Authors against music piracy: German sentences online service Uploaded to pay damages
Copyright , Music Publishing / October 2016
Germany

COPYRIGHT Music Publishing   German collective management rights organisation GEMA has won its case in the Regional Court Munich against file-sharing host Uploaded. The decision confirms that file-sharing hosts are liable to pay damages if they do not prevent the upload and distribution of copyright-protected contents. The Regional Court in Munich ruled  (10 August 2016) that online services whose business models are based on large scale copyright infringements are liable to pay damages. “The Regional Court has decided in the interest of our members. Their ruling confirms that file-sharing hosts play a significant role in the proliferation of music piracy” said  Dr Tobias Holzmüller, GEMA’s General Counsel, welcoming the decision. “Online service providers have previously only been obliged to remove contents infringing copyright from their platforms. By pronouncing the liability to pay damages for file-share host Uploaded, composers, lyricists and music publishers at least get a small compensation for the rights infringements of their works that have been committed on a massive scale.” File-share hosts such as Uploaded provide their customers with storage space so they can upload files. They create links to the uploaded files which are then disseminated as publicly accessible collections of links. The regional court Munich classifies Uploaded as a service which constitutes a specific…

Shea promoter’s estate brings action against new Beatles film
Copyright , Live Events / October 2016
USA

COPYRIGHT Film & TV, live events sector   The estate of Sid Bernstein, who promoted the Beatles’ famed August 1965 concert at Shea Stadium in New York, is taking legal action against two of the bands’ companies, Apple Corps and Subafilms, for alleged copyright infringement over use of footage from the concert in upcoming documentary film Eight Days a Week: The Touring Years – directed by Ron Howard. The film has been produced in cooperation with both surviving Beatles Paul McCartney and Ringo Strarr, and the widows of George Harrison (Olivia) and John Lennon (Yoko Ono) and includes 30 minutes of remastered footage from Shea Stadium. It is understood that the the copyright in the film later acquired by Apple Corps, founded by The Beatles in 1968, and film-distribution outfit Subafilms. Sid Bernstein Presents has challenged that ownership of the copyright and in turn claims ownership of the concert footage, parts of which have appeared previously in the Ed Sullivan-produced film The Beatles at Shea Stadium and in the Anthology documentary series.  Billboard reports that the claim proposes several solutions, including having Sid Bernstein Presents named sole author, or joint author (with The Beatles) as well as a declaration that previous use of the footage is…

What do the European Commission’s moves on copyright really mean for the music industry?
Copyright , Internet / September 2016
EU

COPYRIGHT Online   In the context of its Digital Single Market Strategy, the EU Commission is currently engaged in a discussion of whether the liability principles and rules contained in the E-Commerce Directive should be amended – and the focus of commentators has shifted to how hosting providers have been increasingly using ‘safe harbour immunity’ in Article 14 – an alleged abuse which has led to a distortion of the online marketplace, and the resulting ‘value gap’ suggested by some right holders. A proposal has been recently advanced in France advocating the removal – at a European Union level – of the safe harbour protection for hosting providers that give access to copyright works,  to enable the effective enforcement of copyright and related rights in the digital environment, particularly on platforms that disseminate protected content. In particular, the French document considers that the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has erred in its interpretation and application of relevant principles of online intermediary liability.   Statewatch has now leaked a draft version of the Commission Staff Working Document – Impact Assessment on the modernisation of EU copyright rules and this appears to suggest some of the areas where changes might made: In relation…

Judgment against Cox opens up ISP liability in the USA
Copyright , Internet , Music Publishing / September 2016
USA

COPYRIGHT Recorded music, internet   Cox Communications has been ordered to pay a $25 million dollar penalty for copyright infringements to the music rights management company BMG by a federal judge. The ruling follows a jury decision which found Cox liable for illegal movie and music downloads by its customers.   The Eastern Virginia District Court dismissed Cox’s appeal of the earlier verdict, and ordered Cox to pay BMG $25m in damages for copyright infringement – a ruling which may have widespread repercussions for online copyright infringement in the US. The court decided that Cox did not do enough to stop users pirating music from BMG, and therefore did not qualify for Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) ‘safe harbor’ protections. Crucially, BMG provided evidence that its agent, Rightscorp,  had identified individual infringers and then alerted Cox to their wrongdoing – which Cox then failed to act on.  In a statement, Rightscorp said: “For nearly five years, Rightscorp has warned US internet service providers (ISPs) that they risk of incurring huge liabilities if they fail to implement and enforce policies under which they terminate the accounts of their subscribers who repeatedly infringe copyrights.” adding “Over that time, many ISPs have taken the position that it…

200+ Artists Support the “Blurred Lines” Appeal
Copyright , Music Publishing / September 2016
USA

COPYRIGHT Music publishing     Some 212 musicians have attached their names to a brief supporting Pharrell, Robin Thicke and TI’s appeal in the “Blurred Lines” copyright case, including Earth Wind & Fire, R Kelly, John Oates, Linkin Park, Fall Out Boy’s Patrick Stump, film composer Hans Zimmer, Tears for Fears’ Curt Smith, Juicy J, the Go-Go’s, Frank Ocean collaborator Malay, Jennifer Hudson, Train’s Patrick Monahan, the production duo Stargate, Aloe Blacc, Jean Baptiste and Kiesza. The amicus brief echoes the concerns many artists and commentators have voiced since a Los Angeles jury determined that “Blurred Lines” plagiarised Marvin Gaye’s 1977 hit “Got to Give It Up” – that the songs were not actually similar (even if the sound recording ‘vibe’ was and “Blurred Lines” and “Got to Give It Up” have completely different melodies and song structures, and do not share any lyrics or “a sequence of even two chords played in the same order and for the same duration.” The brief reads: “The verdict in this case threatens to punish songwriters for creating new music that is inspired by prior works ” and “All music shares inspiration from prior musical works, especially within a particular musical genre. By eliminating…

Appeal filed in ‘Blurred Lines’ case
Copyright , Music Publishing / September 2016
USA

COPYRIGHT Music publishing   It comes as no surprise that Pharrell Williams, Robin Thicke and TI have filed their appeal against the verdict in the ‘Blurred Lines’ case that saw them ordered to pay $5.3m (reduced from the orginal $7.3 million) and pay over 50% of songwriting and publishing revenues to the family of Marvin Gaye, after a jury ruled last year that their song copied Gaye’s 1977 hit ‘Got to Give It Up’. Lawyers for the trio filed their opening brief with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on 24th August, arguing that “if left to stand, the Blurred Lines verdict would chill musical creativity and inhibit the process by which later artists draw inspiration from earlier artists to create new popular music” and at the heart of their appeal is the argument that the Judge and indeed the jury should have simply considered the sheet music – the “deposit copy” filed with the US copyright office – and not been influenced by the actual recordings of either song. The “Blurred Lines” writers assert that when the court examined the two songs before the trial,  Judge John A. Kronstadt should have ruled that the case was not worthy of trial….

