Fake merchandise operator jailed
Trade Mark / January 2010
UK

TRADE MARK Merchandising Two men have received prison sentences after pleading guilty to trading in counterfeit merchandise for artists including The Rolling Stones, Green Day, Artic Monkeys, AC/DC and Franz Ferdinand.The Harrow Crown court heard that George Seng Lai Lau and Marios Kyriacou’s business, Choices Jewellery Ltd, had twice been raided by Brent and Harrow Trading Standards officers: on the first occasion in June 2007 more than 158,000 items were seized including branded hats, badges, T-shirts, bags and lanyards; when Trading Standards returned over a year later in August 2008 the warehouse had been re-stocked and a further 49,096 items were seized. Lau, the sole director of the company, was sentenced by Judge Madge to 21 months custody. Kyriacou, a senior employee, received a seven month sentence, suspended for two years a an curfew order with electronic tagging. A Proceeds of Crime Act investigation has commenced. Live UK  December 2009  Issue 119

US Police seize counterfeit gods worth $26 million
Record Labels , Trade Mark / January 2010
USA

TRADE MARK Merchandising, record labels The partners of the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center (IPR Center), state and local law enforcement and the Government of Mexico announced the seizures of millions of dollars of counterfeit products in Operation Holiday Hoax, a week of joint law enforcement activities targeting counterfeiters and trademark pirates, their distributors, associates, shippers, warehouses, salesmen and vendors in the United States and Mexico. More than 708,250 products were seized in 41 locations around the United States. Seven persons were arrested and charged in New York and Texas. Mexico seized 255 tons of counterfeit products during parallel operations. In Houston, more than 33,000 items were seized with an estimated value at more than $4.3 million. During Operation Holiday Hoax, which ran from December 8th 2009 to December 13th, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents and other federal agents and officers in 41 U.S. cities worked in partnership with local law enforcement agencies targeting small businesses, stores, swap meets, flea markets, shippers and vendors involved in the distribution of counterfeit products.  The items seized included counterfeit Christmas ornaments, toys, DVDs, CDs, clothing, footwear, handbags, sports clothing, perfume, stationery, cosmetics, hygiene products, electronics, phones and pharmaceuticals. Early estimates…

EU Ratifies WIPO Copyright Treaty
Copyright / January 2010
EU

COPYRIGHT All areas The European Union and its Member States have ratified the WIPO Copyright Treaty and the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty, the so-called “Internet” Treaties. These Treaties were concluded to make the world’s copyright laws ‘fit for the internet’. See http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=IP/09/1916&format=HTML&aged=0&language=EN&guiLanguage=en

CD Pirates ordered to hand over proceeds of crime to music companies
Copyright , Record Labels / January 2010
Czech Republic
UK

COPYRIGHT Record labels A joint press release from the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) and the International Federation of Phonographic Industries (IFPI) reports that a gang of CD pirates have been ordered to hand over the proceeds of an illegal operation that had seen imported pirate CDs from the Czech Republic sold at market stalls and record stores across London and the South East of England. The Crown Court confiscated the £70,000 profit and made a compensation order in favour of the music companies whose repertoire was being sold illegally.  The press release sys that this is the first time that record labels in the UK have been awarded compensation from assets that have been confiscated in court from music pirates. The money is payable to BPI, which represents the recorded music industry in the UK, and will be distributed by PPL, the music licensing company that collects revenue from broadcast and public performance licences on behalf of producers and performers. The judge made the ruling under the Proceeds of Crime Act (2002) at Snaresbrook Crown Court against two of the four pirate traders who had been convicted of conspiracy to infringe copyright in March 2008.  It is believed that the gang…

Nesson launches Tenebaum appeal
Copyright , Internet / January 2010
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet Harvard Law Professor Charles Nesson has decided to appeal the verdict against accused file-sharer Joel Tenenbaum with the First Circuit Court of Appeals. Tenenbaum was found guilty of copyright infringement for illegally sharing 30 songs this past August and was fined a total of $675,000. http://www.zeropaid.com/news/87365/harvard-prof-to-appeal-file-sharing-trial-under-fair-use-claims/

Just how many words do you need before you have a literary work?
Copyright / January 2010
UK
USA

COPYRIGHT All areas The 9th annual IBC International Copyright Law conference in London on the 8th and 9th December 2009 was a fascinating affair with some excellent speakers. An underlying theme was the pressing and relentless rate of change as technology offered more and more new opportunities to business and consumers – and more and more problems for content owners, legislators and lawyers! The forthcoming Google Books settlement decision and the UK’s Digital Economy Bill both featured a number of times, as did pleas from commercial users for everyone to use copyright to enable legitimate services to prosper – to allow them to pay content owners and creators of content – and restrict illegal operators to perhaps the margins (rather than the mainstream where the music industry stands as the main example of a sector damaged by change and illegal downloading). In particular pan-European and even global licensing was seen as a pressing need to allow legitimate services to flourish as well as transparency in collection societies who were repeatedly identified as key players in the digital age. One speaker who stood out was David Carson, General Counsel at the US Copyright Office, who, having considered the recent Bridgeport Music v…

