German hackers get jail
Copyright , Internet / July 2011
Germany

COPYRIGHT Internet Two computer hackers who targeted pop stars and record companies in a bid to secure personal information and distribute pre-release tracks online have been handed down prison sentences by a court in Duisberg, Germany.  The two men hacked computers containing material belonging to international stars such as Lady Gaga and Dr. Dre, accessing email accounts, banking details and other private data. One of the hackers, Deniz A (known as DJ Stolen), was given a prison sentence of 18 months. The other, Christian M (known as CEE), received a suspended 18-month sentence. Both were found guilty of copyright theft and computer intrusion. Deniz A was also found guilty of extortion. Jeremy Banks, anti-piracy director at IFPI, which provided key assistance in the case, commented: “These are deterrent sentences for serious crimes which cause huge damage to artists and record companies. Hacking into people’s email accounts to obtain and then distribute private information or property is a very serious offence which takes considerable resources to investigate. This case shows the sheer scale and scope of measures taken to identify the offenders and bring them to justice.” The judgments, handed down in Duisberg on June 16th, are the culmination of a…

US senate moves to make illegal streaming a felony
Copyright , Internet / July 2011
USA

COPYRIGHT  Internet The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee has approved a bill that would make it a felony to stream copyrighted movies and TV episodes online. Sponsored by Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and John Cornyn (R-Texas), the Commercial Felony Streaming Act is actively supported by the  entertainment industry and the trio of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), the Independent Film & Television Alliance (IFTA) and the National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO) issued a joint press release with some deeply insightful comment. Drum roll please ……. Jean Prewitt, IFTA President & CEO said  “The illegal streaming of motion pictures and television programming is as financially devastating for our industry as is illegal downloading” adding “Stealing is stealing, regardless of the means in which the product is being received. This legislation is a critical step forward in the piracy fight and we commend the Committee for their support. NATO President and CEO John Fithian said  “We commend the Committee for moving this important piece of legislation for consideration by the Senate. It will close a gaping hole in the law and go far in protecting the livelihoods of theater employees from the threat posed by illegal streaming” adding the move…

Eminem vs Audi: Audi’s ad “imported from Detroit”
Advertising , Copyright / July 2011
USA

COPYRIGHT Advertising From Brigit Clark at the IPKat comes the news that US rapper Eminem is suing German car manufacturer Audi for allegedly using parts of Eminem’s song “Lose Yourself” in an ad for the Audi A6 Avant car without the singer’s permission. A spokesperson for Audi is quoted by German media as having said that the spot was only used “once” at the car’s recent launch party in Berlin. Obviously this was once too often for Eminem’s taste. The spot in dispute is available on YouTube and you can have a look and listen by clicking here. What appears to make the situation slightly more awkward for Audi is that a rather similar spot for US car maker Chrysler using “Lose Yourself” (with Eminem’s permission) was recently shown during US the Super Bowl event. This ad is also available via YouTube and you can retrieve it by clicking here. German website n-tv.de today cites a spokesperson for the Regional Court of Hamburg (Landgericht Hamburg) who confirmed that a law suit has been filed by Eminem’s publisher’s Eight Mile Style (case reference 310 O 185/11). US website Billboard.com cites a spokesperson for Eight Mile Style who reportedly said that Audi’s spot…

WPP moves to cut off infringing website from advertising cash
Copyright , Internet / July 2011
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet In another example of how the imagined ‘Wild West’ of the internet is (slowly) being tamed by proactive business practices which can run alongside new legislation and court decisions, advertising giant WPP has announced a list of 2,000 websites in the USA which it says carry illegal or pirated content and will not be used for advertising for the group’s clients. The list will be used by the media buying agencies within WPP’s GroupM business and executives in those companies have been told not to buy any advertising on those site – and since they have a combined annual spend of $3.5 billion in the US alone – that’s quite a major move. WPP’s clients include Ford, Unilever, AT&T and IBM and interestingly their client list also includes two major labels – Universal Music and the Warner as well as the Paramount film company. The list will be regularly updated. GroupM Interaction’s Global CEO Rob Norman told reporters: “We’re serious about combating piracy and protecting our clients’ intellectual property as forcefully as we possibly can. This policy extends to digital media buyers at all GroupM agencies, as well as other WPP companies like Team Detroit, which manages Ford’s…

Forecast iffy for music cloud services in Canada
Copyright , Internet / July 2011
Canada

COPYRIGHT Internet ARTICLE LINK: Michael Geist’s take on the legality of Amazon’s and Google unlicensed digital cloud music services under Canadian law at http://www.thestar.com/business/article/1006529–geist-forecast-iffy-for-music-cloud-services-in-canada?bn=1

Apple’s iCloud launches and faces trade mark challenge
Copyright , Internet , Trade Mark / July 2011
USA

COPYRIGHT / TRADEMARK Internet Apple head honcho Steve Jobs has taken a break from his medical treatment and launched the company’s new music offering, the iCloud, at the Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco. Fully licensed by all four major record companies and publishers Billboard cited sources this weekend confirming that the split of revenues generated by the iCloud service will be 58% to the labels, 12% to the publishers and 30% to Apple. It will be interesting to see if Apple’s digital locker service will have more or less limitations compared to those launched by Amazon and Google, who decided to go without licenses – and perversely therefore don’t have any content owners to placate – and on first looks it appears that iCloud doesn’t actually allow you to store music in the cloud. In separate news, it seems all is not well with Apple’s new names though. In iCloud news, a company called  In a iCloud Communications, LLC,  a Phoenix-based voice over IP provider, has claimed trademark infringements against Apple over the use of the name iCloud in a law suit filed in the US District Court in Arizona and New York book publisher has filed a lawsuit…

UK Three Strikes laws ‘breach human rights’
Copyright , Internet / July 2011
UK

COPYRIGHT Internet A new report from the United Nations says that provisions of the UK’s Digital Economy Act that could see music and film pirates cut off from the internet are disproportionate, contradicting a recent judgment at the High Court. Frank La Rue, the report’s author and UN special rapporteur on freedom of expression, called on the government to “repeal or amend” the legislation. He said he was “alarmed by proposals to disconnect users from Internet access if they violate intellectual property rights”. More at http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/news/8553128/Filesharing-laws-breach-human-rights.html  and  http://www.smh.com.au/technology/technology-news/music-and-film-industries-split-over-pirates-20110606-1fo8q.html

