BMG look to Modular and UMG for Tame Impala mechanicals
Australia

CONTRACT / COPYRIGHT Music Publishing   The founder of Aussie independent record label Modular Recordings, Steve “Pav” Pavlovic, is being taken to court by BMG over an alleged non-payment of $US450,000 (about A$588,000) in unpaid mechanical royalties for Aussie rock outfit Tame Impala works. Modular, along with its co-owner, Universal Music Australia, Universal Group, Universal Music Australia and others have been accused by BMG of withholding substantial royalty payments and failing to meet agreed 45 day payment windows in each quarter, and ignoring legal advice to cease and desist selling operations with regard to Tame Impala’s recordings as mechanical royalties were not being paid for use of the songs This resulted in a law suit being filed with the New York Southern District Court early last month. BMG owns the rights to Tame Impala’s songs through its publishing agreement with songwriter Kevin Parker. Parker recently alluded to a lack of payment for international sales during a recent Reddit AMA. In his words “Up until recently, from all of Tame Impala’s record sales outside of Australia I had received zero dollars. Someone high up spent the money before it got to me. I may never get that money.” BMG’s allegations are that they haven’t received any…

Wenham speaks out on digital royalties
UK

CONTRACT / COPYRIGHT Recorded music, music publishing, artistes   The World Independent Network has welcomed Sony and Universal’s recent statements on on breakage which have come out after the leak of the Sony-Spotify 2011 contract which added further evidence that the major labels were receiving large advances from digital services – promoting many to ask what the major labels actually did with this money.   WIN says UMG and Sony’s statements simply echo commitments that the indie labels had previously all signed up to in their Fair Digital Deals Declaration – but added that “it is telling that there are no specifics in these recent statements from these corporations”. In an open letter, Alison Wenham, boss of both WIN and the UK’s Association Of Independent Music, said: “We don’t know how long these policies have been in place, how much of the revenue they are actually sharing, whether this applies to all types of non-unit revenue, or how this money is distributed across their catalogues. We don’t know what analogue-era deductions are still getting made against digital income. As usual these facts are withheld”. And Wenham celebrates the indie’s position which she says “makes it clear that signatory companies will share the benefits of dealing…

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…

SGAE scandal looms
Spain

CRIMINAL Music publishing     The former head of Spanish music collection society SGAE’s digital arm has been accused of orchestrating false payments worth €57,000 – and could face a substantial prison term. The case dates back to the three years between 2008 and 2011. Spanish singer José Ramón Márquez (Ramoncín) who was also a SGAE Board member, is accused of issuing false invoices to SGAE that allowed him to extract nearly €60,000 out of the songwriters and publishers organisation. Jose Luis Rodriguez Neri, who was Director General of Spain’s Digital Society Of Authors (SDAE) until 2011, faces charges of financial misappropriation – by consenting to Ramoncín’s invoices – and faces a maximum sentence four years and ten months of jail time if found guilty. Ramoncín, who potentially faces the same jail term as Neri, announced that he is aiming to “hang a sign” behind him in which “reads ‘innocent’”. The former MD of SGAE, Enrique Loras, faces over two years in prison  for ‘misuse’ or a fine of €20,866 euros for ‘mismanagement appropriation’. The former director of Legal Services for SGAE, Pablo Hernandez Arroyo, is also implicated. He potentially faces two years and nine months in prison or, alternatively, a fine…

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…

Musicians Union plans digital royalty action
Copyright , Music Publishing / June 2015
UK

COPYRIGHT Recorded music     The Guardian tells us that the Musicians’ Union is planning to take major labels to court in the UK over the royalty rates for digital music paid under contracts signed before the days of streaming and downloads. Its move follows a legal case in Finland earlier this year, when the sons of a musician from the band Hurriganes won a case against Universal Music for claiming internet rights over music released in the 70s. Horace Trubridge, who is the MU’s Assistant General Secretary who is a founding member of the successful R&B/doo-wop band Darts, told an audience at the Great Escape convention in Brighton last week that the three major record labels “don’t play fair” and “are screwing musicians”. The band are on a 12% royalty rate and this suffers from multiple deductions; Trubridge argues that heritage bands should be on a streaming royalty rate of roughly 30% with no deductions. Trubridge claimed Warner is deducting costs for packaging, “breakages” and “returns” on his royalty statements for the digital sales of Darts’ music. More here http://musiclawupdates.blogspot.co.uk/2015/03/a-finnish-digital-rights-case-could-set.html and here http://www.theguardian.com/media/2015/may/20/musicians-union-major-labels-digital-rights?CMP=share_btn_tw

Happy Birthday – was the copyright ever abandoned?
Copyright , Music Publishing / June 2015
USA

COPYRIGHT Music publishing     U.S. District Judge George King wants to hear more about whether the 19th century schoolteacher who has been credited with writing “Happy Birthday to You” — the English language’s most popular song — had abandoned the copyright to the lyrics. On Monday, King directed parties involved in a fight over whether the song is copyrighted to brief him on the issue of abandonment – although its not all bad news for music publisher Warner/Chappell who make an estimated $2 million every year from the song – the Judge pointed out “the Parties would do well to bear in mind the analytical distinction between abandonment and loss of a copyright due to the failure to follow statutory formalities.”   https://www.billboard.com/articles/news/6568805/happy-birthday-lawsuit-judge-wants-to-know-if-copyright-was-abandoned

