OSA ruling: no Czech exemption from health-spa music royalty payments
Copyright , Music Publishing / April 2014

COPYRIGHT Collection societies, recorded music, music publishing   The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has given judgment in Case C‑351/12, OSA – Ochranný svaz autorský pro práva k dílům hudebním o.s. v Léčebné lázně Mariánské Lázně a.s., a reference for a preliminary issue from a Czech court, the Krajský soud v Plzni.  According to the press release: A spa which transmits protected musical works to its guests by means of devices located in their bedrooms must pay copyright fees: The territorial monopoly granted to copyright collecting societies is not contrary to the freedom to provide services OSA, a copyright collecting society, holds the exclusive right in the Czech Republic to collect fees, on behalf of authors, for the use of their musical works. The company Léčebné lázně Mariánské Lázně, which manages a spa, installed radio and television sets in the bedrooms of that establishment in order to make works managed by OSA available to its guests. However, Léčebné lázně Mariánské Lázně did not enter into a licence agreement with OSA and refused to pay fees to it on the ground that, under the Czech legislation, health establishments may freely transmit protected works. OSA, being of the view that…

Lessig triumphs in fair use battle

COPYRIGHT Recorded music, music publishing, broadcasting, internet   Back in August 2013 Lawrence Lessig filed a federal complaint after YouTube forced the Harvard University law professor and Creative Commons co-founder to take down a video of a lecture that featured people dancing to a copyrighted sound recording. Supported by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), Lessig said: “The rise of extremist enforcement tactics makes it increasingly difficult for creators to use the freedoms copyright law gives them. I have the opportunity, with the help of EFF, to challenge this particular attack. I am hopeful the precedent this case will set will help others avoid such a need to fight.” The complaint stems from a 2010 lecture Lessig delivered in South Korea on cultural and technological innovation. He presented clips of user-generated videos showing people dancing to Phoenix’s single “Lisztomania” which was a popular meme at the time started by user “Avoidant Consumer,” who combined scenes of people dancing from several movies with the song playing in the background. The video went live last June but complaints from Viacom and Australian-based music publisher Liberation Music via the Digital Millennium Copyright Act prompted YouTube to remove Lessig’s lecture twice. Lessig filed a complaint…

The IFPI Digital Music Report 2014 shows a changing landscape for the recorded music sector
Copyright , Music Publishing / April 2014

COPYRIGHT Recorded music   The IFPI have published their downloadable Digital Music Report 2014 – who shows that music fans’ growing appetite for subscription and streaming services helped drive trade revenue growth in most major music markets in 2013, with overall digital revenues growing 4.3 per cent and Europe’s music market expanding for the first time in more than a decade. Subscription services’ revenues were up 51 per cent in 2013, and it is estimated that more than 28 million people worldwide now pay for a music subscription, up from 20 million in 2012 and just eight million in 2010. That said, on a negative note, in the world’s second biggest recorded music market, Japan, a sharp drop in sales meant that overall global industry revenues declined by 3.9 per cent. Global revenue excluding Japan fell by 0.1 per cent. Physical format sales still account for a major proportion of industry revenues in many major markets.  They account for more than half (51.4%) of all global revenues, compared to 56 per cent in 2012.  Although global physical sales value declined by 11.7 per cent in 2013, major markets including Germany, Italy, the UK and the US saw a slow-down in the rate of physical decline.  France’s…

MP3tunes creator found liable for copyright infringement

COPYRIGHT Internet, recorded music   The original MP3.com creator Robertson has lost the action brought against him by EMI who sued the new company and Robertson himself in 2007, claiming that the MP3tunes.com operation infringed its copyrights. The former chief executive was found liable for infringing copyrights for sound recordings, compositions and cover art owned by record companies and music publishers once part of EMI Group Ltd. A federal jury in Manhattan found Michael Robertson, the former MP3tunes chief executive, and the defunct San Diego-based company liable on various claims that they infringed on copyrights associated with artists including The Beatles, Coldplay and David Bowie – both for direct involvement in distributing unlicensed files and for being “wilfully blind” to other copyright infringement on his site. The court now needs to decide what damages Robertson should pay EMI for all that infringement   http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/03/19/us-mp3tunes-infringement-idUSBREA2I29J20140319

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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