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Are mix tapes legally protected? Spotify suit questions originality of compilations

Evan Dashevsky | Sept. 6, 2013
Is track order a legally-protected concept? The courts will have to sort this one out.

A representative from Spotify commented to us via email with the following non-response response: "Spotify's goal is to grow a service which people love and ultimately want to pay for. Every single time a track is played on Spotify, rights holders are paid - and every track played on Spotify is played under a full license from the owners of that track. We want to help artists connect with their fans, find new audiences, grow their fan base and make a living from the music we all love."

While there is undoubtedly lots of thought that goes into curating MoS' various compilations, free music streaming may be one of those disrupting technologies that demotes the importance of "experts" because everyone can be an expert now. And users are free to choose which experts to follow. At the same time, a user on any site would not be able to upload non-original material and pass it off as their own—and certainly not when comandeering the name of an established brand. But is a curated track list—even one that is merely similar—subject to copyright? So many questions!

The law has long been woefully behind the current state of technology, but it's cases like these, which force it to catch up. We've reached out to several copyright experts and will update this article with more information if and when they get back to us.


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