New term for sound recording copyrights in UK
Copyright / December 2013
UK

COPYRIGHT Sound recordings   The term of copyright protection for sound recordings in the UK runs for a marvellous 70 years, rather than the paltry 50 years that was previously the case. The move, which came into effect on November 1st and was dubbed “Cliff’s Law” after the veteran hitmaker Sir Cliff Richard (who backed the campaign to extend the copyright period) has not been without its critics, many of who said the move would only benefit record labels: The European Directive (2011/77/EU) that implemented the change requested that each country introduce measures to ensure artists received some benefit from extra 20 years of copyright protection. The specifics of those benefits in the UK have been in development for most of the year, and the Intellectual Property Office has now announced the following initiatives – A “session fund” paying many performers (such as session musicians) 20% of (gross) revenues from sales of their recordings. – A “clean slate” provision, whereby a producer may not make deductions from payments to performers (such as advances of royalties) from publication of a recording. – A “use it or lose it” clause – which allows performers and musicians to claim back their performance rights in sound…

BPI secures more file-sharing site blocks
Copyright / December 2013
UK

COPYRIGHT Internet, recorded music The UK’s record industry trade body the BPI has secured a new court order forcing UK Internet Service Providers to block a further 21 file-sharing websites. The BPI’s original action was against The Pirate Bay last year: The BPI’s Geoff Taylor said that the organisation had attempted to work with the sites newly added to the UK internet blacklist, but all had refused. He said in a statement: “We asked the sites to stop infringing copyright but unfortunately they did not and we were left with little choice but to apply to the court”. The full list of newly blocked sites is as follows: Abmp3. BeeMP3, Bomb-Mp3, FileCrop, FilesTube, Mp3Juices, eMp3World, Mp3lemon, Mp3Raid, Mp3skull, NewAlbumReleases, Rapidlibrary., 1337x, BitSnoop, ExtraTorrent, Monova, TorrentCrazy, TorrentDownloads, TorrentHound, Torrentreactor and Torrentz

You can’t Steel this name: Burdon of proof satisfied
Artists , Trade Mark / December 2013
UK

TRADE MARK Artistes   This update by Jeremy Philips: This case relates to a trade mark application filed in 2004 for the name of the music group ‘The Animals’  and it’s the result of an appeal against an official decision dating back to 2008.  The case is Eric Victor Burdon v John Steel  case O-369-13 of 9 September, a decision of Geoffrey Hobbs QC, as Appointed Person. The appellant. Eric Burdon, may be known to some readers as the lead singer of The Animals pop group back in the 1960s and the rasping vocalist in that group’s major hit, The House of the Rising Sun (which, together with Procol Harum’s Whiter Shade of Pale, has the distinction of being instantly recognisable by its instrumental intro).  He was appealing against the rejection of his opposition to registration by the group’s former drummer John Steel to register the words THE ANIMALS as a trade mark for use in relation to CDs and musical recordings in Class 9 and musical live performances in Class 41. The group, like many in the 1960s, was in legal terms an incorporated association of individuals; no contractual or other arrangements governed the relationship between its members, and there…

Pirate Bay founder denied final appeal
Copyright , Internet / December 2013
Sweden

COPYRIGHT Internet   Sweden’s Supreme Court has refused to hear the final appeal by Pirate Bay co-founder Gottfrid Svartholm over his hacking conviction. Svartholm, also jailed for a year for his part in establishing the copyright infringing Pirate Bay, was found guilty of various unrelated hacking charges in June and although an appeals court reduced his sentence for the hacking crimes last month (by deeming that some of the charges against him couldn’t actually be proven), he was still left with another year of custody. The Bay man had hoped to appeal the charges that still stood, but Sweden’s Supreme Court don’t believe there is justification for a further hearing. Separately Svartholm is also trying to fight off attempts to extradite him to Denmark to face other hacking charges that could result in a much longer jail sentence. Last year Sweden’s Supreme Court also refused to hear the final appeal from Svartholm’s fellow Pirate Bay founders over their copyright convictions, though Svartholm himself had lost the right to even approach the highest branch of the country’s judiciary regards that case, having failed to show up for his first appeal hearing after going AWOL.

Gaga faces plagiarism claim
Copyright , Music Publishing / December 2013
USA

COPYRIGHT Music Publishing, sound recordings   Lady Gaga is facing some controversy over her newly released single with R& B singer R. Kelly. The song, titled “Do What U Want”, is drawing criticism for sounding “suspiciously similar” to “The Deep”, a track from emerging dance-pop duo Dance With The Dead. Why so? Well, it seems both songs share the same musical key, and feature a virtually identical pulsating synth riff and drum pattern. Both are approximately 97 beats per minute, giving them the exact same driving dance rhythm. And says Gnomes “though each song ultimately travels in a different musical direction, it seems entirely plausible that whoever programmed Miss Gaga’s new hit took a little too much creative license in borrowing from the music of Dance With The Dead.”

Gaye’s family take on Thicke and EMI
Copyright , Music Publishing / December 2013
USA

COPYRIGHT Music publishing   Soul legend Marvin Gaye’s family have now issued proceedings in an action involving Robin Thicke’s hit single “Blurred Lines”. Two of Gaye’s children have filed a suit against Thicke, producer and writer Pharrell Williams and rapper T.I. for copyright infringement of Marvin’s classic tune “Got to Give it Up” along with a claim against EMI Music, saying the music publisher failed to act on Gaye’s behalf and breached it’s fiduciary duty, siding instead with Thicke and Williams. Williams is with EMI and from this relatonship the publisher has a controlling interest in the song. The claim also accuses the chair of EMI Music Publishing of intimidating family members.  According to Billboard, the suit claims that the Chairman of the publishing company personally contacted the Gaye estate’s attorney and accused the family of “ruining an incredible song” and “killing the goose that laid the golden egg” and allegedly said that he believed the dispute had stopped Thicke from winning a VMA gong and could prevent Blurred Lines  taking the Grammy Award for Song Of The Year in 2014:  The lawsuit says that EMI’s alleged failings are all the more worrying because of Sony/ATV/EMI’s dominance in the music publishing sector. On…

Toy advert ‘parody’ of Girls fires up the Beastie Boys
Artists , Copyright , Music Publishing / December 2013
USA

