MPA goes after fan guitar sites
Copyright , Internet , Music Publishing / October 2006

COPYRIGHT Music Publishing, internet In January 2006 we asked whether the Music Publishers Association (MPA) was wise to target unauthorized online lyric and music score sites after the Association, which represents US sheet music companies, launched its campaign with MPA president Lauren Keiser saying he wanted site owners to be fined and jailed. Mr Keiser cited the Xerox machine as the first enemy of sheet music and now identifies the internet as a new major enemy. Now the MPA is after guitar fan websites which they say infringe songwriters’ copyrights. These give so called ‘tab’ instructions which stands for guitarist tablature which show guitarists where to put their fingers to play a chord and primarily are used by people playing at home. Traditionally tab notations and sequences of chords have been found in books and – understandably – book publishers and authors have been upset when their publications have been copied wholesale onto the internet. But Pinsent Mason’s excellent Out-Law site reports that the MPA and the National Music Publishers’ Association (NMPA) have shut down several websites or forced them to remove all tabs using threats of copyright law suits. The sites are typically fan-run and not significant profit-making enterprises and many…

P Diddy settles with DJ Diddy
Artists , Trade Mark / October 2006

TRADE MARK Artists Sean Combs aka Puff Daddy aka P Diddy has agreed not to shorten his name to just ‘Diddy’ after the threat of a High Court action from Richard ‘Diddy’ Dearlove, a successful music producer who has been using the name since 1992. Mr Dearlove sued Combs after learning that the rap superstar was dropping the ‘P’ from his name. The action was listed for a hearing on the 23 rd October. Combs is meeting £100,000 of Dearlove’s costs (subject to court taxation) and paying £10,000 in agreed damages. Combs will have to re-brand any ‘Diddy’ activities in the United Kingdom. The Guardian 9 th September 2005 p3,,1868383,00.html

US reality show band have problems with name
Artists , Trade Mark / October 2006

TRADE MARK Artists The makers of the second series of the US reality show Rock Star have run into problems over the name of the supergroup the show is aiming to create. The second series of Rock Star, which was responsible for recruiting a new frontman for INXS in series number one, is looking for a frontman to lead a new supergroup that will also include Motley Crue’s Tommy Lee on drums, former Guns N Roses member Gilby Clarke on guitar and former Metallica member Jason Newsted on bass. The plan was to call the new group Supernova, and as such the show is called Rock Star: Supernova. However, there is already a Californian punk band called Supernova, and they have sued the programme’s makers, Mark Burnett Productions and CBS Broadcasting, over their use of their name. With the TV show reaching its conclusion, a judge in San Diego has issued an injunction which bars the programme’s makers or the band they create from “performing rock and roll music, or recording, or selling rock and roll music recordings under the same [name], pending a trial of this action on its merits, or until otherwise ordered by the court”. It appears that the…

Setback for Love in Beach Boys name dispute
Artists , Trade Mark / October 2006

TRADEMARK Artists Mike Love has suffered a set back in his bid to pursue sole ownership of the ‘Beach Boys’ name after Super Court Judge James R Dunn dismissed part of a $2 million lawsuit against ex-bandmate Al Jardine which says that Jardine illegally used the band’s name. Judge Dunn threw out claims of breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty but gave Love’s lawyer a chance to amend the case before it goes to trial on Nov. 6. The suit claims that Love is the only person legally allowed to perform under the name “Beach Boys” but that Jardine had toured with “knockoff bands” using names such as “Beach Boys Family & Friends.”

Russia enacts new copyright laws to fight piracy
Copyright , Internet , Record Labels / October 2006

COPYRIGHT Record labels, internet The Russian parliament has enacted a tough new copyright law designed to crack down on the Internet piracy of text, music and videos. The new law which took effect at the end of August is part of Russia’s bid to comply with World Trade Organisation conditions – music piracy is rife in Russia, with hard copy piracy possibly running at 90% of all sales. The Russian parliament originally approved the amendment to Russia’s existing copyright protection law in July 2004; it granted website operators that distribute copyright protected content two years to acquire licenses to distribute their MP3 files. The United States has cited notoriously lax protections for intellectual property as the major reason for refusing to endorse Russia’s entry into the WTO. The Russian business daily Kommersant claims that 97 percent of music files exchanged online are illegal with just $1 million of sales reported against estimates of real sales of $25-30 million each year. The new law threatens to sentence violators to up to five years in jail. and see the excellent article at

What will Universal do about YouTube now Warners have joined up?
Copyright , Internet , Record Labels / October 2006

COPYRIGHT Internet, broadcasting, record labels The strange honeymoon between record labels and websites such as YouTube seems to be in the balance. Universal Music Group Chief Executive Doug Morris hit out at YouTube and other social networking sites claiming they owed record labels “millions”. Speaking at the annual Merrill Lynch Media & Entertainment Conference, Morris said: “We believe these new businesses are copyright infringers and owe us tens of millions of dollars. How we deal with these companies will be revealed shortly.” The comments were surely aimed primarily at YouTube where large volumes of artist videos and concert footage have been illegally uploaded. Five Eight magazine says that According to ‘insiders’ on both sides, the major labels are in talks with YouTube about how to remove unlicensed content and also implement a workable business model for licensed content and in stark contrast to what seems to be Universal’s position (though it may be a negotiation tactic of course) Warner Music has become the first major label to formally license its content to YouTube. Last month, YouTube announced an advertising deal with Warner Music as the start-up’s first partner for its new Brand Channel advertising to promote the new Paris Hilton…

