Meta Platforms Inc. is facing a lawsuit that claims its Facebook and Instagram platforms “intentionally and brazenly” stole hundreds of songs from Swedish production music label Epidemic Sound, encouraging their users to upload more than 50,000 infringing videos every day.
Repped by attorneys at the top music law firm Pryor Cashman, Epidemic says the social media giant is offering nearly 1,000 of the label’s songs through its “Music Library” for users to add to their video uploads, but that Meta has refused to secure copyright licenses for that music — and has ignored the company’s repeated demands that it do so.
“Perhaps Meta is hoping to get away with it for as long as possible,” Epidemic’s lawyers wrote in a complaint filed Wednesday (July 20) 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.”
Epidemic says it will seek at least $142 million in damages, since it is entitled to $150,000 in damages for every song infringed. A spokesperson for Meta did not immediately return a request for comment on Friday.
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 Epidemic, which offers a catalog of so-called production music for use in videos, podcasts and other content, says Meta simply never sought such a license for its tunes before incorporating them into the library. The result, it says, has been infringement on a massive scale.
“As a result of Meta’s actions, Epidemic’s music is available across millions of videos and have been viewed billions of times,” the company wrote. “Approximately 50,000 infringing videos and 30,000 new uploads containing Epidemic’s music are uploaded to Facebook and Instagram, respectively, on a daily basis.”
Under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, platforms like YouTube are shielded from direct legal liability when a user uploads content that contains infringing music, so long as the site takes swift action to remove the video when alerted. But Epidemic says those rules don’t apply, since Meta is directly providing the music to its users.
“These infringing uses are not merely users posting infringing works that Meta has failed to take down,” Epidemic’s lawyers wrote. “This case is about Meta itself actively and directly infringing Epidemic’s works by storing them in its online music library and then making a curated selection of Epidemic’s works available across its platforms.”
Epidemic says it reached out on more than a dozen occasions to alert Meta to the problem, but was rebuffed. It also says it was refused access to anti-piracy tools provided to other rights holders.