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Examining Illegal Operations in Corporate Conflicts: The Case of Tikbox League

The Pretoria High Court’s recent decision in Tikbox League (Pty) Ltd and Others v Du Toit and Others (B1342/2023) [2023] ZAGPPHC 2025 (18 December 2023) offers a compelling look into the legal challenges faced by social media promotion companies. Presided over by Acting Judge Le Grange, this case presents a unique intersection of traditional legal concepts with the rapidly evolving world of social media and entertainment.

Case Overview

The heart of Tikbox League v Du Toit lies in a dispute among business partners of a company promoting boxing matches featuring TikTok celebrities. The crucial legal question centered around the legitimacy of the business’s operations and its contractual agreements, given the nature of the events they orchestrated.

Judicial Analysis

In this case, Acting Judge Le Grange, as mentioned in paragraph 2, characterized the dispute as a common disagreement among business partners, further complicated by the intricacies of modern social media platforms. The core issue involved assessing the legality of contracts for events where influencers partake in physical altercations, such as boxing.

A notable aspect of the judgment, found in paragraph 14, revisits the historical concept of duelling. Here, the judge notes, “This matter seems to hark back to the age-old concept of a ‘duel’, a practice that has resolved disputes, entertained audiences, and engaged legal thinkers for centuries.” This perspective is key to comprehending the court’s stance on the legal status of Tikbox’s events.

In paragraph 25, the judgment addresses the principle of consent within the context of assault, establishing that “mere consent to an act of assault is not sufficient. There must be an acceptable reason for the deliberate infliction of physical harm.” This becomes a central element in judging the lawfulness of Tikbox’s promotions.

Public Policy Considerations

A significant part of the judgment, specifically in paragraphs 20 and 26, focuses on public policy and the legal bounds of consent in sports and entertainment. The court differentiates between recognized sports, where consent to potential harm is implicit, and the type of activities promoted by Tikbox, which may lie outside legal protection due to their inherent dangers.

Ruling and Implications

The court ultimately rejects Tikbox League’s application, directing attention to both the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission and the National Prosecuting Authority. This direction underscores the potentially illicit nature of the company’s objectives and its operations.

Key Takeaways

The Tikbox League case underscores a crucial point: even well-drafted contracts cannot safeguard a business if its activities are illegal.

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  1. What was the central legal issue in the Tikbox League case? The primary concern was the legality of Tikbox League’s business activities and contracts for organizing fights among social media influencers.
  2. How did the court interpret Tikbox’s operations? The court drew parallels between Tikbox’s events and historical duels, scrutinizing their legality under current public policy and assault laws.
  3. What was the outcome of the court’s decision? Tikbox League’s application was denied, and the issue was forwarded to appropriate authorities for further evaluation of the company’s goals and activities.
  4. Does this case influence similar businesses? Indeed, this case serves as a warning for similar enterprises, stressing the importance of complying with legal and public policy norms.
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