Hipgnosis Joins NMPA Copyright Infringement Litigation Against Vinkle

Last week, the National Music Publishers’ Association (NMPA) revealed it was suing video-creation service Vinkle for infringement as part of a broader crackdown on apps. Hipgnosis and others have joined the lawsuit against the Shenzhen-based developer Vinkle, which is allegedly “in gross violation of copyright law”.

When unveiling the action involving Vinkle, NMPA chief David Israelite revealed that his organization filed the lawsuit “on behalf of seven representative publishers.” And the associated 24-page legal document lists the aforementioned Hipgnosis (who previously jumped into the NMPA battle against Roblox) as a plaintiff alongside Big Machine, Concord, Peermusic, and Reservoir, to name a few. .

According to these “highly respected” parties, Shenzhen Qutui Technology, the company behind the “popular” Vinkle, has created a platform that is “in clear violation of copyright law because it is built on the basis of ‘a library of copyrighted musical works which ‘defendant has no right to use.

Moreover, the defendant “did not obtain any license necessary to reproduce, represent, adapt or distribute these works”, underlines the text.

“Apps like Vinkle, in today’s social media environment, are becoming increasingly aggressive in misappropriating music owned by members of the music publishing community,” reads the NMPA-led litigation. .

The alleged infringement at issue relates to Vinkle’s “templates”, in which users can add their own “images and videos” in order to “create personalized music videos”, the document states. Predictably, plaintiffs argue that these videos are then “set to popular copyrighted music chosen and uploaded to the Vinkle service” by the defendant developer.

Vinkle – which has racked up over 10 million downloads on the Google Play Store – finally allows users to export their videos, “including copyrighted music, directly from the Vinkle app to various streaming platforms. social media, including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat, or allows the user to download the completed video to their personal device,” according to the editors.

“When a user identifies a model they would potentially use, Vinkle allows the user to view the entire model, view stock images and videos associated with copyrighted musical works , and to listen to the music”, specifies the lawsuit, specifying once again that the songs are available directly via the application. “The user may replay the pattern and music an unlimited number of times, each constituting an interpretation of the copyrighted musical work.”

The allegedly infringed music includes songs by Taylor Swift, Ariana Grande, Billie Eilish and The Weeknd, the complaint says, and set the stage for Vinkle’s “widespread commercial success” – including via a premium subscription (“5.99 $ per week or $29.99 per year”).

As of this writing, Shenzhen Qutui Technology does not appear to have publicly addressed the action, nor has the entity responded to DMN’s request for comment. This radio silence – and, more importantly, the music industry‘s past difficulties in pursuing litigation in the United States and collecting damages from some international digital platforms – raise interesting questions about the way forward. follow.

It’s worth recalling in conclusion that the NMPA also went after the Play Store and the App Store themselves, sending “official notices to Apple and Google demanding accountability for” the allegedly unauthorized use of the music on the apps they make available for download.

Regardless of how the Vinkle lawsuit plays out, removing the service from the Play Store and App Store would represent a major victory for the NMPA – in general and in terms of the message sent to the nearly 100 other apps the organization constantly targeted. -and-disclaimer letters for allegedly using unlicensed music.

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