Over 2,000 premium SoundCloud users demand copyright policy change
Copyright , Internet / May 2013
France

COPYRIGHT Internet   SoundCloud’s copyright policy has been met with complaints as almost 2,500 premium registered teir displeasure that their activities are being limited by StormCloud policies on mashups, mixes and more. A petition is requesting the streaming site reverts to “a real promotion tool” and “not a website just to have fancy audio players.” The campaign is being headed up by French DJ/producer Stephan Hedfors, who said: “Soundcloud was a great promotion tool for musicians. Unfortunately, with their new copyright policy, even original content can be flagged as copyrighted content, removed from their website and account from the artists can be closed” adding “Bootlegs, mashups are not allowed anymore, despite the facts that people who make them don’t earn money from them and that some of the biggest artists support them.” Soundcloud have responded saying that they are “striving to resolve any conflicts that have arisen from legitimate rights holders getting caught up in any takedown requests.” Acknowledging some user’s frustration, a spokesperson told Music Week: “At SoundCloud we use a well-established and market leading third party content ID system to help identify and block known copyright works from appearing on our platform. Unfortunately, this sometimes has the unwanted…

German DJ’s in dispute with GEMA
Germany

COPYRIGHT Music publishing, live events sector   A dispute between the German DJ fraternity and Germany’s music publishing rights collecting society GEMA resulted in two protests outside the rights organisation’s offices in Dortmund and Munichin Aprilk, the latter also supported by the German Pirate Party. The DJs are protesting a recently announced new licence that GEMA has introduced which means that DJs who play their sets off laptops or similar devices must pay a royalty into the collecting organisation, seemingly to cover the ‘mechanical copy’ said DJs are making of any songs they rip from CD or transfer from another device to the computer they perform with. While in Germany such copies are exempt from royalty payments if for personal use, the minute said copied songs are played in public that exemption does not apply, says the rights body. The cost will be 13 cents for each copied track, although bulk track options are also available. Billboard calculated that an average DJ with, say, 15,000 tracks on his or her laptop would face an annual licence fee of 1500 euros. The DJs have also pointed out that GEMA already receives royalties from club promoters for the performing rights that exist…

Cavalcade Records Ltd v HHO Multimedia Ltd
UK

COPYRIGHT Recorded music   Although the news of Cavalcade Records Ltd (trading as Minder Records Ltd) succeeding in its copyright infringement action against HHO Multimedia Ltd is no longer hot news, the case — which is not available on the BAILII database but can be found on Music Week, is not without interest. The claim, adjudicated in the Patents County Court by Judge Colin Birss QC, related to an early Rod Stewart recording, The Blues. HHO was shown to have made Minder’s recording available to a third party partner, Cleopatra Records Inc, which subsequently sold recordings to the public, both as part of physical packages and digitally. The court granted a permanent injunction against HHO and also awarded Minder damages and costs (the latter being estimated at a little over £40,000). According to a note on this decision on the Lawtel subscription-only service, the damages were not merely compensatory but also additional (= punitive) because, “although the defendant had not received a significant benefit in licensing a music track, it was a fragrant and deliberate infringement and it had demonstrated a reckless attitude”. The parties were actually some way apart on the question of quantum. Minder’s claim that it was entitled to…

Safe harbor defence does not apply to pre-1972 recordings
USA

COPYRIGHT Recorded music, internet   In a case involving the controversial website Grooveshark, a New York state appeals court has held that the safe harbor defence found in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act does not apply to pre-1972 recordings. a panel of five judges in the New York State Supreme Court of Appeals found in favor of Universal Music Group (UMG) in its copyright suit against Grooveshark, reversing a lower state court decision favoring Escape Media Group Inc., the operators of Grooveshark. UMG Recording, Inc. had sued Grooveshark, an internet-based music streaming service, for copyright infringement, accusing it of uploading around 100,000 recordings without authorisation. Grooveshark conceded that it could not ensure that each work uploaded to its servers was a non-infringing work however, it claimed that it operated on the basis that it was shielded from infringement claims by the safe harbor provisions of the DCMA. Many of the recordings uploaded by Grooveshark were made before 15 February 1972 which is significant as, when the US Copyright Act was amended in 1971 to include sound recordings, Congress expressly extended federal copyright protection only to recordings “fixed” on 15 February 15 1972 or after. UMG claimed that by permitting the pre-1972 recordings…

Pressure for copyright reform gathers pace
Copyright / May 2013
USA

COPYRIGHT All areas   Last month the Register of Copyrights Maria Pallante called for copyright reform and the adoption of “The Next Great Copyright Act” to address issues around licensing, digital first sale, and exceptions and limitations, including enhancing clarity. During her testimony to the House Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet Committee on the Judiciary, Pallante explained “The law is showing the strain of its age and requires your attention. As many have noted, authors do not have effective protections, good faith businesses do not have clear roadmaps, courts do not have sufficient direction, and consumers and other private citizens are increasingly frustrated” and that the US needed  “the next great copyright act”  which Pallante said  is needed as consumers are increasingly “accessing content on mobile devices and fewer and fewer of them will need or desire the physical copies that were so central to the 19th and 20th century copyright laws.” It’s not just one issue – digitization is the main driver, but there are other reforms that have been suggested: clarifying the scope of exclusive rights; revising exceptions and limitations for libraries and archives; addressing orphan works; accommodating people who have disabilities when they access…

New EU rules may put pressure on unexplained ticketing charges
Contract , Live Events / May 2013
EU
UK

CONTRACT Live events industry   New regulations have come effect last weekend that will stop UK companies from including anything but ‘cost of sale’ in payment surcharges which may have a major impact on the ticketing business where a variety of additional costs are often added the cost of tickets including credit card booking fees, delivery, ‘transaction’ and ‘booking’ fees . The Regulations ban traders from charging consumers more than the cost borne to them for accepting a given means of payment. The Consumer Protection (Payment Surcharges) Regulations which stem from EU legislation were passed by the UK parliament last year and brought into effect on the 6 April  say that where credit card fees are added to purchases, a seller can’t use that extra charge to increase profit margin, ie the fee must only cover costs directly linked to the credit card transaction. The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has issued guidelines to try to define “costs directly linked to the credit card transaction. Fees charged to a seller by a credit card provider can be included, and according to the guidelines so can any costs directly related to fulfilment  – IT costs, risk management and anti-fraud efforts….

