Copyright Fight Ensues Over Rebecca Black’s ‘Friday’
USA

COPYRIGHT/CONTRACT Music publishing, record labels The internet viral hit of a 13 year old called Rebecca Black singing a song called “Friday” has sparked potential new litigation about who actually owns the sound recording – and the song. Black’s parents paid a company called Ark Music Factory (AMF) to produce a music video of a song that was written by Clarence Jey and Patrice Wilson – who run AMF. Here’s the seeming legal conundrum – no one quite seems to know who owns what.  Jey and Wilson would have held the original rights to the composition as authors, while Black probably holds the copyright on the recording itself (though, there may be some questions about the musicians who played on the track). But its al dependent on the terms of the contract which was signed between the Blacks and AMF – and I am guessing behind that, the contracts that AMF itself has with Jey, Wilson and recording artists who put together the recording as well as the video director. A Rolling Stone Report says that “the agreement that Black signed with Ark in November stipulates that Black has 100 percent ownership and control of ‘Friday,’ including the master recording and the music video.” Seeming…

POD sues label
Artists , Contract / May 2011
USA

CONTRACT Artists Christian rockers POD are suing their record label, US independent INO Records, over claims that the label is in breach of contract for refusing to pay a $400,000 advance once the band confirmed they were ready to start recording a new album last November.  The band say the advance was due once work began on the follow up to 2008’s ‘When Angels & Serpents Dance’, which was their first long player for the indie after leaving former label Atlantic in 200.  POD are seeking damages while stating that, because of the breach, the band is “abandoning all its obligations to INO under the agreement”. The suit does not reveal in detail about INO’s position and the label has yet to respond. http://www.aceshowbiz.com/news/view/w0011508.html

Rick James estate to test the FBT (‘Eminen’) court ruling
Artists , Contract , Record Labels / May 2011
USA

CONTRACT Artists, record labels Administrators of the Estate of Rick James are planning to test the extent of Universal’s unsuccessful defence to the claim in FBT Productions v Interscope where the court ruled that the music major’s relationship with services like iTunes should be treated as a licensing arrangement rather than a record sales relationship akin to that record companies have with traditional retailers meaning the artist (or here producer) was entitled t a large share of royalties. It’s an important distinction because many record contracts give artists a bigger cut of royalties when they are generated by licensing deals rather than record sales. The distinction seemingly applies to many contracts that pre-date the digital revolution, some of which still generate large revenues. The lawsuit says: “By this lawsuit, the plaintiff seeks to compel UMG to account to and pay its other recording artists and music producers (ie, those not directly involved in the FBT litigation) their rightful share of the licensing income paid to UMG for downloads and mastertones of the recorded music licensed by UMG to these entities”. Commenting on the action, Jeff Jampol, manager of the James estate, told Billboard: “In assessing and watching the Eminem case, the original…

Axl agrees to lateness clause for Rock in Rio booking
Contract , Live Events / May 2011
Brazil

CONTRACT Live events Axl Rose has agreed to a clause in his contract with the Brazilian Rock In Rio festival this October that commits him to pay a fine if Guns n Roses come n stage late. The band played Rock In Rio in 2001 and 2006 and in 2001 arrived two hours late. The festival’s vice president Roberta Medina told Brazilian magazine Epoca: “[Guns N Roses’ appearance this year was] the hardest to arrange on the history of the festival. Bands are usually on time, but Guns is a different case. Lateness like the one in 2001 … can make the public feel uncomfortable and cause them to possibly start a riot”. http://www.torontosun.com/entertainment/music/2011/04/03/17860996-wenn-story.html

Dre wins royalties claim against Death Row
Artists , Contract , Record Labels / May 2011
USA

CONTRACT Artists, record labels Dr Dre has won a royalties lawsuit against Death Row Records in relation to his 1992 debut album ‘The Chronic’, Dre sued the label over digital sales of the album arguing that Death Row did not have permission to sell ‘The Chronic’ digitally, while also claiming he hadn’t been paid proper royalties on the record since 1996.  The Federal Court agreed, saying that the digital release breached the label’s agreement with the rapper as it needed Dre’s permission and District Judge Christina Snyder ordered that 100% of the profits from digital sales of ‘The Chronic’ should go to Dre. A separate part of the same lawsuit, claiming Death Row was guilty of false advertising and trademark infringement for re-releasing the physical version of ‘The Chronic’, was dismissed last year. http://www.mtv.com/news/articles/1662444/dr-dre-the-chronic-lawsuit-death-row-records.jhtml

And finally, our obligatory Royal Wedding story ….
Licensing , Live Events / May 2011
UK

LICENSING Live events Here’s an interesting article in Wales Online about the bizarre implications of the 2003 Licensing Act – Welsh harpists would need a licence to perform at a street party, but Morris Dancers don’t! In Morris Dancers offer live music loophole for Royal Wedding parties, Rhodri Clark explains that The Act exempts the performance of “Morris Dancing or any dancing of a similar nature or the performance of unamplified, live music as an integral part of such a performance”. Read more at  http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/2011/04/17/morris-dancers-offer-live-music-loophole-for-royal-wedding-parties-91466-28533447/

Google liable for damages in France
Copyright , Internet / April 2011
France

COPYRIGHT Internet A French court has ordered Google to pay $598,000 in damages for copyright infringement to a number of filmmakers and a photographer after their works appeared in Google’s search results and on Google Video. The appellate court in Paris ruled in favour of film producer Mondovino and others who brought copyright infringement claims against Google. Google reportedly removed the works when asked by copyright holders, but the works then reappeared online. The company is said to be considering an appeal.  http://www.dmwmedia.com/news/2011/03/09/french-court-orders-google-pay-598k-copyright-damages

AFACT loses appeal in case of ISP’s liability for infringement
Copyright , Internet / April 2011
Australia

