Songwriters could be given the power to ban covers of the songs featuring on Spotify, following a proposed legislative change
potify could soon find itself subject to a ban on featuring cover songs, after The Hollywood Reporter advised that the US Copyright Office released a 245 page review of the music licensing laws. The move would see an alteration to Section 115 of the US Copyright Act, which gives a compulsory license for artists making covers, and would allow songwriters or their publishers to prevent covers songs being featured on download and stream sites – with Spotify prime among those.
The review states “With respect to cover recordings, the Office recommends an approach whereby those who seek to re‐record songs could still obtain a license to do so, including in physical formats. But the dissemination of such recordings for interactive new media uses, as well as in the form of downloads, would be subject to the publisher’s ability to opt out of the compulsory regime. Thus, a publisher’s choice to negotiate interactive streaming and DPD rights for its catalog of songs would include the ability to authorize the dissemination of cover recordings by those means. Or, put another way, where the publisher had opted out, someone who produced a cover recording would need to obtain a voluntary license to post the song on an interactive streaming or download service (just as would someone who wished to offer streams or downloads of the original recording of that work).”