Twitter, the popular social media platform, is currently dealing with a significant legal challenge. A coalition of major music publishers, including Universal Music Corp., BMG, Warner Chapell, and Sony Music Publishing, has filed a lawsuit against the company for copyright infringement.

The National Music Publishers’ Association (NMPA), representing 17 publishers, has identified 1,700 songs for which it sent multiple copyright violation notices to Twitter. The lawsuit, filed in Federal District Court in Nashville, seeks fines of up to $150,000 for each violation. The legal action alleges that Twitter “fuels its business with countless infringing copies of musical compositions, violating publishers’ and others’ exclusive rights under copyright law.”

Unlike its competitors TikTok and Instagram, Twitter has failed to secure a music licensing deal for the use of copyrighted music. This failure to address copyright concerns is a cause for concern among music publishers and the NMPA.

In March, it was reported that discussions between Elon Musk’s management team and music licensing were at a standstill. Musk, who has been focused on cost-cutting measures since taking over the company, was hesitant about the potential cost of such licensing agreements, which could amount to $100 million per year for established platforms. While Twitter has become a popular destination for multimedia content, with users frequently uploading videos containing licensed music, the platform has not taken adequate measures to address copyright issues.

The lawsuit also highlights Twitter’s allowance of paid users to upload two-hour-long videos, leading to instances of full copyrighted movies being shared on the platform. The plaintiffs argue that Twitter’s marketing material itself promotes the benefits of videos in terms of increased engagement. By failing to secure licenses for the millions of songs on its platform, Twitter is denying songwriters and music publishers their rightful compensation.

David Israelite, the president of the National Music Publishers’ Association, stated that “Twitter stands alone as the largest social media platform that has completely refused to license the millions of songs on its service.” He emphasized that Twitter is well aware of the vast amounts of music leaked, launched, and streamed by billions of people on its platform daily. The company can no longer hide behind the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and avoid paying songwriters and music publishers.

Last month, when Elon Musk announced Linda Yaccarino as the new CEO of NBCU, Israelite tweeted that addressing the issue of unlicensed music on Twitter should be her first priority. The legal action against Twitter serves as a reminder that social media platforms must take copyright infringement seriously and work to ensure fair compensation for creators and rights holders.

Twitter’s failure to secure music licensing agreements has led to a $250 million lawsuit from major music publishers. The legal action highlights the company’s infringement of copyright laws and its refusal to compensate songwriters and music publishers. As the case progresses, it serves as a significant reminder that social media platforms must prioritize addressing copyright concerns and properly remunerate creators for their work.

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