Sony Music Entertainment is the second largest of the “Big Three” record labels as of 2020, just behind Universal Music Group and followed by Warner Music Group. Sony Music recently filed a lawsuit against Triller, alleging copyright infringement and breach of contract.
According to Variety, Sony Music Entertainment sued Triller in March 2022, claiming millions of dollars in damages after the video-sharing app reportedly stopped paying license fees. According to the suit, which was filed in federal court in New York on Monday, Triller continued to allow Sony Music songs to be shared on the app even after the music company terminated their deal.
Despite extolling the importance and value of ‘innovative technology and intellectual property,’ and claiming to hope that its efforts to curb copyright infringement ‘will set a precedent for us and all content creators going forward that stealing is not going to be tolerated,’ Triller displays brazen contempt for the intellectual property rights of Sony Music, its artists, and others.
Swizz Beatz and Timbaland sued Triller earlier this month, alleging Triller owes them $28 million in payments from the app company’s acquisition of Verzuz, their live streaming rap-battle show. Triller first engaged with Sony Music on content distribution in September 2016. “While Triller had historically failed to make payments in a timely manner under the Agreement, its failures recently escalated,” Sony Music alleged in the lawsuit.
Triller failed to make any of the required monthly payments starting in March 2022. Sony Music notified Triller on July 22 that it was in material breach of the agreement after months of requesting that Triller pay its outstanding and overdue fees, “and near-total radio silence in response.” After Triller “failed to substantively respond, much less cure” its violation of the deal, Sony Music terminated the agreement on August 8th.
In doing so, Sony Music expressly informed Triller that its continued use of Sony Music Content would constitute willful copyright infringement.
According to the lawsuit, even after the agreement was terminated on August 8th, Sony Music’s content remained available in Triller’s audio library and was used in user videos. “The full scope of Triller’s infringement is unknown,” Sony Music said in the complaint.
In the complaint, Sony Music did not indicate how much compensation it wants from Triller. However, it seeks compensatory and statutory damages, as well as an order for Triller to stop infringing Sony Music’s copyrights and “a declaration that Triller willfully infringed Sony Music’s copyrighted sound recordings.”
Triller was sued in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. The docket number for this case is 1:22-cv-07380, just in case you’d like to look it up for yourself. To get the latest updates, keep an eye on Thirsty.
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