BPI To Bring First Legal Actions Against ‘Major Filesharers’ in the UK
Copyright , Record Labels / November 2004

COPYRIGHT Record Labels The British record companies trade association the BPI (British Phonographic Industry) has announced that it is joining sister associations in the US and in Europe to begin a rolling programme of legal action against ‘major filesharers’ who illegally make copyright music available to millions of people across the world on peer-to-peer networks. The BPI is beginning the process of legal action against 28 UK filesharers. More cases are expected to follow. The BPI will seek damages and injunctions to stop these filesharers illegally uploading recordings on to filesharing networks. The large-scale uploaders subject to legal action include users of the KaZaA, Imesh, Grokster, Bearshare and WinMX networks. The announcement comes against the background of a breakthrough year for legal online music services in the UK, with the launch of high-profile services like Mycokemusic, iTunes and Napster and the launch on September 1st of an Official UK Download Chart. However the major labels and the BPI have done little to endear themselves to the British consumers having allowed Apple and Coke to develop business models which consumers actually want at a price they will pay. The labels own services were unwanted and poorly thought out. BPI chairman Peter Jamieson said, “We…

Creative Commons Launched in Canada
Copyright / November 2004

COPYRIGHT All Industry Areas On September 30, 2004, the Canadian Creative Commons project was launched online. Led by the University of Ottawa’s Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic, it is designed to allow Canadians who create digital works, such as web sites, texts, courseware, music, film and photography, to share their works and allow others to copy, modify and redistribute them. The project attempts to create a balance between a system of total creative control – the “all rights reserved” scenario and an unprotected public domain in which creators are vulnerable to exploitation “no rights reserved”. A creator using the Creative Commons licence will be able to publicise terms and conditions under which other creators may have access to the work’s source code. In other words, it’s a system of “some rights reserved”. The system has already been launched in the Netherlands and the US Creative Commons was established in 2002 and has provided licences to more than three million digital works. The conditions include the following: (a) attribution (others may copy, distribute, display and perform the work, and any derivative works based on it, if the creator is given credit); (b) non-commercial use (others may use the work…

Entertainment Giants Push Supreme Court to Rewrite Copyright Law

COPYRIGHT Record Labels, Music Publishers, Software, Artists The EFF have reported that a group of 25 entertainment companies have filed a petition for certiorari with the Supreme Court, asking the Court to rewrite copyright law principles that establish when high-tech companies can be held liable for the copyright infringements of their customers. The petition asks the Supreme Court to overturn the recent Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision in MGM v. Grokster, where the court ruled that Grokster and StreamCast Networks were not liable for the infringements committed by people using their software to share copyrighted works. EFF is counsel for StreamCast in the case. “The entertainment industry petition is a frontal attack on the Betamax doctrine and threatens innovators of every stripe,” said EFF Senior Staff Attorney Fred von Lohmann, who argued the MGM v. Grokster case before the Ninth Circuit. The Betamax doctrine takes its name from a landmark 1984 Supreme Court case involving the Sony Betamax VCR. Often described as the Magna Carta of the technology industry, the Betamax doctrine makes it clear that innovators need not fear ruinous litigation from the entertainment industry so long as their inventions are “merely capable of substantial noninfringing uses.” In…

When a Pre-trial ‘Gagging’ Order Will Be Granted by the Courts: Cream Holdings Ltd & Others v Banerjee & Another (2004)
Artists , Defamation , Privacy , Record Labels / November 2004

DEFAMATION, CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION & PRIVACY Artists, Record Labels, Press, Television In this House of Lords decision it was held that the proper test for a court to use when looking at a prior restraint order preventing the publication of information before a trial was that the order would not be granted unless the court was satisfied that the applicant’s prospects of success at trial were sufficiently favourable to justify the order being in made in the circumstances. In general terms the applicant had to satisfy the court that he would probably succeed at trial although there might be circumstances where a lower threshold might apply. Where a real probability of success could not be proved then the court should look a where the balance of convenience lay. This case revolved around the publication of certain information to do with the business of the Cream nightclub which was provided to the Liverpool Daily Post and the Liverpool Echo by Ms Banerjee who had been the financial controller of one of the Cream group companies but had been dismissed. The information allegedly showed illegal and improper activities by the Cream group. The defendants admitted that the information was confidential. These allegations were published on June 13…

International Webcasting Agreement Extended to The US
Copyright , Internet , Record Labels / November 2004

