Major Music Publishers File $250 Million Lawsuit Against Twitter for Copyright Infringement

Twitter is facing a significant legal battle as a coalition of major music publishers, including Universal Music Corp., BMG, Warner Chapell, and Sony Music Publishing, has filed a $250 million lawsuit against the social media platform for copyright infringement.

Twitter is facing a significant legal battle as a coalition of major music publishers, including Universal Music Corp., BMG, Warner Chapell, and Sony Music Publishing, has filed a $250 million lawsuit against the social media platform for copyright infringement.

The National Music Publishers’ Association (NMPA), representing 17 publishers, identified 1,700 songs for which it sent multiple copyright violation notices to Twitter. The lawsuit, filed in Federal District Court in Nashville, accuses Twitter of failing to take action in response to these notices. The filing states that the publishers’ coalition is seeking fines of up to $150,000 for each violation.

According to the lawsuit, Twitter sustains its business by hosting numerous infringing copies of musical compositions, thereby violating the exclusive rights of publishers and others under copyright law. Unlike its competitors TikTok and Instagram, Twitter has not entered into a music licensing agreement for the use of copyrighted music.

In March, it was reported by The New York Times that discussions regarding a music licensing deal between Elon Musk’s management and Twitter had reached an impasse. The report suggested that such agreements could cost established platforms up to $100 million per year. Musk, who has been focused on cost-cutting measures since taking over the company, has been cautious about the financial implications of such deals.

The plaintiffs argue that Twitter has become a popular destination for multimedia content, with users frequently uploading videos featuring licensed music. The lawsuit also highlights instances where users have uploaded full-length copyrighted movies on the platform. Additionally, the legal document references Twitter’s own marketing material, which emphasizes the engagement benefits of videos.

The lawsuit includes a quote from Musk’s tweet last year in which he referred to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) as a “plague on humanity.” David Israelite, the president of the NMPA, stated that Twitter stands out as the largest social media platform that has adamantly refused to license the millions of songs on its service. He emphasized that Twitter cannot hide behind the DMCA and must acknowledge its responsibility to compensate songwriters and music publishers.

Following Musk’s announcement of Linda Yaccarino as the new CEO of NBCU, Israelite tweeted that addressing the issue of unlicensed music on the platform should be Yaccarino’s first priority.

The lawsuit against Twitter underscores the ongoing struggle between social media platforms and music rights holders, with copyright infringement claims becoming increasingly prevalent. Twitter now faces a significant legal battle that could have far-reaching implications for the platform’s treatment of copyrighted content.

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