US labels say that copyright law “isn’t working”
Copyright , Internet , Record Labels / September 2010
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet, record labels Speaking at the Technology Policy Institute’s Aspen Forum, The President of the Recording Industry Association of America, Cary Sherman, has said that the current U.S. copyright law “isn’t working” for content owners and contains a number of loopholes – the main one he objected to is, of course, the safe harbour protection given to internet service provides (ISPs), web companies and telecomms providers. According to CNet, Sherman said the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act “isn’t working for content people at all,” saying “You cannot monitor all the infringements on the Internet. It’s simply not possible. We don’t have the ability to search all the places infringing content appears, such as cyberlockers like [file-hosting firm] RapidShare.” Sherman added that YouTube is doing a good job of filtering and removing copyright-infringing videos but added that Google could do much more than simply having YouTube remove videos making the example that “If you enter in “Beyoncé MP3” as a Google search the “the chances are, the first thing you’ll see is illegal sites.” In response Lance Kavanaugh for YouTube, said that the DCMA is working exactly as Congress intended it to. “There’s legal plumbing to allow that to happen,…

Home Office open consultation on Licensing Act
Licensing , Live Events / September 2010
UK

LICENSING Live events industry I have to say that parts of the Licensing Act 2003 were not particularly well thought out and the Act has almost certainly damaged grass roots music – but I didn’t think the Act was that bad. The new Home Secretary, Teresa May, has other ideas and in a move to cut down on binge drinking and late night city centre violence, The Home Office announced their review of the licensing act, they have opened consultation and given it 6 weeks. Saying that she believed that the system needs to be ‘rebalanced in favour of local communities’ and promising ‘tougher action to crack down on the small number of licensed premises which cause problems’ May has outlined a number of areas of concern a) Give licensing authorities the power to refuse licence applications or call for a licence review without requiring relevant representations from a responsible authority. b) Remove the need for licensing authorities to demonstrate their decisions on licences ‘are necessary’ for (rather than of benefit to) the promotion of the licensing objectives. c) Reduce the evidential burden of proof required by licensing authorities in making decisions on licence applications and licence reviews. d) Increase the…

Claudio acquitted on curfew breach
Licensing , Live Events / September 2010
Italy

LICENSING Live events industry Our friend, Italian promoter Claudio Trotter, has been acquitted on charges of breach of the peace arising out of a Bruce Springsteen concert that overran by 22 minutes. The case was brought by a residents association following the concert at Milan’s San Siro Stadium in 2008. Claudio faced a jail sentence if convicted. He told Audience magazine that the fact that the City authorities entertained the charges means that he will not use the Stadium again, pointing out the economic loss this would cause to the stadium and the city. Audience Magazine.  Issue 126  July 2010

Promoters and festivals to fight proposed PRS rate increases
Licensing , Live Events / September 2010
UK

LICENSING Live events industry Having launched their ‘consultation’ in the midst of the busy summer concert and Festival season, music publisher and songwriter collection society PRS for Music have now agreed to extend the deadline for responses to the 31st October following a request from the Association of Independent Festivals who pointed out that many of their members were engaged in promoting their events in the proposed time frame. The Concert promoters Association have said that their members will fight any proposed rate increases, which for popular music events currently stands at 3% of Box Office. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/10510574

US hearing loss case settled
Health & Safety , Live Events / September 2010
USA

HEALTH & SAFETY Live events industry A lawsuit brought in the USA by an audience member and her husband who claimed that their hearing was damaged after being seated near a PA stack at Whitesnake concert in Orpheum Theatre in Massachusetts has been settled. Maryellen Burns claimed she suffered long term hearing loss which included the shearing of nerves cells in her cochlea. The Massachusetts Appeals Court confired that a sum of $40,000 had been paid. http://www.ultimate-guitar.com/news/general_music_news/whitesnake_lose_hearing_law_suit.html

Jackson clan face cancellation claim from 1990 tour
Contract , Live Events / August 2010
South Korea
USA

CONTRACT Live events industry A new lawsuit, specifically targeting Michael Jackson’s mother Katherine Jackson, is being brought by a South Korean newspaper called The Segye Times in relation to a Jackson family tour that never happened back in the early nineties. The Segye Times is owned by the Unification Church, often referred to as the ‘Moonies’ after the church’s founder, Sun Myung Moon. It seems that in 1990 the Church had the idea of putting the whole Jackson family back on tour for the first time since 1984, and used their Korean media firm to negotiate a deal. The original plan involved Michael Jackson, though he never actually agreed to take part. Because of this refusal the whole project collapsed, but not before the Church, via their media firm, had paid out considerable advances which they claim $5.5 million, to Katherine, Joe and Jermaine Jackson. Michael Jackson settled a specific litigation against him in 1992, but the rest of the family failed to negotiate a deal so the whole dispute went to court in 1994. According to reports in the US, Katherine and Joe Jackson ignored the litigation, and therefore a judgement was made against them to the tune of…

Rooney win highlights importance of restraint of trade considerations when contracting minors
Artists , Contract , Restraint of Trade / August 2010
UK

CONTRACT Artists Whilst Wayne Rooney might be one of the planet’s best known football stars, the England and Manchester United striker’s legal triumph is an important reminder about the role of restraint of trade in contracts, particularly those involving minors. Rooney was accused of withholding commission on multi-million pound deals that had been brokered by the sports management firm Proactive, which used to represent him in a claim totalling £4.3 million. Rooney made no payments after the football agent Paul Stretford, a director and founder of Proactive, left in October 2008, taking Rooney with him. The 24-year-old was signed by Stretford for Proactive in 2002 when he was then 17 and he went from being an £80-a-week Everton trainee living in his parent’s council house in Croxteth, Liverpool, to being a Manchester United and England star enjoying multi-million-pound sponsorship deals with the likes of Nike and Coca-Cola. Rooney was unhappy about certain financial disclosures in Court but the case revealed the value of his image rights – in addition to his weekly £90,000 club salary for playing football, he receives £700,000 a month for image rights, as well as £1 million per annum from Nike and £237,000 annually from EA…

Page faces lawsuit over ‘Dazed and Confused’
Copyright , Music Publishing / August 2010
UK

