This week California based music publishing company, Soul Assassins, filed a complaint for copyright infringement against Peloton, with a demand for a jury trial over the use of their songs in Peloton classes. Soul Assassins is a small, independent music publishing company owned by Lawrence Muggerud, an American DJ, audio engineer, and record producer.
Peloton is no stranger to lawsuits regarding music rights, and Soul Assassins has cited Peloton’s previous legal troubles in this current lawsuit, stating,
“Peloton’s use of Soul Assassins’ Share of the Musical Compositions in its work-out videos without a license from Soul Assassins is an outrageous, willful infringement because Peloton was sued by a group of music publishers in March of 2019, for doing the exact same thing. Clearly, based on the aforementioned lawsuit Peloton knew unequivocally that it had no right to use any musical composition in its exercise videos without first obtaining a license for one hundred percent (100%) of the song”.
The original March 2019 lawsuit was filed by a group of music publishing companies against Peloton, and it resulted in approximately 65% of Peloton’s on demand catalog being removed from the platform once the lawsuit became public. The CEO at that time, Jon Foley, released a statement conveying the company’s respect for the rights of creators, and reassuring members that their user experience will not change because of the lawsuit, nor would the price of membership. This lawsuit was settled in February of 2020, with Peloton and the music publishing companies coming to an agreement that ensured fair compensation for artists as well as arrangement to work together to enhance Peloton’s music system.
This newest lawsuit differs from the March 2019 suit in that Soul Assassins is a small scale and independent music publishing company, and the copyright infringement claim is only for eleven songs that are currently being used on Peloton’s platform. In the suit it is stated that Soul Assassins has not granted Peloton any right or license to any of the eleven musical compositions.
Soul Assassins is asking for statutory damages of $150,000 for each work that was infringed, or as an alternative, accounting and payment of all gains, profits, and advantages that Peloton gained from using Soul Assassins’ copyrighted music.
The filing of Soul Assassins’ complaint is the first step in the legal process, with discovery taking place next. This lawsuit could end up in a jury trial as demanded by Soul Assassins in the lawsuit, or like the lawsuit Peloton has faced before, they could end up settling out of court.
Will this lawsuit mean members will be seeing another purge of classes soon?
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