Canadian Copyright Board Rules on Private Copying Levies and P2P Music Downloading

COPYRIGHT Record Labels, Music Publishers On 12 December 2003, the Copyright Board of Canada issued a decision on private copying levies for 2003 and 2004 and suggested that music downloaded from peer-to-peer (P2P) networks was legal, provided it was in accordance with the private copying exemption found under section 80 of the Canadian Copyright Act . Although the Board froze all existing private copying levies it created new levies for non-removable memory permanently embedded in digital audio recorders. As a result, current levies of 29c on audio cassettes of 40 minutes or longer (no levy applies to tapes of shorter length), 21c on CD-Rs and CD-RWs, and 77c on CD-R Audio, CD-RW Audio, and MiniDiscs will remain in effect until the end of 2004. For devices such as MP3 players that qualify as non-removable memory permanently embedded in audio recorders, new levies were created on a sliding scale related to memory capacity. As a result, units with memory storage of 1 Gigabyte (Gb) or less will be subject to a levy of $2. Recorders with memory capacity ranging from 1 to 10 Gbs will face a levy of $15 per unit. Units with memory storage exceeding 10 Gbs will have a $25…

Growth in Manufacture of Counterfeit DVDs in UK Market
Copyright , Record Labels / February 2004

COPYRIGHT Record Labels, Film, Television The Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT) have reported that the United Kingdom’s HM Customs & Excise have identified a huge surge in the number of counterfeit DVDs being imported into the UK with Pakistan now providing 38%, closely followed by Malaysia which provides 33%. These two countries dwarf remaining culprits including Singapore (5%), UAE (3%) and Thailand (2%).

New UK Regulations for Booking Agencies and Entertainment Agents
Employment Law , Live Events / February 2004

EMPLOYMENT LAW Live Music Industry ARTICLE: The Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Businesses Regulations 2003 – By Ben Challis and Paul Fenn The Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Business Regulations will come into force in the United Kingdom, in the main, on 6 April 2004. The Regulations affect all employment agencies and employment businesses including entertainment agents and booking agents. The aim of the Regulations are “to make provision to secure the proper conduct of employment agencies and employment businesses and to protect the interests of persons using their services.” The Regulations include new procedural obligations. The major impact on UK booking agencies will be the requirement to have strict “compliance” procedures in place. In general, the regulations do not have any specific changes that will conflict with the usual day to day running of the agencies in their normal course of business, but a lot of additional paperwork will need to be generated. The Agents Association are currently working on the idea of developing a “Terms of Business” (ToB) letter that be issued to artists / clients that will cover the majority of the requirements of these regulations, along with a similar ToB to issue to Hirers (promoters) to satisfy…

New Offensive Against Illegal CD Production in Russia

COPYRIGHT Record Labels, Music Publishers The international recording industry has begun a new offensive against CD plants in Russia producing unauthorised optical discs that are exported all over the world. The International Federation of Phonographic Industries (IFPI), representing over 1,500 record companies globally, has filed seven separate claims for damages totalling US$1,366,600 against a CD plant in Russia – the country with the biggest music pirate market in the world after China. These claims are the first of a series of civil proceedings to be taken against optical disc plants in Russia producing unauthorised CDs. The Moscow-based manufacturing plant, Russobit-Soft, is alleged to have manufactured counterfeit CDs by artists including Depeche Mode, Destiny’s Child, Enrique Iglesias, Macy Gray, Michael Jackson, Radiohead, Whitney Houston and Westlife. This is the same plant that, in August of 2003, suffered the suspension of its licence under the CD Plant Licensing Regulations covering audiovisual works and phonograms, although it continues to manufacture discs containing software. The cases are being brought on behalf of Arista Records Inc, BMG UK & Ireland Limited, EMI Music International Services Limited, Mute Records Limited, LLC Sony Music Entertainment (Russia), Sanctuary Records Group Limited and Warner Music Austria GesmbH. The plaintiff…

Netherlands Supreme Court Judgement in Kazaa v Buma & Stemra (2003)

