Earlier this year the government of Indian banned the Chinese app TikTok, leaving many content creators of the platform seeking alternative options. In the vacuum created by the banning of TikTok a plethora of apps like Roposso, Triller, Takatak, Josh, Mitron, Snack Video etc. sprang up to capitalize on the market. However, the sudden emergence of these apps has left music labels fuming. Apparently, in a bid to capture the market most of these app have been using popular songs without acquiring the necessary rights from music owners. In light of this blatant copyright infringement music labels have decided on taking the legal route.
Commenting on the same Neeraj Kalyan, President T-series says, “Many content sharing mobile applications such as Roposso, Triller, Takatak (MX Player), Josh, Mitron, Snack Video etc are taking advantage of TikTok’s ban in India and to gain immediate success are using popular music, most of which belongs to T-Series without our permission. Though some of them backed by huge investors such as Tiger Global Management and Bertelsmann India Investments Apps like Roposso are habitually infringing music content since their launch and are busy finding excuses to not respect the rights of the music copyright owners. In today’s time, we as a company have no choice but to serve legal notices and take legal action (civil and/or criminal) against these Apps which are blatantly infringing our copyright. The argument by these Apps that the content is solely user generated is an eye-wash since all these Apps have music libraries where the App itself provide music to users to exploit. These Apps are clearly not intermediaries as they allow our content to be synchronised and downloaded and to add to the injury monetize our copyrighted content on their platform without our permission, earning unlawful profits at our expense and despite being put on notice are not taking down our copyrighted content. In fact, the law requires even an intermediary to conduct regular due diligence of its platforms and prevent such violations and not always wait for a notice.”
Expressing his displeasure on the blatant infringement Kalyan further added, “We spend crores and crores of rupees in acquisition and production of content, year on year and this year has been especially tough for the music and film industry and in such a scenario, the only people who are doing well are infringers, monetizing our content. How can we let this happen? All we are asking Apps like Roposso, Takatak, Triller etc to do is to not use our content without our permission. If they can’t do that, they should take a license and legitimize their actions. Why can’t these Apps just comply with the law? I fail to understand how come respectable Venture Funds like Tiger Global & Bertelsmann are backing such companies which have no respect for the law of the land. We are prepared to go any length to protect our copyrights and will not shy away from bringing their investors into the legal action as they are certainly hand in glove and partners in crime.”
While a decision whether the music labels will take the legal route in this matter is still awaited, a similar app had faced legal issues in Delhi recently. In fact, the Delhi High Court had injuncted an app and for flouting court orders the High Court has also initiated contempt proceedings.
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