A group of 17 music publishers sued Twitter on Wednesday, accusing it of copyright infringement on about 1,700 songs, and is seeking as much as $250 million in damages, the latest headache for the social media platform owned by Elon Musk.
The publishers filed the suit in Federal District Court in Nashville, saying Twitter violated copyright law by allowing users to post music to the platform without permission. Negotiations between Twitter and the music industry to put broad licensing agreements into place had broken down months ago.
“Twitter stands alone as the largest social media platform that has completely refused to license the millions of songs on its service,” David Israelite, the president of the National Music Publishers’ Association, a trade group, said in a statement.
Twitter and Mr. Musk did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The suit detailed what the publishers say is Twitter’s failure to police rampant infringement of music copyrights on the service. It pointed to specific tweets in which music has been used without permission, including a post about Rihanna’s song “Umbrella” that included what the suit said is two minutes of the song’s music video. The post had 221,000 views and 15,000 likes, the suit said, but not the permission of the song’s publishers.