COPYRIGHT Record Labels, Music Publishers, Internet The makers of Kazaa, the computer file-sharing program, cannot be held liable for copyright infringement of music or movies swapped with its free software, the Dutch Supreme Court ruled on Friday. The Dutch court of first instance held that as Kazaa could not prevent the exchange of material between users its service was not unlawful although the acts carried out by some users were certainly infringements of copyright (see Law updates December 2002). The Supreme Court’s decision upheld the 2002 ruling which dismissed a suit filed by Buma/Stemra, the Dutch collection societies, They had originally demanded that Kazaa stop offering free downloads from its Web site or face a daily fine of $124,000. Source: The International Federation of Phonographic Industries (IFPI). IFPI COMMENT :The ruling on Kazaa by the Dutch Supreme Court is a flawed judgement, but still leaves no doubt that the vast majority of people who are using file-swapping services like Kazaa are acting illegally – whatever country they are in. Following the decision, the international recording industry has issued a call to Kazaa take three key steps necessary to help deal with the large numbers of unauthorised copies of copyrighted products that…

RIAA Lose a Valuable Tool in the Fight Against Piracy as Verizon Win Appeal

COPYRIGHT Record Labels, Music Publishers, Internet In a substantial setback for industry efforts to stop music piracy, a federal appeals court ruled yesterday that the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) cannot force Internet service providers to reveal the names and mailing addresses of alleged music swappers on their networks. By overturning a lower court’s decision the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit eliminated a powerful tool used by the RIAA under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 to learn the identities of computer users and sue them for downloading music. A number of educational institutions and Internet service providers (ISPs) had fought the lower courts decision after telecomms operator Verizon was forced to hand over details of ‘chronic’ music file downloaders to the RIAA. While the ruling does not make music piracy legal, it does rein in the recording industry’s ability to pursue file swappers without court oversight. The lower court decision had permitted music companies to force Internet providers to turn over the names of suspected music pirates by simply requesting a subpoena from any U.S. District Court clerk’s office, without a judge’s signature required. Verizon filed a number of defences including the “common carrier”…

US Judge Allows Access to Eminem ‘Racist’ Recordings

COPYRIGHT Record Labels, Music Publishers, Artists Controversial alleged ‘racist’ recordings by rapper Eminen will be made available, a judge has ruled. US hip-hop magazine The Source had won the right to publish limited extracts from two tracks the rapper recorded as a teenager, which it maintains are racist. The singer says he made the recordings when he was young, “frustrated, stupid and angry”. His lawyers had argued that publishing the tracks would violate copyright laws but District Judge Lynch ruled that limited reproduction constituted “fair use” of copyrighted material for the purposes of criticism. The magazine will be allowed to publish 20 seconds and eight lines from the songs. For details of music sampling (including case law in the US and UK) see the article by Ben Challis at :

Robbie Williams Trademarks His Name
Artists , Trade Mark / February 2004

TRADE MARK Artists Robbie Williams has registered the right to use his name on anything from videos and CDs to crayons and paper napkins. Robbie joins stars such as Madonna and events such as the Glastonbury Festival who have filed their names to give them protection and added ammunition to avoid costly legal battles. Trademarks are designed to allow people to distinguish between the goods and services of traders. But many well-known figures have used the system over the years provided their name is considered “distinctive” enough. The Robbie Williams mark is covered for a wide range of music and video recordings as well as clothing merchandise. The star is also protected for “printed matter”, which includes address books, calendars, posters, playing cards and diaries. COMMENT : EC Directive 89/104 provides that a trade mark may consist of any sign capable of being graphically represented particularly words including personal names designs, letters, numerals, shapes of goods or their packaging provided that such signs are capable of distinguishing the goods and services of one undertaking from those of other undertakings. This means trade marks can include letter/numeral combinations, logo marks and business marks, designs, certain shapes, colours, liveries or shop facades. Artists…

EFF Defends The Right to Own Smart Card Technology
Copyright , Internet / February 2004

COPYRIGHT Film and Television, Computers, Internet The Electronic Frontiers Foundation (EFF) has filed an Amicus brief on behalf of the Public in the DirecTV appeal in the United States.The brief is filed as a friend of the court defending the right of the public to own and experiment with general-purpose technology. The case that will determine whether satellite giant DirecTV can sue “smart card” technology owner Mike Treworgy for simply possessing hardware that enables him to program electronic smart cards. Smart cards are computer devices that have a multitude of legitimate purposes, which can also be used illegally to intercept satellite signals. DirecTV believes that mere purchase of smart card programming hardware should constitute proof that the hardware is being used illegally. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) COMMENT : “Computer researchers, network administrators, engineers and others are using smart card technology in ways that are perfectly legal, yet DirecTV would have the courts adopt a theory of guilt-by-purchase” said EFF Staff Attorney Jason Schultz. “This is not only grossly unjust, it also threatens to scare legitimate innovators away from an extremely promising branch of technology.” In the lower court ruling, U.S. District Court Judge John E. Steele agreed to dismiss DirecTV’s possession…