Elon Musk’s social media platform, Twitter, is facing a lawsuit from The National Music Publishers Association (NMPA). The group alleged that Twitter has been using copyrighted music without permission.
The NMPA, which counts itself as among the largest advocates for songwriters in the United States, has claimed that Twitter has infringed on the copyrights of about 1,700 songs. The complaint was filed in federal court in Nashville on behalf of 17 music publishers, which include Universal Music Publishing Group and Sony Music.
The lawsuit is seeking damages of up to $150,000 per work infringed, for a total of over $250 million. “Twitter permits and encourages infringement, including of Publishers’ musical compositions, so that it can continue to reap huge profits from the availability of unlicensed music without paying the necessary licensing fees for it,” the lawsuit read.
Twitter has not issued a response about the matter as of writing.
Twitter is one of the few major social media platforms that does not pay music rights to holders for licenses to their work, as noted in a Bloomberg News report. Platforms such as YouTube, Facebook, and TikTok all have such agreements, and they pay billions of dollars each year to the music industry for the rights to use their work.
Music companies have argued that social media companies tend to profit by using their work. Music, after all, stands as the most popular video genre on YouTube. It could also be argued that music has been fundamental to the rise of short-form video platforms such as TikTok.
Twitter is not the only social media company that has attracted the ire of the music industry. After years of battling social media platforms over fair use of their work, music rights holders have settled their disputes with several high-profile companies. These include Alphabet’s YouTube, which noted last year that it had paid $6 billion to the music industry in the previous 12 months. Meta, which owns Facebook, has paid hundreds of millions of dollars a year for music.
The NMPA’s lawsuit against Twitter can be viewed below.
Don’t hesitate to contact us with news tips. Just send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org to give us a heads up.