The Hives must re-pay The Cardigans £1.8 million in Swedish studio muddle
Artists , Contract / May 2013
Sweden

CONTRACT Artists   The Hives have been ordered to pay fellow Swedish band The Cardigans 18.5 million kroner (about £1.8 million), after a legal battle resulting from dubious financial management practices at the Malmö-based Tambourine Studios. According to local media reports, the Lund District Court heard that it was standard practice at Tambourine Studios to move money between the accounts of artists it represented to provide cheap cash flow. This was how 18.5 million kroner belonging to The Cardigans ended up in The Hives’ account. The Hives argued that they were never told by Tambourine that some of the money transferred into their band account was, in essence, a loan from other artists, in particular The Cardigans, and in a blog post ahead of the court hearing the band stated “there are no loan agreements, no signed documents, no agreements on interest rates”. The judge hearing the case agreed that the transfers made by Tambourine “shouldn’t be viewed as a loan”, given the lack of any formal agreements to that effect, but nevertheless the money that belonged to The Cardigans should be returned to them. The case is reportedly one of a number involving Tambourine Studios (“the greatest music studio…

Pirate bay founder charged over hacking
Criminal Law , Internet / May 2013
Sweden

CRIMINAL Internet   One of The Pirate Bay founders, Gottfrid Svartholmn Warg has been charged with aggravated fraud, attempted aggravated fraud, and being an accomplice to attempted aggravated fraud, over allegations he was involved in the hacking of computer systems of various Swedish state agencies, as well as making an illegal online money transfer. Svartholm, was extradited from Cambodia last year and incarcerated on return to his home country. He had previously failed to attend appeal hearings in relation to his Pirate Bay conviction, so that his one year prison sentence stemming from that charge stood.   http://www.digitalspy.co.uk/tech/news/a473820/pirate-bay-founder-gottfrid-svartholm-warg-charged-with-hacking-fraud.html

Sarah Harding banned from driving but says sorry
Artists , Criminal Law / May 2013
UK

CRIMINAL Artists   Former Girls Aloud member Sarah Harding has been banned from driving for six months after admitting to failing to stop for police when she was spotted talking on her phone while driving in central London. Harding was arrested and taken to Holborn Police Station to be charged with using her phone while driving and failing to stop for police. She appeared at Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court to face the charges where District Judge Nina Tempia disqualified her and ordered Harding to pay a fine of £500, plus a £20 ‘victim surcharge’ and £85 court costs. Her lawyer, Nick Freeman, argued that his client had “suffered more than a normal person because of the media attention her arrest had attracted”. District Judge Tenpia disagreed. She gave Ms Harding credit for pleading guilty straight away to the charge and said her charity work was admirable, but said she was a “normal person” and should be treated as such. After the hearing Harding was repentant saying “Too many people use their mobile phone whilst driving and think it’s acceptable. It is not. Every year people die or are seriously injured because they were distracted making that ‘oh so important call’….

Harlem Shakes up two sampling claims, RZA fights back against another claim, and Frank Ocean “Lost” at sea!
USA

COPYRIGHT Record labels, music publishers   The ‘Harlem Shake’ internet phenomenon has prompted two separate artists to come forward, each claiming ownership of one of the two phrases that appear in the now much used and much reversioned Baauer track. With the track now earning substantial sums from YouTube plays, not to mention more conventional download monies on the back of the ‘Harlem Shake’ video craze, retired reggaeton artist Hector Delgado has come forward to claim ownership of the repeated “con los terroristas” line that appears in the track, while Philadelphia rapper Jayson Musson says he is behind the “do the Harlem Shake” moment. Musson, who originally said “do the Harlem Shake” in a 2001 track called ‘Miller Time’, released by the group Plastic Little, says he has been in “friendly talks” with Diplo-led label Mad Decent, which released ‘Harlem Shake’, about getting a cut of income now that the track is bringing in substantial royalties. Having apparently called Baauer, real name Harry Rodrigues, to thank him for “doing something useful with our annoying music”, Musson said that “Mad Decent have been more than cooperative during this”. Delgado, now a preacher, who was previously also known as Hector “El Bambino” and…

OfCom asks pirates some questions
Copyright , Internet / April 2013
UK

COPYRIGHT Internet   Media regulator OfCom has published a report based on research into digital content consumption and piracy by Kantar Media, in which 5500 people were surveyed about how they consumed content online between the start of August and end of October last year. According to the poll, 5% of those surveyed admitted to exclusively accessing content via unlicensed platforms, while 16% admitted to accessing at least one piece of content from an illegal source. 10% of those surveyed admitted to accessing at least some music from non-legit platforms. Of the pirates surveyed, over a third said they were still using P2P networks to access unlicensed content, while 10% were raiding unlocked digital lockers to find free stuff. In terms of motivation, half admitted the fact illegal content was free was a key factor, while convenience and speed were also noted by nearly half, with 26% claiming they used illegal services as a ‘try before I buy’ facility. In terms of turning those pesky pirates into consumers of digital content, nearly a third said cheaper legal services might appeal, while a quarter cited confusion over what is legit and not legit, and a similar number claimed that some of…

Retitling of songs means millions missing in unreported artist royalties
EU
UK
USA

COPYRIGHT Artists, record labels, music publishing   A new report, the “State of the Music Licensing Industry: 2013” provides evidence that shows an increasingly problematic music licensing landscape for recording artists, labels and publishers and highlights that whilst the music licensing industry continues to grow as a multi-billion dollar segment of the global music industry, there remains some unhealthy practices, most notably the prolific practice of retitling. Retitling is where a music licensing company re-registers a song under a different title with a performing rights organization (PRO), allowing for the royalties to be separately tracked when that song is licensed for a specific third party use. This allows the music licensing company to control and earn a significant share of the royalties collected. The report states that 40% of music licensing companies retitle works for a share in royalties garnered from “sync” placements. “The practice of retitling is considered unhealthy for artists and for the music licensing industry. It can be very problematic, as one piece of music with many titles is confusing and can lead to multiple parties claiming ownership of the same work and ultimately artists not receiving royalties owed, if at all” said Winston Giles, CEO and…

