The Dancing Baby grooves on
Copyright , Internet / November 2015
USA

COPYRIGHT Recorded music, internet     The ‘Dancing Baby’ case is not over – with BOTH sides aiming for a rehearing: Whilst at the time of the appellate court’s judgement, the EFF called it “an important win for fair use,” now both the EFF (which is representing the plaintiff, Stephanie Lenz, who filmed her then toddler dancing to Prince’s “Let’s Go Crazy” ) and Universal Music Corp. have requested an en banc rehearing from the Ninth Circuit. It seems the EFF are looking to streng the case for ‘fair use’ by breathing new life in section 512(f), which allows the targets of illegitimate takedowns to sue the people who sent the invalid notices – potentially arguing that on the facts of this case, Universal could not possibly have acted in ‘good faith’ when issuing a DMCA takedown’ notice  The Universal petition claims that Lenz had no standing for an appeal in the first place because she was not injured by the takedown. UMG will also ask the court to clarify some of the language in the opinion.   And have a look at this excellent article by Serona Elton on the Music Business Journal here http://www.thembj.org/2015/10/the-fair-use-check/

US Judge not happy with Malibu Media’s “fishing expedition” – and neither are Verizon
Copyright , Internet / November 2015
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet   Porn producer Malibu Media, which has filed more than 4,000 copyright lawsuits since 2009 — several times more than any other company — is currently trying to compel Verizon to reveal the identities of Internet users Malibu believes are illegally sharing its movies. But lawyers for the telecom company  have told a court that they’ve had enough of Malibu’s “defective” and “unenforceable” subpoenas. As TechDirt rightly tells us that the giant telco has a history of protecting its users against so called “copyright trolling” and other forms of attacks: Verizon led the way in fighting back against the RIAA when it started demanding ISPs hand over information on customers before any lawsuits were filed. Verizon won. FightCopyrightTrolls details the case before Judge Katherine Forrest where Malbu were trying to ascertain the identity of a ‘John Doe’ defendant: Malibu’s counsel propounded a morass of irrelevant questions concerning, inter alia, Doe’s educational background (including factual and technical details about the courses Doe studied), the identity and location of Doe’s family members, the identity and location of Doe’s employers years before the relevant period herein (including factual and technical details about Doe’s job roles and responsibilities), the location of Doe’s residences years before the relevant…

Blinkbox employees seek recompense after dismissal
Employment Law , Internet / November 2015
UK

EMPLOYMENT Internet   A group of 80 former employees of the defunct Blinkbox music service have launched a £10m class action lawsuit against the company that acquired it from Tesco for damages claiming redundancy pay outs were not honoured. The claim is against Guvera Ltd and two of its UK-based subsidiaries, who purchased the music service from Tesco in January 2015. The lawsuit, issued through the UK Employment Tribunal, seeks damages following the dismissal of the entire workforce shortly after this acquisition. Blinkbox Music Ltd fell into administration in June, owing licensing debts to major record companies. The group of workers claim they were given written assurance from both Tesco and Guvera that they would receive redundancy payments if cutbacks were required. The lawsuit argues that the Blinkbox music service was taken from solvency (with a reported £3.5 million in the bank) to insolvency within 5 months following its sales to Guvera. The Guardian quotes  Paul Jennings, a partner at City law firm Bates Wells Braithwaite representing the former employees., who saud that 100 staff were dismissed without any warning and without any notice or redundancy payments saying “[Also] at the heart of this case is the data of 2 million to 3 million users of the…

Prince and Universal wrong to take down that ‘dancing baby’
Copyright , Internet / October 2015
USA

COPYRIGHT Music publishing, internet     In an important decision, and one which will undoubtedly have an impact on how content owners deal with what they consider is infringing content on the likes of YouTube, the Universal Music Group have been told by the U.S. appellate court that they should have considered whether a woman’s 29-second video of her two kids dancing to Prince’s “Let’s Go Crazy” was a fair use before issuing a takedown notice to YouTube. Cast your minds back to 2007 and you might remember that Prince persuaded Universal, his publisher, to take down a slightly blurry user generated video on YouTube of a toddler dancing to a snippet from “Let’s Go Crazy”. The mum who uploaded the video, Stephanie Lenz, was not amused. Prince had publicly said in a September 2007 statement that he intended to “reclaim his art on the internet” and Lenz was put on notice that her use of Prince’s music violated the U.S. Digital Millennium Copyright Act, and that if she violated it again, she could lose her YouTube account and any videos she’d uploaded to it. Lenz sent a counter notification, and YouTube eventually reinstated the video that year. Lenz then  sued Universal Music, arguing…

Russian court orders VK to implement effective technology to block illegal uploads
Copyright , Internet / October 2015
Russia

COPYRIGHT Internet, recorded music     Russian social network vKontakte (VK) has been ordered by a Russian court to use effective technology to prevent copyright infringement of the recordings of two record companies.   The IFPI say that the ruling, handed down in the Saint Petersburg & Leningradsky Region Arbitration Court on Monday, is a significant judgment which, when implemented, should improve the environment for developing a thriving licensed music business in Russia. The IFPI is the organisation that represents the global recording industry.  It was supported by the Russian National Federation of the Music Industry (NFMI).   Universal Music and Warner Music had brought copyright infringement cases against VK in April 2014.  The judge issued an oral decision on 28th September, and the full judgments will be handed down in due course.   The court granted the record companies’ request to require VK to use effective technology to prevent the upload of their sound recordings to its service, meaning that VK must remove the record companies’ recordings and prevent them from being uploaded again in the future. The claimaints said 98% of their sound trecordings featuring in the Top 40 UK chart from the past seven years are available on…

Johan Johansson uses ‘making available’ right – to exit Spotify
Copyright , Internet / October 2015
Sweden

COPYRIGHT Internet, recorded music     Swedish punk artist Johan Johansson has brought a successful civil action against his record label  MNW (formerly Musiknätet Waxholm) for making his music available on Spotify without his permission. The label owns rights to tracks recorded with Johansson’s former bands KSMB and John Lenin, who existed in the late ’70s and early ’80s. Johansson argued that MNW is not in possession of the digital distribution rights to his music, and that his bands’ contract with MNW only covered specific types of usage and not the right to make his recordings available on streaming services like Spotify – and it appears the Solna District Court has sided with Johansson, ordering the removal of his content. Under European law, both copyright owners and recording artists were provided with a new copyright provision called ‘making available’, which was put in place to ensure rights owners could control the distribution of its content online. The Swedish Musicians’ Union backed Johansson’s case. In May in Finland the sons of Finnish guitarist Albert Järvinen, best known for being in rock group Hurriganes, had argued in the Helsinki Market Court that Universal didn’t have the right to sell two Hurriganes albums featuring their late father digitally,…

