Funkadelic claim over Blurred Lines settled
Copyright , Music Publishing / April 2014
USA

COPYRIGHT Recorded music, music publishing   Bridgeport music, publishers of much of George Clinton and Funkadelic’s catalogue have settled their element of the ongoing ‘Blurred Lines‘ litigation in the US. Robin Thicke and his collaborators on the controversial hit, Pharrell Williams and TI, had been accused of improperly lifting elements from existing tracks, with both Marvin Gaye’s ‘Got To Give Up’ and Funkadelic’s ‘Sexy Ways‘ http://the1709blog.blogspot.co.uk/2013/11/the-copykat-global-feast-of-copyright.html http://the1709blog.blogspot.co.uk/2014/01/sonyatv-settles-blurred-lines-lawsuit.html

US Judge dismisses Bieber copying claim
Copyright , Music Publishing / April 2014
USA

COPYRIGHT Music publishing, sound recordings   A judge has thrown out a lawsuit being pursued by singer Devin Copeland and songwriter Mareio Overton over 2010 Justin Bieber hit ‘Somebody To Love’: the claimants had argued that the Bieber track was very similar to a song they had written and that Copeland had shared the original song with Bieber mentor Usher. The he judge considering the case has ruled that – while there may be some themes in common between the two songs – they are not sufficiently similar to constitute plagiarism. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the judge ruled: “Although the accused songs have some elements in common with plaintiffs’ song, their mood, tone, and subject matter differ significantly”. The judge added that while there may be similarities between the tracks if you go looking for them, the average listener wouldn’t consider them the same. He said: “The judge adds: “Any listener who had not set out to detect the songs’ similarities would be inclined to overlook them, and regard the songs’ aesthetic appeal as different. Therefore, a reasonable juror could not conclude that a member of the public would construe the aesthetic appeal of the songs as being similar”.  …

MoS v Spotify ceasefire leaves some questions unanswered
Copyright , Internet / April 2014
UK

COPYRIGHT Recorded music, internet   By Leeza Panayiotou LLB(Hons)   Late in February 2014 a cease-fire was called on the copyright infringement claim between Ministry of Sound (MoS) and Spotify. To remind readers, in September 2013, MoS issued proceedings against Spotify, alleging that Spotify had infringed MoS’s copyright in their compilation album listings. MoS maintained that their compilation albums constitute an ‘original database’ as they are arranged by a MoS expert team in a systematic and methodical way; affording them protection under section 3A Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 (CDPA). In light of this, MoS submitted that Spotify had infringed their copyrighted work by copying and/or communicating to the public their compilation albums via their online music streaming service, as per sections 17 and 20 CDPA. Spotify, who licence songs from copyright owners to stream to its users – either for free with adverts played intermittently or for a subscription fee without adverts – did have several playlists available that either sited MoS in the title or mirrored the MoS compilations; hence the copying ground. Further, the ‘browse’ section which groups playlists made by other users or Spotify themselves by category or type of music, allows users to easily…

CJEU allows blocking orders
Copyright , Internet / April 2014
Austria
EU

COPYRIGHT Internet   he Court of Justice of the European Union gave judgment this morning in Case C-314/12 UPC Telekabel Wien GmbH v Constantin Film Verleih GmbH and Wega Filmproduktionsgesellschaft mbH, a reference for a preliminary ruling from the Oberster Gerichtshof (the Austrian Supreme Court).   Curia’s own media release says this : An internet service provider may be ordered to block its customers’ access to a copyright-infringing website Such an injunction and its enforcement must, however, ensure a fair balance between the fundamental rights concerned Two Austrian film companies – Constantin Film Verleih and Wega Filmproduktionsgesellschaft – claimed that website kino.to illegally streams their copyrighted films to Internet provider UPC Telekabel Wien’s users. While UPC has no direct connection to the website, the film companies sought a court order forcing the ISP to block its users from the website. A trial court granted the injunction, and an appeals court affirmed, but neither specified how UPC should carry out the block. The Austrian Supreme Court asked the Court of Justice of the European Union to advise whether the injunction against UPC conflicted with EU copyright law, and whether the Internet provider can be considered an intermediary to the infringement. In the new judgment,…

Jay-z ordered to give deposition in roc-a-fella logo lawsuit
USA

COPYRIGHT Artistes, recorded music, fashion   Jay Z has been ordered to give a deposition as part of a contract and copyright infringement lawsuit filed by Dwayne walker, who designed the Roc-A-Fella logo. Walker sued the rapper, his former partner Damon Dash and the Universal Music Group in 2012 for $7 million (GBP4.4 million) in unpaid royalties over the use of iconic symbol, which he created in 1995. A Manhattan federal judge has now approved a petition by Walker to move forward with the discovery portion of his suit and have the parties deposed. A partial motion filed by the defendants to dismiss one of Walker’s claims is currently pending.   http://www.hollywood.com/news/brief/56843577/jay-z-facing-deposition-over-copyright-infringement-lawsuit

Harry Styles gains permanent injunction against four photographers
Artists , Privacy / April 2014
UK

PRIVACY Artists   One Direction frontman Harry Styles has secured a permanent injunction to stop four paparazzos from following and photographing him. Styles went to the High Court last December to get a court order prohibiting photographers from following him around or waiting for him outside his home. The singer’s lawyer stressed at the time that this was an injunction to stop the activities of “a certain type of photographer”, and that he was “not trying to prevent fans approaching him in the street and taking photos”. Yesterday, Styles was awarded a permanent injunction against four specific photographers, who were not named in court, under the Protection From Harassment Act 1997. The four people were identified using vehicle records from the DVLA. They are now prohibited from following Styles by car or motorcycle, loitering within 50 metres of his home, or placing him under any sort of surveillance. Prior to going to court in December, the court was told that Styles had attempted to get the photographers to agree to stop following him voluntarily, but had been unsuccessful. All four had apparently eventually agreed to do so before yesterday’s hearing, though Styles still decided to seek the permanent injunction against…

Singer-songwriter show suffers in Sky secrecy shenanigans
Confidence / April 2014
UK

CONFIDENCE Broadcasting   By Darren Meale This one is about the purported misuse of confidential information in the idea for yet another musical talent show. Winning the year’s recording contract is BSkyB, who was found to have acquired confidential information but not misused it. Voted off in the High Court were Wade and Perry, two individuals working in the music industry who unsuccessfully represented themselves at trial. The case is (1) Brian Wade (2) Geraldine Perry V British Sky Broadcasting Limited [2014] EWHC 634 and although Simon Cowell has nothing to do with it he still gets a mention in the judgment.   It’s time! to face! the music! In 2006, Wade and Perry came up with the idea for an X-Factor type show in which contestants performed their own original material, rather than covers. Following each episode, this material would be available for download so that, if popular, it would make the charts. In other ways the format was very familiar: start with auditions and then whittle down to the record label-winning contestant. It would be called “The Real Deal”. In 2009, they pitched the idea to Sky using a deck of PowerPoint slides. Sky made all the right…

