Warner Music Group has become the latest major music company to file a lawsuit against Bang Energy and parent company Vital Pharmaceuticals over the alleged infringement of its music in social media ads.
WMG’s lawsuit, which includes Atlantic Records, Asylum, Warner Chappell Music, and others as plaintiffs, follows recent victories achieved by Sony Music Entertainment and Universal Music Group in similar cases against Vital and Bang.
UMG and SME filed separate copyright infringement lawsuits against Bang Energy in 2021 for the use of their music in social media ads without permission.
In July, a Florida court found that Bang had violated UMG’s copyrights by using its music in social media ads without permission.
Sony Music, meanwhile was granted a partial summary judgment last week, with the court ruling that Bang was liable for infringement for music used in videos posted to its own social media channels, but not for music used in videos posted by influencers.
According to the WMG lawsuit, which, as Reuters reports was filed in a Florida court on Thursday ( September 15), Bang Energy has “achieved widespread commercial success by infringing” WMG’s recordings and compositions “on a massive scale”.
WMG notes in its suit that Bang has relied on social media platforms like Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook to promote its products and that social media ads “have been instrumental to Bang’s success”.
The major claims however that bang has “not paid to use the sound recordings and musical compositions that are featured in them”.
Warner claims further that Bang Energy has “misappropriated” almost 200 of its “most popular and valuable” recordings and compositions, including some by superstar artists like Bruno Mars, Cardi B, Dua Lipa, Jack Harlow, Lizzo, Saweetie, and Van Halen.
“Bang has used the Copyrighted Musical Works to drive sales to Bang and increase Bang’s brand awareness and profile without any compensation to Plaintiffs, adds the lawsuit.
Warner is suing Bang on three counts, for direct infringement, contributory infringement and vicarious infringement.
“Even after receiving WMG’s cease-and-desist letter, Bang posted multiple new Bang Videos featuring the same Copyrighted Musical Works previously identified.”
Says WMG in the lawsuit: “On July 9, 2021, WMG demanded in writing that Defendants cease and desist from their infringement of WMG’s Copyrighted Musical Works. Defendants’ infringement nonetheless persisted, even in the face of two lawsuits and WMG’s cease-and-desist letter.
“Although Defendants eventually disabled access to certain infringing Bang Videos, other infringing Bang Videos identified in WMG’s cease-and-desist letter remained up for over a year. Moreover, even after receiving WMG’s cease-and-desist letter, Bang posted multiple new Bang Videos featuring the same Copyrighted Musical Works previously identified.
“Defendants’ continued and additional infringement following receipt of WMG’s cease-and-desist letter (not to mention the lawsuits filed by UMG and Sony) is further compelling evidence of willfulness.”
The major is seeking a permanent injunction requiring that Bang “cease infringing, or causing, enabling, facilitating, encouraging, promoting, inducing, and/or participating in the infringement of” any of its copyrights.
It is also seeking maximum statutory damages in the amount of $150,000 per infringed work.
Music Business Worldwide