Appeals court upholds ruling on unofficial Bob Marley T-shirts
Trade Mark / March 2015
USA

TRADE MARK Merchandise   The Bob Marley estate has successfully persuaded an appeals court in the US to uphold a ruling in their favour over unofficial t-shirts that featured the late reggae star. The Marley Estate, and their merchandising company Fifty-Six Hope Road Music, first sued clothing makers AVELA over unofficial Bob Marley t-shirts it was selling in Walmart and Target back in 2008, winning the case three years later. AVELA was ordered to pay the Marley estate $750,000 in profits generated by the t-shirts, as well as $300,000 in damages and $1.5 million to cover legal costs. The clothing firm appealed. The case was based on the false endorsement elements of American trademark law. Although not as narrowly defined as passing off, those US laws are much narrower than publicity rights. According to The Hollywood Reporter, one of the appeal judges hearing the case noted that: “This case presents a question that is familiar in our circuit. When does the use of a celebrity’s likeness or persona in connection with a product constitute false endorsement that is actionable under the Lanham Act?” Consumer confusion need to be proven and lawyers for the Marley estate presented a survey in which…

Just who did write YMCA?
Copyright , Music Publishing / March 2015
USA

COPYRIGHT Music publishing   In May 2012, original Village People singer-songwriter Victor Willis won a case before a California federal judge allowing him terminate the licence of his share of the group’s songs – he could regain ownership of his own copyrights. As a result, the royalty payments that Willis received from music publishers were due to increase from a 12-20 percent rate. But exactly how much did he get? Whilst Willis contends he co-authored the songs with just Jacques Morali and therefore is entitled to a 50 percent share but Scorpio Music and Can’t Stop Productions, the publishers, point to copyright registrations indicating a third author, Henri Belolo. It’s their contention that the songs were originally French and then adapted by Willis, who in turn says Belolo didn’t have much to do with the songs in question. The music publishers only believe Willis is entitled to a 33 percent share. Among the witnesses scheduled to testify on behalf of Willis is his ex-wife Phylicia Rashad, who is famous for playing Clair Huxtable on The Cosby Show. She is expected to say that she witnessed Willis writing many of the songs at their home and they were never adapted from…

Lots of talk on copyright revision in the air post Grammys
Copyright / March 2015
USA

COPYRIGHT All areas   The U.S. Copyright Office has released a comprehensive study, “Copyright and the Music Marketplace,” detailing the ageing music licensing framework as well as the ever-evolving needs of those who create and invest in music in the twenty-first century. In addition to providing an exhaustive review of the existing system, the report makes a number of recommendations that would bring both clarity and relief to songwriters, artists, publishers, record labels, and digital delivery services. “Few would dispute that music is culturally essential and economically important to the world we live in,” said Maria A. Pallante, Register of Copyrights, “but the reality is that both music creators and the innovators who support them are increasingly doing business in legal quicksand. As this report makes clear, this state of affairs neither furthers the copyright law nor befits a nation as creative as the United States.” There is broad consensus across the music industry on a number of key points: (1) creators should be fairly compensated; (2) the licensing process should be more efficient; (3) market participants should have access to authoritative data to identify and license sound recordings and musical works; and (4) payment and usage information should be…

Pre 1972 Sirius claim heads for appellate court
Copyright / March 2015
USA

COPYRIGHT Sound recordings, broadcasting   A New York federal judge has agreed to certify an interlocutory appeal by SiriusXM against the ruling that gave state copyright law protection to pre-1972 sound recordings.  As a result, the 2nd Circuit will now address the legal issue that copyrights in pre-1972 sound recordings didn’t cover the right to exclusive public performance – a position successfully challenged by Turtle’s musicians Flo & Eddie of The Turtles who filed filed separate 2013 lawsuits in California, Florida and New York.   http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/thr-esq/judge-allows-siriusxm-appeal-big-772212

Jersey Boys decision reversed on appeal
Copyright / March 2015
USA

COPYRIGHT Theatre, film, book publishing   The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has reversed a decision in a copyright lawsuit against two members of the Four Seasons and the developers of the group’s Tony Award winning biographical musical “Jersey Boys.” Donna Corbello sued Frankie Valli and fellow “Four Seasons” band member Robert Gaudio in 2011 for copyright infringement, claiming the musical was based in part on an unpublished autobiography of Four Seasons band member Thomas DeVito that her late husband Rex Woodard ghost-wrote. Although initially registered in DeVito’s sole name, Corbello amended the US copyright registration so Woodard and Devito were co-owners. She said she deserved to share in the profits from the musical’s success.  The appellate court said there was contradictory evidence about whether Valli and Gaudio executed an agreement with DeVito to produce the play in time to avoid termination of their ownership rights but that “a co-owner of a copyright must account to other co-owners for any profits he earns from licensing or use of the copyright.” The case will now be sent back to Nevada federal court to determine if the musical infringes the autobiography, and Corbello is entitled to royalties from  the theatre show…

Is Nomm’s U.S. visit a blow for Dotcom?
Copyright , Internet / March 2015
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet   Andrus Nomm, a 36 year old Estonian who lives in the Netherlands, and one of a small group of ex MegaUpload staffers who are facing extradition to the US for involvement in the running of the controversial file-transfer company, has pleaded guilty to criminal copyright infringement charges and has been sentenced to a year and a day in a U.S. prison. Nomm pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia to conspiracy to commit felony copyright infringement. District Judge Liam O’Grady accepted the guilty plea and imposed the sentence. Nomm is the first defendant to face charges in the U.S. in the Department of Justice’s long-running copyright infringement case against Megaupload, and Nomm voluntarily waived his right to fight extradition. The plea is “a significant step forward in the largest criminal copyright case in U.S. history,” Assistant Attorney General Leslie Caldwell said in a statement.  Speculation remains that he had done a deal with prosecutors, and will agree to testify against his former colleagues, including Kim Dotcom. Prosecutors agreed to a light sentence for his guilty plea, the DOJ said in a press release.The DOJ has accused the operators of Megaupload of running…

