If a song isn't necessarily your own, can you still claim ownership if you have acquired the rights to place it on a compilation disc? This is what Ministry of Sound are trying to find out in their court case against music streaming giants Spotify, after claiming that the service is illegally allowing users to copy their compilation series on to their own playlists without permission, even though many of the songs on these compilations are by artists not signed to the Ministry of Sound label.

In what could be a landmark court case for copyright law, the electronic music powerhouse is claiming that playlists created by certain Spotify users infringe on the copyright of the label's expansive compilation album series. The case hopes to prevent users of the streaming service from replicating the playlists of its compilation albums in future. MoS have since applied for an injunction from the High Court that would force Spotify to delete any playlists created by users that match the playlists or sequences that it uses for it's compilations.

Ministry of Sound saved
Presencer and Example successfully worked together to save the Ministry of Sound superclub in London from closure last year

Ministry of Sound's chief executive Lohan Presencer has since said that the dance music company is vying to make Spotify remove any user-submitted playlists that directly mirror the track-listing and running order of any MoS albums and include the title 'Ministry of Sound.' Presencer said in a recent statement that “a lot of research goes into” these compilations and that “the value and creativity in our compilations are self-evident. It’s not appropriate for someone to just cut and paste them.”

Spotify have since attempted to set up a four-year contract with Ministry to get licensing right for their compilations, but MoS have apparently been unmoved by the attempted deal. A spokesperson for the streaming service said, “Spotify’s goal is to grow a service which people love and ultimately want to pay for. Every single time a track is played on Spotify, rightsholders are paid - and every track played on Spotify is played under a full license from the owners of that track. We want to help artists connect with their fans, find new audiences, grow their fan base and make a living from the music we all love.”

MoS cited a 2010 High Court ruling which found that the fixture lists for the English and Scottish football leagues were copyright protected as precedent for their case. More news on this story as it develops.