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Elon Musk’s X must face copyright infringement suit by music publishers, federal judge says

New York CNN  —  A federal judge has allowed parts of a $250 million copyright lawsuit to proceed against Elon Musk’s X, handing the social media company a blow as it faces allegations that it helped some people use artists’ music without permission. The decision exposes X, formerly Twitter, to claims that it gave paying “verified” subscribers more leeway than non-paying users to illegally share copyrighted music. The lawsuit, filed last June by the National Music Publishers’ Association — whose members include Universal, Sony and Warner Music Group — also claims that X delayed responding to copyright infringement notices and didn’t take enough “reasonable steps” to combat repeat offenders. US District Judge Aleta Trauger allowed all those claims to proceed, saying that if proven, they could lead to a finding that X knowingly facilitated the alleged infringement. But she threw out claims by music publishers that X was directly responsible for stealing artists’ intellectual property. Most large social media platforms, such as TikTok, pay licensing fees to music publishers in exchange for giving users the ability to share songs on the websites. Last month, Universal began pulling songs from TikTok by Taylor Swift, Ariana Grande, Rhianna and other artists over a licensing renewal dispute. In the case against X, music publishers cited more than 1,700 songs whose copyright X has allegedly infringed, including hits such as Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You,” Outkast’s “Hey Ya!” and Mark Ronson’s “Uptown Funk,” featuring Bruno Mars. If some X users were “brazenly using the platform as an infringement tool,” and X declined to enforce its policies knowing that would lead to copyright infringement, “then X Corp. could plausibly be held contributorily liable,” Trauger said in an opinion from the US District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee. CNN has reached out to X for comment.