Reznor has his say on ticketing (as does almost everyone at the ILMC)
Artists , Live Events / April 2009
UK
USA

TICKETING Artists, live music industry The secondary ticket market (or scalping, or dynamic pricing, “lateness tax” or whatever you want to call it, basically the re-sale of tickets at marked up prices by one method or another) was much discussed at ILMC (see our news pages from the ILMC) and one on which Trent Reznor has had a lot to say too writting a long rant on the issue making some very interesting claims about how some promoters, managers and maybe even artists are using the secondary market themselves so they can make more money from ticket sales without being seen to hike up prices too much with Reznor sayiong “The ticketing marketplace for rock concerts shows a real lack of sophistication, meaning this: the true market value of some tickets for some concerts is much higher than what the act wants to be perceived as charging”. Because artists don’t want to come across as “greedy pricks” by charging higher prices, he claims, “the venue, the promoter, the ticketing agency and often the artist camp (artist, management and agent) take tickets from the pool of available seats and feed them directly to the re-seller … there is money to be…

Guns n Roses uploader could get six moths jail
Copyright , Record Labels / April 2009
USA

COPYRIGHT Record labels Kevin Cogill, who leaked Guns N Roses’ ‘Chinese Democracy’ onto the internet ahead of its release last year, could get a six month jail term if the FBI get their way. Wired magazine report that federal prosecutors want Kevin Cogill to get a six month prison sentence with prosecutor Craig Missakian saying “Making a pre-release work available to the worldwide public over the internet where it can be copied without limit is arguably one of the more insidious forms of copyright infringement”. Cogill could also face a $371,622 fine. Sentencing is set for May 4th. http://blog.wired.com/27bstroke6/2009/03/feds-demand-6-m.html

Lily gets pap protection
Artists , Privacy / April 2009
UK

PRIVACY Artists Legal firm Carter-Ruck have been awarded two injunctions from the High Court under the Protection From Harassment Act in a bid to stop the paparazzi from following Lily Allen following an incident when one photographers’s car collided with Lily’s own car as she left her London home. The injunction orders two photo agencies, Big Pictures and Matrix Photos, and one specific photographer to make undertakings in court to not harass Allen in the future. Mr Justice Eady also issued an injunction “restraining further harassment” by other paparazzi photographers meaning that anyone considered a paparazzi cannot approach Allen within 100 metres of her home, photograph her at her home or the houses of her family and friends, or pursue her by road. http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2009/mar/16/lily-allen-given-legal-protrection-from-paparazzi

AEG may have to ‘self insure’ Jackson dates
Contract , Live Events / April 2009
UK

CONTRACT Live music Industy The insurance industry is taking a pragmatic view of Michael Jackson’s 50 date sell out run at London’s O2 (which may be extended) with a near universal reluctance to insure against cancellation and the £300 million resultant bill from a full cancellation. The Daily Telegraph quote AEG chief Randy Phillips as saying: “We would be prepared to self-insure to make up the dates. It’s a risk we’re willing to take to bring the King of Pop to his fans”. http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2009/mar/16/michael-jackson-o2-arena-insurance

Crosstown Music Company v Rive Droite Music Ltd and others [2009] EWHC 600 (Ch)
Copyright , Music Publishing / April 2009
UK

COPYRIGHT Music Publishing From the IP Kat “Here’s a tricky case”:  A couple of songwriters assign their copyrights to a company that is obliged to exploit those copyrights commercially.  The deal contains a clause that enables the songwriters to get their copyright back if the company is in material breach of its obligations.  The company then assigns the copyrights to another company, following which the songwriters want their copyright back. Do they get it? Yes, according to Crosstown Music Company v Rive Droite Music Ltd and others, a decision of Mr Justice Mann (Chancery Division, England and Wales) on Wednesday, Crosstown took an assignment of 119 copyrights owned by Rive Droite. Some of those copyrights related to songs written by Taylor and Barry, who assigned the copyright in their compositions to Rive Droite so that the latter could exploit the copyright and pay them royalties under an agreement which provided (in clause 18(a)) that, if Rive Droite were to be in material breach of its terms and failed to take all reasonable action to remedy that breach within 45 (in Taylor’s case) or 60 (in Barry’s case) days of written notification of a ‘cure notice’, the assigned copyright would revert to…

Exotic dancers fees are dramatic performances for tax purposes
Artists , Licensing , Taxation / April 2009
USA

