US Appeals court gives funkmaster George another victory
Copyright , Music Publishing / December 2009
USA

COPYRIGHT Music publishing George Clinton has done rather well out of music sampling lawsuits – he is a heavily sampled artist. Now songwriters David Spradley, Garry Shider along with George have won another claim after their track Atomic Dog was sampled.  The trio created the song and recording in a recording studio in January 1982, working without a written score. The track was released in the same year on the Computer Games album issued by Capitol Records, which retained the sound-recording copyright to the album. Spradley, Shider, and Clinton later transferred their interest in the composition of “Atomic Dog” to Bridgeport. This case arose out of an alleged sample of the track – in particular the sample of certain phrases. Judge Martha Craig Daughtrey set out the background to the case which is one of several hundred filed by Bridgeport Music, Inc., and Southfield Music, Inc., against entities and/or individuals associated with the ‘rap’ or ‘hip-hop’ music industry,” seeking declaratory judgment, injunctive relief, and damages from some 800defendants for copyright infringement under the federal copyright statute, 17 U.S.C. 101 et seq. Bridgeport Music, Inc. v. Still N The Water Publishing, 327 F.3d 472, 475(6th Cir. 2003), one of 476 separate actions alleging infringement of musical…

Britney’s alleged lip synching prompts political debate
Contract , Live Events / December 2009
Australia

CONTRACT Live events industry It all started when Britney Spears was alleged to have mimed on her recent fourteen date tour of Australia and now the great lip syncing debate continues and has clawed its way up the political agenda with the country’s Musicians Union stepping in and backing an Australian politician’s call for promoters to make it clear when artists are going to mime on their marketing literature. The Fair Trading Minister of New South Wales, Virginia Judge, got the ball rolling by saying her state government was considering new rules to force promoters to tell ticket buyers if artists would not be singing live at events, either on promotional literature or printed tickets. The story gained momentum when some Australian media reported that fans had walked out of Spears’ first gig in the country in protest at all the miming and whilst the reports of fans leaving have strongly denied, Indeed the promoters of Spears’ dates said that the singer makes no secret of the fact she mimes and that fans understand this is because of the lengthy energetic dance routines which add to the overall entertainment experience. The Musicians Union of Australia says that it backs Judge…

Rammstien album cover deemed harmful to minors
Censorship / December 2009
Germany

CENSORSHIP Recorded music The artwork for the new album from German band Rammstein has been banned from public display in their home country after a Federal media regulator ruled that depictions of sado-masochism were harmful to children and young people. The Deputy President of the Federal Office also said that one track on the album in particular, ‘Ich Tue Dir Weh’ (or ‘I Want To Hurt You’) caused concern, possibly as a result of the line “Bites, kicks, heavy blows, nails, pincers, blunt saws – tell me what you want” and the regulator was also concerned about artwork showing guitarist Richard Kruspe with a masked naked woman on his knees. Another track, single release ‘Pussy’, was also criticised for glorifying unprotected sex (and Rammstein members are seen having full on sex in the video to ‘Pussy’, although a spokesman for the rockers insists doubles were used for the explicit scenes). As a result of the ruling no shops will be able to display the album in any place where it might be seen by anyone under eighteen and German retailers were given 24 hours to comply with the notice. Universal Music Germany has announced it will release a new version of Rammstein’s new album ‘Liebe Ist…

ISPs given safe harbour in Norway
Copyright , Internet / December 2009
Norway

COPYRIGHT Internet The At Last the 1709 Copyright Blog reports a 6th of November decision by a Norwegian District Court which concluded that there were no grounds for ordering internet service supplier Telenor to block internet access to The Pirate Bay. The case did not concern the question of whether customers of Telenor infringed copyright by using The Pirate Bay, but whether Telenor, by granting access to The Pirate Bay, committed an illegal act. The Asker og Bærum District Court concluded that Telenor did not unlawfully contribute to copyright infringements that take place by its customers’ use of The Pirate Bay. Accordingly, the court held that that there was no legal basis for ordering Telenor to block access to the website. Telenor has repeatedly emphasized that it does not support infringements that take place through use of The Pirate Bay and says that it co-operates closely with rights holders by establishing solutions for legal downloads and streaming of content. In its assessment, the court emphasised the unfortunate consequences of imposing blocking obligations on internet service providers. The decision is not yet legally in force and the music and film industry are considering appealing against the decision. From At last the 1709 Copyright Blog  http://the1709blog.blogspot.com/   12th…

Copyright Time Bomb Set to Disrupt Music, Publishing Industries
USA

COPYRIGHT Music publishing, record labels, artists ARTICLE LINK By Eliot Van Buskirk The late 1970s, when punk exploded and disco imploded, were tumultuous years for the music industry. A time bomb embedded in legislation from that era, the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, could bring another round of tumult to the business, due to provisions that allow authors or their heirs to terminate copyright grants — or at the very least renegotiate much sweeter deals by threatening to do so.http://www.wired.com/epicenter/2009/11/copyright-time-bomb-set-to-disrupt-music-publishing-industries/  and see http://www.411mania.com/music/columns/122017

The Beatles “download” site ordered offline by US Judge
Copyright , Internet , Record Labels / December 2009
USA

COPYRIGHT Record labels, internet             At the start of the month the internet was alive with rumours and then reports that a US website had made the Beatles catalogue available online – with tracks selling at the bargain price of 25c each. The news prompted the fab four’s label EMI to issue legal proceedings against BlueBeat.com which in turn prompted the boss of Music Rights Technologies, owners of Bluebeat, to produce a novel argument that his company were not infringing EMI’s copyrights – because they were their’s. Hank Risan’s argument was this – before making music files available via the BlueBeat.com service, his company made a new recording of each track using what he calls “psychoacoustic simulation”. By doing this, Risan says his company creates a new master recording and one in which they, rather than EMI or Apple Corp, own the recording copyright. So Risan’s argument was that providing BlueBeat pay a mechanical royalty to the songwriter or publisher who owns the actual song, they don’t need any licence from a record company or recording artist. The matter escalated when EMI realised that other recordings from the EMI catalogue were online including Blondie, Blur, Coldplay, Radiohead and Norah Jones and…

