Police voice licensing worries over Brighton’s ‘Russian rock festival’
Licensing , Live Events / March 2016
UK

LICENSING Live events sector     Brighton newspaper The Argus has published a warning over a Russian rock music festival that had been been advertised in the seaside City. The Argus reports that the police and council are investigating the purported event, which is being advertised to take place above the cliffs at Ovingdean. Sussex Police have said neither they nor Brighton and Hove City Council have been contacted regarding licensing or safety and have so far not been able to get in touch with the organisers.. The Eastwood Festival is being advertised as a two day Russian rock music festival with tickets being sold for £200 each. Sussex Police has urged festival goers hold off purchasing tickets “until the validity of the event can be confirmed and relevant licences have been granted.” Chief Inspector Chris Veale of Sussex Police is quoted as saying, “Until we are able to ascertain the validity of both this website and the event we would ask residents who are thinking of attending to exercise caution and take our advice into account before providing your bank details for payment. “We will continue to attempt to make contact with event organisers and land owners and will provide more information as and when…

Petition launched to support secondary ticketing
Consumers , Live Events / March 2016
UK

CONSUMER Live events sector     A new pro-secondary ticketing campaign has been launched in the UK, calling on the government to ensure the secondary ticketing market is protected from suggested reforms. The UK government is currently reviewing the secondary ticketing market as a result of commitments made in last year’s Consumer Rights Act. Professor Michael Waterson is leading the review, and numerous promoters and artists including Elton John and Mumford & Sons are calling for tighter regulation of the resale market. Professor Waterson will lead “an independent, consultative and evidence based review of consumer protection measures in the online ticket resale market. As required by the Consumer Rights Act 2015, this independently chaired review on secondary ticketing will report its findings before 26 May 2016.” The new online petition says “as fans who regularly attend live events, we urge [Waterson] to support our right to resell tickets without restrictions being imposed by event organisers” adding “Event organisers are lobbying hard to make it easier to cancel or void tickets that have been offered for resale without their permission” and “But we believe that fans should be free to resell tickets that they have purchased wherever they want”. The petition continues with “Further…

Russian legislators shy away from live industry regulation – for now
Consumers , Licensing , Live Events / March 2016
Russia

CONSUMER / LICENSING Live events sector     Billboard reports that Russian legislators have backed down from new regulations proposed for the live industry following criticism from a number of high-profile artists. Two months ago, legislators embraced a proposal from several major promoters and producers for a self regulating organisation of promoters. However a number of music producers and promoters behind the initiative said there is still a need for reform in the segment. “Ideas are proposed to be discussed,” Iosif Prigozhin, a prominent producer who was among the original proponents of the new regulations, told Billboard. “And regulations should be adopted in such a form that they will satisfy everyone.” “But the industry still needs some reforms and adjustment,” he went on to say, adding that the proposed regulations were not aimed at hurting artists but were expected to clean the segment of unscrupulous and unprofessional players. In January 2016 in anticipation of the new regulations,  a new organisation Soyukontsert was formed. Founder members include SAV Entertainment, PMI and NCA. At the time Soyukonsert saidf iyt would   – Create  an emergency fund to cover expenses for cancelled shows – Form a disciplinary commission that will assess professional standards for the live sector…

Why can’t New Yorker get tickets? Attorney General plans to act on scalping
Consumers , Live Events / March 2016
USA

CONSUMER Live event sector     A new report from New York Attorney General, Eric T Schneiderman, has put ticket touting – or scalping – back on the agenda in the US. Schneiderman’s report on secondary ticketing in New York – ‘Why Can’t New Yorkers Get Tickets’ – is based on a three year investigation, and could result in a new crackdown against online touting. The regulation of ticket reselling in the US generally sits at a state-level. Rules in New York were actually relaxed in the early days of online touting, though the use of those bots to buy up large numbers of tickets is still banned there, and much of the new report – and possibly any resulting crackdown – is focused on the continued illegal use of such technology. According to the New York Times, the new report includes various touting claims, including that as many as half the seats for many popular concerts are not offered to the general public, that a single high-tech tout bought 1,012 tickets to a U2 concert in under a minute, and that free tickets that had been distributed for an appearance by Pope Francis in the city were resold for thousands of…

The Higher Regional Court in Munich decides that licensing duties lie with the uploaders, not YouTube
Internet , Music Publishing / March 2016
Germany

COPYRIGHT Music publishing, internet     The Higher Regional Court Munich (OLG) has decided that YouTube and its service cannot be called to account for any copyright infringements. Instead, the judges found that the sole responsibility lies with individual uploaders, even though GEMA is keen to point out “YouTube generates substantial economic profits by making the videos available”. Based on this decision, YouTube is presently not held financially accountable within the current legal framework when works protected by copyright are used on the platform.. The action against YouTbe was brought by GEMA which represents the copyright of more than 70,000 members (composers, lyricists and music publishers) in Germany, and more than two million copyright owners globally. It is one of the largest collective rights management organisations for authors of musical works in the world. The GEMA press release says this: On 28 January 2016, the Higher Regional Court Munich (OLG) pronounced the decision regarding the claim for damages against YouTube (file number 29 U 2798/15). This was another instance where the judges could not bring themselves to recognise YouTube as a copyright infringer and subsequently hold it accountable for payment of an adequate remuneration for authors. “Today’s decision is most regrettable. The court has obviously followed YouTube’s argumentation that it is only the…

