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TikTok Producers file Lawsuit To Overturn US Divestment Or Ban Law

A group of TikTok producers filed a lawsuit in at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit yesterday to overturn a bill signed by President Joe Biden to either prohibit or divest the platform.

TakeAway Points:

  • A group of TikTok producers filed a lawsuit in U.S. federal court on Tuesday, attempting to thwart a law signed by President Joe Biden to divest or outright ban the platform, saying it has had “a profound effect on American life.”
  • Davis Wright Tremaine LLP, a law firm representing the creators, provided a copy of the lawsuit to Reuters, which it said had been filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

TikTok Creators react to Biden’s Signed Law

A North Dakota college coach who makes sports commentary videos, a Mississippi hip-hop artist who shares Biblical quizzes, a Texas Marine Corps veteran who sells ranch products, a Tennessee woman who talks about parenting while selling cookies, and a recent North Carolina college graduate who supports the rights of sexual assault survivors are among the TikTok users who are suing.

“Although they come from different places, professions, walks of life, and political persuasions, they are united in their view that TikTok provides them a unique and irreplaceable means to express themselves and form communities,” said the lawsuit.

A representative with the Justice Department said the TikTok law “addresses critical national security concerns in a manner that is consistent with the First Amendment and other constitutional limitations. We look forward to defending the legislation in court.”

The Lawsuit Pursuit

According to the lawsuit, which is asking for an injunction, the law “promises to shutter a discrete channel of communication that has become part of American life” and threatens free speech.

TikTok and its Chinese parent firm, ByteDance, filed a similar lawsuit last week, claiming that the rule is unconstitutional under the U.S. Constitution on several grounds, including violating the First Amendment’s rights to free speech.

The creators of TikTok sued in 2020 to overturn an earlier attempt by then-President Donald Trump to ban the app, and they sued again in Montana last year to get a state ban overturned. The bans were overturned by the courts in both cases.

Since then, Trump has changed his mind and opposed attempts to outlaw TikTok, even though he has not downloaded the programme.

The Law Against TikTok 

Biden signed the bill on April 24. ByteDance has until January 19 to sell TikTok or risk being banned. For reasons of national security, the White House has stated that it is in favour of ending Chinese ownership, but not outright banning TikTok.

The rule forbids internet hosting companies from sponsoring TikTok and forbids app shops like Apple and Alphabet’s Google from selling TikTok unless ByteDance divests TikTok.

The creators’ suit said, “because TikTok currently has approximately 170 million users in the United States, the fine for continuing to enable access to TikTok would be roughly $850 billion.”

According to the lawsuit, the government may argue that the statute is necessary to protect the data of Americans because “it has tried that strategy before and lost.” The suit says “the concerns are speculative, and even if they were not, they could be addressed with legislation much more narrowly tailored to any purported concern.”

The TikTok lawsuit said last week that the divestiture “is simply not possible: not commercially, not technologically, not legally … There is no question: the Act (law) will force a shutdown of TikTok by January 19, 2025.”

Congress passed the measure a few weeks after it was introduced, overwhelmingly supporting it. This was due to American politicians’ concerns that China may use the app to spy on them or access American data.

China and U.S Technology Contest

Meanwhile, Apple announced in April that it had received an order from China to remove Threads and WhatsApp from Meta Platform’s App Store due to national security concerns in China.

According to the creators’ suit, Biden’s campaign makes use of TikTok, quoting his deputy manager, who said it “would be silly to write off any place where people are getting information about the president.” If Biden feels ByteDance is making progress, he may decide to extend the deadline by three months.


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