Buskers lose battle to lift Camden restrictions
Licensing , Live Events / April 2014
UK

LICENSING Live events   The High Court has upheld new busking restrictions in Camden, meaning street performers in the borough will have to buy licences and adhere to certain restrictions. Camden Council insists that the new licensing process is “light touch regulation” – designed mainly to deal with complaints about amplified and louder percussion-based busking. A basic twelve month licence will cost £19, though certain kinds of performance will require a £47 advanced licence which may have other limitations attached. Once licensed, buskers will usually be able to play anywhere that it’s safe to play in the borough between 10am until 9pm. The court case against the restrictions was launched by the Keep Streets Live Campaign, which gained support from celebrities including Billy Bragg, who himself busked around Camden at the start of his career, as well as comedians Mark Thomas and Bill Bailey. The Musicians’ Union has also spoken out against the changes. Following the court ruling on the matter, Bragg told CMU: “Camden claim that this new bylaw is designed to curb the use of amplifiers by buskers ‘late into the evening’. If so, why not target amplified busking after 6pm rather than coming up with this blanket…

US city venues face ear defender requirements
Licensing , Live Events / April 2014
USA

LICENSING Live events   The Business Journal reports that some venues in Minneapolis would be required to carry ear plugs under an ordinance amendment proposed by City Council Member Jacob Fre. The measure would cover only Class A and Class B on-sale liquor, wine and beer license holders, which would rule out smaller neighbourhood restaurants. The bars would be required to offer ear plugs with a “noise reduction rating” of at least 30 decibels. They would HAVE TO be provided at no charge to patrons. However Mr Frey said the non-profit group Locally Grown Globally Connected has agreed to provide the ear plugs free of charge to the musical venues saying “We have access to free supplies that will at least give people the option of saving their hearing decades down the road,” said Frey, who represents Downtown and Northeast, home to a number of venues.  “I see no reason not to do this.” The measure will have a public hearing on April 1. The Huffington Post reports that a loud music ordinance introduced in December has been so controversial in New Orleans, where live music is part of the city’s culture, it is now being revised after critics complained…

Toppling pole could result in prosecution
Health & Safety , Live Events / April 2014
UK

HEALTH & SAFETY Live events sector   Tega (Hull) Ltd has been prosecuted after a worker was hit by a toppling metal column as the stage was being prepared for the popular Classics in the Park festival in East Yorkshire. The Company was charged with safety failures after a joint investigation into the incident by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and East Riding Council. It admitted a breach of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 at a hearing before Magistrates last year. The HSE told the court the worker was part of a team erecting a temporary stage at Brantingham Park, Elloughton, for the 2011 concerts. The men were attempting to raise the first of four columns to support the stage roof on 6 July 2011 – four days before the opening night – when the incident happened. A forklift truck was to pull the column upright from its horizontal position on the stage while four workers pushed it from beneath. On the third attempt, however, the truck slid backwards on wet grass and the column fell, hitting one of the men. The worker, 54, from Thorngumbald in East Yorkshire, suffered serious fractures to his lower left…

Tyler faces charges for inciting crowd unrest
USA

HEALTH & SAFETY / CRIMINAL Live events sector   Tyler The Creator has been arrested as he was leaving South By South West in Austin, Texas, over an alleged incident at one of his shows at the festival. According to Austin police, there was a sizable crowd queuing up to get into the rapper’s showcase event, the management of which became tricky after Tyler allegedly shouted from the stage, “All y’all outside the gates, y’all push through”. Officers claim the rapper suggested those outside push into the already at-capacity venue twice, resulting in unruly behaviour from those waiting to get in. Police reps say the rapper then apologised, swore about the venue’s door staff and walked off stage. Confirming that Tyler had subsequently been arrested at Austin-Bergstrom Airport in relation to the incident, a statement from the Austin Police Department reads: “Regardless of the size of a crowd, the encouragement of unruly and unlawful behaviour is against the law and cannot be tolerated”. The rapper is accused of “encouraging behaviour causing an immediate danger and injury to persons”, which could result in a year in jail and a $4000 fine if he was to be convicted of the crime. Police…

13 former police officers face charges over Hillsborough deaths
UK

HEALTH & SAFETY / CRIMINAL Live events sector   Thirteen retired or serving police officers have been identified as “suspects” in the continuing investigation into the police cover-up after the Hillsborough disaster, the Independent Police Complaints Commission has said. The commission said 11 of these officers, who had been on duty on the day, had already been interviewed under caution relating to a range of offences including manslaughter, misconduct in a public office, and perverting the course of justice. A spokesman said the other two would be interviewed in the near future. It is not clear what rank of officers have been identified as suspects or how many are serving or are retired. Four of the individuals have been identified by both the IPCC investigation into the cover-up and the new criminal inquiry into the 1989 tragedy. Seven other individuals are facing charges. The news emerged on the eve of the opening of inquests into the 96 Hillsborough victims in Warrington on Monday. Britain’s worst sporting disaster happened on 15 April 1989 during Liverpool’s FA Cup semi-final against Nottingham Forest as thousands of fans were crushed on Sheffield Wednesday’s Leppings Lane terrace.  The crush resulted in the deaths of 96 people and injuries to 766…

Betty Boop Famous faces and merchandising: A distinction to be made with fictitious characters
Artists , Trade Mark / April 2014
UK
USA

TRADE MARK Artists   As Mr Justice said  in the recent Rihanna v Topship litigation, that there is no such thing as a matter of UK law as a free standing general right by a famous person (or anyone else) to control the reproduction of their image – although in that case the judge did find in favour of Rihanna in her claim for passing off as the image had been lifted by Topshop from an official video shoot. Tis position has now been re-affirmed in Hearst Holdings Inc and another v A.V.E.L.A. and others [2014] EWHC 439 (Ch) a case involving the cartoon character Betty Boop. Nevertheless, a liability for infringement was found. Hearst maintained that they were the successors of the originator of the cartoon character Betty Boop, first shown in 1930s America, and that they were the only legitimate source of Betty Boop merchandise in the UK. AVELA said that it too was a legitimate source of Betty Boop “imagery” in the UK (TPTL being AVELA’s UK licensing agent, with Poeticgem and J Fox being AVELA’s UK licensees and U Wear both distributing AVELA-licensed goods to retailers and selling them directly to the public online).  Hearst alleged…

