The video game company Roblox publicly responded to the accusation of the National Music Publisher’s Association (NMPA), which states that the online gaming platform allows the massive and unauthorized use of songs protected by copyright within its ecosystem and requires 200 millions of dollars in damages.
Roblox is an online video game platform that provides its users with tools to create their own video games, which can then be played by other users within the same digital ecosystem. Its popularity exploded during the pandemic and today it has more than 164 million monthly users, the vast majority under the age of 16 and from the United States.
The NMPA ensures that Roblox has ignored their complaints about the illegal use of music on the platform, despite the fact that, as detailed in their lawsuit, Roblox uses more than 1,000 human moderators to review each audio file that is uploaded to their servers.
“There is no question that Roblox has the right and the ability to stop or limit infringement on its platform,” the NMPA said in its lawsuit. “But Roblox refuses to do so, so that it can continue to reap huge profits from the availability of unlicensed music. While Roblox touts itself as a platform for ‘user-generated’ content, in reality, it is Roblox — not users — that consciously selects what content appears on its platform.”
In a statement, Roblox came across as “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.”
“As a platform powered by a community of creators, we are passionate about protecting intellectual property rights – from independent artists and songwriters, to music labels and publishers – and require all Roblox community members to abide by our Community Rules,” the text continued. “We do not tolerate copyright infringement, which is why we use industry-leading, advanced filtering technology to detect and prohibit unauthorized recordings.”
According to Variety, Roblox also claimed that it “expeditiously” responds to valid Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) takedown requests and takes action against repeat offenders.
Roblox’s comments were not well received by the NMPA: Its president, David Israelite, claimed that the video game platform sounded the same as “other tech companies who have been caught stealing music and ultimately pay the price.”
“Simply announcing Community Rules and trying to hide behind the DMCA are not sufficient when there are hundreds of thousands of songs being utilized every day without compensating copyright holders,” commented Israelite. “Roblox suggesting that we fundamentally misunderstand how they use music is like a bank robber caught in the act telling the bank it fundamentally misunderstands money.”
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