NetEase is facing a new lawsuit by Taiwanese pop star Jay Chou and his music production company JVR Music, reports the South China Morning Post.
The claims relate to a promotional campaign NetEase ran for its game Tianxia III, offering Chou’s albums and concert tickets. Chou and JVR Music claim that this led users to mistakenly believe that they had a “specific connection” to the game.
The suit specifically takes aim at NetEase’s affiliates in Hangzhou and Guangzhou, as well as the company’s in-house studio Leihuo.
Trouble for NetEase
This isn’t the first time that Chou and NetEase have found themselves at loggerheads. In 2019, Tencent subsidiary Tencent Music Entertainment Group, owner of Chinese streaming service QQ Music, sued NetEase Cloud Music for failing to remove the artist’s work following the expiration of a three-year licensing agreement between the two companies. Between the expiration of the deal and the removal of Chou’s music from the service, NetEase made a profit of almost 204 thousand yuan ($29,650). The court ruled in Tencent’s favour, and ordered NetEase to pay its rival 850 thousand yuan ($123.6 thousand) in damages.
More recently, NetEase lost a lawsuit with Riot Games, which alleged that the NetEase game Hyper Front shared significant similarities with its own title, Valorant. Although NetEase attempted to appease its competitor by redesigning the characters named in the suit, Riot was dissatisfied that NetEase had done enough to differentiate the two games. As a result of the lawsuit, Hyper Front was shut down on April 10.
We listed NetEase and Riot Games as two of the top 50 mobile game makers of 2022.