More than 8,000 videos including the content of a newly broadcasted drama produced by Tencent have been taken down from Douyin.
The drama named Crime Crackdown 扫黑风暴 was first aired on 9 August and available on-demand only through Tencent Video, and several domestic TV channels. It became an Internet sensation shortly after the broadcast, breaking 100 million views online in six hours.
But it was soon discovered that clips of this VIP content had already been circulated on Douyin. In response, Douyin published a statement (which is deleted now) on 21 August. In the statement, Douyin said that Tencent and the drama’s production team contacted Douyin first in January for promotion on the platform. An agreement had been reached between both parties to set up an official account for drama updates.
The response came after Tencent filed a lawsuit against Douyin over copyright infringement and asked for damages totalling 100 million RMB (£11.2 million).
“It’s impossible to tell if these videos breached copyright infringement before Tencent filed the case. After having viewed the copyright claim provided by Tencent, following the principle of ‘inform and delete’, Douyin has taken down over 8,000 videos,” says the statement.
This is the third lawsuit Tencent filed this year against Douyin over copyright violations. In June, Tencent sued Douyin for breaching the copyright of its original animation Doula Continent 斗罗大陆, claiming more than 60 million RMB (£6.7 million). Earlier in August, Douyin was ordered to pay a 600,000 RMB (£67,414) fine following a court case over copyright infringement by circulating clips of Honor of Kings, one of Tencent’s most popular video games. Douyin logged an appeal on 9 August following the verdict.