COPYRIGHT Music publishing, sound recording, artists   The Beastie Boys are seemingly less than impressed with a ‘parody’ produced by a new toy company called Goldieblox – a video of three girls playing with a Rube Goldberg-type invention and singing alternative lyrics to the Beastie Boys song “Girls.” Since the video went up online it has been viewed more than seven million times. Having received a letter alleging copyright infringement, Goldieblox are now seeking declaratory relief in the federal court in the United States District Court in the Northern District of California. It seems lawyers for the Beastie Boys claim that the GoldieBlox Girls parody video is a copyright infringement, is not a fair use and that GoldieBlox’s unauthorised use of the Beastie Boys intellectual property is a ‘big problem’ that has a ‘very significant impact.’ It might be one to watch as clearly the ‘parody’ is to promote a commercial concern and sell toys – although it may well have also stoked up a debate on young girl’s interest in science and scientific careers. In the original song, the Beasties sang: “Girls — to do the dishes/ Girls — to clean up my room/ Girls — to do the…

Madonna defeats Vogue sample lawsuit
Artists , Copyright / December 2013
USA

COPYRIGHT Sound recordings, artists   Madonna has successfully defeated a claim there was an uncleared sample in her 1990 hit ‘Vogue‘.  American music company VMG sued Madonna and ‘Vogue‘ producer Robert ‘Shep’ Pettibone last year, claiming the duo illegally used a sample from a 1970s recording called ‘Love Break’, which the claimant owns, for their hit single back in 1990. The music firm said that Pettibone had cleverly hidden the sample, but that new technology had revealed that it is definitely there, hence why they were suing over two decades later. The legal claim related to a “single horn stab” that appears in both ‘Love Break‘ and ‘Vogue‘, an alleged sample so short that the court basically said it would be impossible to construct a case for copyright infringement. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the judge ruled: “Having listened to the sound recordings, the court finds that no reasonable audience would find the sampled portions qualitatively or quantitatively significant in relation to the infringing work, nor would they recognise the appropriation. The court finds that any sampling of the horn hit was de minimis or trivial”. The judge in this latest case made it clear that her ruling didn’t contradict…

New Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) makes third arrest
Copyright / December 2013
UK

COPYRIGHT Sound recordings   Detectives from the UK’s Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) have arrested a man at his Reading home on suspicion of operating a website that was illegally selling music albums, singles and films. This early morning operation, which followed a referral from PRS for Music is the third arrest made by City of London Police’s Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) since its launch last month. The 33-year-old man is believed to have been using a website to sell discs containing music and films, which he does not hold the copyright licence for, for a small fee of only a few pounds. Each disc can contain up to 40 music albums and is estimated to be worth hundreds of pounds. The man was taken to a local police station for further questioning by PIPCU officers and subsequently an agreement was reached to transfer the control of the website to City of London Police. Detective Inspector Stirling, from PIPCU, said: “Today’s arrest forms part of just one of the many investigations PIPCU is currently pursuing. Since the launch of PIPCU we have seen a wide range of businesses come forward with referrals for the unit and today’s operation…

Bragg blasts labels for low streaming payments
Artists , Copyright , Internet , Record Labels / December 2013
UK

COPYRIGHT Internet, artistes, recorded music   Billy Bragg has sent out a message to his fellow artists via Facebook saying that the low royalties being paid to artistes for streaming  is really the fault of the record labels – not of Spotify. Bragg was responding to the various artists who have recently hit out at Spotify and the streaming service business model  such as Nigel Godrich, Thom Yorke and David Byrne – who have said that the royalties paid out by these services are just too small, and if streaming is to ultimately replace both CD sales and iTunes-style downloading, then that’s a problem. But, Bragg notes, all but a handful of indie labels (most notably Ministry Of Sound) remain supportive of Spotify et al, which suggests that, in the main, they are doing very well from the growth in streaming music. CMY Daily reports that the issue for artists receiving tiny royalties  is that labels are not sharing enough of the loot with their acts, by applying royalty splits from the CD age, even though record companies do not have the costs or risks that were involved in manufacturing and distributing physical product in the digital domain. As this…

Lyric Site Takedown
Copyright , Internet , Music Publishing / December 2013
USA

COPYRIGHT Music Publishing, internet   The US National Music Publishers Association (NMPA) has recently sent takedown notices to fifty websites displaying copyrighted song lyrics. Among the fifty recipients is Rap Genius, a high-flying New York start up that last year received a $15 million investment from Silicon Valley venture firm Andreessen Horowtiz. Rap Genius has quickly grown in popularity due to its interactive display of lyrics. The site does not simply reproduce the copyrighted text, but also enables users to annotate the text and interpret its meaning. When one searches for a song, the website returns that song’s lyrics. Clicking on lines in the lyrics opens a pop-up box with an interpretation of the wording. The site relies on user-generated content through a Wikipedia-like format of contribution, where contributors earn “IQ” points for contributing lyrics and providing interesting interpretations. According to Ilan Zechory, Rap Genius Co-Founder, this interaction between the song and the fans transforms “a static, flat lyric page into an interactive, vibrant art experience created by a community of volunteer scholars”. The Chief Executive of the NMPA, David Israel, has made it clear that their intention is not to harm fan-based websites. Instead they wish simply to prevent others…

JARAC’s practices violate competition laws in Japan
Competition / December 2013
Japan

COMPETITION Music publishing   Whether or not collection societies are monopolies, or act like monopolies, is a tricky issue: Many in the business world want ‘one stop shops’ for effective licensing, especially in a global digital market – but no one wants a bully! The Tokyo High Court has now overturned a previous ruling by the Japan Fair Trade Commission (JFTC) and has concluded that the Japanese Society for Rights of Authors, Composers and Publishers (JASRAC) violates the country’s anti-monopoly law. The court says the JFTC ruling in 2012 that JASRAC was not a monopoly was “a mistake.” Presiding Judge Toshiaki Iimura said that JASRAC’s practices makes it very difficult for other music copyright businesses to enter the business, “essentially excluding them from competition”. The copyright society currently has ‘blanket licences’ with major broadcasting stations giving them unlimited access to songs that are under the JASRAC management for ja fee of 1.5% of the previous fiscal year’s broadcast earnings. Other copyright companies have to charge fees for each separate use of a song. The court found that because of this, broadcasters limit the use of non-JASRAC music  for purely economic reasons. In fiscal 2012, 98.03 of all music copyright fees were paid…

Michigan lawmaker seeks to make scalping legal
Competition / December 2013
USA

COMPETITION Live events sector   A Michigan politician says he wants to make it legal to sell sporting event or concert tickets above face value and has introduced legislation that would repeal a 1931 state law that bans ticket scalping unless it’s authorised by the venue or event operators. Republican Rep. Tim Kelly of Saginaw Township said he is lining up bipartisan support for his bill. He says it’s a common-sense measure that would let the free market decide the price of a ticket saying “An individual who buys a ticket to a sporting event or concert owns that ticket, and they should have every right to sell it if they so choose” adding “This legislation, quite literally, is about allowing the man on the street to sell tickets at fair market value to willing buyers. It creates more fairness while providing some relief to our already overburdened court system.” Kelly said here is no reason for the government to interfere in a transaction between a willing buyer and willing seller. The legislation now goes to a House committee for consideration. And one of Kelly’s Democratic colleagues said allowing ticket re-sales is a matter of fairness. Rep. Doug Geiss of Taylor introduced a bill last…

