Pro Music Rights Sues Amazon in Follow Up Suit Against Spotify

On December 18, Plaintiff Pro Music Rights filed a complaint against Defendant Amazon (Pro Music Rights, LLC v., Inc. 1:19-cv-11598-LAK) for copyright infringement. The complaint was filed in the New York Southern District Court. Pro Music Rights is represented by Gora.

Pro Music Rights (“PMR”) is a “performance rights organization that collects license fees on behalf of artists, songwriters, composers, music publishers and other rightsholders with whom it is affiliated and then distributes the license fees as royalties to those affiliates whose works have been publicly performed.” There are approximately two million works in its repertoire. PMR relies on streaming services like Amazon Music to grow and maintain its business, thus its alleged refusal to pay PMR would hurt PMR’s business. This is similar to PMR’s suit against Spotify, in which Spotify refused to pay PMR for its music streamed on Spotify.

The complaint alleged that Amazon has not paid Pro Music Rights royalties for songs streamed on Amazon Music and it continues to stream this music without a license and without compensating Pro Music Rights, this directly breaches the Copyright Act. In August 2018, PMR sent a letter to Amazon informing it of its copyright infringement and obligation to get a license and compensate PMR. Amazon sent a letter with intent to obtain a compulsory license, not a license to publicly perform as PMR had suggested to avoid a lawsuit. Amazon refused to enter a license agreement and has not compensated for any of the streamed music. 

The complaint stated that Amazon has infringed upon Pro Music Rights’ music copyrights, which it owns or has sufficient exclusive rights to these registered copyrights. Amazon has publicly performed via streaming the songs in PMR’s repertoire without a public performance license. PMR alleged that Amazon’s infringement was willful. Pro Music Rights requests compensation for damages, including that Amazon payback royalty payments for the song streams and to get a public performance license for the public performance of these songs on its platform and an injunction from future infringement.