Twitter hit with $250m copyright infringement lawsuit from music publishers
coalition of music publishers, The National Music Publishers’ Association (NMPA) including Universal Music Publishing Group, Warner Chappell Music and Sony Music Publishing, is suing Twitter over “massive copyright infringement” involving the companies’ respective music catalogues.
Seventeen music publishers, who hold the rights to music from artists including Drake, Taylor Swift and Adele, filed the joint lawsuit in a federal court in Tennessee, USA. The complaint seeks more than $250 million in damages for hundreds of thousands of noticed infringements of approximately 1,700 works.
The NMPA has filed or threatened similar legal action against other companies in the past, including TikTok, Twitch, Peloton, Roblox and others, which usually results in an agreement or settlement in the publishers’ favour.
“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,” said NMPA President and CEO David Israelite.
“Twitter fuels its business with countless infringing copies of musical compositions, violating Publishers’ and others’ exclusive rights under copyright law,” Variety quoted the complaint as saying.
“While numerous Twitter competitors recognise 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 continued.
“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.”
The complaint accused Twitter’s “unlawful conduct” of causing “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