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As Elon Musk’s copyright action bites, Music publishers sue Twitter for $250m

Seventeen music publishers in the United States have taken legal action against Twitter following recent controversies surrounding the social media platform. Read the full story.

This includes the appointment of Elon Musk as CEO, a significant reduction in its workforce, and its role as the favored platform for a presidential campaign announcement.

The lawsuit alleges copyright violations on Twitter, with approximately 1,700 songs believed to have been infringed upon.

The National Music Publishers’ Association (NMPA), representing major companies such as Sony Music Publishing, BMG Rights Management, and Universal Music Publishing Group, has accused Twitter of permitting and encouraging copyright infringement for financial gain.

The NMPA has filed a lawsuit seeking damages exceeding $250 million (£197.7 million) at the Federal District Court in Nashville.

The NMPA argues that Twitter continues to profit from the availability of unlicensed music without compensating the necessary licensing fees. This purported unfair advantage gives Twitter an edge over competitors such as TikTok, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Snapchat, who duly purchase music licenses.

Elon Musk's copyright action bites, Music publishers sue Twitter

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David Israelite, the President of the NMPA, pointed out that Twitter is the largest social media platform that has steadfastly refused to license the millions of songs available on its service. Twitter’s lack of response to requests for comment from the BBC adds to the ongoing dispute.

The NMPA further noted that despite Elon Musk’s acquisition of Twitter for $44 billion in October 2022, the situation regarding copyright had remained the same. The NMPA claims that Twitter’s internal affairs related to this matter are in disarray, highlighting the downsizing of departments, the departure of trust and safety chiefs, and a disregard for known infringers.

As the legal battle unfolds, music publishers are seeking both financial compensation and a shift in Twitter’s approach to copyright, aiming to protect artists’ rights and ensure a fair playing field in online music distribution.

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