Nov 2, 2023 1 min read

Sony sues cosmetics brand over unlicensed use of music in social media posts

OFRA Cosmetics has been sued by Sony Music for using tracks in its social media posts without licence - the major is seeking statutory damages which could come in at just under $50 million

Sony sues cosmetics brand over unlicensed use of music in social media posts

Sony Music has sued cosmetics brand OFRA, accusing the company of using music in its social media posts without securing the necessary sync licences.

"Defendants built OFRA Cosmetics into one of the most successful and influential beauty brands on social media", says the lawsuit. However, it “achieved its success through blatant, wilful and repeated copyright infringement of the sound recordings and musical compositions of various content owners, including hundreds of plaintiffs’ popular and valuable sound recordings".

Although social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok have licensing deals with the music industry, those licences only cover user-generated content.

Brands posting videos that feature commercially released music need to secure sync licences from record companies and music publishers. That obligation is pretty straightforward and OFRA Cosmetics is not the first company to be sued on this point.

Influencers who are paid by brands to feature products in their videos are also not covered by the platform licences. However, there has been some ambiguity in past lawsuits as to whether the brand itself can be held liable for any unlicensed music that is used in those videos.

Although, in this lawsuit, Sony states that OFRA Cosmetics re-posted influencer-made content onto its own channels, which would likely make it easier to argue that it should also be held liable for that content.

"Sony Music informed the defendants of their infringing use of Sony Music’s copyrighted material through a letter sent to OFRA Cosmetics on 12 Sep 2022", the lawsuit goes on. "The defendants have refused to meaningfully engage in any discussions with Sony Music regarding the infringing conduct".

"Not only has OFRA Cosmetics failed to take down infringing content after Sony Music’s demand", it adds, "it has also re-posted new infringing content, long after learning of Sony’s claims".

The major label wants the court to confirm that OFRA Cosmetics has been wilfully infringing its copyrights and to award it statutory damages. If awarded for each of the 329 videos identified as infringing by Sony, the damages bill could end up being nearly $50 million. Fun times.

Great! You’ve successfully signed up.
Welcome back! You've successfully signed in.
You've successfully subscribed to CMU.
Your link has expired.
Success! Check your email for magic link to sign-in.
Success! Your billing info has been updated.
Your billing was not updated.
Privacy Policy