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Sosa hits back in Spotify dispute, says streaming service’s claims “replete with assumptions and guesswork”

By | Published on Thursday 18 June 2020


The legal battle between Spotify and American independent music firm Sosa Entertainment continues, with the latter submitting a lengthy filing with the courts in Florida earlier this week. The company wants the streaming firm’s counterclaims and complaints dismissed.

Sosa – whose founder Jake Noch has also set up his own collecting society called PRO Music rights – sued Spotify last year. It accuses the streaming firm of “unfair and deceptive practices”, mainly in relation to Spotify’s decision to remove the Sosa catalogue from its platform. That move also lost Sosa its membership of indie label digital rights group Merlin.

Spotify countersued last month, arguing that it dropped the Sosa catalogue because it suspected the label – and Noch – of fraudulently manipulating streams of that music in order to boost their share of the monthly royalties pot. In a strongly worded legal filing, Spotify said there were “blatant signifiers of artificial streaming” linked to Sosa’s recordings, concluding that “Jake Noch is a fraudster who has engaged in a multi-year campaign to generate artificial streams on Spotify’s online music service”.

Sosa and Noch had actually pre-empted most of Spotify’s claims in their original lawsuit. After Spotify’s legal filing, Noch added: “Spotify’s claims are laughable and blatantly false”. He went on: “A company such as Spotify, that is built on the theft of intellectual property, puts every single one of its shareholders at risk. I foresee Spotify becoming the next Enron”.

In its new legal filing, Sosa presents a plethora of legal arguments which, it says, render all of Spotify’s claims redundant and therefore the streaming firm’s countersuit should be dismissed.

The filing states: “Plaintiff in the underlying case, Sosa, filed suit against Spotify for failing to fulfil its duties and obligations as a music streaming service, wilfully removing Sosa’s content for anticompetitive reasons and obliterating Sosa’s third-party contracts and expectations. In retaliation and to further Spotify’s ongoing smear campaign against Sosa and Noch, Spotify asserts counterclaims against Sosa and purported third-party claims against Noch”.

“Both sets of claims fail”, it then adds. “Spotify alleges Sosa and Noch created ‘fake’ Spotify accounts to artificially stream music on Spotify’s service. However, the counterclaims and third-party claims are procedurally defective, legally deficient, short on specifics, and replete with assumptions and guesswork”.

After talking through all of those alleged deficiencies in some detail, the Sosa filing concludes: “Counterclaim defendant Sosa and third-party defendant Noch respectfully move this court to enter an order dismissing Spotify’s counterclaims and dismissing/striking Spotify’s third-party complaint with prejudice”.

We now await to see if Spotify can find any deficiencies in the arguments Noch and his company employ regarding the alleged deficiencies in its arguments in response to his arguments. Legal fun times!