The Song Remains The Same: A Review of the Legalities of Music Sampling
UK
USA

COPYRIGHT Record labels, artists, music publishing ARTICLE LINK: By Ben Challis A new abridged and updated version of Ben Challis’s 2003 essay on music sampling, “The Song Remains The Same”, has just been republished in the WIPO Magazine which is free both online and as a pdf. Ben’s article is followed in this issue by another essay, “Is Sampling Always Copyright Infringement?” by Polish lawyers Tomasz Rychlicki and Adam Zieli?ski, co-authors along with DJ Twister of “Sampling and scratching in US copyright and Polish law: a comparative analysis”, published in the Journal of Intellectual Property Law Practice earlier this year. In turn this is followed by a third article looking at  contemporary copyright issues – “Legal Use of Digital Content – Making it Clear and Simple” by Lesley Ellen Harris. http://www.wipo.int/wipo_magazine/en/2009/06/article_0006.html http://www.wipo.int/wipo_magazine/en/2009/06/article_0007.html http://www.wipo.int/wipo_magazine/en/2009/06/article_0008.html A pdf of the entire magazine (Issue 6/November 2009) can be downloaded athttp://www.wipo.int/wipo_magazine/en/pdf/2009/

Article: AFTER THE GREAT WHITE TRAGEDY
Articles / December 2009

Click here to download this article as a PDF file (.pdf) WHERE NOW WITH CROWD SAFETY LEGISLATION? Ben Challis JP FRSA LLB(Hons) MA MA(Law) Barrister  Visiting professor of law at Buckinghamshire New University December 2009 The Station nightclub fire began just after 23.00 on February 20th 2003 and ended with the deaths of 100 people, the fourth deadliest nightclub fire in US history. The club, in West Warwick, Rhode Island, in the United States of America, was host to the rock band Gat White and the fire began when sparks from pyrotechnics set off by the band’s tour manager Dan Bichele ignited low cost, unsuitable and flammable sound insulation foam in the walls and ceilings around the stage, creating a flash fire which engulfed the club with astonishing speed – in less than five and a half minutes the entire venue was ablaze (Pollstar Vol 23, Issue 10). Today the site where the one story wooden building once stood has been cleared and is empty, apart from numerous small crosses remembering the dead. Indeed February 2003 was a dark month for safety in US nightclubs as just four days earlier (on the evening of September 17th) twenty one audience members…

UK Competition Commission rejects Live Nation – Ticketmaster tie up
Competition , Live Events / November 2009
UK
USA

COMPETITION  Live events, ticketing In provisional findings, the UK’s Competition Commission (CC) has ruled against the proposed merger between Live Nation and Ticketmaster Entertainment, predominantly because it would hinder German ticketing company CTS Eventim’s entry into the UK market. The opposition is the first against a US merger since the CC was given the power to oppose mergers in 2003. The merger, which was announced in February and would create one of the world’s largest entertainment companies with annual sales of about $6 billion and interests in concerts and tours, venues, ticketing, artist services and merchandise, is also the focus of investigation in the US. Live Nation also has a number of so called 360 degree deals with artists including U2, Madonna, Shakira, Jay-Z and Nickleback. Since it’s 2008 merger with Irving Azoff’s Frontline Management which saw Azoff installed as CEO at TM, the combined TM portfolio now includes the management of the Eagles, Christina Aguilera, Jimmy Buffet and Neil Diamond amongst another two hundred acts and alongside the world’s biggest ticketing operation. In a separate move TM also recently acquired a majority stake in Nashville based DS management whose roster includes Alison Krauss and Union Station amongst others CC…

Guns n Roses face sampling claim
Artists , Copyright , Record Labels / November 2009
UK
USA

COPYRIGHT Record labels, artists Two British independent labels, Independiente and Domino, have launched a lawsuit against Universal’s Interscope-Geffen-A&M division, claiming that one of their artists, Guns N Roses, used samples taken from two recordings by German musician Ulrich Schnauss, who is represented by the two Brit labels without permission. It is claimed that portions of Schnauss’ ‘Wherever You Are’ and ‘A Strangely Isolate Place’ reportedly appear on GNR’s ‘Riad N The Bedouins‘ from GNR’s 2008 Chinese Democracy’ album. Independiente and Domino are seeking $1 million in damages in relation to the infringements. GNR manager and Ticketmaster boss Irving Azoff responded to the lawsuit saying “The band believed when the record came out and still believes that there are no unauthorised samples on the track. The snippets of ‘ambient noise’ in question were provided by a member of the album’s production team who has assured us that these few seconds of sound were obtained legitimately. Artists these days can’t read the minds of those they collaborate with and therefore are unfortunately vulnerable to claims like this one. While the band resents the implication that they would ever use another artist’s work improperly and are assessing possible counterclaims, they are confident this situation will be satisfactorily resolved”. www.thecmuwebsite.com  7th…

Content owners lawsuit against ISP reaches Australian court
Copyright , Internet / November 2009
Australia

COPYRIGHT Internet Followng on from successful actions against file swapping sites in the USA (MGM v Grokster), Australia (Kazaa) and Sweden (The Pirate Bay), a coalition of film and TV companies are suing an Australian internet service provider for failing to stop it’s customers from file-sharing arguing that the net company is liable under existing Aussie copyright rules. The coalition of content owners, under the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft banner, allege that Perth-based iiNet is guilty of so called authorising (or contributory) copyright infringement for knowingly ignoring massive amounts of illegal file-sharing undertaken by its customers on its servers saying that investigators hired by FACT set up iiNet internet accounts and used them to share film content online, even telling iiNet about the infringement being conducted by the investigators. It is alleged that the net firm failed to take any action even though their own terms and conditions say customers must not access illegal content and that customers could be disconnected as a result of being in breach of contract. The US case of MGM v Grokster sets an important precedent in this area of law although not one that binds Australian courts but in both the US and…

As the Future of Music Conference closes, artists still lead the way in providing new business models
Copyright / November 2009
UK
USA

COPYRIGHT All areas As record labels struggle to survive the digital change it seems to be artists who are taking the lead in finding new ways to monetise their music. But as consumers want cheap (or free) music, on demand and with no strings attached, the key questions posed at the Future of Music Conference was which of these varied goals were achievable and who will lose out in the race to the digital future – or indeed will everyone lose out in the long term as labels collapse, artists fail to develop and fan’s lose a vibrant music business providing and promoting new music. At the top of the Summit agenda was net neutrality, the principle that keeps the Internet equally accessible to all users. A few major corporations have advocated tiered access to the Internet based on the ability to pay, a notion strongly rejected in keynote speeches by Senator Al Franken (Democrat, Minnesota.) and Federal Communications Chairman Julius Genachowski, who will oversee the rulemaking process on net neutrality getting underway in the next few weeks. But Franklin and Genachowski also said that any Internet activity that violates artist copyright could not be tolerated. “Enforcement of copyright and…