CNET faces limited Limewire actions from David
Copyright , Internet / July 2011
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet  Wired reports that a copyright infringement lawsuit targeting CNET Networks for its distribution of LimeWire file-sharing software service now accuses the company of infringing just six works in total. CNET was sued for distributing some 220 million copies of LimeWire via its Download.com software distribution service, and profiting from advertising against the downloads. The lawsuit filed last month by rappers and filmmaker Alkiviades David accuses CBS Interactive, CNET’s publisher, of illicitly profiting from piracy by distributing 220 million copies of LimeWire over CNET’s Download.com site since 2008, accounting for 95 percent off all LimeWire downloads. The plaintiffs allege CNET’s distribution of LimeWire resulted in the unauthorized distribution of the 2007 movie “Fishtales,” as well as five hip-hop musical tracks associated with the Plaintiff. If CNET — and parent company CBS — are found guilty in the matter, damages could reach  a maximum $150,000 in damages per work ($900,000) in statutory copyright damages, or more if multiple infringements per work are proven. Alki David also runs online TV-on-demand service FilmOn.com. http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2011/06/cnet-lawsuit-shrivels

VPL lose Copyright Tribunal Appeal
Copyright / July 2011
UK

COPYRIGHT Broadcasting Video Performance Limited, the audio-visual arm of collection society PPL (Phonographic Performance Limited) have lost a major case in the Court of Appeal against a decision of the Copyright Tribunal that said that that the correct royalty rate payable by TV channel operator CSC should be somewhere in the region of 10% to 15% rather than the higher rate set in an earlier licence between VPL and BSkyB  of 20%. On appeal to the High Court Mr Justice Floyd had supported VPL’s arguments and had ordered that the matter be re-submitted to a differently constituted Tribunal. CSC’s submitting that Floyd J had (i) failed to attribute to the Tribunal awareness, in fixing the reduced window, of its subsequent discussion of comparables and (ii) failed to appreciate that the Tribunal’s treatment of the relevance and weight of those comparables was coloured by its earlier discussion of the law and of the music video market and the Court of Appeal allowed CSC’s appeal. CSC Media Group Ltd (formerly Chart Show Channels Ltd) v Video Performance Ltd [2011] EWCA Civ 650, 27 May 2011 For more see Jeremy Philips on the 1709 Blog http://the1709blog.blogspot.com/2011/06/when-appeal-loses-its-appeal-csc-turn.html

Nashville passes a ‘sharing’ but not caring law
Copyright / July 2011
USA

COPYRIGHT All areas Tennessee state lawmakers in Nashville, the home of country music, have passed a groundbreaking measure that would make it a crime to use a friend’s login – even with permission. The new law would make it an offence to listen to songs or watch movies from services such as Netflix or Rhapsody. The bill, which has been signed by the state Governor, was pushed by the recording, television and film industries to try to stop the loss of billions of dollars to illegal music and film sharing – and free access to paid for services. The legislation was aimed at hackers and thieves who sell passwords in bulk – but could be employed against people who use a friend’s or relative’s subscription. Reports says that those who share their subscriptions with a spouse or other family members ‘under the same roof ‘ almost certainly’ have nothing to fear but college students who give their logins to everyone on their dormitory floor – could get in trouble, however. Tennessee would become the first state to update its theft-of-cable laws for the 21st century and address the new trend toward Internet delivery of entertainment, according to the Recording Industry…

Dreamscape judgment apportions liability for art installation death claims
Liability , Live Events / June 2011
UK

LIABILITY Live events industry Mr Justice Foskett has now given his judgment (16th May 2011) in the High Court confirming the apportionment of liability resulting from the ‘Dreamscape’ tragedy in 2006. Dreamscape V was the inflatable art installation created by the late Maurice Agis that covered almost half a football pitch. On 23 July 2006 Riverside Park, Chester-le-Street, County Durham the installation broke free of its anchorage and video footage showed it lifting into the air, moving about 85 metres, killing two people and injuring a number of others, some seriously. There had already been settlement between the estates of the victims and the injured parties, and the defendants, and the issue before the High Court was the apportionment of responsibility for these damages between Chester-le-Street District Council and arts event organiser Brouhaha International Limited (BIL) who were both involved in the organisation of the event.  Mr Agis’s son, Giles, was a director of BIL. This was a decision on how much each of their insurers had to pay towards the total compensation. Maurice Agis died with no money in his estate and he was uninsured. Maurice Agis had already been convicted of Health & Safety at Work Act 1974…

UMG face more artiste digital royalty claims
Artists , Contract , Record Labels / June 2011
USA

CONTRACT Artistes, record labels Hot on the heels of FBT’s appellate court victory determining the Eminen producers a share of licensing income from digital sales, and another action launched in the same basis launched by the estate of Rick James, Universal Music Group has been hit with a class action lawsuit, filed by artists Rob Zombie, White Zombie, Whitesnake and Dave Mason, who allege they are owed what may amount to millions of dollars in additional digital music royalties, All of the lawsuits argue that record labels violated their contracts by considering a digital song a “sale” rather than a “license” of the recording and therefor arguing to move the accounting away from the labels preferred calculation of a percentage paid on the sale price (subject to royalty reducers) to the far higher rate of a 50% cut of profits for artists. The new lawsuit against Universal alleges the label “analyzed internally the financial consequences of its misconduct and cast it in terms of the additional profit to be made by UMG by avoiding its contractual obligations. The first action in this area we saw was the Allman Brother action against Sony BMG which again alleged that the record label…

Corporate manslaughter appeal fails in UK
Criminal Law , Live Events / June 2011
UK