COPYRIGHT Music Publishing Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page is facing a copyright infringement lawsuit with regards the band’s song ‘Dazed & Confused’. The origins of the 1969 Led Zepplin track have long been debated, because of its links to an earlier song by folk singer Jake Holmes. Popular comment has it that Page did start with Holmes’ track when he started work devising‘Dazed & Confused’ but by the time Page had finished devising the song, and Led Zepplin had recorded it, everyone involved seemed to think the guitarist had created a new piece of work in which a new copyright existed. The song was registered with US collecting society ASCAP as a new song penned by Page. The debate has resulted in a particularly active Wikipedia entry for the song, with different contributors taking different viewpoints on the relationship between the Holmes song and the Page song. Now forty years on, Holmes is claiming Page did take his song and in doing so infringed his copyright and according to the Guardian, Holmes has filed an infringement lawsuit against Page. Page is yet to respond. http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2010/jun/30/led-zeppelin-sued-dazed-and-confused http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Led_Zeppelin http://www.ledzeppelinnews.com/2010/06/lawsuit-alleges-jimmy-page-infringed.html

Kookaburra publishers awarded 5% of ‘Down Under’
Copyright , Music Publishing / August 2010
Australia

COPYRIGHT Music Publishing A judge in Australia has ordered Men At Work and their publishers EMI to hand over 5% of the royalties from their eighties hit ‘Down Under’ to the owners of the song ‘Kookaburra Sits In The Old Gum Tree’, Larrikin Music. The Australian courts had already ruled that Men At Work’s most famous track used a segment of the famous Aussie children’s folk song without permission, and that the owners of that song were therefore due a cut of the pop hit’s royalties although it should be noted that EMI are appealing the original ruling – partly by claiming the use of a little bit of the ‘Kookaburra’ melody in ‘Down Under’ was at most a “tribute” to the folk song, and partly by again disputing Larrikin’s ownership of the song – today’s decision regarding royalty share really went in Men At Work’s favour. Larrikin had been pushing for up to 60% of the royalties generated by ‘Down Under’. Under the ruling, EMI and ‘Down Under’ writers Colin Hay and Ron Strykert will have to give Larrikin 5% of all money generated by the song since 2002, and 5% of all future royalties. Royalties received prior to 2002 stay with EMI and the…

Zappanale win on appeal, Ozzy settles with Tony
Artists , Live Events , Trade Mark / August 2010
EU
Germany
USA

TRADE MARK Artists, live events industry Frank Zappa’s family have lost a trade mark case on appeal in Germany where the Oberlandesgericht Düsseldorf has ruled against the Zappa Family Trust (20 U 48/09) in a trade mark infringement action against a group of Zappa fans. The Trust, which owned the ZAPPA Community trade mark, objected to the annual “Zappanale“, a meeting of Zappa fans which involved many uses of the Zappa name and image. However it appears that the Trust had used the word “Zappa” only as part of the “official” Zappa website www.zappa.com, which operated from the US. According to the court, reversing the decision of the Landgericht, this was not genuine use of the trade mark in the EU under Article 15(1) of the Community Trade Mark Regulation. The court added that the use of a mark in a domain name may be sufficient to constitute genuine use in principle, but that here the public would consider the use of the word Zappa as a general descriptive reference, not as a reference to the trade mark owner In other trade mark news, Ozzy Osbourne has reportedly reached a settlement with Tony Iommi over who owns the name Black Sabbath. Iommi, Black…

EFF files brief in support of secondary ticketers
Contract , Live Events / August 2010
USA

CONTRACT Live events industry TicketNews.com has published an interesting story about the secondary ticket market in the US. Stressing its belief that allegedly violating a private company’s terms of service is not a federal crime, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has filed a friend-of-the-court brief calling for the dismissal of a computer fraud case against ticket broker Wiseguys Tickets. Described as a “Brief of Amici Curiae,” the document piggybacks a motion to dismiss the case filed by the defendants late last week before U.S. District Court Judge Katharine S. Hayden. Joining the EFF in signing the brief were the Center for Democracy and Technology; the Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys of New Jersey; and law professors Gabriel “Jack” Chin, Eric Goldman, Michael Risch, Ted Sampsell-Jones, and Robert Weisberg. The case itself was detailed in a 43-count federal indictment filed earlier in the year where the principals of Las Vegas-based Wiseguy Tickets are accused of computer fraud in procuring more than 1.5 million event tickets by allegedly hacking into the computers of Live Nation Entertainment’s Ticketmaster division and Tickets.com. Wiseguy resold the tickets and allegedly generated about $25 million. But, the company paid for the tickets it resold, and the question…

Tenenbaum damages reduced by 90%
Copyright , Internet , Record Labels / August 2010
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet, record labels US District Judge Nancy Gertner has slashed the federal jury award made against convicted file sharer Joel Tenenbaum by 90 percent, ruling that the award of $22,250 per infringed work could not withstand scrutiny under the Due Process Clause and was “unconstitutionally excessive’’ in light of what she described as the modest harm caused to the record labels whose works were infringed. She cut the award to from $675,000 to $67,500, one-tenth of the original sum. Judge Gertner said “There is no question that this reduced award is still severe, even harsh …. It not only adequately compensates the plaintiffs for the relatively minor harm that Tenenbaum caused them; it sends a strong message that those who exploit peer-to-peer networks to unlawfully download and distribute copyrighted works run the risk of incurring substantial damages awards.’’ Judge Gertner’s maths to get to a figure of $22,250 damages for each act of infringement went like this statutory damages must bear a reasonable relationship to the actual damages the actual damages sustained by plaintiffs was no more than $30 the benefit to the defendant was in the neighborhood of $1500 it was permissible to treble the minimum statutory damages…

British Black Music Month Copyright Panel and Pete Jenner on ‘digital content consumers’
Copyright / August 2010
UK

COPYRIGHT All areas Here is link to the recent panel that Ben Challis, Editor of Music Law Updates, took part in at Westminster University as part of British Black Music Month http://www.ip-watch.org/weblog/2010/07/12/panel-copyright-needed-in-music-but-should-benefit-musicians/ and here is another link, this time to to Pete Jenner’s interesting talk on copyright laws in the digital age and ‘digital content consumers’ also hosted by the University of Westminsterhttp://musically.com/blog/2010/07/14/westminster-eforum-peter-jenner-on-digital-content-consumers

