Lib Dem peer introduces a private members bill to rectify licensing mess
Licensing , Live Events / August 2009
UK

LICENSING Live events industry A new private members’ bill aiming to persuade the government to relax its laws on licensing for live music in small venues has been introduced by liberal democrat peer Tim Clement-Jones. The Live Music bill has already won support from music industry umbrella group UK Music, partly thanks to its proposal to allow small venues to put on live music without having to obtain a live entertainment license. “The essence of my bill is that if the public are unhappy about a venue putting on live music they can request a review of the license for that premises,” Clement-Jones told Music Week. His bill has already passed an initial reading in the House Of Lords, and a second reading is scheduled for “November or December,” according to Clement-Jones, who went on to criticise some members of Department For Culture Media And Sport (DCMS) for not supporting the live music sector. He said: “There are a number of DCMS people that show great antipathy toward live music, but they have to realise that historically the biggest British bands started out in their local pubs and if we take that away from young musicians, then the future of the UK…

Allowing smoking means Authority can revoke premises licence
Health & Safety , Live Events / August 2009
UK

HEALTH & SAFETY Live event industry A local authority is entitled to revoke a premises licence where the licensee has been convicted of not preventing smoking and has stated that he intends to continue not to prevent smoking. As a crime has been committed and further crime may be committed the Authority may use the preventing crime from the ‘preventing crime and disorder’ licensing objective to justify the revocation. ‘Crime and disorder’ is a disjunctive and the Authority need not prove that disorder was occurring as well as the crime of permitting smoking. R (Blackpool Council) v Howitt  173 JPR 101.

Aerosmith pay up for cancelled Hawaii show
Contract , Live Events / August 2009
USA

CONTRACT Live events Audience report that rock megastars Aerosmith have settled a class action brought by 8,700 concert goers after the band cancelled a show in Maui, Hawaii in September 2007. The band cancelled the show at the 10,000 capacity War Memorial Stadium to reschedule another earlier cancelled concert, this time in Chicago. However, the Maui show was never rescheduled and at the time the band said they would not be able to get their equipment to Hawaii in time, opting instead to play a private performance in Oahu in Hawaii a few days later for a reported $1 million fee. Claims from the cancelled Maui show included ticket costs and out of pocket expense including hotels and travel. It is thought most of the claims were successful costing the band anything between $500,000 and $3 million. Audience Magazine June 2009 issue 113  www.audience.uk.com

Depeche Mode ticket re-sales banned in Germany
Artists , Live Events / July 2009
Germany

TICKETING Live events There was finally encouraging news for promoters who have been looking for legal mechanisms to stop unauthorised secondary ticketing and touting when firstly amendements to legislation in the state of New Yorks which made ticket touting (scalping) legal lapsed and then and perhaps more importantly when a German court banned a secondary ticketing website from selling tickets for a Depeche Mode tour of the country. Frankfurt based promoter Marek Lieberberg Konzertagentur had taken ticketing portal Ventic, owned by Dutch company Smartfox Media, to court after they began reselling tickets for Depeche Mode gigs which they had bought variously from the promoter or from official ticket outlets. Lieberberg’s action came in two parts – firstly saying that the re-sale of tickets was prohibited by the terms and conditions attached to the tickets and so onward selling was in breach of those contract terms, and secondly because Ventic hid their intent to re-sell tickets when buying the tickets and so they were also guilty of “fraudulent purchase” which contravenes German competition (anti-trust) law. A Munich court backed Lieberberg’s claims and granted an injunction ordering Ventic to stop the resale of tickets to the German leg of the Depeche Mode…

Ozzy looks for a share of the Sabbath mark
Artists , Trade Mark / July 2009
USA

TRADE MARK Artists The IPKat reports that 60 year old Black Sabbath singer Ozzy Osbourne  is suing the band’s guitarist Tony Iommi over royalty payments. Osborne alleges that Iommi has falsely claimed entitlement to the sole rights to the band’s name, thus losing him royalties from merchandise sales. An unspecified sum is sought by way of damages and lost profits, as well as a declaration is a half-owner of the trade mark.  Iommi, who registered the Black Sabbath trade mark in the US in 2000, denies liability and says Osbourne legally relinquished rights to the band’s name in the 1980s. Osbourne is reported as saying he believed all four original members of the band should share Black Sabbath’s name equally. His lawyer adds that even if he did agree to relinquish his rights, he took a major role in the band’s direction and success after rejoining it in 1997. The IPKat promises to keep an eye on this action, the latest an a long line of disputes between elderly band members who have metamorphosed from rock icons into cultural antiquities The trade mark can be seen here http://www.ipo.gov.uk/ohim?ohimnum=E3727369 http://ipkitten.blogspot.com/2009/06/who-owns-black-sabbath-trade-mark.html

Crosstown traffic – automatic reversion of music copyrights
Copyright , Music Publishing / July 2009
UK

COPYRIGHT Music publishing ARTICLE LINK –  Crosstown Music Company 1, LLC v Rive Droite Music Limited & ors [2009] EWHC 600. By Ed Baden-Powell, Solicitor at Michael Simkins LLP. Ed says “If you are buying some hit songs, it is a question – rather like when hitching an intergalactic ride – of knowing where your towel” (as Douglas Adams once said) adding “A recent case, Crosstown v Rive Droite, (2) upheld a reversion of copyright to songwriters – widely regarded as a bad move if you are a publisher.  This was despite the fact that the copyright in the songs concerned had already been assigned by the writers’ publisher, Rive Droite, to a third party, Crosstown.  Further, the writers did not serve the notices of breach that ultimately triggered the reversion until some ten months after the assignment. The case has been causing quite a stir in music publishing circles.  But, for publishers and purchasers of song catalogues, this is a case that should have “DON’T PANIC” written in large, friendly letters on the cover”. For the full article go tohttp://www.simkins.co.uk/ebulletins/ebpCrossTownTraffic.aspx  and the full article can also be found in the Entertainment Law Review (Volume 20 Issue 7).

