Prince has launched a $22 million lawsuit against bootleg sharers.
Artists , Copyright , Internet , Music Publishing / February 2014
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet, artists, sound recordings    Pop idol Prince caused some controversy at the end of January when he initiated a copyright action against twenty two fans who had shared bootleg videos and albums. The defendants in question had created fan websites dedicated to the musician through the use of platforms like Facebook and Blogger. Prince alleges that the defendants used these websites to post links to torrent sites where recordings of Princes’ concerts could be downloaded for free.  He is seeking $1 million in damages from each defendant, only two of which are identified by name (the others remaining as John Doe defendants). The lawsuit notes that the file-sharers in question have all used Google’s Blogger platform and/or Facebook to share bootlegs of his performances, one in particular providing links to 393 recordings on various different file-sharing services. It also notes that Prince has not been able to identify the real names of any of the file-sharers, hence they are being sued under their online usernames. The suit notes that the defendants often speak to each other to exchange bootlegs directly; according to the claim, the sharing of these recordings has “caused and will continue to cause substantial, immediate and irreparable injury…

Ariana Grande, Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood face sampling cases in the USA
Artists , Copyright , Music Publishing / January 2014
USA

COPYRIGHT Music Publishing, recorded music, artistes   The Tennessean reports that pop star Ariana Grande, along with her publishing company and record label, are facing copyright infringement lawsuit related to her hit song “The Way.” The suit claims Grande and producer/writer/co-performer Mac Miller copied from the 1972 disco song “Troglodyte” when they recorded “The Way,” which became a major hit earlier this year and iTunes no 1 single, selling more than 2 million copies. The federal suit from  Minder Music claims Grande and Miller duplicated the vocal beginning to the Jimmy Castor Bunch’s “Troglodyte” when they recorded “The Way.” “Troglodyte” begins with Jimmy Castor speaking the phrase, “What we’re gonna do right here is go back, way back, back into time.”  “The Way” begins with the spoken phrase “What we gotta do right here is go back, back into time.”  The attorney in the claim is Richard Busch of King & Ballow who has previously successfully brought claims against samplers – in particular of George Clinton and Funkadelic and on behalf of Bridgeport Music. And more from the Tennessean:  A US federal judge has ruled that a “song-theft” lawsuit against country superstars Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood over their duet…

Russia’s Supreme Court critical of Pussy Riot ruling
Artists , Criminal Law / January 2014
Russia

CRIMINAL Artists Russia’s Supreme Court has criticised the guilty verdicts in the Pussy Riot case and ordered a review of the ruling that convicted three members of the punk protest group of “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred” after the band staged a provocative performance that criticised the Russian government  in a Moscow cathedral in August 2012 Two of the three, Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, were jailed. The Supreme Court has now said that the prosecution in the case failed to demonstrate that the defendants were motivated by hatred towards a specific social group, which, appeal judges said last week, is necessary for this ruling. The Supreme Court added that judges in the lower court should also have considered that Alyokhina and Tolokonnikova were mothers with young children when sentencing them. The ruling comes alongside the recently announced amnesty bill’ y put forward to the country’s parliament by premier Vladimir Putin, which aims to show leniency on the twentieth anniversary of the Russian Constitution (and remove embarrassing Russian court rulings before next year’s Winter Olympics in Russia) could also lead to the Pussy Riot two being freed early although with just three months left to run on both protestors’ sentences,…

Styles wins banning order on paps
Artists , Privacy / January 2014
UK

PRIVACY & HARRASSMENT Artists   Harry Styles has won a court order that bans the paparazzi from pursuing the One Direction star in the street or stalking the singer outside of his home, an interesting move which has the potential to set new precedent with regards how the law can be used to control the paparazzi. The Styles’ injunction issued my Mrs Justice Nicola Davies bans unnamed photographers from pursuing the singer by car or motorcycle, placing him under surveillance or loitering within 50 metres of his home to monitor his movements. Efforts are being taken to identify all paparazzi involved in the harassment,  with a request having been mad to the DVLA to identify the owners of vehicles and enquires made with the photo agencies that use the paparazzi’s photos.  According to The Times, Style’s lawyer David Sherborne said: “This is not a privacy injunction. Mr Styles is not trying to prevent fans approaching him in the street and taking photos. He remains happy to do that, as he always has. Rather, it is the method or tactics which have been used by a certain type of photographer”. Mr Sherborne has also acted for Cheryl Cole, Lily Allen, Sienna…

Pussy riot pair freed by new Russian amnesty laws
Artists , Criminal Law / January 2014
Russia

CRIMINAL Artists   Russia’s state Duma has unanimously agreed to a new ‘amnesty’ law which proposed by president Vladimir Putin to mark the 20th anniversary of Russia’s post-Soviet constitution. The amnesty bill looks to free prisoners who have been jailed for certain non-violent crimes, women with dependent children, juveniles, veterans, invalids and first time offenders and is likely to include the 30 Greenpeace crew and journalists from the Arctic Sunrise, currently on bail on charges of hooliganism in Russia after boarding a drilling rig. The bill specifically included the charge of hooliganism, which was used to prosecute 28 Greenpeace activists and two journalists, among them six Britons, over a protest at Russia’s first offshore oil platform in the Arctic. The 30 will still need exit visas to leave Russia. Others who may be freed include some, but not all, of the political protesters arrested during clashes with police after Vladimir Putin’s inauguration as Russian president for a third term last year. The ruling prompted the release of the two members of Pussy Riot, jailed for religious hooliganism.  Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova were each sentenced to two years in prison after the band staged a provocative performance that criticised the…

You can’t Steel this name: Burdon of proof satisfied
Artists , Trade Mark / December 2013
UK

TRADE MARK Artistes   This update by Jeremy Philips: This case relates to a trade mark application filed in 2004 for the name of the music group ‘The Animals’  and it’s the result of an appeal against an official decision dating back to 2008.  The case is Eric Victor Burdon v John Steel  case O-369-13 of 9 September, a decision of Geoffrey Hobbs QC, as Appointed Person. The appellant. Eric Burdon, may be known to some readers as the lead singer of The Animals pop group back in the 1960s and the rasping vocalist in that group’s major hit, The House of the Rising Sun (which, together with Procol Harum’s Whiter Shade of Pale, has the distinction of being instantly recognisable by its instrumental intro).  He was appealing against the rejection of his opposition to registration by the group’s former drummer John Steel to register the words THE ANIMALS as a trade mark for use in relation to CDs and musical recordings in Class 9 and musical live performances in Class 41. The group, like many in the 1960s, was in legal terms an incorporated association of individuals; no contractual or other arrangements governed the relationship between its members, and there…

Toy advert ‘parody’ of Girls fires up the Beastie Boys
Artists , Copyright , Music Publishing / December 2013
USA

