YouTube got smarter – says YouTube
Copyright , Internet / November 2012

COPYRIGHT Internet   YouTube says that it has been steadily improving its ability to manage content, especially infringing content, and the company has now showcased some major changes resulting from this process – some which will please content owners, some of which will please YouTube users. Starting with the latter, YouTube has now implemented an appeals process for material taken down via the “Content ID” system, YouTube’s own copyright protection system. Content ID enables some 3,000 approved rights holders to upload videos to a central reference database, where they are digitally fingerprinted. There are some 500,000 hours logged. When YouTube detects content with a fingerprint match but uploaded by someone else, it enables the rights holders to automatically take it down, or place ads on it. Now the system has been updated with YouTube saying: “Users have always had the ability to dispute Content ID claims on their videos if they believe those claims are invalid. Prior to today, if a content owner rejected that dispute, the user was left with no recourse for certain types of Content ID claims (eg monetize claims). Based upon feedback from our community, today we’re introducing an appeals process that gives eligible users a…

Small claims for copyright on track
Copyright / November 2012

COPYRIGHT All areas   England and Wales have a new ‘small claims track’ at the Patent County Courts, simplifying the process for copyright owners who want to take action against others who they believe have infringed their rights – and whilst this may well involve commercial disputes, a number of commentators have pointed out that the Court could hear civil cases against individual suspected file-sharers. The main limit to the court’s jurisdiction is the usual cap for damages for small claims which cannot exceed £5,000. The move, which can trace its recent history back to the Hargreaves Review of Intellectual Property, means copyright claims can be dealt with in a swifter, less formal and cost effective manner and certainly at least partially addresses the concerns of some small businesses – photographers, illustrators, cartoonists and some designers all spring to mind, who had no real way of protecting their rights due to prohibitive costs. The new system also provides an alternative to the still partially dormant Digital Economy Act, which when (or if) implemented will provide a ‘three strikes’ regime in the UK, although as yet the ‘third strike’ is undecided, meaning such small claims litigation might well be a viable…

Another spin at copyright law is needed
Copyright , Record Labels / November 2012

COPYRIGHT All areas, record labels ARTICLE LINK:     Any article which has this quote from former RIAA President Hilary Rosen “Neither I nor anyone at the RIAA has ever claimed … that we represent artists” deserves attention – and this piece looks at the judgements against US file sharers Jammie Tnomas-Rasset and Joel Tenenbaum ($222,000 and $675,000 respectively).  By Drew Hamre http://www.startribune.com/opinion/commentaries/172901791.html

EMI v Re-Digi begins
Copyright , Internet , Record Labels / November 2012

COPYRIGHT Record labels, internet   A Manhattan court has begun hearing the legal challenge to the right to sell digital music files as “used” goods. The case centres on how copyright law for physical goods applies to digital products. EMI has brought the case against ReDigi, a site that allows users who’ve legally purchased music in digital form to sell it on to somebody else. Users can only sell songs they’ve bought from iTunes or ReDigi itself: they can’t sell tracks they have ripped from a CD. Re-Digi claims the service must be legal because of the US ‘first sale’ doctrine. The major labels disagree. They argue that the first-sale doctrine only applies to physical music products, saying that when a CD changes hands no actual mechanical copy is made of the songs or recordings contained on the disk, whereas when an MP3 is transferred from one PC to another a copy does take place. EMI’s attorney Richard Mandel said: “You are selling and distributing recordings. In order to do that, you have to make a copy and that is a violation of the reproduction right of the Copyright Act”. But Gary Adelman, representing ReDigi, countered: “There is no copy…

Why No One Knows How Much Money Musicians Are Making Now
Copyright , Internet / November 2012

COPYRIGHT Internet ARTICLE LINK:    “In the digital music era, complicated and outdated copyright law as well as private negotiations have made it difficult see how much is really going back to the people making music”: This interesting US article looks at how the ‘streaming’ revolution is now producing real revenues – but ask the question – who is actually getting paid what, and what do recording artists actually end up with? http://www.buzzfeed.com/atmccann/why-no-one-knows-how-much-money-musicians-are-maki

