PPL review sparks outrage
Copyright , Live Events / October 2011
UK

COPYRIGHT Live events industry Live UK magazine reports that venue owners and club promoters are horrified at the review being conducted by Phonographic Performance Limited  – PPL – the body that collects royalties due to record labels and recording artists every time a sound recording is played in public. PPL is also reviewing its live venue licences, which, it says, haven’t been amended since 1990. There is an underlying suspicion that any review will result in an upwards  hike in charges, but smaller venue owners and promoters are angered at some of proposed new rates put forward as part of the consultation which they say might lead to increases of 2000%. Live UK says that the rates being proposed would mean a three hour club night attended by 500 people, which would currently expect to pay £37.21 in royalties, could have to pay in excess of £600. PPL has stressed that any figures shared with licensees are as part of its consultation and that these are proposals intended to initiate debate. Some promoters admit that they suspect the collecting society really envisages that final rates – after consultation and negotiation – will actually be quite a bit lower. However, others have…

Tenenbaum damages reinstated
Copyright , Internet , Record Labels / October 2011
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet, record labels In the see-saw world of US copyright damages for illegal downloading and file-sharing, a federal appeals court has reinstated a ‘hefty’ $675,000 judgment against Boston University post graduate student Joel Tenenbaum, who admitted to downloading music on Internet file-sharing sites after a judge had reduced the previous jury award at the same level by 90%. The US Circuit Court of Appeals for the First Circuit rejected Tenenbaum’s assertions that he did not violate copyright protection laws because he was a consumer, not someone looking to make a profit from downloading. The court also vacated  the US District Court’s decision to reduce the total charges to $67,500, because Judge Nancy Gertner found the original figure was unconstitutionally excessive. The court instead reinstated the jury’s figure of $675,000 criticising Judge Gertner for disregarding procedure in reducing the award. The case involves 30 infringements of copyright law which attracts maximum statutory damages of $150,000 per violation, or a potential maximum in this case of $4.5 million. In the other leading case involving single mum Jammie Rasset Thomas (Capitol Records v. Thomas-Rasset) Judge Michael Davis rejected a jury’s damages award of $1.9 million through both remittitur and on constitutional grounds, and…

ERA calls for DEA implementation, Hunt tells ISPs to be more responsible
Copyright , Internet / October 2011
UK

COPYRIGHT Internet Paul Quirk, Chairman of the Entertainment Retailers Association has  called on government to speed up the implementation of the controversial copyright provisions in the Digital Economy Act, arguing that ongoing delays in launching “three-strikes” system contained were costing the British music and DVD industries millions. Quirk added that since the DEA was passed into law in June 2010 the annual value of UK music and video sales has declined by £250 million, and that he believes a significant portion of that loss was down to the ongoing growth of online piracy. Referring to the implementation of the DEA’s ‘graduated response’ process, Quirk told his organisation’s AGM yesterday: “The best information we have is that the first letters to suspected file-sharers will not be sent out until the second half of 2012 and disconnections of persistent pirates will not happen before 2013. This is unacceptable. We need action on internet piracy – and we need it now. Not all of the sales decline is down to piracy, but a substantial part of it certainly is and every further day of delay will only make those losses greater”. UK Media regulator OfCom, who are set to manage the anti-piracy elements…

EMI loses German ISP blocking case
Copyright , Internet , Record Labels / October 2011
Germany

COPYRIGHT Record labels, internet Following on from a fairly unsuccessful attempt to block digital cloud locker service MP3Tunes in the USA, EMI has now failed to force a German ISP to block access to file-sharing service eDonkey. The court in Cologne ruled that the net firm HanseNet was not liable for the actions of its customers in accessing Russian illegal file swapping services. In the UK in 2011 the Motion Picture Association was more successful, with the High Court granting an injunction ordering BT to block access to Newzbin2, an online community that provides links to manifold unlicensed content, and which relocated its base to Sweden after losing an earlier infringement lawsuit.  In the L’Oreal v Ebay case (2011) the European Court of Justice, looking primarily at trade mark issues, decided that a service provider such as eBay could be liable for users infringements under national law, unless it can rely on an exemption from liability provided by Directive 2000/31 on electronic commerce. The ECJ explained that such an exemption would be subject to the following conditions being met: (i) the operator does not play an active role, i.e., it does not know or control the data provided by its customers; (ii) a diligent economic…

EU agrees to term extension for sound recordings
Copyright , Record Labels / October 2011
EU

COPYRIGHT Record labels After a longish silence in Europe, the idea of copyright term extension for sound recordings was suddenly well and truly back on the agenda in Europe and the extension of the copyright term for sound recordings from 50 years 70 years was agreed by the EU on the 12th September, following an earlier meeting of the European Union’s Committee of Permanent Representatives. The European record industry has been lobbying for some time for the sound recording copyright term to be extended, noting the difference between European and US copyright terms (the US has a potential 95 year term for sound recordings), and difference with the term enjoyed by music publishers and songwriters  – the copyright term in the melody and lyrics of a song is life of author plus 70 years. Andrew Gower’s 2006 Report on IP was seemingly unconvinced by the arguments put forward by the record labels but the last (Labour) Government seemed to support term extension, mainly based on pleas to protect the pensions of ‘aging session musicians’ – and Cliff Richard. The matter moved to Europe with mixed results and whilst both the European Commission and European Parliament backed an extension, in 2009…

Liam sues Noel – definitely – maybe … maybe not
Defamation / September 2011
UK

DEFAMATION Artists Oasis frontman Liam Gallagher is suing his brother for libel over recent comments Noel made about the reasons behind their band’s split in 2009 when Noel said that the siblings had fallen out because his brother wanted to place advertisements for his clothing company, Pretty Green, in their tour programme. He also claimed that Liam had forced the band to pull out of a headline slot at V Festival’s Chelmsford leg that year because he had a hangover. Liam says it was due to a sudden bout of laryngitis. In a statement issued on Friday, Liam said: “I have taken legal action against Noel Gallagher for statements he made during the Electric Cinema press conference on 6 Jul during which he claimed Oasis pulled out of the 2009 V Festival Chelmsford gig because I had a hangover. That is a lie and I want Oasis fans, and others who were at V, to know the truth” adding “Noel also falsely stated that the demise of Oasis followed a massive row in which he claimed I demanded to advertise my clothing range Pretty Green in the Oasis tour programme. The truth is there was no such discussion or row…

