British electronic music nightclub label Ministry Of Sound has sued streaming music service Spotify for copyright infringement based on Spotify Playlists that reproduce MoS compilations. It's at the heart of the electronic music remix culture and is likely to affect both free and Spotify Premium users, as well as streaming music apps like Rdio, Rhapsody and MOG, who let users create playlists from within the app. It will affect users on both the Spotify iPhone app and the Spotify Android app as well as those who go through Spotify.com to listen.
TELL US! Should Ministry of Sound let Spotify users create MoS playlists?
There's two issues at play here: the irony of the electronic music culture calling foul when Ministry of Sound is compiling playlists of other people's music as well being a deep and integral part of the culture that thrives on remixing and borrowing overlapping ideas. The other issue is what's at stake for user-generated capabilities in streaming music service mobile apps, since Spotify playlists are one of the main features of its service. If users have "rules" around what playlists can be made through Spotify playlists and the others, how is that handled? Do users take responsibility for copyright infringement or does Spotify et al pay some sort of blanket licensing to cover the cost?
How can people play music for iPhone and Android platforms as well as various other ways to listen if they need to be aware of copyright infringement? Streaming music apps thrive on the flexibility of the user experience, and need to let people recreate whatever kind of playlists they want.
"What we do is a lot more than putting playlists together: a lot of research goes into creating our compilation albums, and the intellectual property involved in that. It's not appropriate for someone to just cut and paste them," said Ministry of Sound chief executive Lohan Presencer when speaking to the Guardian.