Culture Committee calls for a ban on ticketing ‘bots’
Consumers , Live Events / December 2016

CONSUMER LAW Live events sector     The Culture, Media and Sport Committee has written to the UK’s Secretary of State for Culture, media & Sport Culture, Karen Bradley MP, asking her to ban the use of ‘bots’ – software programmes used by touts to harvest tickets for resale in the secondary market. The letter also raises concerns about the operation of the event ticketing market following last week’s evidence session on ticket abuse for the Committee, citing “inappropriately close relationships” between those selling tickets on the primary market and the resellers on the secondary market which was recently exposed in Italy, where the boss of Live Nation had to admit that the promoter did directly provide tickets to the resale website Viagogo. Committee chairman Damian Collins MPsaid “The answers we got from witnesses representing the ticket sellers and resellers went from complacent to evasive” adding “Their failure to provide the most basic assurances about what they’re doing to tackle known large scale touts and fraudsters operating on their own sites – we had an example on screen in front of a Member in the session – have led us to believe there may be much bigger problems in this…

Canadian ticket agency fined for additional fees
Consumers , Live Events / December 2016

CONSUMER Live events sector   Canadian promoter and ticket agency Evenko has been fined C$10,056 for misleadingly pricing concert tickets after Quebec’s Office of Consumer Protection (L’Office de la protection du consommateur, OPC) took action against L’Aréna des Canadiens, Inc., trading as Evenko OPC found the company failed to offer a free delivery method for tickets to shows by Charles Aznavour and Enrique Iglesias at the 21,000 capacity Centre Bell in Montreal in 2014. The OPC noted that in Quebec “it is prohibited for any merchant, manufacturer or advertiser to charge a higher price than that advertised.” According to OPC, Evenko charged $5 to email the tickets or $7 to have them posted, and offered no option for picking up tickets (for free) at the box office. In Quebec the OPC say “Traders are compelled to provide an ‘all-inclusive’ price” for tickets, “which includes all fees except taxes. For example, in the case of a concert ticket, the price must include the service charge and [any other] fees related to the delivery of the ticket.” In September the district court of Bremen, Germany, ruled that charging fees on print-at-home tickets is unlawful. In New York Live Nation/Ticketmaster is facing a claim from plaintiff…

More Blurred Lines: Has ‘Uptown’ been funked up?
Copyright , Music Publishing / December 2016

COPYRIGHT Music publishing     This guest blog is by Jonathan Coote   2014’s ‘Uptown Funk’ by Bruno Mars and Mark Ronson is a 70s and 80s collage of influences, a knowingly reverential homage to the songwriters’ musical amours. However, for eighties electro-funk band Collage, this knowing veneration seems to sit too close to home. They are suing Mars and Ronson alongside co-writers, Sony’s Music Entertainment, Sony’s RCA Records, Warner/Chappell Music, and Atlantic Records for copyright infringement of their 1983 track ‘Young Girls’. The band are following in the well-trodden footsteps of other forgotten gems including ‘Oops Upside Your Head’ from the Gap Band (who were given song-writing credits alongside Mars and Ronson in 2015) and the unrealised lawsuit from The Sequence for ‘Funk You Up’.   Pitchfork obtained a statement from Collage, which says that there are clear copied elements “present throughout the compositions […] rendering the compositions almost indistinguishable if played over each other and strikingly similar if played in consecutively”:   “Upon information and belief, many of the main instrumental attributes and themes of ‘Uptown Funk’ are deliberately and clearly copied from ‘Young Girls,’ including, but not limited to, the distinct funky specifically noted and timed consistent guitar…

Prince’s estate takes on TIDAL

COPYRIGHT Recorded music, internet     A court battle over the streaming rights to Prince’s back catalogue is looming after the late singer’s estate filed a claim in the US courts against Jay Z’s Roc Nation and the TIDAL streaming service. The action on behalf Prince’s estate, fronted by NPG Records, claims that Roc Nation and TIDAL is streaming more than a dozen of the star’s albums without permission.  The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District of Minnesota court also names NPG Publishing as a plaintiff.   The law suit claims damages, and demands that unlicensed material be taken down: “Roc Nation to account for and pay to Plaintiffs their actual damages in the form of Roc Nation’s profits and Plaintiffs’ damages, or… statutory damages up to the maximum amount allowed for wilful infringement of copyright”. Prince removed most of his back catalogue from streaming sites including Spotify, Google Play and Apple Music in July 2015. A month later, he released a new album, HitNRun: Phase One exclusively on TIDAL. TIDAL claims it has licences, “both oral and written”, for a wide range of material and “the right to exclusively stream [Prince’s] entire catalogue of music, with certain limited exceptions”. in a statement at the time if…

Turtles settle ‘Pre-1972’ case against Sirius XM
Copyright , Music Publishing / December 2016

COPYRIGHT Recorded music     Members of 1960s rock group The Turtles have settled their action against Sirius XM over what the band claimed were unpaid royalties for the use of ‘Pre 1972’ copyrights. The terms of the settlement were not disclosed. The filing of settlement papers was noted by both The Hollywood Reporter and National Law Journal. New York’s highest court had heard oral arguments in the case, which was brought by the owner of The Turtles’ 1967 hit song “Happy Together” against Sirius XM Radio. The issue at the heart of the case was  whether the copyright holders of recordings made before 1972 have a common law right to make radio stations and others pay for the use of the recordings (in the US, federal copyright law does not allow for the collection of what is called ‘needletime’ for post 1972 sound recordings. The lawsuit was filed by Flo & Eddie Inc., the company controlled by two founding members of the band that owns the rights to the recordings. Sirius XM argues it’s not required to pay royalties for recordings made before the federal Copyright Act was changed in 1972 to establish limited protections for recordings. US District Judge Philip…

Nightclub banned from using music without a licence
Copyright , Live Events / December 2016

COPYRIGHT Live events sector     Essex nightclub Miya, which has featured in the hit ITV show The Only Way Is Essex, has been ordered to stop using music and sound recordings after a trial for copyright infringement. In an action brought by Phonographic Performance Limited and PRS for Music (PPL and PRS) the Court found that Kerry Ormes, the nightclub’s designated premises supervisor, (charged with the day-to-day management of premises under the Licensing Act 2003) was liable for authorising and procuring acts infringing copyright, namely the playing of sound recordings and musical works at the club without the requisite licences from PPL and PRS for Music. Ormes had denied liability say the licences were not her responsibility, but the court found that Ormes acted as the nightclub manager and that her responsibilities would generally include the booking of DJs and dealing with promoters. Clark awarded PPL and PRS for Music an injunction against the defendant to prevent further infringement by Ormes at any public premises, and awarded damages against Ormes personally. A costs hearing will take place in January 2017. PPL said that it had repeatedly contacted the business owner to get the correct licensing in place and only after that failed was proceedings issued in…

The sound of music: YouTube and GEMA finally settle
Copyright , Internet , Music Publishing / December 2016

COPYRIGHT Music publishing, internet     It’s been one of the biggest stand-offs in digital music history – but now it appears that YouTube and German collection society GEMA have finally reached a licensing agreement – meaning German consumers can now finally (legally) use YouTube to stream music videos   Someone must have blinked, although the blank screens in one of the world’s major economies clearly helped neither side. Now the platform and the collection society say they had reached a new deal for compensating music publishers (and songwriter artists), resolving a dispute that began in 2009. The resolution comes against a backdrop of European officials reviewing the region’s copyright rules – potentially giving more power to record labels, publishers and other content producers over the likes of Google, which owns YouTube, and Facebook. The labels, music publishers and more recently recording artistes have accused YouTube of grossly under paying for using sound recordings and music. YouTube declared the settlement as a victory for musicians, saying they could reach “new and existing fans in Germany,” while GEMA said its 70,000 members would receive “fair remuneration” when their works were played over the platform. But neither side published the details of the agreement….

