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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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…