One Direction reach out to find new Uncharted Shores
Artists , Trade Mark / October 2012
UK
USA

TRADE MARK Artistes   British-Irish boy band One Direction has settled its dispute with a US punk band of the same name. The dispute arose from applications for various stylised versions of trade mark ONE DIRECTION with the US Patent and Trademark Office resulting in the US One Direction commencing proceedings in the California Central District Court seeking an injunction against the UK One Direction that would stop it using the same name, plus $1m in damages. The two bands have now reached an agreement and their trade mark dispute has been ‘resolved amicably’. The UK One Direction will retain the name and the US band is to change its name to Uncharted Shores, the title of one of its two albums. The other terms of the settlement have not been released. http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsbeat/19473197

Beach Boys out of harmony
Artists , Trade Mark / October 2012
USA

TRADE MARK Artistes   Founding members of The Beach Boys Al Jardine and Brian Wilson have expressed they annoyance tat fellow founder member Mike Love plans to continue touring using the band’s name, but without the other originals. Love can do this as he solely owns the rights to the band’s name although this year, to mark the band’s 50th anniversary, he has toured once again with Jardine and Wilson, both of whom have had rocky relationships with Love over the years. Love told reporters  “The 50th anniversary tour was designed to go for a year and then end. You’ve got to be careful not to get overexposed … There are promoters who are interested but they’ve said, ‘Give it a rest for a year’”. Jardine is now asking fans to sign a petition to try to force Love to tour with him and Wilson saying Love’s other Beach Boys is a “money-saving, stripped-down version”. Wilson told CNN  “I’m disappointed and can’t understand why Mike doesn’t want to tour with Al and me. After all, we are the real Beach Boys”. http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2012/sep/25/beach-boys-al-jardine

US Smartphones past tipping point with teens
Consumers / October 2012
USA

TECHNOLOGY All areas   The majority of U.S. teenagers with a mobile device now own a smartphone, according to Nielsen’s latest mobile phone survey, with teens showing the most dramatic growth of any demographic.  58% of Americans between 13 and 17 years old are now smartphone owners, a sharp increase from the 36% of smartphone owning teens in July 2011. In all age groups more than half – 55.5% – of all mobile subscribers in the U.S. own smartphone, a significant increase over the 41% who did in July 2011. Young adults remain the most enthusiastic adopters, however, with 74% of 25-34 year-old Americans now owning smartphones, up from 59% a year ago. Android handsets continue to lead the U.S. smartphone market, followed closely by Apple’s iPhone, among both first-time and repeat smartphone buyers. Android has a 52% market share which grows to 58% with new buyers (in the last three months) and BlackBerry continued its decline,  dipping to 8% share of the U.S. smartphone market and only 3% of recent acquirers. Apple’s iPhone has fairly level 34% market share. http://www.bizreport.com/2012/09/smartphone-adoption-in-us-led-by-teens.html

UK’s Live Music Act primed to go
Licensing , Live Events / October 2012
UK

LICENSING Live events sector   In October, Lord Clement Jones’ Live Music Act 2012 comes into force in England and Wales, which will hopefully deregulate smaller live music events and free them from the bureaucracy of the Licensing Act 2003. For the Act to apply: The premises must be open for the sale of alcohol for consumption on the premises while the live music is being performed. If the music is amplified, the audience must be fewer than 200 (not including staff and performers) and the music cannot extend outside the hours of 8am to 11pm Monday to Sunday. If the music is unamplified, whether or not it is performed on licenced premises, then there is no limit to the audience numbers, and it no longer requires any sort of licencing permission, provided the music finishes at 11pm. The Act has been widely applauded by the live industry in the UK and is seen as a good tool for promoting grass root events, but to be clear the Act only applies to live music – it does NOT apply to DJ sets, discos or any other type of recorded music or other activities regulated by the Licensing Act. Where a show fits the…

Proud2 licence suspended
Licensing , Live Events / October 2012
UK

LICENSING Live events sector   The Proud empire’s Proud2 venue at the O2 Dome, has had its licence temporarily suspended following an incident earlier this month. According to reports, a fight at the House Of Joy night hosted at the venue on the 2nd September resulted in two men being stabbed and a bouncer being hit with a bucket. The venue was subjected to a 28 day suspension of its licence pending an investigation by Greenwich Council, which will result in a full licence review on the 4th October. http://www.eventmagazine.co.uk/Venues/article/1151391/proud2-ceo-says-venue-damaged-closure/

AEG withdraw Jackson insurance claim
Live Events / October 2012
UK
USA

INSURANCE Live events sector Following on from a rather embarrassing leak of emails which could have been interpreted as showing that AEG executives had hidden concerns about Michael Jackson’s mental and physical health prior to the planned ‘This Is It’ residency in London’s O2 in 2009, AEG Live has dropped its $17.5 million insurance claim against Lloyds Of London resulting from Jackson’s untimely death that year. AEG had tried to claim compensation from Lloyds, which had insured part of the planned 50 night O2 extravaganza. Insurers had claimed that the live firm had misrepresented the state of Jackson’s health when taking out its insurance policy. CNN have reported that AEG has now agreed with Lloyds to withdraw it’s insurance claim, and as a result the insurer will have the promoter removed from its lawsuit in the USA, which seeks to void the policy. The Michael Jackson estate, which controls Michael Jackson LLC, is still pursuing the insurance payout, its lawyer said and is still a defendant in the case brought by Lloyds. The Anschutz Company subsequently revealed plans to sell the Anschutz Entertainment Group, which includes the world’s second biggest live music promoter AEG Live, as well as various interests in the sports…

EC and FTC green light Universal’s EMI deal
Competition , Music Publishing / October 2012
EU
USA

