SoundCloud Faces Legal Action from British Songwriters Group

A British songwriters’ agency is taking legal action against music streaming site SoundCloud, claiming that the service was not paying royalties and securing licenses from its artists.

The New York Times reports that PRS for Music said in a letter to its members that it had initiated legal proceedings, but that its filing was not yet public. A spokeswoman for PRS did not respond to a request for comment.

“Following five years of unsuccessful negotiations, we now find ourselves in a situation where we have no alternative but to commence legal proceedings,” PRS for Music said. The letter went on to cite what PRS said were unfulfilled requests to remove copyrighted works from its members.

But a spokeswoman for SoundCloud said that it was “regrettable that PRS appears to be following this course of action in the midst of an active commercial negotiation with SoundCloud.

“We believe this approach does not serve the best interests of any of the parties involved, in particular the members of the PRS, many of whom are active users of our platform and who rely on it to share their work and communicate with their fanbase,” the spokeswoman said.

She added that the service was “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.”

In the U.S., there is growing tension between streaming services and artists, record labels and songwriters over royalty rates, played out in courts and via lobbying of members of Congress.

SoundCloud has been a growing platform among musicians to upload their music with relative ease and access to social media platforms. It lets any user upload music, akin to an audio version of YouTube. The site does feature a checklist for users to determine if their uploads have legal clearance.

 

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