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🎶 Universal Music Group vs. TikTok

In today’s email:

  • Track a bunch of sharks

  • Apprentices, it’s your week

  • Kirkland’s selling petrol stations

  • Delaware picks a fight with Elon

  • The best Wikipedia page near you

  • Freshfields makes an innovative hire

  • Mishcon’s made a bold, group-action move

  • That feeling of getting the answer wrong at uni

  • A code of practice for AI is put on the back-burner

… and more!

If you take just one thing from this email…

Universal Music Group can't agree on a licensing deal with TikTok to allow its users to use UMG’s music. So UMG’s music by stars like Drake and Taylor Swift is off TikTok for now. The parties are stuck on how much TikTok should pay them (along with some other issues). But they both really need each other as TikTok gives UMG’s music massive exposure and UMG’s music makes TikTok a much more fun platform.


It’s National Apprenticeship Week.

To me, solicitor apprenticeships seem like an amazing route into law (you don’t have to go into massive uni debt, for one).

Plus, they’re becoming more popular with big commercial law firms.

I’ve learned a lot from the organisation City Century (not sponsored — I just really think they’re doing great work).

But I was wondering, if LittleLaw arranged an event to learn more about the apprenticeship route into law, would you be interested?

Let me know (and if there’s appetite for it, I’ll try to make it happen) 👇️ 

🤔 Would you want to learn more about solicitor apprenticeships at an event?

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- Idin

🎶 Universal Music Group vs. TikTok

Lets Go Nba GIF by Storyful

Credit: Giphy

What's going on here?

Universal Music Group (UMG) — the label representing megastars like Drake, Taylor Swift, and Ariana Grande — has removed all of its music from TikTok after they failed to agree a new licensing deal.

What does this mean?

Ultimately, this story is about a simple contractual negotiation.

In media law, a licence is like a special permission given by the owner of something creative, like music or a film to allow someone else to use it under certain conditions.

UMG owns the copyright of the music and has the right to license it to whoever it wants, for any reason.

In this case, since the negotiations for a new licensing deal are stalled, TikTok users aren’t able to use music owned by UMG in their posts.

What were they arguing about?

UMG argues that…

  • 🎵 TikTok owes its success to the music from UMG’s artists.

  • 🚫 TikTok's handling of AI content, copyright issues, and online harassment, has been weak (more AI-created music means less exposure for human-created music owned by labels like UMG).

  • 💰 TikTok's compensation offer to UMG is too low, especially because a lot of TikTok's revenue relies heavily on music content.

Here’s UMG’s open letter about the feud.

TikTok argues that…

  • 🌍 it plays a major role in promoting UMG's music to its app with a billion users.

  • 💔 UMG’s prioritising its own greed for money over artists' interests.

Here’s TikTok’s response to UMG.

What’s going to happen next?

In truth, UMG needs TikTok to promote its music — and equally TikTok needs UMG to make the app more engaging.

So, this stand-off probably won’t last more than a few weeks — their relationship just makes too much sense!

The accidental winner in all this could be non-mainstream artists whose music could become more popular on the app.

So if you’re an indie musician, you’ll probably be wanting this feud to drag on.


immediate mute + camera off


  •  📈 Mishcon de Reya acquired a majority stake in Somos, a group action management business, indicating their plan to take on bigger, more complex cases. The founders of Somos, known for their work on the Mariana dam disaster claim, join as equity partners of the law firm. This strategic step strengthens the firm's dispute resolution firepower and aligns with its vision for tackling bigger group action claims in the UK.

  • 👨‍⚖️ Elon Musk is not thrilled with the US state of Delaware after a judge called his $55bn (£43.5bn) Tesla compensation package excessive, which led to its cancellation. This has been a historic ruling in the world of corporate payouts. The Court pointed out that Tesla's board, filled with Musk's relatives and friends, might not have been the most objective in their decision-making. The lawyers at Bernstein Litowitz Berger & Grossmann (a New York-based law firm) represented the Tesla shareholders who challenged Musk’s pay. The law firm could get paid an enormous fee from this — possibly in the billions.

  • 🚀 Freshfields appointed a Global Chief Innovation Officer. Stationed in Silicon Valley, Gil Perez is set to lead the firm's global innovation strategy, emphasising AI tech and tools to keep Freshfields ahead in the legal industry. This move underlines Freshfields' commitment to continuous improvement and improving client service through cutting-edge tech.

  • 🔍 The UK government has shelved plans for an AI copyright code of practice which balanced the rights of AI developers and content creators. Despite the breakdown of talks, the government, remains committed to fostering growth in both the AI and creative sectors, hinting at future proposals focused on transparency. Pinsent Masons has a great summary of this.

  • 🚗 Motor Fuel Group, a huge petrol station operator, and the supermarket Morrisons agree a £2.5bn partnership, with MFG acquiring 337 Morrisons petrol forecourts to which it plans to add electric vehicle chargers. From the deal, Morrisons gains a 20% stake in MFG, and promises its customers ultra-fast EV chargers and supermarket fuel prices. The deal, aimed at strengthening the UK's 2050 net zero ambition, is also set to create a significant number of jobs. Kirkland & Ellis advised on the deal.


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