Major music publishers on Wednesday filed a federal lawsuit accusing Twitter of failing to stop “rampant” copyright infringement on the platform.
The National Music Publishers’ Association (NMPA) and its members argued in the suit that the social media company should pay as much as $150,000 per work infringed, with the potential tab climbing into the hundreds of millions of dollars.
“Twitter stands alone as the largest social media platform that has completely refused to license the millions of songs on its service,” NMPA chief executive David Israelite said in reply to an AFP inquiry.
“Twitter knows full-well that music is leaked, launched, and streamed by billions of people every day on its platform.”
Twitter’s treatment of copyright complaints has not improved since Elon Musk bought the platform late last year for $44 billion, the suit contended.
“On the contrary, Twitter’s internal affairs regarding matters pertinent to this case are in disarray,” argued the lawsuit, which was filed in the state of Tennessee.
Twitter’s head of trust and safety earlier this month confirmed she had quit the company, not sharing her reason publicly.
The executive was the second head of trust and safety to quit Twitter since the eccentric billionaire Musk bought the platform and reduced content moderation.
Since taking over Twitter, Musk has repeatedly courted controversy, sacking most of its staff, readmitting banned accounts to the platform, suspending journalists and charging for previously free services.
“Twitter refuses to stop the rampant infringement of copyrighted music… because it knows that the Twitter platform is more popular and profitable if Twitter allows such infringement,” the lawsuit argued.
Allowing unlicensed music to be used in Twitter posts gives the platform an advantage over competitors such as TikTok, Instagram and YouTube that pay fees to music publishers, the suit reasoned.
“Twitter fuels its business with countless infringing copies of musical compositions,” the suit said.
©️ Agence France-Presse