Twitter/X Refutes Remaining Claims in NMPA Copyright Suit: ‘Any Infringement Was Innocent and Was Not Willful’

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nmpa twitter lawsuit
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X, formerly known as Twitter, has pushed back against the remaining infringement claims it’s facing in an action from the NMPA. Photo Credit: BoliviaInteligente

Twitter/X has officially pushed back against the remaining copyright infringement claims it’s facing in a complaint levied by the National Music Publishers’ Association (NMPA).

The social media platform just recently submitted its answer to the NMPA’s suit, which was filed in June of 2023. In that initial action, the organization (and a number of member publishers) formally accused Twitter/X of direct, contributory, and vicarious copyright infringement with regard to approximately 1,700 works.

Closer to the present, early March of 2024 saw the presiding judge toss multiple components of the case. As we reported, this partial dismissal did away with the NMPA’s direct and vicarious infringement claims altogether, also impacting a portion of the contributory allegations.

The still-standing contributory claims concern Twitter/X’s alleged failure to act appropriately against repeat infringers, alleged slowness when processing takedown notices, and alleged habit of affording paid users preferential treatment regarding the removal of possibly infringing media.

Following the ruling, the NMPA indicated that it was “pleased” and looking “forward to securing just compensation for the songwriters and music publishers whose work is being stolen.”

Later in March of 2024, Twitter/X moved to extend the appropriate response deadline, before filing a 29-page answer yesterday.

DMN obtained a copy of the document, with Twitter/X refuting the NMPA’s core claims therein. While the straightforward answer lacks particularly groundbreaking information, it does feature some interesting takeaways that should be kept in mind as the copyright confrontation plays out.

In the legal text, Twitter/X said “it respects the rights of rightsholders and complies with the requirements of the DMCA including by expeditiously removing complained-of content when it receives a valid DMCA notice,” acknowledging as well “that it does not currently have a licensing deal” with the plaintiffs.

Furthermore, the social platform outlined a collection of affirmative defenses, among them the NMPA-corralled plaintiffs’ alleged failure “to state facts sufficient to constitute a claim upon which relief can be granted” and purportedly time-barred elements of the action.

Also on this front, “any infringement was innocent and was not willful,” per Twitter/X, which underscored its position that it “did not materially contribute to the alleged primary infringement.”

Of course, it’ll be worth closely monitoring the case – including the possibility that a licensing agreement could ultimately come to fruition – moving forward.

It was roughly 30 months ago that the NMPA settled infringement litigation levied against Roblox, where Universal Music’s Republic last month launched Boombox, the latest in a series of offerings designed for the digital universe. Though 2.5 years is a significant amount of time, the dispute has in many ways become a distant memory.