UK close VAT loophole on downloads
Music Publishing , Taxation / April 2014
UK

TAXATION Recorded music, retail   Having closed the loophole physical product, George Osborne’s latest budget has closed a quirky UK tax loophole that meant consumers were paying VAT at very low foreign rates on online purchases of books, music and apps. The UK’s Chancellor will bring in new laws in 2015 making sure that internet downloads are taxed in the country where they are purchased, meaning web firms such as Amazon and Apple will have to charge the UK’s 20% rate of VAT. At the moment they are allowed to sell digital downloads through countries such as Luxembourg, where the tax rate is as low as 3%. The budget document said: “As announced at budget 2013, the government will legislate to change the rules for the taxation of intra-EU business to consumer supplies of telecommunications, broadcasting and e-services. From 1 January 2015 these services will be taxed in the member state in which the consumer is located, ensuring these are taxed fairly and helping to protect revenue” . http://www.theguardian.com/music/2014/mar/23/george-osborne-tax-loophole-music-downloads

Even a hologram of Michael Jackson can launch a lawsuit
Live Events , Patents / April 2014
USA

PATENTS Technology, live events   Ever since the organisers of Coachella created a hologram of Tupac Shakur to perform at the 2012 music festival with (the very much alive) Snoop Dog and Dr Dre, the technology has been back in the spotlight. The late rapper was shot dead in Las Vegas in 1996. But now the impresario Alki David has filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Cirque du Soleil and MGM Resorts for using hologram technology to produce images of the former King of Pop, Michael Jackson, in a scene from Michael Jackson: One, Cirque’s latest production, infringing exclusive rights that David and FilmOn own in Musion Eyeliner technology. The lawsuit notes that “In 1862, John Pepper and Henry Dircks invented ‘Pepper’s Ghost,’ an illusion technique, which, over the last 150 years, has appeared in movies, concerts, magic shows and amusement park rides” but adds “Today a new incarnation of Pepper’s Ghost exists — Musion Eyeliner technology. Musion Eyeliner uses a patented system to project three-dimensional images virtually indistinguishable from real life bodies.” David has his own shows planned, and is seeking an injunction and damages. http://www.tvmix.com/michael-jacksons-image-at-center-of-cirque-du-soleil-copyright-lawsuit/123 Tupac hologram here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TGbrFmPBV0Y

Third Man Records faces copyright dispute over Paramount Records Box Set
Copyright , Music Publishing / March 2014
USA

COPYRIGHT Recorded music   In 2013 Jack White’s Third Man Records and Revenant Records teamed up to release the massive Rise & Fall of Paramount Records, Volume One (1917-1932) box set. However, it now seems that a non-profit organisation has claimed that it owns rights to nearly 800 songs on the compilation: Lars Edegran, a jazz musician from the George H. Buck, Jr. (GHB) Jazz Foundation, claims that GHB, who owned several jazz labels, bought the rights to the Paramount catalog in 1970 – and  there are documents proving ownership. Paramount Records began as a subsidiary of a chair manufacturer and was, at first, merely devoted to producing records in bulk, on the cheap. As Third Man paints the picture, they more or less stumbled upon their incredible roster, which featured “early jazz titans (Louis Armstrong, King Oliver, Jelly Roll Morton, Fats Waller), blues masters (Charley Patton, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Son House, Skip James), American divas (Ma Rainey, Alberta Hunter, Ethel Waters), gospel (Norfolk Jubilee Quartette), vaudeville (Papa Charlie Jackson), and the indefinable ‘other’ (Geeshie Wiley, Elvis Thomas).” Dean Blackwood, co-founder of Revenant, replied to Edegran’s allegations in a statement saying: “We informed the Foundation that we would gladly come…

Get harbour safe: Telecinco’s appeal v YouTube dismissed
Copyright , Internet / March 2014
France
Italy
Spain

COPYRIGHT Internet, all areas A new decision by the Madrid Court of Appeal in YouTube v Telecinco [Madrid Court of Appeal decision No 11/2014 is another leading case in the European Internet Service Providers (ISPs) liability saga, and this report comes from the IPKat. YouTube is the one of the most famous video-sharing platform that hosts user-generated contents (UGCs), namely videos, from all around the world.  It’s now owned by Google. Telecinco is a Spanish broadcaster owned by the Italian Mediaset. Some users uploaded on to YouTube video fragments apparently taken from Telecinco’s TV programmes. Telecinco did not appreciate this and in 2008 brought an action against YouTube Llc, alleging copyright infringement by the hosting provider. In its decision in 2010, the District Court of Madrid dismissed Telecinco’s claims, considering YouTube shielded from liability for UGCs on the basis of the Spanish Law 34/2002, which implemented the E-Commerce Directive 2000/31. Then, Telecinco appealed the first instance decision to the Madrid Court of Appeal on the basis of the three arguments that follow. First, Telecinco alleged that YouTube could not benefit from the safe harbour provided by the E-Commerce Directive because of its non-neutral approach towards UGCs. Among other things, Telecinco maintained that…

Collection Society reform gathers pace
Copyright , Music Publishing / March 2014
EU
UK
USA

COPYRIGHT Music publishing, recorded music   CISAC, the International Confederation of Authors and Composers Societies have announced some of the key findings from its Global Royalty Collections report, based on 2012 figures: Gross royalty collections achieved a new record high of € 7.8 billion, an increase of 2% over 2011. 58,8% of global collections were generated in Europe (€4.6 billion)  87% of collections were accounted for by the musical repertoire 75% of collections were from public performance royalties 4% of collections coming from digital (€ 301 million) There was a 5.1% decline in mechanical reproduction royalties. The report itself is “Sustaining Creativity: Growth in Creators’ Royalties as Markets Go Digital”. MEPs have strongly backed a new bill that will allow music download sites to secure single music rights licences from collective management organisations that are valid across the EU, voting 640-18 in favour of adopting the Collective Rights Management Directive. Organisations managing authors’ works will be required to prove that they can process data from service providers showing when music is downloaded or streamed online, and that they can match this data to the music by their clients. MEPs say the law should stimulate the development of EU-wide online music services and that lower…

Owl City sum not a settlement for Good Time
Copyright , Music Publishing / March 2014
USA

