Twitter Hit With $250 Million Copyright-Infringement Lawsuit From Music Publishers

The National Music Publishers Assn., acting on behalf of 17 major music publishers, is filing a federal copyright infringement lawsuit against Twitter for its failure to license and pay for the music widely available on its platform.

The complaint seeks more than $250 million in damages for hundreds of thousands of noticed infringements of approximately 1,700 works.

“Twitter fuels its business with countless infringing copies of musical compositions, violating Publishers’ and others’ exclusive rights under copyright law,” the complaint reads in part. “While numerous Twitter competitors recognize the need for proper licenses and agreements for the use of musical compositions on their platforms, Twitter does not, and instead breeds massive copyright infringement that harms music creators…

“Twitter knows perfectly well that neither it nor users of the Twitter platform have secured licenses for the rampant use of music being made on its platform as complained of herein,” it continues. “Nonetheless, in connection with its highly interactive platform, Twitter consistently and knowingly hosts and streams infringing copies of musical compositions, including ones uploaded by or streamed to Tennessee residents and including specific infringing material that Twitter knows is infringing. Twitter also routinely continues to provide specific known repeat infringers with use of the Twitter platform, which they use for more infringement. Twitter profits handsomely from its infringement of Publishers’ repertoires of musical compositions. …

“Twitter’s unlawful conduct has caused and continues to cause substantial and irreparable harm to Publishers, their songwriter clients, and the entire music ecosystem. Twitter’s unlawful conduct enriches Twitter at Publishers’ and their songwriters’ expense and to the detriment of their copyrighted musical compositions. Twitter has rebuffed calls for it to obtain the licenses or other agreements needed for musical compositions to be lawfully used on its platform.”

An email to Twitter’s press account requesting comment returned an autoreply with a poop emoji.

The plaintiffs include: Concord, UMPG, peermusic, ABKCO Music, Anthem Entertainment, Big Machine Music, BMG Rights Management, Hipgnosis Songs Group, Kobalt Music Publishing America, Mayimba Music, Reservoir Media Management, Sony Music Publishing, Spirit Music Group, The Royalty Network, Ultra Music Publishing, Warner Chappell Music, and Wixen Music Publishing.

The NMPA has aggressively filed or threatened similar legal action against companies in the past, including TikTok, Twitch, Peloton, Roblox and others, which usually result in an agreement or settlement in the publishers’ favor. Twitter has undergone multiple layoffs and policy changes since it was acquired by Elon Musk last year.

NMPA President & CEO David Israelite said, “Twitter stands alone as the largest social media platform that has completely refused to license the millions of songs on its service. Twitter knows full well that music is leaked, launched, and streamed by billions of people every day on its platform. No longer can it hide behind the DMCA and refuse to pay songwriters and music publishers.”

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