Will new music streaming business models survive the dawn of the digital age?
Copyright , Internet , Record Labels / November 2009
EU
UK
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet, record labels The word on everyone’s lips in the music industry (this month) is ‘Spotify’ – and it’s ‘all you can eat’ business model for providing unlimited music streams to music fans either for free – if fans are prepared to put up with advertising – or for £9.99 per month as a premium service. As Spotify, launched by Swedish internet entrepreneur Daniel Ek, reached its first birthday, attention turned to figures released by Ek about the success of the service and his self declared problems in getting what he considers workable deals with the record labels who control the rights to sound recordings and music publishers (and their collection societies) who control the rights to songs. Many media commentators are saying that the service will soon be out of business unless they can get more people to pay for music – with commentators arguing that the adverting funded model will not work and Spotify needs to rapidly increase the number of its two million UK users who pay the subscription – currently it is thought only about 10% pay and indeed Ek, writing on the company’s blog to mark the first anniversary this week, said “Spotify has…

Icebergs in the Stream – Always the Danger Lurking Beneath
Copyright , Internet / November 2009
EU
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet ARTICLE:  By Cassandra Williams, post graduate law student at the College of Law  As anyone who has kept up with the news knows, downloading illegal content is allegedly killing off the music and film industries. That said, downloading may just be the tip of the iceberg and   streaming could be the real danger lurking beneath to music, film and television companies. Why risk the possibility of huge fines, being cut off from the internet and court action when all content a user needs can be easily accessed via streaming? Youtube may have started the revolution in terms of streaming content, but the mantle has been picked up by sites that actually stream entire television series and films as well as the latest singles and back catalogue of most artists.  Of course most of these sites streaming the content are breaking the law in the same way that a TV channel that broadcasts a programme without the correct clearances would be liable for copyright infringement.  However the viewers of the TV channel at home who happened to tune into the channel will not be held liable for watching an illegal stream. Why, well as an ‘end user’ the consumer…

Merkel attacks Google’s book project
Copyright , Internet / November 2009
Germany

COPYRIGHT Internet France may have reluctantly accepted Google’s plan to build a massive digital library of the world’s books but now the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, has waded into the debate on the eve of the Frankfurt Book Fair, appealing for more international copyright protection and saying that her government opposed Google’s drive for the giant online library full of the world’s books warning of “considerable dangers” for copyright protection in the internet. Google has already scanned in 10 million books but in her weekly video podcast Merkel said “the Government has a clear position: copyrights have to be protected on the internet”. In the US a court approved settlement between publishers and authors and Google is in its final stages with a lump sum payment and ongoing royalties payable for the use of literary copyrights but German book publishers have criticised European regulators for failing to oppose the settlement. Source: The Observer  11th October 2009 p35

Edwyn Collins furious at MySpace takedown
Copyright , Internet / November 2009
UK

COPYRIGHT Internet Edwyn Collins’ manager and wife Grace Maxwell’s has publicly attacked MySpace and Warner Music for refusing to let the musician’s biggest hit, ‘A Girl Like You’, from being streamed on his MySpace page due to a copyright claim from Warner Music despite the fact that Warner don’t own the copyright to the song. It seems the copyright is retained by Collins who had a previous relationship with Warners but that relationship has expired. Maxwell also pointed out that Warner sell the song, and others they don’t own the rights to, on download stores worldwide. Taking to her blog on Collins’ official website again this week, Maxwell said: “Whaddaya know? After 30 odd fruitless emails, ‘A Girl Like You’ is now available in full on the MySpace player! So, today’s lesson is simple: the most powerful department in any organisation is the press office.The whole sad world runs scared of bad publicity, especially from a righteous source like Edwyn Collins”. She added: “Warner Music Group has no connection with Edwyn whatsoever and yet they are still corporately arrogant enough to steal Edwyn’s copyright and God knows what else from others. A guy from MySpace advised me to treat their…

Congress escalates battle over radio royalties
Copyright / November 2009
USA

COPYRIGHT Broadcasting ARTICLE LINK   Will US radio broadcasters end up paying over $1 billion in royalties to record labels and recording artists to use their sound recordings? The battle lines are set as a new bill moves through the US legislature http://www.usatoday.com/money/media/2009-10-20-radio-music-royalties-congress_N.htm

US Court allows EMI to chase firm’s boss
Copyright , Internet / November 2009
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet A US judge has given EMI the green light to directly sue digital music veteran Michael Robertson over his MP3tunes.com service. EMI has been pursuing litigation against MP3tunes.com since November 2007, arguing that the online storage system, which lets users store their MP3 collections on an external server which they can then access on any computer, infringes the music company’s copyrights. EMI’s original lawsuit named MP3tunes.com and its founder Michael Robertson as defendants, but last year a judge ruled that the entrepreneur himself could not be targeted through the litigation. However, that ruling has now been changed, significantly after seeing a deposition given by Emily Richards, the former President of MP3tunes.com which said that Robertson had a very hands-on involvement in the day to day development and running of MP3tunes.com, and often made decisions without consulting her. This, EMI successfully argued, backed up their viewpoint that Robertson should accept some personal liability for any infringement his new service may or may not be guilty of. Because Richards’ deposition differed, the judge concluded, from one she had previously given while still working for Robertson, and because the original decision regarding Robertson’s liability had in part been based on that…

PPL to appeal Copyright Tribunal ‘one size fits all’ decision
Copyright , Record Labels / November 2009
UK

COPYRIGHT Record labels PPL have said they will appeal the Copyright Tribunal’s ruling on the disagreement between the recording royalty collecting society and the pub industry over how much bars, shops, cafes and offices should pay to play recorded music in their establishments. PPL say they are disappointed with the Tribunal’s decision, which sets a standard rate for all businesses who play recorded music in public places, and that they will appeal the ruling in the High Court. Responding to the decision this morning, PPL boss Fran Nevrkla told CMU: “We are extremely disappointed by the decision of the Tribunal which, even by its own admission, is ‘ill-equipped’ to perform its new investigatory role. The Tribunal has failed to have proper regard for the real value of music to businesses, ignoring PPL’s extensive consultation with licensees. On behalf of our 42,000 performer and 5,000 record company members, many of whom themselves are small businesses, we are appealing this decision in the High Court”. He continue: “The Tribunal’s ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach, which was proposed by the hospitality industry, is particularly unfair to small pubs and shops that in future would pay exactly the same as much larger businesses. Despite a total absence…

