Some of us are more intrinsically motivated to work out, more inclined and apt to stay healthy and in shape and disciplined to a diet that allows them to be the best version of themselves. More of us, however, are not that person; we're jealous and more than a little resentful of that person, if we're honest, provided that we've seen one of them in the real world. For the vast majority of us, exercise is a slog, and there's an entire industry that's cropped up to make it easier and more convenient for us to do something that we still nevertheless don't want to do. In recent years, the tricks involved in getting us on these machines have gotten even more advanced: TVs built in, music playing, even immersive experiences that simulate an outdoor bike ride. It's enough to make you consider exercise as near-entertainment, which is rather the point.
But intermingling media with exercise opens these businesses up to the concerns that come with created content, as high-end exercise equipment manufacturer Peloton is learning. The company finds itself as the subject of a lawsuit from music publishers over songs used in recorded workout videos, with the Hollywood Reporter detailing how the damages sought have now jumped from $150 million to $300 million as the publishers discovered an additional 1,200 songs as well as previously-unrealized aggrieved parties in videos that infringe upon their collective copyrights. The songs in question are synced to the videos, and Peloton, according to the publishers' complaint, do not have the requisite license to use the songs as such in those videos.
Peloton, for its part, claims conspiracy against the company, stating that the publishers are engaged in a concerted effort to collude and fix licensing prices and altogether deny Peloton the opportunity or ability to license their songs. They further claim that the additional damages and added plaintiffs is further bad faith on the part of the group. The company has to feel particularly aggrieved at the timing of the lawsuit (not that there is ever a good time to find oneself in court), given that the brand is (was?) on the rise, with ads everywhere and even stores in your local mall, depending on where you find yourself. And the THR article notes that the company had its eye on a $500 million IPO, which would certainly face dampened enthusiasm in the face of a potential judgement against the company for 60 percent of that mooted figure.
It's another lesson on the importance of IP and proper licensing in any business, whether you're serving a small local clientele or looking to clear a half billion dollars with Wall Street investors. Perhaps more immediately, it's vindication on the dangers and ills of exercise to those of us who maintain a jaundiced eye towards the entire enterprise, even as we dutifully trudge through the motions.