We know that Spotify finally launched in India, officially, on February 26. This launch took place after years of anticipation by the users in India. However, the launch of Spotify also came with bitter news for the company. This is because Spotify was marred with a hefty deposit on the day of its music streaming service’ launch in India. Bombay High Court had directed Spotify to deposit Rs. 6.5 Crores in India on February 26. The reason for this deposit was an impending copyright case file by Warner/Chappell.
Also, it is worth noting that Spotify has been launched in India without the Warner/Chappell copyrighted music. This means that there is a lesser selection of songs to be streamed on Spotify in India as compared to the US version. Warner/Chappell Music Limited filed a suit along with a motion seeking an interim injunction to restrain Spotify from publishing its songs on the app without a license.
Spotify has been known to have made deals with several publishing companies in India. In this deal, Spotify sealed deals with T-Series as well as Sony. However, Spotify could not ink a deal with Warner/Chappell in India. Spotify claimed that it could offer the songs on its platform pursuant to its application for obtaining a statutory license under Section 31 D of the Indian Copyright Act.
Warner/Chappell’s lawyers have objected, though, that Section 31 D does not apply in this case. According to the lawyers, Spotify can only communicate the works, and not reproduce them, it was contended. It was further submitted that just because an application under Section 31 D has been filed, it does not mean that the statutory license has been granted.
Spotify has also been directed to keep a record of the use of Warner/Chappell’s musical works and all advertisement and subscription revenues. The next hearing of this copyright case will be heard by the Bombay HC will take place on March 25.