Streaming music service SoundCloud is being sued for copyright infringement. The Performing Rights Society for Music, a U.K. songwriters licensing group, has taken the company to court, charging that SoundCloud is not properly compensating its members for licensing fees owed for streaming their works on the service.
"After careful consideration, and following five years of unsuccessful negotiations, we now find ourselves in a situation where we have no alternative but to commence legal proceedings against the online music service SoundCloud," Karen Buse, PRS executive director for membership and international, announced in an email to members. PRS represents more than 111,000 songwriters and publishers.
As Tech Times has been reporting, SoundCloud has been under fire recently from the major record labels for failing to ink licensing deals, which compensate the labels for music streamed on SoundCloud. Of the big three music labels, only WMG (Warner Music Group) has signed a deal with SoundCloud, which gives the label, among other things, a 5 percent stake in the company in exchange for an all-encompassing licensing deal which includes "derivative works" – the DJ mixes, mashups and remixes that comprise a great deal of SoundCloud's content.
Just days ago, we reported that SoundCloud was apparently close to a licensing deal with UMG (Universal Music Group) which would also give that label a stake in the company. The third music label, Sony, is still battling it out with SoundCloud, and has pulled all of its label's content from the service.
The record label licenses only refer to specific recordings of songs released on a particular label, they do not cover the actual song compositions themselves. SoundCloud maintains that is actively negotiating with PRS and that many of its members are active users of their service, that is, post their material to a SoundCloud page under their moniker.
SoundCloud responded with the following statement: "SoundCloud is a platform by creators, for creators. No one in the world is doing more to enable creators to build and connect with their audience while protecting the rights of creators, including PRS members. We are working hard to create a platform where all creators can be paid for their work, and already have deals in place with thousands of copyright owners, including record labels, publishers and independent artists."