Reversion claim pits Charles’ children against his charitable trust
Copyright , Music Publishing / November 2012

COPYRIGHT Music publishing   In a battle over the rights to Ray Charles’ songs, the charitable foundation that was bequeathed the singer’s money and assets is in danger of losing the substantial revenues that “I Got a Woman,” “A Fool for You,” “Mary Ann” and Charles’ other hits generate each year. The Hollywood Reporter says that this is because Charles’ children, who largely were cut out of the will, are attempting to terminate a copyright assignment for the songs to Warner/Chappell Music. If the songs reverted to the children, then the Ray Charles Foundation no longer receive royalties. In late March, facing this potential loss, the Foundation, as ‘beneficial owner’ of the songs (rather than Warner/Chappell) sued the children, seeking a declaration that the termination notices were invalid. To make this argument, the estate originally argued that Charles’ songs were made under an employment agreement with the music publisher. As such, these songs are allegedly works made for hire, “authored” by the predecessor to Warner/Chappell, and the children have no termination rights under the US Copyright Act that allows for reversion after 35 years. Post 1978 songwriters can reclaim ownership of copyrights they previously assigned to a music publisher 35 years after…

ProMusic website re-launched
Copyright , Internet / November 2012

COPYRIGHT Internet   IFPI, the organisation representing the international recorded music industry worldwide, has welcomed the latest in a series of rulings by Russian courts against Kontakte, the country’s leading social networking site that facilitates the mass distribution of copyright infringing music. The Arbitration Court of St Petersburg and Leningrad ordered vKontakte to pay damages of 550,000 roubles (€13,718) to SBA Gala Records, an independent Russian record label and licensed distributor for EMI Music’s international repertoire, for its role in facilitating the illegal distribution of 11 unlicensed sound recordings online.  vKontakte enables any user to upload files containing copyright infringing music to its social networking platform, then offers its other users the opportunity to search for the tracks and the ability to stream them, and download them using apps and browser extensions. It is Russia’s most popular online entertainment platform with more than 110 million registered users and is one of the top 50 most visited sites in the world. The IFPI have also announced the re-launch of the newly redesigned www.pro-music.org website – a simple information resource for anyone looking to find out more about legitimate digital music services and copyright law across the world. First launched in 2003, Pro-Music was created by…

Personal liability of directors explored
Copyright / November 2012

COPYRIGHT All areas   The IPKat was excited to find a judgment relating to copyright infringement from the Outer House of the Court of Session on the Scottish Courts. Although Naxos Rights International Ltd v Project Management (Borders) Ltd & Salmon [2012] CSOH 158 goes no way towards developing the substantive law relating to copyright ownership and infringement, Lord Glennie provided a helpful reminder of when a director will be found personally and jointly liable for the damage caused by an infringing company – here the second defendant, Keith Joseph Salmon, a director of the first defendant company, was found personally liable for infringement. Project Management operated a website called www.royalty-free-classical-music.org, offering licences to use the music in various contexts for a nominal one-off fee and Project Management said it owned the sound recording rights in the music it provides. Another classical music distributor called Naxos claimed that the versions of Christmas carol ‘Joy To The World’ and Vivaldi’s ‘Four Seasons’ that the site provided were recordings it owned. Salmon, owner of Project Management, disputed that claim, but, based on expert evidence presented in court, Lord Glennie sided with the claimants. He ruled that the version of ‘Joy To The World’ and at least…

Pandora boss details streaming payments

COPYRIGHT Internet, record labels, music publishers   Tim Westergren, the boss of US-based interactive radio service Pandora, has revealed how much certain artists are earning from their play on his service – or rather how much they are paying. Whether or not artistes have seen any or much of the money as yet remains to be seen. Westergren said that “For over two thousand artists Pandora will pay over $10,000 dollars each over the next twelve months  and for more than 800 we’ll pay over $50,000” and noted that with some specific recording like Coldplay, Adele, Wiz Khalifa and Jason Aldean Pandora is already paying over $1 million each and  that payments for Drake and Lil Wayne are fast approaching a $3 million” annually. Pandora licences all of its rights via collective licensing organisations (in the US, ASCAP and BMI for the music rights and SoundExchange for the recordings) rather than labels and publishers direct. Westergren said “It’s hard to look at these numbers and not see that internet radio presents an incredible opportunity to build a better future for artists. Not only is it bringing tens of millions of listeners back to music, across hundreds of genres, but it…

