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In another legal battle regarding music streaming services & publishers, Spotify has been forced to pay more than $20 million to music publishers over unpaid royalties. The move was announced earlier this week between Spotify & the National Music Publishers’ Association. According to sources on both sides, Spotify will pay publishers between $16 million and $25 million in royalties that are already owned but are unpaid along with a $5 million penalty.

With the agreement, publishers agreed not to file copyright infringement claims against Spotify.

The original basis of the NMPA’s suit concerned mechanical licensing rights, an issue regarding a copyright holder’s control over the ability to reproduce a musical work. In the digital landscape, mechanical rights are now hand in hand with other jumbled, complex licensing deals that streaming services such as Spotify, Tidal, Apple Music & others need in order to operate within legal means.

Spotify has taken the biggest hit publicly from artists in regards to unpaid royalty fees. In the past year alone, Spotify – which has portrayed an image to the music industry as a partner in both legality as well as being on the cutting edge in streaming had been breaking the mechanical license rule for a large party of songs.

The publishers’ association estimates that as much as 25 percent of the activity on streaming platforms is unlicensed. Many musicians have filed class-action lawsuits against the streaming properties, asking for as much as $200 million in damages for copyright infringement. Earlier this month, Tidal was sued for $5 million by a New York based band over copyright infringement.

[New York Times]