Jersey Boys use of Ed Sullivan clip IS fair use
Copyright / April 2013
USA

COPYRIGHT Television, theatre, all areas   A short clip of Ed Sullivan’s TV show, used in “Jersey Boys” the smash hit musical about the Four Seasons, has been held to be “the very definition of fair use” by a US court in what some will feel is a very liberal interpretation of the doctrine. The 9th Circuit Appeals Court has ruled that a 7-second video which Ed Sullivan’s introduction of Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons on the night of January 2nd, 1966, in an episode of his eponymous variety TV show, was not an infringement of copyright. Dodger Productions and Dodger Theatricals used the clip in the “Jersey Boys” to show how the US band thrived in a pop music scene dominated by the “British Invasion”. SOFA Entertainment, which owns the rights to “The Ed Sullivan Show” thought otherwise and sued Dodger for copyright infringement – after the company’s founder, Andrew Solt, attended a performance in Los Angeles. At first instance District Judge Dolly Gee granted Dodger summary judgment based on the doctrine of  fair use, and awarded $155,000 in attorneys’ fees. The federal appeals court has now unanimously affirmed the decision after hearing oral arguments last month. It…

Pirate Bay human rights appeal fails
Sweden

COPYRIGHT Internet, record labels, music publishing   Two of the founders of the Pirate Bay have failed in what I presume is their final appeal against their convictions for copyright infringement in the Swedish criminal courts, with the European Court of Human Rights finding that Sweden had rightly convicted the pair. Fredrik Neij and Peter Sunde were sentenced to one year imprisonment by the Stockholm District Court in April 2009 for crimes against the Copyright Act. Together with two other defendants they were also found liable for damages of approximately K30 million (US$4.3 million). Their prison sentences were reduced in November 2010 by the Svea Court of Appeal, but the joint damages were increased by that court to K46 million (US6.8 million). The Swedish Supreme Court denied them an appeal hearing in February 2012. Neij and Sunde complained that their convictions infringed their freedom of expression under Article 10 of the European Convention in Human Rights and that as their website facilitated the exchange of information, they could not be held liable for their user’s infringing acts. The ECHR had to balance Article 10 – the freedom of expression (even if such included material that infringed copyright) with the legitimate…

New research says that music piracy should not be a “concern for copyright holders”
Copyright , Internet / April 2013
UK

COPYRIGHT Internet   Along with the OfCom report on research into digital content consumption also referred to in this Month’s Updates, new research by two European Commission researchers finds that “digital music piracy should not be viewed as a growing concern for copyright holders in the digital era” and that the results “indicate that new music consumption channels such as online streaming positively affect copyrights owners.” The results fly in the face of a recent report that said  the closure of online platform MegaUpload almost certainly directly led to a decrease in online film piracy and an increase in legal digital sales of movies. Brett Danaher and Michael D. Smith, professors at Wellesley College and Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) said that “the closing of a major online piracy site can increase digital media sales, and by extension we provide evidence that Internet movie piracy displaces digital film sales.” The two authors of the new report , Luis Aguiar and Bertin Martens, from the EU’s Information Society Unit, now say “Although there is trespassing of private property rights (copyrights), there is unlikely to be much harm done on digital music revenues” adding “This result, however, must be interpreted in the context…

US Register of Copyrights proposes shorter terms
Copyright / April 2013
USA

COPYRIGHT All areas   US Register of Copyrights Maria Pallante has said that copyright law is showing the strain of its age and requires the attention of Congress commenting “a central equation for Congress to consider is what does and does not belong under a copyright owner’s control in the digital age. I do not believe that the control of copyright owners should be absolute, but it needs to be meaningful. People around the world increasingly are accessing content on mobile devices and fewer and fewer of them will need or desire the physical copies that were so central to the 19th and 20th century copyright laws.”   Pallante has proposed that the US government shorten copyright terms saying “You may want to consider alleviating some of the pressure and gridlock brought about by the long copyright term for example, by reverting works to the public domain after a period of life plus fifty years unless heirs or successors register their interests with the Copyright Office” – although Pallante is still suggesting that copyright owners be allowed the current life-plus-seventy term if they ask for it. Bit she argues that the purpose of copyright law is to stimulate the production…

Bow Wow loses porn star by default
Artists , Copyright , Image Rights / April 2013
France
USA

COPYRIGHT / IMAGE RIGHTS Artistes   Rapper Bow Wow has been ordered to pay out $80,000 in damages to French porn star Celine ‘Katsuni’ Tran after he used footage of her dancing in a music video without permission. Tran appeared as a dancer in a video for French band Electronic Conspiracy, but Bow Wow then used some of that footage for the pop promo for his track ‘Drank In My Cup’ last year. Recognising that Bow Wow and his label Universal may have sought permission from whoever filmed the original footage, Tran sued for publicity right violations, rather than copyright infringement. In the end, though, that distinction didn’t matter because Bow Wow failed to respond to the lawsuit, so the judge overseeing the case automatically ruled in Tran’s favour, ordering the rapper to pay damages and legal fees totalling $79,346.07.   Posting on Facebook  Bow Wow said: “Yo! That dumb ass pornstar chick who ever she is ain’t getting a dime from us! We ain’t make no video. That video was mashed up by somebody on YouTube and I reposted cuz it was dope. People mash up artist videos all the time online. Everybody looking for a hustle. Then they…

Dr Dre looks to protect ‘Beats’ mark
Artists , Trade Mark / April 2013
USA

TRADE MARK Artistes, all areas   Rapper Dr. Dre and the company he co-founded, Beats Electronics, LLC, are on the offensive at the US Trademark Trial and Appeal Board challenging a multitude of third-party applications for marks which consist of or contain the word “Beat”. The company owns a number of trademark registrations for use of its various BEATS marks on headphones, speakers, headsets, and other related electronic products and has applications pending for future use on clothing and other items. The WSH law blog reports that the targets of this campaign are mix of smaller, little-known companies as well as big players such as Sony. The company claims a “likelihood of confusion” between its alleged rights in its various BEATS marks and the various “BEAT” marks applied for by third parties.  Sony, for example, has applied to register the mark “BEATS” for computer games, toy figures, and online gaming services, none of which are incorporated in any of the registrations or applications owned by Beats Electronic It also claims for “dilution” of its rights by the proposed uses of these various marks. The goods and which are the subject of some of the opposed applications include clothing, software, electronic…

AEG’s Wembley deal faces regulator scrutiny
Competition , Live Events / April 2013
UK

