Pearl Narang

Pearl Narang is a final year law student of B.B.A.LL.B (Hons.) at Chandigarh University, Mohali and is currently interning as a Trainee in Business World Legal Community. She is also pursuing a diploma in Contract Drafting, Negotiation and Dispute Resolution. She is passionate about both law and writing.

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Copyright Issues Surrounding Short Video Platforms

The ever-looming threat of copyright lawsuits just became real for short video platforms.

Tiktok has been the hottest app of 2020 albeit for all the wrong reasons. Slammed for privacy, stealing data, and copyright infringement. The App has also faced the brunt of India-China dispute when India banned several Chinese Apps, including TikTok and took away its largest user base. 

TikTok is a social networking service owned by Beijing-based company Bytedance. The service allows users to create and share short videos featuring lip-sync performances, and comedy, usually set to music. 

The Ban and its aftermath

With the ban came a hundred alternatives to tap into the Indian market. Roposo, Triller, Takatak (MX Player), Josh, Mitron, Snack Video, Chingari etc. are few examples of alternatives. These platforms have now been served legal notices by music labels. 

Copyright Issues 

The Apps allow users to create short videos to the tune of music. According to law, to stream music, one needs to have rights. These rights are usually granted through licenses. The new short video platforms do not have those. The platforms need to acquire licenses from the copyright owners.  TikTok itself came under fire for infringement of copyright when the National Music Publishers Association (“NMPA”) in the US threatened to sue the platform for copyright infringement. Later, the social media service reached a licensing deal with the Association. 

But in India, these new apps have not secured adequate licenses for the songs used in videos. Acquiring such licenses takes a long time and can prove to be a major hurdle for these platforms. For instance, Facebook took more than a year to add the music feature to its photo-sharing app Instagram in India. 

The other alternative

Facebook has tie-ups with various music labels in the country, which allows it to provide music on its platform, Instagram. In fact, after the ban, Instagram launched its version of TikTok, called Reels. Reels is similar to TikTok and allows users to create 15 seconds of videos with popular songs, trends, or challenges.


Music licenses from social media have also become a great source of revenue for music labels. Online streaming has, in a way, revived the music business. This is why the companies fiercely protect their copyrights by negotiating high stake licensing deals with companies. 

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house

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