Lyrics website ordered offline
Copyright , Music Publishing / November 2012

COPYRIGHT Music publishing   A group of US music publishers led by Warner Chappell, Bug Music and Peermusic have won a lawsuit against a lyrics website run by Brad Greenspan, one of the co-founders of MySpace. The American’s National Music Publishers Association had previously announced its members were suing LiveUniverse in August 2009, alleging that the site was infringing copyright by making lyrics available without a licence from the relevant publishers. Judge George Wu ruled in favour of the publishers last week without a full hearing, mainly because of Greenpan’s “misconduct”: Greenspan failed to provide information and failed to show up for hearings as requested by the court and in his default judgment Judge Wu said “[the] Defendants have wilfully infringed upon plaintiffs’ copyrights, even after being sanctioned, both by this court and Magistrate Judge Abrams” and “Their blatant disregard for the civil justice system favors a substantial damages award.” LiveUniverse was ordered to pay the claimants $12,500 for each of 528 listed songs which the site published lyrics without permission, a total of $6.6 million, while an injunction bans Greenspan from publishing any other lyrics on his site without first getting permission from the relevant publisher. Peermusic III Ltd….

File sharers are the biggest music fans
Copyright / November 2012

COPYRIGHT All areas   A new study has found that music fans who use peer-to-peer file sharing services actually purchase more music, on average, than those who stay completely legit. The study of US and German music fans by the American Assembly, a policy think tank housed at Columbia University, found that file sharers purchase 30% more music than non-file sharers. File sharers also have much larger music collections, naturally, with a big boost to their libraries provided by files they’ve downloaded without buying. 48% of tracks i the average 18-29 year old American’s music collection have been brought, with 52% acquired illegally – by ripping (15%), copying from family and friends (16%) or illegally downloaded for free (21%). The share of legal music rises to 63% in the 65+ age group – although 37% is copied – 19% by ripping, 8% copied from friends and family and 12% illegally downloaded. Read more at http://venturebeat.com/2012/10/15/actually-file-sharers-buy-more-legal-music-than-everyone-else/#XrheUSlOdWOHaK6I.99

Grooveshark launches artist monetisation service
Copyright , Internet / November 2012

COPYRIGHT Internet, Technology   Controversial streaming music service Grooveshark –  currently undergoing some major revisions including better playlisting options, and new sharing and recommendation tools, qill also introduce artist-managed profiles. These will allow artists to set up their own profile on the Grooveshark platform, adding and removing tracks, communicating with fans, and posting blogs. Whilst basically offering the same artist profile functionality as MySpace and Facebook Grooveshark will be that users will be encouraged to make donations to artists they like via the Flattr micro-payment system. Users can put a set some of money into their Flattr account, and then tag which artists they would like to share that cash with. As all four of the major labels are currently suing Grooveshark it is unlikely any artists signed to EMI, Universal, Sony or Warners will be featured.

The Pirate Bay heads for the clouds
Copyright , Internet / November 2012

COPYRIGHT Internet   The Pirate Bay has shifted its entire operations so that it is now  “hosted in the cloud”, which basically means its data and code is shared on servers across the world which seemingly makes it impossible for the authorities in any one jurisdiction to seize the controversial file-sharing site’s servers and take it offline, as happened in 2006 when Swedish authorities seized machines, although the site was down for only 24 hours before being hosted elsewhere. http://torrentfreak.com/pirate-bay-moves-to-the-cloud-becomes-raid-proof-121017/

Sir Elton fails in challenge with Times over tax claims
Artists , Defamation / November 2012