Mega lawyers argue that US Authorities should preserve and pay to keep blocked data
Copyright , Internet / September 2015
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet   Lawyers for MegaUpload are asking the courts to ensure that the American government pays to preserve the servers that contain files once uploaded to the defunct file-transfer platform, so that the data stored on them can be kept as evidence, and be ultimately returned to the people who uploaded the content in the first place.   US authorities took controversial file-transfer set-up MegaUpload offline in 2012, at the same time charging its management with various crimes. Users of the service lost access to files they were storing on the company’s servers without warning and whilst it is alleged much of the material was infringing – much was also quite legitimate. MegaUpload server space was rented from other companies, and one server company in Europe, Leaseweb, then deleted the MegaUpload data it had stored. However, the biggest server firm, US-based Carpathia, is still storing its former MegaUpload files, not least because the American authorities said they might need access to them as part of the criminal investigation into the former file-transfer service and its management. Understandably, Carpathia, which was recently acquired by another company called QTS, is not keen on carrying on  covering the costs of storage. The server company…

PRS for Music begins legal action against SoundCloud
Copyright , Internet , Music Publishing / September 2015
UK

COPYRIGHT Internet, music publishing   PRS for Music has written to it’s members saying it is beginning legal action against online music streaming platform SoundCloud after “five years of unsuccessful negotiations”. The PRS says: “SoundCloud actively promotes and shares music. Launched in 2008, the service now has more than 175m unique listeners per month. Unfortunately, the organisation continues to deny it needs a PRS for Music licence for its existing service available in the UK and Europe, meaning it is not remunerating our members when their music is streamed by the SoundCloud platform.”. The PRS letter goes on to say: “We have asked SoundCloud numerous times to recognise their responsibilities to take a licence to stop the infringement of our members’ copyrights but so far our requests have not been met. Therefore we now have no choice but to pursue the issue through the courts.” The letter explains that whilst SoundCloud has taken down some of PRS repertoire, a recent list of some 4,500 musical works which the PRS say were being made available on the service which they were asking SoundCloud to licence or remove resulted in this: “SoundCloud decided to respond to our claim by informing us that…

Youtube partially triumph over GEMA – but needs to do more
Copyright , Internet , Music Publishing / August 2015
Germany
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet, music publishing     Google has won a legal victory on over German performing rights society GEMA, which had sought to make the company’s video-sharing service YouTube pay each time users streamed music videos by artists it represents. A Munich court rejected GEMA’s demand that YouTube pay 0.375 euro cents ($0.004) per stream of certain videos. In its claim, GEMA had picked out a sample of 1,000 videos which it said would cost YouTube around 1.6 million euros. However the German regional court  ruled that Google’s video-sharing website YouTube must prevent users from posting material that infringes copyright law once such a video has been brought to its attention. “However, if such a service provider has been made aware of a clear violation of the law, it must not only remove the content, but also must take precautions to avoid further infringements of copyrights,” the court said in its ruling. Both sides had appealed an earlier 2012 ruling. “What obligations the service provider has in this context — in particular whether and to what extent it is obliged to block and then check and monitor the content uploaded to its platform — is determined by what it can reasonably be expected…

PRS for Music launches Streamfair
Copyright , Internet , Music Publishing / August 2015
UK

COPYRIGHT Music Publishing, internet     PRS for Music, which represents over 111,000 songwriters, composers and music publishers, has launched Streamfair. The campaign “aims to raise awareness about the critical need for legislative reform to ensure music creators are properly remunerated in the growing streaming music market.” The PRS say the online music market now accounts for approximately 50% of overall sales globally with streaming services increasingly driving the change. In the past year, PRS for Music’s royalties from streaming services at £38.8m exceeded those of downloads for the first time at £26.7m – a trend repeated in 37 markets worldwide.  Recent PRS for Music research also that shows that over 90% of UK consumers have accessed some kind of streaming service. Some online content providers such as User Generated Content (UGC) services relying on what are known as ‘safe harbour’ provisions to avoid obtaining a licence or paying proper licence fees, are threatening the long-term sustainability and growth of the online music market.  The lack of clarity about who is truly an ‘intermediary’ in the current European legislation has deprived creators of the ability to consent to the use of their works.  This has resulted in a transfer of…

Prince and the Toddler – a universal case of forgotten fair use?
Copyright , Internet / August 2015
USA

COPYRIGHT Recorded music, internet     Cast your minds back to 2007 and you might remember that Prince (or even ‘The Artist Formerly Known as Prince’)(or ‘Squiggle’ being more unkind)(or Prince Roger Nelson, the 58 year old rock star) persuaded his publisher, Universal Music, to take down a slightly blurry user generated video on YouTube of a toddler dancing to a snippet from his song (and recording) “Let’s Go Crazy”. The mum who uploaded the video, Stephanie Lenz, was not amused. In fact Prince had publicly said in a September 2007 statement that he intended to “reclaim his art on the internet”. Lenz was put on notice that her use of Prince’s music violated the U.S. Digital Millennium Copyright Act, and that if she violated it again, she could lose her YouTube account and any videos she’d uploaded to it. Now the case has reached the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in a case that has all the trappings of the a PR fiasco for the Purple One: “The video bears all the hallmarks of a family home movie,” court documents said. “[I]t is somewhat blurry, the sound quality is poor, it was filmed with an ordinary digital video camera,…

Madonna hacker gets 14 months
Copyright , Criminal Law , Internet / August 2015
Israel
USA

COPYRIGHT / CRIMINAL Internet, recorded music   Adi Lederman who hacked and released a number of unfinished and demo tracks from Madonna’s Rebel Hart album in December 2014 when it was a work in progress has received a 14-month jail sentence from the Tel Aviv Magistrate’s Court on Thursday as part of a plea-bargain deal following his conviction for cyber crimes against the pop singer. Lederman, a former contestant on Kochav Nolad, Israel’s version of ‘Pop Idol’, hacked into Madonna’s computers last year, having accessed passwords from the email accounts of her manager and musical director. It’s thought Lederman also accessed part of the singer’s work schedule in addition to the unfinished tracks from her album ‘Rebel Heart’. He was charged with computer trespassing, fraud, and intellectual property offences against the superstar, After the leak Madonna released six tracks and moved up the release date of the full album to March saying “I have been violated as a human and an artist!”  Lederman had previously stolen a song from Madonna in 2012, which he sold rather than leaking himself. Lederman was also fined NIS 15,000 (US $4,000)  by the court, which said its sentence should “send a message of deterrence” and uncompromising commitment to the law to…

The Pirate Bay Four acquitted in Belgium
Copyright , Criminal Law , Internet / August 2015
Belgium
Sweden

