Sony Music Sues Triller, Citing 6 Months and ‘Millions of Dollars’ in Unpaid Licensing Fees

The lawsuit comes after the music label terminated its arrangement with the social media company on Aug. 8

Sony Music Triller Lawsuit
(Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images)

Sony Music Entertainment has filed a lawsuit against video-sharing social network platform Triller over “millions” in unpaid licensing fees and copyright infringement.

According to Sony’s lawsuit filed Monday in New York, the company was forced to take legal action due to “Triller’s failure and refusal to pay millions of dollars in contractual licensing fees that Triller agreed to pay for the use of Sony Music’s copyrighted content in Triller’s commercial service.” The suit also alleges that “Triller displays brazen contempt for the intellectual property rights of Sony Music, its artists, and others.”

The suit claims that the social platform has a track record of failing to make payments in a timely manner and that, since March 2022, has not made “any monthly payments required under the Agreement, totaling millions of dollars.” Sony says it has requested payments for outstanding and overdue fees for months and has been met with “near-total radio silence” in response. This finally led to Sony terminating its arrangement with Triller on Aug. 8.

Despite the dissolution of their arrangement, the lawsuit argues that Triller has continued to “reproduce, distribute, publicly perform, display, create derivative works, and otherwise exploit the valuable Sony Music Content in connection with the Triller App.” In addition to recouping what is owed, Sony is suing for copyright infringement, as well.

“Triller’s conduct has caused and continues to cause substantial and irreparable harm to Sony Music and its artists, while enriching Triller at the expense of Sony Music and its artists,” the suit states.

The music label isn’t the only entity currently engaged in a legal struggle with Triller.

Verzuz, a live-video competition streaming series created by Timbaland and Swizz Beatz that sees two musicians pit their discographies against one another, was acquired by TrillerNet in March 2021. In August, both artists sued Triller for $28 million in an argument that they had not yet been paid their 2022 installments for the series sale.

The lawsuits come at a time when Triller is preparing for an initial public offering in Q4 of this fiscal year valued at $3 billion. However, this is the company’s second attempt at an IPO after a previously scheduled reverse merger with SeaChange International valued at $5 billion was terminated in June due to market volatility.

Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.