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Friday, June 21, 2024

Roblox settles $200 million lawsuit with music publishers

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The National Music Publishers’ Association has settled its $200 million lawsuit against Roblox Corporation, announcing today that it has entered into a new opt-in agreement that enables NMPA members to come up with their own individual licensing deals for the use of their music in Roblox.

The lawsuit was filed in June over complaints that Roblox charges its users to upload music to the platform—users must spend “Robux,” the game’s real-money currency, to upload audio files, with pricing based on the length of the clip—but takes no steps to prevent copyright violation.

“Roblox has earned hundreds of millions of dollars by requiring users to pay every time they upload music onto the platform—taking advantage of young people’s lack of understanding about copyright—and then they take virtually no action to prevent repeat infringement or alert users to the risks they are taking,” NMPA president and CEO David Israelite said at the time.

Specifics of the deal weren’t revealed in today’s announcement, only that Roblox “will work closely with the global music publishing industry to help them unlock new ways for music to be more meaningfully integrated into the global Roblox community.”

“Moving forward, we are committed to partnering with the music industry, as a whole, to create an exciting new social era of the music business which engages fans and artists in an unprecedented way in the metaverse,” Roblox vice president and global head of music Jon Vlassopulos said.

The timing is definitely interesting, though: The announcement of the settlement with Roblox comes less than a week after NMPA announced a similar (and similarly vague) deal with Twitch, after months of escalating tensions between them. That deal, like the Roblox settlement, also promises an opt-in program for music publishers “to bring new facets to both the gaming experience and songwriter exposure,” but does not actually change the rules about music usage for streamers.

I’ve reached out to Roblox and the NMPA for more information on how the settlement will impact Roblox players, and will update if I receive a reply.

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