COPYRIGHT/CRIMINAL Internet, technology   Gottfrid Svartholm, Fredrik Neij, Peter Sunde and Carl Lundström, the four original key Pirate Bay founders, have been acquitted by a Belgian court on charges of criminal copyright infringement and abusing electronic communications. All four defendants have denied having anything to do with the site since was seemingly sold to a Seychelles-based company called Reservella in 2006, and this proved a major hurdle for Belgian prosecutors as the crimes were allegedly committed between September 2011 and November 2013. A judge at the Mechelse Court ruled that it could not be proven that the four were involved in the site during the period in question. Indeed, for at least a year of that period, Svartholm was in jail in Sweden while connecting Lundström to the site a decade after his last involvement (which was purely financial) has always been somewhat difficult. In the end, even the site’s anti-piracy adversaries in the case agreed with the decision: “Technically speaking, we agree with the court,” said Olivier Maeterlinck, director of the Belgian Entertainment Association (BEA). https://torrentfreak.com/pirate-bay-founders-acquitted-in-criminal-copyright-case-150710/ and http://www.techworm.net/2015/07/the-pirate-bay-founders-and-financier-cleared-in-criminal-copyright-case.html

FTC explores Apple’s treatment of rival streaming apps
Competition , Internet / August 2015
USA

COMPETITION (ANTI-TRUST) Internet, technology     US government antitrust regulators are looking into claims that Apple’s treatment of rival streaming music apps is illegal under antitrust law. As Apple have now launched its own Apple Music, FTC are interested in how the App Store platform operates for competing streaming services such asJango, Spotify, Rhapsody and others. Apple takes a 30 percent cut of all in-app purchases for digital goods, such as music streaming subscriptions and games, sold on its platform. While $9.99 has emerged as the going monthly rate for music subscriptions, including Apple’s, some streaming companies complain that Apple’s cut forces them to either charge more in the App Store than they do on other platforms or erode their profit margins. Customers can sign up for a streaming service through their Web browser, but the streaming industry sources argue that many consumers do not realize that is an option. Tyler Goldman, CEO for North America of the music streaming company Deezer, said the bite that Apple takes out of his company’s US$9.99 U.S. subscription fee leaves little for Deezer. It emerged last week That Spotify was emailing users who subscribed to the service via its iOS app, and who are therefore…

Apple Music v Taylor Swift
USA

COPYRIGHT Online, recorded music, artistes   On Monday 8th June, Apple launched its music streaming service, aptly named – Apple Music – at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference (where else) in San Francisco.  Introduced by the rapper Drake and Beats Music co-founder Jimmy Iovine.   Apple Music will roll out in 100 countries at the end of June i.e. next week.  Initially announced, after a three month trial, the service will cost $9.99 a month or $14.99 for a family plan for up to six people.   Apple Music is combination service – first, a streaming on-demand service of millions of songs and videos; secondly a 24-hour radio station called Beats 1 curated by former Radio 1 DJ Zane Lowe; and thirdly Connect, a music-focused social network, a cross between Facebook and Soundcloud, where artists can connect with their fans by uploading and posting videos, music, photos and comments.   A storm of controversy has raged over the three month free trial.  At first, Apple said that during this period, no artists will be paid for music streamed. At issue is Apple Music’s 90-day free trial, which effectively cuts out any revenue from streams ­during that time period. According to Merlin, the…

Apple reverse ‘no royalty’ launch policy after Swift pulls out
France
Germany
UK
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet, recorded music    Apple Music has reversed its (non) payment policy, a day after the singer Taylor Swift said she was refusing to allow the company to stream her album 1989 because the computer and music giant were offering no royalties in a three month launch period free trial period for subscribers. Indepdent record labels and their trade bodies including AIM (UK), A2IM (US), UFPI (France) and VUT (Germany) had already voiced their critcims. Now Apple says it will pay artists for music streamed during trial periods. “We hear you @taylorswift13 and indie artists. Love, Apple,” tweeted executive Eddy @Cue. Swift had said the plan was “unfair”, arguing Apple had the money to cover the cost and AIM CEO Alison Wenham had written to AIM members to encourage them to “make their own decision” about Apple Music – but criticised the new streaming service for essentially “asking the independent music sector to hedge its risk, to fund their customer acquisition programme and to shoulder the financial burden for their global launch.” http://www.musicweek.com/news/read/german-and-french-organisations-latest-to-criticise-apple-music-terms/062110 And see Eamonn Forde’s article in the Guardian here   George Chin writes   On Monday 8th June, Apple launched its music streaming service, aptly named – Apple Music –…

Apple Music launch sparks anti-trust investigation and indie label backlash
USA

COPYRIGHT / COMPETITION Recorded music, internet, music publishing     Apple has launched its Apple Music streaming service at this year’s WWDC conference in San Francisco. Headline news is that the new platform will be available from 30th June for $9.99 a month, after a free three months period – with a ‘family’ package costing $14.99 a month for up to six family members sharing with the service promising to “change the way you experience music forever”, initially available on iOS, Mac and Windows, with an Android version following in autumn. Opening his presentation by explaining ““So now, 2015, music industry is a fragmented mess. Do you wanna stream music? You can go over here. If you wanna stream video, you can check some of these places out. If you wanna follow some artists, there’s more confusions with that… So I reached out to [Apple executives] Tim Cook and Eddy Cue and said ‘guys, can we build a bigger and better ecosystem with the elegance and simplicity that only Apple can do?”, Interscope Records / Beats by Dre co-founder Jimmy Iovine promised “one complete thought” around music. Labelled a “revolutionary music service”, the new service aims to streamline the experience of enjoying music. It also…

UMP leak heats up the digital pie debate
USA

COPYRIGHT Music publishing, internet   As the U.S. press said that Spotify’s total payments to rights holders rose by another $300 million in the first quarter of 2015, news also broke of a leaked UMPG internal email and in MIDEM German music publishers set out their thoughts on how the digital pie should be shared. Billboard revealed that Spotify has now paid out $3 billion to music rights owners since launching in 2008, $2 billion of which has come in since the beginning of 2014, but the big news was the boss of Universal Music Publishing boss, Jody Gerson, who was the centre of attention after a confidential internal memo was leaked in which Gerson expresses her annoyance over “self-interested parties” that are stoking worries amongst songwriters, particularly when it comes to to unallocated ‘breakage income’ from big advances. In her email Gerson said this: Over the past several months I’ve read or heard comments by self-interested parties that aim to mislead our songwriting community and ultimately devalue songs. These misrepresentations work against the mutual best interests of both songwriters and publishers. To paraphrase that old saying, sunlight is the best disinfectant. So let’s shed some light on the facts and make sure…