Music sales put the FBI in a spin
Fraud , Internet / July 2009
UK
USA

FRAUD Internet A gang of chart savvy popsters who made allegedly made hundreds of thousands of pounds laundering money taken from stolen credit card by buying their own sound recordings from iTunes and Amazon have been arrested in a joint operation between Britain and the USA .  The gang are alleged to have made several songs which they gave to an online US company which  uploaded them to be sold online – and over five months they bought their own songs thousands of times, spending around $750,000 (£468,750) on 1,500 stolen US and UK credit cards. According to the Metropolitan Police and the FBI, the criminal network then allegedly reaped the royalties from the tracks, pulling in an estimated $300,000, paid over by the two sites. Both sites were unaware of the fraud being committed against them. A chart topping sixty officers from the Met’s central e-crime unit and West Midlands Police arrested seven men and three women in London, Birmingham, Kent and Wolverhampton who are being held on suspicion of conspiracy to commit fraud and money laundering. The Guardian report that Detective Chief Inspector Terry Wilson, of the e-crime unit, had this to say: “This has been a complex…

Television programme format rights – why pay when you can copy free?
Copyright / July 2009
EU
UK
USA

COPYRIGHT Television Television formats such as X-Factor or Britain’s Got Talent are extremely popular with audiences. Over the last decade, the UK has emerged as the world’s major format developer, accounting for between 20-50% of all format hours broadcast annually worldwide. Yet, there is no such thing as a television format right under copyright law. How then could format developers, such as Endemol or Fremantlemedia become multinational companies, licensing their programmes around the globe? For example, “Who wants to be a Millionaire” has been recreated in 108 territories while local versions of Idols have aired (over 129 series) in 42 territories receiving about three billion votes. Researchers from Bournemouth University have studied the exploitation of television formats under an ESRC grant as part of a joint business placement scheme with FremantleMedia, one of the major independent TV producers. The study has created a database of 59 reported format disputes between 1988 (when the issue of TV format rights first surfaced in the landmark legal case ofGreen v Broadcasting Corporation of New Zealand). The researchers then conducted semi-structured interviews with media sellers and buyers at three international television trade fairs (NATPE Las Vegas, DISCOP Budapest and ATF Singapore). The emerging patterns…

Milan Court orders website operators to forfiet more than €2.4 M for online music piracy
Copyright , Internet / July 2009
Italy

COPYRIGHT Internet An Italian judge has ordered the operators of online music pirate sites to forfeit more than €2.4 million following an investigation into copyright infringement.The ruling follows legal proceedings relating to a number of Italian websites that were used to offer unlicensed music for unlawful downloading. The websites had been the object of an investigation by the Italian Fiscal Police (GDF) back in 2003 with the support of the Federation against Music Piracy (FPM). This investigation led to the charging of more than 54 people throughout Italy, but was dropped as a result of the expiry of the relevant limitation period.  The Judge for Prelimary Investigations (GIP), however considered it had been proved that the offences had been committed and ordered the seizure and the destruction of the computers in question and the forfeiture of money that had been previously frozen by the Office of the Public Prosecutor amounting to more than €2.4 million. Source: www.ifpi.org / FIMI

German court awards a massive E24 million fine for fileshare site
Copyright , Internet / July 2009
Germany

COPYRIGHT Internet The Register reports that a German court has fined file-sharing service Rapidshare 24 million euros for copyright infringement in respect of 5,000 tracks which were shared through the site. In a case brought by GEMA, the court has held that it is the responsibility of the hosting service, and not the copyright owners, to ensure that copyright infringement was not taking place. http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/06/24/rapidshare_gema/

Victory for record industry in Jammie Thomas download case
Copyright , Internet , Record Labels / July 2009
USA

COPYRIGHT Record labels, internet The second run of the illegal file-sharing case against single mum of four Jammie Thomas-Rasset has ended with the same result as the first, finding the 32 year old Minnesota resident guilty of violating music copyrights and ordering her to pay hefty damages to the recording industry  – set by the federal jury at $80,00 per song – or $1.92 million in total. The award is substantially higher that the first case where penalties were set at ‘just’ $220,000. The Jury found that Thomas-Rasset has posted 24 songs on the Kazaa website so others could illegally download these – tracks included “Iris” by the Goo Goo Dolls and “Welcome to the Jungle” by Guns ‘n Roses. The action was one of 35,000 brought by the Recording Industry Association of America against people it claims were illegally sharing music before changing its policy in December but was then only case to go to trial (thus far) in the U.S. The case came back for a second trial after District Judge Michael J Davis dismissed the first verdict, saying he gave the jury incorrect instructions on what could constitute infringement – in effect what constituted distributing music files. Thomas-Rasset, whose lawyer claimed that she had tried to settle the case, said. “Now the record industry…

Santangelo case finally comes to a close
Copyright , Internet / June 2009
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet One of the longest running and highest profile fileswapping lawsuits pursued by the Recording Industry Association Of America (RIAA) has reached it’s final conclusion – probably to the relief of the RIAA whose former high profile campaign against individual file swappers has led to criticism and ridicule from consumers, industry commentators and musicians alike. The case is actually two cases, the first an action against Patricia Santangelo in 2005 after discovering that unlicensed music had been uploaded to a file-sharing network via her computer. Ms Santangelo defended herself in court and made it clear that she didn’t use the computer in question in any way. Attention then moved to Santangelo’s two children, Michelle and Robert, and eventually it became clear that it was they who did the file sharing via the internet connection registered in their mother’s name, although at one time a friend of the children was blamed. After asking the court to find Patricia Santangelo liable for the action’s of her then under eighteen year old children (a plea rejected by the court) the case was dismissed. The RIAA then began proceedings against Michelle and Robert. Michelle failed to respond to the lawsuit against her, and…

Taiwan brings in ‘three strikes’ law as the French version is finally approved
Copyright , Internet / June 2009
France
Sweden
Taiwan