Blurred Lines updates
Copyright , Music Publishing / March 2015
USA

COPYRIGHT Music publishing   This first update is from Tom Ohta writing on the IPKat Robin Thicke’s hit, Blurred Lines, has caused controversy not only for its lyrics, but also for its musical provenance after Marvin Gaye’s children alleged that Blurred Lines infringed copyright in Marvin Gaye’s Got To Give It Up resulting in a trial before the Californian District Court currently scheduled to start next Tuesday, 17 February. As readers may recall the litigation arose after Pharrell Williams, Robin Thicke and Clifford Harris, Jr., pre-emptively sought declaratory relief that Blurred Lines did not infringe copyright in Gaye’s Got To Give It Up, following accusations by the Gaye family of unlawful similarities between the two works. The Gaye’s expert musicologist studied the sheet music and sound recordings of the two works and identified eight “ substantially similar” features which “ surpass the realm of generic coincidence”. The Gayes argued that it was improbable that a third-party work would contain all of these features in a “ similar constellation” – and that those similarities in Blurred Lines must therefore be indicative of unlawful copying. In this case, it was not disputed that Robin Thicke had listened to Gaye’s Got To Give…

Secondary ticketing back on the UK legislation agenda
Consumers , Live Events / March 2015
UK

CONSUMER LAW Live events sector     In a policy U-turn, the UK Government is set to regulate ticket touting, with those breaching the new laws face fines of up to £5,000. The onus on stopping mass industrial scale toutng is to be shifted onto venues, however. The move came from the UK Government who had previously rejected attempts to amend legislation. The amendment now stands a much better chance of passing into law. Recently over 80 signatories to a open letter to the Government including the managers of One Direction and Arctic Monkeys, leading booking agents and the Association of Independent Festivals called on the Government to take action against ticket abuse and mass touting.  Iron Maiden manager Rod Smallwood recently criticised the “ever-increasing plague of ‘secondary ticketing’ excess” as a “blight on live music and sports events and much to the detriment of fans”.   Under new legislation, passed by the House of Lords, people re-selling their tickets to music gigs and sports events in the secondary market will be regulated more closely. Sellers will have to provide information on how much the ticket cost, the seat number and any restrictions imposed by the venue. This will expose…

Message’s message calls for more transparency in the digital pie
UK

CONTRACT / COPYRIGHT Recorded music, digital distribution, artistes   Radiohead manager and former Chair of the Music Managers Forum Brian Message has used the launch of the Entertainment Retailers Association’s new manifesto to single out the secret deals concluded between content owners – in particular the major record labels and new digital services – for criticism. Pointing out that artistes and their management have the potential to be increasingly closer to the fan he added: “that economic chain isn’t without it’s challenges, as you probably know just as well as us; in fact, many of my colleagues would go as far as to say that it’s pretty well broken and needs fixing. For us, central to this structural failure is the NDA [Non Disclosure Agreement] culture that is now ingrained in the licensing of creator catalogues to retailers and digital services”. “The lack of transparency and the very real erosion of trust felt by many creators and managers in how the economic value chain now operates is an issue that the MMF and ERA needs to focus on together so we can add real value to our members”. He added “Since taking on my new role within MMF and having…

Lamb of God fan sues Live Nation over spinal injuries after gig fall
Health & Safety , Live Events / February 2015
USA

HEALTH & SAFETY Live events sector   A man is suing Live Nation over spinal injuries he sustained when he was “trampled” at a Lamb of God show in 2012. According to reports, William Tarantino claims that during a performance by the metal band at the Oakdale Theatre in Wallingford, Connecticut in November 2012, he was “violently knocked to the ground and trampled, sustaining … severe [and] painful injuries … some of which are permanent”. He accuses Live Nation, the show’s promoter, of “negligence and carelessness” by failing to “provide adequate security” to deal with what would likely be a raucous audience, based on other Lamb of God gigs. Though Tarantino’s complaint seems to describe metal audiences generally, and it’s not clear what measures he feels should have been put in place by Live Nation to avoid the sudden surge that led to his injuries. CMU Daily reported that Tarantino is seeking in excess of $75,000 in damages. Lamb of God themselves are not named on the lawsuit. Frontman Randy Blythe was arrested in the Czech Republic in 2013 on suspicions of manslaughter after a fan died falling from the stage at one of their concerts. Blythe was eventually cleared…

School use of Rage Against The Machine track could result in funding cuts
Censorship , Education / February 2015
USA

CENSORSHIP Education   Back in 2010, Arizona passed a somewhat controversial law that effectively banned ethnic studies within the collective school system. Now, John Huppenthal, a state superintendent of public education, is claiming that the use of Rage Against the Machine and other politically-charged music in the Tucson school curriculum is a direct violation of that law. In a “note of noncompliance” complaint sent to Tucson’s school district chiefs last week, Huppenthal argued that when U.S. History students at Cholla High school are asked to dissect the lyrics of a politically charged rap-metal band Rage Against the Machine – then band’s 1992 single “Take The Power Back” — a song that was being taught as part of a Mexican-American history lesson — this defied the restrictive law. An “Introduction to Hip-Hop” essay penned by rapper KRS-One that’s used in an English class was also cited as a violation. Huppenthal pointed to the lyrics of “Take The Power Back”, noting that that type of “content” was forbidden in Arizona classrooms and that courses that taught it were breaking the law. That is, these classes are working to promote “the overthrow of the government” and “resentment toward a race or class of…

Kiss FM guilty of Ofcom breach
Censorship / February 2015
UK

CENSORSHIP Broadcasting   Ofcom has found that UK radio broadcaster Kiss FM breached its rules after the station broadcast an unedited version of Calvin Harris’s ‘Open Wide’ at 17.45 on a Sunday afternoon in November 2013 – The explicit track features sexually suggestive lyrics and multiple uses of the word ‘fucking’. Kiss said that it “sincerely apologised” for the error, and acknowledged that it had breached the rules. It explained that it had been given the opportunity to have the first play of Harris’s new single, and had scheduled the spin into its Sunday night chart show and that the track was not properly vetted and “clearly not been the expected ‘radio-friendly’ edit”. Ofcom said that it was “concerned that in this case, the licensee allowed a track that had not been listened to by station staff to be broadcast at a time when children were particularly likely to be listening”. Kiss said that as a result of the incident, it overhauled its procedures for checking the content of new songs, and disciplined the producer in charge of the chart show.   http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-30880221

SIA updates on Business Licensing
Health & Safety , Live Events / February 2015
UK