Changes Ahead in U.S. Copyright Statutory Damages Law
Copyright / March 2016
USA

COPYRIGHT All areas     By Marie-Andree Weiss writing on the 1709 Copyright blog   The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Internet Policy Task Force  (the Task Force), which is led by both the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), published on January 28 a  White Paper on Remixes, First Sale, and Statutory Damages which addresses three issues:   1) the legal framework for the creation of remixes; 2) the relevance and scope of the first sale doctrine in the digital environment; and 3) the application of statutory damages in the context of individual file-sharers and secondary liability for large-scale online infringement.   The Task Force had published a Green Paper, “Copyright Policy, Creativity, and Innovation in the Digital Economy” on July 31, 2013, which had identified these three issues warranting further review by the Task Force.   The Task Force then published a Notice in the Federal Register seeking comment on these issues. It conducted a public meeting in December 2013 and also held roundtables around the U.S., before reviewing comments from stakeholders as diverse as rights holder organizations, Internet-based companies, public interest groups, libraries, academics, and individual authors and artists.   Remixes   Remixes use existing works, some of them still protected…

Deep Purple – failed companies can’t sell our copyrights
Artists , Copyright / March 2016
UK

COPYRIGHT Sound recordings, artistes     In the wake of news that ReSolve Partners has been appointed as the administrator for Limited Deep Purple (Overseas) Ltd (“DPO”) and HEC Enterprises Ltd (“HEC”) and is asking for expressions of interest from third parties for the companies and their assests, Deep Purple themselves say their assets cannot be sold without their agreement, and that they had commenced legal proceedings against DPO and HEC before the firms fell into administration. The remaining members of Deep Purple – Ian Gillan, Ian Paice, Roger Glover – along with Victoria Lord, widow and executor of the Estate of Jon Lord, sent the following statement to MBW It has come to our attention that two companies, Deep Purple (Overseas) Ltd (“DPO”) and HEC Enterprises Ltd (“HEC”) have recently gone into administration and that ReSolve Partners Limited (“ReSolve”) have been appointed as administrators for both companies. We believe ReSolve are inviting offers from third parties for the business and assets of the two companies. We, (Ian Gillan, Ian Paice and Roger Glover, being continuing members of Deep Purple and Victoria Lord, representing Jon Lord, who was a member of the group until his death) commenced legal proceedings against both DPO…

PRS and PPL launch a new joint venture for public performance licensing
Copyright / March 2016
UK

COPYRIGHT All areas     In the United Kingdom, PRS for Music and Phonographic Performance Limited (PPL) have confirmed that, following a strategic review commenced in 2015, the two companies plan to create a joint venture. The new company, jointly and equally owned by PPL and PRS for Music, would focus on serving all PPL and PRS for Music UK public performance licensing customers for both music and sound recording rights. PPL is the music licensing company which works on behalf of record companies and performers to license recorded music played in public. PRS for Music represents the rights of over 115,000 songwriters, composers and music publishers in the UK. The two CMOs say that this will further streamline the experience for customers obtaining public performance licences, allowing them to secure a joint PPL and PRS for Music licence |”with a single phone call or a few clicks on the web, paid for with a single invoice.” Over the coming months, PRS for Music and PPL will be undertaking the necessary preparatory work for the joint venture “Including engagement with regulators and other key stakeholders.” It is anticipated that the new company would start licensing in 2017, followed by a…

PRS Launches New Anti-Piracy System ‘MAPS’
UK

COPYRIGHT Music Publishing, online     PRS for Music has announced the launch of its new anti-piracy take-down tool ‘MAPS’. The newly developed system will “revolutionise” the way PRS for Music tackles copyright infringement of its members’ repertoire in the continued fight against online music piracy. Working in partnership with The Publishers Association, the trade body for the UK book publishing industry, MAPS has been developed for PRS for Music to deliver a bespoke notice and takedown system. MAPS will initially be available to a selected number of publisher members in March 2016. The tool will locate unlicensed and infringing content made available online and will then allow users to automatically generate and serve notices to remove the content.  It will also allow users to remove links to the content found on Google and elsewhere. PRS for Music’s Head of Litigation, Enforcement and Anti-Piracy, Simon Bourn said: “We are very excited to be rolling-out our new anti-piracy system to publisher members.  Where opportunistic and illegal use is made of our members’ repertoire online, without the necessary business model to sustain a legitimate licensed marketplace, it is important that we take action to protect the rights of our members and to…

Timberlake faces plagiarism lawsuits
Copyright , Music Publishing / March 2016
USA

COPYRIGHT Music publishing     Justin Timberlake and will.i.am (William Adams) are facing a lawsuit from PK Music Performance claiming that their song “Damn Girl” (from Timberlake’s 2006 “FutureSex/LoveSounds” album) is too similar to the disco track “A New Day Is Here At Last,” according to TMZ. The latter was originally copyrighted back in 1969 by Perry Kibble and performed by J.C. Davis. PK Music Performance renewed the copyright license in January after Kibble’s sister Janis McQuinton granted them the rights: she inherited the copyright on Kibble’s death in 1999.   “A substantial amount of the music in ‘Damn Girl’ is copied from ‘A New Day Is Here At Last,’” the lawsuit reads. “Specifically, a substantial part of the drum, conga drum, organ, bass guitar, electric quitter and saxophone parts in ‘Damn Girl,’ were all copied from ‘A New Day Is Here At Last.’” . PK is reportedly seeking injunctive relief and an undisclosed claim for damages which includes an “award for actual damages,” song profits and attorney fees. PK also wants known copies of the song handed over to them to be destroyed, as well. Timberlake is also facing a separate legal battle over his song “Suit & Tie,”…

Roc Nation files $2.4 million suit against Rita Ora
Artists , Contract / March 2016
USA