COMPETITION Recorded music   UMG have been given outline approval by EC and US regulators to buy up EMI’s recorded music division – but the major will have to divest a number of key EMI catalogues to meet competition requirements in Europe. The same day the Federal Trade Commission approved the $1.9 billion deal without conditions, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and Canada had already approved the sale.  Among the EMI assets to be sold are the Chrysalis catalogue (Blondie, The Ramones, Spandau Ballet, Jethro Tull and Split Endz), Mute Records (home to Depeche Mode, Moby, Yeasayer and Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds) and Parlophone catalogues ( Coldplay, David Guetta, Lilly Allen, Tinie Tempah, Blur, Gorillaz, Kylie Minogue, Pink Floyd, Cliff Richard, David Bowie, Tina Turner and Duran Duran) but excluding the Beatles and  Robbie Williams. UMG will also have to sell the EMI Classics and Virgin Classics divisions and the divestment package also includes Coop, a label licensing business selling artists such as Mumford and Sons, Garbage and Two Door Cinema Club. In addition, Universal committed to selling EMI’s 50% stake in the popular Now! That’s What I Call Music compilation joint venture and to continue licensing its repertoire for…

Competition regulation in the news
Competition , Record Labels / October 2012
UK

COMPETITION Broadcasting, record labels   Charlie Allen, Chairman of Global Radio, has hit out at media rules in the UK which means that his radio company is having to face a competition investigation to get the OK for its bid to buy the radio stations owned by GMG Radio. Speaking to the London Evening Standard, Allen said that UK media ownership rules were out of date, adding that: “Why do you need to go through all this compliance and plurality for 12 small radio stations? Rather than letting companies get on and grow, we have this level of regulatory involvement for such a small deal”. http://www.thecmuwebsite.com/article/global-chairman-hits-out-at-uk-media-rules/

Ferguson sued by management
Artists , Contract / October 2012
UK

CONTRACT Artistes X-Factor runner up Rebecca Ferguson is being sued by her former managers for breach of contract. Modest Management and the soul singer were said to be experiencing differences this summer. There were tweets and emails fired off, one describing Modest as “vile” on Twitter, saying they had forced her to conduct interviews after she collapsed with exhaustion. The relationship came to an end. Modest Management has filed a High Court writ, asking for a declaration that Ferguson unlawfully ended her 5 year long contract which commenced on or about October 15th 2010, and asking for 20% of any future earnings. In June 2012 Ferguson wrote to Modest saying “I have lost all faith and trust in you as managers so I have no option but to terminate our working relationship with immediate effect.” Modest’s lawyers responded to Ferguson on 25 June 2011, saying it accepted her “renunciation and repudiation of the management agreement”. According to the court papers, Ferguson wrote back saying she “did not accept” this interpretation of events. Modest also represent One Direction and Leona Lewis. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-19558624

McGraw free of Curb
Artists , Contract , Record Labels / October 2012
USA

CONTRACT Artistes, record labels   CMU Daily has reported that an appeals court in Nashville has upheld the 2011 court ruling that said that country star Tim McGraw had fulfilled his contractual obligations to his long-term label partners Curb Records, and was now free to work with other labels. At the centre of the litigation was whether McGraw’s album ‘Emotional Traffic’ fulfilled his contractual commitments to the label regards new recordings, whether he was due an advance on it, and whether he was now out of contract with the record company, with Curb saying that the songs on ‘Emotional Traffic’ were not sufficiently new and McGraw’s arguing that the new album was in line with his contract, and that he now considered himself to be a free agent label-wise after a twenty year relationship with Curb. A spokesperson for McGraw told Billboard that “the Court Of Appeals has affirmed the [original judge’s] ruling that Tim McGraw is now finished with being an artist on Curb Records. He’s now a Big Machine artist and he is no longer a Curb artist”. According to Billboard, Curb could still appeal to the Tennessee Supreme Court, though could not then proceed to the federal…

Google demotes potentially infringing sites
Copyright , Internet / September 2012
EU
UK
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet   Google has taken a significant step against online piracy after saying it would alter its search algorithms to favour websites that offered legitimate copyrighted movies, music and television. Google said that beginning next week its algorithms would take into account the number of valid copyright removal notices sites have received and  sites with multiple, valid complaints about copyright infringement may appear lower in Google search results …….. like YouTube for example ….. no, I made the last bit up. The move is set against growing disquiet about whether or not “safe harbour” really is appropriate in the digital age – and this initiative is clearly on Google’s terms, BUT it is a move forward for content owners. Google’s Senior Vice President Engineering Amit Singhal said in a post on Google’s official blog “We aim to provide a great experience for our users and have developed over 200 signals to ensure our search algorithms deliver the best possible results. Starting next week, we will begin taking into account a new signal in our rankings: the number of valid copyright removal notices we receive for any given site. Sites with high numbers of removal notices may appear lower in…

Grooveshark app back on Google
Copyright , Internet , Record Labels / September 2012
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet, record labels   Grooveshark’s Android app has reappeared in Google’s app store, over a year after it was evicted from the official Android app platform, seemingly because of pressure put on the web giant by the major music companies. Universal, Sony and Warners are currently suing Grooveshark for enabling copyright infringement. EMI is suing the service for non-payment of a promissory note, having previously licensed its material to the streaming service. Grooveshark insists it operates a takedown system in line with the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act, so is fully legal http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2409040,00.asp

Why is digital music more expensive in Australia?
Copyright , Internet , Record Labels / September 2012
Australia

COPYRIGHT Record labels, internet   By Catherine Lee, writing for the IPKat Why is digital music more expensive in Australia? This question is currently being considered by the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Infrastructure and Communications. On 24 May 2012 the Committee resolved to inquire into IT price discrimination, following a request from the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy. The often given example is that the Apple iTunes store in the United States sells most albums at between US$9.99 and US$12.99, whereas in Australia those same albums are sold for AU$16.99 or higher. In recent times, under the currency exchange rates, the value of the US and Australian dollars has almost been equal. Eighty-one written submissions were received by the due date of 6 July 2012. The first public hearing was held in Sydney on 30 July 2012, with the following organisations were invited to make ora submissions: Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA), Australian Publishers Association (APA), Australian Performing Rights Association (APRA), the Australasian Mechanical Copyright Owners Society (AMCOS), Choice (consumer group), the Australian Retail Association (ARA) and the Communications Alliance. Some of the more interesting comments were as follows: The AIIA, represented by Suzanne Chambers, suggested the…

