Activision Blizzard Inc (NASDAQ: ATVI) has initiated a lawsuit against Anthony Fantano, a renowned YouTuber famous for his music channel “The Needle Drop.”
The complaint alleges that Fantano misused intellectual property law to capitalize on a widely-used TikTok voice clip he created.
Fantano didn’t respond to Zenger News’s request for comment.
The dispute revolves around a 19-second audio clip known as the “Slices Audio,” derived from a video about pizza slices uploaded by Fantano on ByteDance-owned TikTok in 2021. In June, Activision Blizzard produced their own version of the meme in a TikTok video promoting Crash Bandicoot shoes.
On June 27, the YouTuber sent Activision Blizzard a cease-and-desist letter, insisting they stop using the audio and pay him a six-figure settlement.
Failure to comply would result in legal action.
Activision’s lawsuit, which was filed in a California district court, says Fantano intentionally made the Slices Audio freely available for others to use in their videos. Hundreds of thousands of TikTok users incorporated it into their content with his approval and encouragement.
Activision also says the audio is akin to an internet “meme” and that the American music critic leveraged its popularity to his benefit, promoting its use in videos and sharing third-party videos that used it.
“But now, in an apparent effort to even further profit from the Slices Video, Fantano has embarked on a scheme whereby he selectively threatens to sue certain users of the Slices Audio unless they pay him extortionate amounts of money for their alleged use,” adds the document.
Activision claims this to be “a misuse of IP law” and is asking for a declaratory judgment on this “gamesmanship of the law.” The company requested the Court award it its legal fees.
“Activision is an American video game publisher based in Santa Monica, California. It serves as the publishing business for its parent company, Activision Blizzard, and consists of several subsidiary studios,” says Wikipedia. “Activision is one of the largest third-party video game publishers in the world and was the top United States publisher in 2016.”
Activision blizzard describes Activision as a leading worldwide developer, publisher, and distributor of interactive entertainment for various gaming consoles, handheld platforms, and PC, including blockbuster franchises like Call of Duty®, Crash®, and SpyroTM.
Produced in association with Benzinga
Edited by Priscilla Jepchumba and Judy J. Rotich