Florida passes new law targeting infringing content
Copyright , Internet / June 2015
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet   Governor Rick Scott has signed Florida’s “True Origin of Digital Goods Act” into law. The new law will require owners or operators of websites or online services that offer downloads or streams of music or music videos to “clearly and conspicuously disclose” the webste owner’s name, physical address, and telephone number or email address. The law will take effect July 1st 2015. The law applies to websites that distribute audiovisual content “to consumers in this state,” and is not limited to companies headquartered or with physical locations in Florida and can have apply to companies located outside of Florida, depending on its connections and business with consumers residing in Florida.   In particular, the law requires that:   A person who owns or operates a website or online service dealing in substantial part in the electronic dissemination of commercial recordings or audiovisual works, directly or indirectly, and who electronically disseminates such works to consumers in this State shall clearly and conspicuously disclose his or her true and correct name, physical address, and telephone number or e-mail address on his or her website or online service in a location readily accessible to a consumer using or visiting the website…

Grooveshark surrenders
USA

COPYRIGHT Online, recorded music   Music-sharing service Grooveshark has announced that it has shut down after 10 years. The controversial free streaming site, which once boasted 35 million users is owned by Escape Media which has agreed to a legal settlement with the major record companies that includes the termination of all operations, wiping its computer servers of all the record companies’ music, and surrendering ownership of its website, mobile apps and intellectual property, according to a statement from trade organization Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). “We started out nearly 10 years ago with the goal of helping fans share and discover music. But despite best of intentions, we made very serious mistakes,” a statement from Grooveshark said. “We failed to secure licenses from rights holders for the vast amount of music on the service. That was wrong. We apologize.” Urging users to now sign up for legal, licensed music services such as Spotify or Beats Music, founders Josh Greenberg and Sam Tarantino also pointed users to http://whymusicmatters.com/find-music and said “If you love music and respect the artists, songwriters and everyone else who makes great music possible, use a licensed service that compensates artists and other rights holders”.  A rumoured $75 million penalty clause in…

Pirate Bay domains to be seized
Sweden

COPYRIGHT Online, recorded music, music publishing     The Stockholm District Court has ordered that two key domains used by the always controversial Pirate Bay – including the service’s flagship thepiratebay.se domain – should be handed over to the Swedish authorities. However the court rejected arguments from prosecutor Fredrik Ingblad that the owner of the domains. Punkt SE, should be held liable for the alleged misuse of domains in its control.   Pirate Bay co-founder Fredrik Neij is to appeal the ruling. Neij was previously found guilty by Swedish courts of criminal copyright infringement and banned from having any involvement in the future running of The Pirate Bay and this appears to be an attempt to escape an further repercussions. In all events the appeal will delay any handover.   http://torrentfreak.com/pirate-bay-founder-appeals-domain-seizure-decision-150525/

Songwriting community take aim at safe harbours
EU
UK
USA

COPYRIGHT Music publishing, online     BASCA chairman Simon Darlow has used his speech at the Ivor Novello Awards at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London in London to criticise current ‘safe harbour’ provisions in EU and US law, pointing out that the likes of YouTube undermine streaming services were exploiting safe harbour legislation telling an audience of the great and the good from the song writing and music publishing worlds that this was “undermining the value of our music”. This is what Darlow said We [BASCA] exist to promote the creators’ voice and help maintain the value of their work through lobbying, education, community and celebration. Its fantastic that, for 60 years we have been able to honour the nominees and winners who have contributed so much to a culture and economy and have given so much pleasure to so many with heir music. These awards are always so special to those who receive them as they are judged by their peers who clearly know how much dedication and hard work go into making music that touches our lives . BASCA is hugely grateful to all the judges this year who gave so generously of their time and expertise. The…

Spotify leak puts streaming royalties in focus
EU
UK
USA

COPYRIGHT / CONTRACT Online, music publishing, recorded music     The Verge has published details of the hitherto unknown terms of the January 2011 deal between streaming service Spotify and Sony Music, one of the two big record labels. And it makes for fascinating reading. Perhaps what isn’t surprising (given the then near start up nature of Spotify in 2011) is a contract laced with ‘Most Favoured Nations’ provisions for Sony. The basic deal consists of annual advances paid by Spotify and a 70:30 split of advertising revenues in favour of Sony: On gross revenues the detail shows the actual split of revenue varies from rights owner to rights owner, but labels are usually getting somewhere between 55-60% and publishers 10-15%. The Sony contact unsurprisingly puts the world’s second biggest record company at the top end of the range, on a 60% split. There are some odd quirks – Spotify seems to have a 15% buffer zone in ad sales which it doesn’t have to account to Sony (and therefor cannot be shared by Sony’s artistes) to cover out-of-pocket costs paid to unaffiliated third parties for ad sales commissions (subject to a maximum overall deduction of 15 percent “off the top”…

Spotify leaked contract prompts more comment
EU
UK
USA

CONTRACT / COPYRIGHT Recorded music, internet     The fall out from the leaked 2011 Sony-Spotify contract continues as interested parties begin to digest exactly what Sony had secured from Spotify: In particular artistes are seeing some of their suspicions realised …. and now the International Artist Association has sent an open letter to European policymakers.The IAO is the umbrella association for national organisations representing the rights and interests of Featured Artists in the Music Industry.  Their letter reads: Andrus Ansip, Vice-President, Digital Single Market Günther Oettinger, Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society Margrethe Vestager, Commissioner for Competition Dear Policymakers The International Artist Association welcomes this morning’s open letter from the International Music Managers’ Forum, which highlighted a number of significant questions raised by the leaked Sony-Spotify contract from 2011, which was published on www.theverge.com on Tuesday of this week, but which has since been removed. The leaking of that document is a turning point for Artists that cannot be underestimated. The recorded music industry, as any other content industry, lives on the creativity of individuals and it is of the utmost importance – if we want to see a sustainable and healthy content industry continue in Europe – to make sure that…

Canada’s new ‘notice’ system pushes down piracy
Copyright , Internet / June 2015
Canada

COPYRIGHT All areas, online     Canada’s new “notice-and-notice” system to combat unauthorized downloading has led to a ‘massive drop’ in illegal downloading in Canada. New data from CEG TEK International shows that piracy of copyrighted material has plummeted in Canada since copyright holders started sending letters to accused infringers under the new law. CEG TEK, which describes itself as a “copyright monetization firm” (and is described by its critics as a copyright troll!) says piracy rates have dropped by 69.6 per cent on Bell’s internet network; by 54 per cent on Telus’ network; and by 52.1 per cent on Shaw’s network. There was less impact among Rogers internet subscribers, with piracy down by 14.9 per cent, and among TekSavvy users (down 38.3 per cent). The Copyright Modernization Act compels internet service providers to forward letters from copyright holders to subscribers who are allegedly involved in piracy. The law caps the maximum amount a copyright holder can sue for at $5,000 for non-commercial infringement. http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2015/05/21/online-piracy-canada-ceg-tek_n_7372626.html