France approves Loi Hadopi – and Europe drops opposition to three strikes
Copyright , Internet / November 2009
EU
France

COPYRIGHT Internet France will send out it’s first warnings to digital pirates early next year after passing its much debated ‘three strikes’ legislation allowing for Internet access to be cut for those who illegally download movies and music. The French Constitutional Court passed the law at the end of October to the joy of President Nicolas Sarkozy.  Culture Minister Frederic Mitterrand said the members of a watchdog to oversee application of the digital clampdown would be named in November and the first warnings would go out “from the start of 2010”. The law sets up an agency that will send out an email warning to people found to be illegally downloading films or music. A written warning is sent if a second offence is registered in six months and after a third, a judge will be able to order a one-year Internet rights suspension or a fine. At the same time, efforts in the European Parliament designed to hinder the three-strikes system have been dropped. CMU Daily reports that moves to amend new Europe-wide telecom rules so that disconnecting the net access of persistent file-sharers would be illegal. has been dropped, seemingly in response to pressure from those European governments…

The UK Government finally acts on Licensing Act bureaucracy after a barrage of complaints
Licensing , Live Events / November 2009
UK

LICENSING Live events The ongoing threat to the U.K.’s live music business from bureaucracy introduced by the 2003 Licensing Act was once again the focus of attention at a Music Tank meeting in October held at the PRS for Music building titled ‘Live Music – Licensed to Thrill?’ which is detailed below but the barrage of complaints from across the entertainments industry does seem to finally sparked some Government action. In July 2009 The Culture Media & Sport Select Committee recommended that venues under 200 capacity be excluded from the need for a licence to put on the performance of live music, that the old ‘two in a bar’ rule be introduced and that the controversial Metropolitan Police form 696 be reviewed. At the time Committee chair John Whitingdale said “Broadly speaking the Licensing Act has in our view been a success. The Act has simplified the licensing system, bringing together a number of different regimes into one licence. There is also a greater diversity of premises on the high street and the Act’s emphasis on partnership working is welcome. However in some areas it is clearly not working. However the licensing requirements are still too bureaucratic and costly – particularly…

Pistols at dawn in ice cream wars
Artists , Trade Mark / November 2009
UK

TRADE MARK Artists The Sex Pistols are threatening to sue an ice cream maker who are selling an ice cream cocktail called The Sex Pistol, and who are using the strapline ‘God Save The Cream’, in some instances displayed over a picture of the queen which would appear mimic the Jamie Bell’s iconic cover for the Pistols ‘God Save The Queen’ 7” vinyl release. The company, Icecreamists, have set up a stall in Selfridges, and describe their ice cream based products as being “more Sid & Nancy than Ben & Jerry”. The Sex Pistol ice cream includes a shot of absinthe. The ‘God Save The Cream’ slogan is used on the stall as well as on ads and the company’s website. They also use a snippet of the national anthem played on an electric guitar. According to the Guardian, lawyers representing the surviving Sex Pistols have sent a letter to Icecreamists demanding they stop using the Pistols-related strapline and imagery. They are also requesting damages to compensate the band for the “passing off and copyright infringement” they allege the ice cream firm have committed, based on the sorts of money the band could demand for an official licensing deal. The icreamists…

Schwarzenegger signs anti-paparazzi law
Artists , Privacy / November 2009
USA

PRIVACY Artists California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has signed a new bill into law that will fine paparazzi photographers for taking pictures that invade a celebrity’s right to privacy. The new California law makes it a crime to take and sell unauthorized photos of celebrities in “personal or familial activity,” and also targets media outlets that purchase those photos, with violators facing fines of up to $50,000. The law is slated to take effect in January.  Last summer, as part of the Los Angeles Police Department’s more aggressive crackdown on the practice, two paparazzi photographers were arrested for staking out Britney Spear’s Hollywood home. Earlier that year, four paparazzi were arrested by the LAPD on suspicion of reckless driving after they followed Spears on a street in the San Fernando Valley, with police alleging that at least one had tried to run the singer off the road, seemingly in an attempt to get a prized picture of her in distress.  In 2005, Schwarzenegger, who once testified against two photographers who used their cars to surround him when he was picking his kids up from school in 1998, before he was governor, signed a bill that tripled damage celebrities could seek from…

Beyonce pulls out of Malaysian date for second time
Artists , Censorship , Live Events / November 2009
Malaysia

CENSORSHIP Live events industry, Artists Beyonce Knowles has postponed a planned concert in Malaysia following protests by Islamic conservatives – who said that the show would be immoral. Beyonce, had been scheduled to perform at a Kuala Lumpur stadium on October 25th but promoters Marctensia said in a statement that the show “has been postponed to a future date to be announced shortly” and that “the postponement is solely [the] decision of the artist and has nothing to do with other external reasons,” the statement said. The concert promoters declined to say whether the decision was prompted by criticism from the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party who protested against the concert as it would promote “Western sexy performances”. Beyonce also cancelled a show in Malaysia in 2007, after similar protests from the opposition party. http://music.aol.co.uk/music-news/beyonce-postpones-concert-in-malaysia/article/20091020063509990009

Article: “NET PROFIT DEALS:” NOT YOUR TRADITIONAL RECORD DEAL
Articles / November 2009

Click here to download this article as a PDF file (.pdf) By Bart Day In recent years there has been a rapidly increasing use of so-called “Net Profit Deals,” as an alternative to the traditional type of record deal. This has been the particularly true with indie label record deals. The basic idea is that any net profits will be split between the artist and the record label, after ALL expenses connected with the artist’s records have been deducted by (and reimbursed to) the label from record sales income. Compare this with the traditional record deal, where the artist is paid on a royalty basis, with a typical artist royalty in the range of 12 to 15% (of the retail price) but sometimes higher (especially for more established artists). Ten years ago, out of every ten indie record deals I negotiated, only one or two were Net Profit Deals. Today it’s more like six or seven out of every ten, at least. In this article, I will first compare the basic aspects of Net Profit Deals and traditional record deals, and the advantages and disadvantages of each, both for labels and for artists. Then I will show some sample royalty calculations for both. Finally, I will provide some detail about…