US festival accused of unregistered investment sales
Live Events , Regulation / September 2011
USA

FINANCIAL REGULATION Live events industry   The organisers of an Orange County  weekend music festival in Irvine may have run foul of state law with an unusual financing scheme  – by attempting to sign up investors by allegedly using “boiler-room” style phone calls. Billed as a “new music experience in Orange County”, the two-day Playgound Festival is planned to feature hip-hop and rock acts at Hidden Valley, a grassy area adjacent to Verizon Amphitheater. Rapper the Game and rock bands the Bravery and Panic! are currently billed  as headliners according to Orange County Register, However, it seems that sales teams from promoters Elevated Sound Productions having been cold calling local residents offering exceptional returns from investments in the Festival. Steve Blasko, an ESP managing partner, denied that the company made unsolicited calls to investors. He told the Orange County Register that the company only contacted people who had previously expressed interest through the company’s website. If anyone got an unsolicited call to invest, Blasko said, it was because “wires were crossed somewhere”. Investigations by the Register say that one salesman compared the newly established Playground Festival with long-established Coachella Festival and the Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas and that another unsuccessfully pushed an undercover reporter to make an…

Five dead in Pukklepop storm disaster
Health & Safety , Live Events / September 2011
Belgium

HEALTH & SAFETY Live events industry At least five people have died and many more injured at the 60,000 capacity Pukklepop Festival in Belgium after a storm swept through a popular open-air music festival in the town of Hasselt, 50 miles east of Brussels. The storm hit the site in the late afternoon on Thursday 18th August. Concertgoers described scenes of panic as the sky darkened, the winds whipped, rain poured, hailstones nearly half an inch across pelted the crowds, and concert structures buckled. The worst affected area was the Chateau Stage which collapsed as the Smith Westerns began their set.  Lead singer Cullen Omori  told Pitchfork: “We had just finished the first song of our set at Pukkelpop when the stage/tent started shaking. We simply thought it was a storm passing through. I made a comment about Cheap Trick, and we were about to play the next one, when our tour manager yelled at me to run off the stage. Right then the tress collapsed one foot in front of Max. At this point we thought only the stage broke, not the tent. Amid the chaos it was hard to tell exactly what had happened, but after the rescue teams started coming in it became clear…

Six die in Indiana rigging collapse during storm
Health & Safety , Live Events / September 2011
USA

HEALTH & SAFETY Live events Six people have died after stage rigging at the Indiana State Fair in Indianapolis collapsed after being hit by 70mph freak gusts of wind just before country stars Sugarland were due to take to the stage. An announcement warned concert-goers that a storm was approaching BUT and critically it seems also said that it was hoped Sugarland’s concert could go ahead: Seconds later strong winds blew up in the space of seconds and a large stage rig collapsed onto the waiting crowd. According to local media reports, four people died immediately, while one more died later in hospital. Over 40 others were being treated for injuries incurred during the stage collapse. . One member of the audience managed to film the incident State Governor Mitch Daniels told reporters later that many precautions had been taken ahead of the event to cope with stormy weather, but that the stage collapse had been caused by a freak gust of wind – between 60 and 70 mph – that could not have been foreseen. It appears that Sugarland had delayed the start of their set to see how bad the weather was, potentially saving the band’s own and…

Van the Man named and shamed by UK IPO
Artists , Trade Mark / September 2011
UK

TRADE MARK Artists There is an interesting entry on the UK’s Intellectual Property Office’s list of those ‘named and shamed’ for failing to pay the costs of failed Trade Mark oppositions – and it is this and concerns the mark ‘Lioness Films’ and Van Morrison Opp 100284 £400 2 November 2010 George Ivan Morrison trading as Van Morrison 26 July 2011 Van has had a mixed bag of results in court over the last few years: Most recently there have been some ups and downs in litigation recently concerning his own, long term partner Michelle Rocca’s and his family’s privacy and also a high profile story concerning an alleged illegitimate child born outside of his relationship with Rocca, as well as repeated disputes with neighbours: a now settled sex discrimination case was brought against him by singer Linda Gail Lewis, sister of Jerrry Lee Lewis, although Van won a libel action against the Sunday Independent over the same story: and pub landlord Gary Marlow won £20,000 damages and the return of the £20,000  fee after Van Morrison cancelled a 2002 pub concert after the singer claimed that the publican had breached the terms of a ‘secrecy’ provision. Mr Justice Cresswell…

Bobby G wins Bucks Fizz Trade Mark dispute
Artists , Trade Mark / September 2011
UK

TRADE MARK Artists Bobby G (Robert Gubby), one of the four original members of Bucks Fizz and owner of the band’s Trade Mark “Bucks Fizz”, has successfully prevented the three other original members, Mike Nolan, Cheryl Baker and Jay Aston registering “Original Bucks Fizz”. The UK Intellectual Property Office ruled that given Buck Fizz has existed in all sorts of incarnations over the years, the number original members was not relevant. And as Bobby G was the original trademark registrant, he has the right to use the name saying “The public would have no reason to expect the group performing as Bucks Fizz to consist of the original line-up [that] had not performed together for 24 years”. An appeal is planned. See August 2011 Music Law Updates

