“Behind the scenes, they are making millions at songwriters’ and artists’ expense,” Israelite said. “With the complaint we are filing immediately, we are sending a clear message both to Roblox, and to the video gaming industry at large, that you cannot build a company on the backs of music creators, refuse to pay them profit off of users by activity and money and get away with it.”
On Roblox, a community of 42 million active daily users create and play each other’s games. Users can also upload their own MP3s to the platform, which other players can access and incorporate into games as well.
The lawsuit claims that Roblox is taking advantage of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act’s (DMCA) “safe harbor” provision, which shields content-hosting platforms from liability for copyright infringement by their users.
During his speech, Israelite also accused Roblox of “taking advantage of young people’s lack of understanding about copyright” and taking “virtually no action to prevent repeat infringement or alert users to the risks they are taking,” which is one of the requirements for platforms seeking protection through the DMCA. While Roblox has tapped artists like Lil Nas X and Zara Larsson to perform virtually inside the platform, and even has Warner Music Group on board as an investor, Israelite said that these partnerships only serve to “give [Roblox] the illusion of being pro-creator.”