I Take the Dice – Duran Duran seek to reclaim their copyrights
Contract , Music Publishing / December 2016

CONTRACT Music publishing     Duran Duran have begun their action in the High Court in London in a case that will test the ability of UK songwriters to exercise their reversion rights under US copyright law.   The band are fighting Sony/ATV ownedEMI Music Publishing. EMI is seeking to block the band’s songwriter members from taking back control of the rights to songs on their early albums. Duran Duran members Simon Le Bon, Nick Rhodes, Roger Taylor and John Taylor, and former member Andy Taylor had put EMI Music Publishing subsidiary Gloucester Place Music on notice of the reversion of the American copyrights in songs on their first three albums and the James Bond theme ‘A View To A Kill’ in 2014. The publisher has argued that under the band’s (English) contract there is no option to reclaim American rights. According to the Press Association, EMI’s  lawyer, Ian Mill QC, said: “My clients entered into contracts and agreed to pay these artistes sums of money … in return for which the artistes promised to give them rights to exploit, subject to the payment of those sums, for the full term of copyright” and that  “these writers have agreed that they will…

US radio industry accuses Global Music Rights of monopoly abuse
Competition , Live Events / December 2016

COMPETITON / ANTI TRUST Live events sector   America’s newest performing rights organisation Global Music Rights (GMR) is facing a law suit brought by the US radio industry in a move to force the rights agency to submit to independent arbitration to set the rates broadcasters must pay to play the songs it represents In the US, the big two collecting societies representing the performing right in compositions (ASCAP and BMI) are regulated by so called ‘consent decrees’ which are in themselves somewhat controversial. However, there are also two other smaller performing rights organisations in the US – SESAC and the much newer Global Music Rights – which sit outside the consent decrees, arguably giving those organisations much more flexibility. And GMR has some impressive clients naming The Eagles, Pharrell Williams, Boston, Foreigner, John Lennon, Smokey Robinson, Chris Cornell, and George and Ira Gershwin amongst its performing right clients. GMR was founded by artist manager Irving Azoff in 2014. Confirming its litigation last week, the RMLC said: “GMR, a public-performance-right licensing agency, is distinguished from ASCAP and BMI, in particular, in that it is a privately-held, for-profit firm that has created a bottleneck to, and artificial monopoly over, the works…

Fabric gets a second chance with new licence conditions
Licensing , Live Events / December 2016

LICENSING Live events sector   Following extensive talks with Islington Council and the Metropolitan Police, and the public outcry at the threatened permanent closure, London’s Fabric nightclub will reopen after Highbury Magistrates Court approved a new set of licensing conditions. The exact reopening date has not been decided as yet. Fabric raised a six figure sum in excess of £325,000 from donations to fund legal fees to fight the closure. Philip Kolvin QC for Fabric told the court that fabric “has always set about trying to lead the industry,” and has engaged in a “root and branch reappraisal” of its operating procedures. Fabric and the Authority have issued a joint statement detailing new conditions and these include the use of a new ID scanning system, enhanced searching procedures, physical changes to the club, and lifetime bans for anyone found in possession of drugs or attempting to buy drugs in the club.  Sniffer dogs, which police had tried to enforce at the end of 2014 need not be used by the Club.  An appeal had been planned against the August decision by Islington council’s licensing sub-committee to revoke fabric’s license following the deaths of two 18-year-old clubbers. That appeal, which was scheduled to…

Coldplay’s Indian debut overcomes legal challenge
Live Events , Taxation / December 2016

TAXATION Live events sector   Coldplay’s debut show in India has been allowed to go ahead, following the failure of a legal challenge in the High Court of Bombay. Anti-corruption activists Anjali Damania and Hemant Gavande challenged a decision by the Maharashtra state government, which had waived entertainment duty on the concert: their challenge was based on the argument that the British band’s performance at the not-for-profit Global Citizen festival would not qualify as an educational or charitable activity, as required by the Bombay Entertainments Duty Act 1923. The event, at the Bandra Kurla Complex in Mumbai, also features Jay-Z, Demi Levato and a host of local acts.   Judges Manjula Chellur and MS Sonak found in favour of Global Citizen and acting advocate-general Rohit Deo, who said the festival was “an eight-hour programme, and the concert by Coldplay is just part of it. The festival is to create awareness of three subjects: gender equality, education and clean water”. Deo said that only 11,000 out of the 80,000 tickets would be sold, and 65,000 would be free to those who have demonstrated their commitment to positive social change – as with previous Global Citizen events: tickets could be won by promoting the charity’s work (by,…

Sound marks must be distinctive
Trade Mark / December 2016

TRADE MARK All areas     The General Court (GC) of the Court of Justice of the European Union has confirmed that sound marks need to have a distinctive character to be registered as a European Union Trade Mark (EUTM).   Globo Comunicação e Participações S/A (Globo) applied to register a sound mark (shown above) initially for goods and services in classes 9, 16, 38 and 41. This specification was later limited and covered “DVDs and other digital recording media; computer software; applications for tablets and smartphones” in class 9, “television broadcasting services” in class 38 and a range of educational and entertainment and television programmes in class 41. The sound mark was refused registration by the European Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) under Article 7(1)(b) of the EUTMR because it consisted of a simple “banal ringing sound” that could not be perceived as an indication of commercial origin. The Board of Appeal who agreed, saying: “the mark applied for consisted of the repetition of a sound that resembled a ringtone which was banal in every respect, notwithstanding the fact that the mark consisted of a stave with a treble clef with a tempo of 147 crotchets per minute, repeating two G…

Detonate Hallowe’en shut down after over crowding
Health & Safety , Live Events / December 2016

