Spotify: The New Napster?

Spotify is currently under fire for infringing on the reproduction right of artists and songwriters. The songwriters believe that even though the company has obtained a license to the public performance rights of the songs, they are actually implicating the reproduction right. However, with the advent of streaming services and legislation that followed, they are able to bypass this argument.

The battle between old tech and innovative tech is not new in the digital age. This situation is simply another Aereo–except they have the law on their side. Chet Kanojia, the creator of Aereo, used design thinking in order to appease consumers. He sought to bring consumers what they didn’t even know they wanted: a la carte programming. In fact, he specifically created the service to fill a loophole to make television viewing void of technological hiccups. Unfortunately, the Court didn’t see it that way. They viewed the disruptive technology as a method to bypass copyright laws. But, in my opinion, it was a willful attempt by the Court to stifle innovation and bring security to businesses that operate on the old models.¬†They are essentially punishing a disruptive innovation developed through design thinking in order to stick to the present model. But that’s not always the case.

My problem with this ruling is what makes Aereo any different from the Ubers or Spotifys of the world? Streaming was invented in order to circumvent infringing on the 106 rights under copyright while providing consumers with access to a music library. Uber was created in order to provide a more efficient service to consumers while bypassing fees associated with the taxi driver business. Are the courts really the best avenue to pick and choose which circumvention of laws is up to par?

2 thoughts on “Spotify: The New Napster?

  1. Shandice, great observation. I have attached an article that discusses a recent $1.6 billion lawsuit against Spotify alleging copyright infringement. While Spotify was at the forefront of streaming music, there have been artists that have felt that their music was not fairly shared. This has resulted in artists completely removing their music from the platform.

    https://techcrunch.com/2018/01/02/spotify-faces-1-6-billion-lawsuit-from-music-publisher-wixen/

  2. Cool. Maybe this is just a coincidence or maybe it is part of their business model to distinguish themselves from just a streaming/ p2p sit to offer Spotify Playlists and Daily Mix/Radio. I could see them arguing that the algorithms behind those auto generated playlists makes them less of a streaming platform and more of a personal music curator, like how Pandora kind of was. Maybe that could be an argument if they ever come up against commercialization issues like we saw in Sony and Napster cases.