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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

When I die, what happens to my music?
USA

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

SpaceBomb Music Law
USA

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

Deconstructing the ownership rights of Nobody Canna Cross It
Jamaica

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

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

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

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

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