CRIMINAL LAW Live events industry The first company in the UK to be convicted of corporate manslaughter, Cotswold Geotechnical Holdings Ltd, has lost an appeal against its conviction for corporate manslaughter. The firm was convicted in February this year after geologist, Alexander Wright, 27, died in September 2008 when a trench he was working in collapsed. The company became the first to be prosecuted under the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 and were fined 110% of their annual turnover (£385,000). In separate news, Network Rail has been fined  £3m for Heath & Safety legislation failings over the Potters Bar rail crash, in which seven people died. The company admitted breaching safety regulations that led to the West Anglia Great Northern train from London to King’s Lynn derailing just outside Potters Bar station in Hertfordshire in May 2002. The company had previously been fined £3.5m for failings in the Hatfield rail crash in 2000, which killed four and injured 102. http://www.hse.gov.uk/corpmanslaughter/

Reading ticket fraudster jailed
Criminal Law , Live Events / June 2011
UK

CRIMINAL LAW Live events industry A ticket scammer who sold non-existent tickets to the 2008 Reading Festival has been jailed for three years after being found guilty of fraud and money laundering charges by a jury earlier this year.  Christopher Bundza claimed to have tickets to sell for the music festival both via his own website and on eBay, but had no tickets, and was found guilty of eighteen separate charges, some relating to the ticket scam, others to a fraud he committed in relation to the purchase of his home. His former partner Kathryn White avoided jail after admitting four offences of fraud.

UK government announces licensing reforms
Licensing , Live Events / June 2011
UK

LICENSING Live events industry The UK’s coalition government has announced plans to reform the country’s much criticised Licensing Act to do away with the ‘red tape’ that many says stifles the development of grass roots music. The Tourism Minister, John Penrose, said that in the future only events of over 5,000 people or those that sell alcohol  or where there is adult entertainment will need licences  with Penrose saying  “the current regime makes it harder for new talent to get a chance to perform  In front of audiences and imposes a deadweight cost on small businesses and voluntary  bodies who want to put on shows” adding “live entertainment is a good thing: it improves our cultural life and should be encouraged, not stifled by the clammy hand of bureaucracy” promising that proper controls on alcohol, health and safety and noise nuisance would remain. However the new provisions aim to address issues of alcohol-related violence in The Police Reform and Social Responsibility Bill currently in the House of Lords in the UK are causing concern – among the provisions are amendments to the Licensing Act 2003 to give the police and local authorities stronger powers to remove or refuse to grant licenses to…

Live sector joins up with UK Music
Licensing , Live Events , Regulation / June 2011
UK

REGULATION / LICENSING Live events industry The UK’s live music sector has finally joined UK Music, the umbrella organisation representing the collective interests of the UK’s commercial music industry – from artists, musicians, songwriters and composers, to major and independent record labels, music managers up, music producers, music publishers, music licensing companies and, now, the live music sector – now ensuring that, for the first time, the UK’s entire commercial music industry will be represented by one umbrella body. The move follows the establishment of the UK Live Music Group, a coming together of the live industry’s main trade associations and representative bodies whose members are The Agents Association, The AFO (the Association of Festival Organisers, representing many jazz and folk festivals), the Association of Independent Festivals (whose members include Bestival and Creamfields), The Concert Promoters Association, The International Live Music Conference, the NAA (National Arenas Association), the PSA (Production Services Association ) and we:Live, the independent venue and promoter association. The group will meet every six weeks and have nominated Paul Latham of Live Nation Entertainment to be their representative on the UK Music board. Feargal Sharkey, chief executive of UK Music said: “This is a fantastic development for UK Music. The…

Live Nation moves to stamp out ticket scams
Criminal Law , Live Events / June 2011
UK

CRIMINAL LAW Live events industry Live Nation and Festival Republic have both said that they will support a plan put forward by the police to try to combat the sale of non-existent tickets for festivals with both organizations saying that they will send out tickets for their big summer events earlier than normal. Despite the higher risk of counterfeit tickets, police say that a bigger problem these days is ticket agents who take money off music fans online with no intent of sending them any tickets, real or fake. Deputy Chief Superintendent Steve Head of the City of London Police told the BBC: “We believe that [posting tickets early] would stop a lot of people being the victims, because we’d be able to act on it quicker, convicting the kind of people we want to convict”. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-13252777

ACS:Law’s owner fined just £1000 for data leaks
UK

COPYRIGHT / DATA PROTECTION Internet Andrew Crossley, former principle of ACS:Law, the legal firm which had previously targeted alleged P2P file sharers,  has been fined £1,000 by the Information Commissioner’s Office in relation to the data-spill that occurred from ACS:Law’s servers, which revealed personal details about over 6,000 suspected file-sharers. The data spill occurred after ACS:Law accidentally published private data about potential defendants  when their servers were targeted by a Distributed Denial Of Service attack by those who opposed the law firm’s tactics. The ICO’s investigation showed Crossley had taken no professional advice when setting up his server, had no firewall and was relying on a web security package designed for domestic use. However the much lower fine was applied because ACS:Law no longer exists and Crossley seemingly pleaded “limited” financial resources.  A fine of up to £200,000 could have been imposed. PC Pro magazine has reportedly asked the ICO how they verified Crossley’s “circumstances”. More on data – the three-strikes system administered by the Hadopi agency in France was put on hold in mid-May after a data spills. The agency was recently sending 5,000 warning letters per day to suspected file-sharers, but the letter sending was halted when it…

Moral rights case against Jay-Z allowed to proceed
Artists , Moral Rights / June 2011
USA

MORAL RIGHTS Artistes A US judge has allowed a lawsuit against Jay-Z and a number of other entertainment companies including Universal and MTV to proceed, in relation to his 2000 track ‘Big Pimpin’, even though the case is, in the main, based on elements of Egyptian copyright law, including its interpretation of moral rights. The case concerns the use of a sample in the hip hop track. It appears that Jay-Z’ had licensed the piece of music in question by Baligh Hamdy, which comes from the 1960 Egyptian film ‘Fata Ahlami’, but – according to the now deceased author’s family – the licence was to make a mechanical copy of the piece of music, not to adapt it and further that the adaptation itself was a ‘mutilation’ of the original work, and therefore the moral rights of Hamdy’s descendents have been infringed. The case was brought by Osama Ahmed Fahmy, a nephew of Baligh Hamdy. Judge Christina Snyder did not concur with defence arguments that principles of Egyptian law had no place in a trial, and let the case proceed saying Hamdy’s family had a strong enough case under US law for their lawsuit to go to a full hearing. US copyright…