Rock Follies? Heavy metal copying claims rock on
Copyright , Music Publishing / June 2015
USA

COPYRIGHT Music publishing     The dust has yet to settle on the ‘Blurred Lines’ litigation in the USA – with a review of the damages awarded to the Gaye family, a revised settlement, an injunction against Pharrell and Robin Thicke, a new trial and/or an appeal are all being mooted, who wrote what remains a big question, as does the the difference between appropriation and inspiration: the recent settlement by Sam Smith and his co-writers with Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne over allegations that “Stay With Me” plagiarised “I Wont Back Down” just adds to this confused conundrum, as does the recent news that Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars have added the five members of the Gap Band as co-writers of “Uptown Funk” because of similarities to ‘Ooops Upside Your Head”. Now its the turn of heavy metal:   The lawsuit  brought by the trustee of the late Randy California claiming that Led Zeppelin’s ‘Stairway to Heaven’ was plagiarised from an obscure song ‘Taurus’ by the band Spirit has survived its first legal challenge.  In 1969, Spirit and Led Zeppelin shared the bill at several concerts. U.S. District Judge Juan Sanchez has now refused to dismiss the claim. If the suit succeeds, a…

Mind The Gap: Songwriters unsettled as ‘Uptown Funk’ gets five more writers
Copyright , Music Publishing / June 2015
UK
USA

COPYRIGHT Music publishing   The fallout from the ‘Blurred Lines‘ verdict in favour of the Gaye family and the $7.4 million in damages awarded against Pharrell Williams and Robin Thicke for copyright infringement of Marvin Gaye’s “Got To Give It Up” continues with news that the six strong team of songwriter’s behind Mark Ronson and Bruno Mar’s “Uptown Funk!” have added the five members of the Gap Band as co-writers, making a grand total now of eleven writers. According to documents from RCA Records, which released the song, the original writers – Ronson, Mars, co-producer Jeffrey Bhasker and Phillip Lawrence were writers of the song along with Nicholas Williams (aka Trinidad James) and producer Devon Gallaspy, whose “All Gold Everything” already had “portions embodied” in the song. They have now been joined by the five writers of the 1979 hit “Oops Upside Your Head” including The Gap Band members brothers Charlie, Robert and Ronnie Wilson, keyboardist Rudolph Taylor and producer Lonnie Simmons.   The move follows a claim put forth by publisher Minder Music on behalf of the “Oops” songwriters and of course was set against the background of Blurred Lines and the settlement made by Sam Smith and hos co-writers of “Stay…

Timber plagiarism claim rejected
USA

COPYRIGHT / CONTRACT Artistes, music publishing, recorded music     A U.S. copyright infringement action arising out of the international release of the track “Timber” by Pitbull and featuring Kesha has been dismissed by the District Court. The claim centred on the allegation that Sony Music Entertainment, which obtained license from co-owner of allegedly infringed work, a distinctive harmonica melody in the 1978 track “San Francisco Bay” performed by Lee Oskar Levitin, had nevertheless infringed the plaintiff’s copyright. The claim is that the “Timber” harmonica player was, in fact, specifically instructed to emulate Levitin’s harmonica riff.   The Plaintiffs also alleged that the domestic defendants made the song “available” to the foreign defendants, which, in turn, released “Timber” in the United Kingdom, Italy, Germany, Mexico, Spain, Canada, Australia, France and South Korea. All defendants moved to dismiss the complaint for failure to state a claim, and the foreign defendants also moved to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction and on the basis of forum non conveniens. The court granted dismissal of only the claims against the U.S. defendants. Judge Paul A Crotty accepted the defendants argument that the plaintiffs failed to state a claim because the defendants had a license to use the harmonica…

Judge heads to find the truth in Loca copying claim
Copyright , Music Publishing / June 2015
USA

COPYRIGHT Music publishing     A U.S. judge who ruled that pop star Shakira’s 2010 hit single “Loca” plagiarised a Dominican songwriter’s work now says the songwriter may have lied to the court and is prepared to head to Puerto Rico to sort out facts. U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein said in the federal court in Manhattan that new evidence has caused him to “lose trust” in the trial testimony.   Judge Hellerstien had previously found that the Shakira track had copied from composer Ramon Arias Vasquez’s  song “Loca con su Tiguere” and found Sony/ATV Latin and Sony/ATV Discos liable for distributing the infringing song. In his ruling, Judge Hellerstein found that Arias’s song was recorded onto a cassette tape in 1998. A copy of the song on the tape was registered at the Copyright Office in 2011. However the Judge has now planned for a seven-day hearing in August on the basis of the allegation that a cassette tape was fabricated in 2011 and that Arias lied under oath. Defendants Sony have also submitted affidavits that purport to show that the underlying music to Arias’s song was composed in 2009, by a different artist.   As a number of…