HEALTH & SAFETY Live events sector   The promoter of Detonate Halloween, in Nottingham, UK, says it is “gutted” after being forced to call off the event three hours early amid claims of serious overcrowding following fence breaches at Nottingham Racecourse on the 29th October 2016. The event was ended at around 20.20, three hours early, on the advice of the festival’s health and safety officer and Nottinghamshire police, which meant cancelling or cutting short sets by Kano, New York Transit Authority, Kurupt FM, Andy C, TQD and The Prototypes and 2Shy. A sister event at the O2 Academy in Sheffield went ahead as planned. The site was said to be clear of guests by 21.00.   In a statement, promoter Detonate said “The safety issue was due to the majority of people wanting to be in one tent, which caused large queues. When some of the surrounding fence was breached and crowds surged, action had to be taken to avoid people being injured.” “Flow of people is estimated based on capacities of each area; popularity of the acts which are on at the same time in each arena; and dynamic assessments on the day. We surveyed our ticketholders in the lead…

Buenos Aires EDM ban hits Kraftwerk
Health & Safety , Live Events / December 2016

HEALTH & SAFETY Live events sector   Following the six fatalities that occurred as a result of drug overdoses at Time Warp back in April of this year, The Mayor of Argentina’s capital Buenos Aires stopped issuing permits for major electronic music festivals.  Mayor Horacio Rodriguez Larreta  said the measure would remain in effect until the city legislature approved a new law to prevent drug abuse during such events. At the tine five people have been arrested. But the ban, for electronic music concerts “that use synthesizers or samplers as their primary instrument” has led to a difficult situation for electronic group Kraftwerk: The German based band had a show scheduled on November 23rd at Luna Park in Buenos Aires. Event organisers, promoters Move Concerts, have said that they had already received the go-ahead to start selling tickets, 70% of which have already been sold, prior to receiving the news of the recent amendment. Kraftwerk (“power plant” in German) began in 1970 by founders  Ralf Hütter and Florian Schneider by experimenting with sampling and synthesising sounds and turning them into songs. They were among the first successful pop acts to popularise electronic music and are widely considered to be innovators and pioneers of the genre,…

Director cleared of manslaughter after Fishermen’s Friend’s deaths
Health & Safety , Live Events / December 2016

HEALTH & SAFETY Live events sector   The director of a door manufacturing company has been cleared of manslaughter resulting from the deaths of Fisherman’s Friends singer Trevor Grills and tour manager Paul McMullen at Guildford’s G Live venue in February 2013. Grills, 54, and McMullen, 44, were killed after a two-tonne steel door, which allowed backstage access from the outside, collapsed on them.Grills suffered critical injuries after being hit by the falling metal door at  and  McMullen, 44, from Disley in Cheshire, died at the incident. Officers said Mr McMullen suffered serious injuries to his legs and died at the scene. Police were called to the London Road venue just after 11:45 GMT on February 9th after a report that two men were trapped under a metal door in a loading bay. The 10-piece band had been due to perform at the venue later that day. In October 2016 the jury in the trial visited the venue. On the opening day of the trial, the jury was told doors manufactured by Mr David Naylor’s company had failed previously. Proesecutor Zoe Johnson QC said: “The prosecution alleges that the failure to have an anti-drop safeguard coupled with other evidence of earlier door collapses and this…

Shearer launches Spinal Tap lawsuit against Universal
Contract , Copyright / November 2016

COPYRIGHT / CONTRACT Film & TV   This Is Spinal Tap star Harry Shearer is suing Universal parent Vivendi for alleged is deliberate under-payment of music and other royalties from the classic spoof rockumentary. His website, Fairness Rocks, opens with this Popular music and films make huge money for rights-owning corporations. Yet, too often, the artists and creators get a raw deal from exploitation of their talent. I want to help rebalance this equation. My case against Vivendi is simple, if perhaps a little shocking. It’s been 34 years since This Is Spinal Tap was released. Yet, the creators have been told that global music sales from the soundtrack album total just US$98. We’re also, apparently, only entitled to share US$81 (between us) from global merchandising sales. This shocks me, given Tap’s enduring popularity. So, Vivendi – it’s not a big ask. Just show us how you’re exploiting our creative work and pay us a fair share   In a lawsuit filed at the Central District Court of California Shearer accuses Vivendi of “fraudulent accounting for revenues from music copyrights” – through Universal – as well as mismanaging film and merchandising rights through UMG sister companies such as Studio Canal.   A press release from…

Avenged Sevenfold face a trial – AND a competing ‘best of’ from their former label
Artists , Contract , Record Labels / November 2016

CONTRACT Recorded music, artistes   Avenged Sevenfold surprise announcement of the arrival of their seventh studio album, on Vivendi SA’s Capitol Records, after playing several songs on the roof of Capitol’s circular building in Los Angeles that was streamed online via a virtual reality app, may have come as some surprise to their former; record label, Warner Music Group, who sued the band earlier this year in California state court for breach of contract after the band left the label without delivering the final album that was apparently due under that deal. The Wall Street Journal says the battle centres on provisions in California’s state labor law that prevents contracts for “personal service” – and that includes recording artistes, actors and athletes –  from extending beyond seven years, but also explicitly permits record companies to sue acts for damages if the departing artiste fails to deliver the agreed-upon number of recordings during that time. Warner Music’s case against Avenged Sevenfold seems to be the first such suit claiming damages.   The surprise release of the new album, titled “The Stage,” by a rival label ahead of the trial could be a welcome development for Warner Music, as it will test the band’s current…

WSJ probe Bon Jovi’s China cancellation
Contract , Live Events / November 2016

CONTRACT Live events sector   The Wall Street Journal has published an article which seemingly alleges that AEG Live used a video of Bon Jovi “performing in front of an image of the Dalai Lama” to convince Chinese censors to ban the rock act – and thus force the cancellation of a concert tour in China which was being promoted by AEG. The supposed reason?  The third party intervention by Chinese authorities would be an instance of ‘force majeure’ – forcing the cancellation of the tour which was not selling well, saving AEG some $4 million. WSJ say that whilst AEG did not offer any explanation for the cancellations at the time, it was widely reported at the time that the Chinese government withdrew permission for the tour after they became aware of a performance by the band a few years earlier in front of an image of the Dalai Lama – and WSJ say unnamed sources have said that individuals close to AEG Live ensured Chinese officials saw the videos with the intent of cutting potentially steep losses for the shows. Jay Marciano, chairman of AEG Live and chief operating officer of AEG, categorically rejected the account, telling the Journal….

