Several months ago, over ten music publishers, including the NMPA and Downtown Music Publishing, filed a $150 million lawsuit against Peloton.
The fitness technology company was accused of skipping over critical synchronization licenses for its music-intensive video workouts.
Strangely, Peloton had only licensed some of the music it uses in its integrated, screen-focused workouts. But its half-baked licensing apparently left out a few critical details — about $150 million worth of them. The NMPA listed blatant infringement of top artists’ works, including Rihanna, Bruno Mars, Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Justin Timberlake, Shawn Mendes, Ed Sheeran, Wiz Khalifa, Thomas Rhett, Ariana Grande, Justin Bieber, Florida Georgia Line, Drake, and Gwen Stefani.
Other plaintiffs include The Royalty Network, Pulse Music Publishing, ole, peermusic, Ultra Music, Big Deal Music, Reservoir, Round Hill, and TRO Essex Music Group.
After quickly removing some offending music from its videos, the fitness technology company filed a countersuit. It was a stretch, but Peloton blamed traditional synchronization licensing as ill-suited to its fast-paced business model.
Inventing their own licensing rules, the company said the NMPA has engaged in illegal price-fixing and collusion. The group only did so “in a concerted refusal to deal with Peloton.”
Of course, the company didn’t provide evidence to support this argument, which will likely fail under court scrutiny. Peloton’s lawyers also didn’t explain why the company refused to obtain the necessary licenses.
Now, the NMPA has clapped back.
Filing a motion to dismiss the company’s antitrust countersuit, the NMPA accused Peloton of using a fraudulent claim.
“Having no defense to its copyright infringement, Peloton resorts to the timeworn tactic of asserting a baseless antitrust counterclaim.”
In fact, the publishing group explains why each publisher stopped negotiating with the fitness technology company.
“The timing of the alleged discontinuation of the negotiations — shortly before or at the time the copyright lawsuit was filed — presents an obvious explanation. Each of the publishers that reached a decision to sue Peloton for copyright infringement … would have an obvious reason to discontinue further negotiations.”
You can view the filing below.
Featured image by Peloton.