Canadian record industry faces piracy claim
Canada

COPYRIGHT Music Publishing, record labels The major labels in Canada are facing an unprecedented legal action for infringement of copyright – yes, you read that correctly: “The infringed party in this particular case consists of, among others, Chet Baker, a leading jazz musician in the 1950s, who played various instruments and died in 1988. His legacy is maintained by his estate, which owns the copyright on 50 of his works. The infringing party has already admitted the infringing behaviour, meaning they owe at least 50 million USD. Now, here’s the real shocker: the infringing party is none other than… The Canadian music industry: Warner Music Canada, Sony BMG Music Canada, EMI Music Canada, and Universal Music Canada – the four main members of the Canadian Recording Industry Association.” The case revolves around apparent uncompensated use of musical compositions on compilation albums. You can read the article in full at: http://www.osnews.com/story/22590/Canadian_Recording_Industry_Faces_Massive_Infringment_Claims  and see http://www.mediacastermagazine.com/issues/ISArticle.asp?aid=1000350453

Argentina extends term of protection for performers and producers
Artists , Copyright / January 2010
Argentina

COPYRIGHT Artists Argentina has extended the term of protection on sound recordings for performers and producers from 50 to 70 years.  The move is welcomed by the music industry in Argentina and the IFPI,  which represents the recorded music industry worldwide, said the move will improve incentives for producers to invest in the recording of music in Argentina. The move was announced at the “Tango National Day” celebrations in Buenos Aires when the modification to Article 5 of the Intellectual Property Act was promulgated. Term extension was supported by the Argentine Performers Association (AADI) and the Argentine Music Industry Chamber (CAPIF).  Both groups said the new legislation would better protect local performers and producers and bring the country closer into line with emerging international trends in this area. John Kennedy, chairman and chief executive of IFPI said “I am delighted that Argentina has strengthened the rights of performers and producers by extending the term of protection.  Argentina has a strong musical heritage and this reform means that producers will have a greater incentive to invest in the next generation of local talent.”   www.ifpi.org

UK Competition Commission clears Tickemaster/Live Nation merger
Competition , Live Events / January 2010
UK

COMPETITION Live events industry The Competition Commission (CC) has decided to clear the proposed merger of ticketing giant Ticketmaster and promoter and venue operator Live Nation in the UK. As both Ticketmaster and Live Nation are headquartered in the USA, the CC’s final report notes that the merger is also being investigated by the US competition authorities. The CC has concluded that the merger will 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. Prior to the proposed merger, Live Nation signed an agreement with Ticketmaster’s largest global competitor, CTS Eventim (Eventim), headquartered in Germany, consequent to which Eventim is planning to enter the UK for the first time. Under the agreement, Eventim will provide Live Nation with ticketing software and services, enabling Live Nation to sell its own tickets. Eventim will also be allocated a proportion of Live Nation’s tickets to sell to consumers. The CC has found that the merger will make little difference to the prospects of Eventim’s success in the UK. Although Live Nation’s incentives will change as a result of the merger,…

Welcome to the online world … Ben
Copyright , Internet / January 2010
UK
USA

COPYRIGHT All areas In this article our editor, Ben Challis, gives a personal account of facing up to the realities of the online digital world: Pray indulge me readers, for I have been infringed! Now it is a little known fact that some thirty odd years ago I was vocalist with a moderately successful punk rock band called The Ignerents. The band, formed in Whitstable, Kent, in 1977, played quite a few gigs and released one single on Ace Records in 1979 (Radio Interference b/w Wrong Place Wrong Time) which was then re-released on the band’s own label. The band also recorded two tracks for a local compilation album, the now quite coveted and valuable vinyl offering that is ‘First Offenders’ (and which features amongst the other artists one your drummer called Korda Marshall, more recently head of Warner Music in the UK and now back at the helm of Infectious Records). But I digress. The band lasted until 1981 when University and more importantly the tragic death of our drummer, Stan, curtailed the band and prompted a second vinyl release, Platform 5 b/w The Trouble With You, this time as The Beekeepers. There was then a long period of complete hibernation until the second tragic death…

US groups seek to ban Townshend from the Superbowl
Censorship , Live Events / January 2010

CENSORSHIP Live events industry Pressure groups in the US are looking to have The Who’s Pete Townshend removed from the half time Superbowl show. Townshend was arrested in 2003 for accessing child pornography, was cautioned by police and put on the sex offenders register for five years. Townshend has always maintained that he only accessed the material for a research project. ChildAbuseWatch in the US is lobbying the NFL to drop the guitarist from the Superbowl show, whilst protect Our Children has asked US Immigration officials to refuse Townshend entry to the US on grounds of ‘moral turpitude’. The Times  December 24th 2009.

Boy George banned from Big Brother by probation bother
Artists / January 2010
UK

SENTENCING Artists Having been sentenced to 15 months custody for falsely imprisoning a Norwegian male escort, Auden Carlsen, by handcuffing him to a radiator, Boy George spent late December trying to return to incarceration, albeit voluntarily, as a contestant in the next Celebrity Big Brother series which begins on January 3rd. The 48 year old singer, real name is George O’Dowd, is currently on licence after serving four months of the custodial sentencing and then subsequently being released on an electronic tag. George was refused permission to enter the Big Brother House (for a reported £200,000 fee) by the London Probation Services, despite offers by the series producers to accommodate visits by probation officers. The Probation Service expressed worries that the move would undermine public confidence in the criminal justice system and sentencing, and may have a negative impact on his victim. In the High Court George’s lawyers pleaded that whilst he had behaved “appallingly”, the former Culture Club singer was desperate to take up Channel 4’s offer to appear in order to “rebuild his career and reputation’”. George’s lawyer Alison MacDonald said the decision to bar him was ‘disproportionate’. She said George had ‘managed to stop using drugs’, and…