For the protection of film copyrights, infringers typically receive Copyright Management Services Ltd or TCYK LLC letters. As for music piracy, it’s a bit different. SoundCloud, which is a popular music-streaming website, used to have a clash with the music industry; but just recently, PRS for Music representing songwriters has begun legal proceedings against the audio platform, claiming that SoundCloud was infringing copyrights of PRS members by not obtaining licenses or paying royalties.
Based in Berlin, this privately owned online audio distribution platform has a sleek design which musicians and fans embrace. It’s an influential outlet for new music with 175 million users per month, but it ran into problems about rights issues especially with record labels.
SoundCloud began as a free service, didn’t pay royalties and operated without copyright licenses, which digital music services rely on. In the music-streaming website, anyone can upload tracks and link it easily through social media. When SoundCloud introduced a new model that included advertising that would generate royalties from music last year, labels have been slow to adopt it.
Performing Rights Society for Music (PRS)
The PRS for Music is a British agency that represents more than 100,000 songwriters and publishers. Executive director of membership and international for PRS Karen Buse wrote in a letter to the group’s members “If the streaming market is to reach its true potential and offer a fair return for our members, organizations such as SoundCloud must pay for their use of our members’ music”.
Meanwhile, SoundCloud said in a statement, “No one in the world is doing more to enable creators to build and connect with their audience while protecting the rights of creators, including PRS members.”
In PRS’ suit, it did not specify what it was seeking and said its court paper was not public yet. Hopefully, they get to settle this in a manner that protects the rights of songwriters.