Article: 2011 – A Review Of The Year
Articles / December 2011

Click here to download this article as a PDF file (.pdf) By Ben Challis This is my (personal) take on copyright and the business of music in 2011. A number of threads emerged, most notably the battleground over what (if any) responsibility Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and another web intermediaries should have for the infringing acts of their users – something considered by the US Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in UMG v Veoh, by the British High Court in Newzbin2, The Australian Full Federal Court in the iiNet case and by the European Court of Justice in Scarlet v SABAM with legislation pending in Spain and the UK. A second thread was the future role of collection societies in monetising music copyrights and the potential for enhanced but streamlined societies – at least on a pan-European basis, And finally, IF music copyrights can be monetised in the digital age with the “can pay won’t pay” generation of users, then battles remain over who gets what share of the pie with artistes beginning to challenge the accounting practices of the recorded music sector in particular. It is no secret that music is important in almost everyone’s life, but the music…

Article: A Guide To Becoming A Lawyer In England & Wales
Articles / December 2011
UK

A rough guide on how to become a lawyer written by Music Law Updates editor, Ben Challis. The ‘normal’ route to qualify as a lawyer in the UK – as a barrister or as a solicitor – is to firstly take a UK or other recognised university degree. A lot of students will take a law degree, but some students decide to become lawyers later on during their university course – this isn’t a huge problem, but those students who haven’t studied law have to complete an additional year studying for the ‘Graduate Diploma in Law’ (GDL) accredited by the College of Law. A degree takes THREE years. The Graduate Diploma in law would take a further ONE year for students who are not law graduates. So, providing you have a law degree – either a Bachelor of Laws (LLB), Bachelor of Arts in Law (BA), Bachelor of Civil Law (BCL) OR a Diploma in Law – you can then try to qualify either as a solicitor or a barrister: In very general terms, solicitors work in practices. Many solicitors work in ‘high street’ firms looking after legal matters such as family law, conveyancing, wills, property, trusts and criminal matters. Some…

Artist’s digital royalty beef with Universal will go to court
Artists , Contract , Record Labels / December 2011
USA

CONTRACT Record labels, artistes A class action between a number of recording artistes and Universal Music over how digital royalties are calculated will go to court. A federal judge in California has given the green light for a class action lawsuit against Universal Music by a number of long established artists, led by White Zombie, Whitesnake, and the estate of Rick James. The music major had requested the case be dismissed.  The case will be a major test of how artiste digital royalties are calculated by record labels in the absence of specific contract wording:  The label would like to calculate the royalty based on the same accounting process as a normal (physical) sale – whilst artistes want a share of the income which will almost certainly be a substantially greater share of the revenues.  Almost all pre-internet contracts make no mention of digital releases beyond CD (and many predate CDs) let alone downloads and streaming and artistes have argued that because digital removes label’s manufacturing and distribution costs, the risks of sales are almost non-existent, and when a label makes its catalogue available to a service such as iTunes, it is actually a licensing deal and therefore the higher…

Calculating music live tariffs – did GEMA get it right?
Copyright , Live Events / December 2011
Germany

COPYRIGHT Live events industry By Monika Bruss writing on the 1709 Blog The press office of the Bundesgerichtshof (BGH) informs us that the copyright senate of the BGH has issued a judgment on the calculation of collecting society tariffs (BGH, 27 October 2011 – I ZR 25/10). In respect of indoor events, it is the established practice of German music collecting society GEMA to calculate the royalties it collects based on the size of the room where the music is played. To GEMA at least, it seemed logical enough to apply the same to outdoor events such as street fairs and Christmas markets. Accordingly, it took the size of the entire venue as reference point, from the first to the last stall or from the first to the last wall enclosing the space where the event took place. As such things go, the organisers of a number of such outdoor events disagreed with GEMA’s calculation methods. In their view, only the space where the sound from the stage can actually be heard should be taken into account. From that space, one should deduct the areas where visitors could not go, i.e. the stalls, the areas where they could not stay for more…

First ‘three strikes’ warnings go out in New Zealand
Copyright , Internet , Record Labels / December 2011
New Zealand

COPYRIGHT Internet, record labels The Copyright notices have been sent to internet services providers in New Zealand, with Telecom confirming it received 42 infringement notices. The notices were all sent out by the Recording Industry Association of New Zealand (RIANZ). Of the 42 notices received by Telecom, 35 were for the download of songs by Rhianna, six were for Lady Gaga tunes and one was for UK recording artist Taio Cruz. ISP TelstraClear has also confirmed that it received 27 notices from RIANZ, although the company would not say what copyrighted material the notices covered. Again, Internet provider Orcon received its first copyright notices, two months after controversial anti-piracy laws came into effect. The “three strikes” law requires internet companies to issue warning notices to customers suspected of illegally downloading copyright content – such as movies or music – if a rights holder requests it. After a third notice, rights holders can bring a case before the Copyright Tribunal, which can fine an offender up to $15,000. The law was passed in April and came into effect on September 1st 2011. http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=10763131

STOP starts a war of words
Copyright , Internet / December 2011
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet New cross party US legislation, The STOP Online Piracy Act, has set off heated arguments both for and against the new proposals. The entertainment industry is broadly on one side, supporting the law’s provisions. Against are an array of groups including advocates on behalf of individual and civil liberties, the technology industry and other pressure groups. The Bill was introduced by House Judiciary Committee chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas). The draft legislation is set out as a bill “To promote prosperity, creativity, entrepreneurship, and innovation by combating the theft of U.S. property, and for other purposes.” SOPA (HR 3261) is an attempt to tackle websites and addresses that violate U.S. copyright laws but have no physical presence in the country. They key is to make offending sites invisible to US internet users – and to strangle their income. It requires Internet Service Providers block access to offending sites, and ensure search engines omit them from results. It will also require credit card and other financial services to block payments to them, and US firms from advertising with them. But opponents say that what SOPA doesn’t do is require is any kind of verification that the site is actually infringing…

Phonepayplus joins fight against online piracy
Copyright , Internet / December 2011
UK

COPYRIGHT Internet PhonepayPlus, the body that regulates premium rate services (PRS) in the UK, is working with the City of London Police and IFPI, which represents the recording industry worldwide, to proactively prevent online copyright infringement. Under the arrangement, PhonepayPlus will be informed of named websites that are selling unlicensed music so it can inform the trade bodies representing phone paid services who will then distribute the details to their members.  This ensures individual phone paid operators will be aware of the illegal nature of any unlicensed websites that may approach them to provide payment services. Where PhonepayPlus is asked directly by IFPI or CoLP to assist with their investigations or preventative activity in relation to pirated music downloads offered using PRS, PhonepayPlus will act on such requests to the full extent of their powers. The details of these unlicensed services will be obtained by IFPI anti-piracy investigators who will supply the City of London Police’s Economic Crime Directorate with evidence of illegal downloads made from infringing sites.  The police will review this evidence and if a case is proven against a service they will notify PhonepayPlus of its details. Police officers have passed on the details of 24 infringing…