US appeals court revisits ‘safe harbor’
Copyright , Internet , Music Publishing / November 2016

COPYRIGHT Internet, record music, music publishing   A U.S. appeals court has agreed that former members of the EMI Group can pursue additional copyright infringement claims in a long-running lawsuit over defunct online music storage firm MP3tunes. In rejecting an appeal by MP3tunes founder Michael Robertson, who was ordered to pay $12.2 million after a federal jury in 2014 found him liable for copyright infringement, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York revisited the ruling by  U.S. District Judge William Pauley that MP3tunes was eligible for safe harbor protection under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act by meeting a requirement that service providers adopt and implement a policy for terminating repeat infringers: Pauley had narrowly defined “repeat infringer” to cover only those users who upload infringing content, rather than ones who downloaded songs for personal entertainment. “In the context of this case, all it takes to be a ‘repeat infringer’ is to repeatedly upload or download copyrighted material for personal use,” U.S. Circuit Judge Raymond Lohier wrote saying that the trial judge’s view that only “blatant infringers” need to be subject to banning doesn’t match with the text, structure or legislative history of the DMCA. Whilst MP3Tunes terminated 153…

Turtles’ case against Sirius XM reaches New York’s appeals court
Copyright , Record Labels / November 2016

COPYRIGHT Recorded music, broadcasting   New York’s highest court has now heard oral arguments in the case brought by the owner of The Turtles’ 1967 hit song “Happy Together” against Sirius XM Radio. The issue at the heart of the case is  whether the copyright holders of recordings made before 1972 have a common law right to make radio stations and others pay for their use. The lawsuit was filed by Flo & Eddie Inc., the company controlled by two founding members of the band that owns the rights to the recordings. Sirius XM argues it’s not required to pay royalties for recordings made before the federal Copyright Act was changed in 1972 to establish limited protections for recordings. The case was referred to the Court of Appeals from the federal appeals court. http://www.wthr.com/article/court-hears-copyright-dispute-over-turtles-happy-together

Beatles’ team move to dismiss Shea Stadium copyright claims
Copyright , Live Events / November 2016

COPYRIGHT Live events sector, films and television   Last month we reported that estate of Sid Bernstein, who promoted the Beatles’ famed August 1965 concert at Shea Stadium in New York, was taking legal action against two of the bands’ companies, Apple Corps and Subafilms, for alleged copyright infringement over use of footage from the concert in upcoming documentary film Eight Days a Week: The Touring Years – directed by Ron Howard. The film has been produced in cooperation with both surviving Beatles Paul McCartney and Ringo Strarr, and the widows of George Harrison (Olivia) and John Lennon (Yoko Ono) and includes 30 minutes of remastered footage from Shea Stadium. It is understood that the the copyright in the film later acquired by Apple Corps, founded by The Beatles in 1968, and film-distribution outfit Subafilms. Sid Bernstein Presents has challenged that ownership of the copyright and in turn claims ownership of the concert footage, parts of which have appeared previously in the Ed Sullivan-produced film The Beatles at Shea Stadium and in the Anthology documentary series.  Billboard reports that the claim proposes several solutions, including having Sid Bernstein Presents named sole author, or joint author (with The Beatles) as well as a declaration that previous use of…

Chicago says DJs and rap are art forms
Licensing , Live Events / November 2016

LICENSING Live events sector   Chicago’s small venues are breathing a sigh of relief following the decision by Cook County to officially recognise popular music and DJ performances as legitimate forms of art. Several Chicago music venues have been locked in a dispute with the county over US$200,000 worth of “crippling” back taxes after one official, Anita Richardson, said DJs, “rap music, country music and rock and roll do not fall under the definition of ‘fine art’”, which would otherwise make the exempt from Cook County’s 3% amusement tax. The Cook County Board of Commissioners has now agreed wording that would accept “the validity of live music and DJ performances as recognised artforms”  and rthis has the support of the administration, the commissioners and the local music industry and that the local athoritry won’t be acting as ‘culture police’ in the near future Last month the city of Berlin afforded a similar tax break to the Berghain nightclub, ruling the techno haven should pay the same lower 7% tax rate as a site of high culture alongside museums, theatres and classical music venues. http://www.iq-mag.net/2016/10/live-music-fine-art-cook-county/#.WAZGdeArKM9

Foos settle insurance claim
Insurance , Live Events / November 2016

INSURANCE Live events sector   Foo Fighters have settled a lawsuit relating to a series of cancelled concerts during the band’s 2015 world tour. The American band were forced to cancel portions of their Sonic Highways world tour following lead singer Dave Grohl’s breaking his leg and, later, the November terrorist attacks in Paris.   The Central District Court of California has now dismissed a lawsuit by Foo Fighters which had accused London insurers of failing to cover losses incurred by concerts cancelled last year and accused the band’s own brokers of failing to adequately advise the band of the potential impact additional shows on London could have on their insurance claim” and that Robertson Taylor failed to adequately inform the band that, if it decided to add these shows to the Tour, the London Market Insurers would attempt to recharacterise the cancelled Wembley Stadium and BT Murrayfield Stadium performances” as being “rescheduled,” which would dramatically reduce the amount those insurers would owe in a claim saying their brokers sided with insurers.   The original complaint alleged “London market insurers’ inconsistent, erratic and unreasonable behaviour […] caused significant financial harm to Foo Fighters” by refusing to pay out under insurance…

Live Nation sued over US booking fees
Competition , Live Events / November 2016

COMPETITION Live events sector   A New York man is suing Live Nation over its practice of charging booking fees on tickets, accusing the promoter and its ticketing companies of violating the Truth in Lending Act by “advertising one price for a ticket and then charging a higher price when people arrive at the box office”.   David Himber, of West Hempstead, had complained that the price for an advertised $49.50 ticket to Rascal Flatts’ show at the Jones Beach Theater (15,000-cap.) was actually $55.50 and his lawyer told the New York Daily News that “The advertised price is available to nobody”.   In Himber v. Live Nation Worldwide, Inc. et al, Himber is seeking to have Live Nation to refund the fees (including his $6) and pay statutory damages of $50 per ticket and $500 per purchase to all Live Nation box-office customers from the last three years.   Himber has filed three previous lawsuits in the Long Island federal court, although his lawyer Abraham Kleinman told the Daily News that his client wasn’t a prolific litigant. “Mr Himber successfully prosecuted his case against the Automobile Club of New York which displayed too much of his credit card information…

Rock am Ring organisers cleared of blame for extreme weather evacuation
Health & Safety , Live Events / November 2016

HEALTH & SAFETY Live events sector   There will be no prosecution of the organisers of the storm-hit Rock Am Ring 2016. Following a anonymous complaint The Koblenz public prosecutor, investigated the safety procedures and emergency storm plan drawn up by festival promoters Marek and Andre Lieberberg/CTS Eventim and licensing authorities and found no evidence of negligence on either part.   At the International Festival Forum in an interview with both Marek and Andre Lieberberg, the promoting father and son due suggested that the authorities had compounded an already bad situation caused by the extreme weather by making unfounded decisions and putting concert goers at further risk. The final day of Rock am Ring was called off by local authorities who revoked the licence after another lightning storm warning:  72 people were treated in hospital and some people had been injured by lightning, some seriously. In fact the last day was relatively free of bad weather, with just one heavy downpour as storms swept across Europe. In a statement, the festival asked fans to leave the site “no later than noon on Sunday” (the predicted storms were die by 13.00).   “The organisers accept the decision [of local officials] because of our…

Radiohead fatality case can progress despite slow pace
Health & Safety , Live Events / November 2016