HEALTH & SAFETY Live events sector   The UK’s Security Industry Authority has issued a press release saying that the Home Office is “continuing to work with the security industry and the Security Industry Authority on the development of regulation for the private security industry.” In December 2014, the Home Office said the Government expects the introduction of the statutory licensing of private security businesses to come into force as soon as possible during the next Parliamentary session, which starts in May 2015. Business licensing is subject to Ministerial and Parliamentary approval and the approval of Ministers in the devolved administrations in Scotland and Northern Ireland. However both the Conservative and Labour parties support the scheme. The Scottish Government and Department of Justice for Northern Ireland have indicated that they are supportive of a consistent, UK-wide regulatory regime.   http://www.sia.homeoffice.gov.uk/Pages/business-licensing.aspx

Canterbury: “Stop Criminalising Your Buskers, Start Supporting Them” (and Camden, you are beginning to look ridiculous!)
Licensing , Live Events / February 2015
UK

LICENSING Live events sector   As I grew up in Canterbury and indeed my father (and numerous friends) used to busk in the town centre I have decided to reproduce this entire article from the Keep Streets Live Campaign, a not-for-profit organisation which advocates for public spaces that are open to informal offerings of art and music. It aims to promote positive relationships between local authorities and street performers and to develop policies that support and sustain street culture. My father raised funds for Oxfam by playing the fiddle, dressed as a medieval musician and indeed played the crumhorn and other instruments with the Canterbury Waites! The Council introduced guidelines to regulate busking in the City and these include rules such as buskers only staying in one place for up to an hour, and stopping by 9pm and were introduced after the Government passed the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act, which gives local authorities the power to issue a community protection notice to anyone it can reasonably judge to be “having a detrimental effect, of a persistent or continuing nature, on the quality of life of those in the locality”. Douglas Rattray, the head of Safer Neighbourhoods for the…

Texas Music chief calls again for tax incentives for live music
Licensing , Live Events , Taxation / February 2015
USA

LICENSING / TAXATION Live events sector   The outgoing head of the Texas Music Office, Casey Monahan, has said that his successor should continue pushing for a bill similar to the move proposed in 2013 by then-Rep Mark Strama to lower taxes on bars and clubs that heavily feature live music. Strama’s bill was intended as a way to offer incentives for bar owners to feature live music. But it died because of concerns over its potential cost and how the new law would be administered. “The passage of that (bill) would be a huge boost to the live music economy in the state,” said Monahan, who confirmed earlier this week that he will replaced after 25 years of service. “Recorded music hasn’t really recovered since 2000 and we’ve got to do something to provide an incentive for people to hire live musicians, because that’s the only real way to earn an income now.” Monahan said as Austin grows that his successor and other stakeholders in the music industry have to stay vocal about their place in the local economy and cultural scene. “It’s so important for people in the industry to assert themselves in the public arena,” he said…

UK tax relief for orchestras moves a step closer
Live Events , Taxation / February 2015
UK

TAXATION Live events sector   The UK Government is to introduce new tax relief for orchestras from April 2016, following a public consultation. Chancellor George Osborne first announced the move, which mirrors similar reliefs in theatre, film, videogames and animation, in his autumn statement last year, and now has issued a consultation document outlining proposals and calls from input in their implementation. Director of the Association of British Orchestras Mark Pemberton said: “We welcome the launch of the consultation. Tax relief will make a big difference to our members’ resilience in these challenging times, helping them to continue to offer the very best in British music-making to audiences both here in the UK and abroad.   https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/orchestra-tax-relief

Licence backlash prompts council notices ‘re-think’
Licensing , Live Events / February 2015
UK

LICENSING Live events sector   Adur District Council and it’s licensing unit are facing criticism over the way it handled the application for a SJM promoted music festival. The Shoreham Herald reports that residents in Shoreham were furious to find out about plans for a large-scale music festival at Shoreham Airport ‘by word of mouth’. They felt Adur District Council should have made public notices more visible on site and said they found out ‘by chance’ only days before the deadline for comments. One local resident, Liz Coward, wrote to the paper saying that “the licensing unit provided, at best, poor advice throughout the SJM Ltd application for a music festival.” With Ms Coward detailing that she was given the wrong closing date for representations, December 4th not 5th, was told that objectors could only read out their letters at the hearing “when, in fact, they were entitled to put their case and question the applicant” and that she was also told that the application could not be refused, ‘because there was a big legal team behind the applicant who knew what they were doing’. Ms Coward aso says that the council website contained a statement that the councillors could…

Sam Smith’s “Stay With Me” now includes Tom Petty and Jeff Lyne as songwriters
Copyright , Music Publishing / February 2015
UK

COPYRIGHT Music publishing, sound recordings   When Sam Smith’s “Stay With Me” was released in April 2014, numerous commentators were quick to note the distinct resemblance to Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ 1989 classic “I Won’t Back Down”. Others saw perhaps a passing resemblance in one chord sequence but felt that the songs and recordings were completely different. Now details have emerged of a settlement on the split of song writing credits and royalties. And remember it’s similarities in the song this matter is about – NOT the sound recordings themselves –which this blogger feels are quite different. However, there is certainly an arguable similarity in some of the chord sequences. The settlement reportedly included a 12.5% writing credit to both Petty and singer-composer Jeff Lynne (of ELO fame). The song’s credit on ASCAP (the collection society the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers) now lists Smith, Petty, Lynne, William Phillips and Jimmy Napes as the chief songwriters in what appears to be an amicable and sensible deal. However one commentator adds “Tom Petty’s copyright settlement with Sam Smith …. marks at least the third time that Petty has heard similarities between his own songs and more recent hits by other…

Who will face the Music? The Blurred Lines trial approaches
Copyright , Music Publishing / February 2015
USA

COPYRIGHT Music Publishing   The lawsuit that alleges that Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams borrowed heavily from the Marvin Gaye track ‘Got To Give It Up’ when creating ther somewhat controversial tune ‘Blurred Lines’ is set to go to court on February 10th. The complaint is based on the obvious similarities between the songs, and partly because Thicke once said of his hit in an interview: “I told Pharrell that one of my favourite songs of all time was Marvin Gaye’s ‘Got To Give It Up’. I was like, ‘Damn, we should make something like that, something with that groove’. Then he started playing a little something and we literally wrote the song in about a half hour and recorded it”. Thicke has also claimed that he’d been far too involved with drink and prescription drugs at the time to have given any such coherent instructions to his pop-making partner but both Thicke and Williams strongly deny the allegations of plagiarism. The latest side debate was whether the jury should hear recordings of the Thicke/Williams song and Gaye’s track side by side. Representatives for the Gaye family favour of this, but lawyers for the ‘Blurred Lines’ twosome demanded that no…