COPYRIGHT Music publishing   Owl City singer Adam Young has cleared up reports suggesting the band had lost a plagiarism lawsuit over his 2012 collaboration with Carly Rae Jepsen – “Good Time” – after TMZ reported that singer songwriter Ally Burnett had won a six-figure sum for copyright infringement claiming Good Time heavily sampled her 2010 tune, “Ah, It’s a Love Song”, taking the “unique vocal motif” and hook of her song. Burnett filed her lawsuit against Jepsen and Owl City in 2012, also naming the co-writers on the song Brian Lee and Matt Thiessen, plus publishers Universal Music, Songs Music Publishing, Schoolboy Records and all the US collecting societies, ASCAP, SESAC and BMI, as defendants.  It seems the sums in question – $804,156 – were pending royalties which were placed in escrow by Young’s collection society BMI until the case is resolved – enabling BMI to be removed as defendants in the action. http://www.tmz.com/2014/01/31/carly-rae-jepsen-owl-city-good-time-ally-burnett-lawsuit-bmi/

Tennessee moves to protect pre-1972 sound recordings
Copyright , Music Publishing / March 2014
USA

COPYRIGHT Sound recordings Currently sound recordings in the USA created before February 15th 1972 fall outside of the federal Copyright Act. And now the owners of sound recordings CAN collect royalties for their use on satellite radio and Internet radio services like SiriusXM, this matters – and collection society Sound Exchange estimated that it could collect 15% or so more than the $590 million it collected in 2013 if the recordings were covered. In 2011, the U.S Copyright Office issued a report recommending Congress take action to change this, but so far, nothing’s happened. Except in Tennessee! State Senator Stacey Campfield decided to act, saying “The music industry—they came to me and said, ‘We’re not getting our royalties.’ They said it’s something that could have a big impact,” who has now introduced the “Legacy Sound Recording Protection Act” (SB/HB 2187) with Rep. G.A. Hardaway (D-Memphis) to close the federal loophole in Tennessee. Whilst on first reading “he bill seems quite reasonable” and it seems most of its language is copied directly from federal copyright law, there have been some comments on the narrowness of the bill. Attorney Brandon Butler told Metro Pulse “The bill is strikingly one-sided. It gives rights-holders…

Happy Birthday litigation moves on
Copyright , Music Publishing / March 2014
USA

COPYRIGHT Music publishing   You will probably remember the fact that ‘Happy Birthday to You” is now the subject of a lawsuit brought against the publishing arm of Warner Music Group, which claims copyright ownership in the song, which was registered in 1935. The complaint, from a disgruntled film producer who had to cough up $1,500 to use the track, was filed in federal court in Manhattan and claims that “Happy Birthday to You” has been in the public domain since at least 1921. The suit seeks class action status on behalf of anyone who paid a royalty to use “Happy Birthday to You” in the past four years. The song allegedly generates at least $2 million a year in licensing fees for Warner/Chappell Music, Inc. In their last filing, the plaintiffs claimed that the words were published in a variety of formats pre-1935, going back to 1893.  Well, Warners have now filed a status update which offers the first glimpse of some of the defences Warner may use. In it’s brief statement, Warner’s lawyers explain it’s on the plaintiffs to prove that the 1935 copyright registration “was not intended to cover the lyrics to Happy Birthday to You” saying:…

Appeal court upholds publicity rights for Hendrix in Washington State
Artists , Image Rights / March 2014
USA

IMAGE RIGHTS Artists   A long running legal spat in the US over the extent of the rights the Jimi Hendrix estate has to prevent others from selling goods using the late guitarist’s likeness has moved forward, with an appeals court overturning a contentious 2011 ruling on the matter. The difficulty for the Estate is that so called ‘publicity rights’, or mage rights, are complex as US protection comes from state law, and some states protect the name and image of dead stars and others do not. The dispute involves the Hendrix Estate,  and HendrixLicensing.com: Hendrix’s brother Leon has an involvement in HendrixLicensing.com, while their adopted sister Janie manages the Estate. Although Hendrix was resident in New York at the time of his death – a state where posthumous publicity rights do not apply – the estate’s company Experience Hendrix has endeavoured to stop HendrixLicensing.com from selling goods in Washington, a state where such rights are on the statute book. In 2011, in what was a surprising decision, a Washington judge ruled that using the state’s publicity right laws in this way was unconstitutional, in that it violated some rules set out by the US Constitution. That ruling limited the…

Jackson fans get one euro each from Murray for King of Pop’s death
Artists / March 2014
Belgium
France
Switzerland
USA

MEDICAL NEGLIGENCE Artists   A court in Orléans, France, has ruled that five Michael Jackson fans should receive damages of one euro each from Conrad Murray for the “emotional damage” they suffered following the late king of pop’s death. Murray was found guilty in 2011 of causing Jackson’s demise by providing negligence treatment while working as the singer’s personal doctor. A total of 34 members of the Michael Jackson Community fan club, which is based in France, sued the doctor. The Orléans court ruled that just five of them – two from France, two from Belgium and one from and Switzerland – had proven that they had legitimate claims against the former doctor. Each was awarded symbolic damages of one euro. The lawyer acting on behalf of the fans, Emmanuel Ludot, told AFP: “As far as I know, this is the first time in the world that the notion of emotional damage in connection with a pop star has been recognised”. Ludot added that none of the five fans intend to seek their payout from Murray, but instead hoped that their legal status as victims of Jackson’s death would gain them access to his burial site. A Californian court has…

Valuing Michael Jackson – a taxing issue
Artists , Taxation / March 2014
USA

TAXATION Artistes   More on Michael Jackson and this time it’s a claim brought by the Inland Revenue service (IRS) in the UD against the Estate of Michael Jackson for a gross underpayment of tax – the IRS claim the Jackson estate was significantly undervalued – in particular his image rights and the value of the Beatles songs catalogue Jackson owned and which are administered by music publisher Sony ATV. Neil Wilkof on the IPKat explains: Based on filings with the U.S. Tax Court, the Jackson Estate claimed a value of a little more than $7 million, while the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) gave a valuation of $1.125 billion. The discrepancy between the two valuations is not a typographical error. Indeed, the IRS sought to apply a seldom-used provision, known as the “gross valuation misstatement penalty”, to assess twice the usual amount of the penalty for underpayment (50%). Drilling down further, it appears that the dispute centres on two main assets. The first is the value of Jackson’s image, which the estate valued at only $2,105, while the IRS assigned a value of slightly more than $434 million. In addition, there is a dispute over the value of certain Jackson…

Money, money, money – Abba admit to fashion choices for tax
Artists , Taxation / March 2014
Sweden
UK