COPYRIGHT Internet The Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft (AFACT) has lost its appeal against Australian ISP iiNet. In the absence of specific legislation in Australia, AFACT, representing the TV and movie industries, had argued that net companies had an obligation under Australian copyright laws to take a proactive role in policing online piracy and that the Australian ISP was responsible for illegal content downloading by its users.  The acts of copyright infringement in issue in the case were copies of films illegally accessed by iiNet users using the BitTorrent system of file sharing.  Under the Australian Copyright Act an intermediary that authorises the infringing conduct is also liable for infringement. To be liable for authorisation, a party must sanction, approve or countenance the infringement. This will depend on the extent (if any) of the relationship with the infringer, its power to prevent the infringement and whether it took any reasonable steps to prevent or avoid the infringement (1) Australian courts had previously found that Kazaa was liable for ‘authorising’ infringement (2) and clearly content owners were hoping that the courts would extend copyright law to include a duty on ISPs to monitor and filter unlicensed content on their networks, and/or…

Isle of Wight increase 20,000 too many?
Licensing , Live Events / April 2011
UK

LICENSING Live events Ventnorblog.com reports that organisers of the Isle of Wight Festival have indicated to the local council that they want to increase the capacity of the Festival to 89,999. The application (unusually in the UK) has top pass a two stage hurdle – The Isle of Wight Act, brought in after the huge number of people attending the 1970 festival, and the a License Act application. The event organisers have submitted the IW Act application to the council. The Blog spoke to Cllr Geoff Lumley who had brought up the matter at the Full Council meeting this week and whose Pan ward is close to the Festival’s site, “At the licensing committee three years ago, when they wanted to increase the numbers to 70,000, which was too many, John Giddings (Festival organiser), as I recall, said he would never need more than 70,000 – and here we are with an application for 90,000″ adding “My concerns are that this is 20,000 people too many.” It’s understood that council officers are currently preparing a consultation for the event. The Blog further reports Cllr Lumley saying “We’re not against the Festival at all. We just think that it’s too big now for where it is.” Sourced from: http://ventnorblog.com/2011/03/18/are-89999-people-at-isle-of-wight-festival-a-good-idea/#ixzz1HFGshFKc

Girl Talk scales things back
Copyright , Record Labels / April 2011
USA

COPYRIGHT Record labels ARTICLE LINK:  Gregg Gillis’ Girl Talk project is the epitome of collage music. He composes songs using fragments of other people’s songs. Every sound is borrowed from somewhere and someone else. On his latest collection — “All Day,” released for free online — the track “This Is the Remix” opens with a nip from Justin Timberlake’s “Sexyback,” the recognizable rhythmic melody from Bananarama’s “Cruel Summer,” some grunts from Lady Gaga’s “LoveGame,” plus rapping from Mr. Cheeks’ “Lights, Camera, Action.” That’s the first 48 seconds of the six-minute song. After that, it’s Lil’ Kim, Genesis, the Jackson 5, George Michael, Beastie Boys, U2, Kid ’n Play, INXS, Method Man, Billy Squier, on and on. http://www.suntimes.com/entertainment/conner/4095883-417/girl-talk-scales-things-back.html

The Vase against IsoHunt by Jeff Gray
Copyright , Internet / April 2011
Canada
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet ARTICLE LINK On its cluttered home page, Vancouver-based isoHunt.com doesn’t exactly look like a mortal threat to the multibillion-dollar movie and recording industries. One of its small number of rotating ads offers communication with “Busty Russians,” just a click away. But in fact, this is one of the Web’s most-used search engines for BitTorrent, or “peer-to-peer” files, which people use to find free digital copies of movies and music. More on legal actions against IsoHunt in the USA – where in 2009, a California judge sided with Columbia Pictures and other Hollywood studios in a lawsuit against the site, saying isoHunt violated U.S. copyright laws – and in Canada where the site is locked in a court battle with the Canadian Recording Industry Association (CRIA) and major record labels, which are demanding it be shut down. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/industry-news/the-law-page/the-case-against-isohunt/article1925928/

Credit card companies work with police and IFPI to cut off pirates
Copyright , Internet / April 2011
EU
UK

COPYRIGHT Internet Credit card companies including MasterCard and Visa are working with the City of London Police and the recorded music sector to extend cooperation in tackling illegal online services selling unlicensed music worldwide. Under the arrangement IFPI can secure action by police against websites that infringe its members’ rights.  Details of 24 copyright infringing music services have been handed over to the police to date and IFPI’s anti-piracy investigators supply the City of London Police’s Economic Crime Directorate with evidence of illegal downloads made from an infringing site.  Once the police have verified the evidence, they notify MasterCard and Visa who require the acquiring bank providing the retailer with payment services to produce evidence of appropriate licenses to sell music or cease providing those services to the retailer. To make sure the new system works effectively in practice, MasterCard has committed to deal with requests involving law enforcement expeditiously.  Frances Moore, Chief Executive of IFPI, said: “It is extremely positive for the recorded music industry that the world’s largest payment systems are taking steps to prevent their services being abused by illegal websites that infringe the rights of artists, songwriters and producers. Intermediaries, such as MasterCard and Visa, can play a key…

Judge Limits Potential LimeWire Copyright Payout to $1.5 Billion
USA

COPYRIGHT  Record labels, music publishing, internet   Following on from the settlement between LimeWire and US music publishers in the USA, In New York federal District Judge Kimba Wood has now limited the potential copyright infringement damages that the now shuttered file-sharing service could have to pay record labels to $1.5 billion. Judge Kimba Wood sided with LimeWire, which had argued that the damages should be based on an ‘single’ infringement for each sound recording shared on the service – rather than on the number of times the work had been illegally downloaded or shared by each LimeWire user. LimeWire could face statutory damages of between $7.5 million and $1.5 billion; US copyright law provides for statutory damages of between $750 and $150,000 for copyright infringement. www.ilmc.com

The legal implications of using cloud technology
Copyright , Internet / April 2011
EU
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet ARTICLE: The legal implications of using cloud technology; what happens when two or more people create and collaborate an ‘original work’ solely on the cloud? by Lucilla Green (a Law graduate who is currently working as an Independent Legal Advisor,lucillagreen444@gmail.com) What is Cloud Technology? Cloud Technology is made up of applications and storage space which are solely web-based and not stored on the computers hard-drive.  Instead, everything is stored online.  It allows consumers to create data and store it away on the service providers’ hard-drive where it can be accessed anywhere at anytime from any computer or mobile phone with an Internet connection.  I think its a fantastic piece of technology and facilitates the way that we do work as it allows multiple users to work on one document at the same time without the need to be in the same room together, or the same country.  I myself am an avid fan of Cloud Technology and use Google Docs more than Microsoft Word to do all my work as I no longer need to carry sheets of paper, USB sticks, or even email myself work, I can just save it and access it from any computer at anytime.  In…