COPYRIGHT Music publishing, sound recording, artists   The Beastie Boys are seemingly less than impressed with a ‘parody’ produced by a new toy company called Goldieblox – a video of three girls playing with a Rube Goldberg-type invention and singing alternative lyrics to the Beastie Boys song “Girls.” Since the video went up online it has been viewed more than seven million times. Having received a letter alleging copyright infringement, Goldieblox are now seeking declaratory relief in the federal court in the United States District Court in the Northern District of California. It seems lawyers for the Beastie Boys claim that the GoldieBlox Girls parody video is a copyright infringement, is not a fair use and that GoldieBlox’s unauthorised use of the Beastie Boys intellectual property is a ‘big problem’ that has a ‘very significant impact.’ It might be one to watch as clearly the ‘parody’ is to promote a commercial concern and sell toys – although it may well have also stoked up a debate on young girl’s interest in science and scientific careers. In the original song, the Beasties sang: “Girls — to do the dishes/ Girls — to clean up my room/ Girls — to do the…

Madonna defeats Vogue sample lawsuit
Artists , Copyright / December 2013
USA

COPYRIGHT Sound recordings, artists   Madonna has successfully defeated a claim there was an uncleared sample in her 1990 hit ‘Vogue‘.  American music company VMG sued Madonna and ‘Vogue‘ producer Robert ‘Shep’ Pettibone last year, claiming the duo illegally used a sample from a 1970s recording called ‘Love Break’, which the claimant owns, for their hit single back in 1990. The music firm said that Pettibone had cleverly hidden the sample, but that new technology had revealed that it is definitely there, hence why they were suing over two decades later. The legal claim related to a “single horn stab” that appears in both ‘Love Break‘ and ‘Vogue‘, an alleged sample so short that the court basically said it would be impossible to construct a case for copyright infringement. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the judge ruled: “Having listened to the sound recordings, the court finds that no reasonable audience would find the sampled portions qualitatively or quantitatively significant in relation to the infringing work, nor would they recognise the appropriation. The court finds that any sampling of the horn hit was de minimis or trivial”. The judge in this latest case made it clear that her ruling didn’t contradict…

Bragg blasts labels for low streaming payments
Artists , Copyright , Internet , Record Labels / December 2013
UK

COPYRIGHT Internet, artistes, recorded music   Billy Bragg has sent out a message to his fellow artists via Facebook saying that the low royalties being paid to artistes for streaming  is really the fault of the record labels – not of Spotify. Bragg was responding to the various artists who have recently hit out at Spotify and the streaming service business model  such as Nigel Godrich, Thom Yorke and David Byrne – who have said that the royalties paid out by these services are just too small, and if streaming is to ultimately replace both CD sales and iTunes-style downloading, then that’s a problem. But, Bragg notes, all but a handful of indie labels (most notably Ministry Of Sound) remain supportive of Spotify et al, which suggests that, in the main, they are doing very well from the growth in streaming music. CMY Daily reports that the issue for artists receiving tiny royalties  is that labels are not sharing enough of the loot with their acts, by applying royalty splits from the CD age, even though record companies do not have the costs or risks that were involved in manufacturing and distributing physical product in the digital domain. As this…

Jury in Jackson case find in favour of AEG
Artists , Live Events / November 2013
USA

MEDICAL NEGLIGENCE Artists, live events sector   The jury in the $1,5 damages claim brought by Michael Jackson’s family against AEG, promoters of his This Is It tour, have found that whilst AEG did employ Dr Conrad Murray, the company was not liable for his subsequent negligence finding that a licensed doctor Murray was not “unfit” or “incompetent” for the job he was hired to do, even if he proved to be unethical in the treatment he then provided to the late king of pop. The jury found that AEG didn’t have a responsibility to go digging into Murray’s personal life – to discover his acute financial problems, which possibly made him more prone to provide the prescription drugs Jackson craved in order to keep his job and it was reasonable for AEG to therefore assume he would perform the tasks he was hired to do in a responsible way.   It was the King of Pop’s own actions that kept his use of the surgery-strength anesthetic propofol a secret from AEG Live and his own choices that led to his untimely death at the age of 50. The jurors found the company had no reason to suspect a licensed doctor with no malpractice…

Van Halen not impressed with ex-wife name
Artists , Trade Mark / November 2013
USA

TRADE MARK Artists   ELVH Inc, the company that manages the trademarks of the legendary rock band Van Halen, has begun legal action against Kelly Van Halen, the ex-wife of the band’s drummer Alex Van Halen, over her use of her surname in her own commercial enterprises. Married to one of two Van Halen brothers, Kelly Carter took when she married in 1984, and continued to use even after they divorced twelve years later. She now runs an interior design business, which is also involved in some fashion products and construction services and she recently filed a trademark application for exclusive use of the Kelly Van Halen mark in her areas of business. That filing resulted in the legal action from ELVH Inc, which is trying to block the mark applications, arguing that her use of the Kelly Van Halen brand violates the band’s Van Halen trademarks, is diluting the value of those marks, and also constitutes passing off and unfair competition. http://www.billboard.com/biz/articles/5755816/van-halen-sues-drummers-ex-wife-for-using-famous-last-name

Roller boys lose on appeal
Artists , Contract , Music Publishing / October 2013
USA

CONTRACT Artistes, recorded music   The CMU Daily tells us that three former members of the Bay City Rollers have failed, for a second time, to have themselves added to a lawsuit being pursued by other former Rollers against Arista Records, now part of Sony Music’s RCA. The band’s original vocalist, Gordon Clark, along with two other ex-Rollers, Ian Mitchell and Pat McGlynn, sued six other members of the band in a bid to be included in their separate case against Arista over unpaid royalties. The original lawsuit launched by Eric Faulkner, Duncan Faure, Alan Longmuir, Derek Longmuir, Leslie McKeown and Stuart Wood against the major label is still working its way through the courts. Clark, Mitchell and McGlynn were not included in that lawsuit, but feel they should have been. And so, they sued both the other band members and Arista, claiming anticipatory breach of contract and unjust enrichment. At first instance they lost on both counts. But the claimants felt that first time round the judge hearing the case made an error regards the unjust enrichment claim, and took that element of the case to the Second US Circuit Court of Appeals. But last week the appeals court…

Rihanna wins injunction against TopShop T-shirt
Artists , Trade Mark / October 2013
UK

