Court of Appeal calls time in Quo battle: Lancaster and another v Handle Artists Management Ltd[2008] All ER (D) 308 (Apr)
Artists , Contract / June 2008
UK

CONTRACT Artists by Cassandra Williams, postgraduate student at the College of Law In the case of Lancaster and another v Handle Artists Management Limited and others [ 2005] All ER (D) 128 (Nov) a claim was made by two former Status Quo band members Alan Lancaster and John Coghlan for payment of back catalogue royalties primarily against the two continuing band members Rick Parfitt and Francis Rossi who continued with others as status Quo (seehttp://www.musiclawupdates.com/06Januarylawupdates.htm) and initially resulted in a victor for Lancaster and Coghlan, The claim centred on certain ‘Pye’ royalties (going back to the sixties) and other Phonogram royalties (going back to the seventies). As was normal at the time, the Pye contracts were made directly with individual band members but as Status Quo became more successful the contractual arrangements “merged” with contracts made with the band’s corporate vehicles. At the end of the trial the Pye royalty claims were upheld and it was declared that the royalty shares belonging to the Claimants, Coghlan and Lancaster, were held by the continuing band members on constructive trust despite the fact that they had signed a deed relinquishing their rights to further – the trial judge constructed the deed of release signed by the…

RIAA sues Project Playlist / record labels take aim at “clever” sharing operation
Copyright , Internet , Record Labels / June 2008
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet, record labels ARTICLE LINK:  Is Project Playlist legal? The site allows users to build playlists of music found on other websites (whether they got there legally or not the site claims disinterest) and then streams them to listeners. They pay the relevant performance royalties. In what could be a precedent-setting case, recording companies are alleging that the Project Playlist Web site is guilty of infringement by enabling its own members to give other users access to unlicensed music files hosted by other sites . http://government.zdnet.com/?p=3779 http://www.betanews.com/article/Record_labels_take_aim_at_a_clever_playlist_sharing_operation/1209423726

IFPI launch copyright education project
Copyright , Internet / June 2008
UK

COPYRIGHT Internet The IFPI have launched a global information campaign to explain the world of music downloading to teachers and parents worldwide. A new pocket-sized guide, published by children’s internet charity Childnet International and supported by Pro-music, the international alliance of music sector groups, will be distributed through schools and colleges, libraries, record stores, teaching portals and websites in 21 countries. The simple, concise guide, “Young People, Music and the Internet” aims to help young people use the Internet and mobile phones safely and legally to download music. The guide will be available on http://87.84.226.198/Content/GuidesAndResources/advice_for_parents.phpas well as on www.childnet.com/music , where parents, teachers and young people will be able to access more information on a music microsite. www.ifpi.org

Arizona court takes a narrow view on P2P file swapping (Atlantic v Howell)
Copyright , Internet , Record Labels / June 2008
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet, record labels The CMU Daily reports on an interesting technicality was raised in a US court hearing relating to one of the Record Industry Association Of America’s P2P lawsuits this week. It’s a technicality that has been raised before, but it was the court’s ruling on the matter that was interesting, because in theory it reduces the scope of the RIAA’s lawsuits a little. The case was against Pamela and Jeffrey Howell who are accused of illegally sharing music via the Kazaa file sharing network. The labels are suing them for copyright infringement. The technicality is as to whether merely placing music files into a Kazaa folder on your PC in itself amounts to copyright infringement. Generally speaking courts have been willing to say “yes” in the past – so that if a defendant puts music in a Kazaa folder, and a label’s agent is to download a track or two from it, then infringement has been assumed in relation to all tracks put in that folder. However, the court in Arizona hearing the Howell’s case wasn’t keen to extend the definition of infringement that far. It said that a copyright was only infringed if there was “actual…

Jammie Thomas conviction to go back to court
Copyright , Internet , Record Labels / June 2008
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet, record labels The judge in the Jammie Thomas case – the first case where the US record labels secured a criminal conviction for illegal file sharing has notified attorneys for both sides that he’s considering granting a new trial on the grounds that he improperly instructed the jury about what constitutes illegal file-sharing on the internet. U.S. District Judge Michael Davis said in an order filed  in Minneapolis that he may have made a “manifest error of law” last October when he instructed a Duluth jury that simply uploading songs to a music file-sharing network could be considered illegal distribution, even in the absence of proof that anyone received them. The jury found Thomas, 30, willfully violated the copyrights of six recording companies and that Thomas, operating on her home computer under the user name “tereastarr” on the Kazaa file-sharing network, copied or distributed 24 songs, and it set damages at $9,250 for each alleged infringement. Thomas’ s attorney said the award (totaling $222,000) was excessive and had already filed a motion asking Davis to reduce it. But Davis, in today’s order, wrote that he’ll consider granting a new trial on different grounds. “The Court is concerned that Jury…

