If you own a Peloton, you most definitely have rocked out to Beyoncé or Coldplay on your bike while sweating it out. In order for Peloton to use these songs in their classes, they must first secure a license to reproduce the song, more specifically synchronization rights also known as sync rights. Sync rights allow for a person or business to use the copyrighted music with visual content, thus Peloton a system pairing visual fitness with the copyrighted audio must pay for the synchronization rights.
Peloton was sued in 2019 by various music publishers for copyright infringement due to alleged unlicensed use of songs owned by said publishers including songs by artists like Rihanna, Lady Gaga, and many others. This suit was eventually settled outside of court. This month Peloton finds itself in court again as prominent hip-hop group Cyprus Hill has filed suit for unlicensed use of songs and mentions other examples of songs by other artists that were used without procuring the proper license.
Why is this important? Well, this does not just apply to large corporations like Peloton but to all kinds of creators and businesses. Creators who are going to use music in a video, film, tv show, or any other type of visual content need to secure a synchronization license to use the copyrighted music or they risk the piece being taken down or a copyright infringement claim. This includes using the music on your social media accounts, which is why you may notice that occasionally Instagram or TikTok will take down certain sounds from videos posted unless it is a part of their pre-cleared library. It would be a shame for small business owners to put together a commercial with a certain song in it to post on their social media accounts only to have it taken down because they did not get clearance to use the song for its particular purpose.
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