US IP Czar wants illegal streaming to be a felony
Copyright , Internet / April 2011
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet, all areas The White House’s Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator, Victoria Espinel, has submitted 20 recommendations to Congress aimed at cracking down on copyright infringement on items ranging from drugs to music and military equipment – calling for more effective  law enforcement and tougher penalties for people convicted of copyright infringement. In particular Espinel urged Congress to make illegally streaming copyrighted content online a felony saying that online piracy and counterfeiting are “significant concerns” for the White House  causing “economic harm and threaten the health and safety of American consumers”. Espinel has recommended that Congress act to “clarify that infringement by streaming, or by means of other similar new technology, is a felony in appropriate circumstances.” Bob Pisano, president of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) commented “Closing the legal gap between two methods of equally destructive illegal behavior – unauthorized downloading and streaming — adds more clarity to intellectual property law and, frankly, makes good common sense”. Espinel own  Report states that “Foreign-based and foreign-controlled websites and web services raise particular concerns for US enforcement efforts. We are aware that members of Congress share our goal of reducing online infringement and are considering measures to increase law…

Universal refused appeal in ‘Eminen’ royalty case
Contract , Copyright / April 2011
USA

CONTRACT / COPYRIGHT Recorded music The US Supreme Court has declined to hear an appeal by the Universal Music Group in relation to lawsuit pursued by early Eminem collaborators FBT Productions against the label for an increased royalty split for digital sales via services such as iTunes which FBT successful argued should be treated  as a licensing deal. These recording agreements followed industry-standard forms at the time, and provide for different royalties for “records sold” and “masters licensed.” The royalty for “masters licensed” is substantially higher than that for “records sold.” The label wanted to pay on a ‘per unit’ sale and treat any download revenue as record sales money rather that licensing income – meaning a smaller royalty share to artists (and in this case producers). The Supreme Court has now refused to hear the appeal as it currently stands and in doing so, the Supreme Court let stand the Ninth Circuit’s 2010 unanimous decision that addressed royalties under a traditional music recording agreement for new methods of music distribution, such as iTunes and cellular phone ring tones. “By denying cert, the Supreme Court has finally answered the question about whether or not Eminem’s producers and other artists with…

Steve Jobs faces anti-trust questions about iTunes
Competition , Internet / April 2011
USA

COMPETITION Internet, recorded music Judge Howard R. Lloyd has authorized limited questioning of Apple CEO Steve Jobs  in San Jose, California  by lawyers representing consumers in a complaint against Apple that its iPlayer/iTunes model breached federal antitrust laws and California’s unfair competition law by requiring that customers use an iPod to listen to music purchased from the iTunes Music Store. Lawyers will be allowed two hours for questions limited to the sole topic of changes Apple made to iPod software in October 2004 that disrupted RealNetworks’ Harmony software, which enabled songs purchased from the company’s music store to be transferred onto the iPod. When RealNetworks released Harmony in 2004 Apple released a statement accusing the company of adopting “the tactics and ethics of a hacker to break into the iPod” and warning customers that it was “highly likely” that Real’s Harmony technology would not work with future versions of the iPod software. As self-predicted, Apple disabled Harmony in a subsequent update to its iPod software later that year. Since the lawsuit was originally filed in 2005 Apple has negotiated with music labels for a more open iTunes Music Store. A footnote in a court document notes that, by March 2009,…

Love’s Twitter rant costs her $430,000
Artists , Defamation , Internet / April 2011
USA

DEFAMATION Artists, broadcasting, internet Fashion designer Dawn Simorangkir claim against Courtney Love over the Loves’s libellous rantings on Twitter has been settled out of court. Simorangkir sued Love over a series of tweets posted in 2009 in which the singer called the designer an “asswipe nasty lying hosebag thief” after the pair fell out over a $4000 clothing bill.  Love had said her comments were merely opinions and not intended as statements of fact, while also arguing there was no tangible proof that the tweets had caused Simorangkir any actual financial loss. The case was due to go to ourt in January but the hearing was postponed after out of court negotiations began. A settlement was reached with Love agreeing to pay Simorangkir $430,000 in damages over the next three years.  Love’s attorney James Janowitz told The Reporter he was also pleased with the deal, adding that Simorangkir had originally asked for substantially more in damages, and that the final figure agreed gave her team “bragging rights” but nothing else. Asked whether his client would be using Twitter in the future, Janowitz said: “I don’t think she’s using it any more. But I could be wrong”. http://www.contactmusic.com/news.nsf/story/courtney-love-settles-defamation-lawsuit_1205361

UK government now to back live music reforms
Licensing , Live Events / April 2011
UK

LICENSING Live events industry The UK coalition government has now confirmed that it would support Lord Tim Clement-Jones’ Live Music Bill, which amends the 2003 Licensing Act, in particular tackling the extra bureaucracy it created for small venues who want to stage live music events. In the House of Lords, Patricia Rawlings, speaking for the government, said the Coalition would support the proposed legislation and help push it through, subject to a review of the technical aspects of the proposals. She added that the government would also likely insist that all unlicensed gigs should be finished by 11pm, rather than midnight as set out in Clement-Jones’s proposals. Clement Jones said that his Bill would benefit hundreds of small pubs, restaurants and church and community halls who want live music at their venue by generally removing the need to apply for a complicated licence and the Bill had the support of new Conservative peer and former ITV chairman Michael Grade who used his maiden speech in the House of Lords to back the Live Music Bill during its second reading, claiming the 2003 Licensing Act which it seeks to amend is a “bad law” that denies up and coming music talent the chance to develop their…

StubHub guilty of violating anti-scalping laws
Live Events / April 2011
USA

TICKETING Live events industry TicketNews.com report that StubHub has been found to be in violation of North Carolina’s former anti-scalping laws for its part in the 2007 sale of high-priced Hannah Montana tickets by a reseller on the company’s exchange Judge Ben Tennille ruled that StubHub and Massachusetts reseller Jason Holohan violated the laws when Holohan sold four Hannah Montana tickets to parents Jeffrey and Lisa Hill for a total of $596, plus $59.60 in service fees and $11.95 in shipping costs Elsewhere in ticket news, Connecticut General Assembly General Law Committee have overwhelmingly approved a proposed bill designed to help consumers by preserving the secondary ticket market and giving buyers the option of purchasing transferable paperless or traditional hard copy tickets. The move comes hot on the heels of similar moves in Minnesota and North Carolina to regulate paperless tickets to protect consumers and the secondary ticket market. Like the other states, North Carolina is looking to formalise assurances that ticket issuers will not use a restrictive form of paperless tickets that are difficult or impossible to transfer. www.ticketnews.com