COMPETITION Live events sector   AEG’s deal to take over the running of Wembley Arena has been referred to the Competition Commission after an initial investigation by the Office of Fair Trading. Late last year AEG won the rights to manage the Wembley Arena venue, previously held by Live Nation, but concerns were raised because AEG also operates London’s other arena venue at The O2 complex, as well as the Hammersmith Apollo, one of the bigger theatre venues for the music and comedy industries, and often would control a major ‘stepping stone’ for acts, particularly comedy acts, moving from club venues to theatres and then on to their arenas for the first time. AEG also now control concerts in London’s Hyde Park. The OFT confirmed it was referring AEG’s Wembley contract to the Competition Commission on Friday “due to concerns the merger may substantially reduce competition in the live entertainment venue sector”. A previous referral, when a Live Nation headed consortium brought out the Academy Group resulting in all five of London’s mid-sized rock venues under one company’s control (The Forum, Shepherds Bush Empire, Brixton Academy, Hammersmith Apollo and the now defunct Astoria), led to the disposal of two venues…

Kiss fan sues Live Nation over cannon blast
Health & Safety , Live Events / April 2013
USA

HEALTH AND SAFETY Live events sector                           A Kiss fan is suing Live Nation after being allegedly injured by debris discharged by a cannon during a show by the flamboyant rockers at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater in St Louis, Missouri in August last year. It seems that the claimant, William Mueller Jr, was already receiving treatment for brain cancer at the time of the show and his claim says that he was injured after the on-stage cannon “exploded and with great force launched a metal ratchet tie-down strap” that hit the claimant, who was standing by his allotted seat at the time. Noting that Mueller was already in a “weakened and vulnerable condition” because of his illness, the lawsuit says: “[The] defendants owed to [the] plaintiff the duty to exercise the highest degree of care for his safety. [The] defendants’ actions, conduct, or omissions were negligent, negligent per se, or both and were not those of a reasonably prudent person”. The defendants in the action are Live Nation, and the members of Kiss are not (currently) listed as defendants.   http://www.courthousenews.com/2013/03/20/55886.htm

As AEG take on Wembley Arena, the OFT will take a look at control of London’s Arenas
Competition , Live Events / March 2013
UK

COMPETITION Live events sector   The Office of Fair Trading is to formally investigate plans to award AEG the management contract at the Wembley Arena, particularly in light of its continued management of the O2 Arena, and competition issues raised by its recent award to stage concerts in London’s Hyde Park and its purchase of the Hammersmith Apollo in the capital. A deal to manage Wembley Areana would put the company in control of London’s two main arena venues, as well as the Apollo, often the ‘stepping stone venue’ for bands and comedians looking to move from theatres to arenas. The OFT investigation will look at whether the proposed Wembley deal will lead to a “substantial lessening of competition” within London’s live music market. If the OFT decides there are legitimate concerns, it could refer the AEG/Wembley deal to the Competition Commission. AEG’s main rival Live Nation’s growth in London caused concerns at the OFT back in 2007 when it acquired a slice of the Academy Music Group, the Competition Commission decided that the proposed acquisition of a controlling interest in Academy Music Holdings Limited (Academy) by Hamsard 2786 Limited (Hamsard) would lead to a substantial lessening of competition in…

Competition Commission provisional decision on UK radio merger
Competition / March 2013
UK

COMPETITION Broadcasting   The Competition Commission (CC) has provisionally found that the completed acquisition by Global Radio Holdings Limited (Global) of Real and Smooth Limited (formerly GMG Radio Holdings Limited) could lead to higher prices for advertisers in seven areas of the UK. In a summary of its provisional findings, the CC has found that in many areas where Global and Real & Smooth stations currently overlap and compete, advertisers buying airtime on a campaign-by-campaign basis, directly or through smaller agencies (non-contracted advertising) could face higher costs for both advertising and sponsorship and promotion activity. The CC has, however, provisionally concluded that advertisers using media agencies to buy airtime on a contracted basis and national sponsorship and promotion would not be significantly adversely affected. The CC has provisionally identified seven areas where advertisers could lose out from a loss of competition: the East Midlands; Cardiff; North Wales; Greater Manchester; the North-East; the South and West of Yorkshire; and Central Scotland. The CC estimates non-contracted airtime revenue in the seven areas to be around £50 million. The CC did not find that advertisers would be adversely affected in London and the West Midlands. Simon Polito, Chairman of the Global/GMG Radio inquiry…

Ray Charles Foundation loses case to soul legend’s children
Copyright , Music Publishing / March 2013
USA

COPYRIGHT Music Publishing Back in May last year we reported that the Ray Charles Foundation was taking legal action against a number of the late soul star’s children, claiming that they have reneged on an agreement reached with their father before he died in 2004 regarding his estate, by attempting to reclaim ownership of the copyright in some of the songs he wrote by using US copyright law provisions that say that works may be reclaimed after 35 years (for works written after the law was passed, longer for works that already existed). The Foundation had said that prior to his death, all of the soul singer’s children agreed to forego any future claims to their father’s estate in return for becoming beneficiaries of a $500,000 trust. The remainder of Charles’s estate, including future income from his copyrights, was left to the Foundation, which supports research and education programmes for the hearing impaired, as well as youth education initiatives. The Foundation says that the children have no right to try and reclaim control of the copyrights in their father’s songs. The Foundation’s lawsuit also claim Charles entered into a new deal with his publisher in 1980 involving a number of…

Is Universal Publishing’s exit from collective licensing a step backwards for music industry ‘one stop’ aspirations?
EU
UK
USA

COPYRIGHT Music publishing, recorded music sector, internet   The one question I always get asked by young entrepreneurs setting out to create legitimate digital offerings in the digital music space is where do they go to get licences to use music, and make payments? Well, there is no easy answer. In 2012 Daniel Ek, the creator of Spotify, pointed out that the European Union alone had 27 different  music collection societies for songs – and a similar number for sound recordings as well as the the four major labels dealing directly  for digital rights: Ek said the service’s U.S. debut was then still a few months off as Spotify worked through a maze of licensing issues with publishers, labels and collection societies, saying that to create a new above-board music platform in America under current copyright law required big reserves of money, lawyers and perseverance. And that’s just America! At the time Johanna Shelton, senior policy counsel for Google Inc said “The Internet is a simple distribution platform … [but] we’ve made things unnecessarily complex,” noting that calls for a music rights organisation, a one-stop shop to deal with all licensing issues, had gone unheeded. But we all now know…

Welsh music dispute heads to Tribunal
Copyright , Music Publishing / March 2013
UK