TRADE MARK Artistes   Rihanna has won a permanent ban against Topshop to prevent the retail chain selling T-shirts using an image taken at an official video shoot for We Found Love in 2011 by a freelance photographer. In an earlier hearing Mr Justice Birss had allowed a claim in passing off that because the photo used was very similar to imagery on her album ‘Talk That Talk‘, consumers would likely think it was an officially endorsed product, which it was not. Now the singer has secured an injunction stopping Topshop from selling clothing that uses her image. The singer also asked for the return of all unsold product bit was told the retailer had sold all but 5 of the 12,000 T-shirts produced – and thise were saved for the court case. Mr Justice Birss had stressed  that no “freestanding general right” for celebrities to control the use of their image existed in English law, but did grant Topshop permission to appeal the ruling to the Court Of Appeal: the singer’s damages will not be decided until after that hearing. Legal costs were submitted, with Rihanna’s team putting in a “rather optimistic” bill of £919,000, a figure Birrs said…

Rihanna wins Passing off claim against Top Shop
Artists , Trade Mark / September 2013
UK
USA

TRADE MARK Artists, merchandise   Rihanna has won her legal battle with Topshop over a T-shirt the high street retailer sold bearing her image. The star sued Topshop’s parent company Arcadia for $5 million (£3.3m) over the T-shirt, which featured a photo taken during a video shoot in 2011. Her lawyers told the High Court in London the fashion chain duped fans and may have damaged her reputation. They said the picture was “very similar” to images used on CD sleeves for one of her albums. Mr Justice Birss ruled that a “substantial number” of buyers were likely to have been deceived into buying the T-shirt because of a “false belief” that it had been approved by the singer. He said it was damaging to her “goodwill” and represented a loss of control over her reputation in the “fashion sphere”. Topshop’s lawyers had claimed the 25-year-old was making an unjustifiable bid to establish a “free standing image right” over use of her picture in the UK. The photograph used by Topshop had been taken during filming of a music video in Northern Ireland in 2011. In a two-minute judgment Mr Justice Birss, said there was “no such thing as a general right by…

Blag Flag vs Flag – let battle commence
Artists , Trade Mark / September 2013
USA

TRADE MARK Artistes   The two Black Flag reunions — Black Flag and FLAG — have prompted a trade mark battle. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Black Flag co-founder Greg Ginn has filed a lawsuit against former bandmates Keith Morris, Dez Cadena, Chuck Dukowski, and Bill Stevenson, who’ve reunited under the FLAG banner. Former Black Flag member Henry Rollins, who’s involved in neither reunion, was also named as a defendant. Ginn claims he and his label, SST Records, exclusively own the rights to the Black Flag name and logo (and the “Flag” variation), which FLAG intend to use on tour. He alleges Morris and Rollins (born Henry Garfield) of “lying to the Trademark Office on registrations; using his own label’s record covers to feign as though they’ve been continuing to use Black Flag since 1979, and in an what’s alleged to be an act of ‘outrageous fraud,’ using bootleg SST t-shirts in an attempt to show they’ve been making such products in that time,” the Reporter adds. The suit says FLAG’s name and logo are “a colorable imitation” that’s “likely to cause confusion, mistake or deception among consumers.” Ginn is seeking an injunction against the FLAG tour, which kicked off…

Wylie vs Pagans – rapper won’t pay his £15K fee back after festival walk off
Artists , Contract , Live Events / September 2013
UK

CONTRACT Artists, live events   Wiley has said he has no intention of returning his (self) reported fee of £15,000 to promoters of the CockRock Festival in Cumbria, after organisers of the charity event said they were planning legal action after the rapper walked off stage after just 15 minutes of his 45 minute set and referring to the audience as ‘pagans’. As we reported in our August Update, Wiley (Richard Kylea Cowie) had received a hostile reception at the Cockermouth event after criticising the festival on Twitter ahead of his arrival with one tweet saying Just the name makes me not wanna go,” with Wylie adding: “My agent knows that there are cool places to play and other places are just not worth the hassle The rapper says he left the stage early because the audience were throwing things at the stage, adding that staff at the festival had advised him to walk if that happened. Organisers have countered that the atmosphere during the short Wiley set was not as hostile or dangerous as the rapper has claimed, and that security had it under control. The rapper told the BBC: “They say it’s a charity event and they want their money back….

Judge curbs Curb’s copyright claim against McGraw
Artists , Contract , Record Labels / September 2013
USA

CONTRACT Artists, record labels   A federal judge in Tennessee has dismissed a copyright lawsuit filed against Tim McGraw in his ongoing battle with Curb Records. The country star has been fighting Curb since 2011, when he was accused of violating the terms of his contract by turning in his album Emotional Traffic before the 18-month gap between projects had passed. Curb refused to release the disc, while MCGraw argued that the fifth and final album would have fulfilled his contract with the company. MCGraw countersued and last year he was granted permission by the courts to release new music through Big MAChine Records. His latest project, titled Two Lanes of Freedom, hit music retailers in February, but Curb then lodged new papers in U.S. District Court in Tennessee in April (13), claiming the tracks were recorded before their original contract was dissolved and therefore amounted to copyright infringement. However, U.S. District Judge William H. Haynes administratively closed the latest case insisting he cannot rule on the copyright allegations until the contract case is settled.   http://www.contactmusic.com/story/judge-dismisses-tim-mcgraw-copyright-infringement-lawsuit_3808763 and see our previous Updates here http://www.musiclawupdates.com/?p=5408 here http://www.musiclawupdates.com/?p=5102 and here http://www.musiclawupdates.com/?p=4509

Turtles probe the murky soup of pre-1972 US copyright law
USA

COPYRIGHT Sound recordings, record labels, artistes   The Turtles are leading a $100 million lawsuit against SiriusXM, arguing that the satellite broadcasting company has infringed on millions of older recordings from thousands of artists, and that Sirius cannot rely on section 114 of the US Copyright Act for protection – as pre 1972 recordings are subject to state law – which may arguably mean that Sirius plays songs recorded before that date without permission. The suit, brought under the California Civil Code, and led by vocalists Howard Kaylan and Mark Volman (later known as Flo and Eddie whose company leads the action and owns copyrights in a number of Turtle’s sound recordings) was filed on August 1 in the Los Angeles Superior Court and is proposed as a class action. Are the Turtles’ “Let Me Be” (1966), “You Baby” (1966), “Happy Together” (Billboard Hot 100 Number 1 in 1967), “Elenore” and “You Showed Me” (both peaking at No. 6 in 1969) and their well-known 1965 cover of Bob Dylan’s “It Ain’t Me Babe” protected against unauthorised plays by Californian state law (Californian Civil Code S980(a)(2)?  Sirius does currently pay compensation for the use of sound recordings (unlike terrestrial stations in…

Green Day’s transformation of ‘Scream’ image was fair use
Artists , Copyright / September 2013
USA

