Twitter/X Formally Moves To Dismiss Publishers’ Copyright Infringement Lawsuit

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Photo Credit: Rubaitul Azad

In June, a multitude of National Music Publishers’ Association members filed a quarter-billion-dollar copyright infringement lawsuit against Twitter/X. Now, the Elon Musk-owned social platform has officially moved to dismiss the complaint.

Twitter, which kicked off a much-publicized rebrand around “X” last month, just recently submitted its motion to dismiss. For background, the aforementioned NMPA publishers (and various subsidiaries) claimed in the original suit that the defendant company had “engaged in, knowingly facilitated, and profited from copyright infringement, at the expense of music creators” both before and following its sale to Musk.

“Twitter knows perfectly well that neither it nor users of the Twitter platform have secured licenses for the rampant use of music being made on its platform as complained of herein,” the plaintiffs spelled out in their relatively straightforward action. “Nonetheless, in connection with its highly interactive platform, Twitter consistently and knowingly hosts and streams infringing copies of musical compositions.”

Shifting back to the above-highlighted dismissal motion, Twitter has specifically asked the court to toss with prejudice all three alleged infringement counts (direct, contributory, and vicarious) “for failure to state a claim.”

Beginning with the direct infringement allegation, the defendant business maintained in a corresponding memorandum that the plaintiffs had failed to demonstrate any “active, intentional, non-automatic conduct directed at the allegedly infringing posts” on the part of Twitter/X.

Meanwhile, “allegations that X delayed action or failed to take down specific infringing material…are insufficient to plead direct infringement because there is no contention that X knowingly and deliberately caused the initial infringing act,” according to the legal document.

Similarly, on the contributory infringement front, Twitter/X pointed to a purported failure “to allege that X intentionally induced the” unauthorized use of protected media, emphasizing the plaintiffs’ alleged acknowledgement of its “substantial efforts to curb user infringement.”

“Whether X sought music licenses for users or elected not to do so has no bearing on this inquiry; it is not evidence of an intent to encourage infringement,” the defendant entity penned of the lawsuit’s claims regarding an alleged lack of licensing agreements.

Lastly, refuting the vicarious infringement arguments, the dismissal-minded defense indicated that the NMPA-corralled filing parties had failed to provide evidence of Twitter’s receiving “a direct financial benefit from the alleged infringement.”

Moreover, the Threads competitor expressed the belief that the plaintiffs hadn’t adequately alleged a right or ability to filter (for the unauthorized use of music) the massive amount of content that’s uploaded to Twitter daily.

“The allegation that X could ‘filter the content being posted to its servers with available technology to stop the ongoing infringement’” is implausible “because no existing technology can reliably ascertain whether the use of music in a particular post is unlawful, if it is licensed, or if it is a fair use,” according to the social media giant and its counsel.