COPYRIGHT Music publishing, broadcasting   The BBC is taking new Welsh language music collection society Eos to the Copyright Tribunal in a row about BBC radio royalties which began back in 2007 when the Welsh songwriters and music publishers were still members of PRS for Music. A three-way discussion between the BBC, PRS and the affected Welsh language music creators ensued and continued for a quite few years without resolution, until eventually over 300 Welsh-language creators and rights owners left the PRS and set up their own collecting society, Eos. There remains a ‘significant gap’ between what the musicians and publishers want, and what the BBC is prepared to pay, and currently BBC Welsh language programming is denied the use of the 30,000 songs is Eos’s database – previously core to BBC Welsh services – making it hard for the national broadcaster to meet Welsh language targets – and of course Welsh music isn’t being played on the BBC radio in Wales, meaning Eos songwriters and publishers are not getting paid. Eos claimed they were being short-changed and the group has accused the BBC of conducting “sham” negotiations. The director of BBC Cymru Wales, Rhodri Talfan Davies, says the corporation…

Prison term for kiwi karoke copycat
New Zealand

COPYRIGHT Internet, music publishing, sound recordings   The owner of a New Zealand karaoke business has been jailed for four months for offering and selling substantial numbers of karaoke tracks – which had been created from scratch by the owners of Auckland-based Sundown Karaoke, which creates karaoke recordings, burns them to disks and sells them around the world, paying on royalties to the appropriate songwriters. Desmond Robert Adams, 40, also known as Heremia Adams, appeared in the Rotorua District Court  having already  pleaded guilty  to a charge under the Copyright Act 1994 of making for sale an object that was an infringing copy of a copyright work. He was sentenced to four months in prison and ordered to pay reparation of $784. Adams was the owner/operator of 1st Choice Karaoke, which provides karaoke and DJ equipment and services throughout New Zealand. According to the police Summary of Facts, in March 2011 Adams advertised karaoke and DJ equipment, and access to 37,000 karaoke songs, on auction website Sella. The complainants contacted him, and Adams sent them a list of songs, telling them he had sold the library to more than 50 clients worldwide. The complainants made a $200 deposit and one…

Germany passes new ‘watered down’ copyright law
Copyright , Internet / March 2013
Germany

COPYRIGHT Internet   German lawmakers approved legislation on Friday that grants publishers the right to charge search engines and other online aggregators for reproducing their content but continues to allow the free use of text in links and brief summaries. In it’s original form, the law was seen as a clear attempt to force big Internet companies like Google to share some of the billions of euros they earn from the sale of advertising placed alongside the news that Google links to. But a last-minute change, proposed last week by the Free Democratic Party, the junior partner in the German government, allowed for the use of “individual words or the smallest excerpts of text” free, meaning that only those companies who reproduce full texts for commercial use will be required to compensate the news publishers. Google welcomed the fact that only a weakened version had passed but made clear its opposition to any form of legislation and the Financial Time headline perhaps says it all – ‘Google wins Germany copyright battle’. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/02/technology/german-copyright-law-targets-google-links.html?_r=0

UK blocks another three bit torrent sites
Copyright , Internet / March 2013
UK

COPYRIGHT Internet   The BPI won three more web-block injunctions, this time against Fenopy, H33t and Kickass Torrents. Mr Justice Arnold said that The UK’s six main internet service providers – Sky, BT, Everything Everywhere, TalkTalk, O2 and Virgin Media – will have to block their customers from accessing these file-sharing sites. BPI boss Geoff Taylor said “blocking illegal sites helps ensure that the legal digital market can grow and labels can continue to sign and develop new talent”, but the Open Rights Group said widespread web-blocking would “encourage new forms of distributed infringement” and that “the BPI should be mindful that their tactics may have the opposite effect to their intention, by legitimising and promoting resistance   http://www.the1709blog.blogspot.co.uk/2013/02/more-on-blocking-injunctions.html

Opera singer’s life ‘destroyed’ by childhood deal
Artists , Contract / March 2013
UK

CONTRACT Artistes Eliana Pretorian, a soprano who has regularly performed at Glyndeborne and Sadlers Wells, said an agreement made when she was just 17 had “derailed” her personal and professional life, leaving her fearing she could be jailed. Now, years after she became embroiled in legal disputes to overturn the deal, a judge has ruled a case against her was “doomed to failure”, with an application to commit her to jail “wholly without merit”. UK-based Pretorian appeared at the Royal Courts of Justice after Romanian businessman Ion Vasile applied for her committal to prison for alleged contempt of court for failing to provide him with financial details of her earnings, The case has its origins in a deal said to have been struck between Miss Pretorian’s father and Mr Vasile in 1999, which the businessman claimed entitled him to a share of her future earnings as a singer in return for financing her music studies. As she was 17, Miss Pretorian’s father is said to have agreed on her behalf to pay Mr Vasile 35 per cent of her professional income – ‘earned in such ten years as he might choose’ – in return for a $6,900 (£4,400) contribution to…

Taylor Swift faces legal call for advance paid on cancelled show
Artists , Contract , Live Events / March 2013
Canada
USA

CONTRACT Artists, live events   Taylor Swift is being sued over a $2.5 million advance she was paid for a Canadian festival appearance that never took place.  Swift was due to headline the Capital Hoedown in Ottawa in the summer of 2012, but it was cancelled by organisers. The legal action was instigated by the event’s ticketing company who were forced to pay out $1.8 million in refunds. A spokesman for the singer pointed out that she had no direct agreement with the ticketing firm: I would imagine that if cancelled for no good reason, Swifts own contract (or contract rider) would be the determining document here – and that would be with the promoter – and this would no doubt cover what would happen to any deposit in the event of cancellation. http://www.ctvnews.ca/entertainment/taylor-swift-sued-over-cancelled-ottawa-concert-tmz-1.1160933

Brazilian nightclub owner wishes ‘he had never been born’
Health & Safety , Live Events / March 2013
Brazil