EMI v MP3 case judge clarifies his position
Copyright , Internet , Record Labels / December 2011
USA

COPYRIGHT Record labels, internet The judge who oversaw EMI’s litigation against Michael Robertson and his MP3tunes.com service has responded to EMI’s response it submitted to his original ruling where he held that operating (or using) an MP3 locker wasn’t in itself an infringement of copyright and that MP3’s services were covered by the DCMA’s safe harbour provisions, providing MP3tunes.com operated a takedown system, blocking uses from sharing links to unlicensed content whenever a copyright owner complained although  Judge William Pauley was critical about the way MP3tunes.com’s takedown system operated, and of the fact Robertson himself had posted links to clearly unlicensed content.  EMI responded by asking the judge to reconsider some points, where the company argued he had got it wrong, and also to consider more fully what the deal was with pre-1972 recordings which are covered by state laws rather than federal law, and therefore arguably not subject to the DMCA safe harbor provisions. Pauley’s response rejects all of the major’s criticisms. On the pre-1972 issue, Judge Pauley says the safe harbor principles of the DMCA apply to all copyright works in America, oblivious of age, and even when the copyright protection comes from state and not federal law. …

Insane Crowd Posse face multiple sampling claims
Artists , Copyright , Record Labels / December 2011
USA

COPYRIGHT Artistes, record labels CMU Daily reports that Insane Clown Posse are being sued by a company called Entity Productions, which controls the catalogue of Midnight Syndicate, an American group who specialise in gothic-esque instrumental music, often said to soundtrack horror films that never existed. Entity claims that ICP have used uncleared samples of Midnight Syndicate’s music on several of their tracks across three albums. CMU says that the music company first contacted the Insane Clown Posse and their Psychopathic Records label in 2009, after discovering Midnight Syndicate’s music had been used in a number of tracks on two albums by the hip hop duo’s side projects Dark Lotus and Twiztid, as well as on 2004 ICP album ‘Hell’s Pit’, but that it never received a response. Entity is seeking $2.1 million in damages.   www.thecmuwebsite.com

RIAA wants DCMA clarity from Congress
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet, recorded music The USA’s The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DCMA) has been criticised by many for being slanted far too much in favour of content providers, with the underlying suspicion that film, television, publishing and recording companies were effective in influencing the passage of the Bill. But now the Recording Industry Association of America is taking issue with the DCMA – or rather the US Court’s interpretation of the legislation – saying judges are far too favourable to Internet Service Providers, websites and even consumers. Jennifer Pariser, the RIAA’s litigation chief, told a US law conference: “I think Congress got it right, but I think the courts are getting it wrong,” adding “I think the courts are interpreting Congress’ statute in a manner that is entirely too restrictive of content owners’ rights and too open to [Internet] service providers. “We might need to go to Congress at some point for a fix,” Pariser added. “Not because the statute was badly drafted but because the interpretation has been so hamstrung by court decisions.” RIAA President Cary Sherman complained that the DMCA “isn’t working for content people at all” saying “You cannot monitor all the infringements on the Internet. It’s simply…

Indies look at EMI sale implications
EU

COMPETITION Recorded music Pan-European indie label trade body IMPALA has announced it will formally oppose any attempt by Sony to buy the EMI music publishing company and/or Universal to buy the EMI record labels . Vivendi-owned Universal and the Sony Corp’s combined music assets – including wholly owned Sony Music and publishing JV Sony/ATV – are the two biggest music companies in the world, and IMPALA argues that the move would be detrimental to the music industry as a whole. Interestingly IMPALA seems less resistant to a Warners takeover, saying here that ‘remedies’ could solve any competition issues. The trade body has confirmed that it has asked the European Commission to investigate “all possible options to intervene” should Sony or Universal be successful in bidding for a sizable slice of the EMI business. IMPALA’s Executive Chair Helen Smith said “We have always said our position is no mergers without remedies and we know from 2007 that it is possible to find a solution which is far-reaching enough. Our problem with Universal, however, is that we believe it is simply too big already to be allowed to gain more power and we have the same concerns over Sony buying EMI publishing….

Saban looks for download compensation
Copyright , Internet / December 2011
Belgium

COPYRIGHT Internet Torrrentfreak reports that the Belgian music royalty collecting agency SABAM has said that it will bill Internet Service Providers for allowing subscribers to play and download copyrighted songs. SABAM claims it is entitled to charge ISPs for compensation for illegal downloading by their users based on existing 1994 copyright law, and is demanding 3.4% percent of the monthly fee paid by subscribers. The legislation provides that authors should be paid for any “public broadcast” of a song – although whether a download is a ‘public broadcast’ is a moot point. In a recent blog o 1709 (4th October) we examined the US position, where the Courts have recently held that a download is NOT a public performance of a recorded work. Belgian ISPs, who are also involved in a longstanding legal battle with Sabam over a network piracy filter (Sabam v Tiscali), believe the demands of the music rights group make little sense with Torrentfreak reporting Belgacom spokesperson saying “It’s their interpretation of the law, but that is not legally justified http://torrentfreak.com/music-rights-group-bills-internet-providers-for-piracy-licence-11110/

Scarlet Extended SA v Société belge des auteurs, compositeurs et éditeurs SCRL (SABAM); Belgian Entertainment Association Video ASBL (BEA Video), Belgian Entertainment Association Music ASBL (BEA Music) and Internet Service Provider Association ASBL (ISPA) intervening
Copyright , Internet / December 2011
EU

COPYRIGHT Internet “EU law precludes the imposition of an injunction by a national court which requires an internet service provider to install a filtering system with a view to preventing the illegal downloading of files.  “Such an injunction does not comply with the prohibition on imposing a general monitoring obligation on such a provider, or with the requirement to strike a fair balance between, on the one hand, the right to intellectual property, and, on the other, the freedom to conduct business, the right to protection of personal data and the freedom to receive or impart information”  Read more on the IPKat here  http://ipkitten.blogspot.com/2011/11/study-in-scarlet-todays-court-of.html  where Jeremy says “This blogger suspects that SABAM and other agencies will not shrink from seeking injunctive relief which requires filtering until they have first noted how carefully and narrowly the active part of the judgment has been drawn, how many invitations it appears to make in order to accommodate those who seek to modify their enforcement demands, and how the fate of the enforcement action may be contrasted with the approach taken in the British courts in Newzbin 2”  and the 1709 Blog here  http://the1709blog.blogspot.com/2011/11/will-copyright-owners-see-red-over.html Will it effect the decision of the High Court in London in Newzbin2? Maybe!…