TAXATION Artists   Abba’s Bjorn Ulvaeus has admitted that the glittering hot pants, sequined jump suits and platform shoes the band wore were as much to save tax as they were to stand out from the crowd. Writing in a new book, Abba The Official Photo Book, Ulvaeus said “In my honest opinion we looked like nuts in those days. Nobody can have been as badly dressed on stage as we were” but explains that the Swedish Tax Code allowed costumes to be deducted against tax – provided they were so outrageous that they could not be worn on the street – worn as ‘daily wear’. The UK tax code has similar provisions: The case of Mallalieu v Drummond [1983] 57 TC 330 established that no deduction is available from trading profits for the costs of clothing which forms part of an ‘everyday’ wardrobe. This remains so even where the taxpayer can show that they only wear such clothing in the course of their profession. It is irrelevant that the person chooses not to wear the clothing in question on non-business occasions, the only question is whether the clothing might suitably be worn as part of a hypothetical person’s ‘everyday’ wardrobe. The…

DJ Moyles ‘used car salesman’ tax ploy fails
Artists , Taxation / March 2014
UK

TAXATION Artists   The former Radio 1 DJ Chris Moyles had claimed to be a second-hand car dealer in a bid to save £400,000 tax, a British Tax Tribunal has found. The court named Moyles and two other men as having taking part in a scheme called “Working Wheels” which counted “450 fund managers, celebrities and other high earners between 2006 and 2008” as members and allowed members to assert  they had incurred large losses while working in the second-hand car trade . A published judgment from Judge Colin Bishopp, President of the Tax Chamber of the First-tier Tribunal, said Moyles’s self-assessment tax return for the financial year ending on April 5, 2008, when he was presenting Radio One’s Breakfast Show, said he “had engaged in self-employment as a used car trader”. The scheme was set up by NT Advisers, whose initials stand for “no tax”, in 2007. The DJ had appealed against an earlier HMRC ruling and claimed that Moyles had made a loss of £1 million selling £3,731 worth of used cars. Moyles paid £95,000 to enter the scheme Moyles did not give evidence directly to the tribunal but did submit “a brief witness statement”. Judge Bishopp, described…

Legal battle over US festival site could pitch SFX against AEG
Contract , Live Events / March 2014
USA

CONTRACT Live events sector   CMU Daily report that a a brewing legal squabble in the US could pitch acquisitive EDM firm SFX against live industry major AEG Live, and could impact on the 2014 edition of American music festival Electric Forest, which has already sold 21,000 tickets. According to EDM website Dancing Astronaut, the owners of the venue in Michigan where Electric Forest is staged, Progressive Resorts, have told the event’s promoters Madison House Presents that they can no longer use the property, even though said promoter seemingly had a 20 year lease to host a festival there. It’s reported that Progressive Resorts recently ran into financial problems and has restructured its finances as a result resulting in ownership of the site being transferred to two new companies, Antler Bar Amusements and Double JJ PropCo, which now claim that the change in ownership renders the two decade lease with Madison House Presents void, even though a $60,000 deposit was reportedly paid last October for this June’s festival. The matter is now with the Michigan courts. But it gets more interesting because Dancing Astronaut also reports that, according to legal papers it has seen, SFX has taken an interest in…

German Promoters Force Resale Take Down
Contract , Live Events / March 2014
Germany
UK

CONTRACT Live events industry   Secondary ticketing giant Seatwave has removed all tickets for the six upcoming Robbie Williams concerts in Germany after a successful legal challenge by the German Federal Association of Concert Organisers (BDV). BDV is vociferously fighting a battle against ticket resale platforms in Germany and has already obtained mandatory injunctions against other online exchanges, including the popular website Viagogo. The tickets that were removed were all personalised with the holders name and the concert was promoted by MCT, a staunch opponent of ticket abuse, who had previously taken action in 2011 after personalised tickets for three German Take That shows were offered for re-sale. Marek Lieberberg Konzertagentur have also brought actions: several years ago they obtained an injunction preventing ticket site Ventic re-selling large numbers of Depche Mode tickets and in another case took action to prevent SeatWave selling tickets for the Rock am Ring festival. Johannes Ulbricht, legal advisor for the BDV, insists the association will continue to take action against all unauthorised ticket trading in the country, to protect event visitors and ensure that the prohibition of resale is respected. ”We are moving closer, step by step, to our goal of returning control of…

19 take on Sony over alleged royalty underpayments
Artists , Contract , Music Publishing / March 2014
USA

CONTRACT Recorded music, artists   According to The Tennessean Simon Fuller’s 19, the owner of the ‘American Idol’ franchise is going to battle with its original record industry partner Sony Music in a lawsuit that seeks at least $10 million. 19 Recordings alleges that the major has short-changed both it and those ‘Idol’ champions signed by the label by underpaying royalties and adding too many deductions. 19 claims that it discovered what it calls “systemically incorrect calculations” on royalty payments during two separate audits, though adds that it is yet to fully audit the income of all the recordings in which it has a stake because Sony has allegedly not given them access to the files. 19 says that it has tried to reach a deal with the major on these issues, but that the record company won’t negotiate. 19 Entertainment’s Worldwide Head Of Music Jason Morey says: “We did not want to have to file this lawsuit, but Sony left us no choice, so this became necessary to protect our artists. Our complaint lays out the claims in great detail. Everything we have to say about the case is set forth in it”. Artists including  Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood,…

Survivor go legal over digital royalties
Artists , Contract , Music Publishing / March 2014
USA

CONTRACT Artistes, recorded music   Survivor are the latest band to go legal over the payment of royalties for downloads, mainly in relation to their 1982 ‘Rocky III’ soundtrack epic hit ‘Eye Of The Tiger’. Founding Survivor members Jim Peterik and Frankie Sullivan, the latter still performing with the band, have sued Sony Music for a ‘licensing’ cut of the revenue generated by their recordings, which they say should be 50% of the income. The  lawsuit also claims that the major still owes the duo money stemming from settlements the American record industry reached with the big file-sharing platforms of old like Kazaa, and also alleges a number if other accounting irregularities including improper deductions. According to Billboard: “A Sony representative threatened that in the event Survivor persisted in its objection, Sony would exercise what it termed ‘the nuclear option’ – removal of the Survivor masters from the songs licensed to iTunes for download by consumers, thereby wiping out that revenue stream altogether. By threatening ‘the nuclear option’, Sony has conceded that its transaction with iTunes is a license subject to termination, and not a sale of the Survivor masters to iTunes. If it was a sale, Sony would have…

Ten charged over Love Parade tragedy
Health & Safety , Live Events / March 2014
Germany