CONTRACT Artistes     Jay​ ​Z‘s Roc Nation is suing Rita Ora for breach of her 2008 recording contract and failing to deliver four of the promised five albums in the deal The $2.4 million Manhattan civil suit filed by Roc Nation comes just six weeks after Ora herself sued the company in California, claiming executives had ‘pushed her aside’ when they started representing professional athletes. In the new suit, Roc Nation counters that it’s spent over $2 million developing and marketing the British pop singer’s still-unreleased second album saying it took Ora from an “unknown singer” and “has tirelessly promoted [her] career, investing millions of dollars in marketing, recording and other costs, which was instrumental in guiding Ms. Ora to her current level of success and fame.” The Los Angeles suit is still pending. Roc Nation says it filed the countersuit in Manhattan because Ora’s contact specifies that any litigation between the parties must take place in New York. Ora’s attorney, Howard King, said, “Jay Z has personally and graciously promised Rita complete freedom from Roc Nation, the details of which are now being finalized. “We believe that Roc Nation’s distributor, Sony Music, has required Roc Nation to file this action…

Ke$ha’s rape allegation does not free her from her Sony recording contract
Artists , Contract / March 2016
USA

CONTRACT Recorded music, artistes     Ke$ha broke into tears when a Manhattan Supreme Court judge refused to let her walk away from a six-album deal with Sony — and the man she claims raped her. The singer had sought to nullify her recording contract because it brought her into contact with super-producer Dr. Luke, whose real name is Luke Gottwald. The 28-year-old, whose real name is Kesha Rose Sebert, claims that Dr. Luke drugged her with a pill that made her black out and raped her shortly after her 18th birthday in California. He was never criminally charged. Gottwald has countersued, claiming Kesha’s allegations were part of a “campaign of publishing outrageous and untrue statements”. Sony has offered to let her work with another producer, but Ke$ha said she feared the company won’t promote her music as heavily if she’s not working with Gottwald, their biggest hitmaker. Ke$ha’s lawyer, Mark Geragos, had argued that Sony’s promise to connect her to another producer was “illusory” because even if the recordings were made, the record company wouldn’t promote them. He contended that Sony had more invested in Dr. Luke than in Ke$ha, and it would do everything to protect him because he makes them…

Warners agree to share any Spotify equity windfall with artistes – but how much?
Contract , Copyright , Internet / March 2016
UK
USA

COPYRIGHT / CONTRACT Recorded music, internet     Warner Music Group has told investors that should the major ever sell its stake in Spotify, it will pay its recording artistes a portion of the proceeds. Warner is believed to own between 2% and 3% in Spotify – an equity position which it received via licensing negotiations – in effect for ‘free’ due to its position as the owner of a large catalogue of sound recordings. Warners also hold an equity stake in Soundcould on the same basis. Recent market analysis has given Spotify a valuation of $8bn – so the key question must be – WHAT percentage will they share with artistes – if they takethe ‘per unit’ rate from CD sales – npot very much … if they take a fair and equitable approach – upwards of half – a big difference! WMG CEO Stephen Cooper said “”As there is an ongoing debate in the media regarding how artists should be paid for use of their music on streaming services, we wanted to take this opportunity to address the issue head on” adding “the main form of compensation we receive from streaming services is revenue based on actual streams”, but acknowledged…

Backstreet Boys in China ‘scam’ results in $1.56 million claim
Contract , Live Events / March 2016
China

CONTRACT Live events sector     Chinese promoter Guangzhou Love Life Culture Development Ltd is taking legal action to reclaim the money it says it paid over to Belinda International Entertainment Group. Guangzhou says it paid over $2.2 million to promote a series of shows by the veteran boy band Backstreet Boys in China, with Belinda, which was said to be based in Flushing, Queens, but the offer “turned out to be a fraud.” The suit states that the defendants were never at any time “ready, able or in a position” to provide the Backstreet Boys for performances.  It is alleged that Belinda was operated by a person named Kam Yan Leung, who promised to get the group to play dates in China, Macau and Hong Kong. However, it turned out that Yeung had “no relationship with the band”. When Guangzhou realised the “subterfuge” and demanded a refund, Leung only returned $640,000. Guangzhou is now suing for the balance of $1.56 million.   http://blog.wenn.com/all-news/backstreet-boys-at-center-of-concert-promoter-lawsuit/

UK tax relief can apply to recording advances
Artists , Taxation / March 2016
UK

TAXATION Artistes     The UK’s Treasury minister has confirmed that the 2001 tax relief which allows creators to average their income over two consecutive years can be applied to recording artists when they are paid advances by their record labels.  The relief recognises the volatile nature of earnings in the creative sector – authors and artists often have one very profitable year followed by one that is less so: Where profits are “wholly or mainly derived from literary, dramatic, musical or artistic works or designs” it is possible to average the profits for successive tax years. This reduces the burden of the more profitable year, and can in some circumstances drop one year’s tax bill into a lower band, meaning less tax is due. UK Music and the Featured Artists Coalition sought the clarification on exactly if and when the relief applied to recording artists who receive an advance from a label are covered by the system, because the rule is slightly ambiguous saying that “profits must come from royalties or disposal of the works rather than from the provision of services”. DAvnavces are of course advance payments of royaltieds that may become due at a later date. In a…

Burning Man must pay Nevada state entertainment tax
Live Events , Taxation / March 2016
USA

TAXATION Live events sector     Burning Man tickets will be subject to a live entertainment tax for the first time. The Nevada state Department of Taxation have notified organizers of the iconic Black Rock desert event that as more than 15,000 tickets were sold for the event it qualified it for the tax, the Reno Gazette-Journal reporst that Burning Man,  is required to register for the tax before tickets go on sale. Burning Man attracts 80,000 visitors. “The activities that take place during Burning Man constitute live entertainment, whether or not those activities are provided by patrons of the event. Because Black Rock City is located on public land and access to the area during the event is limited to those who have purchased tickets, it meets the definition of a facility,” wrote Nevada Department of Taxation Executive Director Deonne Contine. “Because Burning Man collects the taxable receipts from those attending the event, Burning Man is the taxpayer and responsible for paying (Live Entertainment Taxes) to the State of Nevada.” Burning Man  had written to the Department of Taxation saying that the festival should be exempt from the amended tax on live entertainment. Burning Man attorney Ray Allen said the 9…

