Whilst the popular press rings alarm bells about ‘binge drinking’ the UK leisure and entertainment industries have to face up to the practical ramifications of the Licensing Act
Health & Safety , Live Events / January 2006
UK

HEALTH & SAFETY Live concert industry The UK’s new Licensing Act 2003 came into force on the 24th November 2005 sweeping away ninety years of drinking restrictions and setting up a new regulatory framework for the leisure and entertainment industries.Whilst the popular press have focused their attention on the possibilities of all night binge drinking and a serious breakdown in law and order in English and Welsh town centres, the leisure and entertainment industries are facing up to the rather more mundane ramifications of the Licensing Act – increased bureaucracy and increased licensing costs. Alongside the somewhat exaggerated stories of all night chaos were reports that Local Authorities, now charged with almost all licensing functions, are failing deal with the mountains of paperwork generated by the Act let alone being able to enforce licensing decisions, requirements and conditions. The London Evening Standard (22/11/05 on page 6) headlined with ‘Licensing law Chaos Looms’ reporting on a ‘free for all as councils are unable to monitor all premises’, noting that many clubs, restaurants and pubs will be unlicensed as of the changeover and that local authorities didn’t have the resources to monitor the situation (and neither did the police). One of the saddest results of the Act…

Status Quo face past royalty claim from departed band members
Artists , Contract / January 2006
UK

CONTRACT Artists After narrowly avoiding litigation with ‘mad fan’ Les Battersby whilst making guest star appearances in UK soap Coronation Street recently, Status Quo members Rick Parfitt and Francis Rossi faced court room reality when Chancellor Sir Andrew Morritt ruled that founding members, Alan Lancaster and John Coghlan had realistic prospects of success in several claims for past royalties. Parfitt and Rossi continue trading as Status Quo with replacement musician. The case continues and the trial will be heard at a later date.  Simon Jacobs, Partner at Seddons said “It is most unusual for claims such as these to be successful which is why we are so pleased with the result”. Indeed the 1994 case involving Cure co-founder and drummer Laurence (Lol) Tolhurst is a good example of a claim for royalties from a departed band member. Tolhurst was asked to leave the band in 1989 and sued Robert Smith, the lead singer and the bands record label over the division of royalties from a recording agreement in1986. Tolhurst claimed he only had the ‘crumbs’ of the income from the recording agreement and that Smith had the lion’s share and was looking for 50% of all profits receivable under the…

EFF Files Class Action Lawsuit Against Sony BMG: Company Should Repair Damage to Customers Caused by CD Software
Copyright , Internet , Privacy , Record Labels / January 2006
USA

COPYRIGHT, PRIVACY Internet, record labels, technology The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) along with two leading national class action law firms has filed a lawsuit against Sony BMG, demanding that the company repair the damage done by the First4Internet XCP and SunnComm MediaMax software it included on over 24 million music CDs. EFF say that they are pleased that Sony BMG has taken steps in acknowledging the security risks caused by the XCP CDs, including a recall of the infected discs. However, these measures still fall short of what the company needs to do to fix the problems caused to customers by XCP, and the EFF says that Sony BMG has failed entirely to respond to concerns about MediaMax, which affects over 20 million CDs – ten times the number of CDs as the XCP software. ”Sony BMG is to be commended for its acknowledgment of the serious security problems caused by its XCP software, but it needs to go further to regain the public’s trust,” said Corynne McSherry, EFF Staff Attorney. “It is unconscionable for Sony BMG to refuse to respond to the privacy and other problems created by the over 20 million CDs containing the SunnComm software.” The suit,…

An Industry Unwilling to Play by Rules of ‘Fair Use’ ?
Copyright , Internet / January 2006
USA

COPYRIGHT Television, film, internet ARTICLE:  This is a link to an article in the LA Time by Michael Hiltzik about the continued pressure on the doctrine of ‘fair use’ in the USA as media companies seek new ways to protect their copyrights – from the Sony Betamax case to the current row over Google’s plans to publish ‘all the books in the world’. http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-golden12dec12,1,7477940.column?coll=la-headlines-business&ctrack=1&cset=true An interesting article on the fair use doctrine in an education context India by Manisha Singh Nair of Lex Orbis can be found athttp://www.mondaq.com/article.asp?articleid=36728&email_access=on