Sugarbabes’ Trade Mark dispute
Artists , Trade Mark / September 2011
UK

TRADE MARK Artists Mutya Buena’s 2009 application for the ‘Sugarbabes’ European Community Trade Mark, which had been opposed by  the current incarnation of the band and their label Universal, appears to have been successful but the former member only appears to have succeeded in achieving registration of the name for only one class – Class 16 for paper products and stationery’. In a statement the current band’s label  said “”Further to ongoing media speculation and mis-reporting of the facts by various sources, we would like to clarify the following. Over four months ago (21 Apr 2011) it was officially confirmed by the European Trade Marks Department [OHIM] that Sugababes were successful in claiming their ongoing right to use the name ‘Sugababes’ for all areas of commercial activity that the band requires, namely within the music, sound recording and entertainment industry, as well as being granted extensive rights to produce a wide range of merchandise” adding “The Trade Mark rights for Class 16 (excluding those items which are already covered by Sugababes merchandise, eg posters, stickers, etc.) include certain paper and cardboard goods, such as stationery, paper gift wrap and paper gift wrapping ribbons. This is a category that currently holds…

Syl Johnson considers action over Kanye and Jay-Z sample
Artists , Copyright , Record Labels / September 2011
USA

COPYRIGHT Record labels, artists Soul singer Syl Johnson and archive label Numero Uno are threatening legal action against Jay-Z, Kanye West and Universal’s Def Jam label over the use of a sample on the hip-hop duo’s recent collaborative album ‘Watch The Throne’ with Numero Uno saying thsat the pair sampled Johnson song ‘Different Strokes’ on their track ‘The Joy’ without permission. It adds that it had been in talks with Def Jam about West using the sample of his previous album ‘My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy’, but could not reach an agreement. There had been no talk, the music company adds, of the same sample being used on ‘Watch The Thone”.

Kiwi ISP Chief says that three strikes in the wrong approach
Copyright , Internet / September 2011
New Zealand

COPYRIGHT Internet Allan Freeth, The chief executive of New Zealand ISP TelstraClear, has spoken out against his country’s Copyright (Infringing File Sharing) Amendment Act 2011, which comes into force on September 1st. The New Zealand legislation is another example of the ‘three strikes’ legislative approach adopted by France, South Korea and which will be implemented in the UK. The Act introduces a set of penalties (described by some as ‘draconian’, others as ‘ineffective’) that impose fines and possible account suspension for infringing activities, and it involves Internet Service Providers in the process of identifying and notifying account holders based on IP addresses. Freeth said that “TelstraClear respects copyright and supports the ability of rights owners to realise value from their intellectual property. But a business model that has to be propped up by specific legislation in this way is flawed and needs to change,” adding The new law will not help copyright owners defend their rights” and “It may encourage parents to take more notice of what their kids are doing online, and that’s a good thing. But it won’t stop those who really want content from getting it.” Freeth said his company’s market research found definitive reasons why people…

US indie publishers settle with YouTube
Copyright , Internet , Music Publishing / September 2011
USA

COPYRIGHT Music publishing, internet While Viacom’s long-standing copyright lawsuit against YouTube has grabbed all of the headlines, a second related suit has been running ion parallel – the class action brought by the Premier League and other major content owners against youTube. Now one big part of that class action suit, the US independent music publishers, have bowed out of the case after striking a deal with YouTube. Whilst the terms of the settlement weren’t disclosed it appears to be based on a share of advertising revenue that YouTube’s collect from identified music videos. The record labels, which represent the artists that perform the songs, already have similar deals going as did the major label’s music publishing xompanies.  Its interesting to note that YouTube settled the suit despite the fact that it in the actual court case, at the first hearing the judge ruled that YouTube was protected from copyright lawsuits because YouTube had followed the rules of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). . The settlement has no bearing on Viacom’s lawsuit. In that case, Viacom says that YouTube should pay up to $1 billion in damages, because it knowingly built up its user base with pirated material. However,…

Syco settles Penguin claim
UK

COPYRIGHT Music publishing / record labels Leona Lewis and her label, Simon Cowell’s Sony imprint Syco, have settled out of court with Swedish producer Avicii and Avicii’s label the Ministry of Sound over the use of his instrumental track, ‘Penguin’ in Lewis’ new single, ‘Collide’.  An application for an injunction to prevent the alleged unauthorised use (which was disputed by Syco) was due to be head in the High Court mid-August but a settlement was reached and Lewis’s track will be released on the 4th September as planned  In a statement, Syco said: “It is announced today that Leona Lewis and Avicii will work together on the forthcoming single of ‘Collide’. ‘Collide‘ will be released on 4 Sep. Since getting its first radio play in the UK it has received rave reviews and is already topping club charts across the country”. Avicii said via Twitter: “We’ve finally come to an agreement with Leona on all the issues. So happy to move on and focus on hit making!” No further details of the settlement have been given See Music Law Updates August 2011 Ministry of Sound claims Leona’s Collide samples Avicii’s Penguin

Major artistes look to reclaim recordings and songs: Springsteen and others soon eligible to “recover song rights”
Artists , Copyright , Record Labels / September 2011
USA

COPYRIGHT Artistes, record labels ARTICLE LINK:  An interesting article in the New York Times notes that since their release in 1978, hit albums like Bruce Springsteen’s “Darkness on the Edge of Town,” Billy Joel’s “52nd Street,” the Doobie Brothers’ “Minute by Minute,” Kenny Rogers’s “Gambler” and Funkadelic’s “One Nation Under a Groove” have generated tens of millions of dollars for record companies. But thanks to a little-noted provision in United States copyright law, those artists — and thousands more — now have the right to reclaim ownership of their recordings, potentially leaving the labels and music publishers out in the cold.  Other artistes currently looking to regain rights include Bryan Adams, Bob Dylans, Tom Waites, Kris Kristofferson, Kool & The Gang and Fleetwood Mac. When copyright law was revised in the mid-1970s, musicians, like creators of other works of art, were granted “termination rights,” which allow them to regain control of their work after 35 years, so long as they apply at least two years in advance. Recordings from 1978 are the first to fall under the law, but in a matter of months, hits from 1979, like “The Long Run” by the Eagles and “Bad Girls” by Donna Summer, will…