Belgian promoters react with fury to planned tariff rise
Copyright , Live Events / September 2016
Belgium

COPYRIGHT Live events sector   Belgian promoters have reacted with fury to an increase in festival tariffs announced by local performance rights organisation (PRO) Sabam (Société d’Auteurs Belge/Belgische Auteurs Maatschappij) which is planned for 1 January 2017. The rates shake-up will primarily affect larger festivals, which currently benefit from a discount in Sabam’s standard tariff of 6% on box-office receipts. The lowest rate is currently 2.5%, for festivals with box office that exceeds €3.2 million. Flemish-language paper De Morgen says this will rise to around 3.5%   Live Nation Belgium’s Herman Schueremans, promoter of Rock Werchter and TW Classic, calls Sabam “unreasonable” and says the Sabam wants to “kill the goose that lays the golden egg” with the end of the current licence discount. Schueremans pointed to the UK’s tariff of 3% of gross box-office receipts.  In turn, the UK the Association of Independent Festivals has recently suggested a reduction in the UK Tariff LP for live events (which is also under review by PRS for Music) to reflect the unique position of multi stage and multi artist outdoor events and that that PRS for Music do not taking in consideration that many festivals are actually multi-arts events or that not…

IsoHunt founder finally settles with the Canadian content industries
Copyright , Internet , Music Publishing / August 2016
Canada
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet, film, recorded music   One of Canada’s longest-running copyright infringement lawsuits has ended with a judge in Vancouver announcing a $65 million settlement in the IsoHunt case that dates back to 2008. According to various reports, Gary Fung, founder of isoHunt Web Technologies Inc, which was found to have infringed music and film companies’ copyrights in both Canada and the USA , shared music files via isoHunt, a network of BitTorrent file sharing sites.  In the US, a federal district court found isoHunt liable for copyright infringement against the Motion Picture Association of America for sharing illegally downloaded movies. In 2010, more than 20 Canadian and international music companies sued isoHunt and Fung for “massive copyright infringement. In 2013, the US federal court of appeals upheld the 2009 ruling, isoHunt and Fung entered into an agreement to stop all international operations and agreed to a $110 million settlement. The British Columbia Supreme Court has now ruled against isoHunt and Fung, ordering him to pay $55 million CAD in damages for copyright infringement and an additional $10 million (CAD) for punitive damages, and ordering Fung to agree to never again be involved in a service that provides stolen or pirated…

Stairway to Heaven decision to be appealed
Copyright , Music Publishing / August 2016
USA

COPYRIGHT Music publishing   The estate of musician Randy California, of L.A. rock band Spirit, intends to appeal the jury verdict last month that found that Led Zeppelin did not lift music that formed the basis for the group’s hit “Stairway to Heaven” from an earlier Spirit instrumental, “Taurus”. The appeal against the unanimous verdict in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles will challenge the conclusion that even though Zeppelin songwriters Jimmy Page and Robert Plant may have heard “Taurus” before they composed “Stairway,” the songs were not musically similar enough to rise to the level of copyright infringement. The claim came four decades after the songs were written. Immediately following the verdict, Led Zeppelin’s  Jimmy Page and Robert Plant released a statement saying that they were glad to see the issue resolved saying “We are grateful for the jury’s conscientious service and pleased that it has ruled in our favour, putting to rest questions about the origins of ‘Stairway To Heaven’ and confirming what we have known for 45 years,” they said. “We appreciate our fans’ support, and look forward to putting this legal matter behind us.” Plaintiff’s attorney Francis Malofiy later claimed he lost his case on a technicality, insisting…

Google don’t need to filter ‘torrent’ searches in France
Copyright , Internet / August 2016
France

COPYRIGHT Internet   The High Court in Paris has held that search engines Google and Bing are not required to automatically filter “torrent” related searches to prevent piracy. The court said that the proposed filter, requested by the local music industry group SNEP, would be too broad, ineffective, and target legitimate content as well.   SNEP had argued that, when paired with the names of three artists it represented, “torrent” related searches predominantly link to pirated content. To counter this, they demanded a filter that would block results for these searches for the keyword “torrent,” as well as websites that include the same word in their domain name, basing the request on Article L336-2 of France’s intellectual property code, which states that “all appropriate measures” are permitted to prevent copyright infringement. Microsoft had warned that the broad filtering system requested by the music group would be imprecise, disproportionate and inefficient. The Court had to balance the rights of content owners to implement anti-piracy measures against the rights of individual Internet users including  freedom of expression and communication and the court found that “SNEP’s requests are general, and pertain not to a specific site but to all websites accessible through the stated methods, without consideration…

Virgin told to implement three strikes in Ireland – but who pays?
Copyright , Internet / August 2016
EU
Ireland

COPYRIGHT Internet     The Court of Appeal in Ireland has ruled that Ireland’s second largest internet service provider, Virgin Media, must take steps to deal with illegal music downloading, upholding a March 2015 High Court decision that required UPC (since taken over by Virgin) to set up a ‘three strikes’ regime whereby infringers of copyright are identified, warned and their service withdrawn if they do not desist. Subject to a minor variation, the High Court order in favour of Sony, Warner and Universal companies should apply, Mr Justice Gerard Hogan said on behalf of the three-judge appeal court. That variation is that a five year review of the regime would not apply.   Virgin would be entitled to apply to the court again if there are fundamental changes in circumstances or other significant changes which may merit a change in the order, or even its discharge, the court said. UPC/Virgin had appealed the High Court decision arguing, among other reasons, that because it (UPC) was not the infringer of the copyrighted music, the court had no jurisdiction to make the orders it had. For the appeals court, Mr Justice Hogan said the order was necessary and it satisfied the requirements of a 2001 EU…

Apple suggests new royalty rate for streaming music
Australia
USA

COPYRIGHT Music publishing, internet, artistes     Apple has filed a new proposal with the US Copyright Royalty Board which it says it hopes will “simplify” songwriting royalties in the States by 2018. Apple has suggested that all on-demand streaming services should pay songwriters a statutory rate of 9.1 Cents every 100 plays – a per-stream rate of $0.00091, or $910 per million streams, or $910,000 for a billion – thought to be more that Spotify’s ‘free’ ad supported platform would generate.   And in Australia, commercial radio broadcasters will have to pay a licence fee for songs streamed over the internet after a Copyright Tribunal ruling. The long-running legal battle between the Phonographic Performance Company of Australia (PPCA) and Commercial Radio Australia (CRA) finally reached a conclusion after nearly seven years. CRA had previously argued that as it already pays a licence fee for music for radio and shouldn’t have to pay again for making  that broadcast available over the internet. Now the Copyright Tribunal has finalised the terms of the scheme where commercial radio broadcasters will pay simulcast licence fees for songs streamed over the internet.   And Screen Producers Australia (SPA) has reached agreement  with performers for the broadcasting, repeats and…

Michigan court finds that a free stream is not a ‘rent, lend or sale’
Copyright , Internet , Music Publishing / August 2016
USA

COPYRIGHT / PRIVACY Internet, recorded music   The Michigan Court of Appeals has confirmed that music service Pandora didn’t violate a 20 year old Michigan privacy law by allegedly disclosing information about users of its free service to Facebook. in a unanimous decision the court said that the state’s Video Privacy Protection Act doesn’t apply when companies stream music to users for free. That law prohibits companies that rent, lend or sell music (as well as books and videos) from disclosing customers’ identities without their consent, upholding U.S. District Court Judge Saundra Brown in Oakland, California who had dismissed the lawsuit, ruling that Michigan’s law doesn’t apply when companies stream tracks. She said the law only applies to companies that lend, rent or sell material. Michigan resident Peter Deacon had begun the action against Pandora, a potential class-action, saying that Pandora wrongly disclosed his music-listening history to all of his Facebook contacts that also used Pandora. In 2010 Pandora partnered with Facebook for the first version of its “instant personalization” programme which automatically shared Facebook users data with outside companies. People could opt out, but at launch the feature operated by default. Having lost at first instance, Deacon appealed to the 9th Circuit Court…

