In this week's roundup, we have a Spotify copyright settlement, a startling ruling by the Supreme Court and another case against Facebook.
Spotify Settles Copyright Class Action
After three years, Spotify is set to pay $112.5 million to settle a pair of class action lawsuits brought by musicians over copyright claims. According to the lawsuits, Spotify failed to properly acquire certain compulsory licenses required to legally use the songs. The settlement comes after a series of objections (brought by Tom Petty’s publisher, for one) that Spotify’s proposed deal was merely a gesture and didn’t adequately cover the artists’ damages after the streaming service allegedly used their music for free. A federal judge overruled the objection, however, saying that the objector opted out of the settlement and therefore had no right to challenge it.
For more information on the settlement, the Hollywood Reporter has what you need.
Supreme Court Allows Companies to Bar Employee Class Actions
In what can be considered a severe blow to tens of millions of employees, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that employers can legally require workers to handle legal disputes via individual arbitration – barring them from filing class actions. The majority in the 5-4 decision found that a 1925 federal law allows employers to enforce arbitration agreements. The dissenting opinion argued that a separate law should guarantee workers the right to band together when it comes to filing claims against their employers – particularly when their losses are minimal and it may not be feasible to sue individually.
We’ve touched on the downside of mandatory arbitration before, but for more information on the Supreme Court’s ruling, check out this Bloomberg article.
Uber Will Now Allow Individual Sexual Assault Claims in Open Court – But Not Class Actions
Speaking of mandatory arbitration, Uber has announced that it will no longer force sexual assault and harassment victims to take care of their claims via arbitration. This means that claims against the company for its drivers’ actions can be taken care of in open court – there is a caveat to that, however. The no-more-mandatory-arbitration decision is a bit soured since it will only apply to individual claims and not to class actions. Uber says it will continue to uphold its arbitration policy when it comes to collective actions, as outlined in its terms of service, leaving one group of nine women trying to bring a sexual assault class action against Uber in an awkward position. Reportedly, Uber has been keeping the women in a state of limbo and instead of filing a motion to dismiss the case, continues to hide behind its arbitration agreement claiming the suit is in “the wrong venue.”
The decision doesn’t solve everything, but it’s a step forward in this whole series of problems involving Uber.
Head over to ABC News for a closer look at the story.
Facebook Hit with Another Lawsuit – This Time Over Text and Call Log Collection
The times aren’t being kind to Facebook – and that’s putting it mildly. The social network is facing yet another class action, this time over texts and phone calls allegedly logged via its Android smartphone app – including Facebook Messenger through which users can send SMS messages. According to the lawsuit, Facebook invaded its users’ privacy and potentially wrongfully monitored minors by collecting the logs of texts and calls, as well as the duration and recipients of said communications. From the complaint:
“Facebook has collected and stored information in a scope and manner beyond that which users knowingly authorized. The practice is ongoing.”
If you’re interested in learning more about the claims against Facebook, the Guardian has a solid writeup.
Mario Batali’s Restaurant Group Settles Wage Theft Litigation
B&B Hospitality Group, which is owned by Mario Batali, has agreed to pay more than $2 million to settle a wage theft lawsuit brought by one of its restaurant’s former servers. The case claimed that servers, bartenders, and other employees working at five of Batali’s restaurant locations weren’t paid proper wages. Should the settlement be granted final approval, employees working at some of Batali’s most recognized restaurants – Becco, Esca, Felidia, Babbo, and Del Posto, for instance – would be able to claim part of the settlement.
Patch.com has the full story here.
Poland Spring Labeling Suit Dismissed
A proposed class action against Nestlé Waters North America claiming that its Poland Spring water isn’t actually “spring water” – and, as a result, has been fraudulently labeled – has been dismissed. Specifically, the case claimed that the water doesn’t fit with the government’s definition of the term “spring water” in that it contains “ordinary groundwater” collected from wells the company drilled in “saturated plains or valleys where the water table is within a few feet of the earth’s surface.” The judge found, however, that such claims are preempted by the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act and that only the FDA can enforce the federal law’s provisions.
Check out this Mainebiz article for more information.