Norwegian Government suggests new laws on digital piracy, and the European Commission wants change too!
Copyright , Internet / June 2011
EU
Norway

COPYRIGHT Internet, all areas Norway has proposed amendments to its copyright law to make it easier for content owners to tackle online piracy, though the Norwegian government has shied away from a “three-strikes” system, focusing on making it easier for content owners to get orders against individual filesharers and to get injunctions to order ISPs to block copyright infringing websites. Norway will relax data protection rules to allow actions to proceed against individuals and will simplify the process by which rights owners can force ISPs to reveal the name and contacts of suspected file-sharers based on the IP address they are using. Secondly there will be a new proposed injunction system which will make it easier for the content industries to get websites guilty of copyright infringement. Spain also decided to go the speedy injunction route instead of establishing some sort of three-strikes process that targets actual individual file-sharers. In America the U.S. Department of Justice and Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has seized another eight domains of websites it alleges are engaged in offering unauthorized copyright or counterfeit goods. In November 2010 over 70 domains were seized, and a number of similar seizures that have…

Professor Hargreaves reports
Copyright / June 2011
UK

COPYRIGHT All areas Professor  Ian Hargreaves, charged by David Cameron with independently reviewing UK intellectual property law  and the environment to promote e-businesses in the UK, has now published his Report Digital Opportunity which can be found athttp://www.ipo.gov.uk/ipreview-finalreport.pdf. There is plenty of comment online so I didn’t feel the need to repeat the detail of the Report here, but in a nutshell here are a few of the recommendations relevant to the music industry recommended to Government: Legalising format shifting and look at copyright exceptions at national level to realise all the opportunities within the EU framework, including exceptions for parody, non-commercial research, and library archiving. Solve the problem  of ‘orphan works’ by establishing an extended collective licensing for mass licensing The appointment of a senior figure to oversee the design and implementation of a “cross sectoral Digital Copyright Exchange” the UK should support EC moves to establish a framework for cross-border licensing The IPO seek to facilitate improvements in the accessibility of the IP system for small companies, and that it “be given the necessary powers and mandate in law to ensure that it focuses on its central task of ensuring that the UK’s IP system promotes innovation and growth through…

Google chair says he will fight website blocking legislation
Copyright , Internet / June 2011
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet Google’s executive chairman Eric Schmidt has said that the internet search engine giant will oppose anti-piracy efforts on both sides of the pond in the USA and the United Kingdom. Schmidt singled out provisions in the USA’s PROTECT IP Bill and the Digital Economy Act in the U.K. where provisions could allow governments to block access to websites that host infringing content or sell counterfeit goods with Schmidt saying “If there is a law that requires DNSs [domain name systems] to do X and it’s passed by both houses of congress and signed by the president of the United States and we disagree with it then we would still fight it.” Speaking at the company’s Big Tent conference in London he added “If it’s a request the answer is we wouldn’t do it, if it’s a discussion we wouldn’t do it.” The PROTECT IP bill is the movie, TV and music industry supported bill that would allow authorities to seek court orders to shut down websites offering unauthorized copyrighted content which expand current actions being taken by the Justice Dept. and Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to seize the domains of websites offering copyrighted and counterfeit content. The…

Where does the music industry go post Limewire?
Copyright , Internet / June 2011
Australia
EU
Japan
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet, all areas I’ve been pondering over the weekend who the real winners and losers in the LimeWire saga were – and where the recorded music industry goes from here – and for that matter where film companies and other content owners go from here. Despite a court victory for the record labels, and an agreed settlement,  I just can’t find any real winners, but I can find lots of losers, including (of course) LimeWire which has been shuttered and forced to pay over $105 million. What we had was a widely popular internet service that was admittedly used by many to download illegal content – but LimeWire’s own figure showed that 30% of consumers used the service to find new music – and another 25% were “morally persuadable”  – in that they could have been encouraged to pay for content. In a “can pay, won’t pay” era, not a bad market at all – and that’s gone. So a potential business has been lost, the consumer has lost out – and consumers have been lost too. The recorded music sector is still in a steep decline, and the unpalatable truth is that those who used LimeWire for illegal…

What To Do When Your Customers Flock to the Cloud? Hopefully, You Don’t Sue Them
Copyright , Internet / June 2011
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet ARTICLE LINK:  By Erika Morphy on Forbes.com Google has joined Amazon by launching a new music-based digital locker service – despite not have any licensing deals in place with the record companies or music publishers. Amazon had previously argued that its digital locker service did not require licences from with record labels or music publishers because all its digital locker does is allow users to upload their own MP3 collections to remote servers, and to then download or stream that music back to any net-connected device via a user-friendly player. Amazon has already launched is Amazon Cloud Drive and Amazon Cloud Player services and Google’s Music Beta joins them as an unlicensed digital locker. The US case of EMI v MP3tuneswill be significant in determining the legality of these unlicensed platforms. Now, here’s a plea to the music industry – don’t sue your customers (again!). http://blogs.forbes.com/erikamorphy/2011/05/10/what-to-do-when-your-customers-flock-to-the-cloud-hopefully-you-dont-sue-them/ Also see MPAA v Zediva: Zediva is a online movie rental business, launched in March. By using only physical DVDs—one per customer at a time—Zediva hopes to be able to create a video-on-demand business without getting licensing deals from the owners of the movies it streams. The movie studios don’t agree …..http://paidcontent.org/article/419-mpaa-v.-zediva-is-shaping-up-to-be-quite-the-legal-showdown/

First person in Scotland convicted of filesharing
Copyright , Internet / June 2011
UK