Florida’s Supreme Court to look at pre-72 copyrights
Copyright , Music Publishing / August 2016
USA

COPYRIGHT Recorded music   Florida’s Supreme Court will now hear the three year old class action brought by former members of the Turtles after the The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday certified questions of state law to the Florida Supreme Court i Howard Kaylan and Mark Volman, known as Flo & Eddie, filed suit in California, New York and Florida against satellite radio operator Sirius XM, arguing that Pre-1972 sound recordings are protected by a patchwork of state and common laws meaning they would need to consent to their recordings being played an should be paid for this. Whilst Flo and Eddie were successful in California and New York, they failed at first instance in Florida, prompting the initial appeal. In Florida U.S. District Judge Darrin Gayles decided to rule in favour of SiriusXM. The judge said he understood why his judicial colleagues in other states ruled differently, noting that California and New York are creative centres of culture, and laws have been enacted there to protect artistic rights, and there have been prior cases that have touched upon the present controversy. But Judge Gayles said that “Florida is different” saying “There is no specific Florida legislation covering sound…

Digitally re-mastered tracks are NOT pre-1972 copyrights
Copyright , Music Publishing / July 2016
USA

COPYRIGHT Recorded music   The Turtles may have done well in battering Sirius XM’s attempts to avoid paying royalties for the use of pre-1972 copyrights, but now CBS Radio has advanced an interesting new argument on the same topic – and a California judge has handed down a big ruling that could help “immunize” terrestrial radio operators and others from lawsuits and “upend many preconceived notions about copyright”. The decision from U.S. District Court Judge Percy Anderson comes in a dispute between ABS Entertainment, owner of recordings by Al Green and others, and CBS Radio, and was based on the concept that pre-1972 songs are protected under state law rather than federal law,  and therefore can’t be broadcast without permission (and payment). In reaction to the ABS lawsuit, CBS tried out a new response – it was not performing the original analogue recordings, but rather NEW digitally remastered versions that came out after 1972. Under this argument, the specifically performed works aren’t protected by state law, and CBS doesn’t have to pay. And the court agreed. More on Billboard here http://www.billboard.com/articles/business/7392764/cbs-beats-lawsuit-pre-1972-songs-bold-copyright-argument http://the1709blog.blogspot.co.uk/2014/09/1972-and-all-that-but-does-turtles-win.html

German Constitutional Court sends sampling saga into another loop
Copyright , Music Publishing / July 2016
Germany

COPYRIGHT Recorded Music   By Mark Schweizer In 1997, German music producer Moses Pelham took a two second sample from Kraftwerk’s 1977 song “Metall auf Metall” and used it as a continuous loop for the song “Nur mir” performed by Sabrina Setlur. In 2004, Kraftwerk sued Pelham for violation of their phonogram producers’ rights and obtained an injunction against the distribution of “Nur mir”. The case went all the way to the Federal Court of Justice (BGH), which held in 2008 that even sampling the “tiniest sliver” (“kleinste Tonfetzen”) of a record infringed the record producer’s right (§ 85(1) German Copyright Act). The defence of Article 24 Copyright Act (Freie Benutzung) was in principle applicable, but required that it was not possible to recreate the sampled sound without copying from the original recording. The BGH sent the case back to the lower court for the factual determination whether it was possible to recreate the sampled sound in the specific case. The lower court found that it was indeed possible for the average music producer to recreate the same sound without sampling, and in 2012, the BGH dismissed another appeal by Pelham against that decision. It namely held that its interpretation of the law did not violate the constitutional freedom of…

Is music sampling back in Vogue?
Copyright , Music Publishing / July 2016
USA

COPYRIGHT Recorded music   A US Appeals court has decided that Madonna did not violate copyright law when her producer allegedly used a short section of music taken from another recording for her hit song “Vogue”. The split 2-1 decision must  call into doubt the strict approach taken by the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in the leading case of Bridgeport Music, Inc., et al. v. Dimension Films, et al 410 F.3d 792 (September 2004). There the court in Cincinnati posed the question “If you cannot pirate the whole sound recording, can you ‘lift’ or ‘sample’ something less than the whole?” The Court’s answer to this was in the negative” and the court added “Get a license or do not sample – we do not see this as stifling creativity in any significant way.” But in this new case, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals said the horn segment at the heart of the copyright lawsuit  lasted less than a second and would not have been recognisable to a general audience. Judge Susan P. Graber said for the majority: “The horn hit occurs only a few times in ‘Vogue’ …. without careful attention, the horn hits are easy to miss.” The decision fits in neatly…

Sorry not sorry – Justin Bieber and Skrillex deny copying vocal loop to produce ‘Sorry’
Copyright , Music Publishing / July 2016
USA

COPYRIGHT Recorded Music   By Emma Perot writing for the IP Kat   Justin Bieber and Skrillex have been accused of copyright infringement by artist Casey Dienel, aka White Hinterland. The suit probably does not come as a complete surprise to the duo, as Dienel claimed that she contacted Bieber’s lawyers when “Sorry” was initially released, but did not receive a response.   Dienel alleged that Bieber and Skrillex, whose 2015 hit single ‘Sorry’ has received 1.4 billion hits on YouTube, copied her vocal loop from her 2014 song ‘Ring the Bell’. The allegedly copied segment can be heard in the first five seconds of each song. Skrillex and Bieber have both denied the claims on their Twitter accounts. If this claim goes to trial, it could be the 2016 edition of the infamous “Blurred Lines” dispute, which resulted in Pharrell Williams and Robin Thicke being ordered to pay Marvin Gaye’s family $7.4 million USD for infringing copyright in his 1977 hit ‘Got to give it up’ (discussed on IPKat here). After the ‘Blurred lines’ case, this Kat would be surprised if Bieber’s lawyers took this case to trial, but let’s consider what Dienel would need to prove to win her claim for infringement:…

Sheeran claim puts ‘Blurred Lines’  back in focus
Copyright , Music Publishing / July 2016
UK

COPYRIGHT Music publishing   Two musicians based in California are suing Ed Sheeran for $20m (£13.8m) over alleged copyrigt infringement of one of their songs in Sheerhan’s single ‘Photograph’. Martin Harrington and American Thomas Leonard claim ‘Photograph’ has a similar structure to their song, ‘Amazing’. The two songwriters allege Ed Sheeran’s 2015 ballad has the same musical composition to their track, which was released as Matt Cardle’s winning X Factor track in 2010. Harrington and Leonard say they wrote ‘Amazing’ in 2009. Ciurt filings include musical note comparison and chord breakdowns of the two songs, and the pair claim the chorus of Photograph shares 39 identical notes with their track. The court documents say that ‘Photograph’ has sold more than 3.5 million copies worldwide.   The claim also states that ‘Photograph’ features prominently in Hollywood drama Me Before You, released last week, as well as trailers for the film. Matt Cardle’s version of ‘Amazing’ has more than one million views on YouTube, while Ed Sheeran’s music video for ‘Photograph’ has 208 million Documents were filed on Wednesday at LA’s federal court in the Central District of California. Other named defendants being sued include Snow Patrol’s Johnny McDaid, who is credited as a co-writer on’ Photograph’, as well…

