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Peloton is being sued for using music without permission in its video fitness classes

Several members of the National Music Publishers Association (NMPA) have collectively filed a lawsuit against fitness startup Peloton today, seeking over $150 million in damages. The complaint, filed by Downtown Music Publishing, Ultra Music, and eight other publishing groups, says that Peloton has been using their musical works for years in its workout videos without proper licensing, resulting in income lost for songwriters.

The complaint says that Peloton does have some licenses in place with other labels and publishers, but not with the plaintiffs named in this suit. It alleges that Peloton has “used more than 1,000 musical works owned or administered by Plaintiffs over a period of years in the videos that it makes available to its hundreds of thousands of customers without a synchronization (or “sync”) license.” In one instance, the company allegedly “obtained a license for a limited time but then let that license expire, while continuing to use Ultra’s copyrighted works.”

Peloton’s workout videos are broadcast to Peloton bikes and treadmills across the world, usually accompanied by a playlist of songs to guide the workout. The company also offers a digital subscription to its video classes for those who want to exercise with their own non-Peloton equipment.

The effect is similar to an in-person gym class, but music heard in a video requires a different license. Playing music in the open for people to hear, like in a gym, requires a public performance license. But if you are watching that same class as a video from your Peloton at home, that music now requires what is called a sync license, because the music is synchronized with visual media output.

Some of the works the complaint says Peloton is using without proper licensing include “Shallow”

Article source: https://www.theverge.com/2019/3/19/18273063/peloton-music-lawsuit-licensing-video-fitness-classes-nmpa

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