NetEase Cloud Music officially sues Tencent Music for pirating its songs

According to NetEase Cloud Music, it has officially filed a lawsuit against Tencent Music. The company is suing Tencent for unfair competition and for illegal piracy of songs and batch washing of songs under false names. A series of measures to implement acts of unfair competition. Even though we all admit that unfair competition happens in business from time to time, there are few areas that are as dead as Chinese online music due to unfair competition.

For a long time, Tencent Music Entertainment Group (including QQ Music, Kuwo Music, Kugou Music, National K Song and other products) illegally played unauthorized songs. NetEase claims it has faked songs in batches and is copying its product innovation. Here are the main complaints NetEase has against Tencent.

The song on QQ Music is offline in Hangzhou, however, the same song can be played and downloaded in other cities in Zhejiang

Top 3 offenses

1. Malicious copyright infringement

a. QQ Music pirate streams via “regional play” feature

NetEase Cloud Music claims that for a long time, QQ Music, a subsidiary of Tencent Music Entertainment Group, repeatedly lists its popular works without permission. The company claims that after filing for rights protection, QQ Music had to change tack. QQ Music then targets the regions of Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Hangzhou. In other areas where he knows NetEase wasn’t looking, he continues to hack and publish NetEase products.

At the provincial level, QQ Music cannot stream NetEase Cloud Music rights songs in Beijing, Hangzhou, Zhejiang and Guangzhou, Guangdong. However, it can be played in Xi’an, Jiangsu, Suzhou and other provinces and cities.

From the same provincial-level region, taking Zhejiang province as an example, as far as QQ Music cannot broadcast NetEase Cloud Music rights and interests in Hangzhou city, all other ten prefectural-level cities from Zhejiang Province, such as Shaoxing, Huzhou, Jiaxing, Ningbo, Zhoushan, etc., all committed illegal acts of secretly broadcasting the songs involved in the case.

The number of infringing works pirated by QQ Music in different regions is huge. Moreover, these are all popular songs on the NetEase Cloud Music platform. QQ Music’s behavior violates copyright and seriously violates business ethics. His behavior ignores laws, regulations and business ethics. His subjective wickedness is obvious.

b. QQ Music Secretly Releases NetEase Works Through “Import External Playlist” Function

For unlicensed songs, QQ Music has developed the function to copy and re-import the playlist link from its platform. He can then replay and download the original playlist.

Take the popular song “Displacement Time and Space (Ai Chen)” as an example, the search on QQ music station shows “no sound source”. However, after copying the playlist link and importing it (the playlist import link contains y.qq.com), you can play and download the song.

QQ Music pirates royalty-free works by “importing external playlists”. Such a fragmentary and underhanded gesture harms the rights and interests of musicians. It also infringes copyright and destroys the fragile mutual trust between industries.

vs. Tencent Music bundled unlicensed popular songs with fake names and malicious intercepts

For a long time, QQ Music, Kugou Music and Kuwo Music of Tencent Music have produced a large number of works of imposters and song washing for unauthorized works.

In 2020 alone, Tencent Music successively launched a large number of fake songs of the same name for popular songs. The chorus part of nearly a thousand songs is the same or similar to the original song.

For example, after the “Delete Bar” launched by NetEase Cloud Music Cloud Studio and Shensheng Culture, a large number of songs with the same name and different lyrics appeared in QQ Music and Kugou Music. We have things like “Delete Bar” (Official Version), “Delete Bar” (New Version), “Deleted Bar” (Original Vocal) and “Deleted Bar” (Tik Tok Hot Search Smoke Voice Version), etc. just malicious ways to hack the song.

Even the names of the singers of some of the fake songs are “high imitations” of the original singers. For example, in a Tencent Music Entertainment Group product, the musician “Lao Fan next door” is spelled “Lao Pan next door”. Under “Lao Pan next door”, QQ Music lists all the works of “Lao Fan next door”. Thus, it entices users to click and listen.

In addition, some Tencent Music Entertainment Group companies are even more determined and organized to participate in the songwashing industry chain. As long as NetEase Cloud Music releases a hit song, the three Tencent Music products will not only pirate the original song directly, but also intensify their efforts to release a large number of low-quality songs with the same name. In fact, it happens a day or two after the release of the new song.

2. Long term plagiarism of NetEase Cloud Music visual design

a. QQ Music, Kugou Music, Kuwo Music plagiarized NetEase Cloud Music vinyl play page design

Since its official launch in April 2013, the unique vinyl playback interface has been the core design of NetEase Cloud Music products. The company also has relevant design patents. In October 2020, the iPad version of Kugou Music updated the playback interface. The new vinyl interface design is very similar to the NetEase Cloud Music vinyl player interface.

NetEase Cloud Music App
Comparison of NetEase Cloud Music App (left) and Kugou Music HD (right) interfaces

As of March 2022, the Kugou Ringtone app and Kuwo’s ​​2496 app also used a similar design. In April 2022, the updated version of QQ Music also provided a vinyl playback interface. The design concept and interface are very similar to the NetEase Cloud Music vinyl page.

b. Kugou Music and QQ Music plagiarize NetEase Cloud Music’s “Listen Together” feature

In July 2020, NetEase Cloud Music officially launched the “listen together” function. Thanks to the community atmosphere of the cloud village and the unique interactive experience, “listening together” has quickly become a feature widely praised by the industry and popular with users. In January 2021, Kugou launched the “Follow and Listen” feature. Its function settings and page interaction design can be called pixel-level plagiarism of NetEase Cloud Music “Listen Together”.

Netease cloud music
Comparison of NetEase “listen together” and Kugou “follow” cloud music

In February 2021, QQ Music updated the “Music Room・Listen Together” function, and the function name was “Listen Together” with NetEase Cloud Music. In August 2021, QQ Music version 10.16.5 also directly renames “music room” to “listen together”.

3. Kugou Music copied “Yunbei Push Song” function setting and interface design from NetEase Cloud Music

In April 2020, NetEase Cloud Music launched “Yunbei Push Song” function in version 7.1.10 to help users promote their favorite songs. Three months later, Kugou Music also finalizes the follow-up and launches the “music push” function. He again performed pixel-level plagiarism from the NetEase function settings and interface design.

Over the years, Tencent Music Entertainment Group has competed unfairly against NetEase Cloud Music and the entire online music industry. It is also long-lasting, wide-ranging, varied in means and tragic in its consequences.

In accordance with the “People’s Republic of China Anti-Unfair Competition Law”, “People’s Republic of China Copyright Law” and other relevant regulations, NetEase Cloud Music has filed a complaint against Tencent Music Entertainment Group (including QQ Music, Kuwo Music, Kugou Music and other products).

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