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T-Series takes on Indian short-video apps over music usage


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It’s not just the US where the rapid growth of short-video apps are sparking unrest from music rightsholders about licensing deals. India, where a continuing ban on TikTok has led to a spike in downloads of its rivals, is also seeing some tensions around this. One of the biggest music companies, T-Series, isn’t just grumbling publicly, though: it’s taking legal action.

The Deccan Chronicle has the story, reporting that T-Series has filed a lawsuit against Roposo, while sending copyright violation notices to ‘many social video platforms, including Bolo Indya, Mitron, MX Player’s Takatak, Triller and Josh’. According to the article, T-Series is asking each of the latter group of apps for 3.5 crore rupees in damages – around $476.5k.

Only one of the companies has responded publicly so far: Bolo Indya’s founder told the newspaper that any infringing videos on its app have been uploaded by users migrating across from other apps. “These videos weren’t created on our platform and any such video reported from time to time, where any possible breach of IPR [intellectual property rights] is there, is immediately removed from the platform.”

T-Series had already been cited as one of four Indian labels sending infringement notices to short-video apps earlier this month, with the company’s president Neeraj Kalyan slamming them for “habitually infringing music content since their launch and are busy finding excuses to not respect the right of the music copyright owners”.

Infringement notices and damages demands are the stick with which T-Series and other Indian labels hope to prod the short-video apps towards proper licensing deals. What we don’t know yet is what kind of terms the labels are looking for in those licensing agreements, and which of the apps – which range from independent startups to offshoots from bigger tech companies – will have the financial muscle to meet them.

Stuart Dredge

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