COPYRIGHT Internet Taiwan’s legislature has passed an amendment to the island’s Copyright Act aimed at discouraging digital copyright infringement over peer-to-peer networks and increasing the responsibility of Internet Service Providers. The country has adopted the much debated ‘three strikes’ system where web users who continue to access unlicensed sources of content after receiving two warnings could lose their internet connections – or at least have them restricted. Whilst a number of countries have looked at this system, so far only France and New Zealand have implemented ‘three strikes’ as law. In France the much criticised proposals have now worked their way through the French parliament although in New Zealand the Government is still trying to work out how to implement their new and again much criticised law . The Taiwanese government has introduced the system in order to achieve it’s twin aims of cracking down on internet piracy – without flooding the courts with lawsuits from foreign content owners against the providers of file-sharing services or individual file-sharers. The courts in Taiwan are known to be overburdened. It seems the new law means that repeat offenders will have their internet access “restricted” rather than automatically cut off. That could mean…

Italy to take on the Pirates
Copyright , Internet / June 2009
Italy
Sweden

COPYRIGHT Internet Italian antipiracy campaigners have welcomed the recent Stockholm District Court convictions of the four founders of The Pirate Bay Web site, saying it should clear the way for a similar case under the Italian justice system. The Swedish court sentenced the Pirate Bay four, Peter Sunde Kolmisoppi, Fredrick Neij, Carl Lundstrom and Gottfrid Svartholm Warg  to one year in prison and a US$3.6 million fine for assisting copyright infringement. The verdict is subject to appeal. But now  Enzo Mazza, president of the Italian Music Industry Federation (FIMI) has said “An acquittal in Sweden could have created difficulties for the Italian prosecution. The guilty verdict will strengthen the hand of the prosecutor in Italy” and it seems that Giancarlo Mancusi, a public prosecutor in the northern town of Bergamo, is investigating The Pirate Bay’s founders for alleged violations of Italy’s copyright law, the first justice authority to take action against the Swedish Web site outside its home territory. Mancusi obtained a court order in August 2008 blocking access from Italian ISPs to all Pirate Bay addresses, but the ban was lifted on appeal two months later and is now due to be considered in September by the Court of Cassation. The FIMI president…

US puts Canada on the naughty step
Copyright / June 2009
Argentina
Canada
China
India
Indonesia
Israel
Pakistan
Russia
Thailand
USA

COPYRIGHT All areas The US has added Canada to a list of its top twelve of countries which persistently fail to protect intellectual property rights alongside China, Russia, Algeria, Argentina, Chile, India, Indonesia, Israel, Pakistan, Thailand and Venezuela  While there has been much criticism in the past from the US and elsewhere regarding Canada’s copyright laws, and their failure to take on physical bootleggers as well as the ever growing population of online pirates, it is the first time the Americans have put their Northern neighbours on their “priority watch list” of IP abusers. The report from the US Trade Representative that revealed Canada had been added to the watch list noted: “We urge Canada to enact legislation in the near term to strengthen its copyright laws and implement relevant World Intellectual Property Organisation treaties [which Canada signed up to over a decade ago but never incorporated into its copyright laws]. The United States also continues to urge Canada to improve its IP enforcement system to enable authorities to take effective action against the trade in counterfeit and pirated products within Canada, as well as curb the volume of infringing products transshipped and transiting through Canada”. Read more on ‘At…

Are the PRS charging workers and customers twice over?
Copyright , Music Publishing / June 2009
UK

COPYRIGHT Music Publishing Last month we had a number of emails from small businesses who had received telephone calls from the PRS asking whether they used music in their business or whether they played music in an area where the public might be admitted. And many had received letters to saying “If your staff or customers are listening to music on your premises, played by any means from live performance through to radio, TV, CD or via the internet, you need our music licence” . People asked “Really”? This follows on from our May Updates when we reported that police officers in Wiltshire had been told by their Chief Constable that they could not listen to music played publicly from radios, televisions, websites and MP3 players following a demand for payment of £23,000 from the Performing Rights Society. The PRS say the licence is required for all uses of music in all the Wiltshire force’s police stations, offices, canteens and communal staff areas such as gyms and the PRS said the demand is in line with the rate agreed with the Association of Chief Police. Wiltshire Police said the “playing of music by any means across the force” would “cease forthwith” and…

Winehouse the latest celeb to get pap injunction
Artists , Privacy / June 2009
UK

PRIVACY Artists Amy Winehouse has joined Lily Allen in getting an injunction to stop paparazzi from following her. The legal ruling specifically targets photographers affiliated to the London-based Big Pictures agency, though it also mentions “persons unknown” to include other photographers who frequent her private residence hoping to get a valuable photograph of the singer. The ruling means any photographer who stalks the singer or snaps pictures within 100 metres of her London home would breach the injunction and face court action. Sienna Miller had previously Big Pictures for harassment and invasion of privacy and won £53,000 in damages and costs and part of the court order forbade the agency’s photographers from pursuing the star. But the temptation remains for the paparazzi with the occasional headline grabbing shot raking in excess of £250,000 for the lucky photographer in an increasingly competitive pack of both professional and amateur snappers. From the Guardian 4th May 2009 Have celebrities finally snapped? http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2009/may/04/celebrities-paparazzi

Another claim against a Coldplay track
Copyright , Music Publishing / June 2009
UK
USA

COPYRIGHT Music Publishing Following on in the heels of Joe Satriani, Yusuf Islam (formerly Cat Stevens) is accusing Coldplay of plagiarism claiming that the lead track off the band’s most recent album, ‘Viva La Vida’, borrowed notes from his epic ‘Foreigner Suite’ for the newer song. He told that his son had drawn his attention to the similarities between the two songs, and admitted that he might taking legal action in relation to his copyright claim, but said he would wait to see how the Satriani action went first and said to the Sun (yes indeed)  “There’s been this argument about Coldplay stealing this melody from Joe Satriani,” adding “But, if you listen to it, it’s mine! It’s the Foreigner Suite. It is!”.  A spokesman for Coldplay maintains that ‘Viva La Vida’ was written solely by the band and indeed Will Champion, Coldplay’s drummer said “It’s tough when people accuse you of stealing something when you know that you didn’t … we’re confident we haven’t done anything wrong” adding “For some reason, God only knows why, the successful songs that seem to be the ones that are accused of being stolen …. so you go figure it out.” Despite these comments, Champion also seemed to accept the similarities between…

