Music publishers sued this fitness company and now Peloton’s fighting back

Fitness startup Peloton aren’t taking the lawsuit against them lying down, in fact they’re suing music publishers right back.

In March a lawsuit came to light that saw music publishers moved to sue a fitness startup. The company, Peloton, which trades in exercise bikes with motivational videos on built-in screens, allegedly used copyrighted music in the videos which they didn’t have a license for.

According to Ultra Music, one of the claimants, Peloton has “obtained a license for a limited time but then let that license expire, while continuing to to use Ultra’s copyrighted works”. Nine other music publishing groups are suing on the same basis, seeking $150 million in damages for the use of over 1,000 musical works.

Peloton removed their classes which featured any of the tracks involved but they are now counter-claiming. The company stated: “Peloton is not the bad actor that plaintiffs portray it to be. Peloton values the musical element of its service offering and respects – and pays – the music rights-holders associated with that offering.”

The company claims that they have spent “tens of millions of dollars” in acquiring licenses for the music used in their 13,000 exercise videos. Peloton are accusing the NMPA and its members of anticompetitive behaviour and is seeking damages for the violation of antitrust laws for “teaming up against the company”.

Their document reads: “NMPA has instigated a coordinated effort… to fix prices and to engage in a concerted refusal to deal with Peloton. Through these actions, NMPA has exceeded the bounds of legitimate conduct for a trade association and become the ringleader of concerted activity among would-be competitor music publishers, all in violation of the antitrust laws.”

NMPA’s executive vice president and general counsel Danielle Aguirre assures that they will continue to fight Peloton. Aguirre said: “Peloton’s countersuit has no merit and is an attempt to divert attention from the fact that is has been operation without sufficient licenses for years in order to build its multi-billion dollar business.

“The NMPA routinely defends the interests of its members’ copyrights in order to protect their value, prevent future infringement and to seek damages to which they are entitled under the law when their property has been stolen. Peloton’s countersuit is further evidence that is does not value its relationship with the music industry but is instead hostile to the people without which it could not have built its thriving business. We will continue to fight for the rights of music creators until they are paid what they deserve.”

Head of Social Media and Marketing, RouteNote

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