In November, a federal judge rejected Facebook parent Meta’s motion to dismiss a copyright infringement suit levied against it by royalty-free song library Epidemic Sound. Now, the high-profile dispute is scheduled to head to trial in September of 2024.
A pretrial order from Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley just recently revealed the trial date and other scheduling specifics. Stockholm-based Epidemic Sound submitted the initial complaint in July of 2022, accusing the Instagram owner of infringing upon a staggering 1,800 or so recordings and compositions across a years-long stretch.
This purported infringement, the plaintiff company claims, centers on Meta’s allegedly “offering Epidemic’s works through its ‘music library’ for any of its users to use…without license or other authorization.” Additionally, the filing entity maintains that the alleged infringement increased in volume due to the rollout of “Original Audio” and “Reels Remix” on Instagram.
When Reels are uploaded to Instagram with music that’s not identified as part of Meta’s song library, Epidemic’s 19-page-long complaint explains, they’re labeled with an “Original Audio” button. And from there, those who view the Reels at hand can “simply click on that ‘button’ to ‘rip,’ or separate that music from the video content, and use a copy of that music for themselves,” per Epidemic.
Even Epidemic’s subscribers must receive authorization to reproduce music in this manner, according to the plaintiff, which further alleges that Meta has reaped “substantial financial benefit through advertising revenues and increased user engagement derived from the inclusion” of the protected music at the heart of the case.
Late September of last year saw Meta move to dismiss the suit, claiming, among other things, that “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.”
But as initially noted, the court in November of 2022 disagreed with the assessment and scheduled a remote case management conference for Thursday, January 12th, 2023. With said conference in the books, Judge Corley has arranged another case management conference (also to take place remotely) for the afternoon of Wednesday, February 8th.
At the forthcoming conference, Epidemic Sound “should be prepared to present the technology relevant to the allegations and should supply representative examples of alleged infringement,” Judge Corley wrote.
Meanwhile, fact discovery and expert discovery cutoffs have been set for Wednesday, August 30th and Monday, November 20th of 2023, respectively. And the jury trial itself is expected to initiate on Monday, September 30th, 2024, per the court’s pretrial order.
Though the trial date is over 20 months off, it’ll be worth following the legal battle between Epidemic and Meta moving forward. In the past, juries haven’t hesitated to award music companies astronomical sums over alleged infringement, and it’s unclear whether public opinion of Meta would come into play during the trial.