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Universal Music Announces Licensing Truce With Triller

The months-long licensing dispute between Universal Music Group and the social video site Triller appears to be over, as UMG announced it has signed a worldwide agreement for its music catalog. Triller is a social media video app, similar to TikTok, in which users can combine video and licensed music to produce their own videos. Triller is different in the sense videos are generally longer, and may last for an entire song, whereas TikTok specializes in shorter, 15-second videos. The two companies were locked in a bitter dispute after Triller said it didn’t need a licensing deal with UMG, which resulted in Universal pulling its entire music catalog from the platform. Universal also said Triller had failed to pay licensing fees for songs from Universal’s catalog. Since then, however, Triller announced… . . . read more

Google Inks 30 News Licensing Deals in India

Google has continued its global program to license news and current affairs content, as part of a campaign to assure lawmakers that it is not threatening the viability of the global news media. As part of that campaign, the global search and content giant has inked agreements with 30 domestic publishers in India, bringing the total number of content deals to roughly 700 publications in more than a dozen countries. India represents the world’s largest consumer of news, with a population of more than 1.4 billion people, and one of the globe’s strongest news media networks. The deal includes some of the countries largest news organizations, including the Deccan Herald, Indian Express Group, The Hindu Group, and The Telegraph India.  Sanjay Gupta, Google’s VP for India, says the Google News Showcase… . . . read more

India’s Tips Industries Licenses Music For YouTube

As the short video wars heat up between TikTok, YouTube Shorts, and Instagram Reels, music labels are enjoying new value for licensing their IP. Now, India’s Tips Industries has signed a lucrative deal with Google, allowing users of its YouTube Shorts service to use any music owned by the label. “As part of this deal, Tips will license its large catalogue to YouTube platform allowing the huge Indian Diaspora across the world to create content inspired by its ever popular and superhit music library, in diverse Indian languages,” Tips said in a statement. Tips Industries chairman and managing director Kumar Taurani said this partnership will open possibilities for creators and users to explore their creativity. In December last year, Tips Industries announced a global deal with social media giant Facebook… . . . read more

Writers Form #DisneyMustPay Task Force In Royalty Dispute

Disney has been getting back into the publishing business in a big way in recent years, but the acquisition of several publishing houses has also brought some headaches in the form of writers who say they are owed unpaid royalties. Half a dozen writers’ organizations have joined the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) in forming the task force, which is demanding the Walt Disney Company pay all royalties owed to authors. Disney says it is working to resolve the situation, which arose after it acquired a number of publishing companies, with a spokesperson saying the company “continues to work directly with agents and authors to resolve any issues or any outstanding payments. We are carefully reviewing whether any royalty payments may have been missed as a result… . . . read more

Topps Releases the Monster of All NFTs

Collectibles Leader Topps Digital Issuing Godzilla NFT Collectibles on March 31 If you’ve been reading a lot about NFTs and were wondering when it would hit the world of licensing … it already has, as collectibles firm Topps Digital continues to introduce exciting new products on the WAX Blockchain. Tomorrow, on March 31, Topps will conintue to build on its reputation as one of the first innovators in digital collectibles, celebrating Toho’s iconic franchise by bringing the studio’s classic monsters, including the King of the Monsters, Godzilla, to the modern platform of NFTs via the WAX blockchain. Topps has been the preeminent creator and innovator of physical cards and digital collectibles for more than 70 years,. Generations of fans have enjoyed the pleasure of collecting, trading and showing off their card collections,… . . . read more

Brands Cut Ties With Vlog Squad’s David Dobrik Amid Sexual Misconduct Allegations

By Gary Symons TLL Editor in Chief At least 10 companies have dropped all ties with popular YouTube star David Dobrik and his troupe of video pranksters the ‘Vlog Squad’ after a Business Insider report chronicled allegations of sexual misconduct. Dobrik is a comedian who pranks the unwary in Los Angeles with his Vlog Squad, and garnered millions of Youtube views. He put the show on hiatus during the pandemic and worked instead on the social media app Dispo, which has also removed him from the organization. At least 10 companies have cut ties with Dobrik, including HelloFresh, SeatGeek, Dollar Shave Club, EA Sports, DoorDash, General Mills, HBO Max, Facebook, and Audible. The report is an absolute bombshell in the world of branding and licensing, involving two separate allegations of sexual misconduct…. . . . read more

Spotify Removes K-Pop Songs in Licensing Debacle

If you’re a big K-pop fan with a Spotify account, you’re probably not too happy today. Thanks to a breakdown in licensing talks, songs from some of the world’s biggest K-pop stars have vanished from Spotify’s music library after talks between the streamer and Korean distributor Kakao M hit a brick wall. Some of the acts affected include many of Korea’s most popular acts, including Seventeen, MonstaX, Mamamoo, (G)I-DLE and IU. The issue was first noticed on March 1 (Korean time) as Spotify users around the world first noticed that many K-pop songs were no longer available to them on the platform. Some artists’ entire catalogs disappeared without warning from Spotify, while other artists saw some of their songs remain. Later the same day Spotify announced that its licensing agreement… . . . read more

Google Gives Ground in War Over Who Pays For News

By Gary Symons TLL Editor in Chief US tech giant Google has announced a new policy to pay for some licensed news content in the UK, after coming under intense fire in Europe and Australia for allegedly profiting from news content without compensating the news organizations that produce that content. Google is now faced with new legislation that could force it to pay massive sums to news organizations, in return for posting their content as search results. While the outcome is uncertain, Google and fellow tech giants like Facebook are fighting hard to prevent governments from forcing them to pay for the news content they are serving up through their respective platforms. In doing so, it appears Google is now giving up some ground, and trying to work with news… . . . read more

Under Armour Ending Licensing Deal With NFL

Sports clothing and equipment company Under Armour is preparing to end its licensing contract with the National Football League, according to a report in the Financial Times. Under Armour has not officially confirmed the contract termination, but the Financial Times reported this week the deal will end later this year. The company’s licensing deal with the NFL allowed the brand to be displayed on accessories such as gloves and boots during games. The arrangement has been somewhat awkward over the past week, as Nike is the official supplier of uniforms and apparel for the NFL, but Under Armour has a licensing agreement with Tom Brady, who took the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to an historic Super Bowl victory on Sunday. During a post-game interview, Brady courted some controversy as some sports… . . . read more

TikTok And Universal Expand Their Musical Alliance

Universal Music Group (UMG) has entered into a landmark agreement with TikTok that will continue its transformation of the way music is marketed and sold. As earlier reported in The Licensing Letter, TikTok has entered into a number of music licensing agreements with publishers that allow its users to combine popular song tracks with their short videos on the social media platform. TikTok even offers a way to purchase music, creating a new and lucrative sector for the music industry that has already seen a number of songs climbing the charts because of their exposure on the popular platform. A stunning example of the power of TikTok to promote music can be seen in the experience of actress Olivia Rodrigo (pictured above), whose debut hit Driver’s License inspired countless videos on TikTok,… . . . read more