French count the cost of Hadopi
General / September 2012
France

COPYRIGHT Internet   Hadopi, the body charged with hunting down repeat infringers under France’s three-strikes law, has sent a million warning e-mails and 99,000 registered letters although just 134 cases have been examined for prosecution and no cases have as yet resulted in an Internet user being disconnected. Hadopi has a payroll of over 60 and annual costs have now reached a reported 12 million Euros,  prompting French culture minister Aurélie Filippetti to describe the system as “unwieldy, uneconomic and ultimately ineffective”. Filippetti told Le Nouvel Observateur that Hadopi had also failed in a key part of its mission, to foster legal content to replace illegal downloads prompting the French government to  launch a consultation to re-examine it’s response Internet piracy with Filippetti talking of a post-Hadopi future. In a separate interview, Pierre Lescure, head of the commission into the “Future of Piracy” and a former boss at Canal+, endorsed Filippetti’s stance, saying he attaches “great importance” to the development of legal offers, and that the temptations to piracy are so great “only a priest would not yield” saying “The error of Hadopi was to focus on the penalty”, telling Le Nouvel Observateur. “If one starts from the penalty, it will fail”, adding…

IFPI welcomes closure of Demonoid
Copyright , Internet , Record Labels / September 2012
EU
Mexico
UK
Ukraine
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet, record labels   IFPI, which represents the recording industry worldwide, has welcomed the closure of the Demonoid bitTorrent service, which they say was a significant channel for the distribution of infringing content worldwide. IFPI made a number of complaints about the unlicensed service, which repeatedly infringed the rights of its member record companies.  In response, INTERPOL coordinated international efforts that saw the site closed down and its servers seized by police in Ukraine and a criminal investigation launched into its owners in Mexico resulting in a number of arrests and seizure of assets.  IFPI assisted INTERPOL, the Division of Economic Crimes (DEC) in the Ukrainian police and the investigative arm of the Attorney General of Mexico (PGR). “International police cooperation is the key to ensuring that the illegal activities of transnational organised criminals are stopped at every opportunity,” said John Newton head of  INTERPOL’s Trafficking in Illicit Goods Sub-Directorate. “ In this instance police forces on different sides of the world worked together with INTERPOL and the music industry to successfully disrupt the distribution chain for illicit digital music products.” www.ifpi.org

Legal issues surrounding the recording and posting of concerts
Artists , Copyright / September 2012
USA

COPYRIGHT Artistes ARTICLE LINK By Randy Frieberg If you think your recording of your favourite band you made on your mobile deserves to be on YouTube or Vimeo – then think again and read this US article first! http://concertblogger.com/2012/08/legal-issues-surrounding-recording-posting-concerts/

Take Your Music Back, Folks! (Copyright Law 1976)
UK

COPYRIGHT Artistes, record labels, music publishing ARTICLE LINK: “Simply put, the Copyright Law of 1976 allows any songwriter, composer, arranger, or lyricist who assigned his or her work to a publisher from 1978 to the present to ask for his or her copyrights back 35 years after the work’s publication.  Add 35 to 1978, and you get 2013”. http://thyblackman.com/2012/08/14/take-your-music-back-folks-copyright-law-1976/

BPI takedown notice causes anger
Copyright , Internet , Record Labels / September 2012
UK

COPYRIGHT Internet, record labels   Commenting on the recent jailing of surfthechannel.com boss Anton Vickerman for four years in the Newcastle Crown Court, the IPKat makes the wise point that there is a degree of symmetry within the two camps which oppose each other in the battle between rights owners and those who campaign for liberalisation of copyright law.  Just as a small number of vindictive and heavy-handed actions by or on behalf of copyright owners forfeit considerable sympathy for the legitimate and reasoned case for copyright protection, and so too do the reckless and arrogant conduct of a few people distract attention from the serious case that is made for reducing that level of protection. A good example of a rather embarrassing own goal by content industries, here by the recorded music industry, was the DCMA takedown notice issued by the BPI (British Phonographic Industry) and Universal against a less than flattering REVIEW of the latest Drake album ‘Take Care’ – asking Google to remove the review and one other from it’s listings. The writer of the About.com review, Henry Adasom, accused Drake’s label Universal of ordering the takedown for ‘copyright infringement’ saying the notice “Makes absolutely no sense….

Kanye’s Stronger does not infringe Vince P
Copyright , Music Publishing / September 2012
USA

COPYRIGHT Music publishing, sound recordings   By Eleanor Rosati writing on the 1709 Blog US musician/film director/fashion designer Kanye West is well-known not just to gossip lovers (recently because of his relationship with socialite/reality TV star/model/actress Kim Kardashian) but also to copyright aficionados. A few months ago the 1709 Blog reported news of a copyright infringement claim brought against Kanye and Jay-Z by soul veteran Syl Johnson over 1967 song Different Strokes, which ended up with a settlement between the parties. Now Kanye is back on the copyright scene, with a fresh Judgment of the US Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit (which ruled in his favour in an action for copyright infringement brought by music producer Vincent Peters (professionally known as Vince P).   Background In 2006, Vince P wrote, recorded, and distributed a song entitled Stronger. The song’s title comes from a key line in its hook (refrain or chorus). As recalled by Justice Wood, who delivered the Opinion of the Court, the line draws from Friedrich Nietzsche’s quote from his 1889 Twilight of the idols  “What does not kill me, makes me stronger.” After writing this song (which describes the competitive nature of the hip-hop and rap world), Vince P sent it to producer John Monopoly, a close friend and producer to Kanye West….