COPYRIGHT Record Labels, Internet IFPI has welcomed the US performance rights organisation Soundexchange as the latest signatory of its international webcasting agreement, the reciprocal licensing arrangements that allow internet webcasters to stream music programmes to consumers on the basis of a single “one-stop” licence. Also joining the network of licensing bodies this month are the producer collecting societies in Iceland (SFH) and Ireland (PPI), bringing the number of countries in the programme to 16. The webcasting agreement, which was announced in November 2003 allows webcasters to clear record producers’ rights in a multitude of countries by entering into a licence in one participating country. Previously, these rights would have had to be cleared country-by-country. Webcasting – the streaming of music programmes on the internet – is just one of the new forms of online music distribution that the music industry is now promoting as it develops new business models and revenue streams for the online environment. Webcasting is already well-established in the USA, where there are currently 1250 licensed services. IFPI Deputy General Counsel Lauri Rechardt said: “The reciprocal Webcasting Agreement that IFPI and the record companies’ and artists’ collecting societies have put together is an important step forward in…

“ISP’s the Weakest Link When It Comes to Free Speech”
Copyright , Defamation , Internet / November 2004

DEFAMATION & COPYRIGHT Internet The Observer newspaper’s Networker column often provides food for thought and writer John Naughton often has a fresh approach to new issues which have developed out of the internet. He writes in his 17th October 2004 column about the way in which the internet, which was once perceived to be the great and wonderful holy grail of real truth in a world of spin, of exposure in a era of hush-ups and of free speech in a world of censorship is now nothing of the sort. Indeed such is the nervousness of ISPs (Internet Service Providers) to avoid any liability for defamation or copyright infringement because of those who use their systems; When activist group ‘Bits of Freedom’ placed a public domain work by Dutch author Multatuli on ten Dutch websites, all but three removed the work when contacted by a fake society claiming to represent the copyright owner of the work. In fact Multatuli died over 100 years ago and the article posted on the ISPs stated the work was in the public domain. Only one ISP responded to the fake society (set up by the actvist group) pointing out that the work was well…

IFPI Say That Markets Are Showing Signs of Recovery
Copyright , Record Labels / November 2004

COPYRIGHT Record Labels The International Federation of Phonographic Industries (IFPI) say that global sales of recorded music – audio and music video – grew by 1.7% in units and fell 1.3% in value in the first half of 2004, compared to the same period in 2003. Audio sales fell by 2.7% in value, while the music video sector grew by 20.2% driven by DVD music video, which increased by 26.6%. Interim sales of all audio and music video formats totalled $US13.9 billion, compared to $US14.1 billion in 2003. The figures reflect a slowing of the rate of decline in music sales of the past four years. This is the best first-half year result achieved since 2000. Sales in regional and individual territories varied widely, with the effects of unauthorised file-sharing on the internet and commercial piracy, among other factors, still affecting many of the world’s markets. The US music market is leading the recovery, while markets such as Canada, Germany and Japan are showing a substantial reduction in their rate of decline. But other markets including Spain, Italy and the Netherlands are still weak, and more recent reversals have hit sales in France and Australia. Two bright spots are DVD…

Club Doorman Charged With Murder
Health & Safety , Live Events / November 2004

HEALTH & SAFETY Live Event Industry A doorman at London’s Stringfellows nightclub has been charged with murder after an incident at the West End venue on Friday 8th October. George McDonald from Warwickshire died of a head injury after the incident. Doorman Marcus Marriott, aged 32 and from London, will appear before Magistrates at Bow Street today (11th October). New licensing procedures for door supervisors in the UK are currently being rolled out by the new Security Industry Authority and will be implemented in London by April 2005.

The Live Music Forum says “Save UK Live Music”
Health & Safety , Licensing , Live Events / November 2004

LICENSING, HEALTH & SAFETY Live Music Industry, Venues ARTICLE: by Tom Frederiske The Live Music Forum, created by the Licensing Act 2003 and chaired by Feargal Sharkey, has issued a call to arms to the music industry and fans alike: act now to help exploit a rare opportunity to expand live music in the UK. On 7 February 2005, an unprecedented six-month period begins, in which licences for putting on live music will, at least theoretically, be easier to obtain provided action is taken now to ensure that proper guidelines are put in place locally. According to the Culture Minister, this amounts to the “biggest social change and reform of our leisure industry … in 40 years”. We are now half way through a pre-transitional period (ending in February) during which licensing authorities must prepare, consult on and publish local licensing policy statements. With these statements, local authorities effectively create their own guidelines for granting licences (in conjunction with the “Guidance Issued Under Section 182 of the Act” which aims to provide best practice and greater consistency of approach and which seeks to promote a “thriving and safe night-time economy” and “enhance people’s lives by providing important opportunities for the…