Has Carter dropped the UK’s planned Digital Rights Agency?
Copyright / June 2009
UK

COPYRIGHT All areas It seems that communications minister Lord Carter has dropped plans for a Digital Rights Agency in the face of criticism from the entertainment industries, consumer groups and internet service providers – but as IP minister David Lammy has recently been supportive of the role of the planned new Agency it is actually difficult to see exactly where this is going. As the proposed agency was only put forward in March’s Digital Britain report it seems another of the muddled and knee jerk reactions of the swirling world of New Labour policies. http://www.computing.co.uk/computing/news/2238505/government-issues-proposals http://www.computeractive.co.uk/computeractive/news/2240812/digital-rights-agency-never

Fender fail to register guitar shapes in USA
Trade Mark / June 2009
USA

TRADE MARK Technology The guitar manufacturer Fender, has failed in it’s appeal to register the shapes of three of its guitars as trade marks. The US Patent and Trade Mark Office held that that the shapes of the Stratocaster, Telecaster and Precision Bass guitars had been widely used by other guitar manufacturers for so long that Fender could no longer claim to hold rights in the shapes. The case was raised by seventeen guitar manufacturers, represented by lawyer and bassist Ron Bienstock, who is reported to have come across Fender’s trade mark application in 2003 whilst completing due diligence for a client. In a decision of 75 pages, with over twenty thousand pages of evidence, it was held that Fender had failed to acquire distinctiveness in the shapes through their use in the guitars. From http://www.shepwedd.co.uk/knowledge/article/986-2407/high-profile-music-disputes-create-feedback/email  Shepherd & Wedderburn’s Intellectual Property e-bulletin 6th May 2009.

US moves to ensure AM and FM radio pays to play
Copyright , Music Publishing / June 2009
USA

COPYRIGHT Broadcasting, Music Publishing The US has moved a step closer to ensuring artists get paid when their sound recordings are played on mainstream radio in the US when the the House Judiciary Committee approved a bill that would require ‘traditional’ AM and FM radio stations to pay artists for using their sound recordings. The Performance Rights Act cleared the committee by a vote of 21 to 9 and now moves to the full House for a vote. The committee also unanimously cleared the Webcasters Settlement Act, which deals with Internet music streaming. AM and FM radio stations currently pay nothing to performers (or their labels), arguing that exposure on their stations results in record sales for the artists featured. They do pay approximately $550 million in fees to songwriters each year, according to the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB). Internet radio stations, meanwhile, have been locked in a battle with copyright holders over how much they should pay to stream the same music over the Web, simultaneously complaining that their more established rivals have a distinct commercial advantage in avoiding payment for ‘needletime’. The Bill progressed after Committee Chair John Conyers offered a successful amendment to the Performance Rights…

Danger Mouse mixes up trouble
Copyright , Internet , Record Labels / June 2009
UK
USA

COPYRIGHT Record labels, internet Both the Register and the Electronic Frontier Foundation bring news that Danger Mouse, the US remixer who courted controversy (well copyright controversy) when he produced the innovative, un-cleared mash-up album titled The Grey Album which fused material from rapper Jay Z’s The Black Album and The Beatles’ The White Album, now seems to be suggesting that fans illegally download his next album which has yet to be released because of the artist’s ongoing row with EMI. The thing is, Danger Mouse HAS released the album – but it’s a blank recordable CD on to which buyers can – potentially – record illegally-downloaded versions of the album. The CDR is on sale in a package which includes a luxurious poster and a book of photographs by cult film director David Lynch and sells for $50. Danger Mouse has issued this statement saying: “Danger Mouse’s new project Dark Night Of The Soul consists of an album length piece of music by Danger Mouse, Sparklehorse and a host of guest vocalists, along with a collection of original DavidLynch photography inspired by and based on the music. The photographs, which provide a visual narrative for the music, are compiled in a limited edition, hand numbered 100+ page…

YouTube and ASCAP forced to the table
Copyright , Internet / June 2009
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet YouTube’s rather public spat with the music collection societies has reached the courts in the USA where a district court has ordered the internet portal to pay $1.61 million in back royalties to ASCAP and to then make payments of $70,000 each month (presumably until settlement is reached) as ‘on account’ remuneration for the societies’ songwriters whose work appears on the video website in the US. In Europe the position is more troubled – whilst YouTube does have an agreement to use premium videos in place with three of the four major record companies and many independent labels, the Google-owned video service has failed to get a deal done with the songwriter collecting societies – and after the much reported falling out with PRS For Music here in the UK and GEMA in Germany all premium videos were pulled (voluntarily by YouTube) from the site. The US judgment is a temporary settlement in place of a still being negotiated blanket license agreement for the use of ASCAP’s members’ music on the video site. The $1.61 million ordered for back royalties is a lot more than what YouTube had proposed they pay, though is about 13% of what the…

The ‘skinny tail’ of music downloading
Copyright , Internet , Record Labels / June 2009
EU
UK
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet, record labels A new report from Will Page, Chief Economist of PRS for Music and Eric Garland, CEO of digital research group Big Champagne hopes to lay to rest the theory of the long tail in copyright when it comes to music consumption – pointing out that whilst it was first thought that the long tail could be applied to the digital music world – where 20% of products would provide 80% of sales and 80% of products provide the remaining 20%, when it comes to music its actually a very very ‘skinny tail’, and that illegal download sites just reflect the popular mainstream. Page and Garland, who outlined their findings at the very civilized Great Escape conference in seaside Brighton on the 14th May, gave some interesting examples of the effect of both legitimate music industry practices and download sites in the digital sphere, pointing out that the Beatles sound recordings, which are not legally available anywhere in the digital realm, consistently top download charts. Using the fact that Lady Gaga’s latest hit Poker Face which topped the UK’s charts was illegally downloaded 388,000 times during one week of the Pirate Bay Trial alone, they said that consumer demands…