Juke Box pirates get custodial sentences
Copyright , Record Labels / August 2010
UK

COPYRIGHT Record labels Record label trade body the BPI and collecting society PPL have welcomed the custodial sentences handed down to the three men who ran that previously reported jukebox racket in the North East. Malcolm Wylie, his son Peter Wylie and William Ross, were arrested in 2008 for their role in running an unlicensed jukebox company operating in the Newcastle area called Access All Areas. For seven years the three men implied to their clients that they ran a legit jukebox service, but they pocketed over half of million in revenues that should have gone to PPL and onto the owners of the sound recordings being played. They were found guilty of copyright crimes in March and sentenced for those crimes last week. Malcolm Wylie got three years and was banned from being a company director for ten. His son Peter will spend fifteen months in prison, while Ross got 36 weeks. When sentencing, Judge Guy Whitburn reportedly said that “a clearer more flagrant breach of copyright law is hard to find”.http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/hr/content_display/news/e3if93da65e51c14c3db4702feb44978573

RIAA looks to ringfence Limewire damages
Copyright , Internet / August 2010
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has asked a federal court to freeze the assets of file-sharing company LimeWire and its founder, Mark Gorton, alleging assets have been moved in an attempt to avoid paying damages for copyright infringement, CNET News.com reported. LimeWire was found guilty of inducing copyright infringement in May and it is widely beliwved that the service will close or indeed  be permanently closed by the court. During the trial, the RIAA noted LimeWire had generated over $20 million in ad revenue. The RIAA have daid that LimeWire founder Groton began trying to hide assets days after the Supreme Court’s landmark MGM v. Grokster ruling in 2005, transferring 87.1% of the company’s ownership to a family trust. While Gorton has filed statements offering different reasons, the RIAA claims Gorton moved the assets to avoid paying copyright infringement damages, which experts told CNET could reach $1 billion in the case. http://www.dmwmedia.com/news/2010/07/12/riaa-asks-court-freeze-assets-limewire-founder

PRS call for internet piracy levy on service providers
Copyright , Internet , Music Publishing / August 2010
UK

COPYRIGHT Internet, music publishing U.K. royalty collection society PRS for Music is pressing the government there to compel ISPs to compensate the music industry for the unauthorized music downloads made through their services by infringing customers. The group’s chief economist Will Page suggests the move in a white paper that calls for varying tariffs to be paid by ISPs, which would go down in relation to the reduction of illicit file-sharing on their networks.”The desired end game is one of no compensation as there is no pollution of piracy on networks,” writes Page. Some U.K. ISPs have already rejected the idea.  With ISP Talk Talk saying “It would require monitoring of traffic and this has huge implications in respect of directives on privacy and data retention”. http://www.dmwmedia.com/news/2010/07/14/uk-royalty-society-prs-backs-levy-piracy-isps

Costly failure of RIAA legal strategy made public
Copyright , Internet / August 2010
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet The Recording Industry Association of America’s 2008 finances have been published with the revelation that the major labels trade body paid out over $17 million to the three legal firms who spearheaded the organisation’s legal actions against file sharing fans. In return, they recovered $391,000 in damages. On his Recording Industry vs The People blog, Ray Beckerman analysed the same figures for 2006 and 2007 and claims that the trade body spent a total of $64,000,000 on legal and investigation firms involved in their “sue-the-fans” campaign during those three years, and these cases brought in a total of $1,361,000 in damages. The RIAA eventually dropped the strategy of suing individual fan after years of costly failures, bad publicity and widespread criticism of high profile cases against defendants such as Joel Tenenbaum and Jammie Thomas-Rasset. In the same year, the RIAA’s chief executive Mitch Bainwol was paid just over $2 million in salary ($1.9 million) and benefits ($123,000). President Cary Sherman was paid $1.33 million, Neil Turkewitz (EVP, International) was paid $696,000, Mitch Glazier (EVP, Government & Industry Relations), earned $566,000 and Steven Marks (EVP & General Counsel) received $562,000. http://recordingindustryvspeople.blogspot.com/ http://www.digitalmusicnews.com/stories/070910riaa For an interesting take on the whole area of…

Live Music Bill reintroduced in the UK
Licensing , Live Events / August 2010
UK

LICENSING Live events industry Liberal peer Lord (Tim) Clement-Jones, whose party is now the junior partner in the UK’s coalition government, has reintroduced his Live Music Bill to the House of Lords, The Bill, in enacted, would make various changes to the 2003 Licensing Act, most of them recommended in 2009 by the Parliamentary Culture Media & Sport Select Committee (chaired by Conservative John Whittingdale) but ignored by the last Labour government – including re-introducing the ‘two in a bar’ rule for pubs (where two or one musicians can perform without the need for a licence), removing small venues from licensing requirements and allowing hospitals, schools and colleges to perform live music without the need for a licence. The Bill attempts to implement some of the 2009 Report which said that licensing conditions were stifling live music and that “We are concerned at the linkage of live music and public order issues by the Licensing Act and its accompanying guidance, and we emphasise that music should not automatically be treated as a disruptive activity which will inevitably lead to nuisance and disorder,” and the Report also said “To encourage the performance of live music we recommend that the Government should…

Barbican nightclub loses late night licence
Licensing , Live Events / August 2010
UK

LICENSING Live events industry A nightclub which kept Barbican residents in London awake into the early hours of the morning at weekends has had its licensed hours cut back and must now close at midnight at weekends. The decision to cut opening times at Parker McMillan club was taken at a packed Islington Licensing Committee meeting and comes after a campaign by local residents who complained of suffering sleepless nights had “called in” the club’s licence for review. They were able to do this under powers in the 2003 Licensing Act. The council’s noise team received 43 complaints about the club over three years. It visited the premises and complainants on 22 occasions. “The frequency of complaints has increased each year,” said a report.  “The current premises are not protecting the neighbouring residents from noise disturbance.”  The committee meeting was shown dramatic film, taken by Islington’s noise patrol and the residents.  It showed what was claimed to have been customers from the club milling about outside at 3.30am and 4.15am and creating a “cacophony” of noise – laughter, shrieks, car horns and animated conversation. It was claimed much of the din could be heard in flats nearby. One leading opponent,…