HEALTH & SAFETY Live events sector   The owner of the Kiss nightclub in southern Brazil where 238 people died in a fire has said he wishes he had never been born, and has deflected blame to architects, safety inspectors and “the whole country”. His lawyer,  Jader Marques, said his client, Elissandro Spohr (28), “regretted having ever been born” because of his grief over the fire, but still blamed Sunday’s tragedy on “a succession of errors made by the whole country.” Spohr and co-owner Mauro Hoffman had been arrested, along with  Gurizada Fandangueira member Marcelo Santos, who was arrested at the wake of band member Danilo Jacques who died in the fire. As the toll of those injured continued to grow as some 22 of those who escaped returned to hospital with respiratory complications, police investigating the blaze have confirmed it is likely to have started when the band Gurizada Fandangueira lit an allegedly cheap outdoor flare, which ignited soundproofing foam on the ceiling. That initial error was compounded by the near-total lack of emergency infrastructure such as a fire alarms or sprinkler systems. It also seems that the club also had only one working door, one or more faulty and sub-standard fire…

Four arrested in aftermath of Brazillian nighclub disaster
Health & Safety , Live Events / February 2013
Brazil

HEATH & SAFETY Live events sector At least 231 people have died in a fire in a Brazilian nightclub, with fears that the death toll could rise further. The blaze, at the Kiss nightclub in the city of Santa Maria, in the south of Brazil, apparently began when a band lit a flare or fireworks which ignited sound proofing foam on the ceiling. Guitarist Rodrigo Martins, whose band Gurizada Fandangueira was playing at the time of the fire told Radio Gaucha: “We had played around five songs when I looked up and noticed the roof was burning. It might have happened because of the Sputnik, the machine we use to create a luminous effect with sparks. When the fire started, a guard passed us a fire extinguisher, and our singer tried to use it but it wasn’t working”. Reports suggest that as furniture and fittings in the club started to burn, toxic fumes spread, adding to the death toll. Eyewitnesses also say that fire extinguishers in the venue didn’t work, and that the evacuation of the building was hindered because security guards – not realising what was happening inside – wouldn’t let people leave the club before they had settled…

Exit Festival and Foreign Producers of Phonograms: New Challenge for O.F.P.S.
Copyright , Live Events / February 2013

COPYRIGHT Live events sector   Bogdan Ivanišević, Head of IP Practice Group at BDK legal in Serbia brings us news of a recent Challenge to the recoded music collection society in Serbia, O.F.P.S by one of Serbia’s biggest live events, the Exit Festival. Bogdan explains that back in May 2012, The Serbian Commercial Appellate Court denied a request by the Organization of Phonogram Producers of Serbia (O.F.P.S.) to collect royalties for communication to the public of Italian sound recordings in a Belgrade restaurant. A few months later, the same court issued a decision in an ongoing case that might again be the cause of a headache to the collecting society and this time much larger financial stakes are involved because the party opposing O.F.P.S. is the well known “Exit” Festival in Serbia. The annual Exit music festival in Novi Sad was first staged in 2000 at the picturesque Petrovaradin fortress on the banks of the Danube, and the festival is now well known internationally and attracts tens of thousands of fans from all parts of Europe. O.F.P.S. claimed that “Exit” owed it almost 350,000 Euros of unpaid royalties for the use of Serbian and foreign sound recordings during the two festivals held in 2007 and…

Vimeo face fresh claim from EMI post Viacom v YouTube
Copyright , Internet , Record Labels / February 2013
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet, record labels   Headed up by EMI, The US recorded music  industry has filed court papers asking for a summary judgement in their favour regarding a long-running copyright dispute with video website Vimeo. The action, which dates back to 2009, what put on hold pending the outcome of Viacom’s lawsuit against YouTube, which tested the ‘safe harbour’ defence available to websites under the US’s Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Websites like Vimeo and YouTube, which allow users to directly upload content, argue that as they operate takedown systems, removing unlicensed content if made aware of infringement by copyright owners, they have the protection of the ‘safe harbour’ defence against infringement actions.  As ever, it’s a balancing act, and many content owners argue that safe harbour favours website operators and services such as YouTube, and that many websites don’t do enough – and could do a lot more – to remove infringing material from their sites – or even block it ever being loaded up in the first place – and that a system based on “ takedowns” is not enough in the developing digital age. At first instance US District Judge Louis L Stanton granted summary judgement to YouTube…

GEMA and YouTube reach German impasse
Copyright , Internet , Music Publishing / February 2013
Germany

COPYRIGHT Internet, music publishing   Germany’s music collection society GEMA has said that negotiations with YouTube have broken down, and that the society wants to haul the internet video platform before the arbitration board at the German Patent and Trademark Office. GEMA said that it is appealing to the Board over the alleged unlicensed use of 1,000 music tracks from it’s catalogue, and is calling on the Board to decide independently whether its demand for €1.6 million compensation is appropriate. In addition, GEMA is demanding that YouTube take down the on-screen notice blocking music videos in Germany which blames GEMA for the impasse . In November last year, Harald Heker, the head of GEMA,  accused YouTube of deliberately misleading German users of the web service with the notice. The last agreement between GEMA and Youtube expired in March 2009. In a statement GEMA said  “Up till January 2013, despite efforts on both sides, no agreement could be found on the question of the service’s copyright responsibility for the content put online, nor on the amount of remuneration,” adding that on behalf of its music publisher and songwriter members “Therefore GEMA is now taking the first measures to secure appropriate compensation for the copyright holders.”…

Term extension too late for Love Me Do
Artists , Copyright , Record Labels / February 2013
EU
UK

COPYRIGHT Record labels, artistes   Two independent labels have released versions of the Beatles’ track ‘Love Me Do‘ and it’s B side ‘PS I Love You‘ which officially fell out of copyright on 31 December 2012 (after fifty years) against the backdrop of the sound recording copyright term being extended in Europe to a term of seventy years. The term extension was agreed at a European level after a change of heart by the UK government and extensive lobbying by the recorded music industry. For the UK record industry, there was an real urgency, as it’s catalogue of mid-1960s recordings, including key Beatles and Rolling Stones releases, were approaching the end of their 50 year term. The extension, which was dubbed the Cliff Richard extension because an increasing number of the Peter Pan of Pop’s recordings would enter the public domain, was also helped by stories of ageing session musicians who might still earn royalties from the 1960s hits they were involved in, thanks to a rule that says any recording artists involved in a recording are due a cut of public performance royalties via collecting society PPL, despite past recording agreements with the record labels who released and usually…

MPG announce new standard for embedding ISRCs onto WAV files
Copyright , Music Publishing / February 2013
EU