COPYRIGHT Artistes   US punk rock band Green Day did not infringe copyright when it used an artist’s drawing of a screaming face in a video backdrop, the 9th Circuit appeals court has ruled, saying that the band transformed the work of Los Angeles-based artist and illustrator Derek Seltzer. Seltzer launched his action in 2010, saying the band had used his drawing “Scream Icon” without permission. A poster lf the image had been photographed by Green Day’s set designer Richard Staub on a wall on Sunset Boulevard in 2008 and  later incorporated the image into a four-minute video backdrop for Green Day’s song “East Jesus Nowhere”, a song about religious hypocrisy.  “The video depicts a brick alleyway covered in graffiti,” the ruling says: “As ‘East Jesus Nowhere’ is performed, several days pass at an accelerated pace and graffiti artists come and go, adding new art, posters, and tags to the brick alleyway. The graffiti includes at least three images of Jesus Christ, which are defaced over the course of the video.” While the image remains in the center of the frame throughout the video, it has been altered by a red spray-painted cross, and the court agreed with U.S. District…

Will asks is I AM protected? Justin gets into Nightime trouble and, Game falls foul of Rolex.
Artists , Trade Mark / August 2013
USA

TRADE MARK Artists   Will.i.am is taking legal action against Pharrell Williams over the latter’s use of “I AM” in a trade mark dispute – Will.i.am is claiming that he owns rights to the phrase “I AM” and that Pharrell’s logo to his brand “i am OTHER” is “confusingly similar” with court papers saying “The registration of the mark . . . is likely to dilute the I AM mark and the WILL.I.AM mark”. And in another name spat, US sexual assault awareness charity Take Back The Night has issued a complaint via lawyers over the new Justin Timberlake “very sexual” single, which bears the same name and the charity believes the single could have a detrimental effect on the charity’s online presence with Executive Director Katherine Koestner explaining: “Everyone at Take Back The Night is really shocked, because normally, we get asked when people want to use the name. Normally entities as large as Justin Timberlake do very kind and thoughtful things to support our cause. We have some big concerns. For example, all of a sudden on Wikipedia, ‘Take Back The Night’ has a different definition. That’s not been helpful”. The legal grounds fro any complaint remain unclear…

Rihanna tests image rights in English law
Artists , Image Rights / August 2013
UK

IMAGE RIGHTS Artists, merchandise Rihanna has succeeded in an action against TopShop, after asking the High Court to issue an injunction against the UK retail chain to prevent further sales of T-shirts bearing her likeness. The complaint, against Topshop’s parent company Arcadia Group Brands Limited, was in relation to a line of products which featured a photo of Rihanna, taken by a freelance photographer “without her permission” while on the set of her music video We Found Love in 2011. It was argued that the image used on the T-shirts was “very similar” to pictures included on CD sleeves for her album Talk That Talk, on which the single is featured, and therefore could have duped fans into thinking the products were licensed by the star and as such amounted to passing off, and likely to have damaged her reputation with fans once they discovered it was not a “genuine” piece of merchandise with an “emotional connection to their heroine”. Topshop’s legal team argued “We resist the claim on two main bases; first, this is, in substance and reality, an impermissible attempt by Rihanna to establish an image reproduction right in the UK. There is no such right. “On the contrary, Topshop are…

Freddie Gorilla ga ga gone
Artists , Copyright / August 2013
UK

COPYRIGHT Artistes   A gorilla sculpture, painted to resemble the Queen frontman Freddie Mercury, has been removed after a complaint Queen’s manager Jim Beach on behalf of the Freddie Mercury estate. The organisers of Go Go Gorillas, a public art trail in Norwich, were told that the painted suit “worn” by the gorilla breached copyright. It asked for the Freddie “Radio Go Go” Gorilla sculpture, which Norfolk artist Mik Richardson took three days to create, to be removed from public view. Mr Richardson said the decision to order its removal was “absolutely shocking”. Mr Richardson was paid £800 to design and paint the gorilla and he explained “I’m a mural artist and I have to be very careful about copyright” adding “I didn’t copy the suit exactly. I alter enough so that it’s fan art, rather than a copy of it. The “Radio Go Go” gorilla is one of 53 life-size gorillas decorated by Norfolk artists and displayed on the streets of Norwich over the summer. An additional 67 baby gorillas, painted at local schools, made up the 120-strong public art trail. The Freddie Mercury gorilla sculpture will be repainted with a “new and exciting design” and should be back…

Thom says its time to pay: Spotify in the spotlight as acts complain of low royalty rates
Artists , Copyright , Internet , Record Labels / August 2013
EU
Netherlands
UK

COPYRIGHT Internet, artistes, record labels   One of the most important posts I have ever read about how the music industry might function in the future has been published on the CMU Daily website – I say ‘one’ – its actually two posts looking at the Spotify business model – and why its good for tech start ups and their record label partners – and very bad indeed for artists who are currently receiving a (usually) tiny share of revenues from their labels for digital uses – and in the case of two of the three majors, Sony and Universal, the very same labels who co-own Spotify Now Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke and producer Nigel Godrich have taken to the net to formally express displeasure in the all-you-can-eat streaming business model. To prove their point they announced that their respective solo albums, and the long-player from their collaborative venture Atoms For Peace, had all been removed from Europe’s highest profile streaming service. Announcing what he dubbed as a “small meaningless rebellion”, producer Godrich said via a string of tweets: “We’re off of Spotify. Can’t do that no more man. Someone gotta say something. It’s bad for new music. The reason…

Ed Money and the Doobie Brothers settle digital royalty claims
Artists , Contract , Record Labels / August 2013
USA

CONTRACT Record labels, artists   Both American rocker Eddie Money and the Doobie Brothers have reached out of court settlements with their record labels, Sony Music and Warners respectively, regarding the payment of royalties on digital revenues. The cases were two of the many that US heritage artists have brought against all of the majors following the landmark ruling in the case between FBT Productions and Universal Music over whether download money should be treated as record sales or licensing income – artists usually get a much bigger cut of the latter than the former. Doobie Brothers frontman Michael McDonald used lawyer Richard Busch (King & Ballow), who won a landmark digital royalties decision in 2010 when he represented rapper Eminem’s producers FBT against Universal (F.B.T. Productions v. Aftermath Records).  Busch has led the charge in the songwriters and recording artists  assault against labels over royalty money and Busch has reportedly negotiated confidential settlements for such clients as Peter Frampton, Kenny Rogers and Roy Thomas Baker, who produced albums for Queen, The Cars and others. Busch filed a $5 million royalties suit in April for “Weird Al” Yankovic, which is still pending. Having commented on Spotify and digital royalties in…

With Love From Me To You? Rival Beatles tributes shows head to court.
Artists , Contract , Copyright / August 2013
UK
USA