LICENSING / TAXATION Artists ARTICLE LINK:  A US judge has held that pole dancing does constitute a dramatic or artistic performance and thus cover charges imposed by an Albany-area strip club are not subject to state sales taxes. Administrative Law Judge Catherine M. Bennett determined that Nite Moves in Latham, N.Y., qualifies for the “dramatic arts” sales tax exemption under state Tax law 1105(f)(1) after reviewing DVDs of exotic dancers, including material taken from the Internet site PoleJunkies.com, and hearing testimony from a University of Maryland dance scholar. The article in full can be found at http://www.law.com/jsp/article.jsp?id=1202429430789&Fees_for_Strippers_Art_Found_Exempt_From_Sales_Tax

OINK uploaders receive low level community sentences in the UK as the Pirates go to court
Copyright , Internet / March 2009
UK

COPYRIGHT Internet Four of the most prominent uploaders of illegal content to the OiNK BitTorrent tracker service have been sentenced for the various copyright infringement charges to which they had pleaded guilty in December. The sentences at Teesside Crown Court are at the low end of the community sentence spectrum – even after a reduction for the guilty plea: Steven Diprose got 180 hours community service and was ordered to pay £378 court costs, Michael Myers was ordered to pay a £500 fine, a third uploader three got 100 hours community service and £378 costs and a fourth got 50 hours community service and £378 costs. The case Alan Ellis who is alleged to have been one of the main organisers of the service, is ongoing and will return to court in March. Meanwhile in Sweden four men behind the now infamous BitTorrent tracker The Pirate Bay – Fredrik Neij, Gottfrid Svartholm Warg, Peter Sunde Kolmisoppi and Carl Lundström are finally facing copyright infringement charges. The key to the defence will be the way the Pirate Bay works; the site hosts no files itself, merely providing links to pirated content. Elsewhere internet service providers in Denmark are awaiting a decision…

Frank Zappa’s window loses Zappanale case
Live Events , Trade Mark / March 2009
Germany

TRADE MARK Live events industry The widow of Frank Zappa has failed to stop a German festival using her husband’s name and image. As previously reported, Gail Zappa and her family trust had sued the owners of a German Frank Zappa fan club over their annualZappanale Festival, demanding that they stop using the family’s name and remove a bronze sculpture of the avant-garde musician from the town where the fest takes place. They also sued for 250,000 euros in damages. The court in Dusseldorf has thrown out Zappa’s case, ruling that organisers of Zappanale can continue to use that name, plus the late musician’s image in its branding and on its merchandise holding that such use did not violate any of Gail Zappa’s rights. The widow’s case was seemingly weakened because she could not prove she used Zappa’s name and image herself in Germany, and also because she had known about the event since its launch in 1990 (three years before her husband’s death) and had only chosen to take action in 2008. Thomas Dippel, who runs the fan club who promote the festival, told reporters: “We have always been certain that we have the older rights. We have also patented (trade…

UK publishes ‘Digital Britain’ interim report
Copyright / March 2009
UK

COPYRIGHT All areas Stephen Carter’s interim report on Digital Britain has just been published and the full document with annexes can be found at http://www.culture.gov.uk/what_we_do/broadcasting/5631.aspx. The UK Government has become fairly obsessed with regulatory authorities and building on the recent ‘memorandum of understanding’ between leading Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and copyright owners a new report proposes a new anti piracy agency to stamp out music and film piracy in broadband Britain. The report, an ‘interim’ version of Digital Britain has 22 recommendations covering areas such as universal access to broadband and the future of digital radio, but the section dedicated to rights and distribution will be the part of the report that is being scrutinised by the music industry and the ISPs. By the time the final document is published in late spring, the government says that it will have “explored with interested parties the potential for a Rights Agency to bring industry together to agree how to provide incentives for legal use of copyright material; work together to prevent unlawful use by consumers which infringes civil copyright law; and enable technical copyright-support solutions that work for both consumers and content creators”. The approach is described as “civil enforcement of copyright” agreed by distributors and rights-holders. Such an agency would…

REM launch action against Hej Matematik
Copyright , Music Publishing / March 2009
Denmark
USA

