Music Publishers are Pumping Up Their Lawsuit Against Peloton for Copyright Infringement

In March, 12 music publishers filed a suit against Peloton, an exercise start-up that is dominating the home fitness industry, claiming copyright infringement for the company’s alleged use of more than one thousand songs in its workout videos without the proper licenses. 

“There is no doubt that Peloton’s infringement was and continues to be knowing and reckless,” the complaint argues. “Peloton fully understood what the copyright law required, having entered into sync licenses with certain other copyright holders[.]”

In response to the lawsuit, Peloton pulled many of the tracks in question from their playlists and removed the pre-recorded classes that were mentioned in the complaint.

Peloton also replied with its own counterclaims and pulled the National Music Publishers’ Association (“NMPA”) into the suit. Peloton contended that the NMPA “represents virtually the entire United States music publishing industry” and alleged that the organization initiated a coordinated effort with its members to cut off all negotiations with the exercise company. NMPA members include Downtown Music Publishing, Pulse Music Publishing, Anthem, peermusic, Ultra Music, Big Deal Music, Reservoir, Round Hill, TRO Essex Music Group, The Royalty Network, and several others named as plaintiffs in the suit against Peloton.

The back and forth between the parties has yet to stop.

The NMPA’s original complaint claimed $150 in damages. Just last month, however, a federal judge in New York approved the music publisher’s request to amend its complaint, which doubled its originally claimed damages to $300 million. The amended complaint includes new co-plaintiffs and adds more than 1,200 musical works that the company is alleged to have infringed in workout videos.

One thing is for certain— the timing of this suit could not be any worse for Peloton, which plans to go public by the end of this year.

John Foley, Founder and CEO of Peloton.

We will continue to cover this case, Downtown Music Publishing LLC et al. v. Peloton Interactive Inc. (case number 1:19-cv-02426), as the matter develops.

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