CONTRACT / COPYRIGHT Theatre, artistes   The producers of Rain: A Tribute to the Beatles have filed a copyright infringement suit against Broadway’s Let It Be – another Beatles’ tribute show that started life in London. The creators of Rain, which played on Broadway from October 2010 to July 2011 filed the suit last month against Let It Be producers Jeff Parry and Annerin Productions (amongst others) and are asking for a 50-50 split of the revenue from Let It Be, and asks that the Rain Corporation is listed as a joint author of Let It Be. The suit claims that Let It Be pulls much of its material from Rain, including musical arrangements, songs used in the show, artwork, staging, costume styling and more. Now readers might think – hang on – the songs – by the Beatles – costumes – by the Beatles – arrangements – by the Beatles! However, both shows include performances of The Beatles’ songs and dialogue between the actors playing the iconic band members. Rain’s score has 31 of The Beatles’ greatest hits, such as Yesterday and Hey Jude, and 28 of these appear in Let It Be. The Rain creators claim that “the artwork used as backround during the performance of many of…

Ferguson settles with Modest!
Artists , Contract / August 2013
UK

CONTRACT Artistes   Former X-factor finalist Rebecca Ferguson has settled her contractual dispute with Modest! Management. The 2010 ‘X’ runner had previously called the Modest! team “vile” and tweeted “Be nice to have a nice new responsible caring management team! Who care for me and my children’s wellbeing. See you in court!” Modest! sued Ferguson after she unilaterally terminated her contract with the company. In September 2012 the firm filed legal papers seeking damages and a cut of Ferguson’s future earnings to the end of the five year term of the singer’s original agreement with the company. And while disputes of this kind are usually settled out of court, for a time neither side seemed especially keen to budge. The parties have now “settled their outstanding legal disputes”.  Whilst confidential, Modest! noted that “Rebecca is a great artist and we wish her all the best for the future”, while Ferguson said: “I would like to thank Modest! for the contribution they have made to my career over the past years. They have done a great job”. http://www.thecmuwebsite.com/article/rebecca-ferguson-settles-with-modest/

Katy settles with GHD
Artists , Contract / August 2013
USA

CONTRACT Artistes, endorsement   TMZ reports that Katy Perry has settled her dispute with hair products giant GHD and has received “a significant amount of money”. The legal dispute began when GHD asked a court to confirm that a two year alliance was over.  Perry countersued, saying that the company had continued to use her image for promotional purposes after the original deal had ended, suggesting that the continuation of the $2 million deal.  Perry’s legal team also alleged that GHD wanted to delay the end of the deal because its parent company Jamella Group was in the process of being acquired with a spokesperson for Perry saying ‘They’re backing out of the deal because of an ownership change, and just throwing shade to hide their bad faith.’   http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-2357481/Katy-Perry-styling-tool-giant-ghd-2M-lawsuit.html  

Wylie faces legal action after festival fiasco
Artists , Contract , Live Events / August 2013
UK

CONTRACT Live events sector, artistes   Wiley has called the audience at the CockRock Festival in Cockermouth, Cumbria “pagans” after he was booed off stage just 15 minutes into his set. The grime MC had been tweeting all day with negative comments about the Festival and was met with jeers from the audience, before he told the crowd “This is the truth, if one more can comes flying I’m coming off stage. You cannot throw cans at me because of a situation that I had with my agent … you can’t be angry at me.” The audience jeered and laughed at the rapper before he left the stage. Wiley (real name Richard Kylea Cowie) had shared his dismay while en route to the event saying “Just the name makes me not wanna go,” he wrote, before adding: “My agent knows that there are cool places to play and other places are just not worth the hassle.” As well as slamming the festival’s name, Wiley said he was unhappy with his agent for making him play a farm in Cumbria tweeting to agent Billy Wood: “Billy please stop sending me to farms to perform please mate. I am a yardie man.” Following his…

Gaga asks for gag
Artists / August 2013
USA

CONFIDENCE Artistes   Lady Gaga has asked the US courts to seal aspects of a legal squabble between two of her former collaborators, to prevent information contained in papers relating to the case being made public. The legal battle is between Rob Fusari, the producer involved in creating the star’s early recordings and  who claims he is responsible for conceiving the Gaga persona, and Wendy Starland, who says that it was she who first introduced Fusari to a young Gaga, then still performing under her real name Stefani Germanotta, and that she is therefore due a cut of the money for actually discovering the future star. Gaga herself is not party to the Fusari/Starland dispute, but the singer says that some information in papers relating to the dispute is “sensitive, private and personal” and would “inflict significant personal and professional harm upon” her if it was made public. Gaga says that she has a non-disclosure agreement with Fusari that provides grounds to have the courts seal elements of his legal battle with Starland. Whether the courts concur on that point remains to be seen. If not, you can be sure the press will scrutinise any published papers relating to Starland…

Article: Art vs Personality right: German rapper Bushido causing “stress for no reason”?
Artists , Censorship / August 2013
Germany

CENSORSHIP / PERSONALITY Artistes By Birgit Clark From Germany comes the news that Berlin’s mayor Klaus Wowereit has filed legal action against a new song by German rapper Bushido: “Stress ohne Grund” (“Stress for no Reason”).  The news has prompted German media to excitedly discuss the legal conflict between one person’s personality right and another person’s right of free expression and/or freedom of art.  Today, the debate heated up further after the German authorities for the protection of youth have ruled that Bushido’s song (together with the album that contains it) is to be banned for minors. In his latest offering enfant terrible Bushido is rapping about “coming to a party and causing stress for no reason.”  However, the song also includes lyrics that are directly aimed at public figures and which can very easily, indeed only, be interpreted as a call for violence.  About Claudia Roth, the head of the German Green Part, Bushido raps: “I’ll shoot at Claudia Roth and she willl be full of holes like a golf course”.  About Mr Wowereit, who is openly gay, he includes rather crude, homophobic comments relating to his sexualty.  Mr Wowereit, who is known to be tolerant, clearly did not…

EPIC calls foul over Jay-Z download
Artists , Internet , Privacy / August 2013
USA

PRIVACY Artistes, internet, technology   The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC for short) has called on the US government’s Federal Trade Commission to investigate the app through which Jay-Z made his new album, ‘Magna Carta Holy Grail’, available to over one million Samsung mobile phone users ahead of its official release with EPIC saying “Samsung failed to disclose material information about the privacy practices of the app, collected data unnecessary to the functioning of the ‘Magna Carta’ app, deprived users of meaningful choice regarding the collection of their data, interfered with device functionality, and failed to implement reasonable data minimisation procedures”. Responding to this, Samsung said in a statement: “Any information obtained through the application download process was purely for customer verification purposes, app functionality purposes, and for marketing communications, but only if the customer requests to receive those marketing communications. Samsung is in no way inappropriately using or selling any information obtained from users through the download process”. Despite the give away, Jay-Z still managed to sell 527,000 copies of the new record in the US during its first week on sale – the second biggest one-week sales of the year in the American market – sending it straight…