Universal take on Grooveshark
Copyright , Internet , Record Labels / December 2011
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet, record labels Wikipedia describes the US based Grooveshark as the “international online music search engine, music streaming service and  and music recommendation web software application, allowing users to search for, stream, and upload music that can be played immediately or added to a playlist”. But is it legal? Well, the World’s biggest record company thinks not. Universal Music Group has reportedly filed a lawsuit against music service Grooveshark over alleged copyright violations, saying that records show that senior management at Escape Media Group, the company which operates Grooveshark, had led an effort to upload more than 100,000 songs to the music service and claims to have supporting emails and documents, including evidence showing that staff members Sam Tarantino, Paul Geller and Ben Westermann-Clark uploaded 1,791, 3,452 and 4,600 unlicensed songs respectively. Many of those tacks would be presumed to be Universal tracks given the major’s market share in the recorded music sector. Universal is reported to be seeking the maximum in damages of $150,000 per infringing act. Whilst Grooveshark has negotiated direct licenses with EMI and numerous independent labels and aggregators it has no deal with Universal – but as the service allows user to upload music so UMG tracks…

PRS say “no change” to live rates
Copyright , Live Events / December 2011
UK

COPYRIGHT Live events industry PRS For Music has announced that it has closed its consultation on the live music royalty rate, and that the royalties charged for popular music events in the UK will remain unchanged at 3% of ticket receipts. The society’s Director Of Public Performance Keith Gilbert said “As the organisation that represents the creators behind the music, it is right that we continually review our charges and approach, ensuring there is a fair balance between music users and creators. From the outset we made it clear that this was an open consultation, allowing us to genuinely evaluate if the current tariff structure was still relevant for today’s live scene. We received many helpful responses with feedback largely supporting the consultation process, regarding it as sensible to review after 20 years”. He continued: “Responses showed that since the last review the live industry had changed significantly with live music becoming a more professional enterprise and thriving mainstream leisure activity. However as the market has grown, so have the costs associated with putting on events. After a number of discussions and reviews it was agreed that that no changes should be made at present. We will continue to work…

German promoters look to neighbouring rights
Copyright , Live Events / December 2011
Germany

COPYRIGHT Live events industry The German Association of Concert Promoters (bdv) has said that it has applied to the German Patent & Trade Mark Office to set up a new collection society, Verwertungsgsgesellschaft fur Wahrnehmung von Veranstalterrecheten, to collect revenues it believes its members are due as a ‘neighbouring right’ under Section 81 of the German Copyright Act arising from recordings made at live events. It plans to negotiate with broadcasters, record labels and other users of live recordings to set tariffs to compensate event promoters. In January 2011 IQ magazine published an article by Dr Johannes Ulbricht, a German lawyer in Hamburg at Michow and Partner, about the German ‘neighbouring rights of the concert promoter’ – identifying these an overlooked potential revenue source from Germany where it seems possible that those who stage events which are filmed or recorded (anywhere in the World) could collect a payment if the recording of that concert is then exploited in Germany. http://issuu.com/gregiq/docs/iq_issue_33?mode=embed&layout=http%3A//skin.issuu.com/v/dark/layout.xml&showFlipBtn=true  and Audience: Issue 142  November 2011

Rhythmix spat ends amicably
Artists , Trade Mark / December 2011
UK

TRADE MARK Artists So the X-Factors “Rhythmix” are now “Little Mix” and all is between the registered charity Rhythmix and Simon Cowell’s SyCo after the latter paid over £8,000 to compensate for the costs the charity incurred defending its registered UK Trade Mark and withdrew its Trade Mark application for the same name. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-15810194

Sugarland named in law suit after weather disaster
Health & Safety , Live Events / December 2011
USA

HEALTH & SAFETY Live events industry Country duo Sugarland have been named as defendants in a lawsuit in the US relating to the stage collapse tragedy that occurred at the Indiana State Fair back in August when freak 60mph gusts of wind blew over the State Fair’s site just before the country act were due to perform in the event’s main arena, bringing stage rigging crashing to the ground on top of waiting audience members. In total, seven people died and over 40 were injured. USA Today had previously reported that over 90 people made claims against the State of Indiana, whose liability under State law is limited to $5 million in total. A handful of other legal claims have been against various other parties linked to the fair and the Sugarland performance, though the new lawsuit represents 48 parties and specifically targets the band and others associated with their show.  Interestingly the lawsuit notes that Sugarland’s contract with the State Fair’s organisers, negotiated by the Creative Artists Agency, specifically gave them the power to cancel their performance if there were weather concerns, and therefore the band and their associates are being held liable for failing to do so. One…

Morrissey wins right to sue NME for libel
Artists , Defamation / November 2011
UK

DEFAMATION Artistes Morrissey has won the right to let a jury decide if the NME portrayed him as a ‘racist and blatant hypocrite’ four years ago The former Smiths frontman was granted his wish for the libel case to be heard after he won at a pre-trial hearing against Conor McNicholas, the former NME editor, and the magazine’s publisher, IPC Media, in the High Court. In a written judgment, Mr Justice Tugendhat said: “Overall, in my judgment a proper balance between the Article 10 right of freedom of expression of [the NME] and Mr Morrissey’s right to the protection of his individual reputation requires, in the circumstances of this case, that the action be permitted to proceed.” The magazine had resisted the trial on the basis that the delay in brining proceedings showed that the singer was “not really interested” but after the hearing an NME spokeswoman said: “NME recently sought to strike out Morrissey’s claim on grounds of a lengthy delay. After almost four years, we are glad that the matter will now proceed to trial and we will finally get the opportunity to bring this matter to a close.” Mr Justice Tugendhat said that Morrissey’s explanation of why it…

Court of Appeal limits rugby club’s liability to injured player
Health & Safety , Live Events / November 2011
UK

