A year ago the commercial On SoundCloud service — the partner program with musicians and studios which allows authors to receive the royalties from listening of the tracks in online and from mobile application of SoundCloud is started. The program works only in the USA so far, for last year $2 million a royalty are paid to authors and owners.
Not all on temper that authors begin to work directly with audience, bypassing traditional author's society which always collected a royalty.
On August 27, 2015 the British author's society Performing Rights Society for Music (PRS) representing the interests of 111 000 composers, authors and publishers "after five years of unsuccessful negotiations" filed a lawsuit against SoundCloud.
Authors tell to PRS adjacent the rights to the intellectual property, including the right to distribution of musical pieces. Collecting and distribution of royalties belongs to duties of PRS.
"Unfortunately, SoundCloud continues to deny what needs the license PRS to provide the services in the territory of Great Britain and Europe — is said in the statement of owners. — It means that our members do not earn reward at reproduction of their music through the free SoundCloud platform. Our task consists in receiving licensing fee from services which use music of our authors".
Representatives of PRS emphasize that to begin legal process against SoundCloud was "tough decision", but it is made in "the best long-term interests" of authors. For PRS it is important to emphasize that work without their license is inadmissible not to set a dangerous example for others. Lawyers of PRS repeatedly addressed in SoundCloud and pointed to this fact, but their appeals were ignored.
SoundCloud simply deletes musical pieces if they violate copyright, according to the statement of the owner from a free hosting. During removal of the musical piece SoundCloud sends to the user warning (strike).
Screenshot: Sergey Ulankin (@ELCT)
According to rules of baseball, after three strikes the miss follows, that is the account of the user is deleted from the website.
Such method not absolutely suits PRS. Lawyers enclosed to the list of 4500 works published on SoundCloud with violation of allied rights the letter to show problem scale. In such conditions it is just impossible to monitor and delete all "violators" if "violators" are authors of works. Therefore demand purchase of the license from SoundCloud.
PRS hopes that SoundCloud will meet halfway and the conflict will manage to be resolved to court.
Judging by the answer of SoundCloud, the compromise is not browsed yet.
"It is regrettable that PRS selected similar tactics in the middle of active commercial negotiations with SoundCloud. We think, such approach is not equitable to the best interests of all involved parties. In particular, members of PRS association, many of which are active users of our platform and rely on it for distribution of the works and communication with admirers.
SoundCloud — the platform created by authors of music for other authors. Nobody in this world does more that creators of music could find the audience and keep in contact with it, at the same time protecting copyright, including the rights of members of PRS. We work hard to create a platform where authors will earn reward for the work and we already have agreements with thousands of owners, including musical studios, publishers and independent musicians".
Komapniya SoundCloud is registered in Germany, her founders — the sound producer Alex Lyyung (Alex Ljung) and the musician Eric Valfors (Eric Wahlforss).
Independent experts pay attention to an interesting method as owners of SoundCloud sign agreements with giants of the musical industry. For example, at the end of 2014 they obtained the license Warner Music Group in exchange for a share of 5% in the company. There is unofficial information that the license agreement with Universal Music Group is signed on the same conditions. The Sony company refused to grant the license SoundCloud.
Lawyers of PRS suggested that SoundCloud will try to protect from licensing the free strimingovy service by means of the European legislation on "safe harbor".
The PRS position in a legal claim against SoundCloud was supported by other British author's society BASCA (British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors).
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