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Watch those DMs: Legal service via DMs permitted by Texas court

Lawyers are sliding into creators’ DMs.


Franklin Graves



Rapper and creator TREFUEGO became a headache for Sony Music after uploading a viral track that prominently featured a violin sample, allegedly without a license to do so. The problem for Sony Music? They couldn’t find him. The label claims on Mother’s Day they tried to serve the viral artist, but told the court, “Sadly, he was not there, and his own mother claimed she did not know who he was.”

A District Court judge in Texas recently issued an order accepting Sony Music’s use of TikTok, Twitter, and SoundCloud direct message tools to serve the notice to TREFUEGO, aka Dantreal Daevon Clark-Rainbolt, for the copyright infringement lawsuit. The move is a growing trend of using non-traditional means of serving notice on defendants in a lawsuit, a practice normally handled via IRL delivery.

The label had been emailing TREFUEGO’s manager, but they noted that all communication stopped shortly before the lawsuit was filed. Therefore, they argued there would be no guarantee the email account would be monitored or the email notice seen. However, the label presented evidence to the court that TREFUEGO continued to personally use his social media accounts, and, therefore, would be sufficient proof that a DM notice would be received and seen.

“Modern problems require modern solutions,” the court wrote in its opinion. …

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