Twitter is being sued by nearly every major music label over “rampant infringement” of copyrighted music.
The lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee (Nashville Division.) Multiple entities associated with Universal Music Group, Sony Music and Warner Music Group are listed as plaintiffs. The group of plaintiffs is accusing Twitter of benefitting from content, including videos, that wrongfully use copyrighted music without paying any publishing fees to creators.
The lawsuit states, in part, “The Twitter platform, which Elon Musk purchased in 2022 for $44 billion, is rife with copyright infringement. Both before and after the sale, Twitter has engaged in, knowingly facilitated, and profited from copyright infringement, at the expense of music creators, to whom Twitter pays nothing.”
Furthermore, the lawsuit states, “There is a vibrant existing market for social media companies to pay fees for the use of musical compositions. Social media companies behind such well-known platforms as TikTok, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Snapchat have entered into agreements with Publishers and other rights holders that compensate creators of musical compositions for use of their works on those platforms … 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.”
This lawsuit also takes aim at Musk and his stance on the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), which he referred to as “a plague on humanity” on Twitter, which was screenshot and included in the lawsuit. The lawsuit notes, “This statement and others like it exert pressure on Twitter employees, including those in its trust and safety team, on issues relating to copyright and infringement.”
The plaintiffs are seeking a number of things from this lawsuit. They include a declaration that Twitter “willfully infringed musical works owned and/or controlled by Publishers in violation of the Copyright Act,” maximum damages including up to $150,000 per work infringed, attorney fees and cost and “other and further relief as the Court deems proper.”