Meta Moves to Dismiss Epidemic Sound Infringement Suit: ‘The Lack of Specificity in Epidemic’s Complaint Is Striking’

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Photo Credit: Dima Solomin

Towards July’s end, Epidemic Sound filed a firmly worded copyright infringement complaint against Meta. Now, the Facebook parent company has officially moved to dismiss the action due in large part to its alleged “lack of specificity.”

Meta just recently submitted the 29-page-long motion to dismiss, claiming at the outset that Epidemic has failed “to allege a single specific instance of a copyrighted work being copied.” For reference, the royalty-free song library previously claimed that the Instagram owner had infringed upon a combined total of 1,800 recordings and compositions during the prior five years, with “80,000 new instances of theft of Epidemic’s works per day.”

“Meta itself has been storing, curating, reproducing, performing, distributing, and otherwise exploiting Epidemic’s music on a daily basis, without a license,” Epidemic Sound wrote, referring to the defendant company’s song library on Instagram and Facebook. “Meta has created a curated library of music that Meta accumulates, stores, organizes by genre and that it makes available to its users of its social media platforms.”

Meanwhile, when Instagram Reels feature audio that’s not part of said song library or recognized as part of the song library, the work at hand (music in this case) is identified as “original audio,” according to Epidemic’s complaint. In turn, the “original audio,” which allegedly implies ownership on the uploader’s end, can then be “ripped” and featured in other Reels even if users lack an Epidemic license, per the plaintiff.

But as mentioned at the outset, Meta has moved to dismiss Epidemic’s suit because of its perceived lack of specific infringement examples.

“Epidemic’s abstract allegations that certain of its works are being infringed somewhere on Meta’s platforms are inadequate to state a plausible claim for relief,” the defendant wrote. “In these circumstances, Epidemic’s lack of specificity regarding the identity and location of the allegedly infringing content renders Epidemic’s claims implausible on their face, and makes it impossible for Meta to respond.”

Moreover, the complaint “fails to state a plausible claim that any alleged infringement occurred during a period of time eligible for statutory damages and attorney’s fees” under the Copyright Act, according to Meta, which likewise indicated that “Epidemic’s abstract and high-level pleadings are devoid of any facts that would allow Meta to investigate specific instances of alleged infringement.”

Elsewhere in the dismissal motion, Meta maintained that allowing “users to access, re-post, and ‘remix’ audio content contained in other users’ Reels does not destroy” its DMCA safe-harbor protection.

Additionally, the plaintiff already has access to one rights-management tool, but not another “specific, bespoke rights-management tool that Meta has created for, and provides to, certain of its licensor-partners,” per the legal text. (Of course, the major labels are presumably among these select “licensor-partners.”)

Should the court deny the dismissal motion, Meta has called for an order requiring “Epidemic to provide a more definite statement of the infringement it alleges.” At the time of writing, Epidemic Sound didn’t appear to have commented publicly on the newest filing, which arrives only days after Meta was ordered to pay $175 million as part of a separate courtroom confrontation.