Live Nation cleared in anti-trust law suit
Competition , Live Events / March 2016
USA

COMPETITION Live events sector     A US appellate court has affirmed the dismissal of an anti-competition lawsuit against Live Nation Entertainment by Seth Hurtwitz-owned indie promoter It’s My Party (IMP). The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals has confirmed the February 2015 ruling that dismissed all claims made by IMP, which alleged that Live Nation (LN) engaged in monopolistic (anti-trust) policies in violation of the Sherman Act by coercing artists to only appear at venues it owned and operated. Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson III said that Maryland-based IMP misleadingly contrasted its own and Live Nation’s operations nationwide, as opposed to locally, to support its claim that LN was monopolising the concert-promotion market. Judge Wilkinson said “According to IMP, promoters compete nationally for contracts to promote performances anywhere in the country” and  “By defining the market as national, IMP could more easily construe LN’s nationwide network of promoters and venues as evidence of market power. In contrast, IMP could portray itself as a modest regional outfit whose resources pale in comparison.” and “If instead the market were defined locally and narrowed to just the Washington–Baltimore area, then IMP would appear more evenly matched against LN’s regional capacity. Unfortunately for plaintiff, its market definitions are blind…

German Judges put secret EU-US trade negotiations into the spotlight
Restraint of Trade / March 2016
EU
Germany
USA

TRADE AGREEMENTS All areas     German judges have dealt a blow to US-EU free trade agreement talks after declaring a proposed arbitration court illegal. But the decision is a rare glimmer of good news for opponents of the secretly negotiated trade agreement, as the signing of the US-EU Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is imminent, and comes hard on the heels of the already signed Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) – another international trade agreement that was negotiated in secret between tweleve Pacific Rim nations including the US, Canada, New Zealand, Peru, Mexico, Vietnam and Japan.   As part of the TTIP, the European Commission had proposed setting up an investment tribunal court that would allow firms to challenge government decisions: these are the so called Investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) provisions –  instruments of public international law, which grants an investor the right to initiate dispute settlement proceedings against a foreign government. Critics says the new court, which is intended to replace the actual ISDS system, would be even worse – and would will pressure governments into clawing back consumer protection rights, pushing up the price of medicines and watering down environmental protection to favour of corporate interests. Now the German Association of Magistrates, the…

Australian drug experts plan pill testing at festivals
Health & Safety , Live Events / March 2016
Australia

HEALTH & SAFETY Live events sector     The Australian drug expert who pioneered the nation’s first legal injecting centre has vowed to break the law in New South Wales and roll out pill testing at Sydney’s forthcoming music festivals. The president of the Australian Drug Law Reform Foundation, Dr Alex Wodak, has joined forces with emergency medical specialist David Caldicott and they have announced that a privately funded drug testing “trial” will commence with or without the blessing of a NSW government.   The NSW government has repeatedly blocked the proposal in favour of a hard line, law enforcement strategy but Fairfax Media revealed that the NSW government has sought a secret briefing on how such a concept might occur, receiving a detailed,18-page research dossier “We are going to do this,” said Dr Wodak. “Doctors, analysts who know how to operate the [testing] machines and peer interviewers who can translate the scientific results and explain to people why the drug they bought is talcum powder or highly toxic. The idea is to save lives. I am prepared to break the law to save young people’s lives.” Dr Caldicott said: “It’s very straight forward. We want to run a trial at a…

Avenged Sevenfold look to leave Warners
Artists , Contract , Employment Law / February 2016
USA

CONTRACT / EMPLOYMENT Recorded music, artistes     After releasing four studio albums for Warner Bros. Records, Avenged Sevenfold are trying to end their as-yet-unfulfilled recording contract, using California’s “seven-year rule.” In turn, the label has filed a breach-of-contract lawsuit against the band, seeking compensatory damages. The “seven-year rule” enshrined in the California Labor Code allows parties to leave personal service contracts under certain circumstances after seven years have passed. Record industry lobbying led to amendments to the 70-year-old law in the 1980s, to allow record companies to claim lost profits on uncompleted albums. However record companies only have 45 days to do so after an artist exercises the right to terminate. “Avenged Sevenfold recently exercised the rights given them by this law and ended its recording agreement with Warner Bros. Records,” the band’s attorney Howard E. King said. Since the 2004 contract was signed, King says the label “underwent multiple regime changes that led to dramatic turnover at every level of the company, to the point where no one on the current A&R staff has even a nodding relationship with the band.”  In its lawsuit dated January 8th, 2016, Warner Bros. says Avenged Sevenfold’s decision to utilise the “seven-year rule” is unlawful: The label says…

J-pop ‘no-sex’ ban unconstitutional
Artists , Contract / February 2016
Japan

CONTRACT Artistes     Young pop stars in Japan have won the legal right to have boyfriends or girlfriends after a court ruled that provisions in management contracts banning relationships were unconstitutional. The Tokyo District Court said that a ‘no dating’ clause, standard for young performers, violated the right to happiness guaranteed by the Japanese Constitution. Chief Judge Katsua Hara threw out a 9.9 million Yen (£59,000) claim against a former singer brought by her management company, thought to be from the seven piece girl band Aoyama Saint Hachamecha High School. The suit was instigated back in September 2014 when Miho Yuuki (19) and Sena Miura (22) left the band.   The management company MovingFactory had said “The parental guardians signed contracts that said the members would not have relationships with fans and would not neglect their work” adding “They have betrayed the members of the group and all their fans. We cannot forgive this”  Last month the management company for idol group N Zero announced a lawsuit against a member and a fan for having “private contact”. In the current case Chief Judge Hara saidL “Relationships are a right exercised by an individual to enrich life. They are part of…