COPYRIGHT Recorded music sector   The Music Producers Guild’s Mastering Group has achieved a significant breakthrough for all recording artists and other copyright owners by working with the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) to create  an industry standard for embedding ISRCs which uniquely indentify sound recordings into digital music files. It is hoped that the adoption of this standard will simplify the reporting of the use of tracks by broadcasters, and the distribution of broadcast royalties. The system would also ensure that ISRCs are carried through the digital aggregation process, and could power a global database containing credit information associated with a track, hopefully overcoming a digital music gripe particularly important to the producer and sound engineer community, shoddy crediting (which, arguably, is a violation of a creator’s moral rights in some copyright systems). The MPG is planning a launch presentation to outline its new standard, and is calling on labels, rights administrators, artists and managers, broadcasters and industry trade groups to get behind the initiative. http://broadcastengineering.com/music-producers-guild-helps-define-new-industry-standard

Mills calls for more support for the content industries from technology loving politicians
Copyright / February 2013
EU
France

COPYRIGHT All areas   Beggars Banquet chief Martin Mills has spoken out against politicians who pay lip service to the creatuve industries. Using a speech at MIDEM to attack the “predatory behaviour” of the majors, and expressing concerns at Sony/ATV/EMI’s recent decision to licence Pandora in the US directly rather than via the collective licensing system Mills went on to say the tell his audience: “I want to address the lack of support that governments, politicians and bureaucrats worldwide show to the creative industries”. He added: “Many [in governmental and political circles] pay lip service to the value and importance of the creative economy, but most fail to match that with their actions. Creative industries are built upon strong and defendable intellectual property rights, and without that they will inevitably wither and fail. It is impossible to make the investments to produce new creative goods without the security that ownership of them is protected. Yet governments are seduced daily by elements of the new technology industry into diluting and compromising that security”. Admitting that rights owners – especially the bigger ones – have made various mistakes in the way they licence online content services in the last fifteen years, and…

Sony hackers receive suspended prison sentences
Copyright , Internet / February 2013
EU

COPYRIGHT Internet   Two men accused of hacking into Sony Music’s servers and stealing unreleased music by a number of high profile artists, including Michael Jackson and Beyoncé, have been found guilty. They were each sentenced to a six month suspended prison sentence and 100 hours of community service according to a report in the Guardian. James Marks (27) and James McCormick (26) were arrested in March last year and initially denied the various copyright and computer misuse charges laid upon them, their lawyer saying at the time that they were just massive fans of Michael Jackson who had got carried away. When the case came to court, both pleaded guilty. Neelie Kroes, the EU Commissioner for the Digital Agenda, has said that she wants to see more companies report when they have been a victim of a cyber attack  and that more transparency is needed to improve cyber security and enable co-operation to strengthen it, adding that many stay silent as it perceived bad PR to admit to an attack. The CEO of BT, Ian Livingston, ranked hscking as in the top three risks to any company.  New EU measures on cyber security are expected soon. http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2013/jan/14/hackers-michael-jackson-songs-avoid-jail

Anonymous hackers jailed for cyber attacks
Data Protection , Internet , Privacy / February 2013
UK

PRIVACY / COMPUTER CRIME Internet   A student and a church volunteer have been jailed for carrying out cyber attacks with the hacking group Anonymous, including one online assault that cost the payments giant PayPal at least £3.5m. The attacks targeted anti-piracy and financial companies between August 2010 and January 2011. Christopher Weatherhead, a Northampton University student, was sentenced to 18 months in prison on Thursday for his part in distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks on PayPal, Visa and Mastercard in December 2010. Judge Testar also sentenced Ashley Rhodes, 28, to seven months in prison for his part in the activities of the self-styled “hacktivist” group. Rhodes, a church volunteer from Camberwell, south London, sighed and leant his head on the back wall of the dock as his jail term was read out at Southwark crown court. A third man, Peter Gibson, 24, was given a suspended six-month prison sentence for his part in the Anonymous attacks. The sentencing of a fourth man, Jake Burchall, 18, was adjourned. The Ministry of Sound estimated the cost of the attack on its sites as £9,000, while the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry’s costs were more than £20,000 and the British Phonographic Industry’s…

The Pirate Bay and The Pirate Party face actions in Eire and the UK
Copyright , Internet , Record Labels / January 2013
Ireland
UK

COPYRIGHT Record labels, internet   Efforts by the Irish record industry to force internet service providers in the country to block access to The Pirate Bay have reached the Commercial Court in Dublin. The Irish Recorded Music Association has launched proceedings against net firms UPC, Imagine, Vodafone, Digiweb and Hutchison 3G seeking a web-block injunction forcing the named ISPs to stop their customers from accessing the controversial file-sharing websites. In the UK, the BPI has threatened to pursue legal action against five members of the national executive of the Pirate Party and its head of IT over the proxy link it operates providing easy access to The Pirate Bay. The BPI wrote to Pirate Party Leader Loz Kaye last month asking that he stop operating the TPB proxy.  After an initial refusal, the record label trade body is preparing to issue proceedings. The move promoted the Pirate Party to disable the proxy. The Pirate Party have also pulled their legal battle fundraiser campaign. http://torrentfreak.com/pirate-party-shuts-down-pirate-bay-proxy-after-legal-threats-121219/

Article Link: Making Cents
Artists , Copyright , Internet , Record Labels / January 2013
UK
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet, record labels, artistes   Damon Krukowski of Galaxie 500 and Damon & Naomi breaks down the meagre royalties currently being paid out to bands by streaming services and explains what the music business’ headlong quest for capital means for artists today: “Since we own our own recordings, by my calculation it would take songwriting royalties for roughly 312,000 plays on Pandora to earn us the profit of one–one— LP sale. (On Spotify, one LP is equivalent to 47,680 plays.) “, This is a fascinating expose and highlights Spotify’s dash for growth which benefits the shareholders in Spotify, but questions if musicians will ever benefit under business models divorced from music itself. http://pitchfork.com/features/articles/8993-the-cloud/

Clearance problems result in Jessie Ware title change
Artists , Copyright , Music Publishing / January 2013
UK
USA

COPYRIGHT Artistes, Music publishing   Jessie Ware’s debut album ‘Devotion’ will get a physical release in the US later this month but without the original version of the single ‘110%’ won’t be on it – the track will be renamed ‘If You’re Never Gonna Move‘ after Ware was unable to clear a sample on the track from ‘100%’ by late rapper Big Pun. The opening line of the song, which is taken from Big Pun’s track, “Carvin my initials on your forehead“, is replaced by a new line, “Coming on a mission like a warhead“. Ware told Billboard “We had to be imaginative and change the words. It’s annoying but it always happens”, she said. The rest of the album remains untouched though. CMU Daily  14 December 2012 www.thecmuwebsite.com

