An organization representing music publishing companies such as Vivendi SA's Universal Music Group Inc. threatened to sue TikTok Inc. for alleged copyright infringement, London's Financial Times reported April 4, citing four sources.
Sources said some holders of music rights claimed the Beijing Byte Dance Telecommunications Co. Ltd.-owned video app does not have sufficient licenses for the songs used in TikTok videos.
With an estimate of over 50% of the music publishing market not licensed with the Chinese-owned app, a lawsuit is a "likely future step," according to National Music Publishers Association CEO David Israelite's statement to Financial Times. NMPA represents creators in the music industry, including publishers and songwriters, in the U.S.
According to sources, Universal Music Publishing Group Inc. wants payment for lost royalties in any licensing agreement.
While ByteDance already signed a licensing agreement with independent record labels represented by rights agency Merlin Network, it is still in talks to secure licensing deals with Universal Music, Warner Music Group Corp. and Sony Corp.'s Sony Music Entertainment Inc. as of January.