Myspace domain can be kept by original owner
Internet , Trade Mark / June 2008
UK

TRADE MARK Internet The Nominet Dispute Resolution Service Appeals Panel has ruled that the myspace.co.uk domain – which was registered by Total Web Solutions before the now very popular MySpace service came into existence did not after all have to be turned over to MySpace Inc, owners of the social networking site. Total Web Solutions registered myspace.co.uk in August 1997 in order to provide its clients with a cheap and easy homepage and email. On or before July 2004 myspace.co.uk, which was no longer in demand for its original purpose , was “parked” with Sedo, a company that targets advertising links on unused domains which In 2005, following the growing popularity of MySpace, began serving Total Web Solutions’ domain with advertisements for services such as “MySpace Friend Adder”. The appeal panel dismissed the assertion by MySpace Inc that it was entitled to the disputed site on the ground that it was entirely descriptive of its business. Nor did it consider the earlier registration to be abusive. The panel added: “To date experts and Appeal panels have reasonably consistently taken the view that if a registrant acquires a domain name in advance of the coming into existence of the complainant’s rights,…

MySpace wins $230 million from spammers
Copyright , Internet , Privacy / June 2008
USA

COPYRIGHT / PRIVACY Internet MySpace has won a record $230 million (approx £118 million) legal judgment against ‘spam king’ Stamford Wallace and business partner Walter Rines over junk messages sent to Myspace customers which directed them to online gambling and porn sites. District Judge Audrey Collins in Los Angeles made the order after hearing how 700,000 messages were sent to MySpace users and bolted on an prohibition against Wallace and Rimes similar activities in the future. http://digg.com/security/MySpace_Wins_230_Million_Judgement_Against_Spammers

AOL, Real, Yahoo must pay millions in outstanding music royalties
Copyright , Internet / June 2008
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet ARTICLE link  By Scott M. Fulton, III, BetaNews The artists’ rights organization ASCAP will be receiving tens of millions in back royalties from 2006, from the leading Web radio broadcasters. But it’s much less than what it had proposed, and way less than what royalties groups wanted last year. http://www.betanews.com/article/AOL_Real_Yahoo_must_pay_millions_in_outstanding_music_royalties/1209661061   The CMU Daily adds: A US District Court has ruled on a long running dispute between three of the US’s big net outfits – AOL, Real and Yahoo – and publishing rights body ASCAP, regarding how much the web firms should pay the collecting society for the rights to play songs on their online music services – now decided at 2.5% of “music-use-adjusted revenue” which could be according to US commentators a payment to ASCAP of a combined $100 million. ASCAP chief Marilyn Bergman says said “The Court’s finding represents a major step toward proper valuation of the music contributions of songwriters, composers and publishers to these types of online businesses – many of which have built much of their success on the foundation of the creative works of others. It is critical that these organisations share a reasonable portion of their sizable revenues with those of us…

The cat is out of the bag – so Max Mosley fails to gag News of the World
Artists , Privacy / June 2008
UK

PRIVACY / CONFIDENCE Artists The IPKat has come across a case in which Max Mosley attempted to enjoin the News of the World from showing video footage of his allegedly Nazi-themed orgy with five prostitutes. The footage was posted on the News of the World’s website at the end of March. It was then voluntarily taken down on 31 March, by which time other websites had copied and posted the footage. On 3 April the News of the World gave notice that it intended to repost the footage. Mosley applied to the court for an injunction to stop this. According to Eady J, Mosley’s Art.8 right to privacy was in conflict with the News of the World’s Art.10 right to freedom of expression. In balancing the two, the court has to take the following into account:   i) No Convention right has, as such, precedence over another; ii) Where conflict arises between the values safeguarded under Articles 8 and 10, an “intense focus” is necessary upon the comparative importance of the specific rights being claimed in the individual case; iii) The Court must take into account the justification for interfering with or restricting each right; iv) So too, the proportionality…

David Murray (by his litigation friends Neil Murray and Joanne Murray) v Big Pictures (UK) Ltd [2008] EWCA Civ 446
Privacy / June 2008
UK