Sony re-release plan prompts police raid
Artists , Contract , Record Labels / October 2009
Mexico

CONTRACT Record labels, artists Sony Music have said that they are “surprised and disappointed” that their Mexican offices were raided by the local authorities following a dispute with singer Alejandro Fernández, one of Latin music’s biggest stars. Fernandez had a ten year relationship with Sony in Mexico as part \of a seven album deal but recently signed a new deal with Universal after his seven album contract with Sony came to an end and the dispute revolves around the disputed ownership of the master recordings made during the time Fernandez was signed to Sony, especially of recordings never released, and also of Sony’s rights to repackage past recordings and release new albums featuring old work. Sony recently announced that it intended to release a new album of old recordings to compete with the singer’s first new album for Universal and this appears to have prompted Fernandez’s management to issue Sony with a cease and desist letter in relation to their re-release plans and, when they didn’t comply, an application to the Federal Court in Mexico City. That court claim led to federal police searching Sony’s Mexico premises and, seemingly, seizing over 6000 CDs and other materials relating to Fernandez. Responding…

VPL lose key Copyright Tribunal case
Copyright , Record Labels / October 2009
UK

COPYRIGHT Television, record labels, broadcasting In a world where nineteen out of every twenty downloads are illegal and therefore not paid for, just how important is promotion to the record industry now? Well, according to the Copyright Tribunal it certainly seems to have a value. CSC Media Group, the company that operates a number of UK TV music channels including Chart Show TV, Flava, The Vault and NME TV, has scored a notable victory at the Copyright Tribunal which will see the broadcaster’s royalty obligations to collection society Video Performance Limited (VPL) considerably reduced. VPL’s ongoing deal with CSC is based on the broadcaster paying the collection society a percentage of gross revenue for using promotional videos and the collecting society had been demanding a 20% cut of the revenues, a figure which CSC argued was “unreasonably high” putting forward the argument that their service provide promotional benefits to the labels who own the material licensed by VPL.  After negotiations failed to reach an agreement (with VPL maintaining the 20% share and CSC looking for a royalty of 8%) CSC took the issue to the Tribunal, the statutory body that has the right to rule on royalty disputes relating to…

Veoh’s victory a blow to Viacom’s YouTube claim
Copyright , Internet / October 2009
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet Universal Music have lost a US legal challenge against Veoh, the YouTube rival who Universal argued were infringing copyrights by allowing users to upload content without the permission of content. Veoh’s defence was the now fairly familiar refrain that they would remove (‘take down’) any copyright infringing content if and when they were alerted to its presence on their system and by so doing were protected by the so called ‘safe harbour’ provisions in USA’s Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Now U.S. District Judge A. Howard Matz has granted Veoh’s motion for summary judgment, and ruled that the company is protected against such claims saying “On August 27, 2008, Magistrate Judge Howard R. Lloyd, sitting in the Northern District of California, wrote that the court does not find that the DMCA was intended to have Veoh shoulder the entire burden of policing third-party copyrights on its Web site (at the cost of losing its business if it cannot)” adding “Rather, the issue is whether Veoh takes appropriate steps to deal with copyright infringement that takes place. The record presented demonstrates that, far from encouraging copyright infringement, Veoh has a strong DMCA policy, takes active steps to limit incidents of…

Hadopi part II – three strikes is back!
Copyright , Internet / October 2009
France
UK

COPYRIGHT Internet France’s much debated internet piracy law, the so called Loi Hadopi which introduces a ‘three strikes’ approach to persistent illegal downloaders and fileswappers and which would allow authorities to disconnect repeat infringers, has passed through the lower house of parliament in a revised form. The law, supported by President Sarkozy, was passed by 285 votes to 225, with the Socialists, Greens and other left-wing parties opposing it and the ruling UMP party voting in favour. The bill must still be approved by the French parliament and may still face another challenge in the constitutional court. A previous version of the law, approved by parliament in June, was rejected by France’s top constitutional court who said that it wasn’t happy with proposed new body that would have had the power to cut Internet access ruling that the new body could only have the power to issue warnings and that any disconnections could only be ordered by a judge. Record companies, film producers and artists have supported the bid to crack down on Internet piracy, which recording industry body SNEP estimates has destroyed 50 percent of the value of the French recorded music market in six years but consumer groups…

Google win’s the first battle of the AdWords
Internet , Trade Mark / October 2009
EU

TRADE MARK Internet Google has won an important first victory it it’s battle sell ‘AdWords’ in it’s search engines. Adwords are basically brand names, often registered trade marks, which Google sells to competitors of those brands so their own product would be highlighted when a search is made of the advert – for example if a user entered ‘Rolex’ into the search engine, a competitor watch maker may have purchased the Adword and their own luxury watch would be featured alongside Internet search results for Rolex. Louis Vuitton and others have been fighting such advertising after makers of imitation products “piggybacked on those brands in online searches to attract customers”. Now the Advocate General Poiares Maduro, in his opinion to the European Court of Justice, suggests that Google has not committed a trade mark infringement by allowing advertisers to select, in AdWords, keywords corresponding to trade marks. He highlights that the use of the trade marks is limited to the selection of keywords which is internal to AdWords and concerns only Google and the advertisers. When selecting keywords, there is thus no product or service sold to the general public. Such a use cannot therefore be considered as being a…

Lap dancing clubs will need new ‘sex encounter’ licence
Licensing , Live Events / October 2009
UK

LICENSING Live event industry The UK’s somewhat flawed Licensing Act will be revised by new government proposals that would man mean ll lap-dancing clubs will have to apply for a new licence. Lap dancers petitioned the Prime Minister against such a move last year. The Policing and Crime Bill establishes a new Sex Establishment Licence and all venues – including existing lap-dancing – will have to apply for a new licence. Local authorities will have the power to set a limit on the number of licences it grants. There will be a transitional period of 12 months for clubs to apply for a licence. Existing and new clubs can apply in the first six months  at the end of which local authorities will decide how many licences to grant. Local residents would be able to make representations against the granting of a sex establishment licence on the grounds that it is an inappropriate location or that the number in the area is already too great, extending the existing range of objections which are currently limited to the four objectives of the 2003 Licensing Act to sell alcohol – the prevention of crime and disorder, public safety, prevention of public nuisance and protection…

Final victory for Whiter Shade of Pale organist (Fisher v Brooker [2009] UKHL 41)
Copyright , Music Publishing / September 2009
UK