COPYRIGHT Internet This, from the 1709 blog: Anne Muir, 58, has become the first person in Scotland to be convicted for illegally sharing music files online. Muir pleaded guilty at Ayr Sheriff Court last month to a contravention of section 107(1)(e) of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. Muir, from Ayr, admitted to distributing £54,792 worth of copyrighted music files by making them available to others via a ‘peer-to-peer’ file sharing application. Following an initial investigation by BPI (British Recorded Music Industry) and IFPI International Federation for the Phonographic Industry), a formal complaint was made to Strathclyde Police. Officers subsequently obtained a search warrant for her home at Gordon Street, Ayr, and seized vital evidence, including computer equipment. This is the first conviction of its kind in Scotland and is particularly significant to the music industry. District Procurator Fiscal for Ayr, Mirian Watson, said: “Intelligence gathered by BPI and IFPI revealed that Anne Muir was a prolific user of a particular file sharing network based in the UK. Illegally flouting copyright laws is tantamount to theft and not only deprives legitimate companies and artists of earnings, but also undermines the music industry as a whole. We will continue to work…

“US Offered To Write New Zealand’s Three Strikes Laws”
Copyright , Internet / June 2011
New Zealand
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet Both Techdirt and Zeropaid report that the Green party in New Zealand is demanding clarification of possible US government and US rights industry intervention in helping to pass the country’s somewhat controversial Copyright (Infringing File Sharing) Amendment Act, including the US music industry’s offer to fund an intellectual property enforcement unit to combat what US officials call “key gaps in intellectual property rights enforcement”. The information comes from Wikileaks cables from 2005 and the Green Party’s Information and Communications Technology spokesperson, Gareth Hughes reportedly said “The latest Wikileaks cables show how vulnerable our Government is to pressure from big businesses in the USA,” adding “We’ve got to keep politics honest, so it’s important to find out exactly what influence US interests had in securing the rushed passage of controversial copyright legislation through Parliament”. Hughes went on to say “This kind of blatant intervention in local law enforcement is undermining our democracy … the New Zealand Government has been subject to intense international corporate lobbying. As the Government consults further on the current online copyright regime, it must make decisions that work for the New Zealanders that elected them, not US interests” adding “Hollywood moguls shouldn’t be writing our…

US TV decline points to new trends in audience behaviour
Copyright / June 2011
USA

COPYRIGHT All areas A new study from The Neilsen Company says that the number of homes in the United States equipped with a television set is expected to decline through 2012 – dropping to 114.7 million homes (96.7 percent) from 115.9 million (98.9 percent). This is first time US TV ownership has gone down in two decades and the snappily titled “2012 Advance/Preliminary TV Household Universe Estimate (UE)” puts the decline down to a number of factors – the recession being one, but the Report also cites ‘digital transition’ and more tellingly the increased use of ‘multiple viewing platforms’ for the decline. The report argues that the economic downturn has had an inevitable effect but the transition from analogue to digital broadcasting in 2009 has compounded this as it meant that viewers needed to have purchased a new digital TV or bought a digital-to-analog converter box to watch digital services and this marked the first decline in TV penetration as analogue households who could not afford new digital sets and antennas were no longer ‘connected’. But tellingly it is rise of alternative viewing platforms, such as computers and tablets and even mobile devices, that seems most likely to lead to…

Record industry settles for $105 million in LimeWire trial after speculation that it was after ten times that.
Copyright , Internet / June 2011
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet LimeWire, the now defunct file sharing platform, and its founder, Mark Gorton, have reached a settlement with the 13 record labels that brought an action against them in the Manhatten federal court, agreeing to pay $105 million in damages. The defendants has already been found liable for copyright infringement last year by Judge Kimba Wood and the trial that has been settled was to award damages – the Jury could have potentially awarded up to $1.4 billion in statutory damages. A brief reminder of the facts behind the trial: last May District Judge Kimba Wood ruled that Lime Wire induced or willfully contributed to the infringement of recordings by allowing its users to download and illegally share thousands of songs on the Internet through its peer-to-peer file-sharing software. The court ordered Lime Wire to shut its music service last year and it duly did (although a ‘pirated’ LimeWire software later appeared). Glenn Pomerantz, the lawyer representing 13 record labels in their legal action in the Manhatten federal court against Lime Wire LLC and founder Mark Gorton, said at the start of the action that the defendants should pay the highest range of damages for harming the recording industry by allowing…

EMI and Men at Work lose appeal on Kookaburra claim
Australia

COPYRIGHT Music Publishing The appeals court in Australia has upheld a Federal Court ruling that said Larrikin Music, publishers of Australian children’s classic ‘Kookaburra Sits In The Old Gumtree’, are due a share of all songwriting royalties on the Men At Work classic ‘Down Under’, because the short but distinctive flute sequence in the 1981 pop hit borrowed from the folk tune. The Federal Court ruled that Larrikin should get 5% of all ‘Down Under’ royalties dated paid back to 2002. EMI must also cover Larrikin’s legal costs in relation to the appeal. My good friend Jeremy Philips writing on the 1709 Copyright blog (www.the1709blog.blogspot.com) picked up on the following comment from  Emmett J, in which the judge expressed some disquiet concerning the finding of infringement: “If, as I have concluded, the relevant versions of Down Under involve an infringement of copyright, many years after the death of Ms Sinclair, and enforceable at the behest of an assignee, then some of the underlying concepts of modern copyright may require rethinking. While there are good policy reasons for encouraging the intellectual and artistic effort that produces literary, artistic and musical works, by rewarding the author or composer with some form of monopoly in…

Baidu to start to pay songwriters royalties and launch music service
China

COPYRIGHT Internet, music publishing Giant Chinese search engine Baidu have said that they have reached an agreement with the Music Copyright Society of China to start paying a publishing royalty on any MP3s downloaded or streamed via the search platform. Baidu has been the target of both criticism and legal actions in the past for its MP3 search function, which lets users specifically search the net for MP3 files by artist or song name – the Vast majority of which come from unlicensed servers. Under the new agreement with MCSC, Baidu will pass a share of advertising revenue on for every track accessed via the search platform from a new music service that Baidu plans to launch in May. Baidu spokesman Kaiser Kuo told Reuters the Baidu Ting service will offer streaming, downloads and social networking elements, and will be supported in part by advertising and is in talks with the major labels. http://www.digitaltrends.com/international/chinas-baidu-to-pay-royalities-on-downloaded-songs/