Pandora secures new deals with ASCAP and BMI
Copyright , Internet / February 2016
USA

COPYRIGHT Broadcasting, internet   ASCAP and BMI have signed two separate multi-year licensing agreements with Pandora for their combined catalogues of more than 20 million musical works. Pandora claims that the new agreements will “modernise compensation in the US for ASCAP and BMI songwriters and publishers” and added that the deal would see it “benefit from greater rate certainty and the ability to add new flexibility to [our] product offering over time”. Before the new deal, ASCAP was taking just 1.75% of Pandora’s yearly income. BMI took Pandora to the US rate courts and secured a 2.5% royalty rate for its clients. Pandora then appealed this ruling, a move that it has now dropped in the wake of the new arrangement with ASCAP and BMI. “This agreement is good news for music fans and music creators, who are the heart and soul of ASCAP, and a sign of progress in our ongoing push for improved streaming payments for songwriters, composers and music publishers that reflect the immense value of our members’ creative contributions,” said ASCAP CEO Elizabeth Matthews. “We’re extremely pleased to reach this deal with Pandora that benefits the songwriters, composers and publishers we are privileged to represent,” said Mike O’Neill, President and CEO,…

Spotify face $150 million lawsuit from songwriter over infringement and non payment issues
Copyright , Internet / February 2016
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet, broadcasting   A US recording artist has filed a US$150 million lawsuit against Spotify, alleging that the market leader in the streaming sector has knowingly reproduced his copyrighted songs – without permission or payment. David Lowery, best known for leading alternative rock bands Cracker and Camper Van Beethoven, has now asked a US judge to allow a class action suit on behalf of “hundreds of thousands” of potential plaintiffs he believes were similarly affected.   The lawsuit, filed in the federal court in Los Angeles, accuses the streaming giant of ignoring mechanical rights. The singer-songwriter and musician’s rights advocate, who holds a degree in mathematics and is a lecturer at the University of Georgia, accused Spotify of copying and distributing compositions for its online service without permission or informing the copyright holders, listing four tracks from Camper Van Beethoven and Cracker that he said were used without his permission. The lawsuit also alleged unfair business practices by Spotify saying that its payment structure was arbitrary and “depresses the value of royalties” overall: “Unless the court enjoins and restrains Spotify’s conduct, plaintiff and the class members will continue to endure great and irreparable harm that cannot be fully compensated or measured in…

Raiding the Rock Vault claim results in request for a court declaration
Copyright , Live Events / February 2016
USA

COPYRIGHT Live events sector   Record producer David Kershenbaum alleged threats to shut down a Las Vegas show – which removed him as director – has resulted in a law suit from the show’s producer, Rock Vault. Kershenbaum was a co-director and co-writer of Rock Vault Tours’ show “Raiding the Rock Vault” staged at the Tropicana Las Vegas. Rock Vault says it had to ask him to “disengage from his duties in connection to “Raiding the Rock Vault.” It says he has no role in the show now playing at the Tropicana, nor in a new show, to be called “Raiding the Country Vault.” However Kershenbaum says he is co-owner of the copyrights for “Raiding the Rock Vaults.” He claims the shows infringe on his copyrights, and sent a cease and desist letter to Rock Vault, threatening to sue to stop the show and the second show unless Rock Vault brought out his interest in the copyrights, with the sum of $1 million reportedly claimed. Rock Vault says that “In light of Kershenbaum’s threat to seek an injunction to enjoin further performances of Raiding the Rock Vault and to prevent Rock Vault from launching its new show, “Raiding the Country…

Metallica provide practical help to tribute act
Artists , Trade Mark / February 2016
USA

TRADE MARK Artistes     Metallica have overruled their own lawyers, who had issued a cease and desist letter against tribute band Sandman, ordering them to stop using the band’s name and logo to promote their entirely Metallica based act. To ensure that Metallica’s “overzealous attorney” would not start fresh proceedings against Sandman, the band agreed to license their logo to the tribute band for a fee of $1 which Metallica picked up the tab for that themselves. “I just got off the phone with Metallica’s management and they and the band had no idea their lawyers sent us the papers”, Sandman guitarist Joe Di Taranto told the One On One With Mitch Lafon podcast. “Lars [Ulrich, the Metallica drummer] got wind of everything today and was completely pissed that they sent us the papers for something so stupid. They are really sorry about everything and want us to go back to using any logos that we want. They are even going to license us the logo for $1 – which they said we don’t even need to pay. So all in all they were really cool and wanted to make sure we know that they fully support us. Pretty crazy. All…

Police arrest suspected Bieber ticket frausdster in Northern Ireland
Criminal Law , Live Events / February 2016
UK

CRIMINAL Ticketing     Police in Northern Ireland have arrested a man over an alleged online ticketing scam. It’s claimed that an unnamed man was selling counterfeit tickets to upcoming Adele and Justin Bieber concerts, the former in Belfast and the latter in Dublin. It is thought that the fake tickets were being advertised on listings site Gumtree. Police in the Northern Irish town of Strabane arrested the suspect, who was subsequently released on bail pending further enquiries. Commenting on the investigation, Detective Inspector Lindsey Kitson told reporters: “As part of this ongoing investigation we want to ensure that we identify as many people as possible who may have been victims of this fraud”. The officer added: “We believe tickets for the Justin Bieber and Adele concerts were offered in a group of four from the Gumtree website and a subsequent face to face transaction took place involving the exchange of money for fake tickets. I want to hear from anyone who has bought tickets for these concerts from a man after seeing an offer on Gumtree”. http://www.completemusicupdate.com/article/northern-ireland-police-arrest-suspected-adele-and-bieber-ticket-fraudster/ 

Wood Dale Police ‘were aware’ of dangers of fast approaching festival storm
Health & Safety , Live Events / February 2016
USA

