Sony Music Sues Gymshark For Commercializing Hundreds of Songs Without Permission

Plaintiffs Sony Music Entertainment, Sony Music Entertainment US Latin LLC, Zomba Recording LLC, Arista Music, La Face Records LLC, Records Label LLC, and The Century Media Family Inc. (collectively, Sony Music) are taking on Gymshark Limited over its purportedly illegal use of copyrighted songs in advertisements for its fitness apparel and accessories on social media platforms. The complaint against Solihull, England-headquartered Gymshark was filed Thursday in the Central District of California.

The filing explained that the defendant has misappropriated hundreds of chart-topping and valuable sound recordings to sell its goods. Accordingly, its “massive scale” copyright infringement has been realized through “commercials” made by Gymshark and posted on outlets like Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook.

Typically, its videos, which are made by the defendant itself or hired “influencers” – private individuals with large social media followings – “depict athletes wearing one or more of Gymshark’s products while exercising or dancing, synchronized to an audio track of a popular commercially-available sound recording,” the filing said. Gymshark has misused copyrighted music from award-winning artists including Beyoncé, The Chainsmokers, Justin Timberlake, A$AP Ferg, Usher, Future, and Calvin Harris, according to a complaint exhibit.

Furthermore, Sony Music contends that Gymshark’s violations are undoubtedly willful because the social media platforms on which Gymshark posts the infringing content explicitly state that users may not infringe music, especially in connection with commercial activities. The complaint also alleges that Gymshark approached Sony Music in late 2020 to license a portion of one song. Though Sony agreed to do so in exchange for compensation, Gymshark reportedly never followed through and used the music anyway.

In turn, this week’s filing alleges three counts of federal copyright infringement, contributory infringement, and vicarious infringement. The plaintiffs request injunctive relief, actual damages, and their attorneys’ fees and costs. Sidley Austin LLP represents Sony Music in this matter.