Gaga gets Judas claim and mermaid blues
Artists , Copyright , Music Publishing / September 2011
USA

COPYRIGHT Music publishing, artists Lady Gaga (Stefani Germanotta) is facing a claim from singer Rebecca Francescatti that Gaga’s song Judas is a copy of  Francescatti’s Juda released in 1999 and that musicologists supported her claim. Francescatti, A Chicago based singer, has said that whilst the two songs have been recorded in different styles, the compositon is the same and the chorus has the same melody. Francescatti, who records as Rebecca F, also says that her former bass player Brian Gaynor now works with Gaga producer Paul Blair (DJ White Shadow) who worked on Gaga’s Born This Way album and helped record a version of Juda in 2005.  The  lawsuit has been filed in the Northern District of Illinois Gaga has also faced criticism from  Bette Middler who says Gaga’s appearance on stage in a wheelchair dressed as a mermaid copied an act Middler had been performing since 1978. Gaga has said that she didn’t know about Middler’s act when she first used the mermaid routine but does now.  Middler tweeted “I’ve been doing the singing mermaid act since 1980 – you can keep the meat dress and the firecracker tits – the mermaid’s mine”. Of the 99,652 votes cast on TMZ when I logged on, 70% thought Gaga’s song…

Mars seeks to escape Bug
Artists , Contract , Music Publishing / September 2011
USA

CONTRACT Artists, music publishing Bruno Mars has filed papers ar the LA County Superior Court in a move to to end his music publishing contract with Bug Music. TMZ reports that Mars believes that he has fulfilled his commitments under his contract with the up-for-sale independent publisher, and that it failed to take up an option to renew in the renewal period previously agreed. Mars now says he is currently without any commitments to any music publisher. TMZ reports that Bug seems not agree and maintains that he is still under contact to the company. http://www.tmz.com/2011/08/30/bruno-mars-lawsuit-singer-music-bug-music-inc-publishing-rights-lawsuit-bughouse/?adid=recentlyupdatedstories

Mixed results for EMI in MP3tunes case
Copyright , Internet , Record Labels / September 2011
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet, record labels In a potentially highly damaging day for the US content industries, the New York district court has ruled that digital music lockers don’t need licences from record labels to store recorded music and that the operators of digital locker services are protected by the ‘safe harbor’ provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, something that will bring cheer to both Amazon and Google who launched their cloud storage services without licences from record labels or music publishers, The New York District Court handed Capitol Records, part of the EMI Group, a mixed verdict in their lawsuit against MP3tunes, the San Diego music locker service founded by technology entrepreneur Michael Robertson. The lawsuit, filed in November 2007, contended that MP3tunes (and Robertson personally) violated copyright law when they allowed users to find music online and add songs to an online locker service that let them listen to those songs from any Internet connection. In its defence MP3tunes argued that it qualified for a so-called “safe harbor” exemption under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, Judge William H. Pauley, III, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York ruled that MP3tunes didqualify for safe harbor exemption when it responded to…

Why did Google launch its cloud service without licences?
Copyright , Internet / September 2011
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet I’ve been sitting on a story from BusinessWeek from two months ago when the magazine reported that Google offered the major record labels $100 million to obtain licenses for its new cloud music service, but that talks broke down and one of the reasons was that the labels wanted Google to be more proactive in the fight against digital piracy. Google then launched a cloud locker service – without licences – and the legality of that has yet to be tested in the US courts. It is also interesting that Google filed a Amici curiae brief back in January in support of the defendant in the main case looking at this issue, EMI v MP3Tunes. MP3tunes operates a digital cloud “locker” service and is being sued by the major labels (see details of the decision in the New York District Court below) CNET asks why the labels would pass up big dollars for antipiracy considerations. Whether the story is true or not,  it is clear that the large entertainment companies are trying to pressure Google to make changes – and the news of the new scheme brokered in the USA with the major ISPs means that this story makes more…

Down Down, Deeper and Down
Artists , Copyright , Internet , Record Labels / September 2011
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet, record labels, artists What do Justin Bieber, Rhianna, Lady Gaga , Beyonce  and Shakira  have in common? Well you can make your own minds up about their music, but they are undoubtedly some of the biggest pop stars on the global music jukebox at the moment – and NONE of them are signed to iLCreation. Why do I mention iLCreation – well this entity managed to get videos by Bieber, Gaga, Shakira, Rhianna, Beyonce and others including Bruno Mars and Miley Cyrus taken down from YouTube. Seemingly rather easily. Many of the artistes who whose videos were targeted had performed at the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards last Sunday and according to Webpronews an unknown individual using the name iLCreation submitted a copyright claim on numerous videos including Miley Cyrus’ “Party In The USA”,  Rhianna’s “What’s My Name” and. Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance” and following its standard procedures, YouTube pulled down the video including Bieber’s entire Vevo channel, it seems without requiring any form of verification that the claimant had the right to request the take-down. Vevo initially posted a statement that explained, “Someone is making false copyright claims against the Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga channels and YouTube has blocked…

Scotland debates IP
Copyright / September 2011
UK

COPYRIGHT All areas Scottish lawyer Paul Carlyle has told the Festival of Politics in Edinburgh that neither the government nor the entertainment industry has successfully persuaded the public of the need to pay for digital content saying “It’s interesting, is it not, that an industry that can sell us Cheryl Cole, Jedward and all the other ‘X-Factor’ creations, and which can persuade us to part with good money for all sorts of products linked to these celebrities, has somehow failed to persuade much of the public that they should pay for digital content”. Carlyle said that education and communication, should be at the top of the agenda of rights owners and their political supporters, Also at the conference at the Scottish Parliament’s building at Holyrood was Pete Wishart, the Scottish Nationalist MP and a former member of Scottish band Runrig, Wishart is a vocal supporter of copyright in Westminster, and stressed the importance of intellectual property rights for the UK and Scottish economies, and of the need for new laws, including the new measures in the Digital Economy Act , to maintain a defence against online infringers. Carlyle pointed out that in the main Intellectual Prooperty  law in Scotland was…

