Copyright Infringement

Sony Wins TikTok Copyright Infringement Case – Awarded $800k

In a landmark ruling, Sony Music has been awarded a staggering $802,997.23 in damages for copyright infringement against a popular TikTok creator. District Judge Mark T. Pittman’s unequivocal verdict serves as a potent reminder of the consequences of unauthorized use of copyrighted material.

TikTok Sensation Vs. Sony Music

The case centered around Dantreal Daevon Clark-Rainbolt, a TikTok sensation known as Trefuego, whose track ’90mh’ contained an unlicensed sample from the 1986 composition ‘Reflections’ by Japanese composer Toshifumi Hinata. Sony Music, the rightful owner of the copyright, swiftly issued a takedown notice and subsequently filed a lawsuit against Trefuego, alleging “flagrant and deliberate infringement.”

According to Sony’s claims, Trefuego’s infringing conduct had severely undermined the market for Hinata’s work by falsely implying the composer’s endorsement or support for the unauthorized use. The suit further alleged that ’90mh’ had been featured in over 155,000 TikTok videos and streamed an astonishing 100 million times on Spotify.

TikToker Ordered to Pay Sony $802k for Copyright Infringement

In a resounding victory for Sony, the federal judge ruled that Trefuego had indeed infringed upon the company’s copyrights. The subsequent ruling ordered the 20-year-old TikToker to pay the substantial sum of $802,997, encompassing $700,000 in profits from streaming platforms and $100,000 in licensing fees owed to Sony.

Judge Pittman’s scathing remarks underscored the gravity of the offense, stating, “The court hopes this case will serve as a $802,997.23 lesson for defendant in carefully selecting the materials included in his raps.” Additionally, Trefuego was ordered to pay ongoing royalties, including a 50% cut of publishing revenue, a 20% cut of recording revenue, and $2,230 in legal costs incurred by Sony.

A Win for Copyright Protection and Intellectual Property Rights

Neither Trefuego nor Sony has publicly commented on the ruling. The judge’s decision stands as a pivotal moment in the ongoing debate surrounding copyright protection and the fair use of copyrighted material in the digital age.

As the case reverberates throughout the entertainment industry, it serves as a stark reminder of the consequences of disregarding intellectual property rights and the importance of obtaining proper licenses for copyrighted works.

NME – Anagricel Duran – April 23, 2024

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