The National Music Publishers’ Association sued Roblox, accusing the massively multiplayer online gaming company of illegally using songs by several artists – and seeking at least $ 200 million in damages.
Songs used in Roblox’s online games without the company compensating authors or copyright holders include those recorded by, among others, Ariana Grande, Imagine Dragons, deadmau5, Ed Sheeran and the Rolling Stones, according to NMPA.
Roblox did not respond to a request for comment. The company, founded in 2004, was listed earlier this year and currently has a market value of nearly $ 52 billion. Roblox’s share price has risen by 31% since the IPO in March.
NMPA President / CEO David Israelite announced the lawsuit against Roblox at the trade group̵
Roblox has earned “hundreds of millions of dollars by demanding that users pay every time they upload music to the platform – taking advantage of young people’s lack of understanding of copyright – and then taking almost no action to prevent repeated infringement or warnings. users about the risks they take, ”Israelit said in his comments at the meeting.
NMPA’s lawsuit was filed on behalf of publishers including ABKCO Music & Records, Big Machine Records, Concord Music Group with Pulse Music Group, deadmau5 (Joel Zimmerman), Downtown Music Publishing, Hipgnosis, Cobalt Music Group, MPL Music Publishing, Peermusic, Reservoir Media Management, Spirit Music Group and UMPG.
The lawsuit seeks monetary damages “for Roblox’s unabashed use of music without proper licenses,” according to an NMPA statement. The suit “will ensure that songwriters receive full payment for their works on the platform and that Roblox takes its obligations seriously to those who have made the service so popular and profitable.”
Meanwhile, Israelite also called Amazon’s live streaming service Twitch, claiming that Twitch continues to fail to license music. He said NMPA is intensifying its copyright campaign against Twitch and will continue to remove music, which the trading group claims Amazon refuses to pay for.
An intensive enforcement program to identify and remove unlicensed songs from [Twitch]”Is already underway and will be increased,” Israelite said in his speech.
Also as part of the meeting, Taylor Swift gave a gracious speech as he accepted the organization’s Songwriter Icon Award (read it in full here). Rep. Jerry Nadler (DN.Y.) was also awarded the NMPA President’s Award for his commitment to promoting legislation that promotes justice for songwriters; Country Music Association CEO Sarah Trahern with the NMPA Industry Legacy Award for her efforts to modernize and expand the genre and support songwriters; and Peermusic Chairman Ralph Peer II received a surprising tribute for his 50 years of service on NMPA’s Board.
When Israel divided by year, the music publishing industry’s total 2020 revenue announced $ 4,076,829,040, an increase of 9.6% from 2019. He explained, “It is important to understand the impact that COVID has had on that year. Although the world felt the effects of COVID back in March 2020, due to the delayed nature of much of the revenue streams for the publishing industry, there was a later impact on the industry, but it also means that it will continue later in  when we continue out of this problem. He also detailed the division into revenue categories such as: performance, 51.5%; synchronization, 23.4%; mechanical, 20.2%; and another 4.9%. “Mechanics grew again to 20.2% despite the fact that you have some mechanical categories that shrink quickly. It is because of the growth in the mechanical part of interactive streaming that the category generally grew, ”he added.
Israelit summarized conclusions from the recently released data. “Number one: the resilience of the publishing industry. Despite the impact of COVID, we had significant growth in 2020. And that speaks to the strength of not only the diversification of our income streams, but also because of how songs perform even in a bad economy, ”said Israelit. “Lesson number two: The importance of digital streaming and new business models, such as home fitness, user-generated social media and games.” He added, “Lesson number three: The value of songs. They can actually be underestimated. There is a lot of talk about whether the buyers in this recent catalog sale paid too much. What if they got a great deal? ”
He concluded by saying, “despite our many challenges, the state of the music publishing industry is strong.”
Jem Aswad contributed to this article.