‘Daily nightmare’ of Border Agency’s visa rules for foreign artists and performers
Immigration , Live Events / April 2011
UK

IMMIGRATION Live events The case of an American cellist, Kristin Ostling, who was sent back to Chicago by British immigration officials when she came to the UK to take part in an unpaid recital, has fuelled demands for an overhaul of the visa system for visiting artists and musicians. Ostling, who was due to perform at Leeds University, was subjected to eight hours of questioning before being told she was taking work away from UK musicians and sent home. Her case was highlighted in a recent House of Lords debate as evidence of the difficulties routinely faced by visiting artists and performers since the introduction in 2008 of the tier five “creative and sporting” category of the points-based immigration system. The demands to overhaul the system of artist and cultural visas follow complaints from leading arts figures, including Lady Bakewell, that such cases are no longer isolated incidents but the “daily nightmares” of concert planners and theatre managers across Britain. The London mayor, Boris Johnson, said unnecessary bureaucratic burdens should not be put in the way of artists and performers. “With competition from cities like Berlin, Shanghai or Mumbai, we must not jeopardise London’s position as a world creative hub,”…

Closing the window – but have the little birds flown?
Copyright , Internet , Record Labels / March 2011
UK

COPYRIGHT Record labels, internet Readers of this blog may or may not be aware that almost ever since radio, and then television, became the music industry’s most important marketing tools, record labels and artists have used what seems to be an ever extending period between releasing a track to the media and actually selling discs (and now downloads) to the consumer to promote the song and the sound recording. For the last few years, as rampant peer to peer file swapping and illegal downloading  seriously decimated record label’s profits, many commentators have warned the labels that the ‘I want it now’ generation – brought up in a digital world of instant gratification – Google, Youtube, Spotify, We7 – simply won’t play the waiting game, however hard the labels try. Now Sony and Universal have finally decided to give in – by making legal downloads available on the same day that tracks hit the radio airwaves. With labels have sometimes waiting up to six weeks between starting promotion and releasing tracks to customers the writing was definitely on the wall for the practice – enhanced by the idea that if the digital customer can’t buy then they might just might ‘steal’…

Updates on copyright law
Copyright / March 2011
Canada
China
EU
Russia
USA

COPYRIGHT All areas A new survey in the US commissioned by NBC Universal shows that 23.8% of global Internet traffic involves “digital theft,” with the BitTorrent file-sharing protocol accounting for 11.4% of this figure. Brand and trademark monitoring firm Envisional’s analysis of the top 10,000 peer-to-peer swarms found that 99.24% of non-pornographic material being traded was copyrighted material. It also found that “infringing cyberlocker sites” accounted for 5.1% of global Internet traffic, while “infringing video streaming sites” made up 1.4% of global traffic. Nearly 100,000 North Americans have been sued for suspected copyright infringement on file-sharing networks over the past twelve months according to details of a study published by TorrentFreak. Again the majority are alleged to have utilised BitTorrent, although some users of eDonkey were also targeted. Chinese officials say they have arrested 4,000 people in relation to 2,000 separate cases of intellectual property infringement since last November. Gao Feng, Deputy Director of China’s Ministry Of Public Security’s Economic Crimes Investigation Bureau confirmed that the Chinese government had stepped up its efforts to fight commercial piracy operations. The USA estimates that US IP industries alone lose $3.5 billion a year to Chinese piracy. It also appears that Google has responded pressure from…

Spain (re)introduces tougher new copyright law
Copyright , Internet / March 2011
Spain

COPYRIGHT Internet The Spanish Parliament has passed the reintroduced legislative proposals that make it easier for content owners to target copyright infringing websites, after the proposed new copyright laws were originally knocked back by the country’s parliament just before Christmas. The so called Sinde Law is Spain’s attempt to introduce new regulations that reduce levels of illegal file-sharing and would offer a fast-track system through which content owners can force commercial websites that exist primarily to assist others in their illegal file-sharing offline.  Amid a high profile campaign by some internet service providers, websites and consumer groups, including the accusation that the legislation was ‘US influenced’, the House of Representatives originally voted against the proposals. The legislation has been reintroduced with new safeguards which include a judicial stage in the shut down process. The French government also had to add in a judicial stage into their Hadopi three-strike law.  A January 23rd poll in France indicated that 49% of French Internet users continue to illegally download music and video http://www.time.com/time/business/article/0,8599,2045149,00.html http://the1709blog.blogspot.com/2010/12/spain-rejects-us-influenced-copyright.html CMU 28th February 2011 http://www.monstersandcritics.com/news/europe/news/article_1619605.php/Spanish-Parliament-approves-law-against-internet-downloaders

Google join the EFF in MP3tunes’s battle against EMI
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet, record labels, music publishers Google have reportedly filed a paper with the New York District Court in support of MP3tunes.com in its legal battle with EMI, joining The Electronic Frontiers Foundation who had previously filed a brief of Amici curiae in support of the company and its founder Michael Robertson. MP3tunes provides an online music “locker” service where users can store their music and access it from computers and mobile devices. MP3tunes also operates a music search engine called Sideload where users can find music tracks on other sites and then put them in their locker. EMI says the service makes mass copyright infringement easy by letting users upload music they didn’t buy and providing links to online songs that users can then “sideload” into their library and EMI claims that digital locker service such as MP3tunes infringes copyright unless  licensed by rights holders . Robertson unsurprisingly argues that EMI’s position is an incorrect interpretation of copyright law saying that MP3tunes is shielded from liability by the “safe harbor” provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act – because it doesn’t encourage copyright infringement and promptly removes infringing content when notified but EMI. Applying for summary judgment, EMI said that “This case…

EU Commissioner calls for one-stop digital licensing
EU

COPYRIGHT Music publishing, record labels Neelie Kroes, the EU’s Commissioner, has called on content owners of Europe to construct a “simple, consumer-friendly legal framework” for making digital content available across the Union. Speaking at an event in London alongside the bosses of Amazon and BT, and the government’s culture minister Ed Vaizey, Kroes said that the traditional content industries had not developed their licensing models fast enough to cope with the new demands of internet services.  She told the event: “Digitisation has fundamentally changed content industries, but licensing models simply have not kept up with this. National licensing can create a series of Berlin cultural walls. The price, both in pounds and frustration, is all too real, as creators are stifled and consumers are left empty-handed. It is time for this dysfunction to end. We need a simple, consumer-friendly legal framework for making digital content available across borders in the EU”.

