Business News Digital Labels & Publishers Legal Top Stories
By Chris Cooke | Published on Thursday 3 August 2023
Triller has settled its legal battle with Sony Music, though a dispute with Universal Music Publishing continues. That’s according to a filing with the US Securities & Exchange Commission in relation to plans by the TikTok rival to directly list on the New York Stock Exchange without an Initial Public Offering.
Sony Music sued Triller last August claiming that the video sharing app owed it millions in unpaid royalties and had continued to use music controlled by the major even after its licensing deal had been terminated. Universal Music Publishing then went legal over unpaid royalties in January this year.
Having originally courted the music industry, late last year Triller started to play down the importance of commercially released music on its platform.
It let some of its music licences lapse and said that its data suggested that creators posting videos onto its platform didn’t need access to commercially released music, preferring to create their own soundtracks or tap audio uploaded by other Triller creators.
The Triller company originally planned to list itself on the Nasdaq stock exchange via a merger with SeaChange International, shares in which already trade on said stock exchange. When that deal fell through, Triller said it would seek a direct listing, ultimately opting for the New York Stock Exchange.
The SEC filing discusses Triller’s legal battle with the music industry. On the Sony dispute, it states: “On 16 May, 2023, the court entered partial final judgment in favour of [Sony] on [its] breach of contract claim, and ordered the company to pay plaintiffs $4,574,250”.
“Thereafter”, it adds, “the company and the plaintiffs entered into a confidential settlement agreement dated 21 Jul, 2023 to resolve plaintiffs’ remaining claims and provide for an agreed plan for payment of the judgment”.
As part of that deal, “the company agreed to pay an additional sum of money to plaintiffs and, upon receipt by plaintiffs of certain payments under the agreement, plaintiffs agreed to release claims arising under the content distribution agreement, effective 1 Sep 2016, between the parties and this action”.
Elsewhere in the document it also confirms: “We are in litigation with Universal Music Publishing Group in connection with a payment dispute, and such litigation will likely result in the payment of settlement amounts, which may have a material impact on our financial condition and results of operations”.