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SoundCloud settles lawsuit with U.K. music group PRS over unpaid royalties

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For years, U.K. music licensing company Performing Rights Society for Music (PRS) has accused SoundCloud of not paying royalties properly and allowing music that infringed on copyrights to remain on the site. In August the group filed a lawsuit against the company, and now SoundCloud has agreed to settle.

“This ends over five years of discussions on the licensing requirements for the platform, resulting in a licence under which our members are fairly rewarded for the use of their music,” PRS CEO Robert Ashcroft said in a press release issued yesterday. “The safe harbours in current legislation still present ambiguity, and obstruct the efficient licensing of online services, but our agreement with SoundCloud is a step in the right direction toward a more level playing field for the online marketplace.”

Many of the details around the settlement are currently unknown, VentureBeat points out, including what the royalty rates will be. “SoundCloud is a platform by creators, for creators; we’re working hard to create a platform where all creators can be paid for their work, and already have deals in place with thousands of copyright owners,” said the company’s CEO Alexander Ljung, who launched the company in 2010.

As 2015 draws to a close, Ljung is likely eager to say goodbye to what has been a rough year for the company. Earlier this year Sony withdrew much of its music from the service, citing “a lack of monetization opportunities.”

SoundCloud is working on a number of monetization opportunities, including a partnership with content tracking company ZEFR, who helped to implement YouTube’s Content ID. It also is reportedly planning to launch a subscription service next year. In the press release, PRS says it supports this plan.

“Many of our members love the SoundCloud service and I greatly appreciate their management’s willingness to work with us in the way they have,” Ashcroft said.

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