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VNG Sues TikTok Over Alleged Copyright Infringement

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TikTok has yet another legal filing against its name. Vietnamese technology firm VNG is suing the popular short-form video app over alleged copyright infringement, Reuters report citing sources familiar with the matter.

According to the report, the firm alleges that TikTok does not have adequate licenses for the songs played on its platform. The ByteDance-owned Chinese app is reportedly using audio tracks owned by Zing, a VNG subsidiary, without its consent.

VNG is seeking damages from TikTok and also demanding it to stop using music owned by Zing, the report says.

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"VNG requests TikTok remove all music segments taken from Zing records from both the TikTok application and website, and an indemnification for damages of over 221 billion dong ($9.5 million)," a legal document from the people’s court of Ho Chi Minh City read.

Founded in 2004, the Ho Chi Minh City-based VNG Corporation is one of the country's leading tech firms. The company specializes in online games, e-commerce, music streaming, and messaging platforms. It sued local music streaming site Nhaccuatui for similar copyright infringement claims earlier this year. The $5 million lawsuit is yet to be resolved.

VNG hits TikTok with copyright infringement claims

TikTok, the hugely popular short video sharing app, made its debut in Vietnam last April. As of August 2020, the app has over 10 million registered users in the country. It also announced a partnership with cable company Vietnam Television Cable Corporation to boost local content.

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However, music right holders have alleged that the company does not obtain licenses for songs it uses in its platform. "TikTok has introduced a very complicated business model to avoid copyright compliance in Vietnam," the Vietnam Music Association told Reuters. VNG and TikTok did not respond to requests for comment from the publication.

TikTok's rise to popularity hasn't been short of controversies. The app, owned by Chinese tech company ByteDance, has been banned by the Indian government over concerns that it engages in activities that threaten national security.

It also faces a ban in the US over similar security concerns. The Trump Administration has given the company until November 12, 2020, to sell off its business in the country or face ban. Microsoft, Twitter, and Oracle are all bidding to takeover TikTok in some countries including the US. Google parent Alphabet has also reportedly considered investing in the company.

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TikTok, meanwhile, is challenging the American government's decision in court. The company claims the move is political and that it does not pose any risk to national security. This may allow TikTok to continue operating in the US longer, giving it more time to find a buyer.