Digital player maker ‘incited consumers to break the law’, says ASA
Copyright / May 2011
UK

COPYRIGHT Technology The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) have ruled that technology firm 3GA Limited must change the way it advertises its digital music player because the adverts encourage members of the public people to copy music and infringe copyright law. The ASA has told 3GA Ltd to find a new way to advertise the Brennan JB7 machine, which is a CD player with a hard disk. The machine records CDs, tapes cassettes or vinyl records on to its hard disk, which the company claims can hold up to 5,000 albums. The ASA found that 3GA’s adverts misleadingly implied that it was acceptable to copy music from discs and tapes on to the machine. In particular the copy said “It [the JB7] saves space and clutter and delivers near immediate access to an entire music collection” and “JB7 owners rediscover then fall in love with their music again simply because the Brennan makes it so accessible. The Brennan also records from vinyl and cassette so you can enjoy your entire music collection but keep it out of the way in another room or retire it to the attic.” In its defence 3GA had argued that “provided the user was playing music…

Cloudy Copyright Forecast for New Amazon Music Service
Copyright , Internet / May 2011
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet ARTICLE LINK:  Andrew Goldberg Corporate Counsel Amazon’s push to beat Google and Apple to the punch in unveiling its new “music locker” service this week could cause the company to face a combination of new copyright challenges. The e-commerce giant’s new cloud-based music service known as Cloud Drive, which lets users store the songs they purchase on Amazon’s servers and play them from almost anywhere, is certainly convenient. The problem is that it might not be entirely legal under copyright law, according to some… at issue is whether a service that offers consumers access to music via the cloud must first acquire licenses from the music labels that control the copyrights on that music. Amazon says that it doesn’t need a license. The copyright issue presented is one of first impression for the courts, and the debate will remain unsettled at least untilEMI and Others v MP3tunes LLC and Michael Robertso is resolved. In that case, which is pending in the Southern District of New York, various record labels and music publishers sued MP3tunes, alleging–among other things–that MP3tunes is directly liable for copyright infringement for allowing users to publicly perform, reproduce, and distribute their copyrighted works Read more at  http://www.law.com/jsp/cc/PubArticleCC.jsp?id=1202488704709&Cloudy_Copyright_Forecast_for_New_Amazon_Music_Service andhttp://www.eff.org/cases/emi-v-mp3tunes andhttp://thepriorart.typepad.com/files/emivmp3tunes-complaint.pdf (MP3tunes…

Digital age public interest group proposes reforms to copyright law
Copyright , Internet / May 2011
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet Public Knowledge, a consumer public interest group in Washington has re-iterated its reform proposals  to modernize copyright law addressing the subjects of fair-use, anti-piracy device circumvention, abuse of the copyright symbol, the notice and take-down provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA,) the problem of incidental copies, and streaming music licensing. The group also wants to create new digital music rights organisations that would make the process of licensing of music online more efficient, and to clarify the rights associated with digital transmissions. Read more at http://broadbandbreakfast.com/2011/04/digital-age-public-interest-group-proposes-reforms-to-copyright-law/

Students lead in Tenenbaum appeal
Copyright , Internet / May 2011
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet As Jammie Rasset Thomas faces yet another trial, the Joel Tenenbaum case has now gone to appeal.By way of background, a federal jury awarded the Recording Industry Association of America, $675,000 under copyright laws and the Digital Theft Deterrence Act of 1999, which allowed for penalties as high as $4.5 million -or $150,000 for each song illegally and willfully downloaded and shared online. The laws required that jurors award at least $750 for each infringement. Last year, US District Court Judge Nancy Gertner slashed the award by 90 percent to $67,500, to $2,250 a song, saying the jury’s decision was “unconstitutionally excessive’ and that $67,500 would still serve to deter similar actions, she said. 27 year old Jason Harrow, a student at Harvard Law School and winner of the school’s 100th annual Ames Moot Court Competition, judged by Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts. Harrow argued that Congress never intended to punish individual consumers when passing a copyright bill more than a decade ago saying “No one thought the statue would apply to consumer users like this’’ Another of Tenenbaum’s lawyers, University professor Charles Nesson — argued yesterday that the federal copyright laws and the Digital Theft Deterrence…

EU Copyright appointment causes controversy
Copyright / May 2011
EU

COPYRIGHT All areas There has been a fair amount of controversy about the appointment of Maria Martin-Prat as the European Union’s new point person on copyright policy because Martin-Prat spent years directing global legal policy for the International Federation of Phonographic Industries (IFPI) the global recording industry’s London-based trade group as Deputy General Counsel, Director of Legal Policy and Regulatory Affairs. Two MEPs are questioning Martin-Prat’s appointment. Liberal Dutch MEP Marietje Schaake and Swedish Pirate Party MEP Christian Engström (no surprise with regards to the latter!)  have written to the European Commission, asking, “Does the Commission not see any problems in recruiting top civil servants from special interest organisations, especially when being put in charge of dossiers directly related to their former employers? If not, why not adding “Does the Commission feel that such an appointment would help to build confidence with the European Parliament and the general public that the Commission can be trusted to handle copyright-related issues in a fair and balanced manner?” The Commission should offer its own response in the next few weeks. http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2011/04/top-music-industry-lawyer-now-eu-copyright-chief.ars

Google answers Piracy Questions at Congressional Hearing
Copyright , Internet / May 2011
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet Google’s General Counsel faced questions about how its search engine can be used to locate pirated and counterfeit content online, during a hearing before the U.S. House Judiciary Committee’s Intellectual Property, Competition and the Internet Subcommittee. When asked by Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) why its “autocomplete” search feature suggested so many infringing links, Google General Counsel Kent Walker testified that those suggestions are “a reflection of how many users are trying to seek infringing content,” according to PaidContent’s coverage. “It would seem to be feasible that those common search terms that are used to find pirated works on the internet — the results could be filtered out,” added Rep. Ben Quayle (R-Ariz.), according to PaidContent’s coverage. Walker went on to say that Google built a content filtering system for YouTube, but it would be impossible to remove unauthorized content without owners’ help — endorsing the “takedown notice” process laid out in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).  Walker added that Google does not want to be tasked with being the “judge, jury and executioner” when it comes to piracy, according to CNET’s coverage, but would cut off its advertising service for sites the government deemed to be engaged…