Tenenbaum damages upheld
Copyright , Internet , Record Labels / September 2012
USA

COPYRIGHT Record labels, internet   The latest stage in the Joel Tenenbaum saga has resulted in another court loss for the self confessed file sharer after a federal appeals court upheld the award of damages of $675,000 previously made by a jury. Tenenbaum was accused of illegally downloading 31 songs from a file-sharing Web site and distributing them, and was sued by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) on behalf of the major record labels in the USA. US District Court Judge Rya W. Zobel rejected Tenenbaum’s request for a new jury trial, saying jurors had appropriately considered the evidence of Tenenbaum’s actions — downloading and distributing files for two years despite warnings — and the harm to the plaintiffs and noted that the penalty is at the low end of the range for wilful infringement and below the limit for even non wilful infringement, and thus was not excessive. Although having been previously refused a Supreme Court hearing, Tenenbaum’s attorney Charles Nesson said that he plans a further appeal. http://news.cnet.com/8301-13578_3-57499519-38/court-affirms-$675000-penalty-in-music-downloading-case/

Lollapalooza exempt from new “pot ticket” law
Criminal Law , Live Events / September 2012
USA

CRIMINAL LAW Live events industry   The Chicago Tribune reports that the city’s new “pot ticket” law goes into effect during the middle of Lollapalooza, but the new system of a $250 fine (for the first offence) for possession of less that 15 grams of cannabis won’t apply to the festival in Grant Park because it’s Chicago Park District property. That exception to the new rules means that police instead will continue to arrest those caught – although last year, police made exactly zero marijuana-related arrests among the 270,000 people who passed through the Lollapalooza gates. Chicago has moved to decriminalise cannabis and officials with C3 Presents, the festival’s promoters, declined comment to the Tribune although they drew attention in 2006 when Lollapalooza-branded rolling papers were given out at a news conference in advance of the Festival. A Chicago Police Department order issued last week on how to enforce the new ordinance lays out several “aggravating factors” that require arrest for even small amounts of pot. In addition to the rule about Park District property, people caught in the act of smoking marijuana — as opposed to just possessing it — also still will be subject to arrest. So will those…

Red Flannel dispute is pants
Live Events , Trade Mark / September 2012
USA

TRADE MARK Live events industry   “Red Flannel” is a trade mark based on the traditional American long johns, and used by the Cedar Springs City Council and by the areas local festival – the Red Flannel Festival. All was seemingly peaceful until 2011 when the Council cut funding to the Festival, and attempted to use the logo on licence plates and holders – and the Festival – usefully armed with a Trade Mark – objected,  so the City removed the long-legged red flannel logo from all city property despite the fact that both the Festival and the City used a logo depicting the red rompers as part of its common heritage for over 72 years. The licence plates and holders were withdrawn and initially the City offered the Festival $4,000 for the use of the logo in February – but the City’s lawyer then stopped the agreement on the grounds that the city was not infringing the mark because it had co-used the logo since the inception of the Festival in 1939. Then and rather than being a party to a prolonged legal battle, the logo was removed from all city property such as City Hall letterheads, street signs…

Bow Wow faces action from angry porn star after video lift
Artists , Image Rights / September 2012
USA

IMAGE RIGHT Artistes   Rapper Bow Wow is being sued by French porn star Celine ‘Katsuni’ Tran over allegations he used footage of her dancing in a music video without permission. Tran says that she appeared as a club dancer in a promo video for French band Electronic Conspiracy, but that Bow Wow and label Universal then sampled that footage for the pop promo for his track ‘Drank In My Cup’ earlier this year, without her permission and that the rapper engages in “intimate activities” with a Katsuni body double. As Tran is not the owner of the copyright to the clip (presumably owned by Electronic Conspiracy or their own label) Tran has sued for publicity rights violations, unfair business practices, false association and unjust enrichment, demanding over $75,000 in damages. http://www.businessinsider.com/french-porn-star-claims-bow-wow-illegally-used-a-clip-of-her-dancing-in-his-new-music-video-2012-8

Beastie Boys fight back against ads
Artists , Copyright , Image Rights , Internet / September 2012
USA

COPYRIGHT / IMAGE RIGHTS Artistes, advertising   CMU Daily reports that the Beastie Boys have filed a lawsuit against Monster Energy Drink, claiming that the company used their music in videos and downloads without permission. The lawsuit reportedly claims that the band’s music was used in a number of online videos – the first of which was posted five days after the death of the band’s Adam Yauch – and also in an MP3 download featuring a 23 minute mix of the band’s music. The use of the band’s name in these promotions too, say the band, incorrectly implied that they had granted permission. It was also revealed t that Yauch’s will prohibited the use of his music, name or likeness in any advertising following his death – although some US commentators have said the hand written provision may not be valid http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/adam-yauchs-will-prohibits-use-of-his-music-in-ads-20120809 and http://www.forbes.com/sites/deborahljacobs/2012/08/13/part-of-beastie-boy-adam-yauchs-will-banning-use-of-music-in-ads-may-not-be-valid/

Spotify faces patent claim from Nonend
Internet , Patents / September 2012
USA

PATENTS Internet   Dutch technology company Nonend Inventions NV has issued proceedings in the US against Spotify, claiming that the streaming music platform is infringing a number of its patents. In the lawsuit, Nonend, which says it specialises in peer-to-peer and online streaming technology, accuses Spotify of “making, using, offering to sell, and selling streaming music services to users which incorporate methodologies that infringe” it’s intellectual property.  The streaming service is yet to respond to Nonend’s litigation. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-08-17/spotify-sued-by-nonend-over-technology-for-music-sharing.html

Google face record US fine for cookie crimes
Internet , Privacy / September 2012
USA

PRIVACY Internet   Google will pay a record $22.5 million civil penalty to settle US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) charges that it lied to users of Apple’s Safari Internet browser when it told them it would not place tracking “cookies” or serve targeted ads to those users. The actions violating an earlier privacy settlement between the company and the FTC, struck last October. According to the FTC’s complaint, Google specifically told Safari users that the browser was set by default to block third-party cookies, and would continue to do so as long as they didn’t change their settings. In addition to the penalty, Google also must disable all the tracking cookies it had said it would not place on consumers’ computers. “The record-setting penalty in this matter sends a clear message to all companies under an FTC privacy order,” said Jon Leibowitz, chairman of the FTC. “No matter how big or small, all companies must abide by FTC orders against them and keep their privacy promises to consumers, or they will end up paying many times what it would have cost to comply in the first place.” Google have not admitted any wrongdoing. http://www.dmwmedia.com/news/2012/08/09/google-settles-with-ftc-for-record-22-5m-over-privacy-breaches

Dev looks for release from manager and label
Artists , Contract / September 2012
USA