The Fall and Rise of Touch Sensitive
Copyright , Music Publishing / June 2015
UK

COPYRIGHT Music publishing     This article is written by Andy Johnstone and is taken from the 1709 Copyright Blog   Last week saw the handing down of yet another case from the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court, presided over by Miss Recorder Michaels sitting as a Deputy Enterprise Judge, which reminds us that as long as there is a music business, there will be disputes over song writing credits to keep the courts and lawyers in work. The second thing we learn, or perhaps have confirmed for us, is that you can’t always trust the credits which appear on the liner notes of albums.   The case is called Minder Music Ltd and Julia Adamson v Steven Sharples and involves a song entitled Touch Sensitive by the post punk band The Fall. The first claimant, Minder Music, is a music publisher to which publishing rights in the song were assigned by the band’s lead singer and founding member Mark E Smith. The second claimant is Julia Adamson (formerly known as Julia Nagle), one time member of The Fall and for the purposes of this case, the co-writer with Mark Smith of the original version of the song Touch Sensitive. Smith wrote the lyrics and owned a one…

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…

Appellate court gives Pandora the continued green light to access ASCAP’s music
Copyright , Music Publishing / June 2015
USA

COPYRIGHT Music publishing, online   In what the New York Law Journal describes as a ‘victory’ for Pandora, the federal appeals court in Manhattan has ruled that three major music publishing companies (Universal, EMI and Sony/ATV) cannot limit Pandora’s access to the catalogue of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit held that the consent decree governing ASCAP clearly precludes the partial withdrawals of public performing licensing rights by publishers. The court’s decision interpreted a 2001 consent decree governing the licensing activities of ASCAP and upheld Southern District Judge Denise Cote’s grant of summary judgment to Pandora last year. The consent decree, called AFJ2, requires that it “grant to any music user … a non-exclusive license to perform all of the works in the ASCAP repertory” in return for a reasonable fee or in default of an agreed rate, a sum set by a rate court. The major publishers had argued that ASCAP was setting below-market rates for public performance licenses, and initially EMI, Sony and Universal withdrew their new media rights in 2013. Pandora filed a rate court petition in 2012 and moved for summary judgment before Cote in 2013. Sony, EMI and Universal…

19 v Sony: the battles continue
USA

CONTRACT Artistes, recorded music   There has been another tranche of  pre-trial battles between management company 19 and former business partner Sony. 19 is suing Sony Music over the record contracts signed with the major by various ‘American Idol’ finalists. 19 of course owns the ‘Idol’ franchise and managed successful artistes who came out of the now cancelled show.  Sony was, for a time, the record company with the rights to sign finalists that appeared on the programme. 19 is alleging a number of breaches of contract and failures to account including an account of monies settled to Sonya s part of the ‘Limewire’ litigation  and whether digital income should be treated as a ‘sale’ or a ‘licence’ when artist royalties are calculated. Sony failed to have 19’s lawsuit dismissed back in March. It then filed its own countersuit that claimed some of the former Idols 19 represents had been overpaid by the record company, while also concurrently asking for the judgement on dismissal to be reconsidered. On the latter point Sony it had some success earlier this month, when a judge decided that, actually, 19’s claim that Sony had acted in bad faith over digital royalties should not be allowed to proceed, though breach of contract…

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…

Finland follows US in digital rights ruling
Contract , Music Publishing / May 2015
Finland

CONTRACT Recorded music sector     A Finnish digital rights case could set interesting precedent over pre-iTunes catalogue is being brought by the family of a late artist who are in dispute with the local Universal Music subsidiary. The case centres on the so called ‘making available’ right.  Whilst record labels are usually the copyright owners when it comes to sound recordings – either through default ownership rules (eg in the UK S9 of the CDPA provides that the author of a sound recording is the producer) or by assignment in standard record contracts – in Europe there are also ‘performer rights’, which say that performers as well as copyright owners have certain controls over how their recordings are used. However when many contracts with heritage artistes were entered into ‘digital’ did not exist, as neither streaming or download platforms existing and there was no accompanying right meaning it can be argued that labels need to get new permission to licence services that are ‘making available’ recordings (which likely includes most digital platforms).   Many heritage acts appalled at the share of digital royalties they are receiving from the labels from digital income, not least as the major labels have…

IFPI publishes Digital Music Report 2015
EU
UK
USA

COPYRIGHT Recorded Music     The recorded music sector’s international trade body, the IFPI, has  published its Digital Music Report 2015, detailing key trends in the recorded music sector over the last year – with the headline news that digital music revenues are now on a par with physical globally, that global industry revenues are marginally down 0.4 per cent to US$14.97 billion in 2014, and that subscription services at the heart of the recorded music portfolio business. Digital revenues rose 6.9 per cent to US$6.9 billion, representing 46% of all global music sales and underlining the deep transformation of the global music industry over recent years. Total revenues in  2014 were US$14.97 billion although it should be noted that there has been a reclassification of SoundExchange revenues in the US from “performance rights” to “digital”.  This has resulted in an upward adjustment in digital revenues and growth, and an equivalent downward adjustment in performance rights revenues and growth.   The new report shows the industry in continuing transition, with consumers embracing the music access models of streaming and subscription.  Another steep increase in subscription revenues (+39.0%) offset declining global download sales (-8.0%) to drive overall digital revenues, while the number of…