Music publishers to target online lyric sites
Copyright , Internet / January 2006
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet They may well be illegal and infringe literary and musical copyrights – but – is the MPA wise to target unauthorized online lyric and music score sites? The Music Publishers’ Association (MPA), which represents US sheet music companies, will launch its first campaign against such sites in 2006. MPA president Lauren Keiser said he wanted site owners to be fined and jailed. Mr Kaiser cited the Xerox machine as the first enemy of sheet music and now identifies the internet as a major enemy. But having seen the big successes and mistakes made by the RIAA in the USA one does wonder of this is quite the right approach! A good example of what not to do was the action by music publisher Warner Chappell against online lyric search engine pearLyric which initially forced pearLyric offline but ultimately ended up with an apology from Warners! The EFF reported that Walter Ritter, who developed the pearLyrics software that automates the process of adding lyrics to iTunes tracks, had received a cease & desist letter from Warner/Chappell Music: But the EFF to challenged Warner Chappell’s action. Warners claimed that Ritter was liable for copyright infringement, because he developed a tool…

Singapore ’s Creative asserts its patent against Apple
Internet , Patents / January 2006
USA

PATENT LAW Technology, internet Creative, the Singapore based electronics company has threatened to enforce its US patent against Apple – Creative says that the patent is a key part of Apple’s iPod software. Apple has 23 million iPods in the last year and Creative 8 million. Creative applied for a US patent in January 2001 and the patent was awarded in August 2005. The patent governs the mechanism for finding songs on a MP3 player. In a similar action, NTP which holds patents allegedly used in the hand held Blackberry device (which is a mobile phone come computer come e-mailer) has won an interim judgment in the US District Court ( Richmond, Virginia) against BlackBerry’s manufacturer Research In Motion (RIM). RIM had sought to delay the case and (willingly) enforce a $450 million (£260 million) settlement with NTP. NTP are seeking are new resolution including and injunctive relief against RIM to prevent the sale of BlackBerries. Source The Times 9th December 2005 and http://www.macobserver.com/article/2005/12/08.4.shtml

New studies says file swapping is good for music sales
Copyright , Internet , Record Labels / January 2006
UK
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet, record labels A new report from the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School and research firm Gartner Inc. suggests that file swapping actually encourages music sales. The study surveyed 475 so-called ‘early adopters’ who are among the first wave of frequent music downloaders. The findings suggest the opportunity to give and receive recommendations could become an important force in the online music business. Nearly one-quarter of frequent online music users said that the ability to share music with others is a key factor when selecting an online music service; and a third were interested in technology that helps them discover and recommend music, such as tools that allow Internet users to publish and rank lists of their favorite songs. Perhaps most important for the recording industry, a tenth of those surveyed said they used others recommendations when buying music. The Chairman of the BPI wrote a number of open letters to national press in the UK pointing out that they would never encourage piracy. http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/pop/251880_musicsharing14.html http://www.guardian.co.uk/letters/story/0,,1666575,00.html

SIA announces that 50,000 licences have been issued
Health & Safety , Live Events / January 2006
UK

HEALTH & SAFETY Live events industry The Security Industry Authority (SIA) is celebrating issuing over 50,000 security licences to the Private Security Industry. The 50,000th licence, a front-line Door Supervisor licence, was granted on Wednesday 9 November 2005. The SIA was launched on 2 April 2003 and now licences 6 sectors of the Private Security Industry with 2,000 training providers offer SIA approved security qualifications. Over 135,000 people hold security qualifications according to SIA figures and 70,000 individuals are part of the SIA licensing system. And Robin Dahlberg, Security Industry Authority (SIA) Deputy Chairman, has accepted the appointment of SIA Acting Chairman when current Chairman Peter Hermitage steps down at the end of January 2006. Home Office Minister Paul Goggins invited Robin to take over from Peter Hermitage on 1 February for around a six-month period. An open competition will be held early next year to appoint a permanent Chairman. Robin joined the SIA Board at the launch of the SIA in April 2003 and in January 2005 he became Deputy Chairman. http://www.the-sia.org

Danish court rejects claim of liability against the Roskilde Festival
Health & Safety , Live Events / January 2006
Denmark

