“Although these social media commercials were instrumental in the success of Gymshark, Gymshark did not pay for the privilege of using the sound recordings they contain,” the complaint said. “As for plaintiffs alone, Gymshark has misappropriated hundreds of the most popular and valuable audio recordings on the market and used those creative works to drive massive sales to Gymshark without plaintiffs receiving compensation.”
Sony Music seeks an injunction urging Gymshark to stop infringing Sony’s copyrights; actual damage or, alternatively, legal damage up to a maximum of $ 150,000 per injured work; and costs of bringing legal action, including legal fees.
In addition to Sony Music in the true sense of the word, the lawsuit names Sony Music Latin, Zomba Recording, Arista Music, La Face Records, Records Label LLC and The Century Media Family as plaintiffs.
The complaint includes several examples of the offensive ads, many of which feature athletes and other influencers syncing their lips and performing choreographed dance routines to popular songs while wearing Gymshark clothing. Other advertisements “have striking similarities with traditional television commercials,” the complaint said, including one showing a recording of Calvin Harris’ track “Summer,” which featured footage of models in the fitness company’s “Gymshark Swim” collection at various locations Settings running. The lawsuit alleges that Gymshark employs “at least 80 influencers” known as “Gymshark athletes” to promote the brand on social media for salaries between $ 6,000 and $ 100,000 per year.
To demonstrate the importance of music-powered social media advertising to the growth of Gymshark’s business, a quote from the Gymshark Chief Brand Officer is highlighted in a section of the complaint Noel Mack, in which the executive explicitly highlights Instagram as “a large part” of the company’s success.
“Gymshark has been hugely successful, largely due to the ubiquity and effectiveness of the infringing Gymshark videos,” the complaint read. It indicates that Forbes recently valued the company at over $ 1.4 billion, while highlighting Gymshark’s reported revenue of $ 330 million in 2020 and 7 million “engaged” social media followers – a number that climbs to over 60 Millions raised when you include the Gymshark athlete following the company employs.
In fact, partnerships with social media influencers are so important to Gymshark’s business that Gymshark has announced that it will be hiring four full-time employees for its US offices this year, who will ‘act solely as scouts to identify emerging American stars. Find and manage influencers’. “Adds the complaint.
The lawsuit seeks to prove that Gymshark’s breach was “clearly deliberate” – which, if proven, can increase the amount of damages owed if the company is held liable – by emphasizing “expressly stated”[d]“Anti-Infringement Policy on the Social Media Platforms on which the Company publishes its advertising content. Most aptly it is said that Gymshark’s PR and Brand Partnership Director, Steph O’NeillHe reached out to Sony Music late last year to license part of the sound recording of Russ’ “The Flute Song” for one of his promotional videos.
“Although this request reflected Gymshark’s awareness that a license is required to use Sony Music’s sound recordings, and although Sony Music advised Gymshark that it would be willing to license it in exchange for compensation,” the complaint stated: ” Gymshark never signed a license agreement or paid any royalties to Sony Music and instead used the sound recording without permission. “
A Sony Music attorney declined to comment on the case. Gymshark did not respond immediately poster‘s request for comment.
As fitness technology advances, startups are increasingly integrating music into their products – and sometimes without the required licenses. In February 2020, Peloton and the National Music Publishers Association settled a $ 370 million lawsuit filed by 14 music publishers alleging the home fitness giant used more than 1,000 copyrighted musical compositions without Obtaining licenses. In January 2018, a number of major labels sued the music and fitness app Fit Radio for not licensing their music; this case was dismissed with prejudice in January 2019, meaning plaintiffs are permanently prevented from re-submitting the case for the same reasons.