Universal moves to settle digital royalty dispute – but the debates continue
USA

COPYRIGHT Recorded music, artistes     As expected, Universal Music has followed the lead of Sony and Warners in filing proposals to settle the class action lawsuits they face in the US over the digital royalty rate that they pay to their artists for downloads under contracts which are ‘pre-digital’ and therefor silent on the issue. The major labels initially all took the position that they would treat downloads as sales, but a wide range of heritage artists argued that download income relates to ‘licensing’ deals done with the download stores, with one case, between Eminen’s producers FBT Productions and UMG resulting in a appellate court victory for the artists position FBT argued they had a right to a 50/50 split of profits with Universal on sales of digital music and ring tones through online retailers such as iTunes and Sprint as these ‘Master Licensing’ deals attracting the higher royalty. The contract did not specifically mention income from download stores like iTunes, or what share the artist (and therefore FBT) should get from such sales but Universal have been treating download sales as being equivalent to CD sales paying a lower rate of 12-20%% as if these were physical sales. Whilst a district court refused summary judgment saying…

American terrestrial radio performance royalties for sound recordings move a step closer
USA

COPYRIGHT Recorded music, broadcasting     The latest efforts by the American record industry to force terrestrial radio stations to pay royalties to labels solidified around a new piece of legislation in the Congress:  The Fair Play, Fair Pay Act, is backed by four members of the House Of Representatives: Democrats Jerrold Nadler, John Conyers Jr and Ted Deutch and Republican Marsha Blackburn. While AM/FM radio stations do not pay royalties to labels, online and satellite radio stations do, because the Digital Millennium Copyright Act applied a ‘digital performing right’ to the sound recording copyright. The New Act would  provide for a general public performance right for all sound recordings that are still within copyright in the USA, including per-1972 recordings which a number of digital operators (including SiriusXM) have argued are outside of federal law. http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/music/posts/la-et-ms-fair-play-fair-pay-act-congress-radio-royalties-20150413-story.html

Songwriters and composers question U.S Publisher actions
USA

COPYRIGHT Music Publishing     An alliance of organisations representing songwriters around the world has published an open letter addressed to the US music publishing sector expressing concern at plans by a number of major publishers to pull song rights out of the American collective licensing system. The removal of digital rights from the two main performing right organisations ASCAP and BMI, means publishers can do direct deals with services like Pandora. free from any rules governing collective licensing. The major publishers in the US had begun moves to withdraw their digital rights from BMI and ASCAP, but a court ruling ruling seemingly prevented the rights owners from using a ‘menu’ approach to how they work with the collection societies, effectively saying the companies were either ‘all in’ or ‘all out’.  U.S. publishers are now  lobbying to have the collective licensing rules, contained within the so called ‘consent decrees’, revised to allow partial withdrawal. Meanwhile Sony/ATV chief Marty Bandier has threatened to completely withdraw his catalogue from the collective licensing system if the changes aren’t made.   Now a group of artists, songwriters, managers and lawyers have pointed out that that’s not as simple as it sounds. In Europe the collecting societies –…

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…

Important sampling decision from the German courts
Germany

COPYRGHT Recorded Music, song writing   This Update is from Birgit Clark writing on the IPKat blog The German Federal Court of Justice (Bundesgerichtshof) this week had to decide on the legality of using short musical sequences as background loop for a rap song ( decision of 16 April 2015 – I ZR 225/12 Goldrapper).  In a copyright infringement case brought by French Gothic group Dark Sanctuary against German rapper Bushido, the Bundesgerichtshof disagreed with Higher Regional Court of Hamburg ( OLG Hamburg, decision of 31 October 2012 – 5 U 37/10) and held that the original link (or connection) between the lyrics and the music of a song is not protected by copyright.   Dark Sanctuary had objected to Bushido’s use of parts of their songs for 13 of his own rap songs. Bushido had electronically copied (“sampled”) sequences of about 10 seconds of the music of Dark Sanctury’s original song recordings, however without using the original lyrics. He had then turned these sampled melody sequences into a repetitive loop, combined this with a beat and added his own rap lyrics.  Dark Sanctuary regarded this use of their recordings as copyright infringing and inter alia demanded compensation and that Bushido cease using their music.  …

Ray Charles Foundation test heirs’ copyright termination claim
Copyright , Music Publishing / April 2015
USA

COPYRIGHT: Music publishing   The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals is set to decide an important case between the children of Ray Charles and the Ray Charles Foundation,  he charity which Mr. Charles gave his right to receive royalties from his music publishing agreement with Warner-Chappell Music in his will. Whilst the charity has had the benefit of the royalties to date, Section 304(c) of the U.S. Copyright Act provides the statutory heirs of deceased authors, in this case Mr. Charles’ children, the sole right to terminate the assignment of copyrights from an author to a third party. Can they prevail and in effect overturn their father’s wishes?   Mr. Charles died before he was permitted (under the statute) to send the vast majority of termination notices to Warner-Chappell to regain his songs.  The termination right may not be transferred by will or by any other “agreement to the contrary” and in order to ensure that his Foundation would continue to receive the music publishing income stream after his death for the life of copyright, Mr. Charles entered into agreements with each of his children providing that in exchange for $500,000 they would not take any actions to challenge the Estate….

