daniel-gaffey-580866-unsplashIntellectual property concerns and copyright law are big, important matters; we've preached that message in this space for years. Despite our messaging, that importance is often up to the interpretation of the reader; is it on par with getting insurance, or securing funding for your company? (Both important, by the way.) In many cases, it seems as though concerns over IP don't often rise to the level that they should, as potential issues to grind any company to a halt.

One recent example of these implications features a giant streaming service (Spotify and its 200 million active users), a big music label (Warner Music Group and its considerable roster of artists), and one of the biggest countries on the planet (India, home to over 1.3 billion people.) The issue stems from Spotify's recent expansion into the Indian market and its use of works from Warner Media Group artists in its app in that market. In its reporting on the resulting Lawsuit from Warner Media Group, Bloomberg details how Spotify and WMG had been in talks over a licensing deal for the planned expansion of Spotify's service into India, but after talks broke down, Spotify attempted to work around the impasse by citing an Indian rule that would allow them to use works from WMG's publishing division by providing notice and paying the requisite licensing fees. (The Verge offers more insight into the particulars, and peculiarities, of Indian copyright law as it pertains to this.)

Normally it might be expected that Spotify would simply work around this problem and exclude Warner's catalog from its service in India. But Warner Media Group's reach presents a problem for Spotify's plans, as the company holds at least partial rights to a significant portion of recordings, including those of some of the biggest and most popular artists in the world. And as Spotify positions itself as the app to use to stream almost any song you want at any time, it wouldn't do to put forth a limited offering to audiences, particularly one that they are eager to win over.

Spotify might be a unique case; few industries are as utterly dependent on licencing as streaming services tend to be. But the fact that a tech giant's rollout in one of the biggest markets available was ground to a halt over issues brought on by copyright complaints should serve to illustrate that companies of any size are liable to be brought down by the same issues if they aren't careful.

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