Music publishers are suing Twitter for $250 million over 'massive' copyright infringement

The lawsuit claims Twitter "routinely ignores" requests for takedowns.

Carlos Barria / reuters

Twitter has yet another major lawsuit to contend with. A group of more than a dozen music publishers has filed a $250 million lawsuit against the company over allegations of “massive” copyright infringement on the platform.

The suit, filed by the National Music Publishers Association, alleges Twitter users have violated artists’ copyrights on thousands of occasions and that the company has done little to stop it. It notes that Twitter is among the only major social platforms that doesn’t have licensing agreements in place.

According to The New York Times, Twitter had been in negotiations for such a deal but those talks eventually broke down. “While numerous Twitter competitors recognize the need for proper licenses and agreements for the use of musical compositions on their platforms, Twitter does not, and instead breeds massive copyright infringement that harms music creators,” the filing states.

The lawsuit also accuses Twitter of ignoring music publishers’ requests to take copyright infringing material off its platform despite weekly notices from publishers.“The reality is that Twitter routinely ignores known repeat infringers and known infringements, refusing to take simple steps that are available to Twitter to stop these specific instances of infringement of which it is aware,” the lawsuit says,

The suit also claims many offending tweets are now shared by verified users, and that Twitter is less likely to take action against verified accounts. “Twitter suspended virtually none of the verified accounts identified in the NMPA Notices and which have large follower bases,” the suit says. “Twitter gives them preferential treatment, viewing accounts that are verified and have large follower bases as more valuable and monetizable than accounts that are unverified and have a small number of followers.”

Though the lawsuit says that copyright infringement has been a problem at Twitter for years, it says things have gotten worse since Elon Musk took over the company and that things are in “disarray” internally. Of note, the suit also cites tweets from Musk himself, in which he criticized copyright law, calling the “overzealous DMCA [Digital Millennium Copyright Act]” a “plague on humanity.”

“This statement and others like it exert pressure on Twitter employees, including those in its trust and safety team, on issues relating to copyright and infringement,” the music publishers say.

Twitter didn’t respond to a request for comment.

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