More Copyright, More Good Music?
Copyright , Music Publishing / April 2015
Italy

COPYRIGHT Music publishing   More copyright, wore “Quality Works”? Not quite but maybe, says a study of Italian opera before 1900. As Italy had a wide variety of copyright law provisions until  the late 1860s when Italy itself was finally unified, Stanford economists Petra Moser and Michela Giorcelli compared the varying degrees of copyright protection to the output of operas, compiling a database of more than 2,598 Italian operas written between 1770 and 1900 – and then looked at the longevity of each opera right up to how many recordings of any opera were available in 2014 on Amazon. Vox explains “Copyright laws seem to have created significantly more operas that also had staying power and were of higher quality” and details:  “States with copyrights ended up producing 2.68 additional operas per year, a 121 percent increase over states without copyrights. Historically popular operas (as measured by the 1978 publication, the Annales of Opera 1597-1940) grew by 47 percent, and durable operas [those available on Amazon in 2014] grew by 80 percent.”   http://www.vox.com/2014/10/24/7049983/how-napoleons-conquest-gave-italian-opera-a-boost

More artistes voice Blurred Lines concerns
Copyright , Music Publishing / April 2015
USA

COPYRIGHT Music publishing   With the appeal by Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams in the Blurred Lines case now confirmed, rapper and producer RZA says there should be a limit on how much an artist can recover if their songs are sampled without consent. Speaking at SXSW, the Wu-Tang Clan co-founder said that while artists who inspire should be paid, there should be a limit to how much they can demand, especially if the money isn’t actually going to the artist: “Art is something that’s made to inspire the future,” he said during his stay in Austin, according to the Daily Beast. “If you utilize somebody’s artistic expression blatantly, to [the point] where it’s an identifiable thing, then there should be some sort of compensation to the person who inspires you.” Arguing the sampling itself is creative and an art form, the Shaolin producer, known for crafting unexpected beats from esoteric samples, called for a 50% cap for retroactive payments of sampled material saying “There should be a cut off. Fifty percent is the most” commenting “The Greeks could come sue everybody because one generation teaches the other” and “When you hear an A chord to the D to the E, there are over one million…

What’s Wrong With the ‘Blurred Lines’ Copyright Ruling?
Copyright , Music Publishing / April 2015
USA

COPYRIGHT Music Publishing   What’s Wrong With the ‘Blurred Lines’ Copyright Ruling” was a headline from the New York Times two days after a civil jury found that Robin Thicke, Pharrell Williams and TI’s song infringed Marvin Gaye’s ‘Got To Give It Up’. In it Jon Caramanica says “Owing to the specifics of copyright law, the jury was instructed to base its decision on the sheet music, a fact that reflects how inadequate copyright law is when it comes to contemporary songwriting and production practices. In 2015, the arrangement of notes on a sheet of paper is among the least integral parts of pop music creation. We’re decades beyond the time when a songwriter penned a tune on paper, then gave it to musicians to perform.   Pointing to the difficulties in this area, Caramanica also comments on the recent ‘Stay With Me’ settlement where Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne were given 25% of that song which allegedly plagiarised Petty’s 1989 hit “I Won’t Back Down” – although Caramanica points out the argument there was structural — “both choruses have a similar pace and syllabic emphasis. But Mr. Smith’s song is ecstatic and soaring, and Mr. Petty’s is quietly tenacious. “Stay With Me”…

Gaye family keep on suing
Copyright , Music Publishing / April 2015
USA

COPYRIGHT Music Publishing   The family of Marvin Gaye has been awarded $7.3 million by a civil jury in Los Angeles, who decided that Robin Thicke and Pharrell William’s massive 2013 hit Blurred Lines did copy Marvin Gaye’s 1977 Classic “Got to Give It Up“.  Howard E King, The lawyer for Thicke, WIlliams and co-writer rapper TI, said the decision set a “horrible precedent for music and creativity going forward”. The decision will almost certainly be appealed. Williams, Thicke and T.I. said in a joint statement: “‘Blurred Lines‘ was created from the heart and minds of Pharrell, Robin and T.I. and not taken from anyone or anywhere else.  We are reviewing the decision, considering our options and you will hear more from us soon about this matter.” The Gaye family’s lawyer Richard S Busch said “We’ll be asking the court to enter an injunction prohibiting the further sale and distribution of Blurred Lines unless and until we can reach an agreement with those guys on the other side about how future monies that are received will be shared”.   In the wake of the jury’s verdict in the “Blurred Lines case”, Marvin Gaye’s children have filed a new motion to list three record labels and…

YMCA writing credits re-written
Copyright , Music Publishing / April 2015
USA

COPYRIGHT Music Publishing   The writing credits and ownership of the classic Village People recorded track YMCA have been amended to just two writers: Since the song appeared in 1977, “YMCA” has always had three listed authors– Jacques Morali, Victor Willis, and Henry Bololo. But now after a two week jury trial in San Diego federal district court, Bololo was removed from the copyright. Willis now shares “YMCA” 50-50 with Morali. Attorney Brian Caplan, who handles many intellectual property cases, represented Willis, an original member of the Village People. In addition to “YMCA,” Willis regained half ownership in eleven other songs. For almost 40 years Bololo maintained that “YMCA” was one of several French songs he repurposed. But after two weeks of testimony, a jury decided that Morali wrote the music and Willis penned the now famous lyrics. Willis first brought action over the Village People copyrights back in 2011. There were two elements to his dispute. First, whether or not Willis could use the so called ‘termination right’, added to US copyright law in the 1970s and now relevant, to reclaim control of copyrights he had previously assigned to the company behind the Village People franchise.In this he succeded and…

