About two weeks after filing a copyright infringement suit against Gymshark, a fitness clothing company, Sony Music Entertainment filed a lawsuit against Vital Pharmaceuticals (the parent company of Bang Energy) and the founder and CEO of Bang, Jack Owoc.
Sony Music – along with SME US Latin, Zomba Recording, Arista Records, and other subsidiaries – has just filed the lawsuit in federal court in Florida, where Bang Energy is based. It should be noted here that the action is decidedly similar to what Gymshark is facing, as both lawsuits focus on the allegedly unauthorized use of music by SMEs on social media.
Admittedly, the complaints even share several sentences, one of which emphasizes that SMEs “generally invest upstream of an artist’s career”. As a result, Sony Music – which earned over $ 2.3 billion last quarter – “strength see a return on investment if an artist’s recordings become commercially successful, ”say the two lawsuits.
Naming Vital Pharmaceuticals (doing business as Bang Energy) and Jack Owoc as defendants, the more recent of the two lawsuits immediately notes that Bang is “the third best-selling energy drink in the United States”. Additionally, 2020 saw 80.8% year-over-year sales growth for the energy drink company, the text also reveals, with revenue of around $ 780 million.
Bearing these numbers in mind, the plaintiffs allege that Bang’s “explosive growth has been amplified” by social media marketing initiatives, including TikTok, Facebook and Instagram. As you might expect, videos are a key part of these marketing initiatives, and the clips are often “choreographed to famous copyrighted sound recordings and musical compositions,” according to Sony Music.
Bang and Owoc “boast loud and clear about the billions of views their videos have received but have remained silent since Sony Music requested an explanation for the unauthorized use of at least 132 copyright-protected sound recordings “in 209 or more videos, the the complaint continues.
Sony Music made the request in a phone call and letter in April 2021, the document says, when officials reportedly informed Bang’s lawyers that the company would have to pay licensing fees for previous uses of the song. as well as the use of any additional PME. tracks. The parties did not come to an agreement, needless to say, and Bang reportedly continued to use Sony Music works in videos after the fact.
As a relevant aside, however, the most recent clips posted to Bang’s YouTube channel and Instagram profile feature tracks from the royalty-free Epidemic Sound music library as well as what appear to be original songs from the energy drink company, “Bang All Day Bang All Night” and “When I Say Bang” among them.
However, through the “clearly willful” infringement that allegedly preceded, Bang allegedly caused “irreparable harm” to SMEs, in addition to profiting from the uses of the song by “creating brand value and awareness, by engaging consumers and, of course, increasing sales of Bang. of the products. ”The discovery, claimants argue, would“ likely ”reveal that the defendants“ illegally exploited numerous additional sound recordings ”
At the time of writing, Bang Energy did not appear to have publicly commented on Sony Music’s lawsuit, which seeks damages as well as an injunction prohibiting the defendants from using its tracks in the media.