Culture, Media and Sport Committee publish report on the Licensing Act
Licensing , Live Events / June 2009
UK

LICENSING Live event industry The Culture, Media and Sport Committee have published their Sixth Report in Session 2008-09, The Licensing Act 2003(HC 492 examining the extent to which the benefits promised by the Licensing Act 2003 have been achieved, and assessesing whether the Act works well in practice. It makes a number of recommendations to improve the legislation in areas such as the performance of live music (where it feels regulations should be relaxed, the licensing of sporting and not-for-profit clubs, the provision of Temporary Event Notices (TENs), licences for moveable entertainments such as circuses and the process of licensing lap dancing clubs. Live music and entertainment: The Report expresses concern at the linkage of live music and public order issues by the Act and its accompanying guidance. In the Committee’s view music should not automatically be treated as a disruptive activity, which will inevitably lead to nuisance and disorder. The Report recommends that the Government should exempt venues with a capacity of 200 persons or fewer from the need to obtain a licence for the performance of live music. It also recommends the reintroduction of the two-in-a-bar exemption, enabling venues of any size to put on a performance of non-amplified…

New PRS music streaming rates announced
EU
UK

COPYRIGHT Music Publishing, internet PRS for Music has announced the rates for streaming services for its new Online Music Licences which come into effect on 1 July. After a wide-ranging seven month consultation period with key stakeholders, major and independent music publishers and the wider industry, the new rates were approved by the PRS for Musicboard on 20 May. The key changes are: An increase in the headline royalty rate for on demand streaming services from 8% to 10.5% (in exchange for the per stream minimum being reduced from 0.22p to 0.085p) The new Online Music Licences replace the previous Joint Online Licence Because the Joint Online Licence is expiring, current licensees will need to sign to the new licences from 1 July.   The changes to the streaming rates follow the announcement on 1 May that rates for download services and services funded by subscription will remain the same. See www.prsformusic.com and http://the1709blog.blogspot.com/2009/05/on-demand-streaming-royalties-and-ad.html  and http://www.mi2n.com/press.php3?press_nb=120080

EU welcomes SACEM’s pan-European ambition
EU

COMPETITION Music publishing The European Union Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes has welcomed progress in the music collection society sector on the provision of pan-European licences for digital music after French collecting society SACEM said they are ready to entrust other collecting societies with their repertoire for pan-European licensing, while offering to represent other societies’ repertoire on a non-exclusive basis. European officials have been in conflict with the collecting society community because of the lack of pan-European licences. Officials say that a system whereby providers of digital music services must get a separate licence from each national collecting society is anti-competitive, because the collecting society in each territory effectively has a monopoly, that pan-European licences would make it easier to launch a pan-European digital music service and that such licences would force the societies Europe to compete with each other, thus ending the monopoly concerns.  Commenting on those and other developments, Kroes said “There is a clear willingness expressed by major players in the online distribution of music in Europe to tackle the many barriers which prevent consumers from fully benefiting from the opportunities that the internet provides. I therefore encourage the major players, in particular publishers and collecting societies, to…

Article: WHERE NEXT IN THE FIGHT AGAINST TICKET TOUTS?:
Articles / May 2009

Click here to download this article as a PDF file (.pdf) Update 28/05/09: Depeche Mode ticket re-sales banned in Germany CMU daily (28/05/08) reports that a German court has banned a secondary ticketing website from selling tickets to the upcoming Depeche Mode tour in the country. Promoter  Marek Lieberberg,  took ticketing portal Ventic, owned by Dutch company Smartfox Media, to court after they began reselling tickets for Depeche Mode gigs which they had bought off the promoter’s company, or third parties. The lawsuit was based on the fact the terms and conditions attached to the tickets ban their resale, which, therefore, technically speaking puts Ventic, and any third parties they represent, in breach of contract and because Ventic hid their intent to re-sell when buying from official sites and so they were also guilty of “fraudulent purchase”. A Munich court backed Lieberberg’s claims this week, and served an injunction ordering Ventic to stop the resale of tickets to the German leg of the Depeche Mode tour. Welcoming the ruling, Lieberberg told Billboard: “This decision is the first small step toward the long overdue regulation of ticket sales and the restriction of black market trading. Our aim must be to prevent professional ticket auctions and unacceptable commissions…

Term extension plans stumble and fall – and then rise from the ashes as the European Parliament comes to the rescue
EU
UK

COPYRIGHT  Record labels, artists The British music industry’s attempts to extend the recording copyright from the current 50 years, possibly to as much as 95 years, were dealt a blow at the end of March after the UK pushed for greater clarity in the workings of a ‘session fund’ to ensure musicians (rather than just record labels) benefit form the term extension need to be debated. EU Minister Charlie McCreevy, who put the original extension proposals forward at a European level, included provisions to ensure that musicians benefited from the extension, mainly by increasing the royalties that are automatically paid to artists and session musicians oblivious of contractual arrangements once the initial fifty year term is up (currently in the UK, the only royalties musicians have an automatic right to is a share of broadcast royalties collected by PPL). McCreevy proposed a ‘session fund’ into which a cut of fifty-year plus royalty revenues are paid, which are then distributed to musicians involved in those recordings. The UK’s IP Minister David Lammy has made it clear that it is the musicians who he cares about and the UK Government is adamant that the fund system must be properly set up. A…

New Swedish anti-piracy laws triggers a thirty three percent drop in internet use and legal downloads might have doubled
Copyright , Internet / May 2009
France
Norway
Sweden