HEALTH & SAFETY Live events sector   Live Nation Canada’s moves to have charges it faces over the death of a drum technician before a Radiohead concert four years ago dismissed because of “unreasonable delay” in the case have failed. Scott Johnson, 33, from Doncaster, South Yorkshire, was killed when the stage collapsed in Downsview Park, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, on June 16, 2012.  Live Nation Canada, Live Nation Ontario and Optex Staging and Services each face four charges under the Canadian Occupational Health and Safety Act.  Engineer Dominic Cugliari faces one charge of endangering a worker by negligence. All have pleaded not guilty and the trial had begun last year after charges were brought in June 2013. The trial is not due to conclude until January 2017   According to the Toronto Star, the trial judge Justice Shaun Nakatsuru has agreed that the long period of time so far taken up by the case was acceptable because of the complexity of the evidence needed to determine “The issue of how the stage collapsed, and who is responsible for that” saying this was “complex”.   The trial is scheduled to resume on December 5th. The maximum fine against a corporation, if convicted, is $500,000…

Anti-graft law may threaten K-pop concerts
Live Events , Regulation / November 2016

CORPORATE REGULATION Live events sector   The new “anti-graft” law (the Kim Young-ran Act) could have profound effects on live music in South Korea – something already seen in the classical music sector as conglomerates have moved to reduce or discontinue their support for concerts to avoid corruption charges – meaning symphony orchestras and concert organisers will lose the main buyers of bulk tickets, with concerts relying on corporate sponsorship for about half of ticket sales with the companies often using the tickets VIP customers as part of marketing promotions. “Orchestras are desperate for funding but it’s always difficult to find a patron. The new law will discourage companies even further from sponsoring orchestras,” said a public relations (PR) official for a renowned Korean orchestra, declining to be named adding “Companies will find it harder sending out invitation tickets and some are considering ditching sponsorship. I heard that one company has pulled out of sponsorship entirely.” Major domestic companies said they will cut their sponsorship of various cultural events as the anti-graft law mean companies cannot give out tickets to customers with one telecoms company saying “The ridiculous law will practically outlaw the sponsorship of classical concerts by big companies, taking a toll on…

SFX oppose Sillerman claims
Business , Live Events , Record Labels / November 2016

BANKRUPTCY Live events sector, recorded music   SFX’s founder Robert FX Sillerman, who stood down as CEO shortly after the firm applied for Chapter Eleven bankruptcy protection, has filed a claim for monies to cover legal costs and financial guarantees he made on behalf of the business. According to Amplify, Sillerman has requested just over half a million dollars o pay the law firm he has hired to represent him in litigation where both he and SFX are co-defendants. The Company has objected to the claim. Sillerman is also seeking over $15 million in relation to guarantees he made as part of deals between SFX and both Spotify and Chicago-based promoter React Presents. Here lawyers for SFX argue that there is no evidence that Sillerman has, to date, made any payments to the beneficiaries of the guarantees, arguing that his claims against the company are contingent on such payments having been made. As well as seeking to block the claims for legal fees and other cash, SFX are also opposing several requests made by Sillerman to indemnify himself from future lawsuits in relation to his former business. It also seems that SFX Entertainment has fallen out with another high-profile brand partner –…

Mobb Deep’s Prodigy looks to break free from UMG
Contract , Record Labels / November 2016

CONTRACT Recorded music   Having seemingly settled a legal action with Universal last November, Prodigy of Mobb Deep (Albert Johnson) is taking the industry powerhouse to court again, in efforts to completely break free from the major. HipHopDX reports that Prodigy’s attorney Corey D. Boddie said “This particular case involves Prodigy actually looking to get out of his contract based on what is called a ‘mutual mistake.’ There was a term in the actual agreement that was overlooked by both parties and because of that, Prodigy is looking to get out his contract.” The suit was filed in New York and Boddie told HipHopDX that the only motivation behind the new case is the expiration of the contract and that this particular legal action is targeted against the publishing side of Universal. “There is no motivation, in the contract there was what’s called a mutual mistake,” Boddie explains again. “That is a term of the contract that states that they were in the fifth option period. That fifth option period was exercised and over. They continued to refer to the fifth option period, so the lawsuit is basically saying ‘that’s a mistake, what option period are we in?’ We contend that we’re…

Ticket re-seller faces fraud allegations
Fraud , Live Events / November 2016

FRAUD Live events sector   42 year old Traci Monti, who allegedly raised more than US$5 million from investors to buy and sell tickets on the secondary ticketing market, has been charged with seven counts of wire fraud – each of which is punishable by up to 20 years in prison – and two counts of money laundering, each of which carries a maximum sentence of ten years. It is alleged Monti ispent the money on a house and car, and had been arrested by Chicago police. According to the indictment by the US attorney for the northern district of Illinois and the Chicago offices of the FBI and Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Monti, who was once Joan Jett’s publicist,  told investors she had “business relationships with multiple primary market sources, such as event promoters and venues, through which she purportedly purchased tickets at face value”. The indictment alleges these relationships didn’t exist, and that in reality Monti used the victims’ funds to fund her lifestyle and to make “ponzi-type payments to other investors”.   Monti pleaded not guilty in the arraignment. A pre-trial status hearing is set for the 9th of November.   In 2012, Monti faced a legal action…

What do the European Commission’s moves on copyright really mean for the music industry?
Copyright / October 2016

COPYRIGHT All areas   In the context of its Digital Single Market Strategy, the EU Commission is currently engaged in a discussion of whether the liability principles and rules contained in the E-Commerce Directive should be amended – and the focus of commentators has shifted to how hosting providers have been increasingly using ‘safe harbour immunity’ in Article 14 – an alleged abuse which has led to a distortion of the online marketplace, and the resulting ‘value gap’ suggested by some right holders. A proposal has been recently advanced in France advocating the removal – at a European Union level – of the safe harbour protection for hosting providers that give access to copyright works,  to enable the effective enforcement of copyright and related rights in the digital environment, particularly on platforms that disseminate protected content. In particular, the French document considers that the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has erred in its interpretation and application of relevant principles of online intermediary liability. Statewatch has now leaked a draft version of the Commission Staff Working Document – Impact Assessment on the modernisation of EU copyright rules and this appears to suggest some of the areas where changes might made: In relation…

PRS for Music Chief Executive responds to EU copyright reform plans
Copyright / October 2016

COPYRIGHT All sectors   The European Commission has now published their Digital Single Market copyright reform proposals, including a Directive of the European Parliament and Council on copyright in the Digital Single Market’.   The proposed Directive, alongside the ‘Regulation of the European Parliament and Council laying down rules on the exercise of copyright and related rights applicable to certain online transmission of broadcasting organisations and the retransmission of television and radio programmes’, represent the European Commission’s efforts to modernise the copyright framework in order to further realise the European Digital Single Market. These – among other things – include proposals for a new directive on copyright in the Digital Single Market and a regulation on certain online transmissions of broadcasting organisations and retransmissions. Both instruments, if adopted in their current form, will have a deep impact on the EU copyright framework, particularly with regard to online uses of copyright works, responsibilities of hosting providers, users’ freedoms, and authors’ contracts.   In announcing the publications President Junker (who had earlier given his annual state of the union address to MEPs in Strasbourg) said: “Artists and creators are our [Europe’s] crown jewels” going on to say “I want journalists, publishers and authors to be paid fairly for…

