Triller, Sony Music Settle Licensing Fees Dispute – The


Triller has settled a lawsuit from Sony Music accusing it of showing “brazen contempt for the intellectual property rights” of its artists by ceasing to pay license fees for the use of the company’s songs on the social video app.

The deal was reached on July 21 after a federal judge overseeing the case sided with Sony on its breach of contract claim and ordered Triller to pay $4.6 million, according to a securities filing issued on Wednesday. The settlement includes an “agreed plan” for payment of the judgment on top of an additional undisclosed amount in exchange for dropping the remaining copyright infringement claim. Further terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.

In August, Sony sued Triller in a suit alleging the company entered into a content distribution agreement in 2016 and signed an amended deal in 2021 but stopped paying license fees. The suit came just as the company announced it raised more than $300 million in funding since its 2019 launch and had recently finished its acquisition of Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship — and it was filed on the heels of another suit from Timbaland and Swizz Beatz alleging they were owed more than $28 million in connection with the sale of Verzuz. In September, they settled in a deal that increased the producers’ ownership stake in parent company Triller Network.

Triller in April conceded that it’s liable on Sony’s breach of contract claim to “avoid the costs and expenses associated with discovery,” according to a court filing from the company. It urged the court, however, to delay entry of final judgment since doing so would impair settlement negotiations. U.S. District Judge Kevin Castel declined to wait.

Triller has taken on a majority investment from Ryan Kavanaugh’s Proxima Media and has expanded into live events, including a boxing league called Triller Fight Club. A library of original shows is also available on TrillerTV. The video-sharing app enjoyed a surge in popularity in the wake of India banning TikTok and the U.S. possibly following in its footsteps.

After announcing it would go public via a reverse merger with SeaChange International, both sides last year mutually terminated the agreement. The company has filed a confidential registration statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission for a possible initial public offering, though the litigation and contractual licensing costs the company is facing may hinder profitability.

Sony Music and Triller didn’t respond to requests for comment.

Alex Weprin contributed to this report.

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