal recycled "heard it before 5, 10, 15 and 20 years ago and it was toss then" stagnated chart fodder we still have today.

  • by PhilHibbs ( 4537 ) <> on Wednesday September 04, 2013 @11:29AM (#44756889) Homepage Journal

    It's not their music. They don't own the tracks. Are you suggesting that Spotify should ban any track that Ministry of Sound have licenced to include on a compilation album? This is the most popular music in the UK, that's why MoS put it on compilation albums. Spotify would be committing commercial suicide by banning that much music.

  • by jd2112 ( 1535857 ) on Wednesday September 04, 2013 @12:45PM (#44757789)
    It worked for Metalica didn't it?
    Oh, wait. I haven't listened to a Metalica song (even on the radio) since those asshats started sueing their fans back in th Napster days.
    And I'm sure that I'm not the only one.
  • by Half-pint HAL ( 718102 ) on Wednesday September 04, 2013 @03:14PM (#44759451)

    To clarify, if its just a list of songs, it shouldn't be a copyright problem, as in MoS has no copyright claim.

    Not true -- UK copyright law has specific provisions to protect anthologies. It's termed "typographical arrangements". The idea is that if I spend a year compiling a book of medieval poetry (all individually out of copyright, obviously), I get a monopoly over the book as a collection, so no low-rent outfit can produce a cheap edition to undercut you and steal your market.

    It's a good law, in that it implicitly recognised that an anthology deserves less protection than a truly original work: the term is restricted to 25 years from first publication.

    What I don't know is if anyone has established by legal precedent whether a compilation CD is considered a typographical arrangement or not, but that will be the crux of Ministry of Sound's case.

Thus spake the master programmer: "Time for you to leave." -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"