COPYRIGHT Music publishing A copyright dispute between Danish pop duo Hej Matematik and REM may backfire on the US band after REM’s label Warners filed an action against Hej Matematik’s Copenhagen Records of blatantly copying R.E.M.’s recent offering ‘Supernatural Superserious’ in a track ‘Walkmand’. As a consequence Hej Matematik are now blocked from uploading their new song ‘Walkmand’ to YouTube and MySpace. The twist is that the duo’s ‘Walkmand’ is a cover version of a 1980s Danish hit by Danish singer Michael Hardinger. Hardinger reportedly approves of Hej Matematik’s interpretation. R.E.M.’s song ‘Supernatural Superserious’ on the other hand appears to first have been released in February 2008. Nicolaj Rasted, one of the members of Hej Matematik, is cited as saying: “We really can’t hear the similarity ourselves and if there’s any at all, then it would be that ‘Walkmand’ originated from a sample of Michael Hardinger’s ‘Walk, Mand!!’ from 1981.” Hej Matematik’s is now reportedly trying to settle the matter with R.E.M. and Warner Music. The Copenhagen Post reports that angry Hej Matematik supporters are now flooding YouTube with negative comments. The IPKat has just noticed that busy Hej Matematik fans have already ‘amended’ the Wikipedia entry for ‘Supernatural Superserious’…

Was Vivaldi’s lost composition actually published in 1733?
Copyright , Music Publishing / March 2009
Germany
Italy

COPYRIGHT Music publishing In a case concerning a lost composition by Italian composer Antonio Vivaldi, who died in 1741, the German Federal Supreme Court (Bundesgerichtshof) has clarified the concept of ‘published’ and indeed ‘not published’ under section 71 German Copyright Act. The claimant in the proceedings was the Sing-Akademie zu Berlin, which owns an archive of handwritten manuscripts of musical compositions. In 2002, the long lost music sheets of the Vivaldi opera ‘Motezuma‘ were discovered in the Berlin archive. The question arose whether or not the work had been first published in or around 1733 (when a premiere took place). The court found that while the opera’s libretto was still available after the premiere, the music had been considered as lost. After the original handwritten composition was discovered in the Berlin archives, the claimant decided to publish and sell reprints of the original handwritten musical sheets. The claimant was of the view it had full copyright to the opera, contending that it was the first publisher of the first edition (‘editio princeps’) of this posthumous work and as such should be entitled to the exclusive exploitation rights to this ‘posthumous work’ under Article 71 which provides that “…any person who causes a work which has not previously…

EU Legal Committee approves 95 year copyright term for sound recordings
Artists , Copyright , Record Labels / March 2009
EU
UK

COPYRIGHT Record labels, artists The European Parliament’s Legal Affairs Committee has given its backing to the proposal to extend the term in sound recordings to 95 years from the current 50 year term. Despite this, some UK commentators remain lukewarm about the proposal and ministers remain unconvinced. The UK government’s 2006 Gowers Report said there was no case for more than fifty years of copyright on recordings although late last year Culture Secretary Andy Burnham said Britain would support an extension, though to 70 rather than 95 years. Now IP Minister David Lammy has said that debate and compromise would be needed before the EU’s Council Of Ministers could pass copyright extension proposals saying at a recent meeting at the Houses Of Parliament that while he and his colleagues had now accepted the case for extension, “opinions on this vary across Europe – so there needs to be some canny footwork to make this happen”. He repeated that the UK Government will only support an extension to 70 years saying that was sufficient to protect musician and performers saying “While the UK believes that performers should be protected throughout their lifetime, a period of 95 years goes beyond what is…

Weedman case against Lil Jon thrown out again
USA

COPYRIGHT Record labels, music publishing A freelance musician called Redwin Wilchcombe has failed in his second attempt to sue Lil Jon & The Eastside Boyz over the song ‘Weedman’, which appeared on the 2002 album ‘Kings of Crunk’. Wilchcombe has claimed that he co-created the track, and argues that he is therefore due a royalty share from it. He previously unsuccessfully sued for both copyright infringement and breach of fiduciary duty, but appealed the first court’s ruling. There was never any doubt that Wilchcombe was involved in creating the track – the issue was whether or not there was an assumption he would receive any ownership of it or a royalty share from it. Wilchcombe was in the studio with Jon and his posse when they were recording ‘Kings Of Crunk’. He said Jon had the original idea for ‘Weedman’ when one of the posse called their weed dealer. He adds that he then came up with the original hook for the track and, because Jon liked it, did more work on it, essentially authoring the final song in full.  So far so good for a royalty claim. The problem for Wilchcombe is that he handed over his track to…

Norwegians would share the Beatles – oh no they wouldn’t
Copyright , Internet / February 2009
Norway