Alicia Keys faces plagiarism claim
Copyright , Music Publishing / January 2013
USA

COPYRIGHT Music publishing   Alicia Keys facing a legal action from songwriter Earl Shuman over her new single ‘Girl On Fire’. Shuman claims that the lyrics of the song bear similarities to those of his 1962 composition ‘Lonely Girl’, written with Leon Carr and best known on Eddie Holman’s 1970 classic version under the name ‘Hey There Lonely Girl’. The similarity was apparently first brought to his attention via an article on Roger Friedman’s Showbiz 411 website, in which the entertainment journalist stated: “In the middle of the song, Keys sings a two second long couplet from Holman’s ‘Hey There Lonely Girl’. The song was written by Leon Carr and Earl Shuman, Shuman subsequently got in touch with Friedman, firstly to point out that he’s not dead, and secondly so say that he’s not amused with Keys borrowing his words and that legal action would follow. Previously both Anita Baker and Beastie Boys have used unaccredited samples from Holman’s recording of ‘Lonely Girl’, both subsequently reaching settlements with Shuman and the estate of Leon Carr. CMU Daily 19th December 2012 www.cmuwebsite.com

Kraftwerk’s 12-Year lawsuit over a two second sample comes to a bizarre end (nearly)
Artists , Copyright , Music Publishing / January 2013
Germany

COPYRIGHT Music publishing, artistes   Techdirt reports on the rather confusing state of German copyright law related to music sampling, beginning the tale back in 1977 when Kraftwerk released a track called “Metall auf Metall“ that contained a “rather distinctive bit of percussion that ran the length of the track”. Twenty years later, a German rapper called Sabrina Setlur recorded a single called “Nur Mir,” which featured a two-second loop of Kraftwerk’s percussion. In 2000, Kraftwerk took the track’s producers Pelham and Haas to Hamburg’s lower civil court for using an uncleared sample and the court agreed, finding  that re-purposing even the smallest sample of a song counted as copyright infringement. The court also issued an injunction against Pelham and Haas forbidding further distribution of Nur Mir. It’s always worth remembering that in most sampling cases there will sampling of the ‘song’  – the melody, rhythm and lyrics’ and sampling of the actual sound recording itself. For the next eight years Techdirt say “the case bounced between courts before landing in Germany’s highest civil court”,  The Bundesgerichtshof (BGH), which in 2008 ruled against Kraftwerk, stating that “sampling musical notes does not, in principle, violate copyright” but conversely stating “that sampling a melody does…

Lamb of God frontman faces trial over fan death
Criminal Law , Live Events / January 2013
Czech Republic

CRIMINAL Live events sector   Czech prosecutors have formally filed indictment papers with the Prague Municipal Court in the manslaughter case against Lamb Of God frontman Randy Blythe. The court now has three months to set a date for his trial or return the case to prosecutors for further investigation. Blythe was arrested and charged with manslaughter when he and his band arrived in Prague to play a gig in the city at the end of June on charges relating to the death of a fan, named as Daniel N,  following a performance in the Czech capital two years ago. The fan is said to have climbed onto the stage a number of times during the show, and on the third occasion was allegedly pushed back off by Blythe, falling onto his head and sustaining injuries that led to his death. After being initially denied bail and spending a month in prison, Blythe is now back in the US having been on bail of eight million Czech Koruna (approximately £260,000). At the time of his release he said “While I maintain my innocence 100%, and will do so steadfastly, I will NOT hide in the United States, safe from extradition and possible prosecution”….

Don’t disturb tha Ludacris peace
Artists , Trade Mark / January 2013
USA

TRADE MARK Artistes   Ludacris has launched a lawsuit against a Texas couple using the phrase “Disturb tha peace” in relation to audio equipment and recordings. He claims that they are infringing the trademark of his Disturbing Tha Peace record label, which he founded in 2000. TMZ reports that in papers filed last month the rapper is asking for a judge to rule that Demetri and Donna Evans-Brown should be forced to stop using the phrase, as well as pay him damages and his legal costs. http://www.tmz.com/2012/12/06/ludacris-chris-bridges-disturbing-tha-peace-trademark-lawsuit/

Florida Court deems loud music law unconstitutional
Licensing , Live Events / January 2013
USA

LICENSING Live events sector   The Supreme Court of Florida struck down a state law that banned people from playing music too loud. This story all began with Florida lawyer, Richard Catalano, back in 2007. He was listening to a Justin Timberlake song when he was pulled over. The officer gave him a $73 ticket. “All of a sudden lights came on behind me and the officer pulled me over and I had no idea, I honestly had no idea why he was pulling me over,” Catalano said. He challenged the law and argued the case all the way up to the Supreme Court nine months ago. The Court have now sided with Catalano. “I was pretty confident all along that we would win once we got it to the Appellate levels,” he said. The rule was drivers could not blast their music at a volume that was “plainly audible” to someone 25 feet away. The Court unanimously ruled that the law infringed on Floridians freedom of expression. http://www.wctv.tv/news/headlines/Court-Strikes-Down-Radio-Rules-183408741.html

Aerosmith’s Tyler say ex-managers lawyer lawsuit is a ‘travesty’
Artists , Copyright / January 2013
USA

CONTRACT Artistes   Steven Tyler has called a lawsuit being pursued by his former management against his current lawyer “an outrage and a travesty”. A court filing by the Aerosmith frontman and former ‘American Idol’ judge regards the litigation has been seen by TMZ and it seems US music industry veteran Allen Kovac began legal action against lawyer Dina LaPolt back in October. Kovac claims that he hired LaPolt to work on negotiations with ‘Idol’ producers when Tyler’s contract with the show was up for renewal in late 2011 but, he alleges, the attorney derailed the negotiations by telling ‘Idol’ producers that the star’s reps were overplaying their hand in a bid to up their client’s fee and further allege that LaPolt then persuaded Tyler to sack his managers, cutting Kovac’s management company out of the commission it was due on the severance fee paid by the ‘Idol’ production company when Tyler left the show. TMZ reports that Tyler says the personal management company he fired has no business complaining about it, because  Kovac was “disrespectful, rude, and insulting to his fiance and his family” and they parted company when it became clear (To Tyler) that he couldn’t stop the…