Global lose Competition Commission appeal over Real and Smooth Radio acquisitions
Competition / December 2013
UK

COMPETITION Broadcasting   Broadcaster Global Radio has in its bid to appeal a Competition Commission ruling on its acquisition of the Real and Smooth Radio networks. Global bought the Real and Smooth stations from the Guardian Media Group last year for £70 million, but various parties raised concerns about the dominance the transaction gave Global in the radio advertising domain in certain localities.  In its final report on the deal, the CC concluded that the merger is likely to cause higher prices for advertising in the UK regions earmarked for divestment. Responding to those concerns the Competition Commission told Global that they would have to sell off more of the Real and Smooth outlets than they’d be allowed to keep – or offload existing Global-owned stations in the regions where the Commission shared market dominance concerns). Global argued that the rules being used to block their Real Smooth deal are outdated, and ignore wider competition in the modern advertising market and that the competition regulator did not take reasonable steps to “acquaint itself” with information relevant to the Real Smooth deal, that it lacked evidence in some regions as to how local advertisers made buying decisions, and that it didn’t…

Ticket tout sentenced for tax evasion
Taxation / December 2013
UK

TAXATION Live events sector   A London ticket tout had been handed a suspended prison sentence after failing to pay nearly £200,000 in tax. Donald Tiffin, of Park Road, Hampton Wick, had deposits of more than £915,000 in his own bank account and a further £656,000 had been paid into his girlfriend’s account.  The 63-year-old earned the cash by selling a range of tickets and packages to events including Wimbledon, the Champions League and the 2009 British Lions tour of South Africa and HM Revenue & Customs said the 63 year old failed to pay a total of £193,000 in income tax and VAT. Tiffin had admitted two counts of cheating the public revenue. He was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment, suspended for two years, for failing to pay income tax, and to 18 months, also suspended for two years, for failing to pay VAT. He was ordered to complete 200 hours of unpaid community work and a compensation order in the sum of £193,000 was issued when he appeared at the Old Bailey. http://www.yourlocalguardian.co.uk/news/10783627.Ticket_tout_failed_to_pay___193k_in_taxes/

Ministry asks Mayor Boris for protection
Licensing / December 2013
UK

LICENSING Live events sector   Ministry Of Sound boss Lohan Presencer has asked Boris Johnson for a binding agreement confirming that a planned major residential development next to the venue in South London will not have future repercussions on his operation’s licence. Ministry had previously succeeded in blocking the plans by property developer Oakmayne to build a big residential complex next to the superclub, after the property firm’s proposals were unanimously rejected by Southwark’s planning committee, with Ministry successfully arguing that it was an important employer in the area, that it played an important role in the capital’s clubbing culture and local community, and that the planned residential development would cause problems because future residents would be certain to make demands on licensing officials regarding noise at the venue. Now London Mayor Boris Johnson’s office has agreed to reconsider the decision, placing the club under threat once again. Presencer called for the agreement by the Mayor in a letter to the London Standard and also said he wanted a legal agreement that Oakmayne will install sound-proofing into its new apartments (as was promised as part of its planning application) saying he wants a “legal agreement that guarantees that everything that…

Live Music Act consultation underway
Licensing / December 2013
UK

LICENSING Live events sector   Further deregulation of entertainment licensing for live music venues is to be considered by the UK government, which could bring rules into line with those for live performances of dance and theatre.  Last year the new Live Music Act allowed venues in England and Wales which sell alcohol the freedom to host live music performances for audiences of up to 200 people between 8am and 11pm.  A consultation launched last week will look at increasing the upper audience limit to 500 people. A statement from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport said the reason behind the consultation on further deregulation was to grow the creative economy and remove burdens from small and medium-sized businesses saying “In particular, the measures in relation to live and recorded music are intended to help pubs, hotels and other hospitality businesses diversify their offer and access new markets,” said a spokesman. The Musicians’ Union said it welcomed the consultation and saw it as “positive step” towards removing live music from the Licensing Act altogether.   In full here https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/252144/LRO.version_final.docx.pdf and a summary here http://www.john-gaunt.co.uk/news/695/dcms-consultation-further-deregulation-of-entertainment-licensing

New Zealand collection societies offer combined licence
New Zealand

COPYRIGHT Recorded music, music publishing   The two music collection societies in New Zealand – APRA on the publishing side and PPNZ on the sound recordings side – have announced the creation of OneMusic, a new joint venture that will offer a wide-ranging combined public performance licence for businesses and organisations that play recorded music in public spaces, administered by APRA. PPNZ boss Damian Vaughan says the new venture, which will surely be watched with interest by rights bodies around the world, came in response to public demand and that customers were telling the collection that the international norm – the two-licence model – “was frustrating and confusing”. The initiative has been welcomed by various trade bodies representing music users and licensees, with the CEO of New Zealand’s Restaurant Association, Marisa Bidois, saying: “We support anything that means compliance issues don’t get in the way of business. This new process means our members can get a music licence quickly and easily and we’re very happy APRA and PPNZ have heard us on this issue” and CEO of the New Zealand Retailers Association, John Albertson, says OneMusic will mean fewer businesses accidentally operating outside of the law.   http://www.apra-amcos.com.au/news/allnews/NewZealandIntroducesSingleMusicLicence.aspx

Walhberg, Usher, Public Enemy and RUN-DMC all face sampling claims
Copyright , Record Labels / November 2013
USA

COPYRIGHT Record labels   Now successful actor Mark Wahlberg (then Marky Mark), Usher and RUN-DMC are amongst a list of recording artists being sued for copyright violation in the US District Court in Illinois. The artists are being sued by Twilight Records and Syl-Zel Music in a wide reaching lawsuit which claims that the defendants sampled the 1967 track Different Strokes without permission. The original track was sung and recorded by Sylvester Thompson, a/k/a Syl Johnson. The claimants allege that Wahlberg, as part of Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch, sampled the track in the 1991 release The Last Song on Side B, and that Usher infringed copyright in his 1993 song Call Me a Mack. Run-DMC allegedly sampled the song in its single Naughty as well as Beats to the Rhyme. The lawsuit also claims that Public Enemy – another defendant in the case – sampled the song in a number of its singles including Fight The Power and Fear of a Black Planet. Sony Music Entertainment and Universal Music are also named as defendants, The claimants are seeking accounting compensation, a permanent restraint against further sampling and unspecified damages. The lawsuit comes just two years after the record…

