Youku, a leading video streaming service owned by Alibaba, is suing online content aggregator Toutiao (in Chinese) and video platform Yuncheng Sunshine Media (our translation; 运城阳光传媒 in Chinese) for distributing the movie Wolf Warriors 2. Youku has exclusive online distribution rights. Youku is also demanding a compensation totaling RMB 1 million (roughly $158,000). The local court in Haidian, Beijing, has received and accepted the case.
Released in cinema in July 2017, the action movie Wolf Warriors 2 has succeeded at the Chinese box office with takings of $854 million. After getting the distribution rights, Youku later sold and authorized iQiyi and Tencent for distribution on their platforms. The film was released online on Youku, iQiyi, and Tencent simultaneously on November 3, 2017.
Toutiao, however, provided users with the film that was linked to a system run by Yuncheng Sunshine without acquiring the distribution right. Youku thus accused Toutiao of failing to review the content on its platform and infringement of the distribution right.
In fact, Toutiao is also facing multiple lawsuits regarding patents. Just a few days ago, short video app Xigua Video (西瓜视频 in Chinese) under Toutiao was accused of infringement of patents (in Chinese) in the technology it used on the streaming service, such as the technique to fast forward and rewind videos.
Founded in 2012, Toutiao is a Beijing-based news and content platform powered by AI technology and generates a customized feed for users. The aggregator reportedly had 120 million daily active users (in Chinese) as of July 2017.