Zimmer in the frame over movie music claim
Copyright , Music Publishing / February 2015
France
Germany
USA

COPYRIGHT Music publishing   Our third plagiarism update in music this month now. And there’s that old saying isn’t there – “where there’s a hit – there’s a writ” and whilst this blogger often spies claims of plagiarism, sampling and sometimes even downright copying which usually result in at least the threat of a lawsuit in the film, TV and music sectors, a claim in relation to the Oscar winning movie 12 Years a Slave has also thrown up claims violations of moral rights (under the copyright laws of Germany and France) – but in a US court.. The Hollywood Reporter lets us know that a U.S. civil lawsuit has been filed on behalf of composer Richard Friedman against composer Hans Zimmer, along with 20th Century Fox, Sony Music and various companies connected to the movie, for the alleged inclusion of a copyrighted music composition into the film’s main musical theme. According to the complaint, filed in a Californian federal court, the “Solomon Northup” theme in the movie can be traced to a 2004 Friedman composition titled “To Our Fallen,” which allegedly was widely distributed as part of a music sample entitled “American Heart.” The plaintiff says that the sound…

Chinese Karaoke venues get court approved licences
Copyright , Music Publishing / February 2015
China

COPYRIGHT Music publishing   A Court in Jiaxing City, Zhejiang Province has facilitated a group licensing contract between 200 karaoke venues and the Music Copyright Society of China (MCSC). The Court mediated contract follows intensive litigation action by MCSC. According to the Court, there have been 1,433 related civil cases in the city over the past four years with average damages awarded of one yuan (10p) per day per karaoke room. According to media reports, each karaoke venue will pay a little over RMB1,000 (£100) per year under the group contract. Jiaxing City has a population of over 3 million people.   More in Chinese here http://www.sipo.gov.cn/yw/2014/201412/t20141219_1048830.html and in English here http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/china/2014-12/24/c_133876853.htm

Beastie boys seek $2.4 million costs in Monster claim
Copyright , Record Labels / February 2015
USA

COPYRIGHT Recorded music   Having prevailed in their claim that energy drink Monster used a mix of Beastie Boys tracks in a promotional video documenting a snowboarding event it staged in 2012 without the band’s permission, and been awarded $1.7 million by a jury (upheld on appeal), the two remaining band members are now seeking legal costs associated with the litigation of nearly $2.4 million. According to Billboard, the musicians’ lawyers argue that the way the Monster company behaved during the legal battle added to those legal costs and, therefore, it should foot the bill. A legal filing last weekend cites Monster’s failure to engage in “good-faith negotiations” and its bid to have the original ruling overturned as reasons why the drinks company should be held liable for the group’s legal fees – otherwise the plaintiff’s success at trial “would become a Pyrrhic victory”.   http://www.completemusicupdate.com/article/beastie-boys-win-1-7-million-in-monster-dispute/ http://www.billboard.com/articles/columns/the-juice/6443697/beastie-boys-monster-energy-lawsuit-legal-fees

Another pre-1972 copyright claim surfaces
General / February 2015
USA

COPYRIGHT Sound recordings, broadcasting, internet   The the ‘pre-1972’ story about copyright in sound recordings in the USA keeps on giving – and now Zenbu Magazines LLC,  the owner of recordings by Hot Tuna, New Riders of the Purple Sage and the Flying Burrito Brothers, is seeking class-action status for suits filed in U.S. District Court in Northern California, arguing that services such as Apple’s free iTunes Radio, and Sony’s Music Unlimited – which charge subscribers to access their service – have copied tens of thousands of  pre-1972 recordings onto their servers, transmitted them and performed them without seeking permission or paying performance royalties or licensing fees to the copyright owners. Google Play are also in the firing line, ALTHOIUGH Rdio, initially  named, have now seemingly been removed as defendants. Sound recordings weren’t brought under the protection of federal copyright law until 1972 so are protected by state laws and some services, notably SiriusXM, haven’t been paying performance royalties to artists to play these older works prompting claims from both artists (with Flo & Eddie from the Turtles leading the charge), record labels and collection society SoundExchange.   http://www.completemusicupdate.com/article/new-lawsuit-extends-reach-of-pre-1972-debate/

Pirate party MEP publishes her paper on copyright review for the European Parliament
Copyright / February 2015
EU
Germany

COPYRIGHT All Areas   Julia Reda, a Pirate Party MEP from Germany,  has published a draft report looking at some key copyright topics across the European Union with a view to influencing the next raft of EU copyright proposals, expected to come from the European Commissioner For Digital Economy And Society early next year. Reda, as ‘Rapporteur’ presents a report that specifically considers how the 2001 European copyright directive was implemented in different EU states, and concludes that there remains too much variation in copyright rules across the Union, which is counter-productive in the age of cross-border digital content consumption. Launching her report, Reda said: “The EU copyright directive was written in 2001, in a time before YouTube or Facebook. Although it was meant to adapt copyright to the digital age, in reality it is blocking the exchange of knowledge and culture across borders today. We need a common European copyright that safeguards fundamental rights and makes it easier to offer innovative online services in the entire European Union”.  Reda also revealed the rather long list of content companies, collecting societies and related organisations openly lobbying her once she began work on this paper. The report is careful to begin…

Hoist The Colours High: The Pirate Bay is Coming Back
Copyright , Internet , Music Publishing / February 2015
EU
Sweden
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet, sound recordings   Here’s a guest piece by Thomas Dubuisson (@tdubuisson) for the 1709 Copyright Blog on a subject that refuses to fade away: the fate of The Pirate Bay. Thomas writes: “This is the day you will always remember as the day you almost caught Captain Jack Sparrow”(Jack Sparrow, Pirates Of The Caribbean) For many years, internet service providers (ISPs) have tried, and sometimes succeeded, to block access to The Pirate Bay (TPB), known as the world’s largest illegal file-sharing site, in several countries around the world. However, this time, it’s “in real life” and not, as expected, on the internet, that thepiratebay.se domain was shut down. Launched in September 2003, The Pirate Bay website has since been involved in a number of lawsuits, mainly accused of copyright infringement and of authorizing the infringement of its users. Eleven years later, on December 9, 2014, Swedish police carried out a raid at the Nacka Station data centre, in Stockholm, seizing a huge treasure: servers, computers, and other equipment. As a result, the site has been taken offline and dragged down several other popular BitTorrent services (i.e. open Internet application for content distribution) with it, such as EZTV, Zoink,…