CONTRACT Artistes   Singer Dev, real name Devin Star Tailes – best known over here for her sampled vocals on Far East Movement’s ‘Like A G6’ and her guest vocals on JLS’s ‘She Makes Me Wanna’ – is suing her record label, whose owners became her manager, along with her former lawyer, asking that her record contract is declared “null and void”. Tailes claims that in 2008, then aged eighteen, she was tricked into signing a deal with Indie-Pop Music by its owners Benjamin Willis and Carlo Fox and lawyer Joshua Andriano. The deal also positioned Willis and Fox as her managers and was, legal papers filed this week say, “one-sided”, seeing Dev sign away 75% of her income from recordings, publishing, merchandise and touring. The suit adds that she later felt “pressured and manipulated” into signing amended agreements in 2011 and then again this year. The lawsuit argues that the men used “flattery and praise [and] made lofty statements to her regarding her future career, and manipulated her into believing that she could trust them fully”. However, it adds, she was never offered the opportunity of independent legal advice, and the contract extends beyond the seven year maximum allowed…

Facebook service for Flo Rida
Artists , Contract , Live Events / September 2012
Australia

CONTRACT Artistes, live events industry   By Iona Harding on the 1709 Blog In October 2011 Flo Rida failed to turn up to headline at the Fat As Butter Festival in Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia. As he was supposed to walk on stage the festival was forced to announce: “Flo Rida has slept in and will not be able to make the concert”. Understandably, fans were outraged. The festival organisers, Mothership Music Pty Ltd, sued Flo Rida and his manager for breach of contract: they had paid $50,000 for a performance that they had not received and alleged damage to their reputation. This isn’t a copyright case, however from it arise several interesting points of practice which will be relevant to all litigators. Because Mothership was never able to get close enough to Flo Rida to serve the claim on him whilst he was in Australia, it applied to court for alternative means of service. In April of this year Gibson DCJ ordered substituted service by email and by a post on Flo Rida’s Facebook page. The court order set out the text to be posted on Facebook. The Judge referred to the “international reach of Facebook” and to previous case…

Leeds victory good news for festival organisers
Licensing , Live Events / September 2012
UK

LICENSING Live events industry   Leeds United Football Club have successfully challenged charges from West Yorkshire Police for policing any areas not “owned, leased or controlled’” by the club. The Police force had charged te club based on a ‘footprint’ on match days which included public highways, car parks and the bus station near to Elland Road stadium, but in the High Court a reluctant Mr Justice Eady, noting the cost to the public purse from his decision, said that nothing in the law allowed the police to charge for a conveniently designated footprint. He added “I appreciate that my interpretation of the law is unfortunate not only for West Yorkshire Police but also for the public purse” but ordered the police to repay Leeds an estimated £1 million it had paid over the last three years concluding that the services rendered fell within the normal constabulary duty to keep the peace saying “More generally, it seems wrong to discount the majority of well-behaved fans who come to Elland Road, whether club supporters or visitors, all of whom retain their status as members of the public. In that capacity, they too are entitled to expect police protection”. Other clubs are…

Pussy Riot trio found guilty
Artists , Censorship / September 2012
Russia

CENSORSHIP Artistes   Three members of Russian punk band Pussy Riot – Maria Alyokhina, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Yekaterina Samutsevich – have been found guilty of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred at the conclusion of their widely reported trial in Moscow for  performing a “punk prayer” against President Vladimir Putin on the altar of the Cathedral Of Christ The Saviour Of The Russian Orthodox Church in Moscow. All three pleaded not guilty to the charges against them.  Paul McCartney has now joined artistes including Madonna, Rufus Wainwright and Bjork in supporting the three saying “I’m writing to show my support for you at this difficult time. I would like you to know that I very much hope the Russian authorities would support the principle of free speech for all their citizens and not feel that they have to punish you for your protest. Many people in the civilised world are allowed to voice their opinions and as long as they do not hurt anyone in doing so I believe this is the best way forward for all societies. I hope you can stay strong and believe that I and many others like me who believe in free speech will do everything in our power…

Indiana State Fair claims proceed to court after settlement rejected
Health & Safety , Live Events / September 2012
USA

HEALTH AND SAFETY Live events industry   The owner of the stage that collapsed at Indiana’s State Fair last year, just before country duo Sugarland were due to perform in the tragedy which killed seven people, has rejected a settlement plan that would have protected the State from further legal action. Mid-America Sound said not enough of the victims had agreed to the deal. Of the 62 claimants, which include people who were injured and the estates of those who died, only 51 agreed to the settlement by the August 1st deadline and amongst  those rejecting the deal were the families of three women killed when strong winds toppled the stage into a crowd on August 13th , 2011. Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller had proposed the joint settlement, which asked victims to agree to settle their claims for shares of $6 million from the state and $7.2 million from Mid-America who leased the stage for the Fair, and the stage’s manufacturer, James Thomas Engineering. In exchange, the victims would agree not to seek additional compensation. Mid-America had previously indicated that it would rely on invoices signed by State Fair Executive Director Cindy Hoye after the stage collapse that included…

Glasshouse not a copy of Big Brother
Copyright / August 2012
USA

COPYRIGHT Broadcasting   That fine line between inspiration and infringement – and what copyright really is – here from the tricky world of TV format rights has been back in the US courts and the IPKat reports that the network channel CBS had been scrambling to put a stop to its rival ABC from launching its new reality series, “Glass House,” which CBS believed violated copyright and trade secrets of its show “Big Brother.” Both reality shows involve contestants living in a large house, following rules and competing in games until one contestant remains standing and wins a cash prize.  Glass House inexplicably chose to begin the show with 14 contestants, the same number as in Big Brother, but even so, and even though producers of Big Brother had defected to ABC to work on the competing show, a judge refused to find infringing similarity, saying the show wasn’t a rip-off of  Unfortunately for CBS,  US judge Gary A Feess said that the differences between the two reality shows are enough to demonstrate that ABC didn’t flat-out rip off the CBS franchise, largely because the audience has a role to play in deciding the fate of Glass House contestants.  “The…

