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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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