ACS: law ends downloads battle – and ends itself
Copyright , Internet / March 2011
UK

COPYRIGHT Internet The UK press widely reported that Andrew Crossley, the lawyer behind controversial law firm ACS:Law, had withdrawn from pursuing 26 alleged illegal filesharers, blaming “criminal attacks” and bomb threats as reasons. In a statement read out in court by Tim Ludbrook, barrister for MediaCAT, Crossley’s client, Mr Crossley said “I have ceased my work…I have been subject to criminal attack. My e-mails have been hacked. I have had death threats and bomb threats,” adding “It has caused immense hassle to me and my family”. This Blog previously reported (28/09/10) that in September, ACS: Law was the victim of a cyber attack which exposed thousands of its e-mails which provided personal details of the people ACS:Law were pursuing and the pornographic films they were accused of downloading for free. That data breach is the subject of an ongoing investigation by the Information Commissioner. Which? had complained to the Solicitor’s Regulation Authority over ACS: Law’s ‘bullying’ and ‘excessive’ behaviour in 2009. HHJ Colin Birss QC, Judge of the Patents County Court, was rather unimpressed with ACS:Law and Mr Crossley, with the BBC reporting that Judge Birss described the twists and turns as “mind-boggling” and saying “I am getting the impression…

Will.i.am says artists must embrace technology
Copyright / March 2011
USA

COPYRIGHT All areas Will.i.am, the Black Eyed Peas frontman, thinks artists’ interest in technology shouldn’t end with just releasing their tracks via an online retailer. The rapper/producer recently chatted with attorneys and music industry insiders at the Grammy Foundation’s annual Entertainment Law Initiative Luncheon in Los Angeles, and according to The Hollywood Reporter urged his fellow recording artists not to think of mega-successful e-retailer iTunes as a panacea for moving units saying “Believe me, I love Apple … but iTunes shouldn’t be the answer,” adding, “[For artists], it should be the scariest thing in the world.” Saying that aspiring artists should actively embrace technology as a means of enhancing their creative expression, Will explained “Nearly everything I do involves processors and computers, and when I see an Intel chip I think of all the creative minds involved that help to amplify my own creativity” adding “Teaming up with the scientists, researchers and computer programmers at Intel to collaborate and co-develop new ways to communicate, create, inform and entertain is going to be amazing.” http://www.upi.com/Entertainment_News/Music/2011/02/12/William-says-artists-must-embrace-tech/UPI-61051297542512/ http://www.mtv.com/news/articles/1657820/will-i-am-itunes.jhtml

Scottish bootlegger jailed
Copyright , Record Labels / March 2011
UK

COPYRIGHT Record labels, film industry A Scottish father of seven has been jailed for sixteen months after admitting to making and selling illegal copies of albums and movies between 2007 and 2009. Police found 4000 fake CDs and DVDs worth £200,000 when they raided Paul McPhillips’ Edinburgh home. He had been selling the bootlegs online. Judge Frank Crowe in the Edinburgh Sheriff Court said whilst he understood that the operation had originally been small scale, the scale McPhillips’ piracy operation was sufficient that prison was “the only option”. The Minister for Intellectual Property, Judith Wilcox, welcomed the ruling, adding that the government remained committed to the principle of custodial sentences for those involved in criminal copyright infringement. http://www.thecmuwebsite.com/article/scottish-bootlegger-jailed/

Murphy v MPS
Competition , Copyright / March 2011
EU
UK

COPYRIGHT / COMPETITION Broadcasting, content owners Murphy v MPS – The Advocate General’s opinion might have serious ramifications for the pan-European TV market and territorial licensing deals within the European Community One of the most interesting copyright vs competition law cases has finally reached the European Court. Its one we have been watching and waiting for!  In Murphy v MPS, a pub landlady, Karen Murphy was convicted of copyright infringement for using a Greek ‘Nova TV’ decoder to play English Premier League football matches live in her pub. Sky owns the right to screen EPL matches in the UK but the Premier League sell the rights to other broadcasters in Europe such as Nova in Greece. Unsurprisingly it was a lot cheaper to subscribe to the Greek service and unsurprisingly Sky decided to take action against her and she was convicted in the Magistrates Court and this was upheld in the Crown Court. This was then appealed to the High Court who referred it to the ECJ. The Advocate General has now decided that (and in a ‘nutshell’) copyright is trumped by completion law ….. so it was LEGAL for Ms Murphy to purchase her football from Greece … well it is a…

Apple apps deal sparks prompts thoughts of anti-trust lawsuits
Competition / March 2011
EU
USA

COMPETITION Online Apple’s announcement that it would take a 30% commission for all sales of content made through its apps subscription system has prompted talk of anti-trust law suits from online operators such as Rhapsody. Any subscription-based app made available via Apple’s store will have to offer customers the option to pay for their subscriptions via the Apple platform at the same price as if they chose to have a direct billing relationship with the service provider.  It would be a brave content owner who walked away from Apple’s iPad and  iPhone customers ….. although if enough did it might be the start of something very interesting if Google’s Android system and the new Microsoft/Nokia conglomerate started to pick up annoyed content owners – and it seems a few might – Google has announced a payment system that allows newspaper publishers t charge readers ti access online content –and Google will take just 10% of these micropayments. In the UK Associated newspapers have signed up as have Spain’s El Pais and in Germany Tomorrow Focus and Stern.de are both on board. According to various reports, officials at the US Department Of Justice have approached both affected content providers and Apple to discuss…