DEFAMATION Artistes   The High Court in London has rejected a libel claim brought by Sir Elton John against the Times newspaper after he was mentioned in one of the broadsheet’s tax avoidance exposés earlier in 2012. The singer’s financial affairs were referenced in a June report into the legal but arguably unethical schemes employed by some of the rich and famous to avoid paying taxes but the article also claimed, incorrectly, that John had engaged the services of the chief of Ingenious Media, Patrick McKenna, to work as his accountant in regards to a tax avoidance scheme. The next day the paper issued clarification that McKenna had never acted as John’s accountant, and the following month issued a second clarification stating that Ingenious had never offered to move money offshore for the singer. John sued The Times for defamation, claiming that the articles were “severely damaging” to his reputation and charity work. However, Mr Justice Tugendhat disagreed, ruling that, contrary to Sir Elton’s claims, he does not believe that the average Times reader would have inferred that the singer was, or was reasonably believed to be, involved in tax avoidance from the broadsheet’s report saying that “the words complained…

Tata family seek to ban Bollywood film
Defamation , Music Publishing / November 2012

DEFAMATION Film and television, music publishing   Two of India’s richest families lave launched a legal action against one of Bollywood’s leading film directors in an attempt to block the release of a new film which is a ‘searing attack’ them an a devastating critique of India’s rich elite. Tata Sons, part of the Tata Group, has confirmed it had filed a lawsuit against a song contained in Chakravyuh, featured in the thriller directed by Prakash Jha. The song accuses Indian billionaires of unbridled corruption and “robbing the pockets of the poor”.  A second lawsuit has been filed by the Birla family which controls a business empire spanning insurance, cement, metals and machine tools. A third lawsuit has been filed by Bata, India’s biggest show company, also seeking an injunction against the song Mehangai. A fourth family named in the song, the Ambanis, have yet to file a complaint. The Times  19th October 2012

Warners face fine for violating young fans’ privacy
Internet , Privacy , Record Labels / November 2012

PRIVACY Internet, record labels   The Federal Trade Commission is proposing to issue a civil penalty against a unit of Warner Music Group Corp. The penalty will cost the major $1 million for violating a child privacy law in the operation of fan websites for artists including Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez, Demi Lovato and Rihanna – the websites were actually run by subsidiary Artist Arena. Commissioner Edith Ramirez revealed the proposed settlement in a speech in New York on Wednesday at the annual meeting of the Children’s Advertising Review Unit, a self-regulatory group for the advertising industry. A judge will need to confirm the settlement. Artist Arena still run the BieberFever website. “BieberFever.com got off to a bad start … and things got worse from there,” Ramirez said in prepared remarks. The site required visitors to input birthdates and other personal information, and required visitors under 13 to submit a parent’s email address for confirmation, according to a complaint filed  in U.S. District Court in New York, where Warner Music Group is based. But after a month of operation, it let underage visitors register and pay for membership without sending an email to the child’s parents, the complaint said. The actions violated the…

Legal fight waged for right to Bill Monroe’s name
Live Events , Trade Mark / November 2012

TRADE MARK Live events sector   There’s a sour note in the legacy of bluegrass music legend Bill Monroe, as the man who runs an annual festival in Monroe’s honour is locked in a legal battle with the county over who gets to use Monroe’s name. It seems Campbell “Doc” Mercer and his organisation, the Jerusalem Ridge Foundation, can’t use Monroe’s likeness or name to promote the Jerusalem Ridge Bluegrass Music Festival, which he puts on annually to honour the “Father of Bluegrass”, because Ohio County and the county Industrial Foundation lay legal claim to Monroe’s name and image, having bought the usage rights from the musician’s son 13 years ago. The dispute prompted Mercer to move the event from Monroe’s home site to a neighbouring farm, once the homestead of Monroe’s grandparents. Two years after County officials and the Industrial Foundation purchased the commercial rights to Monroe’s name and likeness in 1999 from the musician’s son, James Monroe, they hired Mercer to run the Bill Monroe Bluegrass Music Foundation, with the aim of restoring Monroe’s home site near Rosine and developing a memorial park. Ohio County Circuit Judge Ronnie Dortch concluded last year that the informal actions and comments…

No Doubt settle with Activision in a long-running dispute over the ‘Band Hero’ game.
Artists , Image Rights / November 2012