HEALTH & SAFETY Live events industry In a case which is of particular interest to the sporting sector, the Court of Appeal has ruled that an award by the County Court of £54,000 to a young rugby player who was injured playing for an under-17s team after he fractured his right kneecap was wrong and must be re-paid along with court costs.  The case follows on from the decisions in Tomlinson v Congleton Borough Council [2003] UKHL 47  and Lewis v Six Continents  [2005] EWCA Civ. 1805  which both go some way in limiting liability in the face of the ever increasing number of personal injury claims and protecting potentially risky but “useful” activities such as playing sport. Jack Sutton, 20, was 16 and playing at Syston Rugby Club in Leicestershire when he was injured by the “sharp stub” of a broken plastic cricket boundary marker. He sued the club claiming there had not been an adequate pitch inspection Overturning the payout, Lord Justice Longmore said: “It is important that neither the game’s professional organisation, nor the law, should lay down standards that are too difficult for ordinary coaches and match organisers to meet adding “Games of rugby are, after all, no more than…

Pukklepop will go ahead in 2012
Health & Safety , Live Events / November 2011
Belgium

HEALTH & SAFETY Live events industry Belgian music festival Pukkelpop will go ahead next year, despite the tragedy which struck this year’s event when four people were killed after a stage collapse when a freak storm hit the festival site on the opening day of Pukkelpop 2011. 70 other people were injured as lighting rigs and large screens also fell. Following an investigation by the Hasselt Public Prosecutor, a ‘force majeure’ ruling was put in place, stating that the festival’s organisers could not be held liable for what happened. This means the Festival will not face prosecution, but reportedly will not be able to make a claim against its liability insurance cover – although it turn those wishing to bring a civil law claim against the Festival may face an additional hurdle in proving fault and liability. The Festival will take place between the 16th and 18th August 2012 and customers who had bought a ticket for the cancelled 2011 event will receive free food and drink vouchers, valued at 75 euros and 150 euros respectively which can be used at any of the next three Pukklepop festivals. For damages to items such as lost or broken camping equipment, festivalgoers will be…

Emergency licensing review for nightclub after death of university student
Licensing , Live Events / November 2011
UK

LICENSING Live events industry An emergency review will take place by Northampton Borough Council into the premises licence for Lava & Ignite where student Nabila Nanfuka died and eight others were injured, two critically,  in a stampede to the exits in the early hours of the morning on Wednesday 19th October. Northamptonshire Police have formally asked the Borough Council to hold a summary review, also known as an expedited or emergency review under Section 53 of the Licensing Act 2003, into the licence. As a result, a special sub-committee of the licensing panel will meet to consider evidence put forward by the police and decide what action to take. Expedited reviews allow the police and the licensing authority to respond quickly when a serious incident of any kind takes place in a licensed premises. Brian Binley, MP for Northampton South, said: “My thoughts are with the family and friends of the young lady who sadly lost her life and others who were injured and it is important that they get some answers so that they can have some closure. “There are many serious questions which need answering as to how this tragic incident occurred.” Adding  “Youngsters and their families have the right…

Hook bemoans control of New Order Trade Mark
Artists , Trade Mark / November 2011
UK

TRADE MARK Artistes Rather like the Bucks Fizz case in reverse, but still dependent on ownership of a band’s Trade Marked name, Peter Hook has realised that there is little he can do to stop former New Order band mates Bernard Sumner, Stephen Morris and Gillian Gilbert re-forming as New Order – without him. Its ironic, as Hook announced the band had split in 2007 – apparently without telling Morris or Sumner (Gilbert had left back in 2001). Now Sumner, Morris and Gilbert will use the New Order name when they play two charity shows later this month and, it seems to Hook, when they follow those shows up with a full-on US tour). The three band mates seemingly control the band’s limited company which owns the Trade Marks with Hook saying “They pulled a cunning limited company hostile takeover and managed to take over the trademark from me.” Hook does have a brief moment of clarity. “Musicians are renowned for focusing on stupid, petty arguments”, he notes. “The things that Bernard and I are arguing about are absolutely fucking pathetic, and I’m hoping that some grown up will come into the schoolyard and stop it”. Read Hook’s interview in…

Gaga gags Goo Goo
Artists , Trade Mark / November 2011
UK

TRADE MARK Artistes Lady Gaga’s company, Ate My Heart Inc, has taken legal action in the High Court against Mind Candy, owners of the enormously popular Moshi Monsters brand, in a successful effort to stop the children’s social network using an animated character called Lady Goo Goo performing songs on YouTube. The Guardian reports that the Lady Goo Goo character became an internet hit in the summer with the release of a music video called The Moshi Dance on YouTube. Moshi Monsters had planned to release the song on iTunes, via a new division, Moshi Music, designed to exploit its animated characters, and launch an album of Moshi music later this year. The character also sings a song called “Peppy-razzi“. Lady Gaga submitted evidence in court suggesting some consumers had already been confused that there was an official connection between GooGoo and Gaga – the American singer released the single Paparazzi in 2008 from her debut album The Fame. Mr Justice Vos awarded an interim injunction sayiung that Mind Candy cannot play or offer the parody song for sale. But he also ruled that Lady GooGoo could still appear in the Moshi Monsters game – without the song. Lady Gaga’s injunction bans the Mind Cady…

X-factor newbies pick charity’s name
Artists , Trade Mark / November 2011
UK

TRADE MARK Artistes I always advise bands to do a quick Google and see who is using a name – but it seems the UK’s popular TV show the X-Factor can’t be bothered – and picked a name for a new teenage group featured in the show and called the all-girl ensemble Rhythmix, much to the consternation of a charity based in the South East of England, also called Rhythmix. The charity has owned a figurative trade mark 2411527 since 2006 which is registered in class 41 (education) and the ever diligent and wonderful IPKat reports that the charity is a music-based organisation providing opportunities for children, hence its concern over possible confusion. It doesn’t stop there. A closer look by the IPKat at the name Rhythmix shows that neither of the aforementioned entities has any claim to originality. There is the CTM E2146090 for “LP Rhythmix” registered to a Connecticut company for goods in class 15 (musical instruments),first registered in 2002 but with a priority date of 2000), not to mention a California-based organisation called Rhythmix Cultural Works which claims to have been ‘inspiring the community of Alameda, California to “engage in the arts and strengthen the value of creativity and discovery in everyday life’…

Independent labels licence YouTube
Copyright , Internet / November 2011
EU

COPYRIGHT Internet The European independent record label’s music agency Merlin has anounced announced a global deal that will license repertoire from hundreds of labels to the YouTube service, effective immediately. The agreement covers thousands of acts, including Yeasayer, Antony and the Johnsons (pictured), Aphex Twin, Prodigy and Grizzly Bear. Among the independent labels involved in this deal are Earache, Secretly Canadian, Ninja Tune, Cooking Vinyl, Warp, Phonofile, Pschent, Morr Music, !K7 and Inertia. The agreement generates revenues to Merlin’s member labels whenever their official releases, or user-generated videos featuring their repertoire, are played via the YouTube service. Merlin has existing deals with a number of digital services including Rdio, Spotify, MySpace Music, Catch Media, Simfy, and Music Unlimited powered by Qriocity.