COPYRIGHT Internet A number of Beatles tracks made it onto the internet for a few minutes when Norwegian broadcaster NRK made the tracks available as podcasts. The tracks were contained in Norwegian radio shows recorded in 2001 where journalists commentated on and then played classic tracks from the Fab Four. The station initially claimed that it had a blanket licence to cover the podcasts from TONO, the Norwegian collection society that represents songwriters and music publishers but the IFPI, which represents record labels including EMI (which itself looks after the Beatle’s catalogue) made it clear that no consent had been given on behalf of the owners of the sound recordings including Apple Corp which represent’s the Beatles interests. Apple Corp and EMI have never made the Beatle’s catalogue available online. In this case it then became clear that the TONO licence only applied to ‘catch up’  or ‘listen again’ services where podcasts could be accessed and listened to from shows broadcast within the last four weeks so the entire scheme was doomed and the tracks swiftly removed. http://nrkbeta.no/last-ned-alt-av-the-beatles-og-historien-om-hver-enkelt-laat/ http://www.macworld.co.uk/digitallifestyle/news/index.cfm?newsid=24250

Universal stalled in action against Veoh
Copyright , Internet / February 2009
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet A copyright action launched by Universal Music against YouTube rival Veoh has hit a snag after a US judge ruled on the obligations that the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 puts on video sharing sites like YouTube and Veoh regarding the posting, by punters, of content without the content owner’s permission. The video sharing services, although they do frequently host infringing content on their servers, usually have in place a system whereby content owners such as record labels can complain if their copyrights are infringed and infringing content is quickly removed and so users lose access to the infringing content once it is done. The sites argue that under the DMCA they are not guilty of infringement, even though they may host infringing content from time to time. The content owners don’t agree and are looking for better protection saying it is wrong that content owner have to constantly monitor every single video website on the planet. The parallel action of Viacom v YouTube has the MTV owner suing theGoogle’s YouTube on the basis they are not doing enough to stop content from their various TV channels from being posted online without Viacom’s permission. The sites use the…

Major Changes in the UK Music Publishing Industry
Copyright , Music Publishing / February 2009
UK

COPYRIGHT Music Publishing By Tom Frederikse, solicitor, Clintons 2008 brought huge changes to the UK music publishing industry. Following years of failed attempts to create a pan-European licensing regime, all four major publishers have now withdrawn their exclusive digital distribution rights from the MCPS (as well as from the other European collection societies), leaving the UK mechanical society with less than one-fourth of the key repertoire for all digital uses. The UK publishing industry had established itself as a global leader early in this decade when the PRS and the MCPS joined forces to create “The Alliance” – cannily anticipating the now-settled pan-European legal position that internet distribution involves both a “mechanical right” (i.e. a copy) and a “performance right” (i.e. a communication to the public) in every transaction. The resulting “Joint Online Licence” was an innovation that allowed any online music service to operate in the UK under one agreement – whether it streamed music, offered downloads or provided subscription access. The “JOL” was copied by many other societies and – aside from various challenges to the headline royalty, such as the infamous UK Copyright Tribunal fight that confirmed the basic 8% rate – the publishing industry seemed settled into…

iTunes goes DRM-free
Copyright , Internet / February 2009
UK
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet Apple’s iTunes has finally reached a deal with Sony, Universal and Warner allowing them to sell DRM-free music from all four major record companies via their iTunes Music Store. The download site already had an ‘DRM-free’ agreement with EMI. Apple have also said that iTunes would soon introduce a three-tier price structure – with tracks for 59p, 79p and 99p (69, 99 and 129 cents in the US). In a press release, Apple boss Steve Jobs said “We are thrilled to be able to offer our iTunes customers DRM-free iTunes Plus songs in high quality audio and our iPhone 3G customers the ability to download music from iTunes anytime, anywhere over their 3G network at the same price as downloading to your computer or via Wi-Fi“. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/scienceandtechnology/technology/apple/4143706/Macworld-2009-Apples-iTunes-goes-DRM-free.html

The Music Industry’s digital reversal on copyright
Copyright / February 2009
Canada
USA

COPYRIGHT All Areas ARTICLE LINK: by Michael Geist writing in the Ottawa Citizen For much of the past decade, the industry has relied on three pillars to combat peer-to-peer file sharing – lawsuits, digital locks, and legislation. In Canada (and elsewhere) this has recently and radically changed: Michael Geist comes to the conclusion that it is innovation, not intervention from governments and courts that will ultimately determine the digital winners and losers and the full article can be found online here: http://www.canada.com/topics/technology/story.html?id=1172744