Monster sues Apple’s Beats Electronics saying the brand was “fraudulently acquired” brand through “sham transaction
Contract / February 2015
USA

CONTRACT / COMMERCIAL Technology   Headphones maker Monster and its chief executive yesterday launched legal action against Apple’s Beats Electronics for allegedly conspiring to dupe Monster out of a deal with Beats before it was sold last year to the iPhone maker for $3.2bn (£2.12bn). Noel Lee, whose firm Monster helped launch Beats by Dre in 2008, says his company was betrayed and its technology “pirated”. He alleges he “lost millions” after Dre and Iovine “improperly took control” of Beats through a “sham” transaction. After severing ties with Monster, Beats was purchased by Apple for $3 billion (£1.9 billion). In legal papers filed in California, Lee alleges rap producer Dr Dre was barely involved in creating the headphones that carried his name. But the range quickly became a highly desirable brand with celebrities and music fans, and Dre’s endorsement was key to its success. When the firm was sold to mobile phone manufacturer HTC in 2012, Dre and Iovine made $100m (£66m) each, Forbes estimated. But Lee claims the deal forced him to cut his share in the company from 5% to 1.25%. He says he then had no other option but to sell his remaining stake for $5.5m (£3.6m)…

Sky Stone wins $5 million royalty battle
Artists , Contract / February 2015
USA

CONTRACT Artistes   Sly Stone, the frontman of Sly & The Family Stone, who was left reportedly destitute after a contract and royalties dispute, with reports saying the singer living in a tiny van in Los Angeles. But now Variety reports that Stone has won an important law suit, with the singer awarded $5 million in misdirected royalties which resulted from a 1989 agreement when the singer allegedly handed over financial control to his manager Gerald Goldstein and Even St. Production. In his 2010 lawsuit the musician alleged that manager Gerald Goldstein and attorney Glenn Stone had convinced him to sign an employment and shareholder agreement with Even Street Productions in 1989. Through this, he claimed, they then failed to pay him around $2.5 million in royalties, instead keeping the money for themselves. The defendants argued that Stewart had been paid millions of dollars in royalties, and had renewed his agreement with them 40 times between 1994 and 2006. But he had, they said, broken the terms of his agreement by not delivering new music, and it was that which led to the dispute. A jury has now ruled that Goldstein must pay $2.45 million, lawyer Glenn Stone (not related…

‘American Idol’ owner faces contract challenge from 2012 winner
Artists , Contract / February 2015
USA

CONTRACT Artistes   Phillip Phillips, the 2012  ‘American Idol’ winner has  lodged a petition with the California Labor Commissioner which could test the contracts that competitors of talent shows such as ‘Idol’ enter into with the show formats’ owners, relationships which often begin with the terms contenders sign up to when first auditioning. It may also look into the legal problems that can occur when an artist has contracts with multiple divisions of one company, one of which is a management contract, as is the case with Phillips and ‘Idol’ owner 19 Entertainment, now part of the CORE Media Group (although this dispute relates specifically to California’s Talent Agencies Act, and will mainly test if Phillips’ deals with 19 fall under that legislation and, if they do, whether his management firm has complied with the rules and is empowered to secure bookings for him). Phillips signed a series of contracts with 19 governing his management, merchandising, recording and publishing. Explaining his action, Phillips says: “I am very grateful for the opportunities provided to me through appearing on ‘American Idol’. The value that the fans and the show have given to my career is not lost on me. However, I have…

Black Crowes split over band structure
Artists , Contract , Trade Mark / February 2015
USA

CONTRACT / TRADE MARK Artistes   It seems that the Black Crowes have split after frontman Chris Robinson attempted to restructure the band. His brother, the band’s guitarist Rich Robinson said in a statement last week: “It is with great disappointment and regret that after having the privilege of writing and performing the music of The Black Crowes over the last 24 years, I find myself in the position of saying that the band has broken up. I hold my time with the Black Crowes with the utmost respect and sincerest appreciation. It is a huge swath of my life’s body of work. I couldn’t be more proud of what we accomplished and deeply moved by the relationships people created and maintained with my music. That alone is the greatest honour of being a musician,” Robinson continued: “I love my brother [Robinson] and respect his talent but his present demand that I must give up my equal share of the band and that our drummer for 28 years and original partner, Steve Gorman, relinquish 100% of his share, reducing him to a salaried employee, is not something I could agree to”.  The band slit in 2002 when Gorman quit. They…

Van Halen dispute settled
Artists , Trade Mark / February 2015
USA

TRADE MARK Artistes   ELVH Inc, the company that represents the intellectual property interests of rock band Van Halen has reached a settlement with Kelly Van Halen, the ex-wife of the band’s co-founder and drummer, following a legal dispute over her continued use of her married name in a design business after  Kelly Van Halen attempted to register trademarks for her business, which has continued to operate under her married name despite her divorcing Alex Van Halen in the mid-1990s. ELVH Inc claimed that Kelly’s proposed trademarks would violate and dilute the band’s own Van Halen marks and should therefore be blocked. It also argued that Alex’s ex’s continued use of the Van Halen name constituted passing off and unfair competition. ELVH have now said that the matter has been “amicably resolved”. Kelly Van Halen’s attorney told The Hollywood Reporter that his client had agreed to not provide any music-related products or services, and to only use her name as part of a wider brand identity, such as ‘Designer Originals by Kelly Van Halen’. http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/thr-esq/van-halen-settles-lawsuit-drummers-762281

ID&T fires back at Disney in the ‘Tomorrow’ trademark dispute
Live Events , Trade Mark / February 2015
EU
USA

TRADE MARK Live events sector, film & TV   When EDM festival franchise Tomorrowland launched in the US in 2013. Disney pointed out that the film compay owned the trademark in the name and wouldn’t let the EDM festival use it. Its promoters, SFX-owned ID&T, then opted for TomorrowWorld. Now the tables have turned: Disney is shopping a movie called ‘Tomorrowland: A World Beyond’ around the world but now it appears that ID&T just owns the Tomorrowland trademark in Belgium, The Netherlands and Luxembourg. So the dance music event makers are returning the favour and causing the Disney studios all kinds of issues regarding using that name for the film’s release in those markets.

