Twitter Faces US $250 Million Lawsuit by Music Publishers Over ‘Willful Music Copyright Infringement’
The members of the National Music Publishers Association (NMPA) have sued Twitter before the Nashville, Tennessee, Federal Court, accusing the company of enabling thousands of copyright violations by allowing users to post music without a license.
Twitter drives user engagement with ‘countless infringing copies of musical compositions,’ the lawsuit said.
The members include Sony Music Publishing, BMG Rights Management, and Universal Music Publishing Group, have sought more than $250 million in damages for alleged infringement of nearly 1,700 copyrights.
The lawsuit showcased that the longstanding infringement has gotten worse since Elon Musk bought Twitter, and that other major platforms like TikTok, Facebook, and YouTube properly license music from the publishers.
Music publishers represent the copyrights for songwriting and composition, which are separate from the copyrights for recordings.
The lawsuit contains a list of around 1,700 songs that have been included in multiple copyright notices to Twitter, requesting the Court to fine the micro-blogging platform up to $150,000 for each violation.
According to the lawsuit, the “pervasive infringing activity at issue, in this case, is no accident.”
While the Twitter platform began as a destination for short text-based messages, it expanded its business operation to compete more vigorously with other social media sites for users, advertisers, and subscribers.
“By design, the Twitter platform became a hot destination for multimedia content, with music-infused videos being of particular and paramount importance,” the lawsuit added.
The NMPA claimed that Twitter had failed to remove infringing content once notified and has ‘continued to assist known repeat infringers with their infringement’ without risk of them losing their accounts.
The lawsuit read, “Twitter profits handsomely from its infringement of Publishers repertoires of musical compositions. The audio and audio-visual recordings embodying those compositions attract and retain users (both account holders and visitors) and drive engagement, thereby furthering Twitter's lucrative advertising business and other revenue streams.”
The suit also entails the efforts of music publishers to notify Twitter about the infringement through the protocol outlined in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, a 1998 law that protects internet service providers when users post copyrighted materials, but outlines a series of guidelines for how they can be taken down.