Wonder faces $7 million claim from attorney’s widow
Artists , Contract , Music Publishing / April 2015
USA

CONTRACT Artistes. Music publishing   Stevie Wonder (Stevland Morris) is being sued by the wife of his former attorney who claims the singer songwriter owes at least $7 million in unpaid royalties.  Susan Strack is the widow of Johanan Vigoda, a veteran entertainment lawyer with more tha 40 years service for Wonder, who died in 2011. The federal claim says that having helped Wonder escape onerous and oppressive contracts, Wonder agreed to pay her husband a 6 percent fee on royalties “forever.” She claims that several royalty fee agreements and a trusted witness always read the terms to the blind Wonder before he placed his mark on them, which was his fingerprint followed by the signature of the witness. Black Bull Music, Taurus Productions, Sawandi Music, and Stevland Morris Music are also named as defendants. Stack says that whilst payments were made for  a 20 month period they have now ceased and she clains “fees and compensation to which she is rightfully and legally entitled” as well as damages, and punitive damages, for breach of written agreement, intentional interference with contract, and conversion. Strack also seeks declaratory judgment that Wonder and his heirs and successors must continue paying her and Vigoda’s heirs and successors the…

Turk sues Cash Money for unpaid royalties
Contract , Music Publishing / March 2015
USA

CONTRACT Music publishing   Tab Virgil Jr. also known as “Turk,” is suing Miami based Cash Money Records claiming he’s owed $1.3 million for songs he wrote for Hot Boy$, a group that included rappers Lil Wayne, B.G. and Juvenile. Turk says he has not been paid any artist (recording) or music publishing royalties for the songs he had written, and that no accounting of royalties has ever been rendered by Cash Money. The claim also alleges that even though he has written songs for since1998 under an exclusive agreement, he has not received promised artist – either as a recording artist or as a songwriter – and that Cash Money has also failed to copyright any of his music, as required under the agreement. It seems Cash Money Records has been on the receiving end of similar claims in the past: Lil Wayne filed a lawsuit in Manhattan to end his contract with rapper Birdman and Cash Money Records for allegedly withholding millions of dollars in song royalties. http://www.entlawdigest.com/2015/02/09/3657.htm

Just who did write YMCA?
Copyright , Music Publishing / March 2015
USA

COPYRIGHT Music publishing   In May 2012, original Village People singer-songwriter Victor Willis won a case before a California federal judge allowing him terminate the licence of his share of the group’s songs – he could regain ownership of his own copyrights. As a result, the royalty payments that Willis received from music publishers were due to increase from a 12-20 percent rate. But exactly how much did he get? Whilst Willis contends he co-authored the songs with just Jacques Morali and therefore is entitled to a 50 percent share but Scorpio Music and Can’t Stop Productions, the publishers, point to copyright registrations indicating a third author, Henri Belolo. It’s their contention that the songs were originally French and then adapted by Willis, who in turn says Belolo didn’t have much to do with the songs in question. The music publishers only believe Willis is entitled to a 33 percent share. Among the witnesses scheduled to testify on behalf of Willis is his ex-wife Phylicia Rashad, who is famous for playing Clair Huxtable on The Cosby Show. She is expected to say that she witnessed Willis writing many of the songs at their home and they were never adapted from…

Blurred Lines updates
Copyright , Music Publishing / March 2015
USA

COPYRIGHT Music publishing   This first update is from Tom Ohta writing on the IPKat Robin Thicke’s hit, Blurred Lines, has caused controversy not only for its lyrics, but also for its musical provenance after Marvin Gaye’s children alleged that Blurred Lines infringed copyright in Marvin Gaye’s Got To Give It Up resulting in a trial before the Californian District Court currently scheduled to start next Tuesday, 17 February. As readers may recall the litigation arose after Pharrell Williams, Robin Thicke and Clifford Harris, Jr., pre-emptively sought declaratory relief that Blurred Lines did not infringe copyright in Gaye’s Got To Give It Up, following accusations by the Gaye family of unlawful similarities between the two works. The Gaye’s expert musicologist studied the sheet music and sound recordings of the two works and identified eight “ substantially similar” features which “ surpass the realm of generic coincidence”. The Gayes argued that it was improbable that a third-party work would contain all of these features in a “ similar constellation” – and that those similarities in Blurred Lines must therefore be indicative of unlawful copying. In this case, it was not disputed that Robin Thicke had listened to Gaye’s Got To Give…

Message’s message calls for more transparency in the digital pie
UK

CONTRACT / COPYRIGHT Recorded music, digital distribution, artistes   Radiohead manager and former Chair of the Music Managers Forum Brian Message has used the launch of the Entertainment Retailers Association’s new manifesto to single out the secret deals concluded between content owners – in particular the major record labels and new digital services – for criticism. Pointing out that artistes and their management have the potential to be increasingly closer to the fan he added: “that economic chain isn’t without it’s challenges, as you probably know just as well as us; in fact, many of my colleagues would go as far as to say that it’s pretty well broken and needs fixing. For us, central to this structural failure is the NDA [Non Disclosure Agreement] culture that is now ingrained in the licensing of creator catalogues to retailers and digital services”. “The lack of transparency and the very real erosion of trust felt by many creators and managers in how the economic value chain now operates is an issue that the MMF and ERA needs to focus on together so we can add real value to our members”. He added “Since taking on my new role within MMF and having…

