With Twitter, Elon Musk not only took over the micro-blogging service but also its problems. This includes a dispute with representatives of the US music industry, which is now escalating into an expensive lawsuit. Twitter is set to pay up to $250 million for copyright infringement.
As the New York Times reports, a lawsuit was filed by the National Music Publishers’ Association (NMPA) in federal court in Nashville, Tennessee, the music capital of the USA, which could have expensive consequences for Twitter and thus for Elon Musk. The NMPA represents a total of 17 music publishers that work with the best-known musicians.
Twitter is said to be making money from copyright infringement
In the lawsuit, the NMPA alleges that Twitter “fuels its business of making countless infringing copies of musical compositions” and “in doing so is infringing on the rights of publishers and others under copyright law.” Attached to the lawsuit are over 1,700 examples in which Twitter users and thus Twitter itself as a platform provider are said to have violated copyrights – and against which representatives of the music industry had already lodged copyright complaints.
The NMPA now wants to force Twitter to pay up to $150,000 for each violation. The list includes, among other things, various music videos by world-famous artists that were uploaded by Twitter users without the consent of the rights holders and were actually distributed illegally.
License agreement negotiations failed
The problem actually stems from the time before Twitter was bought by Tesla boss and multi-billionaire Elon Musk. According to the Times, there have already been negotiations with a number of music publishers for royalties to publish copyrighted content on Twitter. Because of the high expected costs of more than 100 million dollars per year, the deal did not go through.
After Musk took over Twitter, there were negotiations with a number of major labels, which also failed. The new lawsuit also cites tweets by Musk himself urging users to subscribe to a paid Twitter Blue subscription in order to be able to upload longer videos. He is said to have indirectly instigated copyright infringement.
Twitter is said to have benefited from the distribution of unlicensed music, among other things, due to the fact that users stayed longer on its platform. In addition, infringing content was not deleted, and users are said to have even been given assistance in the event of violations of the music publishers’ copyrights.
In its lawsuit, the NMPA also points out that most other major online platforms and social media services have already signed licensing deals for their members to use the music. Among other things, TikTok, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat, and Twitch will be mentioned. Neither Twitter nor Elon Musk himself has commented on the new lawsuit.
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