PRIVACY All areas Again from the IP Kat, news of JK Rowling’s son David Murray’s action for privacy. David when 20 months old, was photographed by Big Pictures, using a telescopic lens, while he was being pushed along the street in a buggy by his parents. The photograph, published without the family’s knowledge or consent, subsequently appeared in The Sunday Express magazine with accompanying text – attributed to JK Rowling – setting out some thoughts on her approach to motherhood and family life. The quote was genuine but out of context, having been made in relation to David’s big half-sister Jessica. The Express having compromised the Murrays’ claim, the action proceeded only against Big Pictures. On behalf of David it was argued that Big Pictures had acted in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights Article 8 and in breach of confidence; it was also claimed that the company was in breach of the Data Protection Act 1998 since it held photographic data about David while unregistered as a data controller. Suing via his parents as best friends, David sought damages and an injunction against further publication of the piccie. Big Pictures moved for summary judgment or a strike-out of David’s…

A novel way to produce a promo video
Artists , Internet / June 2008
UK

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION Artists, internet This is a very interesting story and a heading we have never used before- although here at Music Law Updates we wonder about the copyright implications. Anyway, CMU Daily report that Manchester trio The Get Out Clause have hit on a novel way of making videos. Instead of forking out thousands to make a proper video for their new single ‘Paper’, they performed the song in front of 80 different CCTV cameras in their home city and then applied for copies of the footage under the Freedom Of Information Act. Guitarist Tony Churnside told Sky News: “We wanted to produce something that looked good and that wasn’t too expensive to do”. Check out the video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W2iuZMEEs_A

AIM launch manifesto for copyright in the digital age
Copyright , Internet / June 2008
UK

COPYRIGHT Internet AIM have published Copyright In the Digital Age, their manifesto for a copyright infrastructure “fit for purpose” in the 21st Century. Within it, AIM sets out the case that: Digital is fundamentally a format shift which has changed everything in the value chain for recorded music – creation, production, distribution and consumption. Government should take account of this, to support the growth of a world class creative industry through copyright law which is fit for purpose in the always technologically evolving digital age New monetisation methods are needed for new usages and new consumer models of consumption. It makes sense to recognise the benefits to commercial providers whose businesses depend greatly on facilitating consumers access to, and ability to copy and share, copyright music. At present these businesses and consumers enjoy their respective benefits while copyright owners cannot claim a fair share of this value chain. AIM’s original 2006 Copyright in the Digital Age paper built on the view that the value chain from the creators and investors in music through to ISPs to the consumer is currently dysfunctional, and proposed a range of solutions.  This was the basis for the 2006 all-industry Round Table (facilitated by the Smith…

Chinese search engine fined
Copyright , Internet / June 2008
China

COPYRIGHT Internet Zhongsou, one of China’s top five internet search engines, has been found guilty of infringing record companies’ copyrights by the Copyright Bureau of Hebei province and Cangzhou city.  The authorities have ordered the internet company to stop infringing immediately and pay the maximum penalty of RMB 100,000.  Three computer servers belonging to Zhongsou have also been forfeited. This is the first time that administrative penalties have been levied on a company running a music delivery service. In September 2007, IFPI lodged a complaint with the Hebei Provincial Copyright Bureau.  Further investigations by Cangzhou Copyright Bureau, Cangzhou Cultural Task Force and RenQiu Cultural Task Force revealed that copyright infringing files accessed by the delivery service were hosted on servers owned by Zhongsou in Cangzhou city in Hebei province.  With the assistance of the ISP Cangzhou Netcom, the authorities raided and seized the servers on 11th March 2008. The administrative fine of RMB 100,000 imposed on Zhongsou in May 2008 is the largest fine for copyright infringement in the history of Hebei province. www.ifpi.org (from press release)

Criminal conviction for Brooklyn music infringer
Copyright , Internet / June 2008
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet Barry Gitarts, a 25-year-old Brooklyn man, has been found guilty of conspiracy to commit criminal copyright infringement by a federal jury in Virginia. Under the pseudonym “Dextro,” Gitarts was charged with administering a server in Texas for an underground file sharing group called Apocalypse Production Crew – APC members traded music, games, movies and software amongst themselves but trial testimony from the Recording Industry Association of America portrayed APC as a “first provider” or “release group” of pirated content, often pre-release material, sometimes months before retail release. Evidence presented in the case showed that he received payment from the leader of the group in return for this work. Gitarts appears to be the 15th APC member to be convicted for criminal copyright infringement as part of U.S. Department of Justice’s long-running Operation Fastlink but this was the first case that has gone to a trial. U.S. District Court Judge Liam O’Grady will sentence Gitarts on August 8 th and penalties extend to a maximum of five years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000 and three years of supervised release. In addition, he must “make full restitution” to the record labels affected. Mark Shumaker, a co-conspirator who…