David Byrne settles with former Governor Crist over copyright claim
USA

COPYRIGHT Artist, music publishing Charlie Crist, the former governor of Florida has reached an out of court settlement with David Byrne, who sued the politician last year after he used the Talking Heads classic ‘Road To Nowhere’ in a YouTube video attacking a political rival without permission. Crist met with Byrne himself to discuss the million dollar lawsuit last week, and reached a settlement, the specific details of which are not known, though it included Crist posting a video online apologising for the infringement. Most politicians use music tracks at rallies in the USA but use there is usually covered by so called blanket licences. But once they create advertising online or on TV they need a ‘synchronisation licence’ to use the song – at Crist had none. Commenting on his meeting with Crist, the political dude said the Talking Heads man “couldn’t have been a better guy”, adding: “As I told him, I was sorry it ever happened at all. He couldn’t have been more of a gentleman about it”. Crist blamed his ad agency for not getting permission to use the song. Byrne, for his part, noted that an increasing number of American politicians seemed to be using pop songs…

Students see illegal downloading in a different light to the theft of a CD
Copyright , Internet / May 2011
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet A newly published study from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln published in the journal Psychology, Crime and Law, shows that young people (here students) think there’s a difference between stealing a CD from a store and pirating that same music online ,leading the study’s authors to believe that younger people are disconnected from the cost of media when they encounter it online. The study was, led by Professor Talia Wingrove, surveyed 172 undergraduate students in the midwestern US in the mid 2000s. The goal was to discover the difference in attitudes when it comes to shoplifting a CD, downloading an album from the Internet, or downloading and sharing the music with others. The researchers then ranked students’ reactions on scales of deterrence (risk of getting caught or punished by the law), morality (the activity being wrong or immoral), social influence (whether peers or parents would disapprove), respect for the industry, and obligation to obey the law. Overall, the sample agreed that shoplifting a CD was morally wrong, they were socially influenced not to do it, and they felt a high obligation to obey the law. Comparatively, the students ranked downloading music from the Internet asmuchless severe on nearly every scale – their…

Advocate General backs protection for ISPs
Copyright , Internet / May 2011
EU

COPYRIGHT Internet In a case between ISP Scarlet and Belgian music collection society SABAM, the ECJ’s Advocate General Pedro Cruz Villalón has given the opinion that “The installation of the filtering and blocking system is a restriction on the right to privacy of communications and the right to protection of personal data, both of which are rights protected under the Charter”. The case, originally in court back in 2007, resulted in Scarlet being ordered by the country’s courts to filter out copyright infringing content being shared by its customers. ISPs in the UK have long cited European legislation as justification as to why they can’t more proactively police copyright infringement.  Villalón did add that the Charter (of Fundamental Rights) does allow for the rights and freedoms of European internet users to be restricted by national law, but said that such restrictions must be ingrained in the legal systems of individual member states, and should be “accessible, clear and predictable”. That was not the case in the Scarlet judgment, he concluded meaning that the French law Hadopi and the UK’s own Digital Economy Act are not necessarily in breach of the ruling. CMU Daily  www.thecmuwebsite.com  18 April 2010

Prince bemoans cover versions
USA

COPYRIGHT Music publishing Prince has complained about the fact that other artists can cover his songs in an interview with George Lopez in which he tells the talk show host why the law should be changed so that nobody else in music can create cover versions of his hit songs, including “Kiss” and “Purple Rain.” “My problem is when the industry covers the music,” says Prince. “There’s this thing called compulsory licensing law that allows artists through the record companies to take your music at will without your permission. And that doesn’t exist in any other art form, be it books, movies — There’s only one version of ‘Law & Order.’ There’s several versions of ‘Kiss’ and ‘Purple Rain.” http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/thr-esq/prince-wants-laws-changed-eliminate-181477

India’s police bemoan ineffective piracy laws
Copyright / May 2011
India

COPRIGHT Film and television, sound recordings The Deccan Chronicle reports on police comments  that Indian the law tackling the DVD and CD piracy lacks teeth with a police spokesperson saying “We keep on arresting vendors and distributors of pirated CDs and DVDs but most of them get bails on the same day. As this piracy is an organized operation, use of the provisions of Goonda Act might prove useful in dealing with the issue,” they say. Police recently arrested 10 vendors and seized more than 7,000 pirated CDs in Aluva but the accused were bailed the same day by the magistrates court. The vendors are booked under sections of Indian Copyright Act, 1957 (for CD or DVD piracy) and if a computer is used in the crime, sections of The Information Technology Act, 2,000 are added to the case. However sub-Inspector  Mohammed Nissar said “what normally happens is that the accused would claim before the magistrate that the CDs don’t belong to them. As it’s difficult to prove otherwise, they get bail”  Police officials point out that use of provisions of The Kerala Anti-Social Activities (Prevention) Act, 2007, widely known as Goonda Act, could give a boost to tackle CD…

Kiwi MP caught out in copyright tweet
Copyright , Internet / May 2011
New Zealand

COPYRIGHT Internet It seems that a pro-copyright New Zealand parliament member, Melissa Lee, has been caught in a copyright quagmire. It turns out that just hours before she spoke out in support of the controversial new copyright law (the New Zealand version of the ‘three strikes’ law, see below) being rushed through parliament, she tweeted how pleased she was with a compilation of K-Pop songs a friend copied for her. The New Zealand legislation is “more draconian than other countries”. With the potential for internet users  ‘suspected’ of sharing copyrighted material online three times losing their Internet access for six months, critics say that the new law also shifts the burden of proof to the alleged infringer who will need to prove their innocence Torrentfreak commented “Although it’s easy to call Lee’s mistake out as hypocrisy, it might be even worse than that. What if she truly believes that copying a legally bought song for a friend is okay? That would mean that even legislators who vote on copyright legislation don’t fully grasp what they’re doing or as one blogger put it “The serious aspect to this story, apart from the cruel pleasure in watching someone stumble over the very…