HEALTH & SAFETY Live event industry A claim to apportion blame after the tragedy at the Roskilde Fetsival in 2000 has been rejected by the High Court for Eastern Denmark. The court rejected the request from Finn and Eunice Tonnenson, parents of 17 year old Allan Tonnesen, one of the nine young people who were killed during a Pearl Jam performance. Tonnesen’s parents had claimed that the organisers of the Roskilde Festival had accepted responsibility for the tragedy by making an $11,000 payment to families. However the court ruled that effectively no one person or organisation was to blame. Two previous investigations by the local police and later the Public Prosecutor (District Attorney) for Zealand had concluded that the accident was the result of several unfortunate circumstances and no one was to be held responsible. The initial police investigation, based on 977 interviews with band members, organisers and rescue workers said that the deaths occurred because of “a chain of unfortunate circumstances”, but placed most of the blame on the 50,000 crowd. It found that poor sound in the back caused fans to surge toward the stage and the tragedy was compounded by confusion over who should stop the music….

Kazaa executives face contempt of court hearing in Australia
Copyright , Internet , Record Labels / January 2006
Australia

COPYRIGHT Record industry, internet The IFPI has welcomed the move by the Federal Court of Australia to hear contempt of court charges against Kazaa, after its failure to follow the Court’s order to filter its system of copyrighted recordings. The Court today fixed 30th January 2006 for the hearing of contempt charges against the operators of the Kazaa system. Contempt proceedings have been brought against Sharman CEO Nikki Hemming, Altnet CEO Kevin Bermeister, Sharman Networks, LEF Interactive, Altnet Inc and Brilliant Digital Entertainment Inc. The contempt charges have been brought by the recording companies alleging that the operators have failed to comply with Court orders.  A finding of contempt of court could lead to imprisonment and confiscation of corporate assets.  IFPI Chairman and CEO John Kennedy said: “After having said they would implement filters, they have done nothing to prevent the continued copyright infringements on the Kazaa system.  They have left the recording industry with no option but to pursue contempt proceedings against them.  In the meantime Kazaa should stop prevaricating and filter its system now as it has been ordered to do.” Justice Murray Wilcox set the date after hearing that the operators of Kazaa had not implemented music…

Wyrder And Weirder – Choosing And Protecting A Name
Artists , Trade Mark / January 2006
Canada

TRADE MARK Artists Article by Sharon E Groom of McMillan Binch Mendelsohn LLP This article looks at protecting band names and uses the recent law suit by the Canadian band The Wyrd Sistersagainst Warner Bros. for the alleged use of their name The Wyrd Sisters as the name of a band in the new film Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. The real life band has been around for 15 years and is claiming that the publicity that has been generated by the use of their name in the film (even prior to the film’s release) has created an unwanted association between their band and the film. As a result, they claim that people are going to be confused between the real band and the fictitious movie band. In addition to damages, the group is seeking an injunction to delay the release of the movie in Canada pending the resolution of this matter. The article goes on to review how you should go about choosing and protecting a name, slogan or logo for your business or other venture, to ensure that you do not infringe the rights of others and that you have the best possible protection for your name LINK http://www.mondaq.com/article.asp?articleid=36620&email_access=on

Apple Corp instigates proceedings against EMI for unpaid royalties
Artists , Contract , Record Labels / January 2006
UK

CONTRACT Record labels, artists The Beatles’ Apple Corps has issued proceedings against EMI for more than £30 million ($52.9 million) in a row over unpaid/underpaid record royalties dating back to 1962. London-based Apple Corps Ltd. launched the proceedings in the High Court on December 15 th in London and New York’s Supreme Court against EMI Records and Capitol Records, respectively. In a statement from Apple Corps, the label says it took action following a breakdown in negotiations with EMI over the disputed royalties. The case arises from an audit of accounts where Apple claims to have discovered irregularities. EMI has responded saying that it welcomes “full financial transparency” and that such audit requests are common. EMI offered to go to mediation, but Apple rejected this. EMI and Apple were previously in court in 1991 over the planned re-release of the ‘Red’ and ‘Blue’ albums on CD. Apple Corps is currently in a legal dispute with Apple Computers over the ‘Apple’ trademark and its association with music in light of the launch of the iPod and iTunes Music Store (see the November Law Updates). http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/4535330.stm http://www.billboard.com/bbcom/news/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1001699776 http://www.guardian.co.uk/arts/news/story/0,,1669545,00.html

