Skip to main content

Music publishers sue Roblox for letting users upload pirated songs

Music publishers sue Roblox for letting users upload pirated songs

/

It’s seeking $200 million and a piracy crackdown

Share this story

Lil Nas X performing ‘Holiday’ inside Roblox
Image: Roblox

The National Music Publishers’ Association (NMPA) has sued Roblox for letting users upload music from Ariana Grande, Imagine Dragons, deadmau5, and other artists without paying a licensing fee. The lawsuit seeks $200 million in damages and a court order that will make Roblox crack down on piracy.

The NMPA filed suit yesterday on behalf of several major music publishers. It accuses Roblox — a massively popular, kid-focused platform for games and social experiences — of hosting a shared library of copyrighted but unlicensed songs. The complaint alleges that Roblox “actively preys on its impressionable user base and their desire for popular music, teaching children that pirating music is perfectly acceptable.”

“‘Roblox’ allows a prodigious level of infringing material”

Roblox offers a library of audio files, 3D models, and other assets for building experiences. Users upload these files themselves, but the NMPA claims Roblox “actively encourages” adding popular songs. It also notes that users pay for uploading audio files with in-game currency. “Roblox allows a prodigious level of infringing material through its gates, purposely turning a blind eye for the sake of profit,” it says.

Roblox responded to the complaint on its website. “We are surprised and disappointed by this lawsuit which represents a fundamental misunderstanding of how the Roblox platform operates, and will defend Roblox vigorously as we work to achieve a fair resolution,” the statement says. It notes that Roblox has partnered with music labels for authorized events like a Lil Nas X concert last year, and the company signed a licensing deal with APM Music in 2018. “We do not tolerate copyright infringement, which is why we use industry-leading, advanced filtering technology to detect and prohibit unauthorized recordings.”

As the complaint notes, searching Roblox’s library for exact names like “Ed Sheeran” or “Ariana Grande” returns no results. But searching for partial terms like “Sheeran” or “Ariana” will pull up tracks labeled with popular songs from both artists. (Not all the labels are accurate — one file titled “Ed Sheeran - The Shape Of You” is actually a sound clip from The Purge, for instance.) “Roblox’s use of filtering technology has been nothing more than an empty gesture to mask its long history of instigating, inducing, and encouraging users, including children, to infringe copyrighted music,” the suit claims.

Virtually all big web platforms clash with record labels at some point, and the disputes often end with the companies striking a deal. The NMPA and Google settled a similar lawsuit over YouTube copyright infringement in 2011, leading to the platform’s current royalty-sharing agreement. Alongside the news of this lawsuit, the NMPA announced a “major ramp-up” of copyright takedown notices against Twitch — pressuring parent company Amazon into expanding a currently limited licensing deal.

Today’s Storystream

Feed refreshed 45 minutes ago Midjourneys

A
External Link
Andrew J. Hawkins45 minutes ago
Harley-Davidson’s electric motorcycle brand is about to go public via SPAC

LiveWire has completed its merger with a blank-check company and will make its debut on the New York Stock Exchange today. Harley-Davison CEO Jochen Zeitz called it “a proud and exciting milestone for LiveWire towards its ambition to become the most desirable electric motorcycle brand in the world.” Hopefully it also manages to avoid the cash crunch of other EV SPACs, like Canoo, Arrival, Faraday Future, and Lordstown.


A
The Verge
Andrew WebsterAn hour ago
“There’s an endless array of drama going on surrounding Twitch right now.”

That’s Ryan Morrison, CEO of Evolved Talent Agency, which represents some of the biggest streamers around. And he’s right — as you can read in this investigation from my colleague Ash Parrish, who looked into just what’s going on with Amazon’s livestreaming service.


J
External Link
Jess WeatherbedTwo hours ago
Won’t anyone think of the billionaires?

Forbes reports that rising inflation and falling stock prices have collectively cost members of the Forbes 400 US rich list $500 billion in 2022 with tech tycoons suffering the biggest losses.

Jeff Bezos (worth $151 billion) lost $50 billion, Google’s Larry Page and Sergey Brin (worth a collective $182b) lost almost $60b, Mark Zuckerberg (worth $57.7b) lost $76.8b, and Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey (worth $4.5b) lost $10.4b. Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer (worth $83b) lost $13.5b while his ex-boss Bill Gates (worth $106b) lost $28b, albeit $20b of that via charity donations.


T
Thomas Ricker6:45 AM UTC
Check out this delightful DART Easter egg.

Just Google for “NASA DART.” You’re welcome.


R
Twitter
Richard Lawler12:00 AM UTC
A direct strike at 14,000 mph.

The Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) scored a hit on the asteroid Dimorphos, but as Mary Beth Griggs explains, the real science work is just beginning.

Now planetary scientists will wait to see how the impact changed the asteroid’s orbit, and to download pictures from DART’s LICIACube satellite which had a front-row seat to the crash.


M
The Verge
We’re about an hour away from a space crash.

At 7:14PM ET, a NASA spacecraft is going to smash into an asteroid! Coverage of the collision — called the Double Asteroid Redirection Test — is now live.


E
Twitter
Emma RothSep 26
There’s a surprise in the sky tonight.

Jupiter will be about 367 million miles away from Earth this evening. While that may seem like a long way, it’s the closest it’s been to our home planet since 1963.

During this time, Jupiter will be visible to the naked eye (but binoculars can help). You can check where and when you can get a glimpse of the gas giant from this website.


E
Twitter
Emma RothSep 26
Missing classic Mario?

One fan, who goes by the name Metroid Mike 64 on Twitter, just built a full-on 2D Mario game inside Super Mario Maker 2 complete with 40 levels and eight worlds.

Looking at the gameplay shared on Twitter is enough to make me want to break out my SNES, or at least buy Super Mario Maker 2 so I can play this epic retro revamp.


R
External Link
Russell BrandomSep 26
The US might still force TikTok into a data security deal with Oracle.

The New York Times says the White House is still working on TikTok’s Trump-era data security deal, which has been in a weird limbo for nearly two years now. The terms are basically the same: Oracle plays babysitter but the app doesn’t get banned. Maybe it will happen now, though?


R
External Link
Russell BrandomSep 26
Edward Snowden has been granted Russian citizenship.

The NSA whistleblower has been living in Russia for the 9 years — first as a refugee, then on a series of temporary residency permits. He applied for Russian citizenship in November 2020, but has said he won’t renounce his status as a U.S. citizen.