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

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

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

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.

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

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.

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

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

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

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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 and in English here

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

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”.

Another pre-1972 copyright claim surfaces
General / February 2015

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.

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

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

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 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

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

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

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

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

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’.

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

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

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

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.

Rhihanna prevails again against TopShop
Artists , Copyright / February 2015

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

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

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.

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

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

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

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

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…