Sam Smith’s “Stay With Me” now includes Tom Petty and Jeff Lyne as songwriters
Copyright , Music Publishing / February 2015
UK

COPYRIGHT Music publishing, sound recordings   When Sam Smith’s “Stay With Me” was released in April 2014, numerous commentators were quick to note the distinct resemblance to Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ 1989 classic “I Won’t Back Down”. Others saw perhaps a passing resemblance in one chord sequence but felt that the songs and recordings were completely different. Now details have emerged of a settlement on the split of song writing credits and royalties. And remember it’s similarities in the song this matter is about – NOT the sound recordings themselves –which this blogger feels are quite different. However, there is certainly an arguable similarity in some of the chord sequences. The settlement reportedly included a 12.5% writing credit to both Petty and singer-composer Jeff Lynne (of ELO fame). The song’s credit on ASCAP (the collection society the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers) now lists Smith, Petty, Lynne, William Phillips and Jimmy Napes as the chief songwriters in what appears to be an amicable and sensible deal. However one commentator adds “Tom Petty’s copyright settlement with Sam Smith …. marks at least the third time that Petty has heard similarities between his own songs and more recent hits by other…

Who will face the Music? The Blurred Lines trial approaches
Copyright , Music Publishing / February 2015
USA

COPYRIGHT Music Publishing   The lawsuit that alleges that Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams borrowed heavily from the Marvin Gaye track ‘Got To Give It Up’ when creating ther somewhat controversial tune ‘Blurred Lines’ is set to go to court on February 10th. The complaint is based on the obvious similarities between the songs, and partly because Thicke once said of his hit in an interview: “I told Pharrell that one of my favourite songs of all time was Marvin Gaye’s ‘Got To Give It Up’. I was like, ‘Damn, we should make something like that, something with that groove’. Then he started playing a little something and we literally wrote the song in about a half hour and recorded it”. Thicke has also claimed that he’d been far too involved with drink and prescription drugs at the time to have given any such coherent instructions to his pop-making partner but both Thicke and Williams strongly deny the allegations of plagiarism. The latest side debate was whether the jury should hear recordings of the Thicke/Williams song and Gaye’s track side by side. Representatives for the Gaye family favour of this, but lawyers for the ‘Blurred Lines’ twosome demanded that no…

Zimmer in the frame over movie music claim
Copyright , Music Publishing / February 2015
France
Germany
USA

COPYRIGHT Music publishing   Our third plagiarism update in music this month now. And there’s that old saying isn’t there – “where there’s a hit – there’s a writ” and whilst this blogger often spies claims of plagiarism, sampling and sometimes even downright copying which usually result in at least the threat of a lawsuit in the film, TV and music sectors, a claim in relation to the Oscar winning movie 12 Years a Slave has also thrown up claims violations of moral rights (under the copyright laws of Germany and France) – but in a US court.. The Hollywood Reporter lets us know that a U.S. civil lawsuit has been filed on behalf of composer Richard Friedman against composer Hans Zimmer, along with 20th Century Fox, Sony Music and various companies connected to the movie, for the alleged inclusion of a copyrighted music composition into the film’s main musical theme. According to the complaint, filed in a Californian federal court, the “Solomon Northup” theme in the movie can be traced to a 2004 Friedman composition titled “To Our Fallen,” which allegedly was widely distributed as part of a music sample entitled “American Heart.” The plaintiff says that the sound…

Chinese Karaoke venues get court approved licences
Copyright , Music Publishing / February 2015
China

COPYRIGHT Music publishing   A Court in Jiaxing City, Zhejiang Province has facilitated a group licensing contract between 200 karaoke venues and the Music Copyright Society of China (MCSC). The Court mediated contract follows intensive litigation action by MCSC. According to the Court, there have been 1,433 related civil cases in the city over the past four years with average damages awarded of one yuan (10p) per day per karaoke room. According to media reports, each karaoke venue will pay a little over RMB1,000 (£100) per year under the group contract. Jiaxing City has a population of over 3 million people.   More in Chinese here http://www.sipo.gov.cn/yw/2014/201412/t20141219_1048830.html and in English here http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/china/2014-12/24/c_133876853.htm

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,…

Taylor Swift looks for Trade Marks in her lyrics
Artists , Music Publishing , Trade Mark / February 2015
USA

TRADE MARK Artistes, music publishing   Taylor Swift has applied to Trade Mark some of her most individual lyrics, notably “this sick beat” from Shake it Off as well as “nice to meet you, where you been?” and “party like it’s 1989”. Alexander Ross, a partner at law firm Wiggin, explained to the Guardian newspaper “What she is trying to do is to protect individual phrases within her lyrics where those lyrics have become catchphrases. “Once you have a trademarked phrase you have the right to stop someone else using it on things like merchandising” although the article also points to Apple’s Beats by Dre mark which may prove a partially obstacle to Swift’s ambitions.   http://www.theguardian.com/music/musicblog/2015/jan/29/taylor-swift-this-sick-beat-worlds-first-trademarked-lyric

