Popular virtual gaming platform Roblox has been sued by the National Music Publishers’ Association (NMPA) in the US, seeking $200 million in damages for allegedly allowing users to upload music from famous artists without paying a licensing fee.
The Verge reported on Thursday that the NMPA filed suit on behalf of several major music publishers, accusing the popular kid-focused platform of hosting a shared library of copyrighted but unlicensed songs from Ariana Grande, Imagine Dragons, deadmau5, and other artists .
The lawsuit alleged that Roblox “actively preys on its impressionable user base and their desire for popular music, teaching children that pirating music is perfectly acceptable”.
The lawsuit also seeks a court order that will make Roblox crack down on piracy.
Roblox, which was launched in 2006, has been a runaway hit during the pandemic, giving socially distanced kids a social space to gather online.
The company said in a statement posted on its website that it is surprised and disappointed by this lawsuit “which represents a fundamental misunderstanding of how the Roblox platform operates, and will defend Roblox vigorously as we work to achieve a fair resolution”.
“We do not tolerate copyright infringement, which is why we use industry-leading, advanced filtering technology to detect and prohibit unauthorized recordings,” the company added.
Half of Roblox’s audience of more than 30 million daily users are kids under 13.
The company reported revenue of $588.7 million during the first nine months of 2020, a 68 per cent increase over the same period in 2019.
Roblox went public via a direct listing in March and said in its prospectus that its users spent an average of 2.6 hours daily on the platform over the past year.