A group of indie and major music publishers are — via the National Music Publishers’ Association (NMPA) — suing video gaming platform Roblox for over $200 million in damages in the US, alleging widespread copyright infringement by the company.
The news was confirmed today (June 9) by NMPA President & CEO, David Israelite, during his annual State of the Industry speech, in which he accused Roblox of “rampant” ignorance of music licensing requirements.
NMPA’s lawsuit against Roblox was filed today on behalf of plaintiffs including ABKCO Music & Records, Big Machine Records, Concord Music Group (with Pulse Music Group), deadmau5 (Joel Zimmerman), Downtown Music Publishing, Hipgnosis, Kobalt Music Group, MPL Music Publishing, peermusic, Reservoir Media Management, Spirit Music Group, and Universal Music Publishing Group.
Missing from that list: Warner Music Group, which acquired a minority stake in Roblox in January, and Sony Music Group, which has partnered with Roblox on in-game events with/by artists including Little Nas X and, more recently, Zara Larsson.
[Roblox has] made hundreds of millions of dollars by requiring users to pay every time they upload music onto the platform… and then they take virtually no action to prevent repeat infringement or alert users to the risks they are taking.”
David Israelite, NMPA
David Israelite said today, “[Roblox has] made hundreds of millions of dollars by requiring users to pay every time they upload music onto the platform – taking advantage of young people’s lack of understanding about copyright – and then they take virtually no action to prevent repeat infringement or alert users to the risks they are taking.”
He claimed that Roblox maintains a library of “hundreds of thousands of songs” including a portfolio of commercial tracks that Israelite says Roblox has “refused to license”.
The NMPA alleges that songs recorded by artists including Ariana Grande, Imagine Dragons, deadmau5, Ed Sheeran, and the Rolling Stones are all being utilized in Roblox without due compensation for their writers and copyright holders.
Additionally, Israelite today officially launched a major ramp-up of NMPA’s takedown campaign against Amazon-owned Twitch, another of the world’s most popular video creation and gaming platforms with over nine million active streamers.
Israelite said, “Twitch should serve its users by fully licensing music which would allow the platform to flourish and copyright owners to be properly compensated.”Music Business Worldwide