Tencent Video has recently sued ByteDance’s Toutiao, a news and content aggregation platform, for copyright infringement and unfair competition, claiming a total of 10 million yuan ($1.49 million). It held that there was a significant amount of unauthorized short videos from two film and television works on Toutiao.
The specific works involved in this case are “Once Upon a Bite” and “Legend of Fei.” The former is a food documentary produced by Tencent Video, while the latter is an ancient costume martial arts drama broadcast on Tencent Video since December 16, 2020. The case has been accepted by the Hainan Free Trade Port Intellectual Property Court.
On May 7, iFeng reported that the legal person in charge of Toutiao responded that they had not received the court litigation materials and would actively respond to the lawsuit. They learned the news from the media, and would conduct preliminary investigations.
The investigation found that videos of the Once Upon a Bite collection in the current report were tasting videos taken by users who tried dishes introduced in Once Upon a Bite, and their collections didn’t use any pictures from the original documentary. As for videos involving Legend of Fei, they were published by the same user. On the afternoon of May 6, once the complaint email was received, the platform removed the related videos in a timely fashion.
As short video platforms have developed into a prosperous industry, video copyright battles between Tencent and ByteDance have become more intense. In April alone, as there were many infringing videos from movies “My People, My Homeland” and “My Country, My Parents” on official WeChat accounts, the copyright owner ByteDance’s Xigua Video sued Tencent at the Hainan Free Trade Port Intellectual Property Court, claiming 8 million yuan.
In addition, as early as March 18, 2019, Tencent sued Toutiao and Xigua Video, applying for the two defendants to prohibit livestreaming of League of Legends. Then, on May 5, Tencent again sued Toutiao and Xigua Video, arguing that they should ban the dissemination of “League of Legends” videos.