Murphy wins in battle to screen Greek TV, as EU competition law “trumps” copyright law
Competition , Copyright , Licensing / November 2011
EU

COPYRIGHT / COMPETITION Broadcasting, licensing Pub landlady Karen Murphy has succeeded in her European court battle against the Premier League over the use of a Greek TV decoder to screen Live Premiership football matches in the UK.  This update is taken from information contained in a press release from the Court of Justice of the European Union (No 102/11, Luxembourg, 4th October 2011). The Court of Justice held in a preliminary ruling that national legislation which prohibits the import, sale or use of foreign decoder cards is contrary to the freedom to provide services and cannot be justified either in light of the objective of protecting intellectual property rights or by the objective of encouraging the public to attend (live football matches) football stadiums. So far as concerns the possibility of justifying that restriction in light of the objective of protecting intellectual property rights, the Court observes that the Football Association Premier League (FAPL) cannot claim copyright in the Premier League matches themselves, as those sporting events cannot be considered to be an author’s own intellectual  creation and, therefore, to be  ‘works’ for the  purposes of copyright in the European Union. The Court also held that even if national law…

Popovitch estate sues for Bat Out Of Hell rights
Contract , Copyright , Record Labels / November 2011
USA

CONTRACT / COPYRIGHT Record labels CMU Daily reports that the estate of the late record label exec Stephen Popovich is trying to seize ownership of the sound recording copyrights in the iconic Meat Loaf album ‘Bat Out Of Hell’, currently owned by Sony Music. Popovich, whose Cleveland International Records released ‘Bat Out Of Hell’ in 1977 in partnership with the exec’s former employer Epic Records, had various run ins with Sony. Sony has owned Epic from the late 1980s onwards. Popovitch claimed that the major frequently misreported royalties and underpay him his share, and he also sued when Sony failed to fulfil a contractual commitment to include the Cleveland International logo on all releases of the album. A 1998 lawsuit ended in an out of court settlement, while in 2002 litigation – in part based on allegations Sony had breached the 1998 agreement – resulted in  Popovich being awarded $5 million in damages Popovich died in June 2011and his estate has taken up the ongoing battle with Sony. In a new lawsuit the estate claims that Sony continues to violate the terms of its agreements with Cleveland International Records, accusing the major of a number of fraudulent acts to underpay…

Cassidy sues Sony over merchandise share
Artists , Contract / November 2011
USA

CONTRACT Artistes CMU Daily reports that singer David Cassidy is suing Sony over unpaid royalties. Cassidy says that he is owed 15% of all monies generated by merchandise associated with ‘The Partridge Family’, the 1970s US sitcom in which he appeared and Cassidy’s lawyers reckon the Sony TV studio has made $500 million in profits from the show’s spin off merchandise, and has failed to honour a royalty cut included in their client’s 1971 contract. Cassidy told CNN that he has been informed he has only ever received $5000 from Sony for merchandise sales. Sony is yet to respond. CMU Daily 7th October 2011  www.thecmudaily.com

CD bootlegger gets suspended jail sentence
Copyright , Internet , Record Labels / November 2011
UK

COPYRIGHT Record labels, online Dave Finney, A 60 year old man from Barnsley, South Yorkshire has been given a suspended sentence for selling pirated CDs online. Finney downloaded music from the internet, burned it to CDs, and then sold them via the web, with very little attempt to hide his tracks.  After the BPI discovered the operation, police seized his computer equipment and found he had illegally copied more than 200,000 items although despite the high quantities of copies he was making , it is reported that payments taken via PayPal amounted to just over £12,000. The judge hearing the case accepted that there was a ‘degree of naivety’ about Finney’s piracy pursuits, but, he said, given the number of tracks illegally copied, and the fact the venture ran for four years, a custodial sentence was required, albeit a suspended one. Finney, previously of good character,  was given a nine month suspended jail term, and ordered to wear an electronic tag and adhere to a night time curfew for four months. Money and equipment associated with the piracy operation will also be confiscated.

Kanye and Jay-Z face sampling claim
USA

COPYRIGHT Music publishing, record labels US musician Syl Johnson has filed a lawsuit against Kanye West and Jay-Z over the use of a sample of his song ‘Different Strokes’ on a track on the duo’s collaborative album ‘Watch The Throne’. Johnson’s record label Numero Uno had previously threatening legal action over the sample claiming that West’s label Def Jam had got in touch about licensing the track for sampling on West’s previous album ‘My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy’, but that no agreement had been reached, and that no talks had ever taken place regarding ‘Watch The Throne’. The lawsuit, filed last week, also names Def Jam, Universal Music and Roc-A-Fella Records as defendants. Billboard notes that previous legal action taken by Johnson against Cypress Hill relating to an unapproved sample was unsuccessful because the track in question dated from before 1972, and judges ruled that the sound recording rights the singer said he owned were not therefore protected by federal law. As ‘Different Strokes’ was released in 1967 the new lawsuit specifically relies on Illinois state law, where the lawsuit was filed. Syleena Johnson, daughter of Syl, has commented on her father’s lawsuit against Jay-Z and Kanye West in an…

Jackson tribute hits yet more problems
Copyright , Internet , Live Events / November 2011
UK

COPYRIGHT Live events, internet Michael Forever, the Michael Jackson concert in Cardiff, that seems to be have been plagued by a never ending saga of bad news with organisers Global Live Events facing criticism from fans and industry alike – and from some (but not all) members of the Jackson family. The final story before the event itself took place (that is apart from another artiste, The Black Eyed Peas, pulling out) was that the planned Facebook live webcast which would have cost fans $4 (or $5 on the day) was scrapped because no-one had thought to clear the featured music with music publishers PC Mag contacted Milyoni, the technology company which was managing the live stream, who explained: “Due to legal challenges brought by the music labels [or, rather, publishers] that own the rights to Michael Jackson’s lyrics, concert promoter Global Live Events has notified us that the live Facebook broadcast of the Michael Forever tribute concert has been cancelled. As the technology provider behind the live Facebook broadcast, Milyoni will fully refund all customers who pre-purchased access to the concert using Facebook Credits or PayPal”. The statement continued: “While social media presents a new opportunity for artists and…