COPYRIGHT Music publishing Procol Harum organist Matthew Fisher has won his long battle to be recognised as co-writer of the band’s hit Whiter Shade of Pale. In the last day before the UK’s House of Lords becomes the Supreme Court, the Law Lords ruled that Mr Fisher, who wrote the song’s haunting organ melody, is entitled to a share of future royalties confirming a 2006 High Court decision that he was entitled to 40% of the copyright. The Court of Appeal overturned the ruling last year saying Fisher waited too long – 38 years – to bring the case, and as a result the copyright reverted back to Procol Harum frontman Gary Brooker and lyricist Keith Reid. Now the Law Lords have delivered a unanimous ruling which reinstated the 2006 High Court verdict saying that the delay in bringing the case had not caused any harm to the other writers who had, in fact, benefited financially from it and adding that there were no time limits under English law in copyright claims. Fisher, now a computer programmer said that the case was “about making sure everyone knew about my part in the authorship”. It will be interesting to see if the case prompts other band members who feel that…

Tenenbaum guilty of wilful infringement and faces $675,000 damages
Copyright , Internet / September 2009
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet It wasn’t streamed live but the Joel Tenenbaum file sharing case in the USA certainly made the headlines. Tenenbaum, the 25 year old college student accused of illegally downloading and sharing music online, was defended by the ‘flamboyant’ (elsewhere described as ‘rambling’) Harvard law professor Charles Nesson who opened his defence by holding up a rectangular piece of plastic foam wrapped in cellophane which he said represented the compact discs that record companies sold before digital music became available online. He then sliced open the wrapper with scissors and hundreds of tiny jigsaw pieces fell in a pile in front of the jury in US District Court in Boston with Nesson saying “You have the ability to share, and this physical object’’. The 70-year-old professor then paused and snipped open the foam commenting “suddenly broke into a million bits. Here it is. Bits. . . . Can you hold a bit in your hand? You can’t. . . . And suddenly you have songs being shared by millions of kids around the world.’’ By the time of the trial Tenenbaum no longer denied that he shared music illegally but Nesson said his client was “a good kid’’ who…

FCC intervenes in US radio battle
Copyright / September 2009
USA

COPYRIGHT Radio The row between artists, record labels and the radio industry over the legal loophole that allows FM and AM radio stations to play recordings without having to pay labels or performers in the USA continues to escalate with the Federal Communications Commission asking for comments on artist’s coalition musicFIRST complaint that radio stations were blocking adverts putting forward their side of the story and indeed refusing to play tracks by artists who support  current legislative efforts to close a long-standing loophole in copyright law. The loophole allows AM and FM radio stations to pay only songwriters when a song airs, not the performers or other rights holders on each track. It’s an unusual anomaly and not one that is relevant to Europe where a radio station must pay both the copyright owner of the song and the copyright owner of the sound recording – the latter collected in the UK by PPL (Phonographic Performance Limited) who collect for labels and artists. In the US satellite, cable and internet radio broadcasters do have to pay a royalty to the owners of sound recording copyrights (as do TV broadcasters). The dispute follows on from a House Bill put forward by democrat Senator Patrick Leahey and Democrat Congressman…

Knockback for labels in US streaming decision
Copyright , Internet , Record Labels / September 2009
USA

COPYRIGHT Intenet, record labels A three judge federal appeals court has upheld a 2007 decision that a Yahoo Inc Internet radio service is not required to pay “per play” fees to the copyright holders of sound recordings. In a second defeat for the labels who brought the appeal (including Arista Records, Sony BMG, Capitol Records Inc, Motown Records Co and Virgin Records America) the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the 2007 jury verdict that Yahoo’s Launchcast did not give listeners enough control to be an “interactive service” that and that Launchcast only needs pay the licensing fees set by SoundExchange, the organsiation that collects royalties on sound recordings. Launchcast lets users create personalised “radio stations” that play songs in a particular genre or match pre-determined selection such as similarity to the listeners favorite artists or songs. The original 2001 copyright infringement claim (and subsequent appeal) really comes down to one question – what constitutes an “interactive service” – defined is US law as a service “that enables a member of the public to receive a transmission of a program specially created for the recipient, or on request, a transmission of a particular sound recording … which is selected…

UK Government fast tracks anti-piracy proposals
Copyright , Internet / September 2009
UK

COPYRIGHT Internet The UK Government has announced a significant change in it’s anti-piracy policy putting forward new proposals that would mean that internet users who persist in swapping copyrighted films and music will have their connections cut off .The new measures also include taking the power to target illegal downloaders away from regulator Ofcom and giving it to ministers to speed up the process. The new moves are a major shift away from the proposals set out in Lord Carter’s Digital Britain report which suggested a mixture of warnings to illegal filesharers, technical measures to combat piracy and the ultimate sanction of slowing down persistent filesharer’s broadband connections – but nothing would be done until 2012 giving Ofcom the chance to reduce online piracy by a target of 70%-80%. Digital Britain is still in it’s consultation phase although the six biggest UK-based internet service providers (ISPs) had agreed to enter into a voluntary memorandum of understanding with the record companies, and started sending out warning letters to the customers the record industry believed were the biggest illegal file-sharers. Now the government has said that now illegal filesharers will get warning letters but if they continue to swap copyrighted material they…

Publishers launch action against lyric sites
Copyright , Internet , Music Publishing / September 2009
USA

COPYRIGHT Music publishing, internet The US National Music Publishers Association (NMPA) has filed copyright infringement lawsuits against two businesses which publish unlicensed lyrics for profit through their websites. The lawsuits, headed up by Peermusic, Warner/Chappell and Bug Music, allege that LiveUniverse, Inc. and its owner Brad Greenspan, and Motive Force LLC and its owner Sean Colombo, engage in wilful copyright infringement. The suits were filed in filed in the Federal Courts of the Central District of California and Western District of Pennsylvania and seek equitable relief and damages for the infringing companies unlicensed use of the lyrics on their respective Web sites and in conjunction with certain web applications. NMPA president David Israelite said “these sites are profiting on the backs of songwriters. It is unfortunate that copyright holders must so frequently divert energies to protect their rights to license and distribute their works. However, the demand for music prompts a seemingly endless stream of illegal business models” adding “Music fans are the biggest losers when licensed businesses, like LyricFind, Gracenote and TuneWiki can’t survive and prosper because unlicensed, illegal businesses are allowed to thumb their noses at the law …we are confident the courts will conclude that, like Napster…