Rate Court grant BMI an increase in Pandora’s rate
USA

COPYRIGHT Music publishing, online     Pandora has been ordered to increase the royalty rate it pays to U.S. music collection society BMI by 42% after a New York Rate Court decided to raise a royalty rate of 1.75% of annual net revenues to 2.5%.  The decision should mean a hike of $7.5m, with payments to BMI to $22.5 million annually. The court ruled that 2.5% was “reasonable, and indeed at the low end of the range of fees of recent licenses.” BMI’s rate is now significantly higher than the 1.85% Pandora royalty rate secured by ASCAP last year, a rate music publisher Sony/ATV’s CEO & Chairman Martin Bandier slammed as “woefully inadequate” and a “clear defeat for songwriters”. Following the BMI result last week, ASCAP President and Chairman Paul Williams said: “This decision is welcome news for music creators, but make no mistake, Pandora will stop at nothing in their ongoing effort to short change songwriters. “ASCAP and the music community must continue to fight for the urgent reforms needed to enable all songwriters, composers and music publishers to obtain fair compensation for the use of our music.” Pandora currently has to pay 2.5% of its annual revenue to BMI and 1.85% to…

Apple faces anti-trust investigation over streaming moves
USA

COMPETITION (ANTI-TRUST) Online, recorded music     It has been a busy several months for antitrust regulators and the technology giants whose alleged conduct has recently come to their attention. Just a few weeks ago, Google formally became the subject of a European investigation into its alleged manipulation of Google search results to favour other Google products and the tying of its apps to developers’ use of the Android OS. Now, Apple is reportedly under scrutiny, this time by U.S. and European officials, over its soon-to-be-launched streaming music platform.   The U.S. Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission are reported to be probing allegations that Apple has pressured major music labels to force other streaming music sites, such as Spotify and Pandora, to abandon their platforms offering free streaming music to customers willing to listen to the occasional ad and enjoy a lower-quality stream. It is alleged that Apple encouraged major music labels to refuse to renew their deals with such “freemium” music services (interestingly, the very music labels Apple is alleged to have pressured own a significant financial stake in Spotify). Apple’s alleged goal in exerting such pressure is to eliminate competition from freemium music services to pave the…

Australian ‘Three Strikes’ moves closer
Australia

COPYRIGHT Internet, recorded music   Australia’s telecoms sector has submitted the final draft of its plans for a three-strikes system to combat online piracy in the country. The draft was submitted to the Australian Communications and Media Authority, after input from over 370 interesting parties and the planned moves will see ISPs sending warning letters to suspected file-sharers. Australian ISPs have resisted the move, but the country’s government forced action late last year. As with other three-strikes programmes, a series of letters will be sent to web-users who rights owners suspect of accessing unlicensed content, the first being educational, but with subsequent correspondence ‘graduating’ to more severe. However the third strike will mean that the personal details (of those who ignore letters) being handed over to the rights owners, who will then be able to take legal action for copyright infringement. Web-users who get to stage three will have the right to appeal, The current set up also puts a cap on the total number of warning letters that can be sent each year, with 200,000 the current limit. Though that’s really a financial arrangement, and rights owners could push for more letters to be sent if they can agree financial…

Swift grabs domain names
Artists , Internet , Trade Mark / April 2015
USA

TRADE MARK Artists, internet   Taylor Swift has bought the web domain names TaylorSwift.porn and TaylorSwift.adult. The addresses were part of a public sale by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) of new domains. The non-profit group has expanded the number of generic top-level domains, or gTLDs, such as .com and .net in 2011. There were 22 four years ago but now there are nearly 550 with new ones released every month. ICANN is clearly aware of the negative repercussions of adding these domains and allowed trade mark owners and public figures to take advantage of the so-called “Sunrise Period” and register the domains before they become open to public purchase on June 1. The Trademark Clearinghouse,  “a global repository for trade mark data” will verify trade mark data from multiple global regions and maintain a database with the verified trade mark records.  This verified data can be used to support ‘Trademark Claims’ and ‘Sunrise Services’, both of which are required for the new gTLDs.  The Trademark Clearinghouses’ ‘Sunrise Services’ allow trade mark holders an advance opportunity to register domain names which correspond to their marks before domain names are generally available to the public. The Trademark Clearinghouse service…

Were YouTube within their rights to pull Rasta Rock Opera video?
Contract , Internet / March 2015
USA

CONTRACT Internet   After Rasta Rock Opera’s video “Luv ya Luv ya Luv ya” garnered more than 23,000 views in roughly two months on YouTube, the  video was pulled by YouTube, who deemed that the relative success of the unknown band must be due to the use of ‘bots’ to artificially inflate viewings. This has prompted a lawsuit from the band who claim that the action of removing the video – leaving viewers landing on a page showing a frowning face and the words: “This video has been removed because its content violated YouTube’s Terms of Service. Sorry about that” – caused many potential fans and sponsors to jump to negative conclusions. Rasta Rock Opera says it suffered damages when its original video was removed. After YouTube removed the video April 18th, Rasta Rock Opera complained to YouTube and four days later, YouTube reposted the music video under a new link that did not have the view counts or comments from the original posting. But Rasta Rock Opera says the link to the message regarding prohibited content was not removed until August, hurting its reputation. The band also say this prompted Nike to cancel an opportunity to have Rasta Rock…

Is Nomm’s U.S. visit a blow for Dotcom?
Copyright , Internet / March 2015
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet   Andrus Nomm, a 36 year old Estonian who lives in the Netherlands, and one of a small group of ex MegaUpload staffers who are facing extradition to the US for involvement in the running of the controversial file-transfer company, has pleaded guilty to criminal copyright infringement charges and has been sentenced to a year and a day in a U.S. prison. Nomm pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia to conspiracy to commit felony copyright infringement. District Judge Liam O’Grady accepted the guilty plea and imposed the sentence. Nomm is the first defendant to face charges in the U.S. in the Department of Justice’s long-running copyright infringement case against Megaupload, and Nomm voluntarily waived his right to fight extradition. The plea is “a significant step forward in the largest criminal copyright case in U.S. history,” Assistant Attorney General Leslie Caldwell said in a statement.  Speculation remains that he had done a deal with prosecutors, and will agree to testify against his former colleagues, including Kim Dotcom. Prosecutors agreed to a light sentence for his guilty plea, the DOJ said in a press release.The DOJ has accused the operators of Megaupload of running…