GEMA: EU Copyright Modernisation: First steps towards a fair and balanced relationship between authors and online platforms
Copyright / October 2016

COPYRIGHT All areas   As we know, the EU Commission has presented its plans for a modernisation of copyright. GEMA have now responded, and this is their take on how things are developing: “The position of authors should be reinforced with a focus on improving how they assert their rights vis-a-vis online platforms. In addition, access to creative contents in the online sector should be improved by a simplified rights clearance in Europe. GEMA considers the Commission’s efforts as an important first step in order to establish fair conditions for creative content on the digital common market.” GEMA CEO Dr Harald Heker says: “With its proposal for a copyright review, the EU Commission is sending an important signal that the value transfer of creatives towards platform operators in Europe can no longer be tolerated. For fair conditions regarding digital usage of creative content, there must be no ambiguity left that platforms such as YouTube are actively involved in making content protected by copyright publicly available. Legal safeguards have to be established so that these platforms can no longer hide behind privileged positions regarding the liability for host providers, which are intended for purely passive service providers.” Internet platforms generate substantial…

200+ Artists Support the “Blurred Lines” Appeal
Copyright , Music Publishing / October 2016

COPYRIGHT Music publishing   Some 212 musicians have attached their names to a brief supporting Pharrell, Robin Thicke and TI’s appeal in the “Blurred Lines” copyright case, including Earth Wind & Fire, R Kelly, John Oates, Linkin Park, Fall Out Boy’s Patrick Stump, film composer Hans Zimmer, Tears for Fears’ Curt Smith, Juicy J, the Go-Go’s, Frank Ocean collaborator Malay, Jennifer Hudson, Train’s Patrick Monahan, the production duo Stargate, Aloe Blacc, Jean Baptiste and Kiesza. The amicus brief echoes the concerns many artists and commentators have voiced since a Los Angeles jury determined that “Blurred Lines” plagiarised Marvin Gaye’s 1977 hit “Got to Give It Up” – that the songs were not actually similar (even if the sound recording ‘vibe’ was and “Blurred Lines” and “Got to Give It Up” have completely different melodies and song structures, and do not share any lyrics or “a sequence of even two chords played in the same order and for the same duration.” The brief reads: “The verdict in this case threatens to punish songwriters for creating new music that is inspired by prior works ” and “All music shares inspiration from prior musical works, especially within a particular musical genre. By eliminating any…

Authors against music piracy: German sentences online service Uploaded to pay damages
Copyright , Music Publishing / October 2016

COPYRIGHT Music Publishing   German collective management rights organisation GEMA has won its case in the Regional Court Munich against file-sharing host Uploaded. The decision confirms that file-sharing hosts are liable to pay damages if they do not prevent the upload and distribution of copyright-protected contents. The Regional Court in Munich ruled  (10 August 2016) that online services whose business models are based on large scale copyright infringements are liable to pay damages. “The Regional Court has decided in the interest of our members. Their ruling confirms that file-sharing hosts play a significant role in the proliferation of music piracy” said  Dr Tobias Holzmüller, GEMA’s General Counsel, welcoming the decision. “Online service providers have previously only been obliged to remove contents infringing copyright from their platforms. By pronouncing the liability to pay damages for file-share host Uploaded, composers, lyricists and music publishers at least get a small compensation for the rights infringements of their works that have been committed on a massive scale.” File-share hosts such as Uploaded provide their customers with storage space so they can upload files. They create links to the uploaded files which are then disseminated as publicly accessible collections of links. The regional court Munich classifies Uploaded as a service which constitutes a specific…

Shea promoter’s estate brings action against new Beatles film
Copyright , Live Events / October 2016

COPYRIGHT Film & TV, live events sector   The estate of Sid Bernstein, who promoted the Beatles’ famed August 1965 concert at Shea Stadium in New York, is taking legal action against two of the bands’ companies, Apple Corps and Subafilms, for alleged copyright infringement over use of footage from the concert in upcoming documentary film Eight Days a Week: The Touring Years – directed by Ron Howard. The film has been produced in cooperation with both surviving Beatles Paul McCartney and Ringo Strarr, and the widows of George Harrison (Olivia) and John Lennon (Yoko Ono) and includes 30 minutes of remastered footage from Shea Stadium. It is understood that the the copyright in the film later acquired by Apple Corps, founded by The Beatles in 1968, and film-distribution outfit Subafilms. Sid Bernstein Presents has challenged that ownership of the copyright and in turn claims ownership of the concert footage, parts of which have appeared previously in the Ed Sullivan-produced film The Beatles at Shea Stadium and in the Anthology documentary series.  Billboard reports that the claim proposes several solutions, including having Sid Bernstein Presents named sole author, or joint author (with The Beatles) as well as a declaration that previous use of the footage is…

APA take on Gersh over ‘poaching’ of agent
Competition , Contract , Live Events / October 2016

CONTRACT / COMPETITION Live events sector   Two US booking agencies are battling it out in the Superior Court of Los Angeles over the alleged poaching of Beverly Hills-based agent Garrett Smith.  The Agency for the Performing Arts (APA), whose clients includes Paul Oakenfold, 50 Cent, The Proclaimers and Scorpions, is seeking damages for interference with contractual relations, interference with prospective economic advantage and unfair competition from the Gersh Agency, of which Smith is now an employee, despite being under contract with APA until September 2017. APA is also suing Smith himself for breach of contract, breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing, breach of fiduciary duty, breach of the duty of loyalty and unfair competition.   The APA complaint alleges that Gersh “hired Smith despite being specifically advised by plaintiff [APA] that plaintiff was entitled to Smith’s exclusive services for the duration of the employment agreement” and “Defendant knew of the economic relationship between plaintiff and Smith, and intended to disrupt and interfere with that relationship”   http://www.iq-mag.net/2016/09/us-agencies-war-poaching-claims-garrett-smith/#.V9J3TZgrKM9

Court uphold fractional licence in BMI case
Competition , Music Publishing / October 2016

COMPETITION Music publishing     In a win for Broadcast Music Inc (BMI), a federal judge has thrown out a recent determination by the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) that performance rights organisations cannot undertake so-called fractional licensing. Not only had the DoJ had refused alter the 70 year old anti-trust ‘consent decrees’ that both ASCAP and BMI operate under, the DoJ insisted that the societies had to introduce 100% licensing, which allows one party to license a whole song even without that licensor owning 100% of the copyright. BMI decided to pursue the litigation to reverse the DoJ’s decision. BMI was seeking a declaratory judgement that the consent decree did not require 100% licensing or what is called “full-work” licensing. In a six-page ruling, U.S. District Judge Louis Stanton in Manhattan rejected the DOJ’s consent decree determination who said: “The consent decree neither bars fractional licensing nor requires full-work licensing” adding  “If a fractionally licensed composition is disqualified from inclusion in BMI’ s repertory, it is not for violation of any provision of the consent decree”   A separate consent decree governs ASCAP (the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers) and this is administered by rate court Judge Denise Cote of the United…

