Roblox Sued by Major Music Publishers over Profiting from Copyrighted Music

Several dozen major and independent music publishers filed a complaint against the Roblox Corporation on Wednesday in the Central District of California, alleging that Roblox willfully engaged in copyright infringement on a “massive scale.” Roblox allegedly uses a system that allows users to upload and share copyrighted music, while charging them with in-game currency to reproduce this music.

The defendant Roblox “owns and operates an online video game platform and game creation system marketed specifically to young children and teens,” which allegedly monetizes copyright infringement for “substantial profits.” According to the complaint, Roblox manages a “centralized synchronization library of unlicensed songs,” and charges users to upload copyrighted music to be used in their game. Furthermore, the plaintiffs alleged that Roblox has a team of thousands of moderators that knowingly approve the uploading of songs that are under copyright, and reap massive profits off of these infringements.  The complaint detailed the streamlined process of uploading songs and charging users to implement these songs, which may be copyrighted, into the game.

Furthermore, the complaint alleged that Roblox generates a significant portion of their revenue from the uploading and distribution of copyrighted music, with their upload fees and with the purchasing of in-game items that allow users to “stream popular music for free.”

The plaintiffs are suing on counts of direct, contributory and vicarious copyright infringement for hundreds of songs or sound recordings. The music publishers are seeking a declaration that Roblox willfully infringed on the copyrights of the plaintiffs, statutory damages valued at no less than $200 million, a permanent injunction against Roblox, attorney’s fees and costs, and other relief.

The plaintiffs are ABKCO Music Inc., Big Machine Music, LLC, Boosey & Hawkes, Inc., Cherio Corporation, Concord Music Publishing LLC, Concord Music Group, Inc., Downtown Music Publishing LLC, Hipgnosis SFH I Limited, Hipgnosis Songs Group, LLC, Kobalt Music Publishing America, Inc., MPL Communications, Inc., MPL Music Publishing, Inc., Panther Music Corp., Peer International Corporation, Peermusic Ltd., Peermusic III, Ltd., Polygram Publishing, Inc., Rodgers & Hammerstein Holdings LLC, Pulse 2.0, LLC, Reservoir Media Management, Inc., Songs of Peer, Ltd., Songs of Universal, Inc., Southern Music Publishing Co., Inc., Spirit Music Holdings, Inc., Universal Music – MGB NA LLC, Universal Music – Z Tunes LLC, Universal Music Corp., Universal Music Publishing, Inc., and Universal Musica, Inc.

The plaintiffs are represented by Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp LLP.