Hoist The Colours High: The Pirate Bay is Coming Back
Copyright , Internet , Music Publishing / February 2015
EU
Sweden
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet, sound recordings   Here’s a guest piece by Thomas Dubuisson (@tdubuisson) for the 1709 Copyright Blog on a subject that refuses to fade away: the fate of The Pirate Bay. Thomas writes: “This is the day you will always remember as the day you almost caught Captain Jack Sparrow”(Jack Sparrow, Pirates Of The Caribbean) For many years, internet service providers (ISPs) have tried, and sometimes succeeded, to block access to The Pirate Bay (TPB), known as the world’s largest illegal file-sharing site, in several countries around the world. However, this time, it’s “in real life” and not, as expected, on the internet, that thepiratebay.se domain was shut down. Launched in September 2003, The Pirate Bay website has since been involved in a number of lawsuits, mainly accused of copyright infringement and of authorizing the infringement of its users. Eleven years later, on December 9, 2014, Swedish police carried out a raid at the Nacka Station data centre, in Stockholm, seizing a huge treasure: servers, computers, and other equipment. As a result, the site has been taken offline and dragged down several other popular BitTorrent services (i.e. open Internet application for content distribution) with it, such as EZTV, Zoink,…

YouTube’s monopolistic behaviour back in the news again
Competition , Internet / February 2015
Canada
USA

COMPETITION Internet   Self releasing musician Zoe Keating has reignited the debate around YouTube’s Music Key negotiating tactics. In a detailed blog post about her current quandary over YouTube, as the market-leading video platform ploughs on with its Music Key adventure. CMU Daily reports that It seems that the new subscription streaming, having placated the indie labels, is now offering terms to self released artistes – which seem to be “join in with Music Key or say goodbye to YouTube entirely”.   Outlining the new YouTube deal as it was explained to her, Keating wrote: All of my catalogue must be included in both the free and premium music service. Even if I don’t deliver all my music, because I’m a music partner, anything that a third party uploads with my info in the description will be automatically included in the music service too. All songs will be set to “montetise”, meaning there will be ads on them. I will be required to release new music on YouTube at the same time I release it anywhere else. So no more releasing to my core fans first on Bandcamp and then on iTunes. All my catalogue must be uploaded at high…

Apple removes white-supremacist music from iTunes
Censorship , Internet , Music Publishing / January 2015
USA

CENSORSHIP Recorded music, internet   Apple has started removing music with white-supremacist themes and messages from iTunes following a non-profit organisation’s look into the funding of racist movements. An investigation by the Southern Poverty Law Center discovered that 54 racist bands and their music were catalogued on iTunes. Many of those bands’ music was available for purchase or streaming through iTunes’ radio application. The music store also offered recommendations for other bands similar to those racist groups, a feature common for all music on the app that allowed users to find even more music with similar themes. Apple quickly responded to the SPLC’s article by removing 30 of those bands, including music from Skrewdriver, Max Resist and the Bully Boys, according to Noisey. The tracks remain available on other services including streaming platforms.   http://www.mysanantonio.com/entertainment/article/Apple-removes-white-supremacist-music-from-iTunes-5958396.php

Apple triumphs against claim that iTunes software updates were to shut out competitors
Competition , Internet , Record Labels / January 2015
USA

COMPETITION Internet, recorded music   It took the jury in the Apple anti-trust case less than three hours to rule that the IT giant had not been anti-competitive with the software updates it made to the iPod back in the big bad days of digital rights management (DRM) protection on downloads. At the beginning of the case an Apple security expert defended a series of iTunes updates as protection from hackers rather than moves to shut out competitors, in a class action antitrust lawsuit in an Oakland federal court. At issue was the claim that Apple maintained a music player monopoly from 2006 to 2009 by releasing updates to its music store that made it impossible for iPods to play songs from competing stores such as Real Network’s Harmony. The Plaintiffs (and more on who they were later!) said this harmed consumers by making it costly to switch to other devices, and allowed Apple to charge high prices. The plaintiff’s argued that during synchronization with an iPod, iTunes software would generate an error message when it spotted music not purchased from Apple residing in the user’s iTunes library. The message would instruct users to reset their iPod to its factory…

YouTube allows users to see how using third party music will affect videos before uploading
Copyright , Internet , Music Publishing / January 2015
EU
UK
USA

COPYRIGHT Recorded music, internet   YouTube has added new features to allow content creators to see what effect using other people’s music in their videos will have prior to uploading them to the platform. Google‘s  Content ID system allows music right owners to identify when their music being used by third parties on the site – giving them the choice of blocking or monetising the content – this leaves video creators in the dark about a content owners approach so YouTube will now show uploaders what restrictions may be placed on their videos as a result of their music choices, and whether adverts will appear to compensate the music copyright owners. In a blog post, YouTube Product Manager Tim Grow explained: “Until now there was no way to know what would happen if you used a specific track until after you hit upload. Starting today, you can search the YouTube Audio Library to determine how using a particular track in your video will affect it on YouTube, specifically if it will stay live on YouTube or if any restrictions apply. You can uncross those uploading fingers now!” Users can also access music and sound effects pre-cleared for use in the…

Swedish raid knocks The Pirate Bay offline
Copyright , Internet / January 2015
EU
Sweden
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet     Swedish police have seized servers, computers and other equipment used by The Pirate Bay, effectively (for the time being) taking the controversial file-sharing platform offline. The takedown directly affected the service’s thepiratebay.se domain, and had a knock on effect on other domains and proxies cused to access the site. CMU Daily reported that the service’s homepage” did reappear at a new domain registered in Costa Rica, though at the time of writing [09.12.14] that version of the site isn’t actually working – the homepage and community feed appear, but any attempt to access links to content via the site result in an internal server error.” Other file-sharing sites such as EZTV, Zoink, and Torrage were also offline, as was Pirate Bay’s forum Suprbay.org. The National Coordinator of IP Crime at Stockholm County Police Paul Pinter told Reuters: “We had a crackdown on a server room in Greater Stockholm because of a copyright infringement, and yes it was Pirate Bay”. Interestingly, one of the orginal founders Peter Sunde, who is no longer involved with TPB, posted a blog admitting that he was happy that the website was offline saying “News just reached me that The Pirate Bay has been raided, again. That happened over 8 years…

More on US copyright and retransmissions
Copyright , Internet , Music Publishing / December 2014
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet, sound recordings   The introduction of so-called geo-fencing technology has become the next technological development to call into question the meaning behind US copyright law. This time, the question is whether webcasts which are limited in transmission area by geo-fencing, are subject to licence requirements or royalty payments for performance of sound recordings under the US Copyright Act. Confirmation is sought by Verstandig Broadcasting – the owner of several FM stations in Virginia. Under the Copyright Act, a webcaster is bound to pay royalties for sound recordings performed in their webcast. Although broadcasters are exempt from paying these royalties in relation to their broadcast programming, they are not when retransmitting the performance over the Internet. Under a narrow exception at s114(d)(1)(B)(i) of the Act, retransmissions are also exempt, if the radius of the transmission is no further than 150 miles from the broadcast transmitter. Geo-fencing allows a webcaster to set boundaries on the accessibility of their webcast depending on the physical location of the recipient (based on the recipient’s computer’s IP address, WiFi, GSM access point and GPS coordinates). The technology was largely developed to help internet gambling operators, as individual US states gradually liberalise gambling within their…