Artists U2’s Mullens loses defamation case
Brazil

DEFAMATION Live events industry, publishing It seems U2 drummer Larry Mullen Jr has lost a defamation lawsuit pursued against him, Bono and a Rio-based newspaper by Brazilian concert promoter Franco Bruni.  The litigation related to a U2 interview in Brazil’s O Globo newspaper back in 2000 where it seems  Mullen Jr claimed the band had not been paid for three concerts that were promoted by Bruni in 1998. Bruni countered that he had paid the band their performance fees, and all that remained ‘unpaid’ was publishing (eg PRS) royalties, which, the promoter claimed, was out of his hands to pass over to the band.  In the ruling Bono was found not to be liable, but Mullen Jr, the journalist who wrote the interview and O Globo were all found liable. They were ordered to pay Bruni 800,000 Brazilian real (about $480,000). http://www.thecmuwebsite.com/tag/larry-mullen-jr/

Zimbabwe clamps down on press freedom
Media / March 2011
Zimbabwe

MEDIA Broadcasting, press The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) are calling on Zimbabwe’s power-sharing government to repeal the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) after a late 2010 amendment to the legislation hiked mandatory registration and accreditation fees for the press working in the country by as much as 400%. The AIPPA requires news organisations and journalists operating in Zimbabwe to annually register with the government and pay accreditation fees under penalty of prosecution and custody. Following the September 2008 power-sharing Global Political Agreement between the ruling ZANU-PF and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, in April 2010, the Zimbabwe Media Commission lowered the fees, which once peaked at a total of US$30,000 in 2009 for foreign news outlets. The new amendments, published by the Zimbabwe government on 31 December 2010, and effective 1 January 2011, appeared to target international news media outlets operating in Zimbabwe and their local correspondents. Under the new fee structure obtained by CPJ, an international news outlet must pay US$6,000 for permission to operate a bureau in Zimbabwe (triple the old rate of US$2,000) in addition to a US$1,000 application fee for such permission (double the old rate of US$500). Renewal of…

Indonesian star jailed over sex tape
Artists , Censorship / March 2011
Indonesia

CENSORSHIP Artistes Nazril ‘Ariel’ Irham, the Indonesian pop star, has been jailed for three and a half years in his after video footage seemingly showing him having sex with various celebrity girlfriends circulated on the internet. Irham, of Indonesian boy band Peterpan, was prosecuted under strict anti-pornography laws passed in the country in 2008, which ban public displays of nudity and behaviour that could “incite lust” despite the fact it seems the video was circulated after his laptop was stolen. Irham denied the charges and denied being in the tape but the  judge ruled “the defendant is legitimately and convincingly guilty of giving chances for others to spread, make and provide pornography”.  A massive police presence was needed to keep order at the court where a large crowd of the pop star’s fans were outraged at the sentence. Representatives from Muslim groups were angered that the outcome wasn’t more severe.  CMU Daily 1st February 2010www.thecmuwebsite.com

Cohl countersues Live Nation
Contract , Live Events / March 2011
USA

CONTRACT Live events industry Promoter Michael Cohl has is countersuing his former employer Live Nation in their dispute over an agreement the two parties signed in 2008 when Cohl quit the live music group.  Live Nation sued Cohl late last year claiming he owed them multi-million dollar payments in relation to that agreement saying that Cohl,  the then outgoing Chairman, agreed to make sizable payments to Live Nation over a period of years in return for keeping certain assets of CPL, his former company which Live Nation had taken control of in 2006. It seems that these cash payments were conditional on Live Nation giving Cohl permission to continue to work with certain major league artists, something a non-compete clause in his original contract with live music firm would have prevented. Live Nation claimed that  Cohl had defaulted on those payments and currently owed the company in the region of $5.5 million. But Cohl has now filed a countersuit in which he reportedly argues that he has stopped making payments to Live Nation because it defaulted on that 2008 agreement with regards the Rolling Stones saying that Live Nation had told Cohl that they would bid for the 2011 Stones…

Ticketmaster takes $22 million hit for charges
Contract , Live Events / March 2011
USA

CONTRACT Live events industry Ticketing and concert promotions giant Live Nation Entertainment has announced that it is taking a one-time, $22.3 million charge for expense against earnings to settle a class action lawsuit over the delivery and processing fees its Ticketmaster division charges. Specific details of the settlement were not disclosed, but in documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) the company said it was not admitting any wrongdoing in relation to the lawsuit, which originally had been filed in 2003 by ticket buyers Curt Schlesinger and Peter Lo Re. The two fans had argued that Ticketmaster’s fees of between $14.50 and $25 were misleading because they were profit generators for the company and not simply passed on fees related to delivery. In a SEC filing Live Nation said “Ticketmaster and its parent, Live Nation Entertainment, Inc., have not acknowledged any violations of law or liability in connection with the matter, but have agreed to the settlement in order to eliminate the uncertainties and expense of further protracted litigation” … “Pursuant to the terms of the settlement, among other things, Ticketmaster will pay the fees of the claims administrator as well as the plaintiffs’ attorneys’ fees and certain…

Hendrix dispute rumbles on
Image Rights , Trade Mark / March 2011
USA

TRADE MARK / IMAGE RIGHTS Artistes A Las Vegas company co-owned by Leon Hendrix, brother of rock icon Jimi Hendrix, has succeeded in Trade Mark litigation with the company that licenses Hendrix music and trademark – companies controlled by Leon Hendrix’s sister by adoption Janie Hendrix. U.S. District Judge Thomas Zilly said that a 2008 Washington state law that would have provided a “right of publicity” to Experience Hendrix LLC and Authentic Hendrix LLC was unconstitutional. The ruling appears to strengthen the rights of the Las Vegas company — formerly known as HendrixLicensing.com, doing business as Hendrix Artwork and Hendrixartwork.com — to sell Hendrix merchandise. The Jimi Hendrix licensing companies control the Jimi Hendrix music, recordings and artistic properties and have federally-registered trademarks including rights to the phrases “Jimi Hendrix” “The Jimi Hendrix Experience” and certain logos. In 2009, Janie Hendrix’s companies sued Pitsicalis, HendrixLicensing.com, Hendrix Artwork and Hendrixartwork.com in federal court in Seattle, alleging trademark infringement because those companies were using the Hendrix name and selling Hendrix-oriented merchandise, allegedly in a manner “designed to capitalize on the goodwill and source recognition associated with the Hendrix family companies’ marks and rights.” Merchandise includes artwork, posters, t-shirts and home decor items….