Ahoy there Pirates – more stories from the Bay
Copyright , Internet / September 2009
Ireland
Sweden

COPYRIGHT Internet Well well well, not just one Pirate Bay story but four. What’s in the news – well, first and foremost The Pirate Bay website did momentarily go off line on the 25th August, no doubt to gasps of relief from the music and film industries, but perhaps unsurprisingly (and as promised by the owners) the BitTorrent site was back online this morning. The removal of the service was the result of a decision of the Swedish district court which ordered Black Internet to stop servicing The Pirate Bay – the court order was complied with in the face of a 500,000 Kroner fine – but the victory was short lived and within twenty four hours it seems to be “service as normal” although not through Blacks. Secondly, the hunt for money goes on. As readers are probably aware, the four Pirate Bay founders, Peter Sunde Kolmisoppi, Fredrik Neij, Gottfried Svartholm Warg, and Carl Lundstrom, lost a major Swedish court case in April (reported on this blog) when they were found guilty of copyright violations and were fined and face jail sentences. In a second story from Sweden it appears that Sweden’s government run debt-collection agency, commonly referred to…

Content owners celebrate US court successes
Copyright , Internet / August 2009
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet Jammie Thomas-Rasset, the single mother of four convicted of copyright infringement and currently liable for damages of $1.92 million, intends to appeal her case with her lawyer telling CNET News that “She’s not interested in settling …. she wants to take the issue up on appeal on the constitutionality of the damages. That’s one of the main arguments that the damages are disproportionate to any actual harm”. When the decision came out, Fred von Lohmann, a lawyer with the Electronic Frontiers Foundation had said “The disproportionate size of the verdict raises constitutional issues” adding “was the jury punishing her for what she did, or punishing her for the music sharing habits of tens of millions of American Internet users?”.  Thomas-Rasset had previously indicated that she had tried to settle the case and then made it clear after the conviction that she could not pay the fine saying “Now the record industry has a $2 million award against me. The only thing I can say is good luck trying to get it, because you can’t get blood out of a turnip”. The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) said that it had contacted Thomas-Rasset’s lawyers Joe Sibley and law partner…

Guns ‘n’ Roses leaker gets probation and gets to make an advert
Copyright , Internet / August 2009
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet Kevin Cogill, the blogger who was arrested at gunpoint and admitted to leaking a large part of the latest (and long awaited)  Guns N’ Roses album “Chinese Democracy” has been sentenced to a year of probation and two months of home confinement. Cogill will also have to record a ‘public service announcement’ for the Recording Industry Association of America, explaining the evils of music piracy and how illegal downloading and fileswapping hurts band. Cogill will also have to allow authorities to search or seize his computers. Cogill had leaked and posted nine tracks from the fourteen track album online in June 2008 last year – onto his own site (www.antiquiet.com). In court he apologised saying “I never intended to hurt the artist” adding “I intended to promote the artist because I’m a fan”. The court has been pressed by the federal prosecutor for a prison term as a deterrent to others although prosecutors did acknowledge that this might turn him into something of a martyr. In his defence Cogill’s attorney argued that his client had acknowledged his wrongdoing and had lost his job as a result of the case. Cogill will not have to pay any fines or restitution, although authorities at one point calculated the losses from his…

Music fans still prefer CDs to Downloads
Copyright , Internet , Record Labels / August 2009
UK

COPYRIGHT Internet, record labels Another set of figures from the recent research by The Leading Question show that perhaps the CD isn’t quite as doomed as the music industry thought – with two thirds of music lovers saying that they still prefer CDs over any other media – including digital downloads – and 66% of 14-18 year olds saying that they prefer the CD format. The Leading Question spoke to over 1000 music fans as part of their annual Speakerbox survey into the state of music consumption in the UK. Despite the growth of digital download sales, the research showed that overall 73% of music fans are still happy buying CDs rather than downloading and that fans still value a physical CD much more than digital downloads. With a bedrock of sales from online stores and supermarkets (these channels represented 46% of all UK CD sales in 2008), even the demise of the specialist high street music store may not spell the end of the CD just yet. For less tech savvy music fans their first experience of digital music often starts when they put a CD in their computer – and 59% of all music fans still listen to CDs…

A big week for copyrights and piracy
Copyright , Internet , Music Publishing / August 2009
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet, telephony, music publishing ARTICLE LINK Whilst the sale of The Pirate Bay website to a Swedish gaming software business might have grabbed the headlines alongside the Jammie Thomas appeal and the Usenet decision, two other developments in U.S. courts are seemingly more important to the average music fan because of the potential they have for disrupting digital services. The first is the latest lawsuit filed by MCS Music America of Nashville and a dozen other music publishers against the operators of two current and one former subscription-music services. The suit seeks a hefty financial penalty from the companies for including the publishers’ songs in their services, even though federal law compels the publishers to grant the necessary licenses. The second is a move by the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers to have a federal court declare that cellphone ringtones aren’t downloads but rather public performances for which they are entitled royalties. In other words, ASCAP argues that playing a 15-second snippet of a song when a call comes in is the legal equivalent of blasting the song over the speakers at a hockey rink. In fact, ASCAP argues, it’s an infringement even with the volume turned off. The two cases…

South Korea, Ireland and, errm Hull, take action over illegal downloads
Copyright , Internet / August 2009
Ireland
South Korea
UK

COPYRIGHT Internet South Korea has passed new legislation setting up a ‘three strikes’ copyright law within a summary trial based system which has prompted Google to forbid uploading any music to blogs in the country for fear of running foul of an incredibly, broadly-worded law which includes unintentional downloading – a number of social networking sites are also warning their users not to do anything that might potentially infringe and fall foul of the system. In Ireland Eircom, the largest Internet service provider (ISP), will be rolling out a trial phase of a new “three strikes and you’re out” approach to first delay, and then deny, Internet service to people who use filesharing networks to illegally download music. First-time offenders will get a warning on their bill; a second offence will see service “throttled,” which means that download speeds will be reduced to a snail’s pace, and a third offence will cause disconnection. It had seemed that Ireland was first in reaching a voluntary agreement and not requiring that an ISP have a court order to disconnect but then the BBC Radio Humberside revealed that that Karoo, the sole ISP in the British city of Hull had unilaterally announced their own internet cut off policy for copyright infringers. Whilst both the Korean and Eircom announcements…