DEA three strikes delayed till 2013
Copyright , Internet / November 2011
UK

COPYRIGHT Internet Campbell Cowie, Director Of Internet Policy at media regulator OfCom, has said that warning letters under the three-strikes style anti-piracy system put in place by the Digital Economy Act are now not likely to go out until 2013 and he told delegates at the Westminster eForum in London that drafting the code that will set out how the so called graduated response system for tackling illegal file-sharing will work has proved very difficult indeed. Whilst moves by ISP’s BT and TalkTalk to block the copyright section of the DEA by judicial review have proved a hindrance, Cowie indicated that other matters have caused delays in launching three-strikes, in particular gaining confidence in the technology used to identify individual web users suspected of file-sharing, and working out exactly how the appeals process will work. The music industry originally hoped strike one – the sending out of warning letters to suspected file-sharers – would have begun earlier this year, but it now looks likely it won’t happen until 2013. www.thecmuwebsite.com   (24th October 2011)

Fighting for Beiber’s Freedom?
Copyright , Internet / November 2011
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet Fight For The Future, a new US campaign group, has launched a series of photographs showing an arrested and then imprisoned Justin Bieber, on the grounds that the now unfringed pop sensation would have been arrested and possibly imprisoned at the start of his career if the provisions of U.S. Senate bill S. 978 had then been US law – on the basis that Bieber’s rise to fame began with YouTube videos of the pocket rocket singing cover versions of popular songs (although of course YouTube does have certain blanket licences in place itself, for an update see below). Reports say the new Bill will amend the criminal penalty provisions for criminal copyright infringement would make it a felony to stream unlicensed content ten times during any 180-day period and that and has a total economic value, either to the copyright holder or the infringer, of at least $2,500. The Bill has the support of the nearly 50 entertainment industry organizations, including the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA). It is opposed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Entertainment Consumers Association, among others. The bill’s sponsor, Amy Klobuchar told reporters…

Hargreaves Review – Sir Robin Drills
Copyright / November 2011
UK

COPYRIGHT All areas Solicitor and former SABIP member Laurence Kaye has written a very clear summary of the responses Prof Sir Robin Jacob gave to MPs on the Business, Innovation and Skills Select Committee. Noting that the Hargreaves Review had been far too general and had been given too large a remit in too small a timeframe, Sir Robin said that “it is not possible to do the whole of IP in six months” and he called for an 18 month study of the specific issue of online copyright. Sir Robin’s thoughts cover the need to understand what technical steps from ISPs were possible before decisions were taken on the best approach to fighting online copyright infringement, the best forum for protecting copyright (favouring civil law proceedings), how a Digital Rights Exchange might work (only on an EU level), the ongoing role of the Copyright Tribunal and Sir Robin also strongly supported an exemption to copyright laws to allow data mining, stressing that he had spoken to medical researchers at UCL who said medical advances were being stopped by the lack of this facility. There is much more and its a good read – and its all on Laurie’s Blog…

Canada moves to modernise its copyright laws
Copyright / November 2011
Canada

COPYRIGHT All areas Canada’s federal government has reintroduced copyright legislation into the House of Commons in an attempt to modernise the country’s law, last updated in 1997.  The former Liberal government introduced proposed legislation in 2005 and the Conservatives made two attempts during their minority governments in 2008 and 2010, but none passed, the last one having run out of parliamentary time. The new bill is an attempt by the Canadian Government make the Country’s copyright laws fit for purpose in the digital age.  Bill C-11, the Copyright Modernization Act, is an exact copy of legislation tabled by the Conservatives in 2010, Bill C-32, which died when the last Canadian Parliament was dissolved. The legislation the aims to strike a fair balance between the rights of consumers to use products they buy and those of copyright-holders who are entitled to due compensation for their creations. The law would legalize everyday consumer practices that are currently prohibited, such as using a personal video recorder to record a TV show for later viewing, or copying music from a purchased CD to an iPod. It would further allow educators, artists and satirists to break copyright under limited circumstances if the use is fair and not…

Private Copying and Fair Compensation: An empirical study of copyright levies in Europe
Copyright / November 2011
EU

COPYRIGHT All areas ARTICLE LINK By Professor Martin Kretschmer, Centre for Intellectual Property Policy & Management, Bournemouth University Professor Kretschmer has produced a report on the legal basis, rationale and economic effects of copyright levies as part of his ESRC Fellowship at the UK Intellectual Property Office. The research “Private Copying and Fair Compensation: An empirical study of copyright levies in Europe” reports a large amount of new empirical data, including three product level studies of printer/scanners, portable music/video/game devices, and tablet computers. The relationship between VAT, levy tariffs and retail prices is analysed for 20 countries. Following the Information Society Directive of 2001 (introducing the concept of “fair compensation” for private copying into EU Law), total collection from levies on copying media and equipment in the EU tripled, from about €170m to more than €500m per annum. Levy schemes exist now in 22 out of 27 Member States (with only the UK, Ireland, Malta, Cyprus and Luxembourg remaining outside). Professor Kretschmer says that despite their wide adoption, levy systems are little understood, both in respect of their rationale and their economic consequences. Tariffs are increasingly contested in court, leading to a large gap between claimed and collected revenues. The European Commission has…

File Sharing, Copyright and Freedom of Expression
Copyright , Internet / November 2011
EU
UK

COPYRIGHT Internet ARTICLE LINK By Dr Enrico Bonadio, City Law School, City University London The article explores the relationship between copyright and freedom of speech in the Internet environment. After highlighting the constitutional dimension of these conflicting rights, the phenomenon of file sharing and the role of Internet Service Providers (ISPs), the author analyzes the debate surrounding a particular sanction used in certain jurisdictions to punish unauthorized on line sharing of copyrighted material, i.e. the disconnection of Internet access. The increasingly important role played by private agreements between copyright holders and ISPs is also highlighted. A set of proposals aiming at identifying possible areas of freedom for unauthorized file sharers are then analyzed. In particular, the author believes that file sharing technologies may boost the exchange of information, opinions and ideas amongst Internet users and foster a number of values underpinning the very protection of free speech. It is for this reason – the author argues – that copyright rules might be relaxed when it comes to file sharing technologies, e.g. by transforming copyright from a “proprietary” to a “compensation” right. European Intellectual Property Review, Vol. 33, No. 10, 2011 http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1808939

