Warner Music Sues Bang Energy Over TikTok Ads In ‘Massive Infringement’ Case

Following court rulings that Bang Energy stole music from Universal Music Group and Sony Music for ads on TikTok, Warner Music Group (WMG) is now stepping in – accusing the beverage maker of using tracks from cardi b, Dua Lipa, Jack Harlow, Lizzo and more without permission.

In a lawsuit filed Thursday (Sept. 15) in Florida federal court, WMG alleges that Bang Energy infringed the company’s copyrights on a “massive scale” by using nearly 200 different songs in promotional videos on TikTok and Instagram without proper licenses.

The allegedly infringed tracks also include songs by Sweetheart, Van Halen, Bruno Mars and many other artists and songwriters across Warner’s labels and publishers.

“Defendants have created global brand awareness for Bang and billions of dollars in sales through the ubiquity and effectiveness of the infringing Bang videos, many of which have received millions of views,” Warner wrote. “Defendants achieved this success through flagrant, willful and repeated copyright infringement of content owned by record companies and music publishers.”

The new case came on the heels of similar lawsuits filed by both Sony and UMG. In July, UMG won a warrant that Bang Energy had infringed its copyright; last week, Sony won the same kind of judgment. Together, the two decisions potentially put the beverage company on the hook for many millions of dollars in damages.

Now filed by all three major music companies, the lawsuits against Bang Energy highlight an important distinction: The extensive music licenses signed by platforms like TikTok and Instagram, which allow users to display snippets of copyrighted music in their posts, do not apply to commercial content posted by brands. Companies must negotiate separate agreements or use generic royalty-free tracks instead.

In the previous cases, Bang Energy claimed that it did not know that it was not allowed to use copyrighted music in its videos. Its lawyers cited the fact that TikTok and Instagram make it easy for users to drag any song into a video, and even claimed in Sony’s case that a TikTok representative told them they could do so.

“At the time Bang Energy posted videos on TikTok, no warning was given that the songs TikTok provided could not be used in videos posted by companies,” the company’s lawyers wrote earlier this summer in response to Sony’s lawsuit. “Energy used TikTok as intended, posting videos with the music provided by TikTok.”

But Judge William P. Dimitrouleas has rejected that argument in both of the previous cases – essentially ruling both times that it didn’t matter what Bang Energy thought it was entitled to do.

In last week’s appeal – filed with the unusual benefit of several recent decisions in nearly identical cases – Warner seemed intent on rejecting that argument from the start.

“Defendants’ infringement was clearly intentional,” Warner’s lawyers wrote. “Among other things, the social media platforms on which the infringing Bang Videos were posted expressly state that users do not have the right to infringe music, especially in connection with commercial activities.”

“Even after receiving WMG’s cease-and-desist letter, Bang posted several new Bang videos featuring the same copyrighted musical works previously identified,” the complaint added.


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