Facebook parent company Meta is seeking the dismissal of a lawsuit filed by Sweden-headquartered royalty-free soundtrack provider Epidemic Sound about two months ago over the alleged copyright infringement.
Epidemic Sound, which owns a catalog of about 35,000 royalty-free tracks and 90,000 sound effects, sued Meta in July, alleging that the social media giant “knowingly, intentionally and brazenly” stole music created by hundreds of musicians, songwriters, producers and vocalists.
The company further claimed that Meta “ignored Epidemic’s repeated notices of infringement and requests for access to the tools that would help stop the infringement.”
“Meta has refused to enter into a license with Epidemic, even though Meta has done so with many other rights holders,” the company said in its complaint filed at a district court in San Francisco, California.
“For all its bluster, Epidemic has failed to identify even a single allegedly infringing copy of any of its works on Meta’s platforms.”
The Facebook parent lodged its motion to dismiss the lawsuit two months later on Monday (September 26), stressing the lack of specificity in Epidemic’s complaint.
“For all its bluster, Epidemic has failed to identify even a single allegedly infringing copy of any of its works on Meta’s platforms,” Meta said.
Meta said Epidemic’s complaint lacked basic facts such as the dates of registration, publication, and when the alleged infringement took place.
The complaint had no allegations as to how Meta unlawfully used Epidemic’s copyrighted materials and whether they were reproduced or used, nor did the Swedish company provide a concrete example of any content on Meta’s platforms including Facebook and Instagram that infringed on Epidemic’s copyrights.
“Because Facebook and Instagram are massive platforms where billions of users upload UGC every single day, the complaint’s lack of any specific facts regarding where on those platforms the allegedly infringing content can be found makes it impossible for Meta to investigate and address the allegations,” Meta said in its motion.
Meta highlighted that Epidemic did not identify the URL or web address of any infringing work, while accusing Meta of storing, curating, reproducing, distributing or exploiting nearly 1,000 of Epidemic’s tracks.
Further, Meta’s legal team stressed Epidemic’s “problematic” failure to identify specific alleged infringements because of the nature of its business. The company’s business model lets subscribers use its music freely and these subscribers post their content on Facebook and Instagram.
“As a result, it is impossible for Meta to tell whether any given use of an Epidemic work on Meta’s platforms was expressly or impliedly licensed—and therefore is non-infringing,” Meta said.
The company said it would be impossible for Meta to identify which contents on Facebook or Instagram were created by subscribers who have already paid for the use of Epidemic’s tracks and sound effects.
“Without knowing what particular content forms the basis for Epidemic’s infringement allegations, Meta cannot assess the application of its DMCA safe-harbor protections to Epidemic’s allegations.”
“Meta cannot be expected to identify which uses of background music in any given videos are subject to license agreements and which ones are not.”
The company has asked the court to dismiss the complaint or require Epidemic to provide a more definite statement that would allow the social media company to investigate the claims and come up with appropriate defenses.
“Without knowing what particular content forms the basis for Epidemic’s infringement allegations, Meta cannot assess the application of its DMCA safe-harbor protections to Epidemic’s allegations,” Meta added in its 29-page motion.
Founded in 2019, Epidemic is led by co-founder and CEO Oscar Höglund. It reached a valuation of $1.4 billion in March last year after attracting another $450 million in funding from a group of investors including investment giant Blackstone and EQT Growth.Music Business Worldwide