HEALTH AND SAFETY Live events sector   Ten people have been charged under German law with negligent manslaughter in relation to the to the fatal stampede that occurred at Germany’s Love Parade festival in 2010 which left 21 people dead and over five hundred more injured. The Festival, which began in 1989 as a Berlin-based free event, began travelling to different German cities each year in 2007, and was taking place in Duisburg in 2010. The event was always well attended, and though turnouts had fallen in the years prior to 2010, it was estimated by investigators that almost half a million people had attended that year on the site on a former freight rail yard. The site’s capacity, however, was 250,000 and despite the large number of people attending, crowds entering were funnelled through a single underpass, which quickly became crowded on the Saturday morning of the event there was a surge in the crowd, which caused panic in the tunnel followed by a stampede. Six of the event’s organisers and four city workers have been charged with negligent manslaughter and bodily harm. If convicted, they face up to five years in prison each. All deny any wrongdoing. The…

Fishbone frontman faces $1.37 million damages claim over stagedive
Health & Safety , Live Events / March 2014
USA

HEALTH & SAFETY Live events sector   The frontman of American rock band Fishbone is facing a damages claim in the region of $1.37 million after injuring an audience member in a mid-show leap from the stage in 2010. At the gig at the World Live Cafe in Philadelphia, Kimberly Myers was knocked to the ground after Fishbone vocalist Angelo Moore performed his customary stagedive. She suffering a skull fracture in the fall and sued the show’s promoter and the band’s management in 2010, reaching settlements with both, but began new legal proceedings against the band in 2012 for negligence. Moore failed to respond to the 2012 lawsuit but Judge Jan DuBois based his ruling on the matter on a deposition the Fishbone man gave as part of the 2010 legal action: In that deposition, Moore admitted that he routinely leapt into his audience during his gigs without warning, arguing that alerting audience members to his intent “gives away the whole theatrics or the spontaneity”. He also apparently admitted that audience injuries were not uncommon, but when asked about the risks of stagediving he cited the danger that he might hit the floor, and that lawsuit “predators” might come after…

Survey Request
General / March 2014

Francis Davey has informed us that his final LLM dissertation topic consists of a survey of people’s attitudes to copying etc (so-called “copynorms”) as part of the whole study of the interaction of social norms and law. Francis has already blogged about it here.  The survey “Copy, share and remix, what is okay?” can be accessed using the link below.  Do please participate — and pass the link on to your friends and colleagues so that the sample surveyed will be as large as possible. It doesn’t take long! http://www.francisdavey.co.uk/2014/02/copying-sharing-and-remixing-what-do.html

Copyright Tribunal settles Welsh music dispute
Copyright , Music Publishing / February 2014
UK

COPYRIGHT Music publishing, broadcasting In January 2013, Welsh language music ceased to be played on BBC Radio Cymru when the BBC lost the right to use the music in a row with Eos, the then newly formed collection society set up by the Welsh Music Publishers and Composers Alliance (Y Gynghrair)  to represent Welsh sonqwriters and composers in the broadcast environment.  The WMPCA had said that changes to PRS for Music’s distribution policies meant that most Welsh language composers had “lost around 85% on average of their royalties” and Eos attracted 297 composers and 34 publishing companies as new members, who ‘opted out’ of PRS for Music, transferring the broadcast rights to some 30,000 works into Eos. Eos did reach agreement with S4C – Channel 4 in Wales before the end of December 2012. The Welsh music, previously core to the BBC’s Welsh services, went off air for just over a month, making it hard for the national broadcaster to meet Welsh language targets – and of course with Welsh music not being played on the radio in Wales, Eos’s songwriters and publishers were not getting paid either – and nor were the performers of the songs getting any ‘needletime’….

Review of Copyright Collecting Societies launched
Copyright / February 2014
UK

COPYRIGHT All areas   Is there music playing in your local pub or restaurant? Is an article you wrote being photocopied for college students? Do you need to get blanket clearance to reproduce text and images for your company website? The Copyright Licensing Agency Ltd says that these are just some of the issues dealt with by the 12 UK copyright collecting societies that are subject to an independent review that has been launched. To this one might add “is your collection society working efficiently – and properly representing member’s interests?  The CLA says that the societies exist to enable people who want to use copyright material to pay for a licence, distributing that money to those who have created the work that is being re-used. The societies are private bodies but should they be more transparent and accountable? Two years ago the societies decided to be more open and to put in place codes of conduct detailing how they operate. The Government has also set out standards and is taking powers to ensure societies have adopted satisfactory codes and to discipline societies where necessary. Now the societies – through the British Copyright Council, have asked Walter Merricks CBE, the…

Sound alikes cause Antipodean angst
Copyright / February 2014
Australia
New Zealand
USA

COPYRIGHT Advertising, recorded music Music sound-alikes used in advertising campaigns are leading to a number of legal wrangles in New Zealand and Australia according to Kelly & Co partner Peter Campbell in an article in Adelaide Now.  There is the current dispute between Audi and New Zealand band OMC and their label Universal Music: UMG have accused the car company of copying the 1996 hit song Land of Plenty in the Land of Quattro advertisement. Mr Campbell said if the case proceeded, it would be the first in New Zealand to address passing off and misleading and deceptive conduct for a musical sound-alike, on top of the issue of copyright infringement. Mr Campbell believed this could lead to different tests being applied to copyright infringement and misleading conduct claims in Australia. Last year, dairy company Dannon used a soundtrack in its advertisement aired during the US Superbowl, which resembled the John Butler Trio’s 2003 hit Zebra. Dannon and the John Butler Trio negotiated an arrangement, so that the advertisement no longer contains the similar music. In other jurisdictions some musicians have had similar success. In the US the singer Bette Midler sued an advertising agency over a sound-alike version of her…

Research says that French “three strikes” law has no deterrent effect
Copyright , Internet / February 2014
France
New Zealand
South Korea
Taiwan
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet   The effectiveness of graduated-response anti-piracy systems that have now been implemented in France, New Zealand, Taiwan, South Korea and the USA has always been debated, and new research from American and French researchers, based on a survey of 2,000 internet users in France, has found that the so called 2009 ‘three strikes’ system in France (the ‘Hadopi’ law) has not deterred individuals from engaging in digital piracy and the system does not reduce the intensity of illegal activity of those who did engage in piracy. The researchers from the University of Delaware Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics and the Université de Rennes I – Center for Research in Economics and Management also noted that for those internet users with closer links to the piracy community – a classification based on the piracy chat in said users’ social networks – the introduction of three-strikes in France, which targeted exclusively P2P file-sharing, pushed file-sharers down other routes to accessing unlicensed content.  More than a third sampled —37.6 percent—admitted to illegal downloading, with 22 percent using P2P networks and 30 percent using “alternative channels.” About 16.4 percent of those who had engaged in the downloads received a warning from Hadopi, the government agency with the…