ARTICLE LINKS – the Led Zeppelin case
Copyright , Music Publishing / July 2016
UK

COPYRIGHT Music publishing Led Zeppelin Wins Copyright Infringement Suit Over Opening Lick of ‘Stairway to Heaven’ http://abcnews.go.com/Entertainment/led-zeppelin-wins-copyright-infringement-suit-opening-lick/story?id=40026259 Led Zeppelin cleared of stealing riff for Stairway to Heaven. Los Angeles jury finds Robert Plant and Jimmy Page did not steal the most famous passage from the 1971 anthem from the band Spirit http://abcnews.go.com/Entertainment/led-zeppelin-wins-copyright-infringement-suit-opening-lick/story?id=40026259 There may be a lady who’s sure that all that glitters is gold, but Thursday’s verdict from a Los Angeles jury in the “Stairway to Heaven” copyright infringement case says otherwise. http://www.bizjournals.com/buffalo/news/2016/06/24/led-zeppelin-case-could-have-had-a-chilling-legal.html Led Zeppelin have won a copyright lawsuit that claimed they had plagiarized the music to their most celebrated song, “Stairway to Heaven.” A Los Angeles jury determined Thursday that the lawyer representing the estate of late guitarist Randy Wolfe, who played with the group Spirit, did not prove that the hard rockers lifted the song’s intro from Spirit’s 1968 instrumental “Taurus.” http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/led-zeppelin-prevail-in-stairway-to-heaven-lawsuit-20160623 Led Zeppelin Wins Copyright Infringement Suit Over Opening Lick of ‘Stairway to Heaven’ http://wtnh.com/2016/06/24/led-zeppelin-wins-copyright-infringement-suit-over-opening-lick-of-stairway-to-heaven/ UPDATE Lawyer Who Sued Led Zeppelin Suspended From Practicing Law https://www.digitalmusicnews.com/2016/07/01/lawyer-led-zeppelin-suspended-law/

Does Axl’s photograph claim carry any weight?
Artists , Copyright / July 2016
USA

COPYRIGHT Artistes, photography   Guns N Roses and now AC/DC frontman Axl Rose has filed six DCMA take down notices in what is seen as an attempt remove an unflattering photo of him from a 2010 Canadian concert from the web. The requests were filed on behalf of Rose by anti-piracy firm Web Sheriff, and all target examples of the same picture hosted on Blogspot and GoogleUserContent domains which have has spawned a series of ‘Fat Axl’ memes relating to the singer’s increased weight with labels such as ‘Sweet Pie of Mine’, ‘Take Me Down To the Bakery City’ and ‘Welcome to McDonalds’.   The original image was taken by Winnipeg Free Press photojournalist Boris Minkevich, who was initially unaware that any action was being taken over the image he snapped – and who is reported byTorrentFreak to have said that the only copyright being infringed is his: “The photo was stolen off our website with no permission granted by the Winnipeg Free Press”. However Web Sheriff told TorrentFreak that all photographers at the concert were said to have been required to sign an agreement passing copyright ownership of images taken to Rose’s company, The photographer cannot remember whether he signed the agreeement…

PRS posts increased revenues for 2015 – and increased costs
Copyright , Music Publishing / June 2016
UK

COPYRIGHT Music Publishing   The Performing Right Society (PRS) has announced its 2015 financial results, revealing a record high royalty income of £537.4m. This figure represents an increase of 7% on 2014 when measured on a constant currency basis, with year on year growth across all revenue streams with an 8.4% increase in distributions, equating to an extra £35.6m compared to 2014. Key drivers of this success include continued growth in the online market, the success of PRS member’s repertoire in overseas markets and efficiency improvements associated with the processing of online royalties.   Online revenues reached £42.4m, representing an increase of 12.8% over 2014. This was driven by market growth and improved licensing International revenues totalled £195.6m, an increase of 10.4% on a constant currency basis, showing the value of investing in better tracking of the use of members’ rights overseas. Broadcast revenues were £124.2m: an increase of 4.1%, in part due to growth in advertising on commercial radio stations.  Public performance royalties grew to £175.2m, an increase of 4.1%, reflecting PRS’ strategy of communicating the value of music to businesses However the collection society’s headline costs increased by £10.2m in the year (17.7%) to £67.8m and there was…

IFPI Global Music Report 2016
Copyright , Internet / May 2016
EU
UK
USA

COPYRIGHT Recorded music, internet     The record labels’ international trade body, the IFPI, has published its Global Music Report for 2016 with headline news that global recorded music revenues are up 3.2% as digital revenues overtake physical for the frst time. The report highlights: –       Digital revenues contribute 45 per cent of industry revenues, overtaking physical’s 39 per cent share –       Streaming revenues up 45.2 per cent, helping to drive 3.2 per cent global growth –       Music consumption is exploding globally, but the “value gap” is the biggest brake on sustainable revenue growth for artists and record labels Digital revenues now account for 45 per cent of total revenues, compared to 39 per cent for physical sales. IFPI’s Global Music Report 2016 also reported a 10.2 per cent rise in digital revenues to US$ 6.7 billion, with a 45.2 per cent increase in streaming revenue more than offsetting the decline in downloads and physical formats. Total industry revenues grew 3.2 per cent to US$ 15.0 billion, leading to the industry’s first significant year-on-year growth in nearly two decades.  Digital revenues now account for more than half the recorded music market…

Artistes call for major reforms of take down policies and the ‘largely useless’ DMCA
Artists , Copyright , Internet / May 2016
UK
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet, artistes     Some 400 recording artists, songwriters and groups including the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) are calling on Congress to reform existing US copyright law saying that the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) is obsolete, dysfunctional and harmful,  and calling for stronger measures against the ongoing piracy troubles they face. The DCMA was signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1998 and aimed to ready copyright law for the digital age. Christina Aguilera, Katy Perry, Steve Tyler, Lionel Richie and Garth Brooks are just some of music’s biggest names want to make it harder to pirate music online. The musicians are asking lawmakers to make “drastic reforms” to the Act. “Artists spanning a variety of genres and generations are submitting comments to the federal government’s U.S. Copyright Office …. demanding reforms to the antiquated DMCA which forces creators to police the entire Internet for instances of theft, placing an undue burden on these artists and unfairly favoring technology companies and rogue pirate sites,” says a statement issued by the Recording Industry Association of America: Recording artistes including deadmau5, Tony Bennett, Pearl Jam and Bette Midler have filed petitions to the U.S. Copyright Office detailing their struggles…

PRS for Music welcomes the Collective Management of Copyright (EU Directive) Regulations 2016
EU
UK

