San Francisco, CA – Twitter, the popular social media platform, is being accused by major music publishers of failing to address widespread copyright infringement on its site. The National Music Publishers’ Association (NMPA) and its members filed a federal lawsuit on Wednesday, June 14, claiming that Twitter should be held accountable for infringing on copyrighted works, potentially leading to a bill amounting to hundreds of millions of dollars.
In response to an inquiry from AFP, David Israelite, CEO of the NMPA, expressed his disappointment in Twitter’s refusal to obtain licenses for the millions of songs shared on its platform. Israelite emphasized that music is continuously leaked, launched, and streamed by billions of users daily on Twitter.
The lawsuit alleges that Twitter’s approach to copyright complaints has not improved since Elon Musk acquired the platform for $44 billion late last year. On the contrary, the suit argues that Twitter’s internal management concerning copyright matters is in disarray. Recently, Twitter’s head of trust and safety announced her departure from the company without publicly disclosing her reasons.
This lawsuit marks the second departure of a head of trust and safety from Twitter since Musk’s involvement, during which content moderation has been reduced. Musk’s controversial actions, such as mass layoffs, reinstating banned accounts, suspending journalists, and implementing charges for previously free services, have drawn criticism.
The lawsuit claims that Twitter refuses to address the rampant infringement of copyrighted music due to its understanding that allowing unlicensed music in posts gives the platform a competitive advantage over TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube. Unlike these platforms, which pay fees to music publishers, Twitter reportedly benefits from the use of unlicensed music, fueling its business with countless infringing copies of musical compositions.
Music publishers argue that Twitter’s failure to obtain licenses and address copyright infringement not only harms the rights of copyright holders but also undermines the music industry’s overall ecosystem. They are seeking substantial damages, suggesting that Twitter should pay up to $150,000 for each work infringed.
The outcome of this lawsuit could have significant implications for the social media landscape and the relationship between platforms and copyright holders. It highlights the ongoing challenges faced by social media companies in balancing user-generated content with copyright protection, as well as the potential consequences of neglecting copyright infringement issues.
As the legal battle unfolds, it remains to be seen how Twitter will respond to the allegations and whether it will take more proactive measures to prevent copyright infringement on its platform.