'Nothing but a Baseless Shakedown': Triller's CEO on Music Infringement Claims

Sam Blake

Sam primarily covers entertainment and media for dot.LA. Previously he was Marjorie Deane Fellow at The Economist, where he wrote for the business and finance sections of the print edition. He has also worked at the XPRIZE Foundation, U.S. Government Accountability Office, KCRW, and MLB Advanced Media (now Disney Streaming Services). He holds an MBA from UCLA Anderson, an MPP from UCLA Luskin and a BA in History from University of Michigan. Email him at samblake@dot.LA and find him on Twitter @hisamblake

'Nothing but a Baseless Shakedown': Triller's CEO on Music Infringement Claims

Wixen Music Publishing has accused the social media video sharing platform Triller of illegally using its songs by Weezer, The Ramones, Styx and hundreds of other artists in the music publisher's 50,000-deep song catalog.

The case filed in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California claims Triller has infringed on Wixen's songs by making them available on the app without properly clearing them for use. Wixen is seeking over $50 million in damages for what the music publishing house calls willful copyright infringement by Triller.

Triller CEO Mike Lu dismissed the suit.

"This is nothing but a baseless shakedown and it won't work," he said.


Lu pointed to separate lawsuits previously issued by Wixen, including a protracted battle against Pandora and a $1.6 billion lawsuit against Spotify that ended with an out-of-court settlement.

"They already tried this with Spotify and Pandora. Is there any material payment to them in Spotify or Pandora's filings? I think not," Lu said. "We look forward to our day in court where hopefully we can stop them from doing this to others who may not have the resources to fight them and give in to their extortionist demands," Lu continued.

Social media companies have increasingly been seeking deals with publishing companies to avoid these kinds of disputes.

The Calabasas-based Wixen was founded in 1978 by Randall Wixen and administers the publishing rights for over 2,000 clients, several of whom are among this century's most popular musical acts.

Randall Wixen told dot.LA he had previously tried to engage Triller, but they weren't "serious" about working with the company.

"At one point they told us that fewer than five of our clients' songs were on their service, and we had already found hundreds of them," Wixen said. "How could they not know what songs were on their own platform or who controlled those songs? If they didn't know that, they shouldn't have been on Triller in the first place."

Triller has been called out before as a potential infringer by National Music Publishers' Association President David Israelite. Wixen is a member of NMPA.

Triller is also in the throes of litigation with TikTok, having accused its rival of patent infringement on technology related to how the app synchronizes its user-generated videos with music. In response, TikTok and its parent company ByteDance have countersued, asking for relief from the "cloud" Triller's accusations have cast over the company.
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Genies Wants To Help Creators Build ‘Avatar Ecosystems’

Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

Genies Wants To Help Creators Build ‘Avatar Ecosystems’

When avatar startup Genies raised $150 million in April, the company released an unusual message to the public: “Farewell.”

The Marina del Rey-based unicorn, which makes cartoon-like avatars for celebrities and aims to “build an avatar for every single person on Earth,” didn’t go under. Rather, Genies announced it would stay quiet for a while to focus on building avatar-creation products.

Genies representatives told dot.LA that the firm is now seeking more creators to try its creation tools for 3D avatars, digital fashion items and virtual experiences. On Thursday, the startup launched a three-week program called DIY Collective, which will mentor and financially support up-and-coming creatives.

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Here's What To Expect At LA Tech Week

Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

Here's What To Expect At LA Tech Week

LA Tech Week—a weeklong showcase of the region’s growing startup ecosystem—is coming this August.

The seven-day series of events, from Aug. 15 through Aug. 21, is a chance for the Los Angeles startup community to network, share insights and pitch themselves to investors. It comes a year after hundreds of people gathered for a similar event that allowed the L.A. tech community—often in the shadow of Silicon Valley—to flex its muscles.

From fireside chats with prominent founders to a panel on aerospace, here are some highlights from the roughly 30 events happening during LA Tech Week, including one hosted by dot.LA.

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LA Tech ‘Moves’: HyperDraft Taps LegalZoom Exec

Decerry Donato

Decerry Donato is a reporter at dot.LA. Prior to that, she was an editorial fellow at the company. Decerry received her bachelor's degree in literary journalism from the University of California, Irvine. She continues to write stories to inform the community about issues or events that take place in the L.A. area. On the weekends, she can be found hiking in the Angeles National forest or sifting through racks at your local thrift store.

LA Tech ‘Moves’: HyperDraft Taps LegalZoom Exec
Photo by James Opas | Modified by Joshua Letona

“Moves,” our roundup of job changes in L.A. tech, is presented by Interchange.LA, dot.LA's recruiting and career platform connecting Southern California's most exciting companies with top tech talent. Create a free Interchange.LA profile here—and if you're looking for ways to supercharge your recruiting efforts, find out more about Interchange.LA's white-glove recruiting service by emailing Sharmineh O’Farrill Lewis (sharmineh@dot.la). Please send job changes and personnel moves to moves@dot.la.

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