COPYRIGHT Music publishing     PRS for Music has issued a statement saying that the CMO supports the principles and objectives of the Collective Right Management (CRM) Directive which came into force yesterday. Details of the UK Regulations can be found here (The Collective Management of Copyright (EU Directive) Regulations 2016). In welcoming the new UK Regulations, PRS believes the CRM Directive will improve the way collective management organisations operate across the EU, which will be in the best interests of rightholders and users. The CRM Directive is intended to provide long term legislative solutions to ensure all collective management organisations operating in Europe meet minimum standards of transparency, governance and customer service generally and also in respect of multi-territorial online licensing. With 60% of PRS for Music’s international revenues deriving from the EU, greater transparency and efficiencies will improve the administration and collection of royalties for PRS members, and are in the best interests of all affiliated parties. Robert Ashcroft, Chief Executive, PRS for Music, commented: “From its inception we have supported the overarching principles and objectives of the CRM Directive and the intention to create a framework that promotes transparency, efficiency and accountability by collecting societies in Europe. These characteristics…

Led Zeppelin face trial over ‘Stairway to Heaven’ plagiarism claims
USA

COPYRIGHT Music publishing     Members of legendary rock band Led Zeppelin will face a May 10th trial over claims that they plagiarised Spirit to make their iconic song “Stairway to Heaven.” The lawsuit was filed by the trustee of the late Randy Craig Wolfe (Randy California) of the band Spirit, who played with Jimi Hendrix in the 1960s. Wolfe drowned off the coast of Hawaii in 1997, but a trustee for his estate has sued Led Zeppelin and the three band members, plus music publishers Super Hype Publishing Inc. and Warner Music Group Corp. The 2014 suit claims that Led Zeppelin, which opened for Spirit in the 1960s, copied a musical composition Wolfe wrote called “Taurus.” On March 23rd , both sides failed to reach a settlement in the dispute. U.S. District Judge R. Gary Klausner in Los Angeles then scheduled a trial, subsequently ruling that the song and the 1967 instrumental ‘Taurus’ by the band Spirit were similar enough to let a jury decide whether Robert Plant and Jimmy Page are liable for copyright infringement. http://www.nationallawjournal.com/home/id=1202753816827/Stairway-to-Heaven-Leading-to-Trial-for-Led-Zeppelin?mcode=1202617074964&curindex=1&slreturn=20160304053343 http://www.musiclawupdates.com/?p=5821 http://www.musiclawupdates.com/?p=6322

Universal and Capitol fly high with copyright win
Copyright / May 2016
USA

COPYRIGHT Recorded music     Universal Music and Capitol Records have obtained summary judgment against IFP and parent company Global Eagle, an in flight music licensing company, and the two recoded music companies can now look forward to a jury deciding the quantum of damages to be awarded, with reports saying this “could be worth hundreds of millions of dollars.” IFP is a worldwide provider of in-flight entertainment from movies to songs and IFP provided American Airlines (and later US Airways) with music playlists obtained via physical CDs and digital downloads. In 2008 the company approached the major labels for a deal and what followed has been described as a “few years of painstaking negotiations over advances and revenue apportionment, complicated by some catalogs not being available for in-flight licensing as well as IFP not wishing to let the cat out of the bag about the lack of licenses.”   Added to this was the fact that although IFP was based in Los Angeles, and had completed some of the early reproduction work there, the company said that duplication and encoding was taking place in the U.K. under a different licensing regime. Added to this was the position advanced by IFP that it…

Supreme Court confirms Court of Appeal to block Bob Marley claim
UK

COPYRIGHT / CONTRACT Music publishing     The Supreme Court in London has confirmed the Court of Appeal and High Court of Justice’s decisions that it is Blue Mountain Music, and not Bob Marley’ original publisher Cayman Music (CMI)(BSI), who owned the copyrights in a number of Marley’s songs. CMI were Marley’s original publisher but it is commonly believed that Marley claimed various friends wrote a number of his songs to avoid the contract terms with CMI which would have automatically transferred the copyrights in his work to the publisher – for ‘No Woman, No Cry’ the credit went to Vincent Ford. CMI had previously said ““It is now common ground between the disputing parties that the songs – including ‘No Woman, No Cry’ – were actually written by Bob Marley but that the music publisher’s share was never credited to Cayman Music, who have now been denied their contracted entitlement for more than 40 years”. CMI claimed these songs were not included when it sold some of its rights in 1992 to Blue Mountain Music, as Marley, who died in 1981, had penned them under other people’s names-  the ‘Misattribution Ploy’. However High Court  agreed the copyright had “passed” under…

Live music sector puts CMO ‘kickbacks’ into the spotlight
Copyright , Live Events / April 2016
EU
Germany
Netherlands
UK

COPYRIGHT Live events sector     They may not want to be in the spotlight, and the until recently practices of ‘discounts’ or ‘rebates’ offered by European Collective Management Organisations such as Buma-Stemra in Holland and GEMA in Germany to large and established live music promoters and venues were relatively unknown. But 2016 saw the topic rear up as one of the main talking points at this year’s International Live Music Conference (ILMC). The Conference held a packed main conference session dedicted to the topic and with managers for Mark Knopfler and Muse on the Stage along with representatives from two Collection Societies, and many artiste and songwriter representatives expressed their anger at the practice. Back in July 2015 Music Law Updates reported that Dutch collection society Buma’s practice of rewarding the country’s biggest promoters with a kickback for ‘helping’ to collect the levy on live music concerts (which is meant to remunerate songwriters and music publishers for the use of their works) had come under fire after a number of tour accountants for performers who pen their own material could not reconcile deductions made by promoters against revenues received by their songwriter clients from their own collection societies – even after taking…

IFPI and Sound Exchange make ISRC Codes publicly accessible for the first time
Copyright / April 2016
EU
UK
USA

COPYRIGHT Recorded music     The international trade body for the recording industry, IFPI, has partnered with the world’s biggest digital Collective Management Organisation, SoundExchange, to create a new website that will make it easier to identify sound recordings. SoundExchange collects and distributes royalties on the behalf of sound recording copyright owners for non-interactive digital transmissions, including satellite, Internet radio, and cable television music channels. In addition to music, SoundExchange also collects royalties for comedy and spoken word recordings. The ISRC Search Site will provide access to nearly 20 million unique recordings, enabling recording artists, rights owners and music services to quickly identify data associated with sound recordings. The initiative will increase transparency and efficiency in the handling of data about recordings. ISRC (International Standard Recording Code) is the standardised identifier for recorded music and is a unique code assigned to every single music recording or music video to ensure their usage can be tracked and accounted for.  IFPI manages the ISRC system globally under an appointment from the International Organisation for Standardisation. For the first time, ISRC codes – supplied directly from record companies across the globe – will be publicly accessible and searchable. Commenting on the launch of…

Spotify settles NMPA mechanicals claim
USA

COPYRIGHT Music Publishing, internet     Spotify has agreed a settlement deal with the National Music Publishers’ Association (NMPA) which will ‘allow independent and major publishers to claim and receive royalties for certain compositions used on Spotify in the United States where ownership information was previously unknown’ although one commentator noted that the problem was less of Spotify not paying and more that  “America’s long inefficient mechanical licensing framework is really behind the unpaid monies” something more in the hands of the NMPA than Spotify. The digital services argue that a lack of decent copyright data – in particular a database that states which song copyright is contained within any one recording – makes it impossible for them to file the paperwork required by the compulsory licence. Services can license the mechanical rights in songs under a compulsory licence in America, which sets a standard rate. But under that licence the digital service must alert the rights owner that their songs are being used and arrange to pay the statutory royalties. In many cases this hasn’t happened, with the streaming firms arguing that they don’t know what songs are embodied in what recordings, because the labels don’t tell them. The NMPA…

