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Gymshark Sued By Sony Music

Gymshark Sued By Sony Music

Gymshark Sued By Sony Music
Fitness apparel and accessories brand Gymshark has been sued by Sony Music for reportedly using music unauthorized from their signed recording artists. Sony’s lawsuit claims that the British fitness brand did not pay for the use of the music used under the Sony banner for their videos streamed via social media. 

Gymshark is in hot water with Sony Music. According to Reuters, the latter is suing the U.K.-based fitness apparel brand for copyright infringement of music from widely known artists (Beyoncé, Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake, Usher, and The Chainsmokers, to name a few) used in social media campaigns. Sony’s lawsuit, filed on July 15, posits that the Solihull, England-headquartered company “has achieved its success by infringing sound recordings and musical compositions belonging to a number of different content owners, including Plaintiffs’ copyrighted sound recordings on a massive scale.” Sony claims Gymshark never paid for use of their recording artists’ music heard in the sued company’s social media “commercials.”

Sony’s suit continues, “As to Plaintiffs alone, Gymshark has misappropriated hundreds of the most popular and valuable sound recordings in the market, using those creative works to drive massive sales to Gymshark without any compensation to Plaintiffs.” Making the situation even more sticky is Sony’s licensing of their songs to the British brand’s rivals, including Nike and Under Armour. 

As reported by Music Business Worldwide, Sony’s lawsuit also specifically points out Gymshark’s inclination towards collaborating with influencers to endorse their products on their personal social media accounts. The U.K. sports brand is also given authorization from said influencers to do the same on the brand’s social media pages. The suit further reads, “On information and belief, Gymshark compensates these influencers with free product and/or a monetary payment, sometimes tied to Gymshark’s sales of the product(s) featured in the influencer’s videos.”  

In addition, Sony Music’s lawsuit highlights the various music guidelines of the social media platforms Gymshark visibly utilizes. When it comes to Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, the music guidelines therein do state “use of music for commercial or non-personal purposes in particular is prohibited unless you have obtained appropriate licenses.” The guidelines also explicitly show the following: “If you post content that contains music owned by someone else, your content may be blocked, or may be reviewed by the applicable rights owner and removed if your use of that music is not properly authorized.”

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Sony is seeking “statutory damages of up to the maximum amount of $150,000 per infringed recording.” 

According to Entrepreneur, Gymshark was valued at $1.4 billion by December 2020. The sports brand was created in 2012 by former pizza delivery person Ben Francis. As of July 2021, Gymshark’s Instagram account boasts over 5 million followers and over 314,000 followers on Twitter. Francis has plans to expand Gymshark to the United States with fulfillment centers in California and Ohio and a Stateside team, complete with several talent scouts, per Forbes

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