Record industry keep up the pressure on illegal downloading
Copyright , Internet , Record Labels / October 2006

COPYRIGHT Record labels, internet Five Eight magazine reports another milestone victory for the music industry in its fight against P2P. Its latest scalp is eDonkey which is paying $30M as a settlement. The service had upwards of 3M users last year. This latest ruling now means that five of the seven major P2P providers targetted by the RIAA in 2005 have made significant payments and effectively been closed down – eDonkey, BearShare, i2Hub, WinMX and Grokster. The ruling on August’s legal action against LimeWire is still pending:,71771-0.html?tw=wn_index_13

US Anti-trust chief takes hands off approach to Apple
Competition , Internet , Record Labels / October 2006

COMPETITION Record labels, internet ARTICLE LINK:  As competition and consumer regulators in some European countries prepare to take action against Apple and its DRM software, the US competition chief has a different view.

European Commission to review copyright levies

COPYRIGHT Record labels, music publishers, film The European Commission has unveiled plans to set up streamlined systems for copyright levies across Europe. The levies exist to compensate artists and other creators for unauthorized copyright by consumers use – essentially giving consumers permission to make private copies, but in return charges a levy on media and devices used to make them – including photocopiers, cassettes, discs, CDRs and MP3 players. These levies are then passed on to the copyright owning community as compensation for the copying that is assumed to take place. The EC’s aim is to make levies more consistent, both across different member states and between different technologies.

MCPS-PRS challenge basis of eMusic’s pan-European licence
Copyright , Internet , Music Publishing / October 2006

COPYRIGHT Music publishing, internet Legal download specialist eMusic has now launched across Europe but a dispute about the validity of their music publishing arrangements has surfaced meaning that Buma/Stemra and the MCPS-PRS are in talks to resolve a contested pan-European licence. eMusic has a licence with Buma/Stemra which it says covers it for Europe but the MCPS-PRS is disputing that Buma/Stemra has the right to offer such a pan-Europe licence:

SoundExchange list unpaid artists
Artists , Copyright / October 2006

COPYRIGHT Artists SoundExchange (which is in charge of collecting and distributing broadcast royalties in the US) has published a list of artist it “can’t find” and to whom royalties should be paid. If the monies are not disbursed, SoundExchange retains the monies remaining. It has been reported that SoundExchange worried about publishing the list for fear that “middlemen” would try to swipe a piece of the action by connecting artists with their royalties. Artists listed include Cassandra Wilson, Jeff Buckley, Booker T & the MGs and Public Enemy:

Islamic Courts ban western music in Somalia
Media / October 2006

MEDIA Broadcasting The Union of Islamic Courts, which now govern large parts of Somalia, have extended their influence into Somalia’s media by prohibiting the broadcast of Western love songs in areas of the country that they control. The UIC had previously banned broadcasts of the World Cup and cinemas are now censored, with many closed for showing “un-Islamic movies” such as Bollywood films. Night clubs have been shut down and many aspects of social life have been ‘Islamized’. A wedding party was stopped because beer was being served, women and men were openly socializing together and the wedding band was playing what were deemed “filthy songs”. In September the Union banned the broadcasts of Western pop music and love songs. A radio FM station in Jowhar, an airport town which lies 90 kilometers from the capital of Mogadishu was shut down for airing “music and love songs,” according to an Islamic official Sheik Mohamed Mohamoud Abdirahman. In a statement issued on Saturday, and later read on several radio stations, Abdirahman wrote: “We are here by announcing to suspend temporarily the work of the Radio Jowhar from 9 p.m. local time and forbid releasing all music which is a big crime…

Buckcherry accused of featuring a minor in video
Artists , Media / October 2006

MEDIA Artists, broadcasting US rockers Buckcherry are facing a lawsuit over allegations that they enticed an under aged girl to appear in a raunchy video for their song ‘Crazy Bitch’, which was then posted on their MySpace site. The girl in question, who was under 18 when the video was shot, appears topless, kissing another girl and writhing against a pole. She also appears and is named in a ‘behind the scenes’ video shot on the set. The girl and her mother are now suing the band saying that they plied her with alcohol before enticing her to perform in the pop promo, and that she has suffered “emotional stress”. The band run the risk not only of having to pay compensation if they loose the civil suit but also facing a serious criminal charge of enticement of a minor. The band are not surprisingly disputing the claim pointing out that the girl, known only as Jane Doe, used fake ID to enter the video shoot, that it was made clear in advance that the shoot was strictly for over 18s only and that she voluntarily took part in the scenes seen in the original video. The band’s manager told…