TikTok, the Chinese social media for teeny-boppers that has the US government all aflame, just signed an agreement with the National Music Publishers’ Association (NMPA), the American trade association that exists to protect music copyright and intellectual property.
In the NMPA’s words, the agreement “accounts for TikTok’s past use of musical works” and “ sets up a forward-looking partnership.”
According to Yahoo!, the NMPA has had TikTok in its crosshairs for a while. TikTok is a video-based app, and many of the videos feature music. Much of this music was presumably used in a way that breached copyright, hence the talk of accounting “for TikTok’s past use of musical works.”
There are reports that the NMPA threatened to sue TikTok earlier this year. If true, that’s what brought TikTok to the negotiating table.
In addition to holding TikTok to account for past violations, the deal makes it possible for NMPA members—mostly music publishers—to opt-in to a program that enables them to cash in if their music is used on the video app.
“We are pleased to find a way forward with TikTok which benefits songwriters and publishers and offers them critical compensation for their work,” said NMPA President David Israelite. “Music is an important part of apps like TikTok which merge songs with expression and popularize new music while also giving new life to classic songs. This agreement respects the work of creators and gives them a way to be paid for their essential contributions to the platform.”
TikTok claimed to be “excited” by the partnership.
“TikTok is proud to partner with music publishers and songwriters to enable artist and song discovery, and support revenue opportunities,” said Ole Obermann, Global Head of Music at TikTok. “We’re excited to partner with the NMPA to bring their member companies on to the platform and help hundreds of millions of people discover and enjoy their songs. We look forward to continuing to work with songwriters to help them use TikTok as a powerful and innovative channel to reach a global audience through a unique format of creation and engagement.”
As I alluded to at the start of this post, the US government despises TikTok because it’s a Chinese company and Washington hates all things China. It will likely be banned in the US soon. The major claim is that TikTok collects data from users and then relays it back to Beijing. This is probably true, but if we’re going to start banning apps that collect and misuse our data, we can start with Google, Facebook, Twitter, and all the other American tech monopolies.
As journalist/publisher Julian Assange stated back in 2011:
“Facebook in particular is the most appalling spying machine that has ever been invented. Here we have the world’s most comprehensive database about people, their relationships, their names, their addresses, their locations and the communications with each other, their relatives, all sitting within the United States, all accessible to U.S. intelligence.”
In case you forgot, Assange is currently being arbitrarily detained and tortured by the British government as he fights extradition to the US for his publishing activity.