Stone Temple Pilots take on former frontman Weliand over band’s name and future – and Weiland countersues
Artists , Contract / July 2013
USA

CONTRACT Artists   Stone Temple Pilots have commenced legal proceedings in their dispute with the band’s former frontman Scott Weiland: The lawsuit apparently attempts to stop the singer from using the band’s name or performing their songs, many of which he co-wrote. Weiland was formally fired from Stone Temple Pilots by his bandmates in February. The new lawsuit claims that the Weiland-fronted version of the band, which regrouped in 2008, imploded because he became impossible to work with, was frequently late for shows in 2012, often performed poorly due to drug consumption, and eventually would only communicate with his bandmates via his lawyers or manager. The band have now released a new track with Linkin Park’s Chester Bennington on vocals. In a post on his website last week, Weiland said he hadn’t known that Bennington would be performing with his former band, adding: “To tell you the truth, it took me by surprise. And it hurt. But the band that played last weekend was not Stone Temple Pilots and it was wrong of them to present themselves as that”. Insisting again that his bandmates didn’t have the power to ‘fire’ him back in February, Weiland’s statement continued: “First of all…

Former Gogo’s bassist sues ex bandmates
Artists , Contract / July 2013
USA

CONTRACT Artistes   The former Go-Go’s bassist Kathy Valentine is suing her ex-bandmates, alleging that they are attempting to cheat her out of her share of the money generated by the band’s brand and trademark. The new wave group, initially active from 1978 to 1985, but who have toured regularly since 1999, announced they were parting ways with Valentine in March, and that she would therefore not appear on their 2013 tour. Valentine played with the Go-Go’s for more than 30 years, contributing to hits including “Head Over Heels” and “The Whole World Lost its Head.” The band announced in March it had parted ways with her due to “irreconcilable differences.” In her litigation, Valentine says that all of the group’s business affairs have traditionally been managed via two business entities – Ladyhead LLC and Smith-Pocket Industries, Inc – in which all five members have an equal stake. More recently, says the lawsuit,  the other four members of the Go-Gos –  Belinda Carlisle, Jane Wiedlin, Charlotte Caffey and Gina Schock – have set up a third entity, in which Valentine has no stake. Controlling 80% of Ladyhead LLC, the other four members have then licensed the rights to exploit the…

Former Jackson family lawyer sues Sony Music
Artists , Contract , Record Labels / July 2013
USA

CONTRACT Record labels, artists   Sony Music is facing a legal action from a former co-manager of the Jackson brothers and an attorney for the Jackson Family. Richard Arons claims that Epic Records, now part of the major label, has failed to pay him the royalties he is due on Jackson’s early recordings when he was co-manager of the Jackson family’s business affairs. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Arons says that he became attorney to the Jackson family way back in 1969, and three years later became co-manager for the Jackson brothers alongside their father Joe. It was during this time that The Jackson Five left Motown and signed with Epic Records. Arons says that as co-manager of the Jacksons, he took 7.5% of all the brothers’ income, half of the 15% management fee. The management partnership with Joe Jackson ultimately broke down, but in a 1981 settlement it was agreed that he would continue to receive a 7.5% cut (but only of the Jackson brothers’ sound recording revenue) on sound recording output of the Jackson brothers from the early 1970s up to Michael Jackson’s first two solo albums, ‘Off The Wall’ and ‘Thriller’. A brief dispute with Michael himself…

Early Axl Rose tracks pulled from YouTube
Artists , Copyright , Record Labels / July 2013
USA

COPYRIGHT Record labels, artistes   A 1983 demo by Axl Rose’s’ pre-Guns N’ Roses band Rapidfire that turned up online last week has been pulled from the web, due to a copyright claim filed by Axl’s lawyer. The snippet of the demo of the band’s recording on “Ready to Rumble” was posted on YouTube but is no longer playable. Instead it has a note that says, “This video is no longer available due to a copyright claim by Mark Music & Media Law, P.C.” “Whenever there’s unauthorized Axl Rose or Guns N’ Roses audio, video or merchandise, we take aggressive efforts to have it removed from the marketplace,” Doug Mark of Mark Music & Media Law told Yahoo! Music. Prior to the filing of the copyright claim and take down, the folks behind the release of the Rapidfiredemo were still hinting that that there could be an official release of the five demo tracks. “Over 72,000 hits! Keep ’em coming so we know there is enough interest to release!,” they posted on the Rapidfire 1983 Facebook page.   http://music.yahoo.com/blogs/stop-the-presses/axl-rose-pre-guns-n-roses-demo-pulled-204303367.html

Justin Bieber – talk about my parties and I’ll sue you for $5 million
Artists , Privacy / July 2013
USA

PRIVACY Artists   “Here’s the good news … Justin Bieber wants to invite you to one of his house parties.  The bad news … if you talk about it, he’s gonna sue your ass for $5 million.” TMZ has obtained a copy of a document EVERYONE must sign before entering Bieber’s $6.5 million home in Calabasas, CA.  The document, a Liability Waiver and Release, warns that anyone who reveals about any of the “goings on”  inside the mansion will face legal action, and this extends to the “physical health, or the philosophical, spiritual or other views or characteristics” of Bieber or other guests.  Since more recently the Bieber does most of his idiotic stunts in public (to the annoyance of many including his long suffering fans and neighbours), one wonders what on earth DOES go on. Apart from an ongoing spat with neighbours about Beibers alleged habit of racing his cars around their private community, Photographer Jeffrey Binion has also reported Team Bieber to the police last week after a run in with the pop teen’s security in Miami on the 5th of June. Police have reportedly launched an investigation Binion was trying to take photos of the singer when, he claims,…

Curb v McGraw – and this time it’s federal
Artists , Contract , Record Labels / June 2013
USA

CONTRACT Artists, record labels   Having lost its contract claim against country artist Tim McGraw at both first instance and on appeal in Tennessee, US label Curb Records is going federal in its ongoing legal dispute. The near two decades long relationship between McGraw and Curb ended in legal action in May 2011, with both sides suing the other. At the centre of the litigation was whether McGraw’s album ‘Emotional Traffic’ fulfilled his contractual commitments to the label regards new recordings, whether he was due an advance on it, and whether he was now out of contract with the record company. It was complicated, but ultimately the State courts sided with McGraw. With McGraw’s ‘Two Lanes Of Freedom’ now out (with the court’s permission) Curb Records has launched litigation in the federal courts, accusing McGraw and his new label Big Machine of breach of contract and copyright infringement.  The new lawsuit seeks ownership of the master recordings, compensation and an injunction stopping McGraw from recording until the ongoing dispute is resolved.   http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/tim-mcgraw-sued-by-label-449200