The Pirate Bay and BREIN draw 1-1 in Dutch Courts
Copyright , Internet / August 2010
Netherlands

COPYRIGHT Internet Dutch anti-piracy organisation BREIN have had two results in the Dutch courts this month in their battle against The Pirate Bay.  The first court upheld a previous ruling that The Pirate Bay and its founders are liable for copyright infringement, and that the people running the rogue BitTorrent service should block access to it from anyone accessing the net in The Netherlands. It has been ignored even though the ruling set a fine in motion of $42,300 per day for every day TPB continued to be available in the country. Nearly one year on – and despite the mounting fines and the appeal court upholding the original ruling – TPB continues to be available in the Netherlands. Presumably frustrated with the failure if direct action against TPB, BRIEN brought a separate case to force internet service providers to block access to The Pirate Bay. One ISP, Ziggo, objected to efforts to force them to block TPB arguing that it is not their role to police the net and in separate Dutch court last week judges sided with the ISP on the grounds that TPB MAY have non-infringing uses and therefore it would be inappropriate to block access to…

Univision settles payola charges with $1 million payment
Competition , Record Labels / August 2010
USA

COMPETITION Radio, record labels The three-year criminal investigation into a pay-for-play scandal at Univison Communications in which Latin-music executives were said to have bribed radio station managers with briefcases stuffed with cash has ended after Univision agreed to pay $1 million in penalties to federal authorities. Somewhat bizarrely, in many cases the bribes were from Univision’s labels to executives at Univision’s radio stations. As part of an agreement with the US Justice Department the Spanish-language media giant Univision pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud. During the four-year scheme, executives and music promoters at the now-defunct Univision Music Group paid thousands of dollars to radio station programmers in exchange for increased radio air time for Univision’s songs. The LA Times report that in one instance, a Los Angeles-based Univision executive in February 2006 sent a Federal Express package that contained $157,800 to a New York radio station programmer, according. Program managers in California and Texas also received bribes. Univision executives and the record promoters then concocted phony contract invoices and payments to hide the true purpose of the payments, documents filed by the U.S. Justice Department said, The cash payments violate federal laws because they were…

Squeezing the Lime Dry ….
Copyright , Internet / July 2010
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet In May we reported that US District Judge Kimba Wood had decided that the Lime Group, the company behind Limewire, was liable for the copyright infringements committed by Limewire users. Two weeks later the Lime Group asked the court to reconsider this judgment. This request was followed by one from the RIAA, asking the court to shut down Limewire by granting a permanent injunction with the RIAA arguing that Limewire’s operation has to be stopped immediately, to avoid it doing any more harm to the music industry saying “It is patently obvious that the rampant illegal conduct that Lime Wire intentionally induced, and for which it has been adjudged liable, will continue uninterrupted day after day unless and until the Court issues an injunction to rein in this massive infringing operation” with the RIAA’s lawyers saying “Every day that Lime Wire’s conduct continues unabated guarantees harm to Plaintiffs that money damages cannot and will not compensate” adding for good measure “The scope of the infringements that Lime Wire induced…boggles the mind.” Bloggers in the USA have pondered the quantum of damages facing Lime Group and Limewire founder Mark Gorton, with one estimating damages at $1.5 trillion (see link…

Google win major victory over Viacom and Premier league, and ‘safe habour’ protection
Copyright , Internet / July 2010
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet Google has been handed a major legal victory when a U.S. federal court granted summary judgment to the company in the $1 billion copyright infringement lawsuit filed against YouTube in 2007 by Viacom and in a similar care brought by the Premier League.  U.S. District Court Judge Louis L. Stanton agreed with Google’s argument that YouTube is a service provider as defined under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), and is therefore entitled to “safe harbor” — such that it cannot be held liable for copyright infringements committed by its users. Judge Stanton noted that, while Google may have been aware of copyrighted content uploaded to its site, it has no way of knowing whether the uploads were authorized. The judge said that the “burden is on the owner to identify infringement,” and gave his seal of approval to the current system for dealing with the issue, whereby copyright owners must notify service providers like YouTube and request that works uploaded without their permission be taken down. “The present case shows that the D.M.C.A. notification regime works efficiently: when Viacom over a period of months accumulated some 100,000 videos and then sent a mass take-down notice on February…

Don Henley takes first blood in battle with Chuck deVore
Artists , Copyright / July 2010
USA

COPYRIGHT Artists Don Henley has scored a tentative win in his legal fight against the  Republican politician Chuck DeVore. The Eagle’s mainstay is the latest in a string of US musicians to complain about their music being appropriated for political campaigning, usually by Republicans. While politicians can play music at political rallies without specific artist permission, using a blanket public performance licences for songs and sound recordings, they do face legal action if they synchronise a track into a video or advertisement without getting the permission of the artists or their label/publisher. There have been a spate of recent cases: Jackson Browne reached an out of court settlement with John McCain after the former Presidential contender used one of his songs, Running on Empty, in a campaign video without permission, and David Byrne has just begun legal proceedings against Florida Governor Charlie Crist over his use of a Talking Heads track in a campaign video. Canadian rockers Rush have issued a warning to US Senate hopeful Rand Paul, who is apparently using the band’s music at campaign events and in adverts on his website. The group’s label, Entertainment Group, has sent a cease and desist letter although their lawyer said “this is…

Brighton’s Freebutt faces closure
Licensing , Live Events / July 2010
UK

LICENCING Live events industry CMU Daily reports that Brighton venue The Freebutt is facing closure after being served with a noise abatement notice by the Environmental Health Department of Brighton & Hove Council, ordering the venue to “cease causing a public audio nuisance” earlier this year. The Freebutt was served with the notice in February this year after the council received just one complaint, from a neighbouring resident, and was given until the 10th May to remedy the problem. Steps were made to do so, but the complainant refused venue staff and audio consultants access to their property, meaning a full diagnosis could not be carried out. Nevertheless, the complaints apparently ceased after this work was carried out, but council officials decided to visit the original property suffering from sound leakage from the venue on 29th April, at which point it was decided that unwanted noise could still be heard. The Freebutt was then told that if further sound proofing work was not carried out by 10 May, it would have to cease putting on live music at its current volume, meaning a drop in the maximum level allowed by the venue’s volume limiter. The venue’s owners argue that this…