IMAGE RIGHTS Artistes The recently re-launched No Doubt have settled their case  with Activision of the use of their name and images in Band hero. The iconic band were one of a number of artists who did a deal with the gaming firm to appear in an edition of the various ‘Hero’ games but subsequently complained that users could play any song using their avatar, and not just their own tracks. The gaming giant insisted participating artists knew of this facility, but No Doubt argued the games firm had breached its contract and rights. Various attempts by Activision to have the case dismissed failed, but an out-of-court settlement was reached this week, before the dispute could get a proper court hearing. CMU Daily  http://www.thecmuwebsite.com/article/no-doubt-settle-with-activision/

Terra Firma ask for EMI re-hearing
Business , Record Labels / November 2012

BUSINESS Record labels   Lawyers for private equity group Terra Firma have asked a US appeals court to order a new trial in its client’s legal squabble with US bank Citigroup over it’s 2007 purchase of EMI. The $6.3 billion deal eventually went sour with Citi taking back control of EMI and selling on in two parts to Sony Music and Universal leaving Terra Firma with a massive loss.  Citi not only provided loan funding for Terra Firma’s acquisition of EMI acquisition, but then advised on it too, and it was that advice over which Terra Firma boss Guy Hands subsequently sued the bank. And lost. Meanwhile BMG, Warners and a consortium headed up by Simon Fuller including a major telecoms company all appear to be in the frame to buy divested EMI assets including the Parlophone label. Other assets which must be divested under EC approvals include the Chrysalis, Ensign and Mute labels and the EMI and Virgin Classics labels, its share in Now That’s What I Call Music business as well as Universal’s Sanctuary, King Island and Co-op Music labels. http://blogs.wsj.com/law/2012/10/04/terra-firma-asks-for-new-trial-lawsuit-against-citigroup-over-emi-buy/

One member of Pussy Riot freed
Censorship / November 2012

CENSORSHIP All areas   Pussy Riot member Yekaterina Samutsevich (30) has been released from prison after her two year prison term for a conviction of ‘hooliganism motivated by religious hatred’ was reduced to a suspended sentence on appeal yesterday.  Judge Larisa Polyakova accepted that Samutsevich, who had been prevented by guards from reaching the alter at Christ The Saviour Cathedral on February 21st, had not actual taken part in the protest, although she had intended to. However, at the same appeal hearing her fellow band members Nadezhda Tolokonnikova (22) and Maria Alyokhina (24) had their original sentences upheld and therefore will remain in prison, pending further appeals and have now been transferred to two separate labour camps (gulags). Both continue to argue that their protests against Vladimir Putin were political and not religious. In an interview marking his 60th birthday, Putin told state-run TV channel NTV that the three women “got what they asked for” adding “It was right that they were arrested, and the court’s decision was right”. Russian Orthodox church members, whose leader had been visible supporters of Putin, were initially enraged by the band’s actions bur whilst the Church hierarchy said the women’s action “cannot be left…

Ticketmaster class action settlement rejected by court
Consumers , Live Events / November 2012

CONSUMER LAW Live events sector   Ticketnews.com reports that former Ticketmaster customers who had signed onto a class-action lawsuit against Ticketmaster for charging excessive processing and shipping fees will have to wait a little while longer to receive their compensation, after Los Angeles Superior Court judge Kenneth Freeman rejected a proposed settlement agreement between Ticketmaster and the class-action plaintiffs’ attorneys, which included a $16.5 million payment to the plaintiff’s lawyers. More than 50 million class members would have received coupons from Ticketmaster in the amount of $1.50 to offset the overcharges in processing fees, while a smaller subclass of plaintiffs would receive $5.00 vouchers for overcharges in shipping fees. The lawsuit was filed prior to the enactment of the “Class Action Fairness Act,” which allows federal courts to use greater discretion in the awarding of attorneys’ fees and payouts to class members According to the plaintiff’ s claim, from the years 1999-2011, Ticketmaster took in roughly $590 million in charged shipping and processing fees, with only $165 million used to off-set actual costs. Ticketmaster, the suit argues, profited to the tune of $425 million over the twelve year period. However, Judge Freeman wrote that “In the court’s opinion, this settlement…