Alice in Chains face royalties claim from late lead singer’s Mother
Artists , Contract / June 2013
USA

CONTRACT Artistes   CMU Daily have reported that Alice In Chains are being sued by the mother of their late frontman, Layne Stayley. Nancy McCallum claims that the surviving members of the band are withholding money she is due on revenues earned outside of Stayley’s songwriting royalties. The report says that McCallum has filed a lawsuit saying that the band are now also trying to cut her out of future payments. She says that she was contacted by the band’s lawyer last September and informed that a revenue sharing agreement that had been in place since her son’s death was being dissolved. But lawyers for the band counter that she has already been paid more than was ever due – an accountant apparently working out that Stayley’s share of revenues stands at $341,000, while she has so far received $705,000. They also added that she has attempted to trademark the Alice In Chains name. Stayley’s estate, the band’s lawyers say, will continue to receive royalties from songs which he wrote.   http://music.msn.com/music/article.aspx?news=807484&affid=100055

There was always something there to remind me — but was it protectable?
UK

COPYRIGHT Music publishing, record labels, artistes   The Metro carried an interview with Sandie Shaw, a 1960s pop star who has reinvented herself many times over the years as, among other things, a psychotherapist and a litigant. As her Wikipedia entry states: “Shaw also embarked on a successful legal battle to establish ownership of her entire recording catalogue and began working with contemporary acts and producers, reworking much of her 1960s and 1980s material. In 2003, Shaw licensed her recording catalogue worldwide to EMI, continued to develop her Arts Clinic, and began executive coaching and mentoring”. The Metro article alludes to this, as the following exchange shows: “[Andrew Williams]: Did you have problems with legal aspects of your career?  Yeah but I’ve always fought them and I’ve always won. I’d never take on anything I didn’t think I could win. I’m focused and never give up and if I don’t get what I want immediately I’ll stick at it and win in 15 years. There’s no reason for musicians to get ripped off any more. Artists now have an advantage because the middlemen have been cut out with the advent of digitisation”. From this it sounds as though Ms Shaw, now 66, has a fairly…

Universal counter artist digital royalty demands with confidentiality claim
USA

COPYRIGHT / CONTRACT Artists, record labels   The issue of commercial confidentiality has been raised  in the ongoing legal battle between Universal Music and a consortium of its legacy artists in America over what digital royalties the major should be paying its acts, as the plaintiff artists try to gather information together to help justify their litigation being a class action. The mega-major continues to fight moves to give the case class action status (in addition to its efforts to have the entire claim dismissed). The main action, led by Rob Zombie and the estate of Rick James.  Are seeking to make their case a class action, which would mean that any artist signed to Universal  with a standard record contract would be able to claim higher digital royalties if the Zombie/James lawsuit was successful. Universal  treat income from downloads as “sales” instead of “licenses” allowing for substantially lower payments to be made to artists. The plaintiffs want access to digital accounts from Universal, outlining what kind of revenue different artists are receiving, both in terms of percentages and quantum of payments.  Understanding that such terms and data will be confidential,  the Zombie/James legal team say that only the plaintiff’s…

Samsung accused of Betaband video rip off
Artists , Copyright / June 2013
UK

COPYRIGHT Artists, video production   Former Beta Band frontman Steve Mason has accused Samsung of stealing the concept of a new advert for the company’s Smart TV range from the video for the band’s 2004 single, ‘Assessment’. Samsung’s ‘Charge’ advert for the F8000 model TV was directed by Romain Gravas, best known for his videos for MIA’s ‘Born Free’ and ‘Bad Girls’, as well as Jay-Z and Kanye West’s ‘No Church In The Wild’ and The Last Shadow Puppets’ ‘Age Of The Understatement’. He has also directed adverts for Adidas. I think he had more money …… The Beta Band’s video shows soldiers from different times and cultures, including Roman centurions and ancient Chinese warriors, relaying down a beach with an unidentified object, at one point with army helicopters hovering above. Samsung’s advert meanwhile shows a variety of people, including centurions and cheerleaders, as well as police cars, chasing down a beach, and also includes a shot in which army helicopters hover above. Mason told CMU Daily “This is OUTRAGEOUS plagiarism being passed off as original work. But what can you do? It’s happened to The Beta Band before and to many other artists. A huge company or huge artist…

The Hives must re-pay The Cardigans £1.8 million in Swedish studio muddle
Artists , Contract / May 2013
Sweden

CONTRACT Artists   The Hives have been ordered to pay fellow Swedish band The Cardigans 18.5 million kroner (about £1.8 million), after a legal battle resulting from dubious financial management practices at the Malmö-based Tambourine Studios. According to local media reports, the Lund District Court heard that it was standard practice at Tambourine Studios to move money between the accounts of artists it represented to provide cheap cash flow. This was how 18.5 million kroner belonging to The Cardigans ended up in The Hives’ account. The Hives argued that they were never told by Tambourine that some of the money transferred into their band account was, in essence, a loan from other artists, in particular The Cardigans, and in a blog post ahead of the court hearing the band stated “there are no loan agreements, no signed documents, no agreements on interest rates”. The judge hearing the case agreed that the transfers made by Tambourine “shouldn’t be viewed as a loan”, given the lack of any formal agreements to that effect, but nevertheless the money that belonged to The Cardigans should be returned to them. The case is reportedly one of a number involving Tambourine Studios (“the greatest music studio…

Sarah Harding banned from driving but says sorry
Artists , Criminal Law / May 2013
UK

CRIMINAL Artists   Former Girls Aloud member Sarah Harding has been banned from driving for six months after admitting to failing to stop for police when she was spotted talking on her phone while driving in central London. Harding was arrested and taken to Holborn Police Station to be charged with using her phone while driving and failing to stop for police. She appeared at Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court to face the charges where District Judge Nina Tempia disqualified her and ordered Harding to pay a fine of £500, plus a £20 ‘victim surcharge’ and £85 court costs. Her lawyer, Nick Freeman, argued that his client had “suffered more than a normal person because of the media attention her arrest had attracted”. District Judge Tenpia disagreed. She gave Ms Harding credit for pleading guilty straight away to the charge and said her charity work was admirable, but said she was a “normal person” and should be treated as such. After the hearing Harding was repentant saying “Too many people use their mobile phone whilst driving and think it’s acceptable. It is not. Every year people die or are seriously injured because they were distracted making that ‘oh so important call’….

