Wixen files lawsuit against Triller that’s reminiscent of Spotify case.
Wixen Music Publishing has filed a lawsuit against Triller, a short-form video-sharing app, seeking $50 million for alleging engaging in copyright infringement on more than 1,000 songs. Triller is similar to the popular app TIkTok and allows users to create short videos with music. Wixen, on the other hand, delivers more than 50,000 songs written and owned by its 2,000 clients. The complaint claims “Triller has been willfully infringing” by allowing its users to include these songs in videos “without authorization or compensation,” according to a federal complaint filed U.S. Central District of California Western Division.
Triller has “brazenly disregarded copyright law and committed willful and ongoing copyright infringement,” the lawsuit states, adding further, “Triller is well aware that it needs to negotiate licenses with Wixen and other publishers to use those works, but has failed to do so.”
The complaint contends, “Instead of paying Wixen and the songwriters Wixen represents to use their Works, Triller pays ‘social influencers’ substantial sums of money and provides them with Rolls Royces, mansions, sushi dinners at Nobu, and, in at least one instance, a helicopter. Triller could have reached out and negotiated with Wixen to obtain the necessary licenses, as its CEO promised. Instead, it chose to brazenly disregard copyright law and commit willful and ongoing copyright infringement. Among the evidence of Triller’s willfulness is that it continued to use, copy, and exploit the Works even after Wixen notified Triller that it had not obtained the proper licenses for the use of the Works.”
Triller’s CEO Mike Lu referred to Wixen as “an ambulance chasing company set up purely to shake down people and companies.” He added, “Triller has already pulled down the two songs in question which were put up by users, not Triller. This is nothing but a baseless shakedown and it won’t work. We look forward to our day in court where hopefully we can stop them from doing this to others who may not have the resources to fight them and give in to their extortionist demands. Instead of taking the easy route and paying their extortion we are fighting this for all those who cannot afford to do so, to help stop these things from happening in our business. It ends here and stops now.”
Wixen is seeking the maximum statutory relief, which it believes is $150,000 per work infringed, for a total of $50.4 million.
In 2017, Wixen filed a similar lawsuit against Spotify. However, the companies agreed to dismiss the $1.6 billion claim the following year. Wixen had argued that Spotify was using songs from artists it represented without “a direct or compulsory mechanical license” from these artists. It had also claimed Spotify was “engaging in copyright infringement by neglecting to send these paper notifications and failing to pay out songwriter royalties about 21 percent of the time.”
A mutual statement submitted at the dissolution read, “Wixen Music Publishing, Inc. and Spotify USA Inc. have agreed to a final dismissal of the lawsuit filed by Wixen Music Publishing late last year. The conclusion of that litigation is a part of a broader business partnership between the parties, which fairly and reasonably resolves the legal claims asserted by Wixen Music Publishing relating to past licensing of Wixen’s catalog and establishes a mutually-advantageous relationship for the future.”
It appears Triller is expecting the same resolution.