German Court clears Rammstein cover artwork and lyrics
Artists , Censorship / July 2010
Germany

CENSORSHIP Artists The original version of Rammstein album ‘Love Is For All’, or ‘Liebe Ist Für Alle Da’ can now be legally put on sale in Germany after a court disagreed with the Federal Office For The Examination Of Media Harmful To Young People which had prevented the album from being put on public display in German record shops last year, mainly because of the long player’s depictions of sado-masochism. Concern was also expressed regarding the explicit nature of some of the artwork and over the song ‘I Want To Hurt You’, which, as well as its S&M overtones, was deemed to promote unprotected sex. The ban also stopped label Universal advertising the record in Germany and record shops from selling it to anyone under eighteen. The major label responded by releasing an alternative version of the long player with the offending content cut.  Universal also contested the ban in court and now the administrative court in Cologne has overturned it, meaning the original uncut version of the album can now be put back on display in record shops, be sold to minors, and be advertised by the label. According to Billboard, the court ruled that the song ‘I Want To Hurt You’ does not contain…

Festival exclusivity clauses attracts the attention of the Illinois Attorney General
Artists , Competition , Live Events / July 2010
USA

COMPETITION Artists, live events industry According to a Chicago-based blogger called Jim Derogatis, US promoters C3 Presents are being investigated by the Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan who is looking at the limitations C3 puts on artists when they are booked to play the Lollapalooza festival in Chicago – the so called ‘radius clauses’ – preventing bands playing in the locality for a period of time before and after the event. With the potential of an anti-trust action looming, a VP of the William Morris booking agency has been subpoenaed to provide information to the investigation, while Billboard says C3 themselves have also received a subpoena. Derogatis says that promoters in the Chicago area have long complained about the radius clauses C3 put into Lollapalooza artist contracts, although Billboard adds that many artists break those clauses and that the festival promoter seemingly has never been known to enforce them. CMU 25 June 2010  www.thecmuwebsite.com  

A worrying trend of police intervention in Licensing?
Licensing , Live Events / June 2010
UK

LICENSING Live events Industry What do Moonfest 2008, The Big Green Gathering 2009, the Strawberry Fayre in 2010 Cambridge and now this year’s Glade Festival all have in common? Well, they have all been cancelled after intervention by the police in the licensing process – sometimes (but not always) against the wishes of local residents and even the licensing authority. The organisers of the Glade Festival said this “With great sadness we have been forced to cancel the Glade Festival 2010. When we started back in 2004 we did so out of a love of electronic music, free spiritedness and alternative culture and in response to the vibrant free party scene in the UK. We wanted to have our own version of the kind of colourful, creative and non-corporate events that happen in many places across the planet… Looking back it is amazing that it happened. As many Glade fans will know over the years we have fought hard to maintain the integrity of the event against steadily increasing restrictions imposed by local authority and police. The resulting compromises have led to increased costs, increased ticket prices and a throttling of the very essence of what we wanted to do….

Celtic Blue Rock festival loses licence over safety fears
Licensing , Live Events / June 2010
UK

LICENSING Live events industry The 10,000 capacity Celtic Blue Rock Festival in PembrokEshire, Wales, which has previously been included in a top 20 list of alternative UK festivals to visit  has had its licence revoked, amid concerns about public safety. It follows a meeting of Pembrokeshire Council’s sub-licensing committee which was told there was inadequate management and poor organisation. Dyfed-Powys Police urged the council to revoke the premises licence, citing drug and alcohol abuse as dangers to the public. Organisers of the event now intend to appeal against the decision, which they say was taken without allowing proper representations from their committee. The annual event in Llanfyrnach was criticised by health and safety officers who had attended last summer’s three-day event. They said that when visiting the site, they spotted potential hazards and were not provided with electrical certificates before revellers arrived on site. Other issues included emergency access, traffic management and use of police resources and lighting. A report from the licensing committee said: “There is evidence of repeated non-compliance with a number of conditions which have been imposed over the years, a number of which have been agreed to through mediation but which have not been adhered to.”…

Absolut and Absolute settle name dispute
Trade Mark / June 2010
UK

TRADE MARK All areas Absolute Radio has settled its trademark dispute with Absolut vodka. The vodka company had objected to Virgin Radio being rebranded with the Absolute name in 2008, despite the difference in spelling and the different sectors the two companies operate in. The drinks company said they believed there could be confusion between their two brands, and also pointed to their music sponsorship activity and an Absolut branded music website as an area where the two firms had operations in common. Trademark infringement and passing off litigation followed. But both companies confirmed an out of court settlement had been reached this morning. The terms of the deal aren’t known, but Absolute Radio boss Clive Dickens said: “Absolute Radio is pleased with this settlement which will see us continue to build our music radio brand and advance our position as one of the leading commercial radio networks in a digital age”. http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2010/apr/29/absolute-radio-absolut-vodka

Whilst the UK shows a small improvement, new figures show a slump in global record sales
EU
Japan
UK
USA

COPYRIGHT Record Labels, Music Publishing Global recorded music sales fell 7.2% in 2009, led by significant falls in the world’s two biggest markets, the US and Japan. According to the IFPI’s Recording Industry In Numbers 2010 report global recorded music trade revenues totalled $17.0bn (£11.1bn) in 2009, with physical sales down 12.7%. Digital revenue rose 9.2% in 2009 to $4.3bn (£2.8bn). Digital channels now account for about 25.3% of all music sales. Performance rights revenues from recorded music also rose, up 7.6% to $0.8bn (£0.5bn). However, globally the results were very mixed: US sales fell 10.7% to $4.6bn (£3.0bn), while sales in Japan plunged 10.8% to $4.0bn (£2.6bn). Excluding these two markets, recorded music sales fell just 3.2% in 2009. Mirroring the UK figures from the BPI, IFPI figures indicate that music sales in the UK rose 1.9% to £1.0bn last year. Other music markets that experienced an increase in trade value were Australia (up 4.3%); Brazil (up 0.5%); South Korea (up 10.4%), Sweden (up 11.9%), India (up 2.0%) and Mexico (up 0.2%). The IFPI says that the increases in South Korea and Sweden are particularly significant, as these two countries have put in place legislation to fight online piracy. Another country that…