HEALTH & SAFETY Live events sector     New allegations have been made in the USA against the local police in Wood Dale, Illinois, after the death of one festival goer and injuries caused to nearly two dozen more at a suburban festival near Chicago which it is now said could have been prevented had the festival site been evacuated by the police ahead of a major storm. Thirty-five-year-old Steven Nincic was killed when a tent collapsed at Prairie Fest on 2 August 2015. According to police communications obtained by the Chicago Tribune, Wood Dale Police Department was aware of the storm but decided against evacuating attendees to a nearby school, with which it had a “tentative agreement” to use the building for shelter.   A lawsuit on behalf of the victims – which also includes an 81-year-old woman, Lorraine Nocek, whose family claim later died of her injuries – states that the festival’s organisers shouldn’t have gathered visitors together under a poorly secured tent in the storm. The tent was supplied by a firm called Classic Party Rentals. “[Classic Party Rentals] supplied tents, tables and various equipment,” says the victims’ lawyer, Michael Progar, “but they obviously didn’t organise anything.” Classic Party Rentals…

Glastonbury admits sewage discharge
Environmental Law , Live Events / February 2016
UK

ENVIRONMENTAL LAW Live events sector     The Glastonbury Festival has admitted causing a drop in water quality in a stream close to the festival’s site, after a sewage tank sprung a leak during the 2014 event. CMU Daily reports that Michael Eavis and the Festival’s Operations Director, Christopher Edwards, both appeared in court in Yeovil after a prosecution was brought against the event by the Environment Agency. Accepting that “significant” harm had been caused, the Festival challenged the levels of damage claimed by the Environment Agency – and in particular the death of protected brown trout. Representing the festival, Kerry Gwyther said an environmental report found the stream had a history of being of a “poor quality”. Of the 42 dead fish, 39 were recorded downstream and only 10 of these were brown trout, he said.They also disputed that a fine of up to £300,000 should be levied, based on the Festival’s turnover of £37 million that year, saying that the festival’s profit was actually £84,000 before tax. The Festival donates a large proportion of its annual profit to charity with three lead charities, Greenpeace, WaterAid and Oxfam all receiving six figure sums. In a statement, the Festival acknowledged the…

T-in-the-Park facing licencing scrutiny after 2015 mistakes
Licensing , Live Events / February 2016
UK

LICENSING Live events sector     The Scotsman says that senior officials at Perth & Kinross Council have warned they will not allow T in the Park to be staged again at the Strathallan Estate unless there is an overhaul of the event.   The Scotsman says that “a damning dossier” has revealed “the full scale of problems, including traffic congestion, concerns over crowd safety inside the arena and campsite security, and disruption to residents.” The council report said confidence in promoters DF Concerts had been “undermined”. Environment director Barbara Renton told the Scotsman that although the council had taken a “can do approach” to major events, it was appropriate for T in the Park to be treated differently “until DF can demonstrate their capability to effectively manage this event in future.” Festival director Geoff Ellis, initially declared the event had a “great first year at Strathallan,” but later apologised for “challenges that we know impacted upon the weekend.” The council has now reported a string of “organisational blunders” which are alleged to include last-minute changes to the event’s layout, infrastructure, transport plans and security arrangements, as well as repeated breaches of the event’s planning permission. Plans were said to have been…

Mobile snappers evicted from NEC
Contract , Live Events / February 2016
UK

CONTRACT Live events sector   Pollstar reports that twenty-three people were escorted out of Birmingham’s Barclaycard Arena after not complying with a phone ban during a gig by popular comedian Kevin Hart. Many comedians like to keep their ‘live show’ material secret so each audience gets a new show, and Hart had requested no pictures/videos to be taken and this was communicated to the audience before the show in various ways. The NEC Group, which owns the Barclaycard Arena, told the Birmingham Mail that “for Kevin Hart’s show the usage of mobile phones, cameras and recording devices were strictly prohibited in the arena bowl. This was at the request of both the artiste and touring production who hired the venue for their event.” Gig-goers were also informed that they wouldn’t be subject to a refund if caught using the banned devices. The newspaper highlights the fact that Hart finished his show by asking his fans “to light up the arena with the torches of their phones for a picture.” On its website the NEC added “The venue made every effort to ensure that the message was clearly communicated to customers via all avenues available, prior to the show and onsite. The security measures…

SFX settle class action
Contract , Live Events / February 2016
Canada

CONTRACT Live events sector   SFX Entertainment has settled one of the two outstanding lawsuits against it. Last August, Paolo Moreno, who claimed he was behind the original idea for SFX, filed a class action lawsuit against the firm’s CEO Robert Sillerman alleging fraud and breach of contract. Moreno, along with two other men, claimed Sillerman had cut him out of the business once it began to take off. Documents obtained by Mixmag, show the class action lawsuit has now been dismissed. The EDM promoter still faces a separate lawsuit seeking compensation for allegedly misleading investors in Sillerman’s bid to take the company private. The lawsuit refers to the acquisition proposal as a “sham process” designed to make the firm attractive to a third-party purchaser and maintain the share price before it was caught by its liquidity problems. SFX recently secured $20 million in new financing, later revealed to have come from Canadian private equity firm Catalyst Capital Group. SFX stock slid 12.01% to $0.10 yesterday valuing the company at least than $10 million. http://www.musicweek.com/news/read/sfx-settles-class-action-lawsuit/063940

Could the ‘agent of change’ principle finally become UK law?
Live Events / January 2016
UK