UK Goverment responds to The Hargreaves’ Review – it’s a yes!
Copyright / September 2011
UK

COPYRIGHT All areas The UK Government’s have responsed to Professor Ian Hargreaves review of IP law in a Response that accepts all ten of Professor Hargreaves’ recommendations. The Government say that their goal is to have measures in place by the end of this Parliament that will realise the Review’s vision and deliver real value to the UK economy, and to the creators and users of Intellectual Property saying  “the Government announced plans to support economic growth by modernising UK intellectual property laws. Ministers have accepted the recommendations made in an independent review which estimate the potential to deliver up to £7.9 billion to the UK economy”. You can read the response in full here (pdf download)http://www.ipo.gov.uk/ipresponse as well as a letter from UK Business Secretary Vince Cable to stakeholders saying that consultation will begin this autumn. The Response covers a number of topics (I haven’t covered patents and design rights here) and even suggests a new name for the Patents County Court and a new ‘small claims’ track for IP. The only seemingly negative for content owners is that site blocking legislation will not be brought in although in light of Newzbin2 this may not be of such concern. Anyway,…

China seeks to order online music
Copyright , Internet , Record Labels / September 2011
China

COPYRIGHT Internet, record labels The Chinese Ministry of Culture has ordered domestic websites to cease streaming and download services for a list of over 100 songs which the Ministry has not authorised for the Internet saying “A website that is engaged in the operation of an online music product must go through procedures with the Ministry’s department of cultural markets” – the ministry operates a review procedure all foreign tracks and operates a registration system for domestic product. Li Jian, an official told reporters “the procedure is a bid to strike out copyright infringement and refine the order of the online cultural market”. Domestic search engines and websites have been told to review and cancel services dealing with the list of (unapproved) tracks, which features Lady Gaga and the Backstreet Boys by September 15th or face investigation and penalties. The registration system means that whichever website gains the first permission to use the track can then pass that permission on – other websites have to go to the first registrant for permission. Record industry executive have pointed out that they do not agree that once they have licensed a website to sell their music it can re-authorise others, that the…

Grooveshark faces new action
Copyright , Internet , Music Publishing / September 2011
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet, music publishing Online music service Grooveshark is facing a new action from music publishers.. The online service that allows users to post their own tracks to their site while sharing them with the world is being sued by a number of songwriters and music publishers. Filed in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee, the plaintiffs claim the music illegally violates many copyright laws, and therefore is liable for contributory infringement, copyright infringement and vicarious infringement  saying “Defendant neither sought nor obtained a license, permission, or authorization from plaintiffs”.. The company claims to abide by all rules of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and that it is protected from any copyright violations committed by its users. However, companies like EMI Music and Universal Music Group disagree — having both filed lawsuits against the company, with EMI Music being the only one to settle. http://www.dmwmedia.com/news/2011/07/28/grooveshark-sued-by-music-publishers-again/

Major knockback for IPRS in Indian broadcast claim
Copyright , Internet , Music Publishing / September 2011
India

COPYRIGHT Internet, music publishing In a judgment I found extremely surprising, the Bombay High Court have decided that the owner of a sound recording can authorize the public communication of that sound recording and that no royalty is payable to the owner of the underlying works – here music and lyrics (Music Broadcast Private Limited v Indian Performing Right Society Limited, before S. J. Vadzifdar J). The Indian Performing Rights Society (IRPS) have claimed a royalty when a ‘sound recording’ is ‘communicated to the public’ in many proceedings before various courts in India. The members of the IPRS are the authors of literary and musical works. The IPRS has always claimed that they are entitled to claim royalty when ‘work’  – which is embodied in the sound recording – is communicated to the public through broadcast on radio in the sound recording. IPRS claims that, in the absence of a licence from IPRS, such communication of sound recordings amounts to infringement of copyright of the members of the IPRS in the underlying works embodied in the sound recording. The radio broadcasters have valid licences to broadcast the sound recordings from Phonographic Performance Limited (PPL), the collection society for owners of sound…

Danger in numbers – can mega-gigs ever truly be safe?
Health & Safety , Live Events / August 2011
Germany
UK
USA

HEALTH & SAFETY Live events ARTICLE LINK  Concerts keep getting bigger – and so do the risks of deadly crushes. On the anniversary of the Love Parade tragedy, experts tell Dorian Lynskey how such disasters could be avoided.  Our thanks to Owen Grainer-Jones at the International Centre for Crowd Management and Security Studies at Bucks New University for alerting us to this interesting Guardian article http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2011/jul/20/love-parade-crowd-safety-crush  and more articles on crowd safety at the ICCMSS website here http://www.crowdsafetymanagement.co.uk/press/

UK visa scheme under heavy fire
Artists , Immigration , Live Events / August 2011
UK

IMMIGRATION Artistes, live events industry Ian Birrell, co-founder of Africa Express with Damon Albarn and former Deputy Editor of the Independent newspaper, has launched a blistering attack on the UK’s Border Agency handling of international musician’s visits to the UK saying it will turn Britain into a ‘cultural backwater’. Ian highlights the Wu Tang Clan’s recent treatment when they arrived in the UK to tour and play Glastonbury when the band said that they were treated like ‘The Taliban’ and acclaimed Indian musician Rhagu Dixit who missed a festival in Glasgow after visa delays and only managed to perform on Later with Jools after help from a supportive MP.  Ian also highlighted and the plight of Idrissa Soumaoro, who should have been rehearsing for the much anticipated Amadou and Mariam tour when the article was written, but was stuck in a hotel in Senegal waiting for UK visa paperwork to be completed. In another article by the Observer’s Arts and Medias Correspondent Vanessa Thorpe, it became clear that a number of artistes are ruling Britain out of future touring plans because of the difficulties in obtaining visas. Russian ballerina Ploina Semionova was almost unable to perform with the English National Ballet in June 2010 because of visa problems. Argentinian dancers…

