Kanye West, along with S. Carter Enterprises, the company which owns Tidal, the artist-owned music streaming service which Jay-Z purchased in 2015, is being sued in a class action lawsuit in relation to a tweet West posted.
On February 15 West sent a tweet stating that his "album will never never never be on Apple. And it will never be for sale.... You can only get it on Tidal." This tweet went out to West's millions of followers. However, the album entitled "The Life of Pablo" is now available on both Apple and Spotify.
So, the question is, was West's tweet legally binding? Influential American plaintiffs lawyer Jay Edelson thinks it is and he's suing West to prove it.
In the complaint filed by Edelson it is alleged that, as a result of West's tweet, Tidal's consumer subscriptions tripled from one to three million in a little over a month. The complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court in San Francisco, states that "Consumers were uniformly tricked into handing over their private data and credit card information by a singular mistruth."
The lawsuit alleges false advertising, fraudulent inducement and, under California law, unfair competition. The claim is based on the argument that West made a "promise of exclusivity" by posting his tweet which created a legal relationship with consumers.
There is argument that the tweet could be interpreted to be an offer to enter into a contract as it could be in an advertisement that induced somebody to accept that offer and thereby enter into a contract. Whilst advertisements are generally considered to contain invitations to make offers rather than constituting offers themselves, there are rare cases where this wasn't the decision made.
Whilst ordinarily a tweet would not be definite or exclusive enough to constitute a contractual offer, the use of the word "never" and the subsequent encouragement to go and sign up for Tidal could cause problems for West.
This will be an interesting case and should make people think twice before they tweet (if they don't already).
By Daniel Gardener
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