COPYRIGHT Internet It’s been good and bad news for record labels, film companies, music publishers and other content owners in April as legislators in two European countries finally began to tackle the problem of internet piracy and peer-2-peer file swapping. First up French lawmakers moved a step closer to passing a “three strikes” law under which people who repeatedly pirate music, movies or TV shows could have their Internet connections cut off for up to year. On the 2nd April  the National Assembly voted in favor of key elements of the law on April 2nd but whilst The Senate have passed the President Sarkozy supported Creation and Internet law, the French initiative stalled at the last hurdle when the National Assembly then failed to pass the legislation on the 9th April. Despite this setback it is expected the bill to pass possibly as early as April 29th and possibly in an amended form: When passed, France would be the first in the world to cut off Internet access to people accused of copyright violations although consumer groups and human rights activists oppose the move: some consumer groups had warned that the wrong people might be punished – should hackers hijack…

Swedish Court find Pirate Bay four guilty but now the judge is in the spotlight!
Copyright , Internet / May 2009
Sweden

COPYRIGHT Internet The Stockholm District Court in Sweden has found the four men behind the infamous Swedish BitTorrent tracking site The Pirate Bay guilty of assisting copyright infringement. Each has been sentenced to one year in jail. Peter Sunde Kolmisoppi, Frederik Neij, Gottfrid Svartholm Warg and millionaire donor Carl Lundström must pay SEK 30 million (£2.41 million) in damages. After the three week trial in Mark the court ruled (17th April) that the four were responsible for “promoting other people’s infringements of copyright laws”. The defendants have said they will appeal to Sweden’s Supreme Court and possibly onwards to the European Courts. The international music industry welcomed the judgment and IFPI Chairman and CEO, John Kennedy, said “The trial of the operators of The Pirate Bay was about defending the rights of creators, confirming the illegality of the service and creating a fair environment for legal music services that respect the rights of the creative community. Today’s verdict is the right outcome on all three counts. The court has also handed down a strong deterrent sentence that reflects the seriousness of the crimes committed.  This is good news for everyone, in Sweden and internationally, who is making a living or a business from…

The Pirate Bay trial – an important victory?
Copyright / May 2009
Sweden

COPYRIGHT ARTICLE   By Tim O’Shea, Solicitor, Michael Simkins LLP   Last week’s conviction of the four men behind rogue BitTorrent tracker The Pirate Bay has been widely applauded by the music and film industries. The Stockholm District Court convicted the defendants of aiding and abetting breaches of copyright by facilitating the making available of copyrighted material via The Pirate Bay service. The defendants were sentenced to one year in prison and ordered to pay SEK30million (£2.5million) in compensation to various rightsholder groups. The trial The Pirate Bay site enables internet users to find and exchange files. Its user-friendly interface and search function enables other users to search for specific content or to browse organised lists of music tracks, films, games and other content. It also provides a number of related “trackers” that assist users in connecting to listed content and downloading it. The case was a criminal prosecution. Initially the defendants were charged with direct infringement (in addition to the charges of aiding and abetting for which they were convicted). An early coup for the defendants came when the charges relating to direct infringement were dropped by the prosecution shortly after the trial began. The individuals based their defence on the following…

Prison term for Spanish links site operator
Copyright , Internet / May 2009
Spain

COPYRIGHT Internet A Spanish court has jailed a man for running a website that provided links to unlicensed music content. In an earlier case a Spanish court had held that Spain’s copyright laws did not cover websites that enable others to infringe – unless they were profit making. Now a court has ruled that whilst Adrian Gomez Llorente did not make money from direct pay-per-download fees or host content he did make a profit from his website through advertising and SMS services and thus was guilty of infringing. Llorente received six months in jail and a 4900 euro fine for operating his website. As Llorente has no prior criminal record it seems likely that he will avoid actually serving time in prison.http://www.afterdawn.com/news/archive/17542.cfm

U.S. District Court Judge Rules Provision of Copyright Act Violates First Amendment
Copyright / May 2009
USA

COPYRIGHT  All areas A federal judge in Colorado has upheld a challenge to the United States Copyright Act brought by Stanford Law School’s Center for Internet and Society. U. S. District Court Judge Lewis T. Babcock of Colorado ruled in Golan v. Holder that section 104A of the Copyright Act violates the First Amendment insofar as it suppresses parties’ rights to keep using works they began using when those works were in the public domain. The lawsuit was originally filed in 2001 on behalf of several music conductors, sellers of classical music and film distributors who rely upon works in the public domain for their trade. These works were produced by foreign authors and for varying reasons lost copyright protection in the U.S. prior to the enactment of section 104A, which Congress passed in 1994 in an effort to comply with the Berne Convention, an international treaty protecting copyright owners’ rights. Section 104A restored copyrights to the foreign authors and removed the works from the public domain, forcing the plaintiffs—who previously used the works royalty-free—to either pay to use the works or cease using them. In a 2005 ruling, Judge Babcock initially rejected the First Amendment argument. However, upon appeal, the U.S….

EMI links with lotteries for digital prizes
Copyright , Record Labels / May 2009
USA

COPYRIGHT Record labels The start of April heralded an interesting new move by record labels to find new ways to monsetize copyrights when  EMI announced that they had entered into a deal with a leading US based lottery company that will see musical prizes such as downloads, ringtones, merchandise and ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ experiences added as prizes on scratch card based lottery promotions. The major’s partner is Pollard Banknote, which runs 45 lotteries around the world.  Confirming the partnership, Pollard Banknote’s Sina Aiello told reporters: “Lotteries all over the world will now have the ability to work with EMI Music’s entire digital roster of music from today’s stars and legendary artists as a marketing tool to create an emotional connection with fans in the coveted 18- to 35-year-old demographic. We are pleased to offer our customers a vast, new array of compelling instant prize and second chance draw options that will really resonate with music fans”. EMI Music Services’ Ronn Werre added: “Adding music as a prize element to a lottery program is an entirely new and exciting enterprise. This was the result of a great collaboration between Pollard Banknote – a very creative and innovative partner – and EMI’s Brand Partnership…

