TikTok v. USA Oral Arguments Set for September 16th — A Little Over Four Months Before the Forced-Sale Deadline

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Oral arguments are set for mid-September in the lawsuit TikTok filed challenging a forced-sale bill in the U.S. Photo Credit: Solen Feyissa

About one month after TikTok and the U.S. government jointly moved to fast-track their case, the court has officially set a date for oral arguments.

That firm date, September 16th, was just recently finalized in a brief order. After both TikTok (which is challenging a so-called ban bill) and the federal government filed in May to expedite the schedule, the presiding judge later that same month settled on September for oral arguments.

Now, we have an actual date for this step in the high-stakes legal battle, which will determine the ultra-popular app’s stateside fate. As it stands, ByteDance under the relevant law has until January 19th to divest from or shut down TikTok in the U.S.

A possible three-month extension is on the table as well, but ByteDance and TikTok itself have made clear from the get-go that a sale isn’t in the cards. Besides challenging the corresponding law on free-speech grounds, TikTok in its lawsuit drove home the unprecedented logistical hurdles associated with isolating and then selling the platform in the U.S.

The controversial video-sharing mainstay remains immensely popular abroad, and making a version of the app accessible solely in the States would prove a major challenge to say the least, TikTok explained in many more words. Notably, those obstacles (and a multibillion-dollar potential price tag) haven’t stopped prospective purchasers from lining up.

Despite that interest and the case’s inherent significance, the “fast-tracked” suit at hand doesn’t appear to be moving too quickly with all things considered. Just over four months will separate the oral arguments’ start and the initial January forced-sale deadline.

Of course, a TikTok shutdown in today’s largest economy would have a massive impact on a number of businesses and sectors, among them the music industry.

Once again collaborating with Universal Music Group following a much-publicized dispute, TikTok is still a key promotional tool for commercially prominent artists like Billie Eilish; indie acts such as Pavement have enjoyed listenership upswings because of TikTok trends as well. Moreover, the platform, far from stepping away from the music side as it faces an uncertain future, is continuing to make meaningful moves.

To this point in June, these moves have included bringing the pre-cleared Commercial Music Library to Adobe Express and debuting a behind-the-scenes content series, “Off the Record.” Nevertheless, recent non-ban headlines haven’t been entirely positive for the SoundOn developer, which has reportedly made sizable layoffs during 2024.