Resale Rumble in the (Digital) Jungle – can you legally re-sell digital music?
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet, record labels, music publishing For some time now there have been articles and comments about the legality of ‘re-selling’ legally acquired MP3s and other digital download music and video files by consumers. Now a new platform called ReDigi has been launched with exactly this activity as its core business model, offering a new model where consumers can legally buy and sell ‘second hand’ downloads. TechCrunch offers this opinion, accepting that there are a number of legal points to be considered (not least when bearing in mind the tumultuous and lawsuit-heavy history of the sale and distribution of music on the internet): “With the rise in the digital distribution of music, movies, software, and more, there has come surfeit legal confusion over whether or not the so-called “first sale doctrine” applies to digital transactions. Basically, under the first-sale doctrine, once the person who owns the rights to, say, a CD sells a copy of that work, the owner relinquishes control of that individual copy. Once that copy is in a new user’s hands, they own it and can do with it as they please, including reselling, lending, or giving it away. However, Some have claimed that the first-sale doctrine does not apply to…

Dylan accused of copying in gallery row
Copyright / November 2011
USA

COPYRIGHT Artistes Bob Dylan  has been accused of replicating several famous photographs in his new art show, The Asia Series, which includes paintings that seem like acrylic reproductions of images by Henri Cartier-Bresson, Dmitri Kessel and Léon Busy. The exhibition, at the Gagosian Gallery in New York was described as a “visual journal of [Dylan’s] travels in Japan, China, Vietnam, and Korea”, with “first-hand depictions of people, street scenes, architecture and landscape”. But within days of opening, the New York Times reports, visitors began remarking on the paintings’ similarities to well-known photos although non were credited as sources. Fans on the Expecting Rain forum have pointed out that a Dylan painting called ”Opium” is almost identical to Léon Busy’s 1915 photograph “Indochine”. Other fans and bloggers have found paintings based on shots by Kessel and Cartier-Bresson. A fan called Okinawa Soba claims six of the Asia Series’ 18 paintings were copied from photos in his Flickr stream, even incorporating the Photoshop edits Soba made to the images. the gallery has now modified its description of the show. Instead of a “visual journal”, the Asia Series is now a “visual reflection” on Dylan’s travels. A federal court in California recently found the central figure in Banksy’s street-art documentary entitled Exit Through the Gift…

Pirate Party makes European policy progress
Copyright / November 2011
EU

COPYRIGHT All areas The Pirate Party’s “rise” in Europe – having had two Swedish MEPs elected in 2009 and more recently having gained a substantial number of seats in the Berlin state parliament after polling 8.5% of the votes – has mostly been written off as a niche occurrence with the party having no realistic hope of making a change. But now it seems like the Greens/European Free Alliance, the 5th largest coalition of political groups in the European Parliament, has adopted the Pirate Party’s policies on copyright. The coalition, which has seen the most gains in recent elections on the continent, will now support copyright policies which include a reduction in the basic term of rights protection to five years, extendable to 20 years on registration, a new right to format shift, a ban on new blank media levies and a new right to share files. Counterfeiting and “profiting directly from other people’s work without paying them” will remain illegal. The party’s UK manifesto also contains provisions for individual privacy and free speech. The UK’s Pirate Party leader Loz Kaye told The Inquirer: “With the recent election victory in Berlin and now the Green EU Block adopting key Pirate…

Supreme Court confirms that a download is NOT a public performance
Copyright , Internet , Music Publishing / November 2011
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet, music publishing The U.S. SupreSupreme Court confirms that a download is NOT a public performanceme Court denied an appeal against an appellate court’s ruling that a traditional Internet download of sound recording does not constitute a public performance of the recorded musical work or the composition under federal copyright law. The Supreme Court denied the appeal without comment. The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) had appealed to the Supreme Court saying the ruling has profound implications for the nation’s music industry, costing its songwriter members tens of millions of dollars in potential royalties each year. The federal government opposed the appeal and U.S. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli said that the ruling by appeals court and the court of first instance was correct and comported with common understanding and sound copyright policy. ASCAP argued that digital downloads were also public performances for which the copyright owners must be compensated. But a federal judge and the appeals court rejected that argument. At issue was a section of the Copyright Act stating that to perform a work means to recite, render, play, dance or act it either directly or by means of any device or process with appeals…

Beyoncé accused of copying in choreography row!
Copyright / November 2011
Belgium

COPYRIGHT Artists Beyoncé has been accused of copying the choreography of Belgian choreographer Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker for the video to her new track ‘Countdown’  after a number of people noted online the /similarities between the Beyoncé promo and two of her dance pieces  ‘Achterland’ and ‘Rosas danst Rosas’. While admitting she and Beyoncé viewed a number of existing dance pieces before devising the ‘Countdown’, the video’s co-director Adria Petty (who had previously said how she borrowed inspiration for various European dances) insists that the overall choreography of the promo is original. Speaking to MTV, she said and her Beyoncé’s team significantly developed any specific elements taken from other pieces, while adding that “German modern-dance references” were actually the greatest influence saying “I brought Beyoncé a number or references and we picked some out together. Most were German modern dance references, believe it or not,” she said. http://zeenews.india.com/entertainment/music/beyonce-accused-of-plagiarism-in-new-music-video_98074.htm “Go compare” at http://celebrity.aol.co.uk/2011/10/11/beyonce-countdown-plagiarism/  

Sugarland could face lawsuit over Indiana stage collapse
Health & Safety , Live Events / October 2011
USA

HEALTH & SAFETY Live events industry   One month after six fans died in the collapse of stage rigging at the Indiana State Fair in America, the family of a 22 year old fan may sue the band whose concert she was there to see. Sugarland have been named in a legal notice by Jennifer Haskell’s parents and sister, charging them with “gross negligence and/or recklessness” over the disaster. Thanks to Cass Williams for alerting us to this update. Haskell and her friend Alina Bigjohny were both in the front row on 13 August, where Sugarland were booked as headliners for the annual State Fair. But as high winds lashed the site, the mainstage scaffolding began to buckle. Haskell, Bigjohny and others were crushed when 40,000lbs of lighting, speakers and other equipment collapsed into the crowd. Although Indiana’s attorney general, Greg Zoeller, has announced a $5m fund to benefit victims of the disaster, several families plan to sue the organizers and others involved with the event. Now, Sugarland themselves are being blamed for the incident, together with their “members, agents and employees”. The Grammy-winning country band are one of 15 defendants named in the Haskells’ filing, seeking damages for the 22-year-old’s injuries and “wrongful…

UK live sector gets yet another licensing consultation
Licensing , Live Events / October 2011
UK