McCartney moves to reclaim his US copyrights
Copyright , Music Publishing / April 2016
UK
USA

COPYRIGHT Music Publishing     Following the news that Sony Corp was buying the Michael Jackson Estate out of its music publishing joint venture Sony/ATV at a cost of $750 million comes the revelation that Sir Paul McCartney is in the process of reclaiming US publishing rights for a huge chunk of The Beatles’ catalogue from Sony/ATV.  The former Beatle is using the provisions of the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976 stipulates that writers of pre-1978 tracks can reclaim their US publishing rights – if they’ve previously signed them away – after 56 years. The publishing rights for McCartney’s share of Beatles songs will begin expiring in 2018 – 56 years after the Fab Four’s first hit, “Love Me Do”, was penned and recorded in 1962. The Lennon/McCartney repertoire is amongst the most prized of Sony/ATV’s catalogue. Music Business Worldwide trawled through the US Copyright Office’s records and discovered that McCartney filed termination notices last year for two batches of Fab Four tracks – “All You Need Is Love” and  23 other titles’. In addition “All Together Now” & 32 other titles had been filed. Between them, these filings included hits ranging from “Back In The USSR” to “Helter Skelter”, “Hey Jude”,…

Blurred Lines – are costs really appropriate the Gayes’ legal team?
Copyright , Music Publishing / April 2016
USA

COPYRIGHT Music publishing     The claim for $3.5 million in legal costs filed by the Gaye family and their lawyers after winning the ‘Blurred Lines’ plagiarism case may well hit a block in the form of Judge John A Kronstadt who seems less inclined to award costs than might be expected – it was after all Pharell and Thicke who actually started the litigation – seeking a declaration that they HADN’T plagiarised Gaye – only for the Jury to find the opposite. The Gaye’s attorney, Richard Busch says that the Gaye family’s successful litigation against Williams and Thicke over the ‘copying’ of ‘Got To Give It Up’ on ‘Blurred Lines’ “encourages the meritorious prosecution of copyright claims” but adds that if the Gaye’s have to pay his costs out of their winnings of $5.3 million (reduced by the court from $7.3 million), that will stop said people from taking action, even if meritorious with Busch saying (according to The Hollywood Reporter) : “They gambled and they lost and they should pay the consequences for doing so”. William and Thicke’s lawyer Howard King countered, saying that awarding legal costs in a case like this would set the dangerous precedent because the case “demarcated…

TimeWarner red faced after copyright claim in Spain
Spain

COPYRIGHT Music publishing, live events sector   Time Warner is in trouble in Spain for using recorded music by local artists in its theme park for six years without paying a licence fee. The Supreme Court of Spain has ordered the Parque Warner Madrid resort theme park (co-owned by Time Warner and Parques Reunidos) to pay €321,450 (£250,539) in damages for playing the music of Spanish artists on loudspeakers to park visitors between 2002 to 2008. The music was played in public areas across the park, including attractions, restaurants, retail outlets and transportation without any permssions or payment of licence fees. In 2009 The Association of Management of Intellectual Rights (AGEDI) and the Association of Artists and Performers (AIE) filed a joint lawsuit demanding that Parque Warner pay licencing fees for all the music that had been paid in public at the park, as well as demanding that the park stop using all copyright music until the case was decided. In May 2010, Madrid’s Commercial Court Number 7 ruled in favour of the copyright holders, and the appeal to the Provincial Court of Madrid also found in favour of AGEDI and AIE. Parque Warner defence was founded on the argument that an annual…

Changes Ahead in U.S. Copyright Statutory Damages Law
Copyright / March 2016
USA

COPYRIGHT All areas     By Marie-Andree Weiss writing on the 1709 Copyright blog   The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Internet Policy Task Force  (the Task Force), which is led by both the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), published on January 28 a  White Paper on Remixes, First Sale, and Statutory Damages which addresses three issues:   1) the legal framework for the creation of remixes; 2) the relevance and scope of the first sale doctrine in the digital environment; and 3) the application of statutory damages in the context of individual file-sharers and secondary liability for large-scale online infringement.   The Task Force had published a Green Paper, “Copyright Policy, Creativity, and Innovation in the Digital Economy” on July 31, 2013, which had identified these three issues warranting further review by the Task Force.   The Task Force then published a Notice in the Federal Register seeking comment on these issues. It conducted a public meeting in December 2013 and also held roundtables around the U.S., before reviewing comments from stakeholders as diverse as rights holder organizations, Internet-based companies, public interest groups, libraries, academics, and individual authors and artists.   Remixes   Remixes use existing works, some of them still protected…

Deep Purple – failed companies can’t sell our copyrights
Artists , Copyright / March 2016
UK

COPYRIGHT Sound recordings, artistes     In the wake of news that ReSolve Partners has been appointed as the administrator for Limited Deep Purple (Overseas) Ltd (“DPO”) and HEC Enterprises Ltd (“HEC”) and is asking for expressions of interest from third parties for the companies and their assests, Deep Purple themselves say their assets cannot be sold without their agreement, and that they had commenced legal proceedings against DPO and HEC before the firms fell into administration. The remaining members of Deep Purple – Ian Gillan, Ian Paice, Roger Glover – along with Victoria Lord, widow and executor of the Estate of Jon Lord, sent the following statement to MBW It has come to our attention that two companies, Deep Purple (Overseas) Ltd (“DPO”) and HEC Enterprises Ltd (“HEC”) have recently gone into administration and that ReSolve Partners Limited (“ReSolve”) have been appointed as administrators for both companies. We believe ReSolve are inviting offers from third parties for the business and assets of the two companies. We, (Ian Gillan, Ian Paice and Roger Glover, being continuing members of Deep Purple and Victoria Lord, representing Jon Lord, who was a member of the group until his death) commenced legal proceedings against both DPO…

PRS and PPL launch a new joint venture for public performance licensing
Copyright / March 2016
UK

COPYRIGHT All areas     In the United Kingdom, PRS for Music and Phonographic Performance Limited (PPL) have confirmed that, following a strategic review commenced in 2015, the two companies plan to create a joint venture. The new company, jointly and equally owned by PPL and PRS for Music, would focus on serving all PPL and PRS for Music UK public performance licensing customers for both music and sound recording rights. PPL is the music licensing company which works on behalf of record companies and performers to license recorded music played in public. PRS for Music represents the rights of over 115,000 songwriters, composers and music publishers in the UK. The two CMOs say that this will further streamline the experience for customers obtaining public performance licences, allowing them to secure a joint PPL and PRS for Music licence |”with a single phone call or a few clicks on the web, paid for with a single invoice.” Over the coming months, PRS for Music and PPL will be undertaking the necessary preparatory work for the joint venture “Including engagement with regulators and other key stakeholders.” It is anticipated that the new company would start licensing in 2017, followed by a…

