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Meta Says $142M Music Copyright Suit Is So Vague They Have to ‘Try to Guess’ What They Did Wrong

The case says 1,000 songs appeared on Facebook and Instagram without licenses, but Meta says it hasn't seen "even a single concrete example."

Meta wants a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit that claims Facebook and Instagram stole hundreds of songs from a Swedish production music label, saying the case is so vague that the company isn’t even quite sure what it’s accused of doing wrong.

Epidemic Sound filed the case in July, claiming the social media giant made nearly 1,000 of the label’s songs available for Meta users without a license. The lawsuit demanded an eye-popping $142M  – $150,000 in damages for every song infringed.

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But in a motion to dismiss the case filed Monday (Sept. 26), Meta said the accusations were woefully short on specifics. Epidemic failed to point to “even a single concrete example,” Meta’s lawyers wrote, and instead merely claims its songs are being infringed “somewhere” on the “vast universe” of Facebook and Instagram.

“The lack of specificity in Epidemic’s complaint is striking,” wrote Meta’s lawyers, who hail from the elite law firm Latham & Watkins. “For all its bluster, Epidemic has failed to identify even a single allegedly infringing copy of any of its works on Meta’s platforms.”

Platforms like TikTok, Instagram and Snapchat typically secure sweeping licenses with major music companies, enabling their users to pick from a robust list of fully-licensed music without the risk of copyright infringement.

But in its July 20 complaint, Epidemic accused Meta of simply refusing to seek out such a license for its tunes  – so-called production music that’s used in videos, podcasts and other content. The result, it says, has been infringement of those songs on a massive scale.

“Perhaps Meta is hoping to get away with it for as long as possible,” Epidemic’s lawyers wrote in a complaint filed in San Francisco federal court. “Perhaps Meta is hoping that it will intimidate a company like Epidemic into bowing to Meta rather than incurring the disruption and expense of a lawsuit. Meta is wrong.”

But in Monday’s response, Meta said the case was beset by “glaring deficiencies.” The complaint did not provide a web address for any infringing content, they said, nor an explanation of when infringement occurred or what had been done to address it – meaning Meta is “left to try to guess” about what the case is actually claiming.

“Such vague assertions and glaring omissions keep Meta in the dark and make it unreasonable and impractical (not to mention unfair) to require Meta to frame a responsive pleading,” the company’s lawyers wrote.