LICENSING Live events industry The UK music has welcomed plans to cut live music bureaucracy and in a bid to help new talent and promote economic growth, the UK Government has launched (another) consultation seeking to deregulate entertainment licensing in the UK. At present, under terms of the Licensing Act 2003, any venue or event looking to promote live music, no matter how small, must apply for permission from their local authority. Reports from the Government-commissioned Live Music Forum (2007) and the Culture, Media & Sport select committee (2009) both concluded that such an approach has proved detrimental to grass roots live music. When Government last consulted on the issue, in early 2010, 74% of respondents who expressed an opinion said that they favoured an exemption for small venues. This was followed by a Private Members Bill, instigated by Lord Tim Clement-Jones, and seeking to exempt venues under a 200 capacity, which is currently awaiting the report stage in the House of Lords. In March 2011, this Bill gained support across the political spectrum. Feargal Sharkey, chief executive of UK Music said: “Earlier this year, UK Music highlighted how large-scale live music attracts £1.4bn of tourism to the UK. However, the success…

Zappa mark dispute continues
Artists , Trade Mark / October 2011
Germany

TRADE MARK Artists The ongoing dispute between the Zappa Family Trust and fans of Frank Zappa who organize the annual Zappanale festival in Germany continues. The dispute is over the use of the iconic frontman’s name and image and the use of the word mark ZAPPA, a registered Community Trade Mark. The Trust, whilst owning tne mark, had only used the word “Zappa” as part of the “official” Zappa website URL, which was operated from the US. Reversing a decision of the Regional Court of Düsseldorf, the Higher Regional Court of Düsseldorf (20 U 48/09) held that this use did not amount to genuine use of the trade mark (Article 15(1) CTMR). The court nonetheless stressed that use of a mark in a domain name as such may be sufficient for constituting genuine use – just not in this case because the public would consider the use of the word Zappa as a general descriptive reference and would not understand it as a reference to the trade mark owner. According to the latest report in Stern, the Higher Regional Court had also held that the Zappanale music festival could still be held and that the Zappanale organizers were allowed to use…

Madonna’s right to ‘Material Girl’ in doubt
Artists , Trade Mark / October 2011
USA

TRADE MARK Artists A legal dispute over the use of the “Material Girl” trade mark  will proceed to court in the USA after a judge refused a request by Madonna’s legal representatives for summary judgment in her favour against   LA Triumph, who took legal action against Madonna after she launched a Material Girl fashion line last year. LA triumph argued that they had been making Material Girl clothing since 1997 and owned the registered trademark. Madonna’s representatives  asked a judge to dismiss the case  arguing that the singer had been associated with the term ‘Material Girl’ since the release of the song of the same name in 1985, and that her businesses had sold over £85 million worth of t-shirts and other products bearing the name over the years. However, Judge James Otero said there were some fundamental flaws in the arguments of Madonna’s lawyers, not least that the release of a track with a name does not constitute registering the name as a trademark, and that selling pop merchandise carrying a song’s title does not mean you are trading in the fashion industry using that title as a mark. The judge concluded that the “defendants’ argument that Madonna created…

The sweet smell of success for Revelation as Prince sniffs at damages award
Artists , Contract / October 2011
USA

CONTRACT Artists, Merchandise In November 2008 diminutive poster Prince was the subject of a lawsuit from Revelations Perfume and Cosmetics Inc. who took action against the singer and Universal Music Publishing Group for damages, claiming they failed to help push a fragrance inspired by his 2006 album 3121. They were seeking damages of $100,000. Prince did not file a defence to the claim and Prince’s then lawyer withdrew,saying his firm has not been paid ‘for months’ and that Prince has dialed ti compy with discovery obligations. The Referee conducting an investigation into damages, Louis Crespo, has now awarded the perfume company $3.9 million to cover the expenditures it had made in reliance on Prince’s commitment to promote the perfume, 3121. Mr. Crespo, however, rejected Revelations’ claim for an additional $3.4 million in lost profits, finding they were too “speculative.” He also denied Revelations’ assertion that it was entitled to punitive damages. Revelations’ lawyer said he will ask Manhattan Acting Supreme Court Justice Bernard J. Fried to confirm the referee’s award next week. Prince’s attorney has said they will oppose this. The licensing agreement was signed on Dec 2nd 2006, according to the complaint, but immediately the complaint says that Prince started backtracking saying…

Elvis Estate sues for unpaid royalties
Artists , Contract , Record Labels / October 2011
Germany

CONTRACT Artists, record labels Elvis Presley’s estate is suing Arista Music in Germany for $9m (£5.6m) in unpaid royalties dating back to 2002 for ringtones, downloads and apps. The lawsuit also alleges the label (then RCA) exploited Presley in a $5.4m (£3.3m) 1973 “buyout” of his catalogue. It claims that, as a result of the contract, Presley went on to receive just $10 (£6) a year for worldwide rights to each of more than 1,000 recordings and the estate is seeking  a share of future revenue. It seems that under the 1973 agreement, RCA bought the rights to Presley’s back catalogue – with the $5.4m fee split evenly between the singer and his manager, Colonel Tom Parker – parker famously took a 50% management commission. The Presley estate says the singer’s annual payment for each song of about $10 is “conspicuously disproportionate” to the revenue RCA made from master recordings. As well as seeking $9m (£5.6m) in unpaid royalties, the estate wants a share of future revenue until 2023 – 50 years after the deal was struck and the year when Arista’s copyright expires under German law. The estate says it wants “equitable remuneration” asking the court to redress the deal…

Facebook Music – is this really the future of music?
Copyright , Internet / October 2011
EU
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet OK, this isn’t strictly about copyright – its about the launch of the new Facebook Music service – which seemed to leave most cyberworld commentators somewhat under-awed. But I wonder if they (and the music industry) are missing the point. Its great to have a internet behemoth like Facebook promoting legal music platforms (isn’t it ?) – but – isn’t the real value of music being missed again? Facebook’s new music service seems to be all about data collection – with the music services (or the ‘copyright’ element) just the bait to get users to share information with Facebook. One of cyberworld’s commentators, Gizmodo, tells us that Facebook has failed “To Let Fans Share Music Across Platforms”. But of course Facebook has never (as yet) claimed to be a content provider itself. Instead, head honcho Mark Zuckerberg wants Facebook Music to be the “connective tissue” needed by music fans and the music industry alike, so that people would be able to share music with each other without friction – and without breaking the law. How will it do this? Well  Facebook will let you see what your friends are listening to in a real-time “Ticker” feed that appears…