Download case will be streamed live
Copyright , Internet / February 2009
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet US District Judge Nancy Gretner has said that she will allow online video streaming of oral arguments in a civil lawsuit that pits a 23 year old Boston University graduate student accused of illegally downloading music files against the Recording Industry Association of America. However Judge Gertner’s in the federal court in Massachusetts restricted the streaming to a January 22nd hearing and said she will decide later whether to allow further online coverage. The defendant, Joel Tenebaum, is being represented by Charles Nesson, a Harvard University professor who had sought the online coverage. The RIAA oppose allowing cameras in the courtroom. Gertner said “In many ways, this case is about the so-called Internet Generation – the generation that has grown up with computer technology in general, and the internet in particular, as commonplace” adding “It is reportedly a generation that does not read newspapers or watch the evening news, but gets its information largely, if not almost exclusively, over the internet”. The decision is now subject to appeal by the RIAA and the hearing suspended. http://www3.whdh.com/news/articles/local/BO101464/

Nine Inch Nails: The future of music?
Artists , Copyright , Record Labels / February 2009
USA

COPYRIGHT Artists, Record Labels By Cassandra Williams, postgraduate law student at the College of Law Nine Inch Nail’s frontman Trent Reznor is no stranger to non-traditional distribution arrangements. He’s used alternate reality games in order to promote Year Zero working with 42 entertainment in order to give his fans a taste of life in a massively dysfunctional theocratic police state. He has also used secret scavenger hunts which resulted in fans rummaging all over LA, looking for hidden tickets to a dress rehearsal. Using real life treasure hunts as promotion has already been used by authors (Who remembers the hunt for the jewelled golden hare inMasquerade by Kit Williams?) – the most recent ‘real-life’ treasure hunt book is ‘The Secrets of the Alchemist Dar’ by Michael Stadther, where readers were invited to commence searching for more than $2 million worth of hidden jewelry. He has also released full CDs under a “pay for it if you feel like it” arrangement. T he first volume of their album ‘Ghosts’ was put up on torrent sites, under a creative commons license. The band said about BitTorrent: “ Now that we’re no longer constrained by a record label, we’ve decided to personally upload Ghosts I, the first of…

“Like an animal in a zoo”: copyright dispute over Klaus Kinski quotations
Artists , Copyright / February 2009
Germany

COPYRIGHT Artists ARTICLE: By Birgit Clark writing for the IPkat Birgit reports on an interesting court case dealing with potential copyright infringement through the use of direct quotes attributed to the (in)famous late actor Klaus Kinski in a theatre play based on episodes from the actor’s life. The late German actor Kinski was well-known for his for his explosive and unpredictable temperament and often played manic characters. According to news reports, over 30% of the text of the objectionable 50 minute one-person play “Kinski – Wie ein Tier in einem Zoo“ (in English: Kinski – Like an animal in a zoo) consists of direct Kinski quotes. Some of the quotes appear to have been artistically changed by the play’s author. Mr Kinski’s ex-wife Minhoi Loanic and his son Nikolai objected to this excessive use and filed a claim for copyright infringement at the Regional Court of Cologne. The defendants in the case, actor Hanno Dinger and director Stefan Krause, argued that their use of Kinski quotes in the play complied with German Copyright Law and was in itself protected by “freedom of art”, which Article 5(3) of the German Constitution protects as a basic human right. The defendants stated that they would,…

New IFPI Digital Music Report calls for ISP cooperation to become a reality in 2009
Copyright / February 2009
EU
Japan
UK
USA

COPYRIGHT All areas A new report from the International Federation of Phonographic Industries says that the music industry has transformed its business models, offering consumers an increasing range of new services with leading technology partners.  But the IFPI go on to say that generating value in an environment where 95 per cent of music downloads are illegal and unpaid for is still the biggest challenge for music companies and their commercial partners. The report shows that digital music business internationally saw a sixth year of expansion in 2008, growing by an estimated 25 per cent to US$3.7 billion in trade value.  Digital platforms now account for around 20 per cent of recorded music sales, up from 15 per cent in 2007.  Recorded music is at the forefront of the online and mobile revolution, generating more revenue in percentage terms through digital platforms than the newspaper (4%), magazine (1%) and film industries (4%) combined. At the same time, a new generation of music subscription services, social networking sites and new licensing channels is emerging. These were led in 2008 by services like Nokia Comes With Music, MySpace Music and a raft of partnerships with Internet Service Providers (ISPs), such as TDC…

Music pirates will not be disconnected from the internet
Copyright , Internet / February 2009
UK