Isohunt shuts after 10 year run
Copyright , Internet / November 2013
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet   The operator of the popular file-sharing service isoHunt, is shutting down to settle a long-running lawsuit from the Motion Picture Association of America, according to court records. Gary Fung, the site’s Canadian operator, also agreed to pay $110 million in damages as part of the deal to end the long-running legal battle – although quite where he will get that sort of sum remains unclear. Programmer Bram Cohen released the BitTorrent file-sharing protocol in 2001, and its efficient way of transferring files has become the method of choice for illicit, peer-to-peer sharing of copyright.  The isoHunt litigation began in a Los Angeles federal court in 2006. In March of this year, a three-judge panel of the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the DCMA would not apply to Fung  because Fung’s business model, the court said, was designed for the primary purpose of copyright infringement. Speaking to TorrentFreak Fung said: “It’s sad to see my baby go. But I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful. 10.5 years of isoHunt has been a long journey by any business definition, and forever in internet start-up time. I think one worry I…

CCI costs unearthed
Copyright , Internet , Record Labels / November 2013
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet, recording industry   TorrentFreak has managed to unearth some financial details for The Center for Copyright Information (CCI), the not for profit organisation set up to administer the US’s ‘six strikes’ regime. When the scheme stated  the founding content owner members (primarily the MPAA and the RIAA) agreed to share the costs with ISPs. The company’s first eight month tax filing shows that  ISPs and copyright holders paid a total of $1,377,633 in membership dues, putting the yearly budget around $2 million per year. So where is all the money going? Well here’s a breakdown, via TorrentFreak: (i) – The CCI pays Executive Director Jill Lesser – the only key employee working there – a modest $43,750 during the first eight months of 2012 BUT (ii) Lesser indirectly earns a bit more from CCI from her consulting firm JAL, which the CCI paid $193,750 during the same eight-month period. (iii) – Around $144,093 was paid to PR firm Glover Park Group and (iv)- Resource Global was paid $125,691 for its consulting services, as well as $102,928 in legal fees. The costs do not cover the cost of copyright actions by copyright holders and the costs ISPs incur when tracking down infringers and processing the notices…

Sony/ATV sued over Beatles documentary
Competition , Copyright , Music Publishing / November 2013
USA

COPYRIGHT / COMPETITION Music publishing, film & TV   CMU Daily reports that a US company has sued Sony/ATV and The Beatles’ company Apple Corps in a dispute over a new documentary covering the fab four’s first ever US concert in Washington back in 1964. The lawsuit, filed in the New York courts last week, is actually a rework of an earlier lawsuit the same company pursued but later withdrew in the Californian jurisdiction. Ace Arts LLC acquired footage of the Washington gig and used it as the core of a documentary about The Beatles’ first trip to the US. According to the firm’s lawsuit, it met with Apple Corps who confirmed that, while it controlled the legendary band’s trademarks and (under US law) publicity rights, it did not own the copyright in the live recording. The copyrights in many of the songs performed at the gig, meanwhile, are controlled by the Sony/ATV music publishing firm, which controls much of the Lennon/McCartney catalogue. To that end Ace Arts LLC reached a licensing deal with Sony/ATV, and on the back of that invested a substantial million dollar plus sum completing its documentary and later reached a distribution deal for the film…

Shukran Allah: when it pays to get there first
Copyright , Music Publishing / November 2013
UK

COPYRIGHT Music Publishing, film industry   B4U Network (Europe) Ltd v Performing Right Society Ltd is a decision last week from the Court of Appeal (Civil Division) for England and Wales. You can find it at [2013] EWCA Civ 1236. This was an appeal by B4U against the decision  of Mr Justice Vos at [2012] EWHC 3010 (Ch) to grant summary judgment in favour of the PRS in its copyright infringement claim which was noted on the 1709 Blog. This update is from the 1709 blog and is by Jeremy Philips. In 2004 the PRS, being a society formed to protect the copyright in musical works, had entered into a written agreement with two composers of songs for Bollywood films, Salim and Suleiman Merchant. By this agreement, copyright that the Merchants “may acquire or own” while remaining members of the society was assigned to it. In 2008 the Merchants were commissioned by Indian producers Dharma Productions to compose the music and lyrics for the film Kurbaan. Under that agreement, the rights in relation to musical works composed for the film vested in the film’s producer and included all present and future works arising out of the contract and covered all…

Jury in Jackson case find in favour of AEG
Artists , Live Events / November 2013
USA

MEDICAL NEGLIGENCE Artists, live events sector   The jury in the $1,5 damages claim brought by Michael Jackson’s family against AEG, promoters of his This Is It tour, have found that whilst AEG did employ Dr Conrad Murray, the company was not liable for his subsequent negligence finding that a licensed doctor Murray was not “unfit” or “incompetent” for the job he was hired to do, even if he proved to be unethical in the treatment he then provided to the late king of pop. The jury found that AEG didn’t have a responsibility to go digging into Murray’s personal life – to discover his acute financial problems, which possibly made him more prone to provide the prescription drugs Jackson craved in order to keep his job and it was reasonable for AEG to therefore assume he would perform the tasks he was hired to do in a responsible way.   It was the King of Pop’s own actions that kept his use of the surgery-strength anesthetic propofol a secret from AEG Live and his own choices that led to his untimely death at the age of 50. The jurors found the company had no reason to suspect a licensed doctor with no malpractice…

Van Halen not impressed with ex-wife name
Artists , Trade Mark / November 2013
USA

TRADE MARK Artists   ELVH Inc, the company that manages the trademarks of the legendary rock band Van Halen, has begun legal action against Kelly Van Halen, the ex-wife of the band’s drummer Alex Van Halen, over her use of her surname in her own commercial enterprises. Married to one of two Van Halen brothers, Kelly Carter took when she married in 1984, and continued to use even after they divorced twelve years later. She now runs an interior design business, which is also involved in some fashion products and construction services and she recently filed a trademark application for exclusive use of the Kelly Van Halen mark in her areas of business. That filing resulted in the legal action from ELVH Inc, which is trying to block the mark applications, arguing that her use of the Kelly Van Halen brand violates the band’s Van Halen trademarks, is diluting the value of those marks, and also constitutes passing off and unfair competition. http://www.billboard.com/biz/articles/5755816/van-halen-sues-drummers-ex-wife-for-using-famous-last-name

Competition Commission clears AEG Wembley Arena deal
Competition , Live Events / October 2013
UK

