Spotify cracks down on Premium hacking tools

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Spotify CEO Daniel Ek sees the streaming service's freemium model as a significant strategic advantage for the months ahead.

Spotify recently sent a number of Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) takedown notices to Google targeted at domains that offer third-party tools that give users its Premium experience without paying.

A DMCA takedown refers to a notice sent because a copyright owner believes someone has posted an infringement and wants it removed without the hassle of filing an infringement lawsuit.

The notices request Google to remove links to software hacking tools, which seem to range from bootleg versions of Spotify Premium that are mostly used on Android devices, to simple plugins that allow Spotify Free users unlimited track skipping, and to craft playlists and perform other actions that are typically limited to Premium. The illegal applications also do not subject Freemium users to adverts.

Some of the notices aimed at Google’s search indexes contain similar wording, with claims that the domains in question are infringing on Spotify’s intellectual property rights.

The company also states that the tools are used as instruments of fraud. The complaints(link is external) can be traced using the Lumen Database repository.

Spotify has already targeted(link is external) more 20 domains with requests to remove more than 60 URLs. Many are posited as APK download sites or similar platforms that give hints and tips about how to obtain Spotify among other services for free.

The company previously acted(link is external) against specific tools in an effort to make them harder to find, but more recently the Swedish streaming service appears to have stepped up its efforts.

Spotify is currently the world’s number one music streaming platform in terms of users with more than 286 million users reported in quarter one, of which 130 million were Premium users.

Anti-piracy organisation MUSO recently reported that music piracy has spiked since the onset of the coronavirus lockdowns and related measures. Americans led the pack with more than 1 billion visits to piracy websites and apps in March, followed by Russia (727 million) and India (581 million).

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