Forced to walk the line?
Health & Safety / March 2011
Australia
USA

HEALTH AND SAFETY All areas We have all probably had the same experience of walking along a pavement and having to negotiate around someone else who is walking slowly, weaving or bumping into other pedestrians because he or she is talking on a cell phone, listening to an iPod or texting on a Blackberry. Now a US politician, Carl Kruger, the state senator from Brooklyn, NY, wants to make it illegal to use an electronic device whilst crossing city streets on foot. He has an ally in Arkansas state Senator Jimmy Jeffress, who wants to ban pedestrians from wearing headphones in both ears on or near a roadway. And in Australia New South Wales Police  have said “should legislation such as that described be introduced, it would receive our support and ongoing attention”, a U-turn from the 2007 view of  NSW Police State Traffic Commander John Hartley, who said when the US laws were first talked about, that “you can’t legislate stupidity”. The Pedestrian Council of Australia said there should be a much stricter legislation and an enforcement campaign to complement an awareness campaign. They also said device manufacturers had a “moral and corporate responsibility” to put warnings on their…

Hungary raps rude radio amid growing media storm
Censorship / February 2011
Hungary

CENSORSHIP Broadcasting Hungary’s new media authority has launched proceedings against a local radio station in Hungary that dared to play two songs filled with obscenities during daytime hours. The Authority launched an investigation last week after local broadcaster Tilos played Ice-T’s “Warning” and “It’s On” on a September afternoon, outside the allowed late-night time slot, when in all events a vulgar language warning would have been needed to have precede the tracks. The Authority said that the obscenities in Ice-T’s songs could have an adverse impact on the moral development of listeners under the age of 16 although the radio station responded that children under 16 rarely have the command of English to be able to understand what the songs were about. In Hungary, still relatively few possess advanced foreign language skills. Tilos Radio, whose name means “forbidden” has played songs with obscene lyrics in the past and was fined both in 2003 and 2005. The Ice-T scandal comes when Hungary is exposed to mounting criticism both at home and from the international community for the new and controversial media law that came into effect the same day the country assumed the European Union’s rotating presidency for the next six…

Feargal asks for Licensing Act action
Licensing , Live Events / February 2011
UK

LICENSING Live events industry UK Music has expressed its frustration over the UK Coalition government’s inaction to exempt pubs from Licensing Act red tape. Many had hoped that when the new government came into power the endless (and ultimately pointless) round of consultations under Labour would end – and action would start. UK Music CEO Feargal Sharkey there was “immense frustration” that the new coalition government had yet to deliver on its promise to cut red tape around live music in pubs adding “Live music is part of this country’s DNA. It stitches communities together and in this economic environment remains a vital part of the livelihood of musicians, pubs, clubs, bars and a host of other businesses” … “The Licensing Act is failing small venues and that is having a huge impact on the future of the live industry. We have one of the most successful creative and commercial music industries in the world, but the first step for many live acts is to be able to play in front of a few of their mates in a local pub.” The Music Industries Association, which represents the musical instrument sector, also called for government action, again saying that current rules…

Glasgow pantomime nurse in breach of Geneva Convention
Trade Mark / February 2011
UK

TRADE MARK Theatre A Glasgow theatre has had to change a nurse’s pantomime costume after being told it the use of the Red Cross emblem was breaking the Geneva Convention Act of 1957. The dress worn by Nurse Poltis in the Pavilion Theatre production of The Magical Adventures of Robin Hood, starring Jim Davidson as Robin and Dean Park as Nurse Poltis, originally had red crosses on the hat and tunic but these were changed to green crosses after the British Red Cross informed the theatre it was breaking the law and could face prosecution. A spokesman for the humanitarian organisation told the BBC “We have no desire to be the villains of the pantomime or to appear heavy handed, but we do have a very serious obligation to protect the Red Cross emblem … the emblem is a special sign of neutrality and protection recognised by all sides during armed conflicts” adding “Misuse of that emblem – even when done in an innocent and light-hearted manner – has to be addressed. Repeated and widespread misuse of the Red Cross emblem could dilute its neutrality and its ability to protect”. http://newslite.tv/2011/01/07/pantomime-costume-broke-geneva.html http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1989/52/pdfs/ukpga_19890052_en.pdf http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-glasgow-west-12135540

US Live and recorded music sectors both suffer sharp decline
Artists , Copyright , Live Events , Record Labels / February 2011
UK
USA

COPYRIGHT / ECONOMIC NEWS Live sector, artists, record labels Ticketnews.com reports that US concert ticket sales dropped by double digits in 2010, as economic concerns, fan apathy, over exposure of acts and resistance to high ticket prices caused artists and promoters to cancel shows or entire tours. According to figures from Pollstar, combined ticket sales for the Top 50 North American tours generated $1.69 billion in 2010, down 15 percent from $1.99 billion in 2009. The Top 50 worldwide tours generated $2.93 billion in 2010, a drop of 12 percent from $3.34 billion the previous year. The total number of tickets sold to North American concerts dipped to 26.2 million, a 12 percent drop from 29.9 million in 2009. In addition, the show count was also less at 2,114, a 3 percent decrease, and the average cost of a show fell by $1.55, or 2 percent, primarily due to heavy discounting by Live Nation and others in an 11th-hour attempt to move slow-selling tickets. At the worldwide level, the total number of tickets sold decreased 15 percent to 38.3 million in 2010, down from 45.3 million in 2009. The show count dropped 8 percent to 2,650, but unlike in North America,…

Universal fails to stop re-sale of promo CDs
Copyright , Record Labels / February 2011
USA

COPYRIGHT Record labels The U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that consumers have a right to re-sell “promotional” CDs distributed for free by record labels to radio stations, music journalists and others. The court upheld a lower court’s 2008 finding in favor of Troy Augosto, an eBay re-seller of promo CDs who was sued by Universal Music Group (UMG) for copyright infringement. Universa; had argued that the use of a label stating “For Promotional Use Only, Not For Sale” on the discs constituted a term of a “license” of the CDs, meaning they could recall them at any time and prohibit their resale. The Appelate court was having none of this and  found that, “UMG transferred title to the particular copies of its promotional CDs and cannot maintain an infringement action against Augosto for his subsequent sale of those copies.” The Court added that Universal did not require recipients of the promo CDs to agree to the “not for sale” condition, nor had it demanded return of the CDs if recipients did not consent. Copyright’s “first sale” doctrine prevents a copyright owner from restricting further sales or uses of a work once title has passed. Corynnew McSherry, from…