COMPETITION Live events sector   The Competition Commission (CC) has formally cleared the completed acquisition by AEG Facilities UK (AEG) of the contract to manage Wembley Arena. In its final decision,  the CC has concluded that the merger would not result in a substantial lessening of competition in the markets for the provision of venue space to promoters, provision of sponsorship opportunities or the provision of other event-related services such as catering, confirming the Commission’s preliminary ruling, published in July. Wembley Arena was previously operated by Live Nation Entertainment. AEG is the current operator of three indoor live entertainment venues in London: The O2 Arena, the Hammersmith Apollo, and IndigO2, and has been recently awarded a five-year contract to deliver summer concerts at Hyde Park. Following the merger, AEG will operate the two largest London indoor venues: The O2 Arena and Wembley Arena. AEG is also a promoter, AEG Live (UK) Limited, and owns a ticketing service, AXS.com. Martin Cave, CC Deputy Chairman and Chairman of the AEG/Wembley Inquiry Group, commented: ‘AEG’s opportunity to increase venue hire prices would be limited because factors such as capacity, availability, brand, reputation and personal preference are more important to acts booking the venue….

Roller boys lose on appeal
Artists , Contract , Music Publishing / October 2013
USA

CONTRACT Artistes, recorded music   The CMU Daily tells us that three former members of the Bay City Rollers have failed, for a second time, to have themselves added to a lawsuit being pursued by other former Rollers against Arista Records, now part of Sony Music’s RCA. The band’s original vocalist, Gordon Clark, along with two other ex-Rollers, Ian Mitchell and Pat McGlynn, sued six other members of the band in a bid to be included in their separate case against Arista over unpaid royalties. The original lawsuit launched by Eric Faulkner, Duncan Faure, Alan Longmuir, Derek Longmuir, Leslie McKeown and Stuart Wood against the major label is still working its way through the courts. Clark, Mitchell and McGlynn were not included in that lawsuit, but feel they should have been. And so, they sued both the other band members and Arista, claiming anticipatory breach of contract and unjust enrichment. At first instance they lost on both counts. But the claimants felt that first time round the judge hearing the case made an error regards the unjust enrichment claim, and took that element of the case to the Second US Circuit Court of Appeals. But last week the appeals court…

Strong speaks out about Money – and the lack of it
Copyright , Music Publishing / October 2013
USA

COPYRIGHT Music publishing   A row is brewing over authorship of the classic Tamala Motown song “Money (That’s What I Want)” – first recorded in 1959. Barrett Strong was credited as both the recording artist and the author of the song but his song writing credit was removed, seemingly by Motown Records executives, three years later. He was restored in 1987 when the copyright was renewed, but his name was then removed again the following year. Wikipedia credit the song to Tamla founder (and Strong’s personal manager)  Berry Gordy Jr and lyricist Janie Bradford. Strong, now 72, Strong says he’s been duped adding “For 50 years, I had no idea about any of this” and in a criticism of the US copyright registration system said  “It was hidden from me. So how do they expect me to have acted to protect myself? It’s crazy and unfair”.   http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/01/arts/music/for-a-classic-motown-song-about-money-credit-is-what-he-wants.html?pagewanted=all&_r=1&

Vimeo open to liability claims from record labels
Copyright , Internet , Music Publishing / October 2013
USA

COPYRIGHT Music publishing, recorded music, internet   A federal judge in New York has said that there is a ‘triable issue’ at the heart of the claim brought by the major record labels against user-generated video website Vimeo, owned by Barry Diller’s IAC, over claims that Vimeo  had knowledge or awareness of copyrighted music in some of the videos being shared. Vimeo, which is now one of the top 130 most trafficked websites, responded by asserting that it was free of liability thanks to the safe harbor provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. The claim centres on whether the company took enough preventative actions to avoid liability.  Judge Ronnie Abrams denied safe harbour defence for 55 of the 199 videos brought up in the suit, in particular the now very popular ‘lip synch’ videos. Reportedly, these 55 presented situations where Vimeo employee either knowingly uploaded videos that used copyrighted music themselves, or had documented interactions with users that did (comments, likes, etc.) and still failed to take the video down. In the 56-page ruling Judge Abrams released, he called the site’s alleged knowledge of these incidents a “triable issue.”  Noting that the site had12.3 million registered users uploading 43,000…

Welsh royalty claim goes to Copyright Tribunal
Copyright , Music Publishing / October 2013
UK

COPYRIGHT Music publishing, broadcasting   The dispute over royalty payments between the BBC and Eos, the agency representing some Welsh language music composers and publishers, is going to the Copyright Tribunal. At an interim hearing in April, the Tribunal ordered the BBC to continue paying Eos £120,000 a year to access its members’ repertoire of music. his sum was agreed by both parties in February. Eos wants the Tribunal to increase that amount to £1.5m a year – the BBC are suggesting an annual figure of £100,000. Eos was formed when its members became unhappy with royalty payments from PRS for Music, the UK’s principal royalties collection agency. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-24194008

Unauthorised use of backstage photo costs promoter £20,000
Copyright , Live Events / October 2013
UK

COPYRIGHT Photography, live events   CMU Daily reports that live music firm DHP Family has settled a dispute with photographer Jason Sheldon after it used a photo he took of Ke$ha and LMFAO without permission. Although DHP admitted it had used the photo, in error, a dispute then began as to how much the live firm should pay the photo man for past and future use of his picture. It seems DHP initially offered £150 for use of the photo, while Sheldon asked for £1,350. When agreement couldn’t be reached, the case went to court, where – given that the unauthorised use was never disputed – the debate centred on the value of a single photo of the kind DHP had used and Mr Justice Birss erred more towards Sheldon’s arguments, noting that the photo had been taken backstage, requiring the photographer to gain exclusive access and to photograph in a room with poor lighting. Birss J said that both the exclusivity of the moment photographed and the work involved in taking the picture should impact on its value. The court ruled that a fair price for licensing past and future use of the photo would be the rather precise…

Rihanna wins injunction against TopShop T-shirt
Artists , Trade Mark / October 2013
UK

TRADE MARK Artistes   Rihanna has won a permanent ban against Topshop to prevent the retail chain selling T-shirts using an image taken at an official video shoot for We Found Love in 2011 by a freelance photographer. In an earlier hearing Mr Justice Birss had allowed a claim in passing off that because the photo used was very similar to imagery on her album ‘Talk That Talk‘, consumers would likely think it was an officially endorsed product, which it was not. Now the singer has secured an injunction stopping Topshop from selling clothing that uses her image. The singer also asked for the return of all unsold product bit was told the retailer had sold all but 5 of the 12,000 T-shirts produced – and thise were saved for the court case. Mr Justice Birss had stressed  that no “freestanding general right” for celebrities to control the use of their image existed in English law, but did grant Topshop permission to appeal the ruling to the Court Of Appeal: the singer’s damages will not be decided until after that hearing. Legal costs were submitted, with Rihanna’s team putting in a “rather optimistic” bill of £919,000, a figure Birrs said…