FCC blow to net neutrality
Internet , Regulation / February 2014
USA

COMMUNICATION REGULATION Broadcasting, internet   In what could be a major blow to the concept of net neutrality, a federal appeals court on Tuesday overturned a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rule essentially aimed at keeping Internet service providers from being able to charge content companies to speed the rate of their downloads. The court ruled the FCC doesn’t have the authority to prevent the practice of “discrimination” because it hasn’t classified broadband Internet as a “common-carrier” service, like traditional phone service. The Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler has now suggested that he has no immediate plans to formally reinstate his agency’s net-neutrality regulations. Instead, Wheeler touted the benefits of waiting for abuses to occur and then cracking down on a case-by-case basis. The FCC chief said he favours addressing problems “in a dynamic rather than a static way.”   http://www.nationaljournal.com/technology/fcc-chief-outlines-case-by-case-net-neutrality-enforcement-20140128

BBFC offers new regulations for music videos
Censorship / February 2014
UK

CENSORSHIP Broadcasting, cinema   The British Board of Film Classification is to pilot voluntary ratings for online music videos, as the exemption threshold for music DVDs is narrowed The threshold at which physically released music videos – primarily DVDs and Blu-rays – must receive an age classification from the BBFC is to be lowered. The organisation is also planning to launch a voluntary pilot for online music videos, in partnership with record label trade body the BPI, a spokesperson confirmed to the CMU Daily. This follows a review of the Video Recordings Act by the UK government, which was completed last year. Until now, only physically released music videos containing “extreme” content have required an age rating. Under the pending changes to the Act, expected to be implemented in the spring, anything that fits the criteria for a twelve certificate or above will have to be classified by BBFC examiners. Previously these would have been stamped ‘exempt’, or simply not put forward for review at all. Government has also asked the BBFC and the BPI to launch a pilot scheme to rate online music videos. At the moment online content does not come under the BBFC’s remit, and so anything…

Partial settlement of “Blurred Lines” copyright dispute but Thicke battles on…
USA

COPYRIGHT Music publishing, recorded music, artistes Guest post by by Lale Kemal, solicitor   The copyright action brought by musicians Robin Thicke, Pharrell Williams and Clifford Harris Jr (T.I.) against Marvin Gaye’s family and the owner of Funkadelic’s catalogue Bridgeport Music Inc (Bridgeport)  relating to the chart topping hit “Blurred Lines” has been partially settled.   Specifically, the Gaye family has settled its claim against Sony/ATV, owner of music publisher and producer of “Blurred Lines” EMI April. The complaint was initially filed by Thicke and others in the Californian District Court in August 2013 in reaction to multiple claims made by the defendants that the song “Blurred Lines” had the same “feel” or “sound” as Marvin Gaye’s critically acclaimed track “Got to Give It Up” and Funkadelic’s “Sexy Ways”. The plaintiffs claimed declaratory relief against the Gaye family and Bridgeport on the basis of their respective rights to the copyright in the songs. At all material times, the plaintiffs denied copyright infringement and use of elements of “Got to Give it Up” or “Sexy Ways” in “Blurred Lines”. The plaintiffs sought a declaration from the Court confirming that the track did not infringe either song or otherwise violate the Gaye family…

Insane Clown Posse take to the law
Artists , Criminal Law / February 2014
USA

CRIMINAL LAW Artistes   Rappers Insane Clown Posse, aka hip hop duo Violent J and Shggy 2 Dope, have filed a lawsuit against the US Justice Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, over a report which labelled their fans as ‘gang members’ and have announced that they have gained support for their legal action against the FBI from civil rights organisation the American Civil Liberties Union and law firm Miller Canfield. The band’s fans, known as ‘Juggalos’, were referenced in the FBI’s ‘National Gang Threat Assessment: Emerging Trends’ report in 2011, which said: “The Juggalos, a loosely-organised hybrid gang, are rapidly expanding into many US communities. Although recognised as a gang in only four states, many Juggalo subsets exhibit gang-like behaviour and engage in criminal activity and violence – law enforcement officials in at least 21 states have identified criminal Juggalo subsets”. Violent J, real name Joseph Bruce, and Shaggy 2 Dope, real name Joey Utsler, along with four fans filed the legal paperwork in the US Federal District Court in Michigan, claiming their constitutional rights of free expression and association and due process were violated by the 2011 Assessment. The fans also allege they have been subject to…

MPs form All Party Group to investigate ticketing abuses
Contract , Criminal Law , Live Events / February 2014
UK

CRIMINAL / CONTRACT Live events sector   A new All Party Parliamentary Group has been sent up by MPs Mike Weatherley (Conservative) and Sharon Hodgson (Labour) to investigate the secondary market for event tickets and ‘industrial scale’ touting that involves promoters and artistes. The Group also includes Andrew Bingham MP (Con), Kerry McCarthy MP (Lab), Steve Rotheram MP (Lab) and Nigel Adams MP (Con). According t Hodgson the APPG will “build cross party consensus on the need to enable event organisers to protect their tickets and customers from being exploited by touts” and it is hoped that a new survey in 2014 will underpin new legislation to support the live sector and inquiry sessions have been set for January, February and March 2014 to hear from the re-sale sector, the live events industry and consumers as well as one meeting set aside for technology solutions. A study from UK consumer group Which? In December said that theatre-goers and music fans face massive mark-ups on the value of some online tickets. The study shows that compulsory charges are added to 72% of tickets sold online, and nearly half of those surveyed (49%) said the charges had put them off buying tickets…

New laws ban music in Syrian province
Copyright / February 2014
Syria

SHARIA LAW All areas   An Al-Qaeda-linked group in Syria has issued new decrees restricting certain personal freedoms in the areas under its control in Raqqa province. The new laws prohibit music, and smoking cigarettes and shisha. Violators will be “punished by sharia law.” The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant has issued four statements that “decree new laws” coming into force on January 23rd. Starting on that day, women are obliged to wear the niqab, or full face veil, and cover their hands with gloves. They will also not be allowed in public without a male guardian. Walking late at night will also be prohibited for the women in Raqqa, which is the first and only city to have fallen completely under the jihadist group’s control. The statement issued by the group  says “Any sister who does not comply with this moral code will be punished by the rules of sharia, her male guardian will also be punished.” In its second statement, the jihadist group has also prohibited music from being played in public and photographs of people being posted in shop windows. It has also declared selling music CDs or musical instruments illegal, and the playing of…

Chesney files suit in merchandise dispute
Artists , Trade Mark / February 2014
USA