PRS Launches New Anti-Piracy System ‘MAPS’
UK

COPYRIGHT Music Publishing, online     PRS for Music has announced the launch of its new anti-piracy take-down tool ‘MAPS’. The newly developed system will “revolutionise” the way PRS for Music tackles copyright infringement of its members’ repertoire in the continued fight against online music piracy. Working in partnership with The Publishers Association, the trade body for the UK book publishing industry, MAPS has been developed for PRS for Music to deliver a bespoke notice and takedown system. MAPS will initially be available to a selected number of publisher members in March 2016. The tool will locate unlicensed and infringing content made available online and will then allow users to automatically generate and serve notices to remove the content.  It will also allow users to remove links to the content found on Google and elsewhere. PRS for Music’s Head of Litigation, Enforcement and Anti-Piracy, Simon Bourn said: “We are very excited to be rolling-out our new anti-piracy system to publisher members.  Where opportunistic and illegal use is made of our members’ repertoire online, without the necessary business model to sustain a legitimate licensed marketplace, it is important that we take action to protect the rights of our members and to…

Timberlake faces plagiarism lawsuits
Copyright , Music Publishing / March 2016
USA

COPYRIGHT Music publishing     Justin Timberlake and will.i.am (William Adams) are facing a lawsuit from PK Music Performance claiming that their song “Damn Girl” (from Timberlake’s 2006 “FutureSex/LoveSounds” album) is too similar to the disco track “A New Day Is Here At Last,” according to TMZ. The latter was originally copyrighted back in 1969 by Perry Kibble and performed by J.C. Davis. PK Music Performance renewed the copyright license in January after Kibble’s sister Janis McQuinton granted them the rights: she inherited the copyright on Kibble’s death in 1999.   “A substantial amount of the music in ‘Damn Girl’ is copied from ‘A New Day Is Here At Last,’” the lawsuit reads. “Specifically, a substantial part of the drum, conga drum, organ, bass guitar, electric quitter and saxophone parts in ‘Damn Girl,’ were all copied from ‘A New Day Is Here At Last.’” . PK is reportedly seeking injunctive relief and an undisclosed claim for damages which includes an “award for actual damages,” song profits and attorney fees. PK also wants known copies of the song handed over to them to be destroyed, as well. Timberlake is also facing a separate legal battle over his song “Suit & Tie,”…

Warners agree to share any Spotify equity windfall with artistes – but how much?
Contract , Copyright , Internet / March 2016
UK
USA

COPYRIGHT / CONTRACT Recorded music, internet     Warner Music Group has told investors that should the major ever sell its stake in Spotify, it will pay its recording artistes a portion of the proceeds. Warner is believed to own between 2% and 3% in Spotify – an equity position which it received via licensing negotiations – in effect for ‘free’ due to its position as the owner of a large catalogue of sound recordings. Warners also hold an equity stake in Soundcould on the same basis. Recent market analysis has given Spotify a valuation of $8bn – so the key question must be – WHAT percentage will they share with artistes – if they takethe ‘per unit’ rate from CD sales – npot very much … if they take a fair and equitable approach – upwards of half – a big difference! WMG CEO Stephen Cooper said “”As there is an ongoing debate in the media regarding how artists should be paid for use of their music on streaming services, we wanted to take this opportunity to address the issue head on” adding “the main form of compensation we receive from streaming services is revenue based on actual streams”, but acknowledged…

Pandora secures new deals with ASCAP and BMI
Copyright , Internet / February 2016
USA

COPYRIGHT Broadcasting, internet   ASCAP and BMI have signed two separate multi-year licensing agreements with Pandora for their combined catalogues of more than 20 million musical works. Pandora claims that the new agreements will “modernise compensation in the US for ASCAP and BMI songwriters and publishers” and added that the deal would see it “benefit from greater rate certainty and the ability to add new flexibility to [our] product offering over time”. Before the new deal, ASCAP was taking just 1.75% of Pandora’s yearly income. BMI took Pandora to the US rate courts and secured a 2.5% royalty rate for its clients. Pandora then appealed this ruling, a move that it has now dropped in the wake of the new arrangement with ASCAP and BMI. “This agreement is good news for music fans and music creators, who are the heart and soul of ASCAP, and a sign of progress in our ongoing push for improved streaming payments for songwriters, composers and music publishers that reflect the immense value of our members’ creative contributions,” said ASCAP CEO Elizabeth Matthews. “We’re extremely pleased to reach this deal with Pandora that benefits the songwriters, composers and publishers we are privileged to represent,” said Mike O’Neill, President and CEO,…

Spotify face $150 million lawsuit from songwriter over infringement and non payment issues
Copyright , Internet / February 2016
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet, broadcasting   A US recording artist has filed a US$150 million lawsuit against Spotify, alleging that the market leader in the streaming sector has knowingly reproduced his copyrighted songs – without permission or payment. David Lowery, best known for leading alternative rock bands Cracker and Camper Van Beethoven, has now asked a US judge to allow a class action suit on behalf of “hundreds of thousands” of potential plaintiffs he believes were similarly affected.   The lawsuit, filed in the federal court in Los Angeles, accuses the streaming giant of ignoring mechanical rights. The singer-songwriter and musician’s rights advocate, who holds a degree in mathematics and is a lecturer at the University of Georgia, accused Spotify of copying and distributing compositions for its online service without permission or informing the copyright holders, listing four tracks from Camper Van Beethoven and Cracker that he said were used without his permission. The lawsuit also alleged unfair business practices by Spotify saying that its payment structure was arbitrary and “depresses the value of royalties” overall: “Unless the court enjoins and restrains Spotify’s conduct, plaintiff and the class members will continue to endure great and irreparable harm that cannot be fully compensated or measured in…

Raiding the Rock Vault claim results in request for a court declaration
Copyright , Live Events / February 2016
USA

COPYRIGHT Live events sector   Record producer David Kershenbaum alleged threats to shut down a Las Vegas show – which removed him as director – has resulted in a law suit from the show’s producer, Rock Vault. Kershenbaum was a co-director and co-writer of Rock Vault Tours’ show “Raiding the Rock Vault” staged at the Tropicana Las Vegas. Rock Vault says it had to ask him to “disengage from his duties in connection to “Raiding the Rock Vault.” It says he has no role in the show now playing at the Tropicana, nor in a new show, to be called “Raiding the Country Vault.” However Kershenbaum says he is co-owner of the copyrights for “Raiding the Rock Vaults.” He claims the shows infringe on his copyrights, and sent a cease and desist letter to Rock Vault, threatening to sue to stop the show and the second show unless Rock Vault brought out his interest in the copyrights, with the sum of $1 million reportedly claimed. Rock Vault says that “In light of Kershenbaum’s threat to seek an injunction to enjoin further performances of Raiding the Rock Vault and to prevent Rock Vault from launching its new show, “Raiding the Country…

C’MOn C’MOn – Music Publishing
Copyright , Music Publishing / January 2016
UK

COPYRIGHT Music publishing     Ahh, music publishing. While the Collective Rights Management Directive technical review by the UK IPO is still underway (coverage of the Directive on the 1709 blog here), discussions on music publishing are lively.  Today a group of researchers, industry and policy makers gathered at Birkbeck workshop to debate recent research on music publishing. We started with a trip down memory lane with Fiona Macmillan and Jose Bellido presenting on the history of Collective Management Organisations (CMOs). Granted by access by PRS for Music to the PRS legal archives, the researchers detail the evolution of PRS from the early 1900s. As is often the case, starting a CMO ain’t easy, and the early days of PRS required negotiation with other organisations (including a boycott in 1918 by the Amalgamated Musicians’ Union) and recruitment struggles. PRS’s early litigation was very strategic, typically successful and ran about one case per year from the early 1920s to the early 1940s. (These cases likely represent only about 10% of disputes, with the rest settling out of court.) Interestingly, the young PRS was very protective of its reputation, and took pains to set the record straight in the reporting of the cases and brought actions for libel. While PRS was a bit late to the CMO…

