Elon Musk’s X Battles Copyright Infringement Claims Over Music

Music giants sue X over rampant copyright violations

by Zain ul Abedin
Elon Musk’s X Battles Copyright Infringement Claims Over Music
© Nathan Howard/Getty Images

In a landmark development that could have far-reaching implications for the tech and music industries, X (formerly known as Twitter) finds itself at the center of a legal storm. Acquired by tech mogul Elon Musk, the social media giant is facing a lawsuit that could result in a staggering payout of over 300 billion won (around $227 million) for alleged music copyright infringement.

This case underscores the growing tension between digital platforms and copyright laws in the era of online content sharing. A report by CNN Business on March 6th detailed that Judge Aleta Trauger of the U.S. District Court in Tennessee has green-lit a civil lawsuit against X, moving forward with the proceedings.

Judge Trauger emphasized to CNN Business the gravity of the situation, stating, "If X was aware of the potential for copyright infringement and failed to act, they could find themselves legally accountable." The lawsuit, initiated by the National Music Publishers’ Association (NMPA) in June 2023, accuses X of failing to implement effective measures to curb music copyright infringements on its platform.

This negligence allegedly led to users sharing copyrighted music without proper authorization, breaching copyright laws.

X's Copyright Crisis

This legal battle has garnered significant attention, with heavyweight music distributors such as Sony, Universal Music, and Warner Music joining forces in the lawsuit against X.

The plaintiffs have highlighted over 1,700 instances of copyright infringement, advocating for the court to impose statutory damages of up to $150,000 for each violation. Statutory damages are a crucial legal remedy in cases where quantifying the exact damage or loss is challenging.

Complicating matters further, The New York Times reported that following its acquisition by Elon Musk, X terminated its licensing agreements with these three major record companies as part of a broader cost-cutting strategy.

This move has raised questions about the platform's commitment to respecting intellectual property rights. Despite the record companies' insistence on holding X directly responsible for the copyright infringements, Judge Trauger has yet to rule in favor of this argument.

The case represents a critical juncture for copyright law enforcement in the digital age, highlighting the intricate balance between promoting innovation and protecting creators' rights. As the legal proceedings unfold, all eyes are on X and its handling of copyright issues under Elon Musk's stewardship.