Swiss music collective management outfit SUISA Digital has filed a lawsuit against X’s parent company, Twitter International. Filed in Germany, the complaint accuses the platform of copyright infringement after X failed to license music shared by its users without permission. The music group hopes to recover damages in an amount that could run to millions of euros.
Similar to other user-generated content platforms, X allows people to freely share content online.
This includes text but images, videos, and music are regularly posted as well. In some cases, content is uploaded without first obtaining permission from rightsholders.
Over the years, various parties have called out Twitter/X over alleged copyright infringement. Research published by the EU Intellectual Property Office found that the service is rife with piracy-related discussions. U.S. lawmakers also suggested that piracy is part of the company’s business model.
Music companies have repeatedly complained about X too. Their main gripe is that unlike many other online services, X refuses to license the content shared by its users. As a result, creators are not properly compensated.
Swiss music collective management outfit SUISA Digital is one of these complainants. The organization tried to raise the issue with X’s parent company Twitter International for several months, but the service failed to respond.
SUISA Sues X Seeking Damages
This inaction was a major source of frustration for the music rights group which, as a last resort, decided to take the matter to court. That way, the social media platform would have to respond.
In a complaint filed at the District Court of Munich, Germany, SUISA now accuses X of widespread copyright infringement.
“A considerable number of works in SUISA Digital’s repertoire is available on the X platform and is used by users without Twitter International having acquired a licence from SUISA Digital,” the company explains.
To compensate for the alleged wrongdoing, the music rights group demands monetary compensation. The scale of the damages is unknown at this point as it depends on the infringing uses on X and the related revenue, which SUISA hopes to establish in court.
“Through its lawsuit, SUISA Digital seeks to ensure the authors and publishers it represents are adequately compensated for the ongoing, illegal use of their creative work,” the music group writes.
“That is why, among other things, SUISA Digital demands that Twitter International fully disclose its figures relating to its uses and to the turnover realized with its music offers on the platform X.”
U.S. Mass Copyright Infringement Lawsuit
The German lawsuit isn’t the first music lawsuit faced by X. In the United States, Universal Music, Sony Music, EMI, and others filed a complaint against the company a few months ago, accusing it of “breeding” mass copyright infringement.
According to the American music labels, X fails to properly respond to takedown notices and lacks a proper termination policy for repeat infringers. As a result, the platform is rife with music piracy.
With hundreds of millions of dollars in damages at stake, X is fiercely defending itself. In the U.S. case, it previously asked the court to dismiss all copyright infringement allegations. The court has yet to rule on this request.
These lawsuits make clear that the music industry has lost patience with X. Through they courts, they hope to motivate the company to change but whether it will, largely depends on the outcome of these legal battles.