US Judge rejects Ticketmaster settlement on delivery fees
Competition , Live Events / August 2011
USA

COMPETITION Live events industry A Californian judge last week rejected an out of court settlement regarding a class action lawsuit against Live Nation’s Ticketmaster originally brought in 2003 two Americans, Curt Schlesinger and Peter Lo Re, who sued Ticketmaster claiming the ticketing giant had misled customers by implying in its marketing materials that “delivery fees” added to ticket purchases were simply a cost of sale, whilst in reality they were a profit margin. The case, which became a class action last year, was due to go to court in January, but an out of court settlement was reached, in which anyone who believed (and could prove) they had been misled could claim a small refund or discount on future purchases. Live Nation set aside $22.3 million to cover any claims.  LA Superior Court Judge Kenneth R Freeman has now turned down the settlement, saying it wasn’t sufficient and that the proposed deal “offered virtually no benefit to the class member” (ie anyone who made a claim). The whole thing is now likely to go to court in October. In related news, Live Nation is still suing its insurers Illinois Union Insurance Co in relation to this case after the insurers…

Now Yoko goes after a theme bar
Artists , Trade Mark / August 2011
UK

TRADE MARK Artistes Following on from our report last month that the surviving members of the Doors and Jim Morrison’s estate took umbrage at the French ‘Lizard’ bar dedicated to the former band frontman, it seems that Yoko Ono is objecting to a John Lennon themed bar – actually called Lennon’s Bar which is filled with Beatles memorabilia. According to reports, Mike Craig, who has been running the bar in Dundee, Scotland, for five years, has been sent a cease and desist letter from Ono accusing him of infringing her intellectual property rights and demands he change the name of his bar and remove all the Beatles memorabilia from inside. http://www.thecmuwebsite.com/article/lennon-themed-bar-sent-legal-letter-from-yoko/

Viva la name change Brother
Artists , Trade Mark / August 2011
USA

TRADE MARK Artistes UK indie rockers Brother are now Viva Brother after seemingly having thirty pages of court documents ‘served’ on them at a gig in San Francisco by a gentlemen who threw the bundle onto the stage – informing the band that a US Celtic powerhouse trio already were using the name Brother. In the old days, UK bands faced with this problem simply adopted a ‘US’ name (such as the London Suede and The Charlatans UK) but as we are now in the global digital market, the UK Brother perhaps unsurprisingly went for a more radical approach and plumped for  the new name of Viva Brother, Viva Brother frontman Lee Newell said of the name change: “A long time ago in a galaxy far far away three men decided one day that it would be a good idea to start a band called Brother. Many, many years later four frighteningly handsome devils in the desolate, post apocalyptic wasteland of Slough decided to do the same thing. But something called ‘litigation’ got in the way. However with this out of the way we do finally feel free. Brother is dead. Long Live VIVA BROTHER!” http://www.acidlove.net/

Bucks Fizz row bubbles over
Artists , Trade Mark / August 2011
UK

TRADE MARK Artistes Moves by the ‘Original Bucks Fizz’ (which contains three original members of the Eurovision winning British quartet) to register their name as a Trade Mark has prompted a legal row after the fourth member, Bobby G, who owns the Trade Mark to the name ‘Bucks Fizz’ objected to the registration. The UK’s Intellectual Property Office has said it will take up to six weeks to decide the issue. Bobby G, real name Robert Gubby, one of the four original member of the band, has been touring as Bucks Fizz for many years and his wife owns the Bucks Fizz trademark which was registered in 1997 during a previous legal battle over the name which included a spat with former member Mike Nolan and Dollar frontman David Van Day. Van Day at one point tried to tour a ‘Bucks Fizz’ without any original members. In 2004 Nolan teamed up with one of the original Bucks Fizz female vocalists, Cheryl Baker, for one of the 80s nostalgia ‘Here & Now’ tours and they also recruited Shelley Preston for the tour who whilst not an original member, had performed with the band in the 1980s. Gubby, although still regularly performing…

Spotify launches in USA, Baidu goes legal
Copyright , Internet / August 2011
China
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet Spotify has finally launched in the UK. The successful European service, which has 10 million users, has now concluded a deal with the Warner Music Group, the last of the four major labels to sign up, and with music publishing collection society ASCAP, to allow for its American debut. China’s largest search engine Baidu has announced that it had signed a deal with an agency representing three of the major record companies, Universal, Warner and Sony, which, it says, will now enable it to offer a fully licensed MP3 service. In April it said it had a deal in place with the Music Copyright Society of China, which represents the interests of music publishers. http://www.sacbee.com/2011/07/18/3778265/baidu-launches-landmark-licensed.html http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/07/19/baidu_music_deal/

Ministry of Sound claims Leona’s Collide samples Avicii’s Penguin
UK

COPYRIGHT Music publishing / record labels The Ministry Of Sound has hit back at Simon Cowell’s Syco record company after the Sony label seemingly claimed that the MOS dance label had cleared the use of one its tracks as the backdrop to  X-factor winner Leona Lewis’s new track‘Collide’, which when premiered on BBC Radio 1 caused something of a buzz as fans commented that the new track was identical to the instrumental track  ‘Penguin’ by rising superstar DJ Avicii. ‘Penguin’, which has enjoyed airplay on various specialist dance shows, is due to be released with vocals under the name ‘Fade Into Darkness’ by MOS. Syco reportedly told reporters that there was “zero legal case to answer” because “Avicii is already credited as a songwriter on Leona’s song” adding “it’s a case of sour grapes from Ministry Of Sound”. Responding to reports about Syco’s response, Avicii took to Twitter this weekend to say: “To answer everyone, the first time I heard Leona Lewis ‘Collide’ was today. I didn’t produce it and neither me nor my manager could approve it… I’m just upset for someone taking credit of our idea before I had a chance to release it… And for the time and effort that has…

