Vietnam’s tech giant sues TikTok for stealing songs

21 September 2020

Vietnam’s tech giant sues TikTok for stealing songs

Founded in 2004 with businesses in music streaming, messaging applications and online gaming, VNG, accuses TikTok of using audio tracks owned by its subsidiary, Zing, without authorizations.

VNG is reportedly asking TikTok to remove everything taken from Zing and to pay for damages of more than ₫221 billion (US$9.5 million).

However, is the accusation purely motivated by copyright infringement, or mostly because of market competition, as TikTok is famous worldwide with about 10 million users in Vietnam and VNG offers similar if not the same services.

“In any jurisdiction, copyright infringement lawsuit between commercial entities will be based on law particularly copyright statutes and likely initiated with commercial motivation. Understandably, there is no contradiction between them at all,” says Charles Feng, a partner at East & Concord Partners in Beijing. “By the same token, a copyright lawsuit by VGN against TikTok will inevitably have business drive to confine its competitor and maintain its market position as much as the law permits.”

“The win of the lawsuit will largely depend on the application of law by local courts, given the complexity of music copyright licensing mechanism that TikTok may already have introduced as well as the possible defensive arguments such as fair use and safe harbour that TikTok may address during the trial,” says Feng.

TikTok is popular in many countries worldwide and Vietnam had approximately 10 million users as of August, 2020.


Johnny Chan

Law firms

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