Turtles’ pre 1972 copyright victory opens up a can of worms for broadcasters
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet, broadcasting, recorded music   The Turtles, the 1960s pop band,  have  won a second victory against SiriusXM Holdings Inc. U.S. District Judge Colleen McMahon in Manhattan rejected Sirius’ request to dismiss the lawsuit accusing the satellite radio company of playing pre-1972 songs from the band, best known for the hit “Happy Together” without permission or paying royalties. She said that unless Sirius raises any factual issues requiring a trial by December 5th, she will rule outright for the plaintiff, Flo & Eddie Inc, a company controlled by founding Turtles members Howard Kaylan and Mark Volman, and begin to assess damages. The Judge said “Of course, the conspicuous lack of any jurisprudential history confirms that not paying royalties for public performances of sound recordings was an accepted fact of life in the broadcasting industry for the last century. So does certain testimony cited by Sirius from record industry executives, artists and others, who argued vociferously before Congress that it was unfair for them to operate in an environment in which they were paid nothing when their sound recordings were publicly performed…. That they were paid no royalties was a matter of statutory exemption under federal law; that they demanded…

TPB’s Fredrik Neij finally detained
Copyright , Internet / December 2014
Sweden

COPYRIGHT Internet   The Times reports that one of the world’s ‘most wanted hackers’ has been arrested. And who is it? Well none other than Fredrik Neij, one of the four men who created The Pirate Bay. Neij was arrested crossing from Laos into Thailand, seemingly by Thai immigration officials responding to an Interpol arrest warrant. Local reports say that whilst living in Laos with his wife, he also had a home on Phuket and had financial assets of £95,000 as a cash balance. He was the last remaining convicted Pirate Bay man at large. He and his co-founders Gottfrid Svartholm Warg and Peter Sunde were found guilty of multiuple contributory copyright infringement in the Swedish courts in 2009. After a lengthy appeals process (with Svartholm not even showing up for appeal hearing) all but Carl Lundström – the fourth member – went on the run –  Lundström having negotiated down his sentence to house arrest. Svartholm Warg made it to Cambodia, but was recently extradited to Denmark on serious hacking charges (against the Police) and sentenced to three years and a half in prison.  In June Peter Sunde was arrested in southern Sweden. Sunde had been living in Berlin, Germany, seemingly without a…

Dancing Jesus pair receive prison terms
UK

COPYRIGHT Internet, recorded music   The two men behind the Dancing Jesus file sharing forum have been sentenced to prison terms. Kane Robinson, 26, of North Shields, the site’s owner and creator, was sentenced to 32 months and 22-year-old Richard Graham, from Leicestershire, to 21 months at Newcastle Crown Court. Graham, who uploaded 8,00 songs to the site, had earlier pleaded not guilty but changed his plea to guilty when the evidence was presented.. The two men were subject to a private prosecution led by record industry trade body the BPI after an investigation by the City Of London Police. Robinson pleaded guilty to copyright crimes before trial. Of the 8000+ tracks Graham shared via the Dancing Jesus site, about two-thirds were pre-release.  Commentators said that the sentences were similar to those found in criminal copyright convictions relating to the manufacture and sale of bootlegged CDs or DVDs. Commenting on the sentences, David Wood, Director of the BPI’s Copyright Protection Unit, told reporters: “Today’s sentencing sends a clear message to the operators and users of illegal music sites that online piracy is a criminal activity that will not be tolerated by law enforcement in the UK or overseas. Piracy –…

Ek talking up Spotify in battle with Swift
UK
USA

COPYRIGHT Recorded music, internet   Spotify’s Daniel Ek has responded to Taylor Swift and other critics in a lengthy blog post reigniting the debate prompted by Swift pulling her catalogue from free (freemium) streaming services. Ek begins by saying “Taylor Swift is absolutely right” (referring to remarks the singer made in a Wall Street Journal  and Yahoo interview) adding “Music is art, art has real value, and artists deserve to be paid for it. We started Spotify because we love music and piracy was killing it. So all the talk swirling around lately about how Spotify is making money on the backs of artists upsets me big time”. Ek then detailed how the Spotify payment model works and revealed that Spotify has now paid out $2 billion to the music industry since launching in 2008, $1 billion of that in the last year and that Spotify now has 50 million active users, 12.5 million of whom are paying subscribers – an increase of ten million and 2.5 million respectively since the last lot of official figures released back in May of this year. However Ek somewhat failed to address why a relatively small share of these streaming royalties are shared…

Music creator group calls a ‘fair trade’ in music streaming
Canada
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet, recorded music, music publishing, artistes   A new report launched by the International Council Of Creators Of Music, or CIAM, has called for a more equal distribution of streaming royalties between the respective music rights owners – overhauling of the streaming royalty system which is increasingly seen as favouring record labels above music publishers, songwriters and artistes. CIAM is a global body that sets out to “protect the rights and assert the cultural aspirations of music creators”, while its report also has the backing of CISAC, the global grouping of music publishing collecting societies, as well as Music Creators North America and Canadian collecting society SOCAN. The report was written by Professor Pierre-E Lalonde, and it says: “The split in revenues between the different sets of rights holders is imbalanced. A combination of regulatory constraints, market imbalances and situations where major record labels negotiate with digital services for all categories of rights holders, has led to a significant disparity between the revenues paid to record labels and to creators”. He goes on: “In the business of streaming, the split of monies from streaming platforms is geared more favourably towards record labels and performers vs songwriters and music publishers”,…

Deadmau5 v Disney – the Mousequitears Dual On
Artists , Copyright , Internet , Trade Mark / October 2014
USA

TRADE MARK / COPYRIGHT Artistes, broadcasting, internet   Disney is going after Deadmau5 (Joel Zimmerman) and his logo, opposing a trademark application he submitted in the US last year. The company made a move to block Zimmerman from trademarking his familiar Mau5 head in the U.S., claiming the image is too similar to its iconic mascot Mickey Mouse, who first appeared in the 1928 animated short Steamboat Willie. In a statement earlier this week, the producer’s lawyer Dina LaPolt pointed out that Deadmau5 has been using his logo, based on his on-stage headgear, for almost a decade and that he’s already managed to secure the trademark in 30 other countries, and she added that her client “will not be bullied by Disney and is prepared to fight to protect his rights to his property”. Zimmerman himself said ““Disney thinks you might confuse an established electronic musician/performer with a cartoon mouse. That’s how stupid they think you are” and Deadmau5 tweeted “Lawyer up, Mickey,” to his three million followers. But in a twist to this tale, Zimmerman found another way to fight back: he and his lawyer discovered that between 2009 and 2012, the Disney Channel ran a series called ‘Have…