Youtube and Google win partial victory in ongoing US battle
Copyright , Internet / August 2009
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet US District Judge Louis Stanton, who is overseeing a copyright class action against YouTube, has dismissed part of the claim against the video-sharing site by excluding claims from owners of non-US (foreign) copyrighted works saying that the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 “bars statutory damages for all foreign and domestic works not timely registered” with the US Copyright Office. The ruling will come as a disappointment to non-UK owners including England’s Premier League for football (soccer) and a number of music publishers. Judge Stanton said the plaintiffs couldn’t seek punitive damages. However, the judge did not rule out claims from owners of copyrights in live broadcasters and the action led by the US National Music Publishers Association and others, along with Viacom’s 2007 claim for infringement, will continue against YouTube and owners Google. Louis Solomon, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, was quoted as saying he was pleased with the ruling in respect of live broadcasters, a large portion of the class, adding “we now have clarity in how we have to go prove damages for the balance of the class”. Google has consistently maintained the infringement claims are without merit. http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-10281571-93.html http://ipkitten.blogspot.com/2009/07/letter-from-amerikat_12.html

Republicans settle with Browne
Advertising , Artists , Copyright / August 2009
USA

COPYRIGHT Artists, advertising Singer songwriter Jackson Browne has accepted an apology and a financial settlement from Republican presidential candidate John McCain after Browne’s “Running On Empty” was used in the US presidential campaign. Browne had been seeking damages of $75,000 after his song was used without permission in an online advert that sought to undermine Barrack Obama’s suggestion that having properly inflated tyres would result in lower fuel consumption in cars. McCain said in a statement: “We apologise that a portion of the Jackson Browne song ‘Running On Empty’ was used without permission”. In response, Browne, a staunch Democrat, said “this settlement is really a great affirmation of what I believed my rights to be, and all writers’ rights to be. One would hope that a presidential candidate would not only know the law but respect it. It was a matter of bringing that issue to bear”. A number of other artists including Foo Fighters, Heart and John Mellencamp have complained about having their songs used without permission during McCain’s campaign although action will not lie where songs are merely used at rallies at properly licensed theatres and other venues. http://voices.washingtonpost.com/sleuth/2009/07/john_mccain_really_running_on.html?hpid=news-col-blog http://www.rollingstone.com/rockdaily/index.php/2009/07/21/jackson-browne-settles-with-gop-over-running-on-empty-ad-use/

Second death at Madonna stage collapse
Health & Safety , Live Events / August 2009
France

HEALTH & SAFETY Live events industry A British worker, Charles Prow aged 13 has been named as the second person to die following the tragic stage roof collapse in Marseilles. The death of French worker, Charles Criscenzo (aged 50) had already been confirmed. The condition of two other people was described as serious and thirty six other people have injuries, some with minor injuries and shock. Madonna has said that she was appalled by the incident saying “two men lost their lives which is a great tragedy to me. I feel so devastated to be in any way associated with anyone’s suffering”. Police are now interviewing witnesses, studying videotape footage and reading commercial contracts with a view to establishing is a charge of causing death unintentionally at a place of work could be brought and if health and safety regulations, procedures and standards had been met. The incident happened on Thursday 16th July when the roof of a stage for Madonna’s Sticky & Sweet tour was being built at Marseille’s Stade Velodrome collapsed. Maurice Di Nocera, from the Marseilles local authority said on radio that the roof had been about two-thirds complete and that it collapsed gradually allowing most workers to evacuate the area. …

Big Green Gathering cancelled
Licensing , Live Events / August 2009
UK

LICENSING Live Event Industry The Big Green Gathering has been cancelled. Britain’s largest green festival was due to happen from Wednesday 29th July until Sunday 2nd August 2009 in Somerset in England. Ticket holders and those planning on attending the Big Green Gathering were urged to stay away from the event site. The announcement followed threatened injunction proceedings from Mendip District Council who were supported by the Avon & Somerset Police.  The Big Green Gathering was granted a licence by Mendip District Council on 30th June, 2009 and a multi-agency meeting was held on 23rd July but following serious concerns from Mendip District Council and emergency services about public safety and possible crime and disorder MDC applied to the High Court in London for an injunction to stop the event going ahead. For more on this story see http://www.efestivals.co.uk/news/09/090727a.shtml For the Big Green Gathering website see http://www.big-green-gathering.com/

UK Government rejects key licensing recommendations
Licensing , Live Events / August 2009
UK

LICENSING Live events industry The UK Government has rejected two key concerns from the live music industry regarding reforms of the 2003 Licensing Act – exempting smaller venues from the bureaucracy of the Act and scrapping the controversial Form 696 – both of which were highlighted in the recent report from parliament’s Culture, Media & Sport Select Committee which addressed a number of the concerns and proposed a small venue exemption and the abolition of the Form 696. Confirming that was the case, the Department Of Culture, Media & Sport told reporters it had “not been able to reach agreement on [small venue] exemptions that [they believe] will deliver an increase in live music”, while on Form 696 it noted concerns within the live industry but said that, as this was a Met Police form, it was up to the Met Police to decide whether or not to keep using it. Commenting on the DCMS’s decision, cross-sector music business trade body UK Music said they were “extremely disappointed by the government’s response. At a time when the British music industry is facing significant recessionary pressure and government’s own research indicates a 5% decrease in the number of venues available to…

The day live music died
Licensing , Live Events / August 2009
UK

LICENSING Live events industry Article Link –  In the wake of the UK Government’s clear reluctance to act on the bureaucracy of the Licensing At 2003, admit it’s mistakes and end the ongoing controversy over the Metropolitan Police’s form 696  Andy McSmith, writing in the The Independent Saturday, 18 July 2009, reports: “You are in a pub, having a good time, and someone walks in with a guitar, drink flows, and the crowd starts singing some old number like, say, “I Fought the Law (And the Law Won)”. Before the evening is out, the poor publican could be fighting the law, and the law will win again. Live music is fast disappearing from pubs, clubs, wine bars, restaurants and other small venues, musicians claim, because of a law passed in 2003, when the Government was trying to eliminate teenage violence that they associated with badly organised music events. Hopes were raised recently when the Commons Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport ended a lengthy investigation into the 2003 Licensing Act by recommending that venues with a capacity of fewer than 200 people should be exempt.“ Read the article in full at http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/music/news/the-day-live-music-died-1751562.html