AOL ’Play Legal’ campaign launched
Copyright , Internet / January 2006
UK

COPYRIGHT Internet Online music downloads have been the digital success story of 2005, with the sector now accounting for five per cent of all music sales in the UK. AOL has now launched its ‘Play Legal’ campaign to educate young consumers on the advantages of legal downloading, to make people aware of the risks to themselves from file swapping and raise awareness of the potential damage to the music industry, artists and ultimately consumers from illegal file swapping. The campaign also hopes to encourage the legal use of copyright material on the internet. The importance of the campaign has been highlighted by a survey from Ipsos MORI on behalf of AOL which found that only 40 per cent of UK consumers say they understand the law in respect of music downloads. Findings from the survey reveal that file-sharing services which could provide illegal downloads and swaps such as Limewire and Kazaa are still more popular than legal download services. Limewire had been used by 27 per cent of those surveyed, while 20 per cent had used the leading legal service from Apple, iTunes. The survey also showed that 77 per cent of people who download music have used an illegal…

MBlox fined £40,000 over Crazy Frog ringtone advertising
Consumers / January 2006
UK

CONSUMER Telecommunications The Independent Committee for the Supervision of Standards of Telephone Information Services (Icstis is the UK regulator for the premium rate telecoms sector) has fined service provider MBlox £40,000 over the Crazy Frog ringtone. Some 338 customers complained to Icstis over the ‘excessive’ bills they received when they signed up for the mad-eyed amphibian’s phone-tone. On securing the tone, they then found themselves signed up to a series of premium-rate reverse charge texts from Jamba that cost them up to £5 a week. Icstis argued that insufficient information was included in the adverts although agreed that there was no malicious or fraudulent intent. The 338 people who formally complained will be refunded and it is expected that thousands of others will follow their lead and seek their money back. The ringtone has generated an estimated £10M for MBlox and Jamba and the single of the tone reached number one in the UK singles charts, stopping Coldplay reaching the top. Britons now send 93 million texts each day according to the Mobile Data Association. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/4546374.stm

New clampdown on peer-2-peer file swapping in France delayed
Copyright , Internet , Record Labels / January 2006
France

COPYRIGHT Record labels, internet Draft legislation in France planned to provide the framework for a serious clampdown on file-sharing including jail sentences for sharers and requirements for software manufacturers to include anti-copying technology has been delayed. Wired reported that file-sharers could face three-year jail sentences and fines of up to E300,000 and noted that the legislation is intended to bring France up to date with the EU Copyright Directive although many in France are seeing the proposed rules as far exceeding the requirements of the Directive. However, a late amendment to the legislation at the end of December (December 22 nd) forced the French Government to suspend the passage of the new digital copyright bill. The French Government suspended its discussion on the country’s controversial new digital copyright bill after an amendment, introduced by Member of Parliament Alain Suguenot from the ruling coalition UMP, was adopted by the French Lower House. The amendment opened the door to an “optional blanket license” system for content on the Internet. http://www.wired.com/news/technology/0,69901-0.html?tw=wn_tophead_4 http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20051222/ap_on_hi_te/france_piracy_vote

Canada – IP year in Review – Copyright
Canada

COPYRIGHT Internet, record labels, music publishers, artists Article; By Antonio Turco Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP A review of Canada’s busy copyright year where despite the failure of the legislature to bring in new statutory provisions (The Act to Amend the Copyright Act, Bill C-60) the Federal Court of Appeal made a landmark decision relating to online file swapping. http://www.mondaq.com/article.asp?articleid=36846&email_access=on

Indian Court Upholds the Moral Rights of the Author
Artists , Copyright / January 2006
India

COPYRIGHT Artists, authors Article: By Manisha Singh Nair, Lex Orbis An interesting case review from India where the Delhi High Court decided that where the owner (not being the author) of a copyright work (here a bronze sculpture or mural) treats the work in a manner that is prejudicial to the reputation and honor of the author, the Court may transfer all rights over the work to the author – here granting physical possession of the mural back to the creating artist. http://www.mondaq.com/article.asp?articleid=36856&email_access=on