Judge Lifts Stay in Sosa Entertainment v. Spotify Lawsuit as Settlement Talks Fizzle Out

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In January, Digital Music News was first to report that indie label Sosa Entertainment and Spotify had entered settlement talks as part of their high-profile courtroom confrontation. Now, however, a new legal filing shows that these discussions failed to produce a compromise.

The underlying lawsuit initiated back in November of 2019, when Sosa Entertainment and Pro Music Rights (PMR) accused Spotify of failing to pay royalties on a staggering 550 million streams. Additionally, the entities maintained in their 50-page-long suit that the Stockholm-based platform had removed their tracks “for anti-competitive reasons.”

Spotify denied the allegations and, in May of 2020, returned fire with a firmly worded countersuit, accusing PMR and Sosa (as well as their founder, Jake Noch) of engaging in “a multi-year campaign of fraud and harassment.” Plus, the streaming giant claimed that Noch had enacted a multifaceted plan to “artificially generate hundreds of millions of fraudulent streams on songs he had seeded.”

But as initially mentioned, the parties in January took steps to reach a settlement and put the much-publicized legal showdown in the rearview. Specifically, Spotify and Sosa acknowledged that they had “recently made progress towards a potential resolution of the litigation,” besides jointly filing for a 60-day stay to pursue said potential resolution.

The two-month-long break has officially concluded, though, and it doesn’t appear that the discussions produced a formal agreement. A copy of a new court order, indicating that the stay has expired and been lifted, was shared with DMN. Moreover, the presiding judge reinstated the case’s existing scheduling order.

Pro Music Rights in December of 2020 unveiled plans for a Spotify-style direct listing, and higher-ups including Noch are completing an SEC-mandated quiet period ahead of this expected stock-market arrival. Consequently, Sosa and Noch remain unable to comment publicly on the stay’s being lifted without a settlement in the case.

Separately, PMR last month pursued legal action against a Georgia-based musician for allegedly harassing its founder and allegedly penning “defaming posts and comments” about the performance rights organization online. However, a judge dismissed the suit without prejudice due to perceived jurisdictional oversights.

And in other recent intellectual property protection developments, mega-ISP Cox Communications in February officially appealed the $1 billion copyright infringement verdict that a jury levied against it in December of 2019. That same month, a federal judge dismissed Wixen Music Publishing’s $50 million copyright infringement claim against Triller.

Lastly, stream-ripping platform Yout’s aggressive litigation against the RIAA is heading towards a settlement, evidence suggests.