Experience Hendrix LLC and another v Times Newspapers Ltd
Artists , Contract / February 2008
UK

CONTRACT Artists Experience Hendrix LLC which represents the interests of the Jimi Hendrix estate claimed it was the owner of (i) the performer’s rights in the performances given at the Royal Albert Hall ( London, England) in February 1969 by Hendrix, and (ii) the copyright in the sound recordings of those performances. Experience sued the publisher of The Timesnewspaper, saying that the publisher had infringed its rights by authorising and procuring the manufacture, and the issuing to the public, of compact discs featuring copies of those recordings. The Times denied infringement, pleading that the allegedly infringing acts had actually been licensed. The basis of the defence was the existence of a chain of licences, beginning with a letter from the mid to late 1970s, which gave it a defence under section 180(3) of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, which states: “The rights conferred by this Part apply in relation to performances taking place before the commencement of this Part; but no act done before commencement, or in pursuance of arrangements made before commencement, shall be regarded as infringing those rights “. Experience applied for summary judgment on the ground that The Times had no reasonable prospect of defending the claim; The…

US Uproar as RIAA says that copying your own CDs is stealing – or does it …
Copyright , Record Labels / February 2008
USA

COPYRIGHT Record labels Here at Music law Updates we had thought that it was generally accepted in the music industry that whilst making a copy of a CD for personal use (eg copying onto a cassette, another CD or onto a computer) is technically an infringement of copyright, it is one the record labels would never action. Think again! In the UK it is certainly illegal to make any copy – even a private copy – unless this is for the purpose of ‘time shifting’ a broadcast to view at a later date. But it has always been presumed it was accepted practice that private copies were ‘OK’. But think again – The Washington Post reported that the guardians of the record labels in the US (and morality it seems), the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), have said that copying your own CDs is “stealing” in a legal action in the federal courts, taking their argument against music sharing one step further: In legal documents filed in the copyright infringement case against Jeffrey Howell, a resident of Scottsdale, Arizona, the industry maintains that it is illegal for someone who has legally purchased a CD to transfer that music into his computer,…

Interview with a Vampire, the RIAA speaks
Copyright , Record Labels / February 2008
USA

COPYRIGHT Record labels ARTICLE LINK –  Cara Duckworth, spokesperson for The RIAA explains their recent activities (and, I have to say, come across very badly indeed!) http://www.zeropaid.com/news/9211/Interview+With+a+Vampire+-+the+RIAA+Speaks

Canadian labels – we get absolutely zero credit for not suing fans
Copyright , Record Labels / February 2008
Canada

COPYRIGHT Record labels ARTICLE LINK –  Here Graham Henderson from the Canadian Recording Industry Association (CRIA) industry explains why it wants copyright reform and this article also looks at the calls for copyright reform from the Creators’ Copyright Coalition (CCC) which represents 16 trade groups for actors, writers, filmmakers, and songwriters. http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20080122-canadian-labels-we-get-absolutely-zero-credit-for-not-suing-fans.html

Proposals in UK to make CD copying legal as both UK Government and the EC look to make copyright law ‘fit’ for the digital age as Swedish MPs go even further
Copyright / February 2008
EU
Sweden
UK

COPYRIGHT All areas Copying compact discs on to computers or iPods could become legal for the first time in the UK under government proposals in a move that parts of the music industry has warned could “open the floodgates” to further filesharing. Lord Triesman, minister for intellectual property, will begin a consultation process which will end on March 7 2008. The consultation will look at the viability of legalising such recordings as long as they are for personal use. The Association of Independent Music, the industry group, has warned that the exception could open the floodgates to “uncontrolled and unstoppable” private copying and sharing from person to person. Alison Wenham, chairman and chief executive of the AIM, said that the move could set a dangerous precedent. CDs would largely be redundant in five years, she predicted, but the new legislation would still remain and could be misused. But Geoff Taylor, chief executive of the British Phonographic Industry, another industry group, said he was broadly in favour of the changes because it would clarify the law for consumers. However, Mr Taylor said the government should ensure that the move would not “do harm to” the record industry. The consultation will also…

Shop’s face higher PRS rates
Copyright , Music Publishing / February 2008
UK

COPYRIGHT Music publishing Shop owners face inflation-busting rises in the cost of playing music to entice customers into their stores from Tuesday 1 st January. The smallest shops – those up to 100 sq m – will see the royalty payments they have to make each year to play background music increase by 13pc. Those with larger premises face slightly smaller rises, with, for example, a 1,001 sq m shop now paying £495.50 a year to play CDs or the radio, up 6pc. The Performing Right Society, said that increased shop opening hours and the growing the importance of music “in creating a brand and attracting customers” justified the price rises. It said it also planned to review the tariffs charged to other workplaces, like offices, pubs and restaurants. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/money/main.jhtml?xml=/money/2008/01/01/ybmusic101.xml

Apple to harmonise European iTunes pricing
Copyright , Internet / February 2008
EU

COMPETITION Internet Apple has agreed to harmonise its European price structure for iTunes songs which are currently 79p in the UK ($1.55) and 99 cents in the rest of Europe ($1.45) by cutting the price of music downloads in the UK to settle a European Union antitrust case. The European Commission, in its first case involving online music sales, said it’s not a price regulator and won’t set a rate for Apple’s U.K. downloads. “This is an important step towards a pan-European marketplace for music,” Apple Chief Executive Officer Steve Jobs said in an e-mailed statement today. “We hope every major record label will take a pan-European view of pricing.” The Brussels-based commission, the EU’s antitrust regulator, said last April that Apple and the world’s four largest music companies illegally restrict where iTunes users can buy songs by setting higher prices in some countries. The companies could have been fined as much as 10 percent of annual sales for an antitrust violation. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2008/01/10/nmusic110.xml