Black Eyed Peas face claim over game
Artists , Copyright / November 2012

CONTRACT Artistes   The Black Eyed Peas have been sued for a million dollars by gaming company Ubisoft, after seemingly failing to provide feedback on a new version of a game featuring the group developed by Ubisoft who say they  have spent nearly quarter of a million dollars developing an iPad and iPhone version of ‘The Black Eyed Peas Experience’ game, which is already available for Nintendo Wii and Xbox 360,  According to reports, the gaming firm’s lawsuit against BEP Music says: “Since March 2012, and despite Ubisoft’s repeated requests, BEP Music has breached the contract by failing and refusing to either approve or disapprove the iOS game in writing or otherwise”.

Global deal of GMG gets green light
Competition / November 2012

COMPETITION Broadcasting   The UK’s culture secretary Maria Miller has decided that Global Radio’s takeover of the Guardian Media Group’s radio business does not raise serious plurality issues relating to the provision of news. The merger combines the Real and Smooth stations with Global’s Capital, Heart, Classic FM, Gold and Xfm radio brands across the UK. Former culture secretary Jeremy Hunt ordered an investigation into Global Radio’s £70m deal to buy GMG Radio in August, citing concerns over media plurality issues raised by combining the largest and third largest radio groups in the UK. Media regulator Ofcom was asked to deliver a report on potential plurality issues with the deal to the Department for Culture Media and Sport, with concerns over a concentration of news provision in areas such as Wales. On Thursday Miller, who took over as culture secretary in last month’s cabinet reshuffle, cleared the deal in relation to those issues. Global Radio has offered to spin off a separate news service in Wales to address any plurality issues there. The deal will still be scrutinised by the Competition Commission on competition grounds. http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2012/oct/11/global-gmg-radio-news-plurality

Israeli arrests after lighting rig collapse in Jerusalem
Health & Safety , Live Events / November 2012

HEALTH AND SAFETY Live events sector   Judges in Jerusalem have extended the detention of four people arrested on suspicion of involvement in the collapse of a lighting rig at Mount Herzl in Israel, which killed a woman soldier and injured seven others. IDF 2nd Lt. Hila Bezaleli, was killed during rehearsals for the Independence Day ceremony at the national cemetery site. Initially three suspects were held: Oren Warshavsky, who was said to have been the engineer for the rig; Itzik Zucker, the site’s safety manager; and Elad Lavi, the vice president of Itzuv Bama, the firm that had been the successful bidder to produce the Independence Day event. All three were ordered to be released by a magistrate’s court judge but at the request of the police, the order was stayed to give the police an opportunity to appeal to the District Court and explain the responsibilities, relationships  and working practices at the site. District Court Judge Joseph Shapira ordered the three to remain in custody. Although Magistrate’s Court Judge Haim Li-Ran had initially taken the police to task for acting too quickly to arrest the three, Judge Shapira ruled the action was justified out of concern that the…

M5 crash: fireworks display organiser charged with manslaughter
Health & Safety , Live Events / November 2012

HEALTH AND SAFETY Live events sector The organiser of a fireworks display at a rugby club near the M5 has been charged with manslaughter following a pile up on the motorway which killed seven people. Geoffrey Counsell, 50, from Somerset, had provided a fireworks display at Taunton Rugby Club in a field close to the M5 motorway on 4 November 2011 when 34 vehicles crashed into each other. Seven people were killed and 51 were injured in the pile up. Rescue workers at the time described it as the worst British motorway accident in memory and witnesses described poor visibility on the motorway where the crash happened. In a joint statement, Avon and Somerset Police and the Crown Prosecution Service, said last night: “Today the Crown Prosecution Service has authorised Avon and Somerset Police to charge Geoffrey Counsell with seven counts of manslaughter following the deaths of Anthony and Pamela Adams, Maggie and Michael Barton, Malcolm Beacham, Terry Brice and Kye Thomas in a collision on the M5 in November 2011” adding “Having considered the evidence … the CPS decided there was sufficient evidence to charge Geoffrey Counsell, the provider of the fireworks display at Taunton Rugby Club on the…