Behind the music: We7’s streaming success
Copyright , Internet / June 2010
UK

COPYRIGHT Internet ARTICLE By Helienne Lindvall Blogging on guardian.co.uk The UK streaming service has shown that internet advertising can cover running costs and pay proper royalties to artists. Why can’t rival Spotify do the same? …… In what other profession does it take a year and a half to get paid – and when you do, you don’t know on what basis your income is calculated? http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/musicblog/2010/apr/29/we7-streaming-success

Club doormen convicted of manslaughter
Criminal Law , Live Events / June 2010
UK

CRIMINAL Live events industry  A Shropshire doorman accused of the manslaughter of a county father-of-four today told a jury he had acted properly when he restrained the man at a nightclub. Daryl Brown told the jury at Birmingham Crown Court today he had been a doorman for six years and on the night in question he had only tried to restrain 41-year-old Darren Griffiths to stop him acting aggressively. Brown, 33, denied the manslaughter of Mr Griffiths, who died following an incident at the Liquid & Diva nightclub on June 29, last year. Brown told the jury he had “acted properly” on the night when he restrained Mr Griffiths, from Harmer Hill, near Shrewsbury, along with other door staff including Neil Stokes. Brown said: “I didn’t realise how seriously injured he was.” Mr Paul Farrer, prosecuting, said: “Mr Griffiths had turned blue in colour from the neck up and despite you tending to him for eight minutes you claim you didn’t see the colour of his face. “This man was unconscious for at least eight minutes. Are you really maintaining you didn’t really know how seriously injured Mr Griffiths was?” But Brown said he was not aware how seriously injured…

ECJ reference on dental surgery music could set important precedent
EU

COPYRIGHT Collection societies, record labels, music publishers The Corte di Appello di Torino has made a reference to the European Court of Justice by in Case C-135/10 SCF Consorzio Fonografici v Marco Del Corso. Here the questions, involving copyright, arepossibly of great interest to collection societies across Europe, not least in the Uk where the PRS have adopted an fairly aggressive approach to contacting businesses to ask for payment for the use of music. “1. Are the Rome Convention for the Protection of Performers, Producers of Phonograms and Broadcasting Organisations …, the TRIPs Agreement … and the WIPO … Treaty on Performances and Phonograms … directly applicable within the Community legal order? 2. Are the abovementioned sources of uniform international law also directly effective within the context of private-law relationships? 3. Do the concepts of ‘communication to the public’ contained in the abovementioned treaty-law texts mirror the Community concepts contained in Directives 92/100 [on rental and lending rights] and 2001/29 [on the Information Society] and, if not, which source should take precedence? 4. Does the broadcasting, free of charge, of phonograms within private dental practices engaged in professional economic activity, for the benefit of patients of those practices and enjoyed by them without any active choice on their…

Fixture lists copyright protected: Football Dataco v Yahoo! UK
Copyright / June 2010
UK

COPYRIGHT All areas ARTICLE:   By Tom Frederikse, solicitor, Clintons A UK court has ruled that copyright exists in annual fixture lists for football leagues in a case which will almost certainly result in licence fees being payable for publication of lists of this type. In Football Dataco Ltd (and others) v Yahoo! UK Ltd and Britten Pools (and others) [2010] EWHC 841 (Ch) (reported 23 April), the Court found that, whilst the fixtures lists were not protected by the recently-introduced “Database Right”, they were protected by old-fashioned copyright as a “literary work”. Football Dataco, owned by the Premier League and the Football League, had filed suit against Yahoo and the pools company for publishing fixture lists, claiming that the lists were protected either by the Database Right or as a literary copyright work and the Court was asked to rule on the “preliminary issue” of whether any (and if so what) rights legally exist in the lists. The Database Right was introduced in 1998 as a means of protecting a pure database of information – such as a phone book – but in the 2005 case involving William Hill and British Horseracing (in the highest court in Europe) it was ruled that…

UK’s Competition Commission gives final clearance to Live Nation/Ticketmaster merger
Competition , Live Events / June 2010
UK

COMPETITON Live events industry The UK’s Competition Commission (CC) has cleared the Live Nation/Ticketmaster merger, removing the last obstacle in the creation of the world’s largest live entertainment company.  After reversing its initial approval in December, the Commission’s findings follow a fresh round of submissions, after which it concluded that “the merger would not result in a substantial lessening of competition in the market for live music ticket retailing or in any other market in the UK, including live music promotion and live music venues.” The merger of Ticketmaster and Live Nation was completed (subject to conditions) in the USA on 25 January, following approval from the Department of Justice. In the UK, a key sticking point in the CC’s original decision was the effect it would have on Germa ticketer CTS Eventim, which is contracted to provide ticketing services to Live Nation as part of a ten-year international deal. Eventim challenged the first approval of the deal, arguing that the merger would hinder their entry into the UK market. In summary, however, the CC said: “The CC has found that the merger will make little difference to the prospects of Eventim’s success in the UK. On the basis of…

Project Playlist settles with Universal and Warners
Copyright , Internet / June 2010
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet Project Playlist, the operator of a site that lets users create playlists from streaming songs available online, has settled copyright infringement lawsuits with major record labels Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group, CNET News.com has reported. The labels had been unhappy with the fact that Playlist.com let users aggregate streaming songs from unauthorized as well as licensed sources. “While it was unfortunate that legal action was necessary, we are pleased to have resolved this litigation in an amicable manner,” a Universal spokesman told CNET.  The site already has deals in place with Sony Music and EMI. EMI also had sued but eventually settled with Project Playlist. In other news, Usenet newsgroup index site Newzbin, which the U.K. High Court in February found liable for copyright infringement, shut itself down on Wednesday, TorrentFreak has reported. Newzbin created a format for Usenet, called .NZB, which facilitated the downloading of copyrighted materials found amid the postings of newsgroup users. The Motion Picture Association filed suit in early 2009, and recently the U.K. court ruled against Newzbin and ordered the site to pay the MPA’s legal costs.  http://filesharingz.com/