PLANNING Live events Sector   The live music sector has welcomed amendments to the UK’s Planning Bill which would introduce the ‘agent of change’ principle into UK law on a statutory basis. The amendments are planned to be debated this week as part of the Public Bill Committee consideration of the Housing And Planning Bill in the House of Commons.   When Labour’s Michael Dugher  became shadow culture secretary, one of the first issues he raised was the plight of small music venues. Of the 430 that traded in London between 2007 and 2015, only 245 remain open. At the Music Trust’s Venue Day 2015, Dugher, renowned for his love of karaoke, warned: “There is a real crisis at the moment and that’s why we need a national strategy to support small music venues before many more shut.”   The agent of change principle ensures that a new development must shoulder responsibility for compliance when situated near an existing music venue. Similarly, if a music venue opens in a residential area, it too would be responsible for complying with residential requirements.   Jo Dipple, CEO, UK Music, said: “Grassroots music venues are under threat. They are closing. These venues are…

Live sector call for action over threats to festivals and small venues
Live Events , Taxation / January 2016
UK

TAXATION / PLANNING Live events sector   The UK festival industry has been given more time to prepare its case on how business rates are assessed against agricultural land that hosts music events. Music Weeek reports that a Live Nation led coalition of 720 interested parties, including the Association Of Independent Festivals (AIF), UK Music, The Agents’ Association, The Concert Promoters Association and The Association Of Festival Organisers, has called for an immediate halt to the rating of festival sites for business rates by the Valuation Office Agency until a clear policy is established. “We do not consider that festivals and events sites should now be rateable as they are essentially temporary and ancillary uses of agricultural land,” it said in a letter to MPs.  The proposed changes including backdating the rate bill for five years, and could put the future of some festivals at risk as rural landowners take stick of financial risks. Last week’s Spending Review by Chancellor George Osborne did not include an announcement on the Business Rates Review, which will now revert to March 2016. AIF general manager Paul Reed said events and festival organisers are hoping the Government will use the extra time to take action on business…

Burning Man laments Nevada’s new entertainment tax
Live Events , Taxation / January 2016
USA

TAXATION Live events sector   Organizers of the Burning Man festival are challenging a Nevada state tax which they say could cost them nearly $3 million if enforced. The 25-year-old annual arts festival now attracts  80,000 participants to the Black Rock Desert 100 miles north of Reno.   The Reno Gazette-Journal reports (http://tinyurl.com/nrfm3hq) that Burning Man  have written to the state Department of Taxation on Friday saying that the festival should be exempt from the recently amended tax on live entertainment. Burning Man attorney Ray Allen said the 9 percent tax would translate into a tax bill of about $2.8 million. He said the tax is known by some as the “Burning Man tax” and the festival’s website says “Some seem to view Burning Man as the ‘golden goose’ they can turn to when they want money for other projects.”   In June, the Legislature approved a revised version of the live entertainment tax, which originally came into law in 2004 as a way for the state to gain revenue from Las Vegas’s robust live entertainment industry. The revised version became effective on October 1st. Business Insider reports that certain events — including school, sporting, racing and nonprofit events attended…

Adele snub prompts New Jersey tax rethink
Live Events , Taxation / January 2016
USA

TAXATION Live events sector     A New Jersey state lawmaker has used that the fact Adele is snubbing of New Jersey as a reason to pass his proposal to “give tax breaks to A-list stars”. Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean says the fact that the singer’s upcoming tour bypasses New Jersey in favor of New York and Philadelphia proves the need for the state legislature to pass his bill. It would exempt performers who play at least four nights in Atlantic City from having to pay state income taxes on all shows in New Jersey that year. If enacted the Bill would exempt artists from state taxes not only on their Atlantic City performances but also on shows at New Jersey venues including arenas in Camden, Trenton, Holmdel and Newark.   Adele is scheduled to stage six performances in New York City and two in Philadelphia.   Nicknamed the “Britney bill” for Kean’s references to multi-night engagements that pop star Britney Spears has done in Las Vegas, the bill has yet to pass through the Legislature. Senator Kean said “New Jersey gets nothing from Adele performing eight shows in neighbouring New York and Pennsylvania” adding “New Jersey will continue…

Tax boost for Broadway
Live Events , Taxation / January 2016
USA

TAXATION Live events sector     Under wider tax legislation that has now passed through the House and Senate, Broadway and live theater productions can now benefit from the same advantages that have long been afforded to TV and film productions. Live theater and concert productions can now get up to $15 million in tax credits if they spend at least 75 percent of their budgets in the U.S. The new rule would apply for productions starting after Dec. 31st 2015. The change has been championed by U.S. Senator Charles Schumer, Senator Roy Blunt of Missour and and stars including Neil Patrick Harris and Bryan Cranston. Schumer, who has been working on the tax break for four years, said the change would create “thousands and thousands” more jobs for actors and backstage workers, and produce more shows nationwide, helping hotel, restaurant and taxi industries. He noted that other countries also grant live theater similar breaks, especially in London, which has been luring away American production.   The tax law change, part of a bill that President Obama is expected to sign, would provide an incentive for investors in live theatrical productions by accelerating deductions and by ending the practice of requiring…

Music promoters form new self regulating body in Russia
Licensing , Live Events / January 2016
Russia

LICENSING Live events sector   In response to new legislation in Russia, promoters have combined to form a self-monitoring organisation with the aim of improving the sector’s operations. The new organisation is named “Soyukontsert” and founder members include SAV Entertainment, PMI and NCA. The proposed new regulations outline greater responsibility for promoters around customer care and will make the industry more professional and efficient, reports Billboard.   Amongst it’s activities Soyukonsert will   – Create  an emergency fund to cover expenses for cancelled shows – Form a disciplinary commission that will assess professional standards for the live sector   – Liaise with local authorities to avoid cancellations of show   “The creation of a self-regulating organization is a natural step as the live entertainment industry moves towards greater professionalism,” said Dmitry Bogachev, head of Stage Entertainment. “Similar professional organisations exist in many countries. And, similarly to them, we shouldn’t restrict ourselves to formal regulation of relations with consumers.”   Legislators are expected to adopt the new regulations early in 2016.   http://www.billboard.com/biz/articles/news/touring/6812741/russian-live-industry-looks-to-band-together-and-self-regulate

