Deep Dives

Twitter faces a $250 million lawsuit from music publishers

June 15, 2023
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Major music publishers have launched a lawsuit against Twitter, accusing the platform of copyright infringement and lack of adequate response to violation notices.

Lawsuit Background: Big-name music publishers, represented by the National Music Publishers’ Association (NMPA), are suing Twitter.
  • They accuse Twitter of ignoring copyright violation notices for about 1,700 songs.
  • The lawsuit demands fines of up to $150,000 per violation.

  • Twitter's Copyright Infringements: The lawsuit alleges that Twitter's business heavily relies on infringing copies of musical compositions.
  • Twitter has not secured a music licensing deal, unlike its competitors TikTok and Instagram.
  • This infringes on publishers' exclusive copyright law rights.

  • Twitter's Cost-Cutting Measures: Reports surfaced in March that Twitter's music licensing deal talks had stalled.
  • Twitter CEO Elon Musk is focusing on cost-cutting, and such deals could cost an estimated $100 million annually.
  • Musk's approach could be affecting Twitter's ability to secure music licensing deals.

  • The Rise of Unlicensed Content: The lawsuit states that Twitter has become a prime platform for multimedia content, including licensed music.
  • Users often upload videos featuring copyrighted music.
  • Twitter's paid users are even able to upload videos up to two hours long, which has led to instances of entire copyrighted movies appearing on the platform.

  • Twitter's Attitude Towards Copyright Law: The lawsuit cites a tweet from Musk criticizing the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).
  • Musk called the DMCA an "overzealous...plague on humanity."
  • This attitude could be affecting Twitter's approach to dealing with copyright violations.

  • Call for Action: NMPA president, David Israelite, criticized Twitter for its lack of music licensing.
  • He mentioned that Twitter allows daily streaming of music by billions of people on its platform.
  • Israelite called for Twitter to stop using the DMCA as a shield and to compensate songwriters and music publishers.
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