Sony fire losses were due to a riot
Liability , Music Publishing / October 2013
UK

LIABILITY Recorded music   CMU Daily reports that The High Court on London has ruled that the London Mayor’s Office For Policing And Crime should be liable for the losses caused by the fire at the Sony DADC centre in North London, which was destroyed during the riots of August 2011. Amongst the materials lost in the fire was the physical stock of numerous independent labels, because distributor [PIAS] used the storage centre. The liability stems from the Riot Damages Act: Insurers for Sony had sought £49.5m for property, customer stock and business interruption while the insurers for the owners of the warehouse had wanted £9.35m for property damage and loss of rent. Counsel for the police argued that the attack on the warehouse was a “planned criminal enterprise” and a “planned raid” rather than a riot. He said the group “coordinated their activities by mobile phone or blackberry messaging” to break in to the building in a “quiet industrial area”. The Court noted that the Sony centre had been raided by “25 youths” who had earlier congregated on a nearby housing estate and that police had been warned by numerous people about a local gang causing problems the previous day,…

Rihanna wins Passing off claim against Top Shop
Artists , Trade Mark / September 2013
UK
USA

TRADE MARK Artists, merchandise   Rihanna has won her legal battle with Topshop over a T-shirt the high street retailer sold bearing her image. The star sued Topshop’s parent company Arcadia for $5 million (£3.3m) over the T-shirt, which featured a photo taken during a video shoot in 2011. Her lawyers told the High Court in London the fashion chain duped fans and may have damaged her reputation. They said the picture was “very similar” to images used on CD sleeves for one of her albums. Mr Justice Birss ruled that a “substantial number” of buyers were likely to have been deceived into buying the T-shirt because of a “false belief” that it had been approved by the singer. He said it was damaging to her “goodwill” and represented a loss of control over her reputation in the “fashion sphere”. Topshop’s lawyers had claimed the 25-year-old was making an unjustifiable bid to establish a “free standing image right” over use of her picture in the UK. The photograph used by Topshop had been taken during filming of a music video in Northern Ireland in 2011. In a two-minute judgment Mr Justice Birss, said there was “no such thing as a general right by…

Blag Flag vs Flag – let battle commence
Artists , Trade Mark / September 2013
USA

TRADE MARK Artistes   The two Black Flag reunions — Black Flag and FLAG — have prompted a trade mark battle. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Black Flag co-founder Greg Ginn has filed a lawsuit against former bandmates Keith Morris, Dez Cadena, Chuck Dukowski, and Bill Stevenson, who’ve reunited under the FLAG banner. Former Black Flag member Henry Rollins, who’s involved in neither reunion, was also named as a defendant. Ginn claims he and his label, SST Records, exclusively own the rights to the Black Flag name and logo (and the “Flag” variation), which FLAG intend to use on tour. He alleges Morris and Rollins (born Henry Garfield) of “lying to the Trademark Office on registrations; using his own label’s record covers to feign as though they’ve been continuing to use Black Flag since 1979, and in an what’s alleged to be an act of ‘outrageous fraud,’ using bootleg SST t-shirts in an attempt to show they’ve been making such products in that time,” the Reporter adds. The suit says FLAG’s name and logo are “a colorable imitation” that’s “likely to cause confusion, mistake or deception among consumers.” Ginn is seeking an injunction against the FLAG tour, which kicked off…

Wylie vs Pagans – rapper won’t pay his £15K fee back after festival walk off
Artists , Contract , Live Events / September 2013
UK

CONTRACT Artists, live events   Wiley has said he has no intention of returning his (self) reported fee of £15,000 to promoters of the CockRock Festival in Cumbria, after organisers of the charity event said they were planning legal action after the rapper walked off stage after just 15 minutes of his 45 minute set and referring to the audience as ‘pagans’. As we reported in our August Update, Wiley (Richard Kylea Cowie) had received a hostile reception at the Cockermouth event after criticising the festival on Twitter ahead of his arrival with one tweet saying Just the name makes me not wanna go,” with Wylie adding: “My agent knows that there are cool places to play and other places are just not worth the hassle The rapper says he left the stage early because the audience were throwing things at the stage, adding that staff at the festival had advised him to walk if that happened. Organisers have countered that the atmosphere during the short Wiley set was not as hostile or dangerous as the rapper has claimed, and that security had it under control. The rapper told the BBC: “They say it’s a charity event and they want their money back….

Judge curbs Curb’s copyright claim against McGraw
Artists , Contract , Record Labels / September 2013
USA

CONTRACT Artists, record labels   A federal judge in Tennessee has dismissed a copyright lawsuit filed against Tim McGraw in his ongoing battle with Curb Records. The country star has been fighting Curb since 2011, when he was accused of violating the terms of his contract by turning in his album Emotional Traffic before the 18-month gap between projects had passed. Curb refused to release the disc, while MCGraw argued that the fifth and final album would have fulfilled his contract with the company. MCGraw countersued and last year he was granted permission by the courts to release new music through Big MAChine Records. His latest project, titled Two Lanes of Freedom, hit music retailers in February, but Curb then lodged new papers in U.S. District Court in Tennessee in April (13), claiming the tracks were recorded before their original contract was dissolved and therefore amounted to copyright infringement. However, U.S. District Judge William H. Haynes administratively closed the latest case insisting he cannot rule on the copyright allegations until the contract case is settled.   http://www.contactmusic.com/story/judge-dismisses-tim-mcgraw-copyright-infringement-lawsuit_3808763 and see our previous Updates here http://www.musiclawupdates.com/?p=5408 here http://www.musiclawupdates.com/?p=5102 and here http://www.musiclawupdates.com/?p=4509

Turtles probe the murky soup of pre-1972 US copyright law
USA

COPYRIGHT Sound recordings, record labels, artistes   The Turtles are leading a $100 million lawsuit against SiriusXM, arguing that the satellite broadcasting company has infringed on millions of older recordings from thousands of artists, and that Sirius cannot rely on section 114 of the US Copyright Act for protection – as pre 1972 recordings are subject to state law – which may arguably mean that Sirius plays songs recorded before that date without permission. The suit, brought under the California Civil Code, and led by vocalists Howard Kaylan and Mark Volman (later known as Flo and Eddie whose company leads the action and owns copyrights in a number of Turtle’s sound recordings) was filed on August 1 in the Los Angeles Superior Court and is proposed as a class action. Are the Turtles’ “Let Me Be” (1966), “You Baby” (1966), “Happy Together” (Billboard Hot 100 Number 1 in 1967), “Elenore” and “You Showed Me” (both peaking at No. 6 in 1969) and their well-known 1965 cover of Bob Dylan’s “It Ain’t Me Babe” protected against unauthorised plays by Californian state law (Californian Civil Code S980(a)(2)?  Sirius does currently pay compensation for the use of sound recordings (unlike terrestrial stations in…

