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Cypress Hill DJ sues Peloton over unlicensed music

By | Published on Tuesday 2 August 2022


Fitness firm Peloton is back fighting a copyright infringement lawsuit over music that appears in its exercise videos. Though this time, the fight is with a single copyright owner, rather than a consortium of them.

Back in 2019, Peloton enjoyed a brief stint towards the top of the music industry’s copyright gripe list for not properly licensing the music that appeared in its videos. Specifically, it was a group of US music publishers that sued Peloton, accusing it of using an assortment of songs without first sorting out the required licences.

That litigation was settled in 2020, and these days music companies are more prone to mention Peloton in a positive context, usually when listing off the newer digital revenue streams that are going to help the music rights industry maintain its current levels of growth. But that doesn’t mean everybody is happy about Peloton’s musical fitness funtimes.

Or at least DJ Muggs – the former Cypress Hill producer and DJ – definitely isn’t happy. His company, Soul Assassins Inc, has now sued Peloton claiming that the company is using various Cypress Hill tracks in its videos – including ‘Jump Around, ‘Insane In The Brain’ and ‘(Rap) Superstar’ – but has never licensed his slice of the song rights in those tracks.

The lawsuit from the DJ – real name Lawrence Muggerud – notes Peloton’s previous run in with the music publishers, reckoning that that legal battle demonstrates that the fitness company understands its obligations when it comes to licensing music.

According to Billboard, last week’s legal filing reads: “Peloton’s use of [the songs] in its work-out videos without a licence from Soul Assassins is an outrageous, wilful infringement, because Peloton was sued by a group of music publishers in March of 2019 for doing the exact same thing. Clearly … Peloton knew unequivocally that it had no right to use any musical composition in its exercise videos without first obtaining a licence for one hundred percent of the song”.

That Peloton’s alleged infringement was ‘wilful’ is important, because under US copyright law if you can show wilful infringement the damages you can claim are significantly higher.

The fitness firm is yet to comment on the new litigation. It’s not clear if it has secured licences from the other co-owners of the Cypress Hill tracks named in Muggerud’s lawsuit.