PRS live music consultation prompts a range of responses
UK

COPYRIGHT Live events sector, music publishing   The music publishing sector’s collecting society PRS For Music has confirmed that it has received 111 direct responses to its consultation on the way the organisation licenses live events – the so called ‘Tariff LP’ (Popular Music Concerts Tariff’). Concert and festival promoters, as well as their trade bodies such as the Concert Promoters Association (CPA) and the Association of Independent Festivals (AIF), clubs and other venues submitted their views, along with the PRS membership (which comprise songwriters and music publishers). There was some disquiet about the way PRS for Music attempted to structure responses, and indeed how a body seeking to increase a rate could be allowed to run an ‘independent’ consultation. The current rate is 3% of gross box office, but PRS for Music would like to expand this to secondary ticketing, sponsorship and ancillary income. The PRs reviewed the rate just 5 years ago, and were again criticised not only for yet another review, but also for launching the review in the busy summer season, leaving the live events sector little time to respond, although the deadline was later extended at the request of the CPA.  The Report can be found…

I financed it so it’s my copyright–well, not really
Copyright / January 2016
UK

COPYRIGHT Recorded music   Aaron Wood has provided THE IPKat an edifying summary of a recent case from the UK Intellectual Property Enterprise Court, Henry Hadaway Organisation v Pickwick Group Limited and Ors [2015] EWHC 3407 (IPEC), concerning the vexing question that copyright practitioners know all too well: Who is the owner of the copyright in a recording where one party finances and the other is the creative/organiser? Here’s what Aaron writes:   “Mr Lorenz, a well-known musical producer, had entered into an agreement with a company called Pickwick (called Pickwick 1 in the case and not the same Pickwick as the defendant), which resulted in the making of recordings in various shows called The Shows Collection. The claimant’s position was that it was the exclusive licensee of various recordings from GLPL, the company through which Mr Lorenz operated before his death, and was the owner of copyright in the remainder of the relevant recordings by virtue of an assignment from the same.   It alleged that the defendant company Pickwick (called Pickwick 2 throughout the case to distinguish it from the earlier company) had infringed the copyright by copying, issuing copies to the public and communicating to the public the Recordings and adaptations…

Something for the Weeknd?
Copyright , Music Publishing / January 2016
USA

COPYRIGHT Recorded music, music publishing   Cutting Edge Music Limited has issued proceedings against The Weeknd (Abel Tesfaye), his producers and music giants Universal, Warner Chappell, Sony/ATV and others in the federal courts in California.  The plaintiff identifies itself as a company that finances films and acquires interest in film score compositions and sound recordings. The Machine, about cyborgs created for a war, was one of the films, released in 2013 and had a score by Tom Raybould – which has allegedly been infringed.  The key evidence in the complaint — is an alleged message sent through Twitter by co-defendant Emmanuel “Mano” Nickerson, a prominent music producer who worked on “The Hills.” The Hollywood Reporter says that according to the complaint “On or about March 9, 2015, Defendant MANO sent Raybould a Twitter direct message stating ‘I sampled your music might make it 2 the weeknd next album. Huge fan of what u did 4 the machine movie!’ ” “The Hills” was released in May as the second single from The Weeknd’s album, “Beauty Behind the Madness.” It’s topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart for several weeks and has been remixed by Eminem, Nicki Minaj and Lil Wayne. As for alleged substantial similarity,…

Pandora shares soar after Copyright Royalty Board set new rate
Copyright , Internet / January 2016
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet, broadcasting, recorded music   Pandora, the world’s largest Internet radio service, will pay record companies more money to stream its music following a long-awaited decision on Wednesday by the three-judge panel of the U.S. Copyright Royalty Board.  The Board, a panel of three federal judges, decides how much Internet radio stations such as Pandora must pay record companies. Under a 1995 law and its successors, disputes over this rate are settled by the Copyright Royalty Board. But the new fee represents a comparatively small increase – the record companies were seeking much higher rates. The new statutory per-stream rate os paid to recorded music rightsholders by non-interactive digital ‘radio’ platforms such as Pandora and iHeartRadio.  the non-subscription per-stream rate set by the CRB will be $0.0017, which $0.0003 more per stream than recorded music rightsholders currently receive from Pandora. According to MBW calculations, that will mean Pandora paying out $94.1m more to recorded music rightholders next year compared to 2015 for the same amount of consumption. However this rate will only apply for definite in 2016 – the following four years (2017-2020) will be determined by fluctuations in the US Consumer Price Index, which could bring the rate back down – or…

PRS and Soundcloud settle
Copyright , Internet , Music Publishing / January 2016
UK

COPYRIGHT Music publishing, Internet     PRS for Music has written to its membership informing them that it has settled the recently launched legal action against the online music platform, which is widely used by PRS members. The licence covers the use of PRS for Music repertoire from SoundCloud’s launch, and extends to. cover SoundCloud in its plans to introduce subscription and advertising supported platforms across Europe in 2016.   Robert Ashcroft, Chief Executive of PRS for Music said: “On behalf of our members, I am pleased that we have been able to reach a settlement with SoundCloud without extended legal proceedings. This ends over five years of discussions on the licensing requirements for the platform, resulting in a licence under which our members are fairly rewarded for the use of their music.” adding “The safe harbours in current legislation still present ambiguity, and obstruct the efficient licensing of online services, but our agreement with SoundCloud is a step in the right direction towards a more level playing field for the online marketplace.”   The letter from Karen Buse, Executive Director, Membership and International, reads:   I wrote to you earlier this year to explain our action against the online music streaming service SoundCloud. After five…

Spotify face $150 million lawsuit from songwriter over infringement and non payment issues
Copyright , Internet / January 2016
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet     A US recording artist has filed a US$150 million lawsuit against Spotify, alleging that the market leader in the streaming sector has knowingly reproduced his copyrighted songs – without permission or payment. David Lowery, best known for leading alternative rock bands Cracker and Camper Van Beethoven, has now asked a US judge to allow a class action suit on behalf of “hundreds of thousands” of potential plaintiffs he believes were similarly affected.   The lawsuit, filed in the federal court in Los Angeles, accuses the streaming giant of ignoring mechanical rights. The singer-songwriter and musician’s rights advocate, who holds a degree in mathematics and is a lecturer at the University of Georgia, accused Spotify of copying and distributing compositions for its online service without permission or informing the copyright holders, listing four tracks from Camper Van Beethoven and Cracker that he said were used without his permission.   The lawsuit also alleged unfair business practices by Spotify saying that its payment structure was arbitrary and “depresses the value of royalties” overall: “Unless the court enjoins and restrains Spotify’s conduct, plaintiff and the class members will continue to endure great and irreparable harm that cannot be fully compensated or…