Roblox currently exists as one of the most popular gaming platforms worldwide, with its younger audience attracting 21.3 million daily users since its debut in 2016 adding to its total 43 million daily users. It is an online gaming platform that allows users to create their own virtual worlds and lands while making and designing their own characters. Players can enter other players’ worlds, and can communicate through the online game while doing so, and is run by the online game company Roblox Company.
While users are on the game, they are able to listen to their own music, and add it into their world’s experience. To do this, players must move a file from their computer, and upload it onto the game. Roblox will then generate an estimated price of the file depending on the size of it, of which, the user can then use Robux, Roblox’s own currency, to download it into their world. The larger the file of music, the more expensive the file will be for the gamers.
The National Music Production Association (NMPA), founded in 1917, has launched a $200 million copyright infringement lawsuit against Roblox for enabling users to play and listen to music by the likes of artists such as Imagine Dragons, Ed Sheeran and Ariana Grande, to name a few. NMPA understands that the mainly 13 and under players do not have the knowledge of copyright law, however, believe that it is Roblox’s responsibility to abide by copyright law, by not providing such a simple process to upload and play music in the virtual world. As Robux, Roblox’s currency, is funded by the players’ real money, NMPA claims that Roblox is therefore making real profit off of the artists’ music, with the game containing no warning message for the licensed music.
The file was done on behalf of the publishers responsible for the artists’ music, and include the likes of ABKCO Music & Records, and Big Machine Records, who all claim that Roblox has been ‘taking advantage of young people’s lack of an understanding surrounding copyright.’ The NMPA have also stated that the suit will ensure the songwriters are correctly paid for their works that are used on the game, and will guarantee that Roblox takes its obligations seriously, and to not turn a blind eye toward illegal music download and usage on its platform.
With Roblox yet to comment on the lawsuit, it is anyone’s guess how they will respond, and how the infringement will be handled.
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