Since Elon Musk took the helm of Twitter, the company has been hit with an avalanche of lawsuits, from unpaid vendors to former employees citing discrimination. The latest is a class action lawsuit by the National Music Publishers’ Association (NMPA), which is representing 17 music publishers that accuse the social media firm of massive copyright infringement of their artists’ music.
Copyrighted Music Used to Promote Platform with No Licensing
The lawsuit claims that copyrighted music is used by Twitter to make the site more attractive to users and that despite many removal requests, the material remains on the platform.
Publishers named in the suit include those that represent artists like The Weeknd, Taylor Swift and Beyonce, along with many more. It is alleged that Twitter, unlike other social media sites, did not obtain the required licenses to use artists’ music.
Massive Number of Infringing Tweets
In the lawsuit, the NMPA states that since December 2021, they have sent notice to Twitter about more than 300,000 tweets that involved copyright infringement. The NMPA is asking for $150,000 for each of approximately 1,700 songs, which adds up to $250 million.
Twitter’s Long History of Unauthorized Music
According to the NMPA, Twitter has been the scene of rampant copyright infringement long before Elon Musk bought the company for $44 billion. The legal action states that they have profited from music and audio-visual material to drive user engagement, allowing them to retain users and increase advertising and other revenue.
The Music Modernization Act and Copyright Law
Since the Music Modernization Act (MMA) became law, musicians have been protected from online copyright infringement. Social media companies, interactive streaming services and others must license artists’ music before they can use it online. Twitter is the largest social media company that refuses to obtain music licenses.
Musk and the DMCA
The lawsuit also documents Musk’s comments about the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), which notifies copyright infringers with a request to remove the infringing content. Musk tweeted that the DMCA was a “plague on humanity” and that it went too far in trying to protect content creators.
NMPA Has Agreements with Twitter’s Competitors
According to the legal filing, the NMPA has struck agreements with other social media platforms like YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok and Facebook. But Twitter continues to disregard copyright laws.
The resolution of this lawsuit now falls to the new CEO of Twitter, Linda Yaccarino, who is now tasked with saving Twitter’s reputation.