COPYRIGHT Internet ARTICLE LINK – by Patrick Foster , Media Correspondent, The Times Internet service providers will not be forced to disconnect users who repeatedly flout the law by illegally sharing music and video files, The Times has reportred, saying that whilst Andy Burnham, the Culture Secretary, had indicated that the Government had “serious legislative intent” to compel internet companies to cut off customers who ignore warnings not to pirate material, David Lammy, the Intellectual Property Minister, has now said that the Government had ruled out legislating to force ISPs to disconnect such users saying that there were very complex legal issues wrapped up in enforced disconnection. He added: “I’m not sure it’s actually going to be possible.” The BPI, the body that represents the British record industry, wants all ISPs to sign up to a “three-steps policy” by which repeat offenders are disconnected if they fail to stop sharing copyrighted material – a position adopted in France. Lord Carter, the Communications Minister, is to reveal his thoughts on the problem of illict file sharing in his Digital Britain report due shortly.  Suggestions have emerged that Lord Carter will order the founding of a “rights agency”, funded by a levy on service providers, to address the problem of piracy,…

For the Loser Now/Will later be a win: Sony Music Entertainment (Germany) GmbH v Falcon Neue Medien Vertrieb GmbH
Copyright , Record Labels / February 2009
Germany

COPYRIGHT Record labels ARTICLE LINK: By Jeremy Phillips, at the paw lickingly cool IP Kat Scholars and cognoscenti of twentieth century culture will instantly identify the source of the title of this post: Bob Dylan’s “The Times They Are A Changin’“, in which copyright in the classic Dylan recording is now, it seems, safely in Sony’s hands following the ruling of the Court of Justice of the European Communities this morning in Case C-240/07 Sony Music Entertainment (Germany) GmbH v Falcon Neue Medien Vertrieb GmbH. The Advocate General’s Opinion in this reference remains frustratingly beyond the linguistic grasp of this blogger, but today’s ruling has been lovingly translated into his mother tongue from the original German (though Birgit, the most recent recruit to the IPKat team, would have been perfectly equipped to deal with it). So what is this ruling, on a request for a preliminary ruling from the Bundesgerichtshof, all about? Falcon distributed two CDs containing recordings of performances by the artist Bob Dylan: “Bob Dylan – Blowin in the Wind” and “Bob Dylan – Gates of Eden”. These CDs featured tracks that were originally featured in the long-playing vinyl albums “Bob Dylan – Bringing It All Back Home”, “The Times…

UK Government moves towards term extension for sound copyrights
Copyright , Record Labels / January 2009
EU
UK

COPYRIGHT Record labels The UK’s Culture Secretary, Andy Burnham, speaking at the UK Music’s Creators Conference at the ICA in London has said he would now support an extension of the term in UK copyright protection for sound recordings from the current 50 years to 70 years. Record labels and some high profile artists have argued that the current term is unfair compared to the life plus seventy years term granted to writers and songwriters, and have been pushing for an extension from fifty to 95 years, which would bring the UK in line with the US. There is a sense of urgency about all this because some of the most profitable records of the rock ‘n’ roll era, including Elvis Presley, are already in the public domain, with early Beatles and Stones recordings are all due to come out of copyright in the next decade. Performers have been broadly supportive of the move but the Music Managers Forum have expressed some concerns, not least as the copyrights are normally owned by the record companies – and cynics argue that most artists don’t see that share until they have ‘recouped’ on the label’s initial investment, and that for many artists…

New strategic review of copyright law announced in UK
Copyright / January 2009
UK

COPYRIGHT All areas Our friend Laurence Kaye has pointed us to the announcement that the UK Government has launched a strategic review of copyright law with David Lammy MP, Minister of State for Intellectual Property and Higher Education saying that the UK wants to be at the forefront of this debate at an international level particularly as the creative makes up 8.2% of GDP with 1.9 million people employed in the sector. The Intellectual property Office has formulated a wide ranging consultation and submissions can be sent to the IPO until February 6th 2009. The Government has created a new Strategic Advisory Board for Intellectual Property (SABIP) which will play an important role in the development of this work . In turn, SABIP has created an Expert Panel to help it develop its thinking on copyright and Laurie is on that panel. The IPO’s Issues Paper (see here http://www.ipo.gov.uk/about/press/press-release/press-release-2008/press-release-20081216.htm ) focuses on the four areas being looked at and the questions posed are: 1. Access to works: Is the current system too complex, in particular in relation to the licensing of rights, rights clearance and copyright exceptions? Does the legal enforcement framework work in the digital age? 2. Incentivising investment and creativity: Does the…

Sony pay $1 million to settle child privacy case
Internet , Privacy , Regulation / January 2009
USA

PRIVACY / REGULATORY AFFAIRS Internet Sony BMG Music Entertainment has agreed to pay $1 million to settle charges that it violated US law by collecting personal information online from children under the age of 13. Sony BMG agreed to the payment as part of a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission over charges it violated the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. The FTC had alleged that Sony BMG, through its music fan Web sites, had improperly collected and disclosed personal information from thousands of children under the age of 13, without their parents’ consent. Users are required to submit their date of birth to register for the sites, the FTC said, and on 196 sites, Sony BMG knowingly collected personal information from at least 30,000 underage children without parental consent which also meant that this might allow children to interact with adults through comments, message boards and other forums. http://www.bworldonline.com/BW121608/content.php?id=166