Pink Floyd and EMI settle down
Artists , Copyright , Record Labels / February 2011
UK

COPYRIGHT Artists, record labels It seems the legal war between EMI and Pink Floyd has run its course with the parties now agreeing to a new five year deal – and it seems EMI will be able to sell individual Pink Floyds tracks as digital downloads. EMI’s Roger Faxon said: “Pink Floyd are one of the most important and influential bands of all time and I know I speak for everyone at EMI when I say that it is a privilege to have the opportunity to work with them. We’re looking forward to continuing to help the band reach new and existing fans through their incredible body of work”. http://www.cityam.com/news-and-analysis/emi-reaches-five-year-deal-pink-floyd-after-lawsuit

PPL to make charities pay up!
Copyright , Record Labels / February 2011
USA

COPYRIGHT Record labels Christmas is over – and from January 1st 2011 Phonographic Performance Limited, the record and recording artists collection society, have secured the removal of an exception in music licensing rules which enables PPL to collect from charities and not-for-profit sector. The sector had enjoyed an exemption from the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988, although this did not include an exemption from PRS payments which are collected on behalf of publishers and songwriters. PPL has extensively lobbied to have the exemption for music use in village halls, community halls, student nightclubs and council buildings to be removed and bring the UK in to line with European law (the European Copyright Directive and the Copyright and Related Rights Regulations 2003) and provide remuneration for performers and record companies. PPL and VPL chairman and chief executive Fran Nevrkla told Music Week “From a business point of view the countless artificial exceptions and exclusions in existence gave the excuse to many licensees to avoid payment for use of sound recordings” and Nevrkla added, “On my part I was not prepared to accept a situation which meant that the rights of our constituents, both the performers and the record labels, were being constantly downgraded”….

Stopping illegal file sharing a low priority for the DOJ?
Copyright , Internet / February 2011
USA

COPYRIGHT All areas, internet ARTICLE LINK:  Despite extensive lobbying by the content industries, In this article Greg Sandoval looks at the apparent lack of prosecutions against file sharing sites revealed in a report froM the FBI and the Department of Justice. In its report, the DOJ provides a list of its priorities as: (1) protecting the health and safety of U.S. citizens – and here the DOJ reported that it successfully prosecuted people involved in the sale of fake cancer drugs, phony airplane parts, and dubious pharmaceuticals; (2) combating organized criminal networks; (3) the prosecution of large scale commercial counterfeiting; (4) protecting the country’s trade secrets and battling economic espionage. Read more: http://news.cnet.com/8301-31001_3-20027788-261.html

Love’s twitter defamation case to go to court
Artists , Defamation / February 2011
USA

DEFAMATION Artists Fashion designer Dawn Simorangkir is continuing with a defamation case against Courtney Love after the Hole frontwoman launched a tirade against her on Twitter and various other social networks in March 2009. Amongst other things, Love accused Simorangkir of prostitution, drug dealing, assault and stealing from her. It appears that the accusations came after the designer demanded payment for several thousand dollars worth of clothing. Love claims that all the accusations she made were based on things told to her directly by Simorangkir, though the designer denies this. Simorangkir’s legal team will argue that Love’s rant, coupled with their client’s status as a fashion icon and trendsetter, caused significant damage to the designer’s career, entitling her to millions of dollars in compensation. Love’s attorney, James Janowitz, told the Hollywood that he is confident his team can win the case, saying: “We don’t believe there’s any defamation, and even if there were defamatory statements, there was no damage”. Love herself has said she will now close all of her social media accounts. The case, due to begin in January, is now scheduled to start on 8th February after a mandatory settlement conference. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/twitter/8241912/Courtney-Love-Twitter-trial-are-tweets-facts-or-opinions.html http://edition.cnn.com/2011/SHOWBIZ/celebrity.news.gossip/01/06/love.simorangkir.twitter/

UK Coalition government looks to reform UK’s ‘farcical’ defamation laws
Artists , Defamation / February 2011
UK

DEFAMATION Artists, broadcasters The UK’s Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, has outlined plans to reform the UK’s libel laws, branding the current legislation an “international farce”. In a speech at the Institute for Government, Clegg announced the details of a draft Defamation Bill, due in Spring, which will include a new statutory defence for those speaking out in the public interest, “whether they be big broadcasters or the humble blogger”. He said the government also intends to clarify the law surrounding existing defences of fair comment and justification saying “We intend to provide a new statutory defence for those speaking out in the public interest” (for example doctors and scientists) “and to clarify the law around the existing defences of fair comment and justification.” And he also wants large corporations to show they have suffered substantial damage before they sue individuals and non-governmental organisations. Clegg said “My party spent years campaigning against the erosion of our civil liberties under Labour and now, in government, we are going to turn a page on that chapter; resurrecting the liberties we have lost; embarking on a mission to restore our great British freedoms. Clegg also addressed a number of issues raised by the…

Major labels must face internet price fixing case
Competition , Record Labels / February 2011
USA

COMPETITION Record labels This is a case that has been bubbling under for a while now and one I have kept my eye on. Did the record labels set up MusicNet and PressPlay (remember them?) to try and enforce their control over the distribution of music on the internet and fix prices  ….. well, the US Supreme Court has rejected an move by the major record labels’ to block a lawsuit lodged by consumers who claim the majors colluded to fix prices on music sold on the Internet. Universal Music Group, Sony Music, Warner Music and EMI had asked the Supreme Court to block the lawsuit, after a federal appellate court in New York agreed with a lower court’s ruling that sufficient evidence existed for the lawsuit to proceed. The now five year old lawsuit (Starr v Sony) alleges the labels charged unreasonable rates for songs, and unreasonably imposed restrictions on consumers transferring songs to portable players. It also alleges the labels colluded to set a base price of 70 cents per song for selling their songs. In 2008, a federal judge dismissed the original lawsuit, ruling the plaintiffs had not presented enough evidence for a anti-trust hearing  but on…