Green Day’s transformation of ‘Scream’ image was fair use
Artists , Copyright / September 2013
USA

COPYRIGHT Artistes   US punk rock band Green Day did not infringe copyright when it used an artist’s drawing of a screaming face in a video backdrop, the 9th Circuit appeals court has ruled, saying that the band transformed the work of Los Angeles-based artist and illustrator Derek Seltzer. Seltzer launched his action in 2010, saying the band had used his drawing “Scream Icon” without permission. A poster lf the image had been photographed by Green Day’s set designer Richard Staub on a wall on Sunset Boulevard in 2008 and  later incorporated the image into a four-minute video backdrop for Green Day’s song “East Jesus Nowhere”, a song about religious hypocrisy.  “The video depicts a brick alleyway covered in graffiti,” the ruling says: “As ‘East Jesus Nowhere’ is performed, several days pass at an accelerated pace and graffiti artists come and go, adding new art, posters, and tags to the brick alleyway. The graffiti includes at least three images of Jesus Christ, which are defaced over the course of the video.” While the image remains in the center of the frame throughout the video, it has been altered by a red spray-painted cross, and the court agreed with U.S. District…

Thicke set for copyright battle
Copyright , Music Publishing / September 2013
USA

COPYRIGHT Music publishing, sound recordings   According to The Hollywood Reporter, Robin Thicke (along with Pharrell Williams and T.I.) has filed a suit in federal court in California against both the family of Marvin Gaye and a publishing company that holds the rights to some of Funkadelic’s compositions. The reason? Both of those parties have claimed that “Blurred Lines” – THE party anthem of 2013 – borrows from their own work, and thus they should be entitled to royalties. The Gaye family’s claim is “especially absurd”, as they claim that “Blurred Lines” feels and sounds the same as Gaye’s “Got To Give It Up” and that, according to the suit, “the Gaye defendants are claiming ownership of an entire genre, as opposed to a specific work.” Meanwhile, Bridgeport Music says that “Blurred Lines” sounds too much like Funkadelic’s “Sexy Ways.” Both parties have threatened litigation if they aren’t paid, which is why Thicke, Williams, and T.I. have filed suit in order to get the matter settled immediately. In an interesting twist, Billboard reported that prior to his federal suit, it seems that Robin Thicke allegedly offered a substantial payout to the family of Marvin Gaye   http://music-mix.ew.com/2013/08/16/robin-thicke-marvin-gaye-lawsuit/ http://news.ninemsn.com.au/entertainment/2013/08/24/11/13/robin-thicke-offered-payout-over-copyright-claim-billboard

Australian High Court decides simulcast dispute
Copyright , Internet / September 2013
Australia

COPYRIGHT Broadcasting, internet   The International Federation of The Phonographic Industry has welcomed a recent ruling that brings to an end a long legal battle between the record and radio industries in Australia. The dispute centred on whether existing music licenses held by commercial radio stations in Australia covered simulcasts on the internet and the High Court Of Australia has backed lower court rulings that radio stations do need new licences to webcast sound recordings. Welcoming last week’s ruling yesterday, IFPI boss Frances Moore said: “This welcome ruling confirms that Australian broadcasters should pay rights holders when they stream their music online. It is a well established principle in most countries that broadcasters should pay a fair rate for the recorded music they use to attract audiences and drive advertising revenues. This principle should hold true when they use simulcasting technology to reach an audience online”. And I suppose that’s right – IF it’s a new audience.

PRS for Music and YouTube sign licensing deal
Copyright , Internet , Music Publishing / September 2013
UK

COPYRIGHT Internet, music publishing   UK Publisher and songwriter collection society PRS for Music and YouTube have  signed a multi-year licence covers over 130 territories The licence covers the use of the “significant repertoire” represented by PRS for Music in videos streamed on the video platform e.g. official music videos and content, live footage, soundtracks and user generated content (UGC). The licence also includes the rights to a growing range of independent repertoire available through PRS for Music’s IMPEL initiative such as David Bowie (Bucks Music), Justin Timberlake (Imagem), Lou Reed (Spirit) and Goldie (Westbury) covering more than 130 territories in Europe, Middle East and North Africa. Robert Ashcroft, Chief Executive PRS for Music, said, “Streaming is a key growth area for PRS for Music, helping drive our online revenues to over £50M in 2012. YouTube’s vast reach around the world offers our publishers and songwriters a unique stage and music lovers access to millions of songs. I am delighted we have reached such an important multi-territory agreement. The issue of remuneration from streaming services remains a key one for our members and the further evolution of our licensing relationship with YouTube will help ensure continued growth in royalties for…

New term provisions for co-written works in the UK
Copyright , General , Music Publishing / September 2013
UK

COPYRIGHT Music Publishing   PRS for Music reminds all of its authors and composers, and Music Law Updates,  that from the 1st  November 2013 a legislative change will alter the way the term of UK copyright protection for a co-written work is calculated. From this date the term of protection for the music and words within the co-written work will now expire 70 years after the death of the last surviving author of that work (composer or lyricist) rather than the current provisions where music and words within a co-written work are treated as separate copyright works with their own individual term of protection. The new law applies to co-written works made: on or after 1 November 2013; before 1 November 2013, where the musical work and/or words are still in copyright in UK on 31 October 2013; before 1 November 2013, where music or the words are protected in at least one member state of the European Economic Area on 1 November 2013. http://www.prsformusic.com/aboutus/essentialinformation/aboutcopyright/Pages/aboutmusiccopyright.aspx

$100 million sampling lawsuit filed
Copyright , Music Publishing / September 2013
USA

COPYRIGHT Recorded music   CMU Daily reported that a $100 million lawsuit has been filed targeting various hip hop producers and rappers, along with their music publishers and labels, over allegations they were all involved in illegally sampling and using music created by New Orleans jazz ensemble The Batiste Brothers. Amongst those accused of using extracts of the Batiste Brothers’ work without permission are T-Pain, DJ Khaled, Rick Ross and Pitbull, while corporate defendants include Universal’s Def Jam and Sony’s RCA. The litigation has been filed by Paul Batiste and in his legal papers he refers to “an immense number of songs infringing upon the plaintiff’s catalogue”. Numerous such songs are then listed, including Jamie Fox and T-Pain’s ‘Blame It’ and DJ Khaled’s ‘All I Do Is Win’. According to AllHipHop.com, the lawsuit claims that “defendants have blatantly poached beats, lyrics, melodies and chords from Plaintiff’s songs” and that “many of the defendants songs have been released multiple times, in multiple versions and that each release constitutes an independent act of copyright infringement”.   http://www.thecmuwebsite.com/article/hip-hop-acts-and-labels-face-100-million-copyright-lawsuit/