New collection society alliance to be investigated by EU
Competition , Music Publishing / February 2015
EU
Germany
Sweden
UK

COMPETITION Music publishing   The European Commission has announced that it has opened an “in-depth investigation” into the planned joint venture between three of Europe’s biggest song-right collecting societies, Germany’s GEMA, Sweden’s STIM and the UK’s PRS For Music. The three societies announced their alliance last June, expanding on an existing partnership between PRS and STIM built around the International Copyright Enterprise (ICE). The rights organisations, which each represent a large collective of songwriters and publishers, said in a statement: “The hub aims to create easier access for digital music services to clear music rights, and faster and more precise payments of royalties to rights holders. PRS for Music, STIM, and GEMA had planned to begin launching services from the hub in early 2015, subject to competition clearance. Notwithstanding this delay, the partners remain committed to bringing their new service offerings to the market as soon as possible, once the approval of the European Commission has been obtained.” Adding “The collective rights management organisations behind the venture are confident that their vision for a new licensing and processing hub will benefit the market and look forward to providing the European Commission with further analysis and market data” and “The hub is set…

OSA and Article 102 TFEU: a way of attacking excessive collecting society fees?
Competition , Music Publishing / February 2015
EU

COMPETITION Music Publishing   Case C-351/12 OSA – Ochranný svaz autorský pro práva k dílům hudebním o.s. v Léčebné lázně Mariánské Lázně a.s., 27 February 2014 Eleonora’s Rosarati’s abstract for the Oxford University Press publication,  Journal of European Competition Law & Practice, reads as follows: Even where national law reserves collective management of rights to a certain collecting society, this does not exclude application of competition law rules, notably Article 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU): a collecting society may be found to abuse its dominant position if in a particular Member State it imposes fees that are appreciably higher than those charged in other Member States, or imposes a price that is excessive in relation to the economic value of the service provided.   http://the1709blog.blogspot.co.uk/2015/01/osa-and-article-102-tfeu-way-of.html

Court Holds Soundreef Business Activities in Italy are Legitimate
Competition , Music Publishing / February 2015
Italy
UK

COMPETITION Music publishing   The Court of First Instance of Milan has ruled in favour of this rising and ambitious British company that administers copyright and neighbouring rights and is a de facto competitor of the Italian Society of Authors and Editors (SIAE) saying: “At the moment there are no sufficient elements to hold that Soundreef’s dissemination of music within the Italian territory is unlawful because of the exclusive granted to the Italian Society for Authors and Editors (SIAE) as per Art. 180 of the Italian Copyright Act, nor does it appear that the music … managed and disseminated by Soundreef in shopping centres, department stores and similar commercial venues, must be necessarily managed by SIAE. Any such claim would be in conflict with both the principles of the free market within the European Community and the core principles of free competition”. [Indeed, in an era in which technology takes the strain and the bureaucratic element of rights management is largely automated, the benefits to rights owners through economy of scale, if they exist at all, must be vanishingly small]. In both phases of the interim proceedings, the Court of Milan dismissed all claims against Soundreef. “The decision holds that…

UK Government launches consultation on CRM Directive
UK

COMPETITION Music publishing, recorded music   The UK government will shortly be launching a consultation on the implementation of the Collective Rights Management (CRM) Directive. This EU law was adopted last year to set consistent standards for the regulation of collective rights management organisations such as PRS for Music. The Directive aims to enforce minimum standards to the way collecting societies work and has three key elements: rules on governance, transparency/financial reporting and standards for multi-territory licensing. This government consultation is an opportunity for you to have your say on the implementation of the directive in UK law. The legislation will come into force on 10 April 2016. The Government has also halted a proposed move that would see the copyright protection certain unpublished sound recordings up to the year 2039 removed. The Copyright, Designs and Patents Act protects copyright in unpublished recordings from 1957 – 1989 for the period up to 2039, at which point the works fall into the public domain. The proposed move came after lobbying on the issue from groups including CILIP, on behalf of libraries, museums and archives. The Government scrapped the reform after consultations with industry trade organisations including thr BPI and UK Music All…

Jay Z wins single word sampling claim
Copyright , Music Publishing / January 2015
USA

COPYRIGHT Sound recordings. Music publishing   An interesting case from the world of music sampling: A US Judge has thrown out a case against rapper Jay Z over the use of just one word ‘oh’ – from a recording and song by Eddie Bo called The Hook & Slings in Jay Z’s track and video Run This Town with the court saying “Run This Town bears very little and perhaps no similarity at all to Hook & Sling Part I. The melody and lyrics are entirely different. The lyrics do not contain the word “oh.” .. [It appears] only in the background and in such a way as to be audible and aurally intelligible only to the most attentive and capable listener.” This does though seem to sidestep the ruling made in Westbound Records and Bridgeport Music v No Limit Films (September 2004) by the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals: here the court posed the question “If you cannot pirate the whole sound recording, can you ‘lift’ or ‘sample’ something less than the whole?” The Court’s answer to this was in the negative” and the court added “Get a license or do not sample – we do not see this…

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