Russian Government looks to take over collection societies

COMPETITION Music publishing, recorded music   The Russian government is reportedly considering taking over some or all of the collective licensing regime in the country. The move comes in the wake of accusations of fraud  which have seen RAO General Director Sergei Fedotov arrested and jailed. There has been disagreement within the collecting society’s membership, with a group of members calling for a new  General Director to be appointed and a radical overhaul of the organisation’s constitution. According to Russian business newspaper Vedomosti, the Ministry Of Economic Development is considering the possibility of taking direct control of RAO. The RAO Authors’ Council, which is the main governing body of the society, continues to back Fedotov and responded angrily to the members seeking a radical overhaul. Producer and composer Igor Matvienko, newly elected as President of the Authors’ Council last month, had been critical of RAO but now opposes moves to overthrow Fedotov and the current management.   whilst there have been some dark mutterings in Europe from songwriters and self composing performers about the activities of CMOs, including Buma-Stemra and GEMA, who have been offering established concert promoters ‘discounts’ or ‘kickbacks’  on published public performance tariffs – and indeed in Spain the…

SFX faces two decisions in the bankruptcy court
Competition , Contract , Internet , Live Events / October 2016

CONTRACT / COMPETITION Live events sector, online   A US bankruptcy judge has allowed Viagogo to proceed with a legal action against SFX Entertainment. modifying the “automatic stay” applied to SFX. Under Chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code, creditors are usually barred from collecting debts from the debtor. and allowing the secondary ticketing platform to “assert and prosecute any and all counterclaims” against SFX. Having reviewed the request, Judge Mary F Walrath determined “sufficient cause exists to approve the motion”.  Viagogo is seeking “in excess” of US$1.6 million from SFX, which went into administration on 1 February, for allegedly failing to adhere to the terms if a five-year, $75m sponsorship agreement signed by the two companies in 2014. The deal granted Viagogo exclusive ticket resale rights some 50 SFX-promoted events and SFX agreed to “deliver exclusive marketing and ticketing rights with respect to a number of designated ‘major’ SFX events.   In other SFX news, an Italian EDM record label is requesting a probe into how third parties might be artificially influencing SFX’s digital music charts. Art & Music Recording (AMR) has requested the Delaware judge overseeing SFX’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy case order the company to reveal what it knows about…

Print at home’ ticket fees ruled illegal in Germany
Consumers , Live Events / October 2016

CONSUMER Live events sector   A German court has delivered a preliminary ruling that fees for ‘print at home’ tickets should not be allowed, in a case brought against ticketing firm CTS Eventim by consumer rights group Verbraucherzentrale NRW. In their press release, Verbraucherzentrale NRW said that the ruling, could pave the way for similar action against other ticketing agencies which charge similar fees. The court said that if a fee was charged, then the provider was contractually bound to send out actual tickets. CTS Eventim charged customers a €2.50 fee for printing tickets at home through their “print @ home” and “ticketdirect” options. The decision is not (as yet) legally binding, The district court of Bermen found that services charges on self-printed tickets, better known here as print-at-home tickets, are “inadmissible,” or unzulässig in German and that CTS Eventim cannot charge such fees to their customers. The court ruled that the company can only charge ticket fees on “postage costs.” CTS Eventim has told IQ that it intends to appeal the ruling, which has yet to be reatifed by the higher court. http://www.completemusicupdate.com/article/german-court-rules-print-at-home-ticket-fees-illegal/

London nightclub Fabric to close permanently after licence revoked
Licensing , Live Events / October 2016

LICENSING Live events sector   One of Britain’s best known nightclubs, Fabric, has been forced to close permanently after its licence was revoked following the drug-related deaths of two people. After deliberation that lasted into the early hours of Wednesday morning, the local council decided that searches by security staff at the London venue had been “inadequate and in breach of the licence”. “People entering the club were inadequately searched,” Islington Borough Council’s decision read adding that covert police operations suggested people were openly buying and taking illegal drugs on the premises and that staff should have been aware of this: “Staff intervention and security was grossly inadequate in light of the overwhelming evidence that it was abundantly obvious that patrons in the club were on drugs and manifesting symptoms showing that they were” …. This included sweating, glazed red eyes and staring into space, and people asking for help.” The Metropolitan Police had asked the council to shut down the 2,500-capacity nightclub after the deaths of two teenagers in the space of nine weeks. One died after collapsing outside the club in August, while another died in late June. In documents provided to the council, superintendent Stuart Ryan wrote: “If the…

Is Hackney using underhand methods to close down the night-time industries?
Licensing , Live Events / October 2016

LICENSING / PRIVACY Live events sector     Thousands of clubbers have had their names shared secretly with the Metropolitan Police. The 200-capacity Studio Spaces was granted an alcohol licence by Hackney Council in January 2014, on the condition that director Yuval Hen supply the Metropolitan police and the council with a list of everyone attending events of 40 people or more 48 hours in advance. The Hackney Gazette reports that Hen initially complied, but later became aware that he was the only licensee in the area having to hand over names. He has since relaunched the venue as a ‘co-working space’. Hen told IQ magazine “The conditions killed us. We got lots of cancellations from people saying, ‘We don’t want to give you the guest list.’ It’s a nightmare – we can’t run a business like that with only 40 people allowed inside.” Hackney Council tells the Islington Gazette that the ruling was made to ensure the venue didn’t exceed its 24 permitted events of over 40 people. Nappter Tandy, who runs promoter Turf Series, has put on shows at Studio Spaces and says he was unaware guestlists were being sent to police saying “It’s extremely disappointing councils like Hackney…

Sydney’s ‘lock out’ laws take a knock
Licensing , Live Events / October 2016

LICENSING Live events sector   The Supreme Court of New South Wales has ruled that Sydney venues are exempt from New South Wales’s controversial ‘lock-out laws’ which were introduced by the New South Wales (NSW) government in 2014 and require that music venues, nightclubs, bars and hotels lock their doors at 1.30am and not serve drinks past 3.00 in a bid to curb alcohol-related violence. The legislation has been attacked by a number of prominent Australians as illogical and damaging to the music industry. This case was brought by the owners of the Smoking Panda bar who persuaded the Court that  the New South Wales Justice Department lacked the authority to subject to the city to the 1.30 curfew. The bar now joins tourist areas and hotels which are already exempt from the lock-outs, The Smoking Panda’s exemption was cancelled after an investigation found some bar patrons were not hotel guests.   In addition to live music venues, Supreme Court judge Natalie Adams also ruled that strip clubs should be exempt, stating the laws are “not a proper exercise of the regulation-making power conferred upon the governor [of New South Wales]”. Lock-out laws continue to apply to other establishments. The…