Madonna claims five million pounds for privacy breach
Artists , Privacy / January 2009
UK

PRIVACY Artists Madonna is demanding £5 million from the Mail On Sunday after they published photos of her wedding to Guy Ritchie which had been “deviously” copied at her Beverly Hills home. CMU Daily report that the Mail published photos of the Madonna/Ritchie wedding in early October as the couple began divorce proceedings. No photos of the 2000 wedding at Skibo Castle in Scotland had ever been previously released and only photographer Jean-Baptiste Mondino took photos at the event, and the only copies of his pictures were given to the couple. Madonna seemingly kept her wedding album at her Beverley Hills home. It’s alleged that an interior designer working at the singer’s property found the album and took photos of the photos. It was those that were sold to the Mail. Madonna has sued for breach of privacy and copyright and her lawyer told the court that the pictures of a “wholly private” event were copied and supplied “surreptitiously”, and that the tabloid had “ambushed” his client by publishing the photos without first approaching her about them, because they knew if they did she’d seek an injunction to stop their publication. The quantum claimed is likely to raise eyebrows and…

French first lady takes action over bag
Artists , Image Rights / January 2009
France

IMAGE RIGHTS Artists Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, wife of French President Nicolas Sarkozy has brought a legal action in the St Denis Court in Reunion Island (located in the Indian Ocean) over the use of her image. The case centres on a bag produced by a company called Pardon which featured a ‘posterised’ nude image of Bruni- Sarkozy taken in 1993 for an anti-AIDS campaign when she was 25. The former model claimed damages of 125,000 Euros which it was argued represented the commercial rate which would have been appropriate although the claim made in clear that Bruni-Sarkozy had no wish to market her image in this way. The court agreed that Pardon did “not have, or even claim to have, Ms Carla Bruni’s consent to use her image as part of a publicity campaign.” Awarding Bruni-Sarkozy 40,000 Euros (£37,000), the court also banned all sales of the bag. Pardon’s, which sells fashion clothing and accessories on the Island had already withdrawn the 3 Euro bag. Boss Peter Mertes said after the hearing the damages were “excessive” adding “It’s a heavy price to pay for a silly mistake”. Pardon have said they will appeal. Sarkozy-Bruni (and President Nicolas Sarkozy) had previously filed a lawsuit…

Coldplay face Satriana in plagiarism claim
Copyright , Music Publishing / January 2009
UK
USA

COPYRIGHT Music publishing By Cassandra Williams, postgraduate law student, the College of Law Joe Satriani, American guitarist and session musician has claimed that the melody in the title track from the recent Coldplay album, ‘Viva La Vida’, is taken from his instrumental song ‘If I Could Fly’. He has now brought legal proceedings at the LA Federal Court, alleging the band used “substantial original portions” of his song. The guitarist has told reporters that suing Coldplay over his plagiarism allegations was the last thing he wanted to do, but that his hand was forced after the band refused to talk to him about the issue. Speaking to MusicRadar he said he wasn’t taking legal action out of “malice”, but that: “I’m just doing what I need to do as an artist, to protect what’s mine, to protect those feelings I put down in song. I did everything to prevent the case going to court, but Coldplay didn’t want to talk about it”. When he first heard the Coldplay song he claimed it “felt like a dagger went right through my heart”. It wasn’t only Satriani that recognised the similarities as he explains that “Almost immediately, from the minute their song came out,…

Iranian musicians condemn copyright infringement
Copyright , Music Publishing / January 2009
Iran

COPYRIGHT Music publishing From the Tehran Times A meeting on the infringement and limitation of intellectual ownership rights in Iran was held on the sidelines at the December 12-16 Fajr International Music Festival at the Iranian Artists Forum. At the conference, the head of Hermes Music Recording Company Ramin Sediqi identified a number of issues said that that sometimes artists make false claims about their production and sometimes they are unaware of the rights they have concerning their works. Pointing to the composition “Kalider,” which was inspired by Mahmud Dowlatabadi’s renowned novel of the same title, Sediqi lamented that some artists accused “Kalidar” composer Mohammadreza Darvishi of plagiarism. “In music, we are permitted to draw inspirations from books if we do not use specific words from the work and do not quote any part of it in our musical composition”. Legal expert Hassan Mirhosseini also attended the seminar and said that the law protecting intellectual property rights, whose penalty for those convicted is three years in prison, was approved by the Iranian parliament in 1970 but pointed out that there were major problems with enforcement in Iran with a lack of effective sanctions and official organization to prosecute offenders. He added…