China gets new ad sponsored Google music service
China

COPYRIGHT Record labels, internet Google, the four major music labels and 14 independent labels have launched an ad-supported music service in China in an attempt to make online music profitable there. The venture will have to compete with the numerous search engines which link users to illegally hosted free files but Google hopes that the new service will make it even easier for users to find what they want online while ensuring artists get paid for their work. The service is run through the partially-Google-owned Top110.cn which is responsible for selling advertising space and dividing revenues between the music labels. The site will be limited to users with IP address in mainland China. The move follows a numb er of legal actins brought by both the Music Copyright Society of China and the IFPI against leading Chinese search engines including Baidu and Yahoo – which have had mixed results in the Chinese courts. http://arstechnica.com/media/news/2009/03/china-gets-ad-supported-music-through-google.ars

Sampling creates controversy in music industry
USA

COPYRIGHT Record industry, artists, music publishing ARTICLE LINK  By Ott Tammik  Dailyemerald.com. (University of Oregon) Is music sampling without permission simply copyright theft – or is there more to this debate? This article details a new film Copyright Criminals: This is a Sampling Sport which hopefully adds to this to the ongoing tension between what many see as a legitimate transformative art and others see as illegal sampling. http://media.www.dailyemerald.com/media/storage/paper859/news/2009/04/13/Features/Sampling.Creates.Controversy.In.Music.Industry-3707371.shtml

UK copyright laws “the worst” and ‘the most out of date’ says new report – but are they?
Copyright / May 2009
UK

COPYRIGHT All areas UK copyright laws “needlessly criminalise” music fans and need to be updated and Consumer Focus say that UK laws that make it a copyright violation to copy a CD that you own onto a computer or iPod should be changed. The call came after global umbrella group Consumers International put the UK in last place in a survey of 16 countries’ copyright laws. Consumer Focus said the UK had to catch up with the rest of the world.  “UK copyright law is the oldest, but also the most out of date,” said Ed Mayo, chief executive of Consumer Focus. “The current system puts unrealistic limits on our listening and viewing habits and is rapidly losing credibility among consumers. A broad ‘fair use’ exception would bring us in line with consumer expectations, technology and the rest of the world”.  Consumer Focus point out that whilst it is currently a copyright violation in the UK to rip a CD that you own on to your PC or iPod, over half (55%) of British consumers admit to doing it and three in five (59%) think this type of copying is perfectly legal. The watchdog’s call was backed by digital rights…

Tenenbaum case now won’t be streamed live
Copyright , Internet / May 2009
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet The Recording Industry Association Of American’s litigation campaign against student Joel Tenenbaum will not be webcast after all. The US Court Of Appeals For The First Circuit have ruled that the case should not be webcast. The judge overseeing the case said the event could be broadcast on the internet, but the RIAA appealed that ruling, and yesterday won. The First Circuit ruling only applies to a specific hearing at the start of the court case, but experts say the principle will be applied to the whole case. CMU Daily 17 April 2009

EMI – a deal that struck a discordant note
Business , Record Labels / May 2009
UK

BUSINESS Record labels ARTICLE LINK:  On the day it was announced that Pink Floyd are taking legal action against EMI over the alleged underpayment of royalties and join a long list of dissatisfied artists including Radiohead and Paul McCartney, Simon Bowers looks at Terra Firma’s acquisition of the troubled major label and asks “Guy Hands called securitisation the crack cocaine of finance, so why didn’t he kick the habit” The Observer (Business, p9) 19th April 2009 http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2009/apr/19/emi-securitisation-guy-hands

Imagen buys Rodgers and Hammerstein catalogue
Business , Music Publishing / May 2009
UK
USA

BUSINESS Music Publishing Imagem Music Group, owned by ABP, the Dutch pension fund, which has already bought up some of the pop catalogues of the now defunct BMG Music Publishing, and prominent classical publisher Boosey & Hawkes, has announced it has acquired the Rodgers & Hammerstein Organisation which owns and administers all the songs and musicals written by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II – which includes the likes of ‘Oklahoma!’, ‘Carousel’, ‘South Pacific’, ‘The King And I’ and ‘The Sound Of Music’ – as well as the works of over 200 other writers, including many other stage musicals. They also currently represent Andrew Lloyd Webber’s catalogue of tunes in North America. The deal will see Imagem take ownership of both the Rodgers & Hammerstein catalogues, and its New York based business operations. The publisher’s existing management team, including President Theodore S Chapin, will continue to run the company. The Times  21 April 2009.

Wiltshire police finally ban all music
Copyright / May 2009
UK

COPYRIGHT All areas Wiltshire’s police managed to engineer the cancellation of Moonfest last year but now police officers in Wiltshire have been told by their Chief Constable that they cannot listen to music played publicly from radios, televisions, websites and MP3 players following a demand for payment of £23,000 from the Performing Rights Society.  The PRS licence is required for all uses of music in all the Wiltshire force’s police stations, offices, canteens and communal staff areas such as gyms and the PRS said the demand is in line with the rate agreed with the Association of Chief Police Officers and that the majority of police forces in the UK had agreed to licence music. However, Wiltshire Police said the “playing of music by any means across the force” would “cease forthwith” and that the licence fee money would be better spent on policing, and added that it was forced to impose the music ban “to avoid being liable to charges”. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/politics/lawandorder/5159612/Police-force-bans-music-following-licence-fee-row.html

Brooker v Fisher reaches House of Lords
UK

COPYRIGHT Music publishing The dispute over the songwriting and royalties of the UK’s most played record, Procul Harum’s A Whiter Shade of Palehas reached the House of Lords. Matthew Fisher, who played the organ on the track, claims he is entitled to a share of royalties dating back to 1967. In 2006, the High Court ruled he was entitled to 40% the copyright, but that decision was overturned by the Court of Appeal last year with Lord Justice Mummery ruling that Mr Fisher, now a computer programmer from Croydon, south London, was “guilty of excessive and inexcusable delay in asserting his claim” saying “He silently stood by and acquiesced in the defendant’s commercial exploitation of the work for 38 years”. Mr Brooker’s solicitor, Lawrence Abramson, has said that if the law Lords overturn the Court of Appeal’s ruling, the implications for the music industry could be severe. He said it would open up the prospect of countless claims from musicians who felt their contribution to a song had been overlooked in some way, regardless of past contracts. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/8012303.stm