Tribute bands zapped
USA

COPYRIGHT / TRADE MARK Artists, music publishing ARTICLE LINK: By Tim Cain An interesting story about how Frank Zappa’s estate (The Zappa Family Trust) is seeking to stop unauthorized tribute bands and events using the music of Frank Zappa – and effectively stop bands playing and events taking place. The trust’s cease-and-desist case – which has altered but not shut down any blogs, and which failed to stop at least two tribute band performances it was designed to halt – seems to rest on assertion that “ASCAP licenses limit the grant of rights to nondramatic performances … many works by Frank Zappa are inherently dramatic in nature.” http://www.herald-review.com/articles/2008/01/11/columnists/cain/1029236.txt

Canadian Court Overturns ‘iPod Tax’ in Apple Canada Inc. and Canadian Private Collective, A-369-07. Federal Court of Appeal ( Ottawa).
Copyright , Internet / February 2008
Canada

COPYRIGHT Internet, technology The levy system in Canada is once more in the news after a proposed tax on digital recorders and storage devices, such as Apple Inc.’s iPod media player, was held to be is illegal by the federal court of appeal overturning a Copyright Board ruling that set a tariff that would have increased unit prices as much as C$75 (£35) on devices capable of storing more than 30 gigabytes of memory, the target of the highest level of the tax. The tariff would have raised the cost of an 80-gigabyte iPod by 29 percent to C$335. The court ruled that the Board “has no legal authority to certify a tariff on digital audio recorders or on the memory permanently embedded in digital audio recorders,’ and ordered the copyright board to reconsider the case.  The fees, ranging from C$5 for digital devices capable of storing less than 1 gigabyte of information to the C$75 maximum were proposed to compensate the recording industry for music that was copied. The levy would have created an exception to copyright law, allowing Canadians to copy their music files freely to hard drives and portable storage devices like iPods. Apple, Microsoft and other…

US Court Recognises Existence of a “Sync Right”: Leadsinger v BMG Music
Copyright , Music Publishing / February 2008
USA

COPYRIGHT Music Publishing Article: By Tom Frederikse, Solicitor, Clintons.   The US 9 th Circuit Court of Appeals has recognized the existence of a “sync right” under US copyright law and the need for a separate “sync licence” for the graphic display of lyrics on a karaoke device. In Leadsinger Inc v BMG Music Publishing et al [2007] No 06-55102, D.C. No. CV-04-08099-VAP (reported 2 January 2008), the Court dismissed Leadsinger’s request for a declaration that it had a right to visually display song lyrics without anything more than the compulsory mechanical licence. Leadsinger had argued unsuccessfully in a lower court that the standard mechanical licence it already had to “make and distribute phonorecords” would also authorise display of lyrics in real time with the recordings. The US Appeal Court held that Leadsinger’s karaoke device (being “a series of related images with accompanying sound”) constituted an “audiovisual work” rather than a “phonorecord” and therefore was excluded from the US compulsory licensing scheme. As UK law does not contain such an express exclusion of “audiovisual works” from the definition of a “literary” copyright work, it is unlikely that this precise line of reasoning could be followed here, though it is of course possible that…

Polish police smash organised crime operation
Copyright / February 2008
Poland

COPYRIGHT All areas Polish border police arrested eight people involved in the smuggling and manufacture of pirate CDs and DVDs in a raid carried out on 16 th January 2008.  Officers also seized illegal firearms, including handguns, a machine gun and a sawn-off shotgun, contraband cigarettes and tobacco as well as € 50,000 in cash. The border police from the region of Klodzko smashed the organised gang who both smuggled music and films believed to be produced in Russia and Ukraine as well as producing their own counterfeit discs. The pirate CDs and DVDs were allegedly destined for the German market. During the raid some 66,000 CDs, DVDs, CD-Rs and DVD-Rs and 108,000 inlay cards were seized along with counterfeit inlays and packaging.  The discs contained a mixture of German and international repertoire.  Officers secured the secret laboratory used for the illegal reproduction of discs which contained computers, two tower burners and two high-quality printers. Four of the eight suspects arrested, including the one German citizen, were remanded in custody for three months.  The other four suspects were released. The investigation continues. www.ifpi.org

Warner Music to sue MP3 Search Engine in US
Copyright , Internet / February 2008
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet ARTICLE : From CMU Daily Ah, vicarious infringement. That’s my favourite kind of infringement. Actually, I just like the word vicarious. I really ought to look up what it means one day. Anyway, the Warner Music Group has accused a US based search engine called Seeqpod of “direct, contributory and vicarious” copyright infringement. Seeqpod is a search engine which specifically seeks out music files, so if run a search on Robbie Williams (which I just did) rather than linking me to official websites and Wikipedia biogs, it only provides links to sources of Robbie music online. Mainly illegal sources, naturally. Not only that, but there is a nifty player on the Seeqpod website which will then enable you to play those music files through the browser without downloading the actual music file. The result is an extensive on demand jukebox which is really rather good but really rather illegal. Well, I say that, Seeqpod claim they are operating within US copyright laws, hence the WMG lawsuit. The issue of search engines which specificallyprovide links to illegal sources of music has been bubbling away for a while now, of course, most notably in China where MP3 search facilities provide…