German and US actions take the shine off Google
Germany
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet, music publishing Rights holders in Germany and the USA are stepping up the pressure on Google’s YouTube as rights holders seek to monetise the use of their copyrights. In Germany licensing talks between YouTube and GEMA have broken down, leading the German music rights holder group to demand that 600 videos be removed from the German version of the site. After a year of negotiations, GEMA said in a statement it was unable to reach a deal with YouTube, which had similar issues with UK collection society PRS for Music although the PRS and YouTube eventually reached new licensing terms. Billboard reports that GEMA “wanted assurances that a new deal would include a share of advertising revenue and take account of YouTube’s revenue growth” with GEMA saying in a statement: “Operators of online platforms which generate [revenue through] the use of copyrighted works – such as, in YouTube’s case, millions in advertising revenue – must ensure that those who create these works, providing the so-called ‘content’, are properly remunerated”. In the USA performing rights organisations ASCAP, BMI and SESAC have signed on to an amicus brief in support of Viacom’s $1 billion copyright infringement lawsuit against Google and YouTube. The…

Spanish Court Clears Streaming Sports Link Index Rojadirecta
Copyright , Internet / June 2010
Spain

COPYRIGHT Internet A Spanish appeals court has upheld a lower court’s decision and found that Rojadirecta, a site that indexes links to unauthorized streams of sporting events, is not breaking any Spanish laws.  Rojadirecta, which has been offering streams of NBA, MLB, NFL, FIFA and other sports leagues since 2005, was sued for copyright infringement in 2007 by Audiovisual Sport, a unit of Spanish communications group PRISA. The appeals court said that Rojadirecta was merely providing an index of links, and although it did carry advertising, profits were not being made directly from infringement. http://www.dmwmedia.com/news/2010/05/11/spanish-court-clears-streaming-sports-link-index-rojadirecta Also see http://torrentfreak.com/piracy-rampant-among-spanish-government-officials-100403/

Pirate Bay judges cleared of bias, website forced offline in Germany
Copyright , Internet / June 2010
Denmark
Germany
Sweden

COPYRIGHT Internet A number of Swedish judges who were members of copyright interest groups have been cleared of bias charges and approved to preside over the appeal of convictions for operators of file-sharing hub The Pirate Bay. Complaints were lodged by the defendants in the criminal trials of the Pirate Bay organisers after it emerged that Judges Ulrika Ihrfelt and Kristina Boutz were members of local Swedish pro-copyright organizations, but Sweden’s Supreme Court has found no conflict of interest and cleared them to hear the trial. The operators of The Pirate Bay were found guilty of copyright infringement in April 2009, and sentenced to a year in prison and combined fines of $3.9 million. The appeal of their convictions is now expected to be heard some time in late 2010. In related news, a German court has granted a preliminary injunction against the current Germany-based Web hosts of file-sharing hub The Pirate Bay, TorrentFreak has reported.  The Motion Picture Association petitioned a court in Hamburg for an injunction against CB3ROB Ltd, operators of the CyberBunker Web hosting service. The court said that CyberBunker must specifically remove links to torrents purporting to facilitate downloads of “The Bounty Hunter,” “Alice in Wonderland,” “Our…

Labels finally have their day with Limewire
Copyright , Internet / June 2010
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet The international music industry has responded with delight at a court ruling that has found against Limewire, one of the oldest file-sharing networks on the Internet. In a 59-page decision issued Tuesday (May 12th) in New York, U.S. District Judge Kimba Wood has ruled in a summary judgment that the peer-to-peer company is guilty of inducing copyright infringement, committed copyright infringement and practiced unfair competition. Reuters report that the judge leaned heavily on one of the plaintiff’s expert witnesses, Dr. Richard Waterman of the Wharton School, who testified that a random sample of 1800 files turned up copyright infringement in 93% of them, including 43.6 percent of copyrighted files owned by the plaintiff record labels. Based on the results, Dr. Waterman concluded that “98.8 percent of the files requested for download through LimeWire are copyright protected or highly likely copyright protected, and thus not authorized for free distribution.” The judgment itself is perhaps unsurprising given the Supreme Court’s stance in MGM v Grokster  where the Court unanimously held that defendant P2P file sharing companies Grokster and Streamcast (maker of Morpheus) could be sued for inducing copyright infringement for acts taken in the course of marketing file sharing software Here it is interesting that…

Canadian court extends fair dealing to consumer ‘research’
Copyright , Internet / June 2010
Canada

COPYRIGHT Internet In an interesting decision, Canada’s Federal Court of Appeal has ruled that no royalty is payable for the use of thirty-second or less clips which are used by consumers to ‘preview’ potential purchases on digital music services. The court was hearing an appeal by the songwriter’s collection society SOCAN from the Copyright Board of Canada which had applied the ‘fair dealing’ doctrine to preview clips – it seems by extending the exception for ‘research’ on the basis that these clips were used by consumers to research music that they might then want to buy. SOCAN had argued that research-based fair dealing exception only applied to proper academic or scientific research, the traditional interpretation of that provision. The Board disagreed and said research did include circumstances when a “consumer is searching for an object of copyright that he or she desires and is attempting to locate and wishes to ensure its authenticity and quality before obtaining it”. The Federal Court affirmed the Copyright Board’s interpretation, saying: The legislator chose not to add restrictive qualifiers to the word “research” in section 29. It could have specified that the research be “scientific”, “economic”, “cultural”, etc. Instead it opted not to qualify…

EC promises copyright and data protection reforms
Copyright / June 2010
EU

COPYRIGHT All areas The European Commission will strengthen legal protections for personal data, reform copyright law and ensure that device and software makers embrace open standards, it said when outlining its new digital policies. The Commission has published its Digital Agenda, the series of aims which will guide its legislating and policy formation activities in the next 10 years. “We must put the interests of Europe’s citizens and businesses at the forefront of the digital revolution and so maximise the potential of Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs) to advance job creation, sustainability and social inclusion”, said Commission vice president for the digital agenda Neelie Kroes. “The ambitious strategy set out today shows clearly where we need to focus our efforts in the years to come. To fully realise the potential of Europe’s digital future we need the full commitment of Member States, the ICT sector and other vital economic players.” The Commission’s priorities include changing copyright law to make cross-border trade in digital goods and services more widespread, it said. The Commission’s plan also includes a proposal to strengthen data protection law to cultivate trust in online services. www.out-law.com