Jammie damages back down again
Copyright , Internet , Record Labels / August 2011
USA

COPYRIGHT Record labels, internet The long running Recording Industry of America (RIAA) v Jammie Thomas-Rassett court case has taken yet another twist, this time in the defendant’s favour, when a US Judge reduced jury awarded damages of $1.5 million down to $54,000. Thomas shared 24 songs illegally using Kazaa and was sued by the Recording Industry Association Of America. At first hearing, Thomas was ordered to pay $222,000 to the record industry in damages. This decision was then set aside and a second trial was held and the jury hearing the case ordered Thomas, a single mother of limited means, to pay $1.92 million in damages. A judge subsequently ruled the jury had got it wrong, and slashed the damages figure to $54,000. The RIAA was willing to accept that figure but Thomas refused. And so the RIAA appealed the judge’s amendment of the original jury decision, sending the case back into court for a third time, where the jury awarded the record industry $1.5 million in damages. That decision has now been overturned and  the judge hearing the case has again ruled that the jury were wrong to order Thomas to pay the sum of $1.5 million saying this…

New Spanish copyright law attracts content investors back
Copyright / August 2011
Spain

COPYRIGHT All areas Spain, with one of the highest piracy rates in the Western World, is now attracting the interest of the content industries as it prepares to implement its controversial “Sinde law” proposed by Culture Minister and former screenwriter and director Angeles Gonzalez-Sinde who said. “There are Spanish companies developing large websites and U.S. companies that are seriously studying how to enter the European market” adding “Until now U.S. companies were considering abandoning our country, closing their headquarters and even their delegations because it wasn’t worth it,” she said. The “Sinde Law” aims to shut down file-sharing web sites providing copyrighted material and US digital entertainment providers Netflix and UltraViolet, French retailer Carrefour and electronic goods chain Media Markt — a unit of German retailer Metro AG — want to offer sites for music, books, films and videogames in Spain once the law is enforced. However, the Sinde Law has been widely criticized by commentators on both sides of the piracy debate. Some Copyright owners say the law is too weak and does not provide ways of reaping the potential of the Internet, while internet companies claim it is too strict. Opposition parties forced the Government to introduce safeguards…

US content industry and ISPs agree to be alert
Copyright , Internet / August 2011
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet After many months of discussions, a large number of the major U.S. Internet service providers (ISPs) have signed up to an agreement  to take action against users who violate copyright. AT&T, Cablevision Systems, Comcast, Time Warner and Verizon have agreed to participate in the scheme along with a number of content providers from the film, TV and music industry including  the MPAA (The Motion Picture Association of America whose members include Disney, Sony, Paramount, Warner Bros and Twentieth Century Fox), the Recording Industry Association of America (representing the major labels including Universal, EMI North America, Warners and Sony) , the IFTA (representing independent producers & distributors of film & television programming) and A2IM which represents independent record labels. The voluntary “Memorandum of Understanding” is based on a system of Copyright Alerts, “a state-of-the-art system similar to credit card fraud alerts – that will educate and notify Internet subscribers when their Internet service accounts possibly are being misused for online content theft. This voluntary landmark collaboration will educate subscribers about content theft on their Internet accounts benefits consumers and copyright holders alike.” The approach is intended to overcome one of the major arguments against disconnecting accounts that are being used…

When I die, what happens to my music?
USA

COPYRIGHT  Record labels, music publishers Article Link:  By CONNOR McKNIGHT at BusinessInsider You may think you know what happens to your music collection when you finally go to the big cloud in the sky — but if you purchased that music digitally, the answer is way more complicated than where your sofa will end up. Digital media ownership is different. There are decided benefits to the shift from physical ownership — like the ease of sharing and discovering new music, and the ability to carry an impossible amount of it with you everywhere you go — but also drawbacks. http://www.businessinsider.com/when-idie-what-happens-to-my-music-2011-7

SpaceBomb Music Law
USA

COPYRIGHT Record labels, music publishing, artistes Article Link:  By MATT RAWLS A US article aimed at entry level artistes that very clearly explains how record deals can work: royalties, advances and recoupment are all explained, as are royalty reducers. There is also a section on music publishers and songs.http://rvanews.com/entertainment/spacebomb-music-law-102/47902 More on SpaceBomb’s operations here  http://spacebombrecords.com/

Deconstructing the ownership rights of Nobody Canna Cross It
Jamaica

COPYRIGHT Music publishing, record labels, artistes Article Link: By CAMILLE ROYES in the Jamaica Observer An interesting article from entertainment Attorney Camille Royes from the Jamaica Observer looking at the legalities of ‘mash ups’ focussing on a recent mashup of a TVJ news interview on the plight of people living in a community in rural St Andrew called Nobody Canna Cross It, or The Bus Can Swim which was produced by a university student, DJ Powa and which has now gone viral and is now on-sale online.   http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Deconstructing-the-ownership-rights-of-Nobody-Canna-Cross-It_9148104 And more on master sampler and mash up producer Gregg Gillis  (aka Girl Talk) herehttp://www.ottawacitizen.com/sampler/5055755/story.html

BT Plod – Newzbin 2 goes in favour of content owners
Copyright , Internet / August 2011
UK

 COPYRIGHT Internet, all areas ARTICLE:  By Cassandra Williams The ruling in the High Court by Mr Justice Arnold in “Newzbin2”has as been heralded as a victory for copyright owners and a blow to a “free” internet. BT have lost a test case action which means that BT must block access to a website which provides links to pirated movies. The Motion Picture Association of America (MPA), representing a number of movie studios including Warner, Disney and Fox, had already shut down an original version of Newzbin which linked to illegal content.  They now launched the legal action to close down “Newzbin 2” and they wanted BT to block Newzbin with the same system that stops access to sites hosting child sex abuse images. BT fought the case stating that they did not wish to be forced into a position where they effectively have to police the internet and the customers for whom they are supposed to be providing a service. Richard Spearman QC, arguing for the MPA told the court: “If the order is not made, websites such as Newzbin will simply be able to move offshore, anonymise the individuals behind the website and cock a snook at the courts…

