Almost three years after the law firm Michelman & Robinson filed a putative class-action lawsuit against Rhapsody International on behalf of David Lowery and fellow songwriters Victor Krummenacher and David Faragher for infringing their mechanical rights, a deal to end the case is moving forward.
Late Friday night (Feb. 15), the firm filed in the U.S. District Court of Northern California a motion for preliminary approval of a settlement that will get self-published songwriters $35 for every composition Rhapsody played that’s registered with the U.S. Copyright Office and $1 for every unregistered composition the service played at least 24 times. Like the case against Spotify settled in 2017, this involves the service’s failure to properly license and pay for songwriters’ mechanical rights — and bringing it to a close will allow Rhapsody to move forward with less uncertainty….
Although many streaming services have infringed mechanical rights, this could mark the last major class-action lawsuit on the subject, since the Music Modernization Act offers streaming services a safe harbor from lawsuits for statutory damages for mechanical rights infringements filed after Dec. 31, 2017 under most circumstances.