Music publishers are starting to crack down on apps that steal their work.

Teddy Sagi
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NMPA

The National Music Publishers’ Association has said that apps that use music without a license will be shut down. The group filed a lawsuit against Vinkle, an app that makes music videos, and sent letters to almost 100 other apps that were breaking the law. In the meantime, Google and Apple are formally warned and asked to act quickly. The National Music Publishers’ Association has said that apps that use music without a license will be shut down. The group filed a lawsuit against Vinkle, an app that makes music videos, and sent letters to almost 100 other apps that were breaking the law. In the meantime, Google and Apple are formally warned and asked to act quickly.

The music business has been fighting against different types of piracy for many years, but it’s hard to stop.

Many efforts to protect copyright are aimed at services or tools that offer pirated content, but there are also problems with less obvious copyright violations.

Unlicensed Platforms and Apps

Music publishers have repeatedly spoken out against websites that use their music without a license in the past few years. Among these are TikiTok, Roblox, and a lot of others.

It looks like these big platforms are just the tip of the iceberg. This week, at its annual meeting in New York, the National Music Publishers’ Association (NMPA) emphasized that apps that break copyright are a huge problem that needs to be fixed as soon as possible.

David Israelite, President, and CEO of the NMPA said that the group would start cracking down on apps that use music without paying for it. Nearly 100 apps that use copyrighted music without the proper licenses have already been told to stop by the Music Industry Association.

NMPA Sues Vinkle

The complete file

The NMPA didn’t just send out letters of warning. This week, the video-making app Vinkle was taken to court to show that it has had enough. In a complaint filed in the Northern District of California, the NMPA says that the people who made the app broke many people’s rights to their work.

“Vinkle is in blatant violation of copyright law because it is built based upon a library of copyrighted musical works that Defendant neither owns nor has obtained a license to use,” the complaint reads.

“Defendant has brazenly copied voluminous copyrighted musical works to Vinkle’s servers, as the foundation for Vinkle, and provides them to users of Vinkle to incorporate into short ‘music videos’.”

The NMPA says that these kinds of apps are using unlicensed music in more and more ways. This kind of use is against the law and goes against Apple and Google’s rules.

The music publishers are asking for money as payment for the alleged infringement. Damages could be as high as $8.25 million since the complaint lists 55 works.

‘Google and Apple Should Take Responsibility ‘

Israelite also pointed fingers at top app stores when he spoke at the annual meeting. DMN points out that the NMPA has sent “formal notices” to Google and Apple, asking them to take more decisive action against apps that cause problems.

“[T]he responsibility of licensing music is not just limited to the app companies. The app stores which empower these apps also have responsibilities to make sure that the apps they make available to their customers are legal and not infringing,” Israelite said.

The head of NMPA likes to point out that the group has never lost a lawsuit in its history. The group is sure that this new crackdown on apps will work and expects to see results quickly.

Israelite says that the people who made the app can license music or shut it down for good.

“If you are an app using music illegally, you can make the smart choice to resolve your transgressions and become a legitimate business partner, or you can shut down. There is no other choice,” he concludes.

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