Retitling of songs means millions missing in unreported artist royalties
EU
UK
USA

COPYRIGHT Artists, record labels, music publishing   A new report, the “State of the Music Licensing Industry: 2013” provides evidence that shows an increasingly problematic music licensing landscape for recording artists, labels and publishers and highlights that whilst the music licensing industry continues to grow as a multi-billion dollar segment of the global music industry, there remains some unhealthy practices, most notably the prolific practice of retitling. Retitling is where a music licensing company re-registers a song under a different title with a performing rights organization (PRO), allowing for the royalties to be separately tracked when that song is licensed for a specific third party use. This allows the music licensing company to control and earn a significant share of the royalties collected. The report states that 40% of music licensing companies retitle works for a share in royalties garnered from “sync” placements. “The practice of retitling is considered unhealthy for artists and for the music licensing industry. It can be very problematic, as one piece of music with many titles is confusing and can lead to multiple parties claiming ownership of the same work and ultimately artists not receiving royalties owed, if at all” said Winston Giles, CEO and…

Bow Wow loses porn star by default
Artists , Copyright , Image Rights / April 2013
France
USA

COPYRIGHT / IMAGE RIGHTS Artistes   Rapper Bow Wow has been ordered to pay out $80,000 in damages to French porn star Celine ‘Katsuni’ Tran after he used footage of her dancing in a music video without permission. Tran appeared as a dancer in a video for French band Electronic Conspiracy, but Bow Wow then used some of that footage for the pop promo for his track ‘Drank In My Cup’ last year. Recognising that Bow Wow and his label Universal may have sought permission from whoever filmed the original footage, Tran sued for publicity right violations, rather than copyright infringement. In the end, though, that distinction didn’t matter because Bow Wow failed to respond to the lawsuit, so the judge overseeing the case automatically ruled in Tran’s favour, ordering the rapper to pay damages and legal fees totalling $79,346.07.   Posting on Facebook  Bow Wow said: “Yo! That dumb ass pornstar chick who ever she is ain’t getting a dime from us! We ain’t make no video. That video was mashed up by somebody on YouTube and I reposted cuz it was dope. People mash up artist videos all the time online. Everybody looking for a hustle. Then they…

Dr Dre looks to protect ‘Beats’ mark
Artists , Trade Mark / April 2013
USA

TRADE MARK Artistes, all areas   Rapper Dr. Dre and the company he co-founded, Beats Electronics, LLC, are on the offensive at the US Trademark Trial and Appeal Board challenging a multitude of third-party applications for marks which consist of or contain the word “Beat”. The company owns a number of trademark registrations for use of its various BEATS marks on headphones, speakers, headsets, and other related electronic products and has applications pending for future use on clothing and other items. The WSH law blog reports that the targets of this campaign are mix of smaller, little-known companies as well as big players such as Sony. The company claims a “likelihood of confusion” between its alleged rights in its various BEATS marks and the various “BEAT” marks applied for by third parties.  Sony, for example, has applied to register the mark “BEATS” for computer games, toy figures, and online gaming services, none of which are incorporated in any of the registrations or applications owned by Beats Electronic It also claims for “dilution” of its rights by the proposed uses of these various marks. The goods and which are the subject of some of the opposed applications include clothing, software, electronic…

Opera singer’s life ‘destroyed’ by childhood deal
Artists , Contract / March 2013
UK

CONTRACT Artistes Eliana Pretorian, a soprano who has regularly performed at Glyndeborne and Sadlers Wells, said an agreement made when she was just 17 had “derailed” her personal and professional life, leaving her fearing she could be jailed. Now, years after she became embroiled in legal disputes to overturn the deal, a judge has ruled a case against her was “doomed to failure”, with an application to commit her to jail “wholly without merit”. UK-based Pretorian appeared at the Royal Courts of Justice after Romanian businessman Ion Vasile applied for her committal to prison for alleged contempt of court for failing to provide him with financial details of her earnings, The case has its origins in a deal said to have been struck between Miss Pretorian’s father and Mr Vasile in 1999, which the businessman claimed entitled him to a share of her future earnings as a singer in return for financing her music studies. As she was 17, Miss Pretorian’s father is said to have agreed on her behalf to pay Mr Vasile 35 per cent of her professional income – ‘earned in such ten years as he might choose’ – in return for a $6,900 (£4,400) contribution to…

Taylor Swift faces legal call for advance paid on cancelled show
Artists , Contract , Live Events / March 2013
Canada
USA

CONTRACT Artists, live events   Taylor Swift is being sued over a $2.5 million advance she was paid for a Canadian festival appearance that never took place.  Swift was due to headline the Capital Hoedown in Ottawa in the summer of 2012, but it was cancelled by organisers. The legal action was instigated by the event’s ticketing company who were forced to pay out $1.8 million in refunds. A spokesman for the singer pointed out that she had no direct agreement with the ticketing firm: I would imagine that if cancelled for no good reason, Swifts own contract (or contract rider) would be the determining document here – and that would be with the promoter – and this would no doubt cover what would happen to any deposit in the event of cancellation. http://www.ctvnews.ca/entertainment/taylor-swift-sued-over-cancelled-ottawa-concert-tmz-1.1160933

Term extension too late for Love Me Do
Artists , Copyright , Record Labels / February 2013
EU
UK

COPYRIGHT Record labels, artistes   Two independent labels have released versions of the Beatles’ track ‘Love Me Do‘ and it’s B side ‘PS I Love You‘ which officially fell out of copyright on 31 December 2012 (after fifty years) against the backdrop of the sound recording copyright term being extended in Europe to a term of seventy years. The term extension was agreed at a European level after a change of heart by the UK government and extensive lobbying by the recorded music industry. For the UK record industry, there was an real urgency, as it’s catalogue of mid-1960s recordings, including key Beatles and Rolling Stones releases, were approaching the end of their 50 year term. The extension, which was dubbed the Cliff Richard extension because an increasing number of the Peter Pan of Pop’s recordings would enter the public domain, was also helped by stories of ageing session musicians who might still earn royalties from the 1960s hits they were involved in, thanks to a rule that says any recording artists involved in a recording are due a cut of public performance royalties via collecting society PPL, despite past recording agreements with the record labels who released and usually…

Article Link: Making Cents
Artists , Copyright , Internet , Record Labels / January 2013
UK
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet, record labels, artistes   Damon Krukowski of Galaxie 500 and Damon & Naomi breaks down the meagre royalties currently being paid out to bands by streaming services and explains what the music business’ headlong quest for capital means for artists today: “Since we own our own recordings, by my calculation it would take songwriting royalties for roughly 312,000 plays on Pandora to earn us the profit of one–one— LP sale. (On Spotify, one LP is equivalent to 47,680 plays.) “, This is a fascinating expose and highlights Spotify’s dash for growth which benefits the shareholders in Spotify, but questions if musicians will ever benefit under business models divorced from music itself. http://pitchfork.com/features/articles/8993-the-cloud/