Music publishers have filed a $250 million lawsuit against Twitter, led by Elon Musk

A consortium of 17 music publishers in the United States has taken legal action against Twitter, alleging that the social media platform facilitated copyright infringements involving approximately 1,700 songs. The National Music Publishers’ Association (NMPA) is seeking damages exceeding $250 million (£197.7 million) through a lawsuit filed at the “Federal District Court” in Nashville. According to the NMPA, Twitter not only allows but also encourages copyright violations for its own financial gain. The association argues that this situation has not improved since Elon Musk acquired the company.

Representing companies such as Sony Music Publishing, BMG Rights Management, and Universal Music Publishing Group, the NMPA accuses Twitter of profiting significantly from unlicensed music content without paying the required licencing fees. Consequently, Twitter has gained an unfair advantage over its competitors, such as Facebook, YouTube, TikTok, Instagram, and Snapchat, all of which abide by licencing agreements.

NMPA President David Israelite stated that Twitter is the only major social media platform that has steadfastly refused to licence the millions of songs available on its service, positioning it as an outlier in the industry. Despite the change in ownership following Elon Musk’s acquisition of Twitter for $44 billion in 2022, the NMPA claims that the company’s approach to copyright issues has not improved. The association argues that Twitter’s internal operations related to this case are chaotic, citing the downsizing of critical departments responsible for content review and enforcement of terms of service, as well as the departures of trust and safety executives Yoel Roth and Ella Irwin. The NMPA further alleges that Twitter consistently neglects to address known repeat infringers and instances of infringement.

Recently, Linda Yaccarino, former head of advertising at NBCUniversal, assumed the role of Twitter’s new CEO, overseeing the platform’s business operations. Twitter has been grappling with financial challenges, and since Musk’s acquisition, he has implemented significant workforce reductions of 75%, including the teams responsible for monitoring abusive content, and has introduced changes to the account verification process.