T for two?
Live Events , Trade Mark / February 2015
UK

TRADE MARK Live Events sector   Drinks company Tennents is locked in a legal battle with a small music promotions company over the use of the letter T in the title of the  new event, due to be staged at Strathclyde Park this year. And The brewers, who are “founding partners” of T in the Park, say the logo for tribute band festival Tfest infringes their trademarks. In response, Tfest promoters Bookaband Ltd have said it would cost them £50,000 to alter their logo and website. Festival director John Ure said: “We don’t understand why a huge company like Tennent’s can feel we threaten them. Tennent’s don’t own the letter T. “We contacted them months ago to show them our logo and didn’t get any objection at the time. But now our website is live, we’re hit with lawyers’ letters.” Tennent’s have alleged that the Tfest mark “bear[s] a close similarity” to T in the Park and will “inevitably” mislead fans into thinking the two festivals are linked saying “To call another event Tfest is confusing at best and misleading at worst.” adding “The T in the Park name, frequently shortened to T, took a great deal of time and…

Taylor Swift looks for Trade Marks in her lyrics
Artists , Music Publishing , Trade Mark / February 2015
USA

TRADE MARK Artistes, music publishing   Taylor Swift has applied to Trade Mark some of her most individual lyrics, notably “this sick beat” from Shake it Off as well as “nice to meet you, where you been?” and “party like it’s 1989”. Alexander Ross, a partner at law firm Wiggin, explained to the Guardian newspaper “What she is trying to do is to protect individual phrases within her lyrics where those lyrics have become catchphrases. “Once you have a trademarked phrase you have the right to stop someone else using it on things like merchandising” although the article also points to Apple’s Beats by Dre mark which may prove a partially obstacle to Swift’s ambitions.   http://www.theguardian.com/music/musicblog/2015/jan/29/taylor-swift-this-sick-beat-worlds-first-trademarked-lyric

Rhihanna prevails again against TopShop
Artists , Copyright / February 2015
UK
USA

PASSING OFF, COPYRIGHT Artists   Rihanna has won a legal battle against high street store Topshop over a T-shirt bearing her image. The Court of Appeal in London upheld a ban on the store selling a sleeveless T-shirt featuring a photo of the star without obtaining her permission. At first instance Birss J ruled that “[t]he mere sale by a trader of a t-shirt bearing an image of a famous person is not, without more, an act of passing off. However the sale of this image of this person on this garment by this shop in these circumstances is a different matter.” The Court of Appeal has now issued its decision in Fenty v Arcadia, confirming Birss J’s judgment and holding that “the sale by Topshop of the t-shirt amounted to passing off.”   Quick recap In 2012 Topshop started selling – both in its stores and online – a T-shirt [or, to be more precise, and as Birss J explained at the time of his judgment, a ““boyfriend style tank” (i.e. an oversized sleeveless t-shirt)”] bearing the image of Rihanna. Topshop had secured a licence from the holder of the copyright in the photograph, but had not asked Rihanna…

New collection society alliance to be investigated by EU
Competition , Music Publishing / February 2015
EU
Germany
Sweden
UK

COMPETITION Music publishing   The European Commission has announced that it has opened an “in-depth investigation” into the planned joint venture between three of Europe’s biggest song-right collecting societies, Germany’s GEMA, Sweden’s STIM and the UK’s PRS For Music. The three societies announced their alliance last June, expanding on an existing partnership between PRS and STIM built around the International Copyright Enterprise (ICE). The rights organisations, which each represent a large collective of songwriters and publishers, said in a statement: “The hub aims to create easier access for digital music services to clear music rights, and faster and more precise payments of royalties to rights holders. PRS for Music, STIM, and GEMA had planned to begin launching services from the hub in early 2015, subject to competition clearance. Notwithstanding this delay, the partners remain committed to bringing their new service offerings to the market as soon as possible, once the approval of the European Commission has been obtained.” Adding “The collective rights management organisations behind the venture are confident that their vision for a new licensing and processing hub will benefit the market and look forward to providing the European Commission with further analysis and market data” and “The hub is set…

OSA and Article 102 TFEU: a way of attacking excessive collecting society fees?
Competition , Music Publishing / February 2015
EU

COMPETITION Music Publishing   Case C-351/12 OSA – Ochranný svaz autorský pro práva k dílům hudebním o.s. v Léčebné lázně Mariánské Lázně a.s., 27 February 2014 Eleonora’s Rosarati’s abstract for the Oxford University Press publication,  Journal of European Competition Law & Practice, reads as follows: Even where national law reserves collective management of rights to a certain collecting society, this does not exclude application of competition law rules, notably Article 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU): a collecting society may be found to abuse its dominant position if in a particular Member State it imposes fees that are appreciably higher than those charged in other Member States, or imposes a price that is excessive in relation to the economic value of the service provided.   http://the1709blog.blogspot.co.uk/2015/01/osa-and-article-102-tfeu-way-of.html

Court Holds Soundreef Business Activities in Italy are Legitimate
Competition , Music Publishing / February 2015
Italy
UK

COMPETITION Music publishing   The Court of First Instance of Milan has ruled in favour of this rising and ambitious British company that administers copyright and neighbouring rights and is a de facto competitor of the Italian Society of Authors and Editors (SIAE) saying: “At the moment there are no sufficient elements to hold that Soundreef’s dissemination of music within the Italian territory is unlawful because of the exclusive granted to the Italian Society for Authors and Editors (SIAE) as per Art. 180 of the Italian Copyright Act, nor does it appear that the music … managed and disseminated by Soundreef in shopping centres, department stores and similar commercial venues, must be necessarily managed by SIAE. Any such claim would be in conflict with both the principles of the free market within the European Community and the core principles of free competition”. [Indeed, in an era in which technology takes the strain and the bureaucratic element of rights management is largely automated, the benefits to rights owners through economy of scale, if they exist at all, must be vanishingly small]. In both phases of the interim proceedings, the Court of Milan dismissed all claims against Soundreef. “The decision holds that…

YouTube’s monopolistic behaviour back in the news again
Competition , Internet / February 2015
Canada
USA

COMPETITION Internet   Self releasing musician Zoe Keating has reignited the debate around YouTube’s Music Key negotiating tactics. In a detailed blog post about her current quandary over YouTube, as the market-leading video platform ploughs on with its Music Key adventure. CMU Daily reports that It seems that the new subscription streaming, having placated the indie labels, is now offering terms to self released artistes – which seem to be “join in with Music Key or say goodbye to YouTube entirely”.   Outlining the new YouTube deal as it was explained to her, Keating wrote: All of my catalogue must be included in both the free and premium music service. Even if I don’t deliver all my music, because I’m a music partner, anything that a third party uploads with my info in the description will be automatically included in the music service too. All songs will be set to “montetise”, meaning there will be ads on them. I will be required to release new music on YouTube at the same time I release it anywhere else. So no more releasing to my core fans first on Bandcamp and then on iTunes. All my catalogue must be uploaded at high…