Axl Rose fights back over Azoff’s claims
Artists , Contract / June 2010
USA

CONTRACT Artists Axl Rose has responded to the lawsuit from his former manager Irving Azoff which claimws unpaid commission with a countersuit. Azoff, now a co-chief of the combined Live Nation Ticketmaster conglomerate, sued Rose back in March, claiming the Guns N Roses frontman had reneged on an oral agreement to pay him 15% of earnings from the band’s‘Chinese Democracy’ tour, which would paid over approximately $2 million. Rose had previously parted company with Azoff and his Front Line management firm, which is now the management division of the Live Master. In his countersuit, Rose claims that Azoff tried to force him to reunite with the original Guns N Roses line-up for a world tour, and got so absorbed with those doomed plans that he failed to properly promote the ‘Chinese Democracy‘ album as a result. He also alleges Azoff lied about the potential of a Van Halen/Guns n Roses “supertour” and then bungled the management of the tour. Interestingly Rose also accuses Azoff of misusing his combined role of manager, promoter, venue owner and ticketing maestro to force artists into projects in which they’d rather not participate. The lawsuit notes “Ticketmaster recently merged with Live Nation, the largest concert promoter in…

Thimbleberry organiser cleared of permitting drug use
Criminal Law , Live Events / May 2010
UK

CRIMINAL Live events industry Thimbleberry Festival organiser Andy Norman has been found not guilty of allowing the use of cannabis on his festival site in 2009 after a police investigation. Durham County Constabulary charged 51 year old Norman with permitting the smoking of a class B drug on his premises. The offence was said to have taken place between September 24 and September 28, this year.”  Officers arrested him shortly after the three-day festival, which sees hundreds of music lovers from across the UK camp at Thimbleberry Hall Farm twice a year. Judge Christopher Prince recorded the verdict at Durham Crown Court after concerns over the committal and the definition of the word ‘premises’. Norman, who runs the Festival in both June and September, has already cancelled the 2010 June event but plans to now run the September event. He is seeking to recover £3,513 confiscated by the Police at the September 2009 event as potential proceeds of crime. In Cumbria a number of supply of drug related cases against individuals reached the courts after arrests at Kendal Calling. Judge Peter Hughes QC sitting in Carlisle Crown Court warned of the dangers of young people being tempted into selling drugs…

Oasis stage invader sentenced to house arrest
Artists , Criminal Law / May 2010
Canada

CRIMINAL Artists The man who attacked Oasis guitarist Noel Gallagher on stage in Canada has been sentenced to 12 months’ house arrest. Gallagher suffered three broken ribs after Daniel Sullivan pushed him from behind during a show at the 2008 Virgin Music Festival in Toronto. The band later had to cancel concerts in Paris and New York. Sullivan, 48, had pleaded guilty to assault causing bodily harm. He said he was drunk and couldn’t remember how he got backstage at the concert. His sentence means he will be able to continue working. During the trial, Gallagher said in a statement that he felt like he’d been “hit by a bus” immediately after the attack. “I ended up in a heap on the floor,” he wrote. “I had no idea what had happened.” http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/8635811.stm

Lib Dems push licensing reform for UK election
Licensing , Live Events / May 2010
UK

LICENSING Live events industry Music Week reports that the Liberal Democrats, whose peer Lord Clement-Jones recently attempted to push his Live Music Bill through Parliament, is the only major political party that makes a specific promise to allow a licence exemption for small gigs. Music week say that the Lib Dem manifesto mirrors the key points in the proposed Clement-Jones Bill by suggesting it will “cut red tape for putting on live music”, provide an exemption from the Licensing Act for gigs of 200 people or less and reintroduce the two-in-a-bar rule. The manifesto adds, “We will reintroduce the rule allowing two performers of unamplified music in any licensed premises without the need for an entertainment licence, allow licensed venues for up to 200 people to host live music without the need for an entertainment licence, and remove the requirement for schools and hospitals to apply for a licence.’ The Clement-Jones Bill fell by the wayside because it was not afforded enough debating time to give it a Second Reading in the House of Commons. Instead the Government preferred to continue with its own small venue consultation, which has received over 800 responses that will form the basis of a…

Counterfeit T-shirt mastermind jailed for 15 months
Trade Mark / May 2010
UK

TRADE MARK Merchandising Mark Blenkiron of Norwich has been sentenced to 15 months imprisonment after being found guilty of producing and selling counterfeit T-shirt for artists including Queen, Led Zepplin and Guns ‘N’ Roses.  Blenkion was arrested after Harringey Trading Standards raided his warehouse in North London and discovered a total of 8,600 items with a retail value in excess of £43,000 (E47,000). The raid was a result of information provided by security and intelligence firm Iridium Consultancy. Investigations showed he had ordered 200,000 blank T-shirts from one supplier alone. A Proceeds of Crime Act investigation has begun to recover profits Blenkiron made from his business, Shock Horror Limited. Blenkiron pleaded guilty to the charges at London’s Wood Green Crown Court. http://www.haringeyindependent.co.uk/news/5058487.Rock_T_shirt_bootlegger_jailed/

Irish High Court upholds new internet laws
Copyright , Internet / May 2010
Ireland

COPYRIGHT Internet Ireland’s High Court has approved the terms of a settlement reached between the Irish music industry and the country’s leading internet service provider, Eircom, to address piracy on its networks.  Under the terms of the settlement between Eircom and the music industry group IRMA, the ISP agreed to implement a graduated response system to address illegal file-sharing.  Eircom would send warnings to infringing file-sharers with the possible sanction of account suspension for those ignoring the messages and continuing to infringe.  During its implementation, the settlement was referred back to the Court due to concerns raised by Ireland’s Data Protection Commissioner that the settlement could be incompatible with data protection laws.  in the case, EMI Records (Ireland) Ltd and others v Eircom Ltd [2010] IEHC 108 Mr Justice Charleton rejected these concerns and held that the implementation of the settlement is lawful and does not involve a breach of data protection law saying  “It is completely within the legitimate standing of Eircom to act, and to be seen to act, as a body which upholds the law and Constitution.  That is what the Court expects of both individuals and companies.”  and “The internet is only a means of communication. It has not rewritten the legal rules…