Bytedance sues iQiyi for streaming boy band episode of an original show

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Beijing’s Haidian Court announced that it’s accepted a suit by content purveyor Bytedance against Baidu’s video platform iQiyi for allegedly streaming an episode of an original show.

Bytedance is requesting that iQiyi take down the episode of Watermelon Rice (xigua banfan, our translation) and compensate for losses with a payment of RMB 100,000. As of Monday evening, a search for the episode title on iQiyi’s website came up empty.

According to Bytedance, the variety show began airing on its news app Jinri Toutiao late last November. Toutiao’s parent company produced the show and also holds its copyright. Bytedance claims an episode that features members from Chinese boy band Ninepercent, released online December 9, also appeared on iQiyi’s platform the same day.

The company claims it sent a warning about infringing its rights to iQiyi in addition to other video platforms, and also sent multiple complaints to the competing platform afterward. Allegedly, the video remained up even after the complaints.

In a statement, iQiyi told TechNode it was company policy not to comment on ongoing cases. As of publication, Bytedance had not yet responded to TechNode’s request for comment.

Court prohibits Bytedance-owned video app streaming Tencent’s Honour of Kings

Bytedance, which was valued at $75 billion after a round of funding last fall, has previously proven eager to defend itself in court. It’s also had a few run-ins with iQiyi’s parent company, Baidu. On the same day last May, its live-streaming platform Douyin sued Tencent for defamation, demanding RMB 1 million, while Toutiao also brought Baidu to court for streaming a show without authorization.

In addition, last December, Bytedance claimed that Baidu’s short video platform Huopai had copied its content. Although the suit was dismissed, it marked the first time Chinese courts recognized short videos as falling within the scope of copyright protection laws.

Update: This article has been updated to reflect a statement from iQiyi.