UK Government launches consultation on CRM Directive
UK

COMPETITION Music publishing, recorded music   The UK government will shortly be launching a consultation on the implementation of the Collective Rights Management (CRM) Directive. This EU law was adopted last year to set consistent standards for the regulation of collective rights management organisations such as PRS for Music. The Directive aims to enforce minimum standards to the way collecting societies work and has three key elements: rules on governance, transparency/financial reporting and standards for multi-territory licensing. This government consultation is an opportunity for you to have your say on the implementation of the directive in UK law. The legislation will come into force on 10 April 2016. The Government has also halted a proposed move that would see the copyright protection certain unpublished sound recordings up to the year 2039 removed. The Copyright, Designs and Patents Act protects copyright in unpublished recordings from 1957 – 1989 for the period up to 2039, at which point the works fall into the public domain. The proposed move came after lobbying on the issue from groups including CILIP, on behalf of libraries, museums and archives. The Government scrapped the reform after consultations with industry trade organisations including thr BPI and UK Music All…

Music and sports figures rebuffed in call for ticket resale reform
Competition , Contract , Live Events / February 2015
UK

COMPETITION / CONTRACT Live events sector   Senior UK figures from the world of sport and entertainment who issued a call for new controls on websites selling event tickets have seen their bid for regulation of secondary ticketing fail after MPs voted 289 to 204 against an amendment to the Consumer Rights Bill in the House of Commons. Campaigners wanted resale websites to be required to publish the names of ticket sellers and the tickets’ face value. The renewed call came in a letter to the Independent on Sunday signed by heads of sporting and cultural bodies and entertainers’ management companies. Government ministers prefer a voluntary approach. The Department of Culture, Media and Sport has previously said a change in the law would be unnecessary. Secondary ticketing sites act as marketplaces that allow sellers to charge what they like for concerts, plays and sports events, and often earn a commission from selling on the tickets.  When tickets for a popular event go on sale, they may be snapped up in bulk either manually or using automated software in order to sell them on at a profit. The letter warns that the way the secondary ticketing market currently operates can seriously undermine efforts…

Jay Z wins single word sampling claim
Copyright , Music Publishing / January 2015
USA

COPYRIGHT Sound recordings. Music publishing   An interesting case from the world of music sampling: A US Judge has thrown out a case against rapper Jay Z over the use of just one word ‘oh’ – from a recording and song by Eddie Bo called The Hook & Slings in Jay Z’s track and video Run This Town with the court saying “Run This Town bears very little and perhaps no similarity at all to Hook & Sling Part I. The melody and lyrics are entirely different. The lyrics do not contain the word “oh.” .. [It appears] only in the background and in such a way as to be audible and aurally intelligible only to the most attentive and capable listener.” This does though seem to sidestep the ruling made in Westbound Records and Bridgeport Music v No Limit Films (September 2004) by the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals: here the court posed the question “If you cannot pirate the whole sound recording, can you ‘lift’ or ‘sample’ something less than the whole?” The Court’s answer to this was in the negative” and the court added “Get a license or do not sample – we do not see this…

Cannibal Corpse face Russian ban
Censorship , Live Events / January 2015
Russia
USA

CENSORSHIP Live events sector   After a number of shows on Cannibal Corpse’s recent Russian tour were cancelled by local authorities, shortly before or, in one case, during their performance, one of the cities that took against the US death metal band has now banned all of their album artwork and translations of their lyrics. A district court in the city of Ufa last week ruled in favour of a complaint brought by the Prosecutor’s Office of Bashkortostan on the grounds that (according to news agency Rapsi) “Lyrics by the band Cannibal Corpse could damage the mental health of children because they contain descriptions of violence, the physical and mental abuse of people and animals, murder and suicide – all accompanied by illustrations”. Several shows on the band’s tour of Russia earlier this year were pulled by the authorities, though none on the grounds cited in the lawsuit. In a statement at the time, the band said: “In Ufa the power was turned off shortly before the show (we were told because the venue was late on rent), and in Moscow and St Petersburg we were told that we did not have the correct visas and that if we attempted…

Apple removes white-supremacist music from iTunes
Censorship , Internet , Music Publishing / January 2015
USA

CENSORSHIP Recorded music, internet   Apple has started removing music with white-supremacist themes and messages from iTunes following a non-profit organisation’s look into the funding of racist movements. An investigation by the Southern Poverty Law Center discovered that 54 racist bands and their music were catalogued on iTunes. Many of those bands’ music was available for purchase or streaming through iTunes’ radio application. The music store also offered recommendations for other bands similar to those racist groups, a feature common for all music on the app that allowed users to find even more music with similar themes. Apple quickly responded to the SPLC’s article by removing 30 of those bands, including music from Skrewdriver, Max Resist and the Bully Boys, according to Noisey. The tracks remain available on other services including streaming platforms.   http://www.mysanantonio.com/entertainment/article/Apple-removes-white-supremacist-music-from-iTunes-5958396.php

Apple triumphs against claim that iTunes software updates were to shut out competitors
Competition , Internet , Record Labels / January 2015
USA

COMPETITION Internet, recorded music   It took the jury in the Apple anti-trust case less than three hours to rule that the IT giant had not been anti-competitive with the software updates it made to the iPod back in the big bad days of digital rights management (DRM) protection on downloads. At the beginning of the case an Apple security expert defended a series of iTunes updates as protection from hackers rather than moves to shut out competitors, in a class action antitrust lawsuit in an Oakland federal court. At issue was the claim that Apple maintained a music player monopoly from 2006 to 2009 by releasing updates to its music store that made it impossible for iPods to play songs from competing stores such as Real Network’s Harmony. The Plaintiffs (and more on who they were later!) said this harmed consumers by making it costly to switch to other devices, and allowed Apple to charge high prices. The plaintiff’s argued that during synchronization with an iPod, iTunes software would generate an error message when it spotted music not purchased from Apple residing in the user’s iTunes library. The message would instruct users to reset their iPod to its factory…

Rosemont mayor gets shy over Garth Brooks concert finances
Competition , Live Events / January 2015
USA