Kiwi three strikes prompts cyber attacks
Copyright , Internet / May 2011
New Zealand

COPYRIGHT Internet The New Zealand government’s new ‘three strikes’ anti-piracy proposals, which have finally moved into law and are due to come into effect in September (2011) have prompted a fresh wave of protests and the threat of cyber attacks on the Government’s websites. The Copyright (Infringing File Sharing) Amendment Bill has caused immense controversy in New Zealand, particularly in the blogsphere, with many online commentators calling the bill ‘draconian’ and questioning why the bill was rushed through the New Zealand Parliament reportedly using emergency procedures invoked to help victims of the Christchurch earthquake for cover. In particular Section 92A which initially placed the onus on ISPs to disconnect repeat infringers met with fierce opposition when it was mooted two years ago and whilst it has been amended as it currently stands it does provide for a ‘three strikes’ system which ultimately allows for the disconnection of internet users for repeat infringements. However, whilst the ability of copyright owners to apply to have repeat offenders disconnected remains in the legislation, it will not come into effect unless after two years it is shown that other less severe sanctions are ineffective.” However what does remain is the requirement for ISPs to…

Internet companies challenge French data collection law
Copyright , Internet , Privacy / May 2011
France

COPYRIGHT / PRIVACY Internet The BBC reports that Google, EBay and Facebook are among a group of net heavyweights taking the French government to court – the legal challenge has been brought by The French Association of Internet Community Services (ASIC) and relates to government plans to keep web users’ personal data for a year. The case will be heard by the State Council, France’s highest judicial body. The law obliges a range of e-commerce sites, video and music services and webmail providers to keep a host of data on customers. This includes users’ full names, postal addresses, telephone numbers and passwords. The data must be handed over to the authorities if demanded. Police, the fraud office, customs, tax and social security bodies will all have the right of access. ASIC head Benoit Tabaka believes that the data law is unnecessarily draconian. “Several elements are problematic,” he said. “For instance, there was no consultation with the European Commission. Our companies are based in several European countries. “Our activities target many national markets, so it is clear that we need a common approach,” said Mr Tabaka. ASIC also thinks that passwords should not be collected and warned that retaining them could…

Has Pandora Been Breaking Internet Privacy Laws?
Internet , Privacy / May 2011
USA

PRIVACY Internet ARTICLE LINK:  By Nicholas Jackson When the lawyers representing Pandora Media filed the papers with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to seek an initial public offering (IPO) “a dirty little secret got out”. After digging through the nearly 150-page document, various technology reporters noticed that the popular streaming music service has been issued a subpoena by a federal grand jury. The subpoena concerns how the company has been sharing personal data through its smartphone application. Read more at http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2011/04/has-pandora-been-breaking-internet-privacy-laws/236813/

Cohl’s lawsuit against Live Nation allowed to proceed
USA

CONTRACT / COMPETITION Live events industry A US judge has denied Live Nation’s request that a lawsuit filed against them by the live music conglom’s former Chairman, Michael Cohl be dismissed. Live Nation and Cohl are in a legal dispute over the agreement the two parties reached when they parted company back in 2008. That agreement allowed Cohl to continue to work as a promoter with certain big name artists – most notably the Rolling Stones – in return for the former Chairman paying the live music firm nearly $10 million over a number of years. Live Nation sued Cohl last year claiming that he had defaulted on those multi-million dollar payments. Cohl then counter-sued claiming Live Nation were already in breach of contract for interfering in his efforts to secure the rights to promote a mooted Rolling Stones fiftieth anniversary tour. Live Nation requested Cohl’s countersuit be dismissed, partly on the grounds that the Stones tour at the heart of the specific dispute hadn’t, in the end, happened, and was only being vaguely considered by the band at the time the two parties squabbled about it. But, according to Billboard, US District Court Judge Cecilia Altonaga this week said…

Vandals take on Variety
Artists , Trade Mark / May 2011
USA

TRADE MARK Artists Hollywood trade newspaper Variety has lost in its attempt to pursue a trademark claim in Delaware against the punk band The Vandals. This is just the first battle in the fight and whilst it has gone in favour of the band, it is not a decision on the substantive matter in the case – just the forum where the case will be heard. The case will now move to a California federal court, since Vandals bassist and lawyer Joe Escalante, who is representing the band in the lawsuit, is based in Los Angeles. The case goes back to a 2004 album by the band, their 10th, titled “Hollywood Potato Chip,” which posed the band’s name in lettering on the cover quite similar to the trademarked Variety logo. Reed Elsevier, Variety’s parent company, sent a cease-and-desist letter and entered into a settlement with the band, which agreed to change the cover art. The agreement stipulated that band members would have to pay $50,000 plus attorneys fees if the group ever reneged. It now seems that the offending image had popped up again on the band’s website and that of their label Kung Fu Records. The band claimed it…

Holy Fuck – shock horror – Holy Fuck’s name might offend!
Advertising , Live Events / May 2011
UK

ADVERTISING Live events industry The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA, and twice mentioned this month!) have ruled that live events promoter Kilimanjaro cannot run adverts for Holy Fuck tours in mainstream newspapers that contain the band’s name. The ASA received a complaint about an advert for the Holy Fuck tour after it appeared in the Guardian Guide which argued that “the ad was offensive and inappropriate for use in a supplement that was likely to be seen by children”.  Kilimanjaro apologised for any offence caused to the complainant, but made it clear that as the band’s name was Holy Fuck it was used on lots of other advertising literature without complaint and, indeed, the word fuck itself is used in mainstream press (indeed at the time of writing, on national TV courtesy of Wayne Rooney). However the ASA upheld the complaint saying that whilst it noted “that the Guide was targeted at older teens and adults” that “we considered that, because it was placed in an entertainment listings supplement to a national newspaper, the ad was likely to be seen by a wide variety of readers including children. We considered, in that context, that the name Holy Fuck was likely to…