The suit was filed by the National Music Publishers’ Association (NMPA) on behalf of big publishers such as ABKCO Music & Records and indie labels such as Big Machine Records. It alleges that the video game company has not been taking necessary steps to prevent copyright infringement by its users, leading to an “unabashed exploitation of music without proper licenses”. NMPA is seeking a minimum of $200million in damages.
Songs that are allegedly being used in Roblox with neither consent from nor compensation to copyright holders include tracks by Ariana Grande, Imagine Dragons, deadmau5, Ed Sheeran and The Rolling Stones, according to the NMPA.
NMPA president and CEO David Israelite announced the lawsuit in the trade association’s annual meeting yesterday (9 June), where he also accused Roblox of “taking advantage of young people’s lack of understanding about copyright”.
He claims that the developer, whose game attracts over 42million daily users, earns “hundreds of millions of dollars by requiring users to pay every time they upload music onto the platform [but] take virtually no action to prevent repeat infringement or alert users to the risks they are taking”.
The NMPA also noted that the suit will “ensure songwriters are fully paid for their works on the platform and that Roblox takes seriously its obligations to those who have made its service so popular and profitable”.
Roblox did not comment when asked, per Variety.
At the meeting, Israelite also called out Amazon’s Twitch streaming service for similarly failing to properly license music. He added that an “intensive enforcement program to ID and remove unlicensed songs from [Twitch]” is currently ongoing.
Earlier this month, Twitch warned its users of potential DMCA content takedowns, explaining that it believes music publishers are using automated tools to hunt down stream content with copyrighted content.
“We are committed to being more transparent with you about DMCA,” Twitch said in a statement at the time. “We recently received a batch of DMCA takedown notifications with about 1,000 individual claims from music publishers. We are actively speaking with music labels about solutions that could work for creators as well as rights holders.”