Can a playlist be copyrighted?

Ministry of Sound is set to sue Spotify, as a row over copyright continues to grow.

The growth of online streaming as a method for consuming music has produced plenty of questions, but few answers. Spotify is the market leader, but recently found itself at the centre of a row when Thom Yorke pulled his solo material from the service.

Now Ministry of Sound have signalled their intention to take legal action against Spotify. The super-club's label wing produce hugely successful compilations, which fans are seemingly replicating without permission on the streaming site.

Chief executive Lohan Presencer argues that Ministry of Sound have been asking Spotify to pursue takedowns since 2012, and that the pattern is harming his business. "It's been incredibly frustrating: we think it's been very clear what we're arguing, but there has been a brick wall from Spotify" he said.

As The Guardian point out, the case hinges on whether an ordered playlist can be copyrighted. "What we do is a lot more than putting playlists together: a lot of research goes into creating our compilation albums, and the intellectual property involved in that"  Presencer continued. "It's not appropriate for someone to just cut and paste them".

Launching the function in 2008, Spotify have overseen the creation of more than a billion playlists on its site from in excess of 24 million users. "Everyone is talking about curation, but curation has been the cornerstone of our business for the last 20 years," Presencer argued. "If we don't step up and take some action against a service and users that are dismissing our curation skills as just a list, that opens up the floodgates to anybody who wants to copy what a curator is doing."

Spotify have yet to comment on the case.

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