Mother in legal fight on music downloads
Copyright , Internet , Record Labels / January 2009
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet, record labels From an article by Katie Mulvaney in the Providence Journal A Providence woman has attended federal court to fight a music company’s efforts to seize her computer in its pursuit of allegations that her son illegally swapped songs online as a student at Classical High School. Capitol Records have filed a lawsuit in Massachusetts which accuses Joel Tenenbaum of violating copyright laws by downloading and sharing seven songs while a teenager living at home in Providence. Tenenbaum, 24, now lives in Boston, where he is studying toward a doctorate in physics at Boston University. The company has asked the U.S. District Court in Rhode Island to compel his parents, Judith and Arthur Tenenbaum, to turn over the family computer so experts can inspect it. Judith Tenenbaum said before proceedings were to begin yesterday that the family disposed of the computer her son used as a teen years ago.  “That was two computers ago,” she said. She is reluctant to turn over her current computer, she said, because it contains personal information.  Yesterday’s hearing before Magistrate Lincoln D. Almond was postponed after he concluded that Tenenbaum’s lawyer, Harvard Law School professor Charles Nesson, was not eligible to argue before the court….

Warners propose university download licence scheme
Copyright , Internet / January 2009
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet Warner Music Group’s digital music strategist, Jim Griffin, is proposing a “‘voluntary blanket licensing’ for online access to music” scheme whereby students are taxed for the privilege of legalized file-sharing with the proceeds collected by a nonprofit organization. A number of universities have expressed an interest, unsurprising in light the recent passage ofthe Higher Education Act (HEA), which included provisions forcing colleges and universities to combat illegal file-sharing on campus, may eventually cost these institutions some $500,000 USD annually. The proposal will make all students, whether they live off campus or not, or even whether they share music or not, to pay an extra fee with their college tuition as a levy. One article, Debating an ISP Piracy Tax, commenting on the idea says “The idea of collective licensing is obviously not new. The EFF proposed just such a system back in 2004 but the music industry instead decided that “suing the hell out of everyone” (TM) made better business sense. In light of the group’s creation, the EFF penned a guide on the right and wrong way to go about collective licensing” adding “The EFF believes a good system would be voluntary for users, artists and ISPs. A bad…

Facebook service held to be valid by Australian court
Litigation / January 2009
Australia
UK
USA

LITIGATION All areas I was recently asked about service by MySpace where a US band’s attorney had sent a cease and desist letter to a UK band they claimed had a similar sounding name. I have to admit I wasn’t sure this was effective service of any sort and I could not find any precedents on the matter. Now and in what may be a first, lawyers have pursuaded a judge in the Australian Canberra’s Supreme Court to allow them to serve the documents over the internet after repeatedly failing to serve the papers in person. Carmel Rita Corbo and Gordon Poyser had allegedly failed to keep up repayments on a $150,000 (£44,000) loan they had borrowed from MKM Capital, a mortgage provider. The pair had ignored emails from the law firm and did not attend a court appearance on Oct 3 and claimants said the pair had “vanished”. The claimant’s lawyer, Mark McCormack said “It’s somewhat novel, however we do see it as a valid method of bringing the matter to the attention of the defendant” and insisted there was no other way to find the pair saying “They weren’t available at their residence. They no longer worked at…

RIAA end lawsuits against individual downloaders
Copyright , Internet , Record Labels / January 2009
USA

COPYRIGHT Record labels, internet The Recording Industry Association of Americas much criticised and sometimes ridiculed policy of suing individual fileswappers and downloaders is to be stopped. The group which represents the US recording industry has now said that it abandoned its policy of suing people for sharing tracks and will now work with Internet service providers to cut abusers’ access if they ignore repeated warnings (a policy already law in France and being mooted in the UK). The move ends a controversial program that saw the RIAA sue about 35,000 people for swapping songs online since 2003. The high legal costs for defenders saw virtually all of those hit with lawsuits settle, on average for around $3,500. However, the RIAA’s legal costs are thought to exceed the settlement money it brought in and artists benefited not one cent. The RIAA have said that they stopped sending out new lawsuits and warnings in August, and then agreed with several leading but as yet unnamed U.S. Internet service providers to notify alleged illegal file-sharers and cut off service if they failed to stop. The RIAA has credited the lawsuit campaign with raising awareness of piracy and keeping the number of illegal file-sharers in check while…