Universal Music Group May Be Looking to Take Serious Legal Action Against TikTok

In January, Universal Music Group decided to remove its entire catalog from TikTok after negotiations broke down between the two companies. Artists like Taylor Swift, Billie Eilish, and The Beatles disappeared from the platform, and both UMG and TikTok put out statements detailing the negotiation breakdown.

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Now, UMG has been sending DMCA notices to TikTok to take down their music since January. These strict takedown measures may be a sign of bigger legal issues to come for the video platform. According to a report from Digital Music News, UMG has sent “tens of thousands” of takedown notices, but TikTok continues to host some UMG-represented music.

Some songs are still available on TikTok because they have been altered somehow on the platform, such as being sped up or slowed. Because of this, UMG is having to get serious about its crackdown, going to extra lengths to locate and remove those altered songs.

[RELATED: Taylor Swift Personally Struck A Deal to Put Her Music Back on TikTok After UMG Negotiation Breakdown]

Universal Music Group is Allegedly Tracking How TikTok Deals With Repeat Infringers

UMG is looking to not only remove its music from TikTok, but also hold the platform accountable for not complying with DMCA repeat infringer notices. Allegedly, the notices are only the first step in more serious legal measures. If repeat infringer notices are sent and not acknowledged, the platform would face penalties or legal action. TikTok must have measures in place for removing the infringing content and accounts. However, it doesn’t look like the platform has any such policies, which is a problem for them.

Currently, it is not confirmed it UMG is moving forward with more serious legal proceedings. However, according to the report, the DMCA notices are revealing a potential vulnerability in TikTok’s content management practices. According to a source who spoke with Digital Music News, “[UMG is] not just sending notices; they’re meticulously tracking TikTok’s response to users who have been the subject of multiple notices.”

In this way, UMG can find where the cracks are in TikTok’s content management and act accordingly. However, Taylor Swift recently went ahead and restored her music on the platform to boost marketing for her forthcoming album. This could significantly weaken UMG’s stance if more artists defect in this way, and makes things easier for TikTok.

Featured Image by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

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