Software case may impact on re-digi business model
Copyright / August 2012
EU

COPYRIGHT All areas   In an interesting decision in the World of software, the European Court of Justice has decided that the legal purchaser of software can re-sell that software despite terms in a licence designed to prevent that – which will be music to the ears of Re-Digi whose business model is all about the sale of ‘second hand’ MP3 files as they fight EMI in the US courts, primarily on the issue of the application of the doctrine of exhaustion of rights to the re-sale of digital music files.  Case 128/11 UsedSoft v Oracle http://ipkitten.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/usedsoft-and-principle-of-exhaustion.html

China listens to musicians and issues a second draft of copyright law revision
Copyright / August 2012
China

COPYRIGHT All areas   China has released a second draft revision of its Copyright Law for public comment, dropping the controversial Article 46 that raised an outcry from Chinese musicians who said it violated their rights by allowing record producers to use another artist’s music without obtaining consent as long as the work had been published for more than three months. The second draft of the law eliminates Article 46 and makes a number of changes in response to more than 1,600 comments submitted during a 30-day comment period on the first draft in April. The new draft also removes the requirement to register for copyright if statutory damages were to apply and also appears to put some liability for infringing activity onto ISPs saying that a network service provider who “instigates or helps others to infringe …  shall be jointly liable.” The National Copyright Administration of the People’s Republic of China (NCAC) released the second draft of the copyright law on its website July 6, and will accept comments by fax or letter until July 31. The NCAC is expected to issue another one or two drafts by October, and the final will be submitted to the State Council…

Supreme Court finds fair dealing for music review use Canada as part of five big copyright decisions
Copyright / August 2012
Canada

COPYRIGHT All areas ARTICLE LINK:  Consumers and educators emerged victorious in five significant Supreme Court of Canada rulings that have modernised Canadian copyright law. The five cases touched on tariffs set by the Copyright Board governing music downloading, photocopying textbooks, videogames and movie and TV soundtracks. All cases pitted the societies that collect fees on behalf of creators against the distributors or users of the copyrighted materials. University of Ottawa law professor Michael Geist told the Toronto Star “I think it’s definitely pro-consumer,” adding “It’s also a pro-business decision as the court has recognized that innovation that is so crucial for the Canadian economy relies on flexibility in copyright.” In the first case The SCC unanimously held that music previews used by services such as Apple’s iTunes to allow customers to hear music before they buy constitute fair dealing under the Copyright Act. The SCC applied its fair dealing test set out in CCH Canadian Ltd. v. Law Society of Upper Canada (known as the “law library photocopy case”).  The rationale behind the fair dealing analysis is to determine if the proper balance has been achieved between the protection of the exclusive rights of authors and copyright owners vs. public access…

Def Leppard solve digital dispute with re-recording plan
Artists , Copyright , Record Labels / August 2012
EU
UK
USA

COPYRIGHT Record labels, artistes   Def Leppard have announced plans to re-record their entire back catalogue because of an ongoing royalty dispute with their label of 30 years, Universal Music Group. Its more bad news for UMG who are seeking EU ad US regulatory approval to swallow up EMI’s recorded music division enabling the new group to control almost 50% of the global recorded music market. Along with the ongoing claim from Eminen producers FBT over digital royalties, Def Leppard frontman Joe Elliott told Billboard that the English band were “at loggerheads” with Universal over royalty payments, especially compensation for digital downloads. “We just sent them a letter saying: ‘No matter what you want, you are going to get “no” as an answer, so don’t ask,” adding “That’s the way we’ve left it. We’ll just replace our back catalogue with brand new, exact same versions of what we did.” Def Leppard have already recorded fresh versions of Rock of Ages and Pour Some Sugar on Me, two of their biggest hits, to coincide with the release of the film Rock of Ages  starring Tom Cruise. Elliott admitted to Billboard that it was no easy task  to recapture the sound of decades past – the band formed in Sheffield in…

New Zealand three-strike law results in 50% decrease in infringement
Copyright , Internet / August 2012
New Zealand

COPYRIGHT Internet   By Iona Harding, The 1709 Blog Recent statistics from New Zealand’s Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT) claim to show that since New Zealand’s “Skynet Act” three-strike law (previously reported on the 1709 blog here), was implemented in September 2011, the number of illegally viewed films in the top 200 online has dropped from 110,000 to 50,000, i.e. by just over 50%. However, according to FACT, there has been no discernible progress since. These submissions, made to the Economic Development Ministry were released under the Official Information Act. As promising as a 50% decrease in infringement sounds, this blogger can’t help but wonder what it really means: are more Kiwis simply flying under the radar?   How does the three-strike law work? The three-strike law in New Zealand grants rightsholders the power to request that internet service providers (ISPs) issue up to three warning notices to consumers alleged to be illegally using copyright protected content. Rightsholders are required to pay the ISPs a processing fee of $25 to issue a notice. After the third notice, users face a claim before the New Zealand Copyright Tribunal, which can issue fines of up to $15,000 (approximately GBP 7,500 or USD 12,000)….

Jessie J faces copyright claim
Artists , Copyright , Music Publishing / August 2012
UK

COPYRIGHT Artistes, music publishing ARTICLE LINK:  Jessie J is the latest musician to face allegations of copyright infringement in 2012.  The claims against the British singer relate to her hit single, Domino, which has become far more popular than the song allegedly copied from. American singer and songwriter, Will Loomis, has accused Jessie J of infringing the copyright of certain compositional elements of his song, Bright Red Chords.  In particular, Loomis refers to the melody for the verses of each song, calling them “substantially similar” Including a look at claims brought against defendants including Sir Elton John and the Beastie Boys, this is very good piece on copying and sampling by authors Kate Duckworth, Thomas Huthwaite and James Morrison and can be found here http://www.jdsupra.com/post/documentViewer.aspx?fid=2f5b72b3-4f95-4311-9160-ea1ee0d033b7

EU plans collection society reform
Artists , Copyright , Music Publishing / August 2012
EU

COPYRIGHT Music publishing, artistes   The European Commission has proposed measures to modernise collecting societies and put in place incentives to promote their transparency and efficiency saying “New digital technologies are opening up great opportunities for creators, consumers and businesses alike. Increased demand for online access to cultural content (e.g. music, films, books) does not recognise borders or national restrictions. Neither do the online services used to access them. This is where collecting societies come into play, in particular in the music sector, where they collectively manage the licensing of copyright-protected music tracks for online use on behalf of composers and lyricists and collect and redistribute to them corresponding royalties. However, some collecting societies struggle to adapt to the requirements of the management of rights for online use of musical works, in particular in a cross-border context. As a result of today’s proposal, those collecting societies willing to engage in the multi-territorial licensing of their repertoire would therefore have to comply with European standards. This would make it easier for service providers to obtain the necessary licences for music to be distributed online across the EU and to ensure that revenue is correctly collected and fairly distributed to composers and…

