In a lawsuit filed against Twitter on June 15, 2023, music publishers are asking for $250,000,000 in damages. The lawsuit alleges that Twitter should pay damages to the music publishing industry due to Elon Musk’s use of the platform, which allegedly violated copyrights and cost the industry money. The NMPA, which represents 17 music publishers including Universal Music Publishing Group, Sony Music Publishing, and Warner Chappell Music, is suing Twitter for allegedly allowing users to upload over 1,700 songs without authorization and then doing nothing to remove them.
Elon Musk, CEO of several companies including Tesla and Space X, is being sued over a series of tweets he sent out. The plaintiffs claim that the tweets at issue contained unlicensed and unauthorized uses of music that belonged to the music publishers at issue in the case.
The complaint claims that Twitter’s policies have damaged musicians by enabling users to distribute music without providing acknowledgment or paying royalties to the original artists. The NMPA wants Twitter to stop allowing users to transmit copyrighted music without a license and pay penalties of $150,000 each infringed song, totaling $1,700.
The lawsuit is being filed while Elon Musk is the new owner of Twitter. Musk has long been an outspoken opponent of music licensing arrangements, and he has stated his desire to make twitter a more free-wheeling forum for debate and discussion. Yet the NMPA says Twitter should take action to defend the rights of music composers since its existing practices are not in their best interest.
How Twitter reacts to the case remains to be seen. As of now, there is no indication that the corporation will defend the charges or even submit a rebuttal. Yet the lawsuit is a big deal for Twitter, and it may have a lasting effect on how the business interacts with record labels in the future.
The NMPA has been negotiating a license contract with Twitter alongside the lawsuit. These discussions, however, have not proven fruitful so far. The NMPA has indicated its openness to further negotiations and its readiness to pursue legal action should the need arise.
The case reflects the rising conflict between streaming services and record labels. The discovery and promotion of new music are two functions of social media that are growing in importance as their user bases expand. When it comes to protecting their copyrights, though, music publishers are worried that social media sites aren’t doing enough. The NMPA’s lawsuit against Twitter is only the most recent in a long line of legal actions taken against social media sites by the music publishing industry.