Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Latest Posts

Music Publishers Are Suing Twitter

Earlier this week, a coalition of 17 music publishers—including Universal Music Publishing Group, Warner Chappell Music and Sony Music Publishing—filed a $250 million lawsuit against Twitter for “massive copyright infringement.”

The lawsuit alleges that Twitter has allowed users on the platform to share copyrighted songs without a license for years, while the misconduct on the social media service has only gotten worse since tech entrepreneur Elon Musk acquired the company for $44 billion last year. It further cited more than 1,700 songs whose copyright Twitter has allegedly infringed.

The music publishers also stated that other social media platforms currently pay licensing fees to rightsholders for the ability to use copyrighted music. Under the rules of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, the various platforms are protected against copyright violations over user-uploaded material but only provided that efforts are made to remove infringing material and punish the offending users.

Twitter has largely failed to do so even when it is notified of infringements to copyright, the publishers have argued.

“The availability of videos with music, including copies of Publishers’ musical compositions, furthers Twitter’s financial interests both because it drives user engagement, and thus advertising revenue, and because Twitter does not pay fees to license musical compositions,” the complaint stated. “Providing free, unlicensed music gives the Twitter platform an unfair advantage over competing platforms, such as TikTok, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat and others.”

Elon Musk’s X Corp, which owns Twitter, is the sole defendant in the lawsuit, which was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee.

“Twitter stands alone as the largest social media platform that has completely refused to license the millions of songs on its service,” David Israelite, chief executive of the National Music Publishers’ Assn., said in a statement. “Twitter knows full well that music is leaked, launched, and streamed by billions of people every day on its platform. No longer can it hide behind the [Digital Millennium Copyright Act] and refuse to pay songwriters and music publishers.”

Musk had previously made his views on copyright clear, when he tweeted last year, “Current copyright law in general goes absurdly far beyond protecting the original creator,” and added, “Overzealous DMCA is a plague on humanity.”

Will It Impact Music Discovery?

There is hardly the first time that the music industry has seen the latest technology as a threat to its bottom line, but it is also worth noting that there were also times that the record labels went to great lengths—some of which were found to be illegal—to get songs played.

A case could be made that the music industry could be losing an important promotional tool for music discovery with its lawsuit.

“It definitely is. This follows the trend of entrenched entities that are adverse to change,” suggested Bruce Barber, professional in residence and the general manager of 88.7 WNHU at the University of New Haven.

“The music publishers continue to look for whatever revenue stream that they can find, and this may feel like low-hanging fruit, but they could be missing the forest for the trees,” added Barber.

Social media continues to be an important promotional component in the digital era, and Barber suggested this could be a watershed moment for the music industry.

“The issue is that the publishers are trying to figure this out in real-time, and it could be shortsighted to make an enemy of Twitter,” he explained.

Other Social Media Services Are Paying

Platforms like YouTube have become a revenue stream for music publishers and songwriters, and it was reported that YouTube had paid $6 billion to the music industry in the 12 months from July 2021 to June 2022.

Given those numbers, it is easy to see why the music publishers aren’t ready to give Twitter a free pass—especially as most of the other social media networks have also made deals with publishers and record labels.

“The YouTube model involves an algorithm that ensures the publishers get paid,” said Barber. “The other platforms are also paying, but in this lawsuit, the publishers could be doing themselves a disservice. They’re potentially going to miss out on a way to reach an audience. In a perfect world, artists would be paid for their creations, but in the digital world we’re still just figuring it out.”

Source link

Latest Posts


Don't Miss

Stay in touch

To be updated with all the latest news, offers and special announcements.