Italian fiscal police arrest website operator
Copyright , Internet , Record Labels / August 2012
Italy

COPYRIGHT Record labels, internet   The former operator of Italianshare.net, one of Italy’s largest unlicensed music services, has been arrested by the country’s fiscal police on suspicion of selling a database containing his users’ email and IP addresses. IFPI, which represents the recording industry worldwide, has welcomed the move which highlights the illegal business models behind some well-known unlicensed music services. Italianshare.net and four affiliated websites were originally closed down in November 2011, following action by the Guardia di Finanza (GdF).   The authorities then investigated the ways in which the illegal businesses had generated revenue, leading to today’s arrest made by officers from the Tax Police Force of Agropoli. Investigators found that the operator had made an estimated €580,000 through a mixture of charging for advertising revenues, seeking donations from users and selling the database containing those users’ email and IP addresses to several advertisers. The operator of the site now faces charges of breaching data privacy, facilitating copyright infringement, forgery, fraud and tax  evasion.  It is believed he has avoided  €83,000 in VAT payments and created false invoices totalling an estimated €100,000 as part of a tax fraud.  He will also face heavy administrative fines for the distribution of copyrighted…

Rick Ross v Rick Ross will get a hearing via a Warner Music claim
Artists , Trade Mark / August 2012
UK
USA

TRADE MARK Artistes   Convicted drugs trafficker Rick Ross is suing Warner Music who are the label for rapper Rick Ross (sometimes Rick Ro$$) whose real name is William Roberts. Ross had previously tried to sue Roberts. but that action failed in the federal court under the US statute of limitations – time barred. Now ‘Freeway’ Rick Ross, who is currently a community worker having been released from prison early for good behaviour in 2010, has Warner Music in his sights and a California state court judge has confirmed that he can bring an action over the use of ‘his’ name against Warner Music who only began to release Roberts’ music under the ‘Rick Ross’ name in 2011. ‘Freeway’ Rick Ross was still in prison when Roberts started using his name, and his original claim the reformed drugs man claimed false advertising, unjust enrichment, unfair business practice, and common-law claims of misappropriation of name, identity and rights of publicity. In the new claim against Warners, Californian judge has held that music major couldn’t have the case dismissed on statute of limitations grounds, because of the 2011 agreement. Though the judge added that Ross’s lawsuit would need to be amended, because…

Anti-Putin Pussy Riot members sent back to prison “in act of political repression”
Censorship / August 2012
Russia

CENSORSHIP All areas   Back in February our news pages reported that all four members of Russian female punk rock quartet Pussy Riot had been arrested after performing ‘Putin has Pissed himself’ in Red Square and then on the 27th March we reported that three of the feminist punks were in more trouble – after an unsanctioned performance of their punk prayer “Virgin Mary Mother of God Expel Putin!” in Moscow’s St Basil’s Cathedral of Christ The Saviour. Patriarch Kirill, head of the Russian Orthodox Church and a public supporter of President Putin, said the band do the “devils work” and state television denounced the women’s actions as “disgusting”. Rather alarmingly three members of ten members plus collective, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova (23), Yekaterina Samutsevich (19) and Maria Alehina (24), remain in prison on charges of aggravated hooliganism which could eventually mean a seven-year sentence. They deny being the mask clad figures at the cathedral but were denied bail at a early July hearing by Judge Marina Syrova in the Khamovnichesky District Court and having been in prison for five months already, now face for six more months in custody while the trial progresses although the trial is scheduled to begin on July 30th….

Katy Perry faces Indian claim for indecency
Artists , Censorship / August 2012
India
USA

CENSORSHIP Artistes   Being taught how to hold a cricket bat seems to have landed Katy Perry in a spot of bother in India after lawyer filed a complaint about an “obscene and lascivious” on-stage incident that occurred when the singer played at the launch of the Twenty20 cricket season earlier this year. It seems  Perry invited Australian cricketer Doug Bollinger on stage during her show, and asked him to demonstrate how to hold a cricket bat. This resulted in Bollinger standing immediately behind Perry, and both singer and cricketer holding on to Perry’s microphone at groin height. A sequence that lawyer K Jebakumar believes was designed to appeal “to prurient interest”. Neither Perry nor Bollinger have been formally charged as yet and will not attend the initial court hearing to consider Jebakumar’s complaint, though if the courts believe there is a case under India’s obscenity laws, then they might be forced to defend their performance in court later this year.

Sony complete EMI Music deal
Competition , Music Publishing / August 2012
EU
USA

COMPETITION Music publishing   The Sony Corp. of America led investor consortium has now completed its acquisition of EMI Music Publishing, just hours after the Federal Trade Commission issued a statement saying it closed its antitrust investigation of the $2.2 billion deal, which meant it received regulatory approval. The Sony-led consortium paid $2.2 billion to Citigroup on Friday, and took collective ownership of EMI Music Publishing, meaning the once British-owned major music company has now been officially split into two. The US bank will keep hold of the other half for the time being while Universal’s bid to acquire EMI’s recorded music division continues to be investigated by regulators in America and Europe. The European Commission gave the Sony consortium transaction its approval, subject to a number of remedies, back in April. Those remedies mean that, as Sony takes ownership of EMI Publishing, the Virgin and Famous UK song catalogues are now up for sale. BMG, which bid against the Sony consortium for EMI outright, is now expected to lead the bidding for these not insignificant former EMI publishing portfolios. Although many refer to a “combined Sony/ATV and EMI”, the two publishing companies will technically remain separate entities, because of…

The great rock’n’roll swindlers are still cashing in
Licensing , Live Events / August 2012
UK