COMPETITION LAW Live events sector   Rosemont Mayor Brad Stephenshas been in the firing line after trying to hide details of a Garth Brooks concert from prying eyes. The village recently passed an ordinance to keep secret the financial details related to Brooks’ record-breaking concert run — an unusual move that came out after the Chicago Tribune filed a Freedom of Information Act request for documents related to his September shows at Allstate Arena. However, the new ordinance gives the Mayor and other officials the power to withhold documents if they believe the release would put the village-owned entertainment venues at a competitive disadvantage. In addition to the arena, the town owns and operates the Rosemont Theatre and the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center. The Tribune requested the records on Sept. 11, while Brooks was in the middle of his 11-concert run at Allstate Arena. Brooks, who had not toured in 16 years, sold 183,535 tickets for his Rosemont shows and broke the North American ticket sales record for a single city with an estimated gross of $12 million. Village officials have released some documents connected to the concerts, but they repeatedly have declined to provide unredacted financial information. Village…

Parklife’s ‘from Mum’ text backfires big time
Live Events , Privacy / January 2015
UK

PRIVACY Live events sector, telecoms   The Warehouse Project, organisers of Manchester’s Parklife Festival in Heaton Park have been fined £70,000 after they sent out a promotional text message ahead of this year’s event which was set to appear on the recipient’s phone as if it had come from the recipients’ ‘Mum’. Promoting a series of post-festival club nights, the text read: “Some of the Parklife after parties have already sold out. If your going, make sure you’re home for breakfast! xxx” There was then a link to a web-page listing the after parties. After a substantial number of complaints (not least from those whose mothers were ill or had passed away)  Parklife organisers initially responded in a flippant matter, tweeting – according to the BBC – “so this is what it feels like to be a jar of Marmite #LoveItOrHateIt” but then amended this and admitted that their text campaign may have caused “unnecessary personal distress” to some recipients and adding that they would like to “apologise to them directly”. They later added: “The communication was intended as a fun way of engaging festival-goers. However, the festival acknowledges that this was not an appropriate theme for everyone”. The promotion…

Bereaved mother welcomes Magistrates ruling that legal highs are unsafe
Criminal Law , Live Events / January 2015
UK

CRIMINAL Live events sector   The mother of a young man who died after taking a legal high has welcomed a decision by Canterbury Magistrates Court which declared that ‘legal highs’ seized in raids across Kent were unsafe. The decision means that local authorities across England and Wales can now use existing trading standards laws to tackle the sale of legal highs in so called ‘head shops’ and possibly at other locations – such as festivals – where the drugs might be sold . Karen Audino, whose son Jimmy Guichard died in October last year after taking a herbal substance that resulted in a heart attack and brain damage told the Times (04.12.14) “I’m absolutely thrilled this has happened. The shops aren’t going to be able to display what is in them because they don’t know”. Jimmy died aged just 20 in hospital in October 2013. A bag containing a herbal substance, said at the time to be synthetic cannabis from the UK Skunkworks shop based in Chatham in Kent, was found next to Jimmy where he had collapsed. Back in June 2014 widespread raids were carried out across Kent at shops suspected of selling legal highs. Officers from Kent County…

Viagogo argues against secondary ticketing regulation
Contract , Live Events / January 2015
UK

CONTRACT Live events sector   In an interesting response which impacts on the sports and events industry as much as live music, Secondary ticketing company Viagogo  has commented on efforts to regulate the resale of tickets online in the new consumer rights legislation that’s currently working it’s way through Parliament. The House of Lords voted to amend the Consumer Rights Bill so to include some secondary ticketing regulation, mainly stemming from a report by the All-Party Parliamentary Group On Ticket Abuse. The proposed rules would oblige ticket sellers online to reveal their identity, to provide any specific information about the tickets being sold, to state the mark-up that has been added, and to draw a buyer’s attention to any terms and conditions on the ticket that could mean challenge any re-sale Viagogo notes that forcing sellers to reveal their identity and information such as seat numbers would do more than just show up the prolific touting operations (and promoters and artists who tout their own tickets). It would possibly make it easier for anti-touting promoters to cancel tickets that a buyer attempts to resell. Whilst tghere has been an ongoing debate about what a ticket actually is, with the secondary…

Dr Luke sues Kesha’s lawyer for defamation over Lady Gaga rape claims
Artists , Defamation / January 2015
USA

DEFAMATION Artistes   Dr Luke has filed a defamation lawsuit against Mark Geragos, the lawyer representing Kesha in her lawsuit against him. Kesha has made a number of serious allegations against pop producer Dr Luke, (real name Lukasz Gottwald) whose label and music publishing company she signed to aged eighteen. The singer says Gottwald forced her to “take drugs and alcohol in order to take advantage of her sexually while she was intoxicated”. The claims appear in a lawsuit filed by Kesha against Gottwald in the LA courts, which also accuses the producer of rape, and of creating an environment that led to the singer suffering from bulimia. Gottwald denies the allegations and has counter-sued. Meanwhile, earlier this month Lady Gaga told Howard Stern in an interview that she had been raped when she was nineteen, though did not identify the perpetrator. Geragos later tweeted a link to an E! Online report on the interview with the question, “Guess who the rapist was?” When one fan replied “Lukasz”, Geragos responded in a since deleted tweet, “#Bingo”. Gaga has denied that the accusation is true and had previously said: “This ridiculous, manufactured link between Lady Gaga and the Kesha/Dr Luke lawsuit…

YouTube allows users to see how using third party music will affect videos before uploading
Copyright , Internet , Music Publishing / January 2015
EU
UK
USA

COPYRIGHT Recorded music, internet   YouTube has added new features to allow content creators to see what effect using other people’s music in their videos will have prior to uploading them to the platform. Google‘s  Content ID system allows music right owners to identify when their music being used by third parties on the site – giving them the choice of blocking or monetising the content – this leaves video creators in the dark about a content owners approach so YouTube will now show uploaders what restrictions may be placed on their videos as a result of their music choices, and whether adverts will appear to compensate the music copyright owners. In a blog post, YouTube Product Manager Tim Grow explained: “Until now there was no way to know what would happen if you used a specific track until after you hit upload. Starting today, you can search the YouTube Audio Library to determine how using a particular track in your video will affect it on YouTube, specifically if it will stay live on YouTube or if any restrictions apply. You can uncross those uploading fingers now!” Users can also access music and sound effects pre-cleared for use in the…