Roblox is sued by The National Music Publishers’ Association or NMPA for letting users upload music from famous artists such as Image Dragons, Ariana Grande, deadmau5, and more without paying a licensing fee.
The lawsuit seeks $200 million in damages, and a court order will make the gaming company crackdown on piracy.
Roblox Hit with Lawsuit
On June 9, the NMPA filed a lawsuit on behalf of several music publishers. The music publishers accused Roblox of hosting a shared library of copyrighted but unlicensed songs, according to The Verge.
The complaint alleges that Roblox, a famous kid-focused gaming platform, is actively “preying on its user base and their desire for popular songs, teaching children that pirating music is acceptable.”
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Roblox has a library of 3D models, audio files, and other assets for creating experiences on the platform. Users upload these types of files themselves, but the NMPA claims that Roblox encourages users to add popular songs. It also notes that users of the platform pay with in-game currency for uploading audio files.
The lawsuit noted that Roblox allows a high level of infringing material through its gates, purposely ignoring what is happening for the sake of profit.
Roblox immediately responded to the lawsuit on its website. Roblox added that they were surprised and disappointed by the lawsuit, which represents a misunderstanding of how the platform operates. The company will continue to defend its name as they achieve a fair resolution.
The statement notes that Roblox has partnered with music labels for authorized events like the concert of singer Lil Nas X in 2020, and the company signed a licensing deal with APM Music back in 2018.
Roblox added that they do not tolerate copyright infringement, which is why they use industry-leading, advanced filtering technology to detect and prevent unauthorized recordings.
As the complaint note, searching Roblox’s library for exact names like Ariana Grande or Ed Sheeran returns no results. However, searching for partial terms like Arian or Sheeran will pull up tracks labeled with popular songs from both artists.
The lawsuit claims that Roblox’s use of filtering technology has been nothing more than an empty gesture to mask its lengthy history of inducing, instigating, and encouraging users, including children, to infringe copyrighted music.
Virtually all massive platforms clash with record labels, and the disputes usually end with the companies striking a deal. The NMPA and Google settled the same lawsuit over YouTube copyright infringement in 2011, leading to YouTube’s current royalty-sharing agreement.
Last year, Peloton and NMPA struck a deal, according to PR Newswire. Peloton, the largest interactive fitness platform, announced that they had settled the litigation brought in 2019 by 14 NMPA members.
In addition, Peloton and the trade association have entered into a joint collaboration agreement and will work together to optimize Peloton’s music licensing system and processes.
Alongside the news of the Roblox lawsuit, the NMPA announced a ramp-up of copyright takedown notices against Twitch, thus pressing the platform’s parent company, Amazon, into expanding its limited licensing deal.
According to Variety, the music industry accused Twitch of enabling copyright violations.
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Written by Sophie Webster
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