A group of 17 music publishers sued Twitter in Nashville, Tennessee, federal court on Wednesday, 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.
Members of the National Music Publishers’ Association, including Sony Music Publishing, BMG Rights Management and Universal Music Publishing Group, are seeking more than $250 million (roughly Rs. 2,055 crore) in damages for the alleged infringement of nearly 1,700 copyrights.
The lawsuit said the longstanding infringement has gotten worse since Elon Musk bought Twitter in October, and that other major platforms like TikTok, Facebook and YouTube properly license music from the publishers.
Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
NMPA President David Israelite said in a statement that Twitter “stands alone as the largest social media platform that has completely refused to license the millions of songs on its service.”
Twitter “routinely ignores” repeat infringement by users who post tweets that contain unlicensed music, the lawsuit said. The publishers said Twitter encourages user infringement, which increases engagement and ad revenues while giving it an “unfair advantage” over platforms that pay for music licenses.
“Twitter’s internal affairs regarding matters pertinent to this case are in disarray,” the publishers said, noting deep cuts to the company’s legal and trust-and-safety teams since Musk took control.
© Thomson Reuters 2023