Are the new digital music business models already broken beyond repair?
Copyright , Internet / April 2009
UK

COPYRIGHT Internet At the beginning of April an almighty row broke out between Google owned YouTube and the UK’s PRS for Music which was escalated after the online site took down all “premium” music videos saying that it had been unable to reach a rights deal with the main songwriters’ collection society. Youtube said the PRS, who represent British songwriters and music publishers, was asking it to pay “many, many times” more than the previous licensing agreement that has expired. “The costs are simply prohibitive for us – under PRS’s proposed terms, we would lose significant amounts of money with every playback,” the company said in a blog on Monday saying that the move was a “painful decision” as they argue that potential advertising revenues would never be enough to pay PRS’s proposed rate. PRS argue that YouTube are using the licence renewal to try and pay less money, while adding that they are basing their royalty demands on rates set by the UK Copyright Tribunal on digital royalties.  The move is the latest sign of the tension between YouTube and the music industry as both sides try to develop workable business models for the digital age – but also…

US Radio royalty rate row rumbles on
Copyright , Record Labels / April 2009
USA

COPYRIGHT Record labels, radio Traditionally US radio stations, unlike their European counterparts, haven’t had to pay the owners of sound recordings (usually record companies) to play recorded music, arguing that the exposure on radio benefits the recording artists and record labels by stimulating record sales. But moves are afoot to introduce a statutory royalty and Smashing Pumpkins front man Billy Corgan made a rare public appearance in his rock-star-goes-to-Washington suit and tie to face questions by the House Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill where Corgan spoke out in favor of a bill that would require broadcasters to compensate performers for radio airplay of their songs saying that it was simply unfair that artists, and their labels, received nothing from radio stations which had built their entire businesses around music the labels and artists had, respectively, funded and created adding saying: “I was able to find an audience, in no small measure, because of the long support of my music by terrestrial radio. I am a big fan of radio, and am very interested in its continued health and well being. Terrestrial radio has helped me to discover many of the artists that became influential to my life and artistic pursuits….

Are Universal being shady on digital royalties?
Artists , Contract , Record Labels / April 2009
USA

CONTRACT Artists, record labels By Cassandra Williams, postgraduate student at the College of Law There is currently a battle being fought over the rate of royalties an artist should receive for online sales.    A Los Angeles jury said the record company doesn’t have to pay producers more for songs sold online, upholding the music industry’s business model.  This decision prevents an upheaval of the music industry that would have greatly changed the financial relationship between labels and artists. Mark and Jeff Bass, brothers who own F.B.T. Productions, involved in the rapper’s early works, including his 1999 Grammy-winning album, “The Slim Shady LP,” sued Universal Music Group’s Interscope Records, accusing the music label of underpaying them on royalty payments for music downloads and mobile ring tones. The FBT v Universal case centres on the level of digital royalties that are due to artists and their collaborators. Record companies treat digital sales like physical sales, and pay artists a cut of revenue as a royalty – 12% in this case. FBT argued that digital sales are more similar to licensing deals where record companies licence the use of their recordings rather than selling actual copies. The Bass brothers, said their contract entitled…

French piracy bill accused of ‘Big Brother’ policies
Copyright , Internet / April 2009
France

COPYRIGHT Internet The French government has been accused of “Big Brother” tactics over an anti-piracy bill which aims to punish people who repeatedly illegally download music and films by cutting off their internet access for up to a year. The proposed law, championed by President Nicolas Sarkozy, will be debated in parliament this week, will create a new state surveillance agency to monitor internet users online. Web surfers illegally downloading music, films or video games will be identified and they will first receive an email warning, then a registered letter, and if caught again they will see their web access cut off for up to a year. The culture minister, Christine Albanel, has argued that France is “the world number one” in illegal downloading. In 2006, an estimated 1bn pirated files were shared in France. A recent poll found 57% of 18-24 year-olds admitted they had made illegal downloads and one in three French internet users admitted to online piracy. Although the senate has passed the bill, a heated row over civil liberties is expected as parliament debates the law this week. Christian Paul, a Socialist MP leading opposition to the law, said it would create a precedent for “massive…

Canada looks at the legality of torrent sites
Copyright , Internet / April 2009
Canada

COPYRIGHT Internet As the Swedish courts consider the Pirate Bay case a judge in British Columbia has refused to rule in favour of a major BitTorrent tracker without a full trial to consider the legalities of what the service does after the owner of one of the most popular Torrent indexing services, isoHunt, which provides links to over 1.5 million BitTorrent sources of content, much of it unlicensed, went to court himself to ask for a ruling that his operation did not contravene the country’s copyright laws. Such a ruling would, of course, stop the record companies from taking action against him, and would presumably help him raise investment and sell advertising. The defence raised in Sweden was that a BitTorrent site hosts no illegal content itself, only potentially linking to illegal (and legal) content. The British Columbia Supreme Court Judge Victor Curtis has not ruled that Fung is acting illegally, but refused to provide the declaration the Torrent man requested, saying a full trial would be required to assess the legal status of isoHunt. Judge Curtis also raised some concerns regarding the service, comparing isoHunt to a gun seller saying that Fung, like a gun dealer, isn’t liable whenever…

Disappointed Miley Cyrus fanclub members win lawsuit
Artists , Contract / April 2009
USA

CONTRACT Artists Miley Cyrus’ fanclub has been ordered to extend the memberships of 700 Pennsylvanian fans free of charge as part of a settlement relating to complaints that they were not given promised priority access to tickets for a sold out show in Pittsburgh in January 2008, despite possibly being led to believe they would be. Nashville-based Interactive Marketing will also have to pay a $20,000 fine and put a notice on the fanclub’s website explaining that paying for membership does not guarantee early access to tickets. Although it agreed to the settlement, the company maintains that it did nothing wrong. CMU Daily www.thecmuwebsite.com