On April 10, news about Jay Chou, a Taiwanese singer, songwriter, record producer, rapper, actor and television personality suing Chinese technology company NetEase for unfair competition went viral on Weibo, a Twitter-like platform. The lawsuit is related to a promotional event that took place last summer for one of NetEase‘s online games.
According to the commercial information search platform Tianyancha, Chou and his music production company JVR Music have filed a lawsuit against Guangzhou NetEase Computer System Co., Ltd., NetEase (Hangzhou) Network Co., Ltd., and Hangzhou NetEase ThunderFire Technology Co., Ltd. The case is scheduled to be heard in a court located in Hangzhou on April 17. It’s worth noting that NetEase Cloud Music, which operates the music streaming service under NetEase, is not involved as a defendant in this case.
JVR Music has confirmed to The Paper that they are filing a lawsuit against NetEase for offering Jay Chou’s album “Greatest Works of Art” and concert tickets as gifts during the promotion of their online game “Tianxia 3”. JVR Music claims that this action by NetEase constitutes infringement, as it caused confusion among consumers who mistakenly believed there was a specific connection between the online game and Jay Chou.
After the news was announced, netizens had varying reactions. Some recalled NetEase Cloud Music’s unauthorized release of Chou’s music in April 2018, while others expressed their desire for a unified platform that combines music and video copyrights to avoid the inconvenience of switching between platforms when listening to songs or watching dramas.
In recent years, JVR Music and NetEase have experienced ongoing friction. In 2018, Tencent Music Entertainment Group accused NetEase Cloud Music of copyright infringement for continuing to provide several works by JVR Music after the authorization expired on March 31 of that year. Despite the exclusive copyright being lifted in July 2021, NetEase has yet to regain music rights for Chou’s songs. JVR Music renewed its contract with Tencent and all works by artists under their label will continue to be available on platforms such as QQ Music, Kugou Music, and Kuwo Music.