BT issues flood warning to High Court
Copyright , Internet / August 2011
UK

COPYRIGHT Intenet BT has warned the High Court that if an injunction to block access to the Newzbin2 website were granted it would be the ‘thin edge of the wedge’ opening the floodgates to content owners desperate to prevent sites pointing to pirated content. BT telling the court that it could face up to 400 applications for injunctions in the next year if the Motion Picture Association (MPA) prevail in the action. The MPA has applied for such an injunction as part of a long running legal battle with Newzbin, which provides links to content on the Usenet network, and in particular – the MPA claims – links to hundreds of unlicensed movies. In an earlier High Court battle (Twentieth Century Fox v Newzbin) the content owners were successful and Mr Justice Kitchen handed down a significant judgment holding that the Usenet indexing site was ‘liable to the claimants for infringement of their copyrights because it has authorised the copying of the claimants’ films; has procured and engaged with its premium members in a common design to copy the claimants’ films; and has communicated the claimants’ films to the public.’ The judge ordered the website to introduce filters to stop…

Music videos face age restrictions in UK
Censorship , Internet / July 2011
UK

CENSORSHIP Internet, broadcasting A new report commissioned by UK Prime Minister David Cameron says that music videos should come with age ratings to protect children from overt sexual imagery and lyrics at an early age. The rating system is one of a number of proposals put forward by Reg Bailey, the head of the Mothers’ Union, as a way to curb the “sexualisation and commercialisation of children”. The BPI recently announced plans to extend its parental advisory scheme, which results in stickers being put on CDs which contain strong language or adult themes, to the digital domain for sites like YouTube. Songwriter and producer Mike Stock of Stock Aitken Waterman Fame (Kylie, et all) has criticised the fashion for raunchy videos and performances from acts such as Rhianna, Nicole Scherzinger and Christina Aguilera – whose overtly sexual performance on the X-factor attracted thousands of complaints but narrowly avoided regulatory censure for broadcaster ITV. Stock blamed “American acts who have sexualised imagery, dance moves and lyrical content way beyond the limits of decency” adding that the UK’s 9pm “watershed” when it is a presumed an adult audience will be watching was “irrelevant” in the age of digital catch up TV with…

The Doors close on Lizard Bar
Artists , Trade Mark / July 2011
France

TRADE MARK Artists A French bar called the Lezard King bar, a play on Jim Morrison’s nickname of the ’Lizard King’, and which is situated close to the Pere Lachaise cemetery where the Doors frontman is buried in Paris, is on the receiving end of a letter from the band’s lawyers who have objected to the bar, its name and its association with Morrison and the Doors.  The letter said that the bar, which features cocktails with names based on the band’s hits such as Light My Fire, Waiting for the Sun  and Strange Days,  had no right to use the band’s name or photographs of the Doors in connection with the sale of alcohol and said that the band did not want to be seen as endorsing the bar or the sale of alcohol.  Jeff Jampol, the bands manager reportedly said “there is a difference between a homage to Jim being created by a fan, and a business owner”. The Times  10th June 2011

WIPO announce breakthrough on Performers’ rights
Artists , Performer's Rights / July 2011
EU
USA

PERFORMERS RIGHTS Artistes “WIPO’s top copyright negotiating body will recommend to the September session of the General Assembly to resume a Diplomatic Conference on the Protection of Audiovisual Performances after agreement on the last outstanding issue relating to the transfer of rights. The convening of a diplomatic conference signals entry into the final phase of treaty negotiations, with the objective of concluding a treaty that would shore up the rights of performers in their audiovisual performances More at http://the1709blog.blogspot.com/2011/06/performers-to-get-new-instrument-but.html

Publishing chief calls for improved licensing
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet, music publishing Billboard reports that David Israelite,CEO of the US National Music Publishers Association has called on his sector to endorse more collective licensing in the digital domain, especially for so called mechanical rights and for synchornisation rights. Israelite, speaking at the MPA’s AGM said that mechanical and some sync rights should be licensed collectively in the US  just like performance rights generally are via BMI, ASCAP and SESAC – to ensure promising new digital music services can get to market telling members: “If you look at the challenges of the industry, the way we license doesn’t work: it is broken”. New start ups continually point to the massive amount of work involved in legally licensing music content and many say that it allows other illegal services to flourish. But the  issue of digital licensing still contentious in the music business, with some supporting the introduction of collective licensing – via societies and licensing agencies – across the board for both recording and publishing rights, while others feel rights owners should retain the right to negotiate their own terms with digital services, including advances and other upfront incentives.

The need to register your US copyrights!
Copyright , Music Publishing / July 2011
USA

COPYRIGHT Sound recordings, music publishing A Finnish record company’s claim that pop music producer Timbaland and pop star Nelly Furtado plagiarized its recordings and music has been thrown out by  Miami federal judge Edwin Torres, who said that  Kernal Records and Oy’s claim that its song and recording  “Acid Jazzed Evening” was the basis for parts of Furtado’s hugely popular 2006 album “Loose.” Judge Torres approved a motion by Miami-based Timbaland, whose real name is Timothy Mosley, and Furtado, for summary judgment and refused to allow the Finnish company to seek an overdue copyright and amend its complaint. Kernal Records and Oy were seeking $10 million to $20 million in damages on one of the biggest selling albums of the decade and the copyright infringement claim was that a Norwegian musician who sold his music to Kernal wrote and recorded a song that was plagiarized by Furtado. The case centered on whether the European tracks were first published on the Internet – or in Europe – as under U.S. copyright law,  music and sound recordings published first on the Internet are considered U.S. created and thus must be copyright registered to be protected in the US. The plaintiffs argued Glenn…