In the past quarter alone, copyright infringement attorney Richard Liebowitz filed lawsuits against the likes of Townsquare, Cumulus, CBS Broadcasting, Mississippi Valley Broadcasters, Hubbard Radio, Scripps Media and Interactive One. With no sign of slowing down, he has again hit at Townsquare Media and for the first time, targeted Spotify, in a pair of copycat lawsuits.
The complaint against Spotify comes from one of Liebowitz’s favorite plaintiffs, Santa Fe, NM-based professional photographer Baron Wolman—and the image in question has been the subject of suits against both iHeartMedia and Cox. “Wolman photographed American funk and soul singer Betty Davis, (which) was registered with the United States Copyright Office,” say court papers obtained by Inside Radio.
Spotify is accused of running the artist’s image at play.spotify.com. The music streaming company “did not license the Photograph from Plaintiff for its Website, nor did Spotify have Plaintiff’s permission or consent to publish the Photograph on its Website,” Liebowitz writes. “Spotify infringed Plaintiff’s copyright in the Photograph by reproducing and publicly displaying the Photograph on the Website.”
As usual, he is asking for statutory damages up to $150,000, attorney’s fees, full costs and a jury trial, while Spotify is ordered to “account for all profits, income, receipts, or other benefits as a result of its unlawful conduct.”
The lawsuit against Townsquare has Liebowitz inviting a new photographer into his stable of reliable complainants. New York City-based Eddie Malluk copyrighted a photo of heavy metal band Skid Row. In turn, the attorney alleges that Townsquare rock magazine “Ultimate Classic Rock”—also the name of a syndicated radio program branded by the media company—"ran an article on the Website entitled ‘Revisiting Skid Row’s Split on Subhuman Race” (the image remains on the website), and “did not license the Photograph from Plaintiff for its article, nor did
Townsquare have Plaintiff’s permission or consent to publish the Photograph on its Website.”
Unlike the Spotify complaint, the demands against Townsquare not include the $150,000 statutory damages—but instead, mandate an “accounting for all profits, income, receipts or other
benefits derived,” as well as punitive damages, attorney’s fees and costs, and a jury trial.—Chuck Taylor