Sydney’s late night industry not impressed by independent review
Licensing , Live Events / October 2016

LICENSING Live events sector     The independent report into Sydney’s controversial ‘Lock Out’ laws by former High Court judge Ian Callinan has recommended a two-year trial in which the 1.30am lockout and 3am last drinks measures are relaxed for live entertainment venues. Easing those restrictions by half-an-hour could help restore the vibrancy and lost employment opportunities in the precincts affected by the laws Callinan said in his report. The previous O’Farrell government introduced the laws in 2014, following a series of fatal one-punch attacks and other violence.   NSW state premier Mike Baird said he was pleased the review had confirmed the laws had reduced alcohol-related violence in the CBD and Kings Cross area. He said the government would consult with Mr Callinan and the industry to clarify a clear definition of live entertainment venues, including whether it should include recorded music or DJs. Opponents of the lockout laws had hoped the Report would prove their claim that the measures passed by the New South Wales government in 2014 had pretty much killed Sydney’s nightlife. The laws were originally passed in an effort to end alcohol-fuelled violence in Sydney’s key nightlife areas, such as Kings Cross. Callinan acknowledged the adverse effect the…

Techno’s beating heart is a place of high culture in German law
Live Events / October 2016

PLANNING Live events sector   While British institutions of power seem to work towards suppressing the country’s nightlife, German authorities are taking the opposite approach. According to German publication Der Spiegel, Berghain has won a legal case that defines its activity as “high culture” – with the Brandenburg court ruling that Berghain, the 1,600-capacity Berlin nightclub widely regarded as the world capital of techno, is a place of cultural significance and thus entitled to be tax as a site of high culture. The court battle stemmed from Berghain being threatened by greater taxation. German law taxes institutions classed as ‘entertainment’ at a rate of 19 per cent, while institutions seen as sites of ‘high culture’ are taxed at seven per cent. Tax officials argued that Berghain is “ruled by entertainment, not by culture” since it’s a place where people dance, have fun and take drugs, while the nightspot countered that as a site of musical performances it should be afforded the same standing as classical music halls. In the past Berghain (pictured) would pay tax of 7% on its earnings – the same rate as museums, theatre and concert venues. The German fiscal court in Cottbus ruled in favour of Berghain,…

Mayor to implement ‘agent of change’ principle in London Plan
Live Events / October 2016

PLANNING Live events sector   London Mayor Sadiq Khan has said he plans to introduce the ‘agent of change’ principle into the next London Plan to protect London’s cultural heritage and vibrant night life from the actions of developers building residential homes near existing cultural venues. The move comes after more than 25,000 people signed a petition to save Mayfair’s historic Curzon cinema from being shut down over a soundproofing dispute. Developers 38 Curzon Ltd, who are converting office space above the cinema into luxury flats, have complained of noise from films shown velow. Reports say the developers want the 82-year-old cinema to foot the £500,000 bill for soundproofing work. But the the Curzon said it cannot afford and that as the building is a listed building iut would “never obtain approval for as the auditorium and surrounding walls” The deadlock has resulted in a court “action for forfeiture”, meaning the cinema faces surrendering its lease and vacating the building. Khan told the London Evening Standard: “I intend to protect venues like the Curzon Mayfair by introducing an ‘Agent of Change’ rule into the next London Plan. That would mean developers building flats near existing venues will need to ensure that residents are not…

Love Parade litigation re-commenced
Health & Safety , Live Events / October 2016

HEALTH & SAFETY Live events sector     Three people injured at the tragic  2010 Love Parade have commenced new civil proceedings in Germany against those involved in organising the tragic 2010 festival. There have been over unsuccessful 30 civil cases brought against festival promoter Lopavent, the city of Duisburg and the state of North Rhine-Westphalia since 2010. In April this year a court that no one would stand trial over the disaster, which left 21 dead and over 500 were injured. The disaster on the 24th July 2010 was the result of  a crush in a tunnel that served as the sole entrance to Love Parade. Over a million people attended the dance music festival, which was held at a former goods yard in Duisburg, with a capacity of around 250,000. The event was permanently cancelled by organisers. German public broadcaster WDR reports that one woman, who suffered concussion, is seeking €73,000 in damages, with two more seeking between €34,000 and €56,000 each. Lawyer Bärbel Schönhof who is representing the first woman, a 51-year-old from Duisburg, says despite the failure of earlier lawsuits she is confident of a victory, “because I am of the view that [the] irresponsible behaviour of…

Live Nation faces claims from injured fans
Health & Safety , Live Events / October 2016

HEALTH & SAFETY Live events sector   Fourteen fans and three workers are suing promoter Live Nation and performers Snoop Dogg and Wiz Khalifa over injuries sustained after a fence collapsed at a concert. A total of 42 people were injured in the incident at the BB&T Pavilion amphitheatre in New Jersey on August 5. The lawsuit provides a list of injuries which included six concussions, one fractured vertebrae, a fractured collarbone, two head wounds closed with staples, broken bones in the wrist and foot, and numerous lacerations, contusions and recurring head and neck pain. Attorney Robert J. Mongeluzzi said on behalf of the victims he represents: “Our clients, and many others who attended the concert, were seriously injured because of the negligent conduct of the defendants who failed miserably in their duty to protect the audience and workers from harm”. Another attorney acting for victims, Steven G. Wigrizer,  said: “Every plaintiff has asked us to do all we can to help prevent a re-occurrence through the litigation. Pure luck – not thoughtful planning by Live Nation or anyone else – is the only reason nobody died in that terrifying incident.”. The claimants allege that there was “a clearly hazardous stage configuration within…

Australian Greens prompt review of drug laws
Licensing , Live Events / October 2016

LICENSING Live events sector   The Green Party in Australia has prompted a rewiew of  drug laws after successfully passing a motion through the Senate calling for the introduction of pill testing and an end to the use of sniffer dogs at music festivals.  The motion passed without objection from either major party, and calls for an number of harm reduction measures, including “needle and syringe programs”, “supervised injecting rooms” and “pill testing”. “We know that [dogs] frighten people into taking their drugs in one hit and are contributing to overdoses rather than preventing them,” Greens leader Richard Di Natalie wrote in The Guardian earlier this year, adding that “a government’s responsibility is to keep our young people safe.” Comment in Austrlia says that any meaningful change will require the cooperation of the state governments – but that this remains unlikely. NSW Premier Mike Baird has previously dismissed the concept of pill testing as “ridiculous”, while Tasmanian Police Minister Rene Hidding called it “quality assurance for drug pushers” – despite the fact that Tasmania’s police association came out in support of just such a proposal.   http://junkee.com/senate-passed-motion-calling-pill-testing-removal-festival-sniffer-dogs/84381   https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/mar/02/richard-di-natale-we-need-to-reclaim-our-courage-and-vision-on-drugs-policy