Kuaishou Hit by Music Copyright Dispute Ahead of Hong Kong Listing

A Chinese government-backed organization has asked short video app platform Kuaishou to take down 10,000 videos due to infringement of music copyrights, days before the company’s stock starts trading in Hong Kong.

The China-Audio Video Copyright Association (CAVCA) said in a statement on Monday that it found more than 155 million videos on Kuaishou with unlicensed songs as background music. The CAVCA is a non-profit organization that undertakes collective rights management for copyright and related rights of its members. Before the emergence of short video apps, the organization mainly dealt with license agreements with karaoke operators.

CAVCA said it had given the links to the first batch of 10,000 videos to Kuaishou and will announce other batches in the future in order to protect the interests of its members.

In its IPO prospectus, Kuaishou said it has signed agreements with multiple music copyright owners and operators in China that would allow the legal use of their music content on the platform.

This is hardly the first time that Kuaishou, China’s second-largest short video app after ByteDance’s Douyin, faces copyright complaints. In November, the CAVCA sued Kuaishou for infringing the recording producer rights of five songs and the music copyrights of millions of videos, demanding a compensation of 130,000 yuan ($20,200).

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Backed by Tencent Holdings Ltd, the company nevertheless raised $5.4 billion from its IPO last week, selling 365 million shares at HK$115 ($14.8) apiece according to Bloomberg. Its shares are due to start trading in Hong Kong on Friday.

Kuaishou allows users to upload short videos and host live-streaming programs. It had about 262 million average daily active users as of September, according to its prospectus. In China, it has a particularly strong base among users in lower-tier cities and rural communities. Its competitor Douyin has 600 million.

Livestreaming sales, online marketing services, e-commerce business and online games constitute the main source of revenue for the firm.