TRADE MARK Artists   Kenny Chesney has filed suit against a merchandising company for copyright and trade mark infringements. The Nashville’s Tennessean newspaper has reported that the country superstar has filed suit in federal court this week, alleging unauthorised sales of merchandise bearing his name and a logo that he owns. According to the complaint, country singer Chesney owns the trademark to a logo that features a guitar leaned against a palm tree. The huge popular US singer contracted with a licensing company called Latitude to license t-shirts and other branded merchandise bearing his name and that logo. Chesney’s suit alleges that although the singer was supposed to have final approval of any licensing agreements between Latitude and third-party merchandisers, a company called T&M Enterprises began selling t-shirts and other merchandise without Chesney’s consent. Chesney contacted T&M and instructed them to stop producing the unauthorized goods, and the two parties reached a settlement in January 2013 that would allow the company to sell off the remainder of its Chesney-related stock. But according to the singer’s filing, T&M continued selling the unauthorized merchandise even after it was supposed to have stopped. “We believed we had an equitable settlement in place,” a spokesman for Chesney…

Twitter threats result in prison sentences
Criminal Law / February 2014
UK

CRIMINAL LAW All areas   Two people who sent abusive and menacing tweets to banknote campaigner Caroline Criado-Perez and Labour MP Stella Creasy have been jailed in the UK. Isabella Sorley, 23, and John Nimmo, 25, posted dozens of abusive tweets against both women before they were arrested. District judge Howard Riddle jailed Sorley for 12 weeks and Nimmo for 8 weeks and ordered them to each pay £400 compensation to each victim. Criado-Perez successfully campaigned to have a woman appear on one of the UK’s banknotes – only to be tweeted by Sorley ‘fuck off you worthless piece of crap’ and “go kill yourself” and “rape is the last of your worries”. Unemployed Nimmo tweeted “shut up bitch” to Criado-Perez and “Ya not that good looking to rape u be fine” and that he would “rape her nice ass” and “I will find you (smiley face). He told Creasy she was a “dumb blonde bitch” after she had congratulated Criado-Perez on her campaign. The Judge said it was “hard to imagine more extreme threats” and that “substantial fear was caused” – Creasy had a panic button installed at her home. Earlier this month the pair pleaded guilty to sending…

France looks set to drop French language quotas on radio
Competition / February 2014
France

COMPETITION LAW Broadcasting   Back in 2011 music industry representatives in France aired concerns over quotas on French-language titles saying that it was almost impossible to fulfil requirements that demanded 40% of songs played be French-language titles, half of which are required to come from new artists, with the number of French pop songs being produced dwindling. The law was introduced in 1994 in an attempt to stem an invasion of English-language songs. Increasingly French singers have switched to singing in English in recent years due to ease of export and the languages perceived better-suitability for pop music  Now the Higher Audiovisual Council has admitted that the legislation has been rendered obsolete by the collapse im the number of French albums being produced – and the fact that many are sung in English. The Council is now calling for a new law to allow radio stations to play more songs in languages other than French.  The Council said that just 264 French language albums were produced in 2012, compared to 531 a decade earlier and noted artistes such as Daft Punk, David Guetta, Lou Doillon, Shaka Ponk, Air and Phoenix all sing in English.   http://www.thedrum.com/news/2011/05/05/french-radio-stations-struggle-fulfil-french-language-quotas

Prince has launched a $22 million lawsuit against bootleg sharers.
Artists , Copyright , Internet , Music Publishing / February 2014
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet, artists, sound recordings    Pop idol Prince caused some controversy at the end of January when he initiated a copyright action against twenty two fans who had shared bootleg videos and albums. The defendants in question had created fan websites dedicated to the musician through the use of platforms like Facebook and Blogger. Prince alleges that the defendants used these websites to post links to torrent sites where recordings of Princes’ concerts could be downloaded for free.  He is seeking $1 million in damages from each defendant, only two of which are identified by name (the others remaining as John Doe defendants). The lawsuit notes that the file-sharers in question have all used Google’s Blogger platform and/or Facebook to share bootlegs of his performances, one in particular providing links to 393 recordings on various different file-sharing services. It also notes that Prince has not been able to identify the real names of any of the file-sharers, hence they are being sued under their online usernames. The suit notes that the defendants often speak to each other to exchange bootlegs directly; according to the claim, the sharing of these recordings has “caused and will continue to cause substantial, immediate and irreparable injury…

EC launches consultation for European copyright law reform
Copyright / January 2014
EU

COPYRIGHT All Areas   The European Commission has launched a public consultation as part of its on-going efforts to review and modernise EU copyright rules. Set in the context of an introduction that says “Over the last two decades, digital technology and the Internet have reshaped the ways in which content is created, distributed, and accessed. New opportunities have materialised for  those that create and produce content (e.g. a film, a novel, a song), for new and existing  distribution platforms, for institutions such as libraries, for activities such as research and for  citizens who now expect to be able to access content – for information, education or  entertainment purposes – regardless of geographical borders”  The Review of the EU Copyright Rules invites stakeholders to share their views on areas identified in the Communication on Content in the Digital Single Market including territoriality in the Single Market, harmonisation, limitations and exceptions to copyright in the digital age; fragmentation of the EU copyright market; and how to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of enforcement while underpinning its legitimacy in the wider context of copyright reform. The Review says this as a backdrop: “The “Licences for Europe” process has been finalised now. The…

Ariana Grande, Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood face sampling cases in the USA
Artists , Copyright , Music Publishing / January 2014
USA

COPYRIGHT Music Publishing, recorded music, artistes   The Tennessean reports that pop star Ariana Grande, along with her publishing company and record label, are facing copyright infringement lawsuit related to her hit song “The Way.” The suit claims Grande and producer/writer/co-performer Mac Miller copied from the 1972 disco song “Troglodyte” when they recorded “The Way,” which became a major hit earlier this year and iTunes no 1 single, selling more than 2 million copies. The federal suit from  Minder Music claims Grande and Miller duplicated the vocal beginning to the Jimmy Castor Bunch’s “Troglodyte” when they recorded “The Way.” “Troglodyte” begins with Jimmy Castor speaking the phrase, “What we’re gonna do right here is go back, way back, back into time.”  “The Way” begins with the spoken phrase “What we gotta do right here is go back, back into time.”  The attorney in the claim is Richard Busch of King & Ballow who has previously successfully brought claims against samplers – in particular of George Clinton and Funkadelic and on behalf of Bridgeport Music. And more from the Tennessean:  A US federal judge has ruled that a “song-theft” lawsuit against country superstars Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood over their duet…