LICENSING Live events industry   “The time has come for the secondary market to be regulated, and a 10 per cent profit cap to go on the resale of tickets as called for by Sharon Hodgson MP ….”  Is it time to ban touts and regulate the secondary ticketing industry? This opinion from Festival Republic’s Melvin Benn makes for interesting reading. http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/music/features/great-rocknroll-swindlers-are-still-cashing-in-7904367.html In other ticket news, a Scottish man, Paul Reidy, has appeared in court in Scotland accused of selling three music fans fake VIP tickets to T In The Park, and for then posing as a security guard at the festival so he could ‘escort’ the ticket holders onto the site. Reidy is accused of selling the ‘tickets’ for £300 each; he pleaded not guilty to the charges made against him, and will go on trial at Perth Sheriff Court in October. Meanwhile in London hundreds of fans were reportedly turned away from Live Nation’s Wireless Festival this weekend, also having been sold fake tickets, seemingly via websites like Gumtree and eBay.  Those affected by fakes at Wireless has been asked to contact the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau through its website www.nfib.police.uk.

As Leeds United test policing costs, WOMAD plans to go police free
Licensing , Live Events / August 2012
UK

LICENSING Live events industry   Championship football team Leeds United, one of England’s biggest clubs, but with a history of fierce rivalry with other teams such as Cardiff City, Arsenal and Milwall, are challenging the spiralling cost of policing at the club’s Elland Road ground in the High Court. United were charged about £250,000 for policing during the 2007-2008 season, but by the 2011-2012 season this had risen to more than £1m, said club barrister Michael Beloff QC. United claim they have been wrongly charged by West Yorkshire Police for matchday work by the force on streets and car parks around Elland Road. They argue that the police should not bill them for maintaining order or preventing obstructions on land which is neither club-owned nor controlled and Leeds are now seeking to persuade top judge Mr Justice Eady to order a refund of the alleged overpayments. Mr Beloff told the High Court: “West Yorkshire Police’s insistence on charging Leeds United for such policing is illegal, as it is an attempt to charge a private citizen for the normal costs of policing, when such a citizen is entitled to expect such services to be provided by the police pursuant to their…

Bloc weekender cut short after overcrowding fears
Licensing , Live Events / August 2012
UK

LICENSING Live events Industry   The first London edition of  dance music festival Bloc Weekend was closed early, with reports that the event’s site, the new London Pleasure Gardens complex by the River Thames in East London, was dangerously overcrowded with large queues both the enter the site and for tents on site. At 12.30am a decision was made by organisers seemingly, on the advice of the the Metropolitan Police, to shut down the festival, even though headliner Snoop Dogg was yet to go on stage, and the event was due to run to 6am. It was later announced that the second day of the event was also cancelled.  The site was set up to open just in time for the Olympics, with support from both Newham Council and London mayor Boris Johnson, and is organised by the team behind Glastonbury’s Shangri-La area and the site is set to host a wide range of cultural events both this summer and over the next three years, the next of which is the Africa Stage of the pre-Olympics River Of Music event, on 21 and 22 July.  Tickets were £99 or £125 for ‘express’ tickets with private bars and toilets and ‘queue jumping’ rights….

Hard Rock – Bruce cut short, Paul too quiet
Licensing , Live Events / August 2012
UK

LICENSING Live events industry   Fans have complained after Bruce Springsteen’s set at Hyde Park was cut short – well – cut anyway, after the boss overran the pre-agreed Curfew. The singer had just dueted with Sir Paul McCartney, and E Street Band guitarist Steven Van Zandt took to the net with a rant after the power was cut, saying Springsteen wanted to sing one more song, saying  “One of the greatest gigs ever in my opinion. But seriously, when did England become a police state?”. Admitting “We break curfews in every country but only English cops needs to ‘punish us’ by not letting us leave until the entire crowd goes” he sort of explained “Is there just too much fun in the world? We would have been off by eleven if we’d done one more. On a Saturday night! Who were we disturbing?” The answers to that are probably (a) the Police didn’t cut your set and (b) you are disturbing some rather well organised and vocal neighbours and (c) why not go on earlier – if you know you have a long set? Nevertheless Van Zandt continued: “The cops got nothing more important to do? How about they go catch some…

Clear Channel agree to pay for US sound recording rights
Copyright , Record Labels / July 2012
USA

COPYRIGHT Radio, record labels Clear Channel, the biggest radio company in the US with 850 stations, has entered into a landmark agreement with country music label Big Machine which will see the broadcaster pay a royalty for the use of sound recordings on terrestrial radio channels for the first time. In the UK these royalties are collected for the performance of sound recordings in all media by Phonographic Performance Limited (“PPL”) and whilst newer media in the USA such as satellite, internet and digital radio attract a royalty (currently collected by SoundExchange), US copyright law does not recognise any right to collect payments from terrestrial stations. Terrestrial broadcasters do though have to pay the “PRS” royalty for the use of songs (usually by way of blanket licences with ASCAP and BMI). After pressure from the US Congress, a reluctant radio industry did start to negotiate a compromise with the record labels, but the talks collapsed. The broadcast lobby remains powerful in Washington although its clear some politicians are keen to introduce a system more favourable to record labels and recording artistes which would mirror the music publishing position. Big Machine, headed Scott Borchetta, have seemingly been able to use the…

Hunt to rethink UK’s new Communications Act, Cable to review copyright
Copyright , Regulation / July 2012
UK

COPYRIGHT / REGULATION Broadcasting Embattled UK Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt has said that he will scrap a proposed green paper which would have kicked off the drafting of a new Communications Act, which in itself is planned to reform the way the British broadcasting and internet sectors are regulated. Hunt says he will replace the green paper with a series of ‘policy seminars’ to feed into a white paper early next year, which will ultimately lead to new legislation. Amongst changes mooted is the reform of regulation of the UK’s radio industry which many terrestrial radio station owners believe are too strict, given they are now competing with so many new rivals on digital networks and the internet. The radio industry is also likely to use any review to call for an axing of the public performance royalty requirement on workplaces, offices, shops and bars which play out music radio on their premises. Currently such premises need both PRS and PPL licences for using songs and sound recordings even though the radio stations have already paid royalties on the music they air. The UK’s Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, Vince Cable, introduced the second reading of the…