DIY Grooveshark cannot claim DMCA ‘safe habor’
Copyright , Internet , Record Labels / October 2014
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet, record labels   A federal judge in New York has ruled that Grooveshark, the controversial online music service, has infringed on thousands of their copyrights. Grooveshark came under fierce attack from the recording industry for hosting music files without permission. Grooveshark (Escape Media Group) streams music uploaded by its users and Grooveshark’s defence has long been that it is legal under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, the federal law that protects websites that host third-party material if they comply with takedown notices from copyright holders. The company relies on advertising for its revenues .Granting summary judgment in a case filed in 2011 by the three major record companies, Judge Thomas P. Griesa of United States District Court in Manhattan ruled that Grooveshark was liable for copyright infringement because its own employees and officers — including Samuel Tarantino, the chief executive, and Joshua Greenberg, the chief technology officer — uploaded a total of 5,977 of the labels’ songs without permission. Those uploads are not subject to the “safe harbor” provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act with the judge saying “Each time Escape streamed one of plaintiffs’ songs recordings, it directly infringed upon plaintiffs’ exclusive performance rights”.  According to Reuters, evidence against the executives included…

AIM and A2IM tell members to be wary of SoundCloud user licence
Artists , Contract , Copyright , Internet / September 2014
UK
USA

COPYRIGHT / CONTRACT Artistes, internet   UK and US indie label trade bodies AIM and A2IM have warned their members to be aware of a number of clauses in SoundCloud’s terms and conditions for content-uploaders, and what rights those clauses ask rightsholders to give up when uploading music to the service. The warning appeared on the A2IM blog  and states: “When putting tracks up on SoundCloud, you should strongly consider turning API access off. If you do not do this, you are granting not only SoundCloud a royalty free licence to use your recordings, but also anyone else who uses their API and/or links to your recordings (eg internet radio stations, remix services or other music apps)”. It adds: “As a SoundCloud user, you have already warranted to SoundCloud that you control all rights when using the service. This means that publishing, which you may not control, is also included in this royalty free license for onward usage. User uploads are also covered by this, so if third parties are uploading your recordings, they are also passing on a free license to other sites and services beyond SoundCloud, which effectively creates an ecosystem of royalty free usage for your music”. SoundCloud…

UK confirms it will classify pop promos
Censorship , Internet / September 2014
UK

CENSORSHIP Broadcasting, internet   A spate of recent sexually suggestive promotional videos from the likes of Rihanna, Robin Thicke, Mile Cyrus and Katy Perry has prompted the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) to suggest an age-rating system for online videos which it suggests should be introduced as soon as possible. Following the issuing of new classification guidance from the BBFC, the organisation’s assistant director, David Austin, said it was responding to pressure from parents who were concerned about the sexual imagery freely available to children who had access to the web, having already begun reviewing videos by artists such as Metallica, Robbie Williams and Beyoncé which had been submitted on a voluntary basis. Austin said the BBFC was working with the BPI, the body representing the UK music industry, and Google in a pilot project to see how classification might work, though there were questions about how videos created abroad could be rated. It is thought the classifications will be quite strict as sexual and other behaviour cannot be put in context in the three or four minutes a promo videos allows: the latest guidance states: “The classification of a music video will take account of any elements which…

Suspended sentence for Italian file-sharing operator – and his mum and dad
Copyright , Internet , Record Labels / August 2014
Italy

COPYRIGHT Recorded music, internet   As Italy steps up its actions against illegal file-sharing, an Italian man behind a now defunct file-sharing operation that used the domains Scaricolibero.com and Filmgratis.tv has been handed a 22 month suspended jail sentence for this role in running the copyright infringing business. His parents also received suspended sentences because of their role in receiving the operation’s advertising  revenue into their bank account – in effect a charge of money laundering: at the time the sites were said to be making around $300 a day from advertising. Authorities in Italy seized the two domains back in 2012 under a court order, following complaints from copyright owners, and also ordered internet service providers to block the service’s IP addresses and took control of bank accounts receiving ad revenues from the file-sharing operation   http://torrentfreak.com/parents-pirate-site-admin-sentenced-money-laundering-140628/

Italian court says that YouTube’s Content ID should be used to block allegedly infringing contents
Copyright , Internet / August 2014
EU
Italy
UK
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet   A couple of months ago the IPKat reported that the Tribunale di Torino (Turin District Court) had rejected an application for an interim injunction brought by Delta TV in the context of proceedings between this and Google and YouTube. Delta TV produces and markets TV programs, and holds the economic rights to a number of South American soap operas for a number of territories (including Italy), where it licences the relevant rights to third parties. Delta TV became aware that a number of episodes of such soap operas dubbed in Italian had been unlawfully uploaded on YouTube. It also became aware that, by inserting their titles on Google Search, the first results displayed links to such YouTube videos. Delta TV sued [the case is still pending] Google and YouTube for secondary copyright infringement, seeking damages for over EUR 13m. It also sought an interim injunction to have the videos removed from YouTube. YouTube and Google opposed the application, claiming that, as soon as they became aware of such allegedly infringing contents, they removed them from YouTube, in compliance with the obligations set for hosting providers by the Ecommerce Directive and the piece of legislation (Legislative Decree 70/2003) that implemented it into the Italian legal system. The Tribunale di Torino dismissed the…

UK stakeholders set out Creative Content UK
Copyright , Internet / August 2014
UK

COPYRIGHT Internet   The major UK internet service providers including BT, Virgin Media, Sky and Talk Talk, the representatives of various content industries including the film, television, books, sport rights and music sectors, and the UK government have come together to announce Creative Content UK, which has at its heart the voluntary copyright alert system, in some ways a ‘light’ version of the three-strikes element of the 2010 Digital Economy. Under the new system, participating net providers will send alerts to customers whose internet connections – according to the record companies, movie studios or TV firms – are being used to access unlicensed sources of content, such as file-sharing networks. Customers will be warned that accessing content from said sources is unlawful and will be given information on how they could access the same or similar content via legit services. Alongside the copyright alert system, Creative Content UK will stage a high profile copyright education programme. Vince Cable, Business Secretary said: “The creative industries in the UK are one of our brilliant global success stories. We have unrivalled creativity – from record breaking musicians to box office films – that excite and inspire people all over the world. Yet too often that…