Fabric fights off strict licensing conditions
Licensing , Live Events / January 2016
UK

LICENSING Live events sector   CMU Daily reports that London night club Fabric has successfully appealed a number of new licensing conditions placed on the venue by Islington Council late last year. Fabric had faced losing its licence after a review of its operations was launched by the local authority last year. The review followed complaints by police, mainly in relation to alleged drug incidents, and claims that there had been a “wholly unacceptable number of deaths and near death incidents at the venue”. although the club managed to keep its licence, it had to agree to a number of strict new security measures, including sniffer dogs and ID scans althogh the owners said they would appeal the Local Authority ruling, saying at the time: “We need to see their written reasons but we fundamentally disagree on a number of key points. We are on the same page in lots of ways, we just have fundamental differences on how to operate that”.   As the conditions were appealed, most of the new security measures were never implemented, although ID scanning was trialled for a short period.   http://www.completemusicupdate.com/article/fabric-wins-appeal-over-proposed-new-security-measures/

New South Wales bans private sniffer dogs
Licensing , Live Events / January 2016
Australia

LICENSING Live events sector   Event organisers and club owners down under who are trying to keep illicit drugs out of their venues have been prevented from using hiring private sniffer dogs – to search for either narcotics or terrorist threats. A change to the law means that only official NSW Police sniffer dogs can be used for drug detection purposes.   Alpha K9 Security owner Madeleine Mortiss, said she understood the legislation had been amended to prevent guard dogs from being used in crowds, but had also put detection dogs into the same category.   http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/nsw/private-sniffer-dogs-banned-from-events-clubs-under-law-change/story-fni0cx12-1227642931362

C’MOn C’MOn – Music Publishing
Copyright , Music Publishing / January 2016
UK

COPYRIGHT Music publishing     Ahh, music publishing. While the Collective Rights Management Directive technical review by the UK IPO is still underway (coverage of the Directive on the 1709 blog here), discussions on music publishing are lively.  Today a group of researchers, industry and policy makers gathered at Birkbeck workshop to debate recent research on music publishing. We started with a trip down memory lane with Fiona Macmillan and Jose Bellido presenting on the history of Collective Management Organisations (CMOs). Granted by access by PRS for Music to the PRS legal archives, the researchers detail the evolution of PRS from the early 1900s. As is often the case, starting a CMO ain’t easy, and the early days of PRS required negotiation with other organisations (including a boycott in 1918 by the Amalgamated Musicians’ Union) and recruitment struggles. PRS’s early litigation was very strategic, typically successful and ran about one case per year from the early 1920s to the early 1940s. (These cases likely represent only about 10% of disputes, with the rest settling out of court.) Interestingly, the young PRS was very protective of its reputation, and took pains to set the record straight in the reporting of the cases and brought actions for libel. While PRS was a bit late to the CMO…

PRS live music consultation prompts a range of responses
UK

COPYRIGHT Live events sector, music publishing   The music publishing sector’s collecting society PRS For Music has confirmed that it has received 111 direct responses to its consultation on the way the organisation licenses live events – the so called ‘Tariff LP’ (Popular Music Concerts Tariff’). Concert and festival promoters, as well as their trade bodies such as the Concert Promoters Association (CPA) and the Association of Independent Festivals (AIF), clubs and other venues submitted their views, along with the PRS membership (which comprise songwriters and music publishers). There was some disquiet about the way PRS for Music attempted to structure responses, and indeed how a body seeking to increase a rate could be allowed to run an ‘independent’ consultation. The current rate is 3% of gross box office, but PRS for Music would like to expand this to secondary ticketing, sponsorship and ancillary income. The PRs reviewed the rate just 5 years ago, and were again criticised not only for yet another review, but also for launching the review in the busy summer season, leaving the live events sector little time to respond, although the deadline was later extended at the request of the CPA.  The Report can be found…

I financed it so it’s my copyright–well, not really
Copyright / January 2016
UK

COPYRIGHT Recorded music   Aaron Wood has provided THE IPKat an edifying summary of a recent case from the UK Intellectual Property Enterprise Court, Henry Hadaway Organisation v Pickwick Group Limited and Ors [2015] EWHC 3407 (IPEC), concerning the vexing question that copyright practitioners know all too well: Who is the owner of the copyright in a recording where one party finances and the other is the creative/organiser? Here’s what Aaron writes:   “Mr Lorenz, a well-known musical producer, had entered into an agreement with a company called Pickwick (called Pickwick 1 in the case and not the same Pickwick as the defendant), which resulted in the making of recordings in various shows called The Shows Collection. The claimant’s position was that it was the exclusive licensee of various recordings from GLPL, the company through which Mr Lorenz operated before his death, and was the owner of copyright in the remainder of the relevant recordings by virtue of an assignment from the same.   It alleged that the defendant company Pickwick (called Pickwick 2 throughout the case to distinguish it from the earlier company) had infringed the copyright by copying, issuing copies to the public and communicating to the public the Recordings and adaptations…

Something for the Weeknd?
Copyright , Music Publishing / January 2016
USA

COPYRIGHT Recorded music, music publishing   Cutting Edge Music Limited has issued proceedings against The Weeknd (Abel Tesfaye), his producers and music giants Universal, Warner Chappell, Sony/ATV and others in the federal courts in California.  The plaintiff identifies itself as a company that finances films and acquires interest in film score compositions and sound recordings. The Machine, about cyborgs created for a war, was one of the films, released in 2013 and had a score by Tom Raybould – which has allegedly been infringed.  The key evidence in the complaint — is an alleged