Google says Gmail users have no right to privacy
Internet , Privacy / September 2013
EU
UK
USA

PRIVACY Internet   CNET reports that “Google has made it clear that people who send or receive e-mail via Gmail should not expect their messages to remain private.” In a 39-page motion filed in June to have a class-action data-mining lawsuit dismissed, the Web giant cites Smith v. Maryland, a 1979 Supreme Court decision that upheld the collection of electronic communications without a warrant. The filing states “Just as a sender of a letter to a business colleague cannot be surprised that the recipient’s assistant opens the letter, people who use web-based email today cannot be surprised if their emails are processed by the recipient’s [e-mail provider] in the course of delivery. Indeed, ‘a person has no legitimate expectation of privacy in information he voluntarily turns over to third parties.’” CNET reports that the Plaintiffs in the case contend that Google’s automated scanning of e-mail represents an illegal interception of their electronic communications without their consent. However, Google, which uses automated scanning to filter spam and deliver targeted advertising to its users, noted that plaintiffs consented to the practice in exchange for the e-mail services. Google goes on to say that courts have held that all e-mail users “necessarily give…

Bradford Bulls concert accused of drunken chaos
Licensing , Live Events / September 2013
UK

LICENSING Live events Industry   Bosses at Super League rugby club Bradford Bulls have denied a 1980s revival concert descended into “chaos” because of unsupervised drinking, failed to manage queues and had a “total disregard” for the public safety of revellers. Police have requested a review of its alcohol licence over a string of alleged breaches. Police licensing officer Su Dawson had requested a review of the premises licence held by OK Bulls Ltd, saying the club had shown a “complete disregard and dismissive attitude” to the Licensing Act 2003. But Ryan Whitcut, general manager at the club, said the allegation of “chaos” was unfounded and the review was a “waste of public money” saying “No-one drunk was served, there was no chaos” and “People were queuing in an orderly fashion” and “The queues were long and more facilities were needed, but I know our staff on that night will have done everything they could to get the queues down”. Saying that he was confident that the Licensing Committee would side with the Club Mr Whitcut insisted ““We are not going to have our licence taken away whatsoever.” PC Dawson said the marquee bar was “in chaos” throughout the concert…

Ticket fraudster gets four more years in prison
Criminal Law , Live Events / September 2013
UK

CRIMINAL Live events industry   Convicted fraudster Alan Scott has had an additional four years added to his seven year prison sentence after failing to pay back £500,000 of ill gotten gains that was ordered by the judge at Southwark Crown Court. Scott and partner in Xclusive, Terence Shepherd, were masterminds behind a £5 million fraud where thousands of customers applied for but never received tickets for events including the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. Victims included double Olympic gold medallist Rebecca Adlington’s parents and many sports and festival fans. Shepherd received an eight year sentence – and has also now failed to meet a deadline to pay back the £1.25 million he received from the scam, with a default sentence of six years if he fails to pay.   More here http://www.sfo.gov.uk/our-work/our-cases/case-progress/xclusive.aspx

Will asks is I AM protected? Justin gets into Nightime trouble and, Game falls foul of Rolex.
Artists , Trade Mark / August 2013
USA

TRADE MARK Artists   Will.i.am is taking legal action against Pharrell Williams over the latter’s use of “I AM” in a trade mark dispute – Will.i.am is claiming that he owns rights to the phrase “I AM” and that Pharrell’s logo to his brand “i am OTHER” is “confusingly similar” with court papers saying “The registration of the mark . . . is likely to dilute the I AM mark and the WILL.I.AM mark”. And in another name spat, US sexual assault awareness charity Take Back The Night has issued a complaint via lawyers over the new Justin Timberlake “very sexual” single, which bears the same name and the charity believes the single could have a detrimental effect on the charity’s online presence with Executive Director Katherine Koestner explaining: “Everyone at Take Back The Night is really shocked, because normally, we get asked when people want to use the name. Normally entities as large as Justin Timberlake do very kind and thoughtful things to support our cause. We have some big concerns. For example, all of a sudden on Wikipedia, ‘Take Back The Night’ has a different definition. That’s not been helpful”. The legal grounds fro any complaint remain unclear…

Rihanna tests image rights in English law
Artists , Image Rights / August 2013
UK

IMAGE RIGHTS Artists, merchandise Rihanna has succeeded in an action against TopShop, after asking the High Court to issue an injunction against the UK retail chain to prevent further sales of T-shirts bearing her likeness. The complaint, against Topshop’s parent company Arcadia Group Brands Limited, was in relation to a line of products which featured a photo of Rihanna, taken by a freelance photographer “without her permission” while on the set of her music video We Found Love in 2011. It was argued that the image used on the T-shirts was “very similar” to pictures included on CD sleeves for her album Talk That Talk, on which the single is featured, and therefore could have duped fans into thinking the products were licensed by the star and as such amounted to passing off, and likely to have damaged her reputation with fans once they discovered it was not a “genuine” piece of merchandise with an “emotional connection to their heroine”. Topshop’s legal team argued “We resist the claim on two main bases; first, this is, in substance and reality, an impermissible attempt by Rihanna to establish an image reproduction right in the UK. There is no such right. “On the contrary, Topshop are…

Article: What goes around comes around: the copyright roundabout
Copyright / August 2013
EU
UK

COPYRIGHT All Areas By Andrew Potter   It is said that when David Cameron was recently in Brussels, he was asked by other leaders why, when the UK was probably the richest European country in term of creativity, he wanted to water down the copyright law. This apparently made him sit up, and there is increasing evidence of a sea change from the time when Google appeared to be dictating the new government’s policy in this area. With copyright, governments tend to behave to a pattern: when they are newly elected, they are immediately lobbied by powerful users who claim that copyright stunts business development. Then they start to learn what it is all about and realise that creativity is a business too, that many creative people can be useful and prominent advocates, and that the likes of Adele or Anthony Gormley can be a cause of national pride. So, instead of watering it down, successive governments during the past century have been persuaded with each new law or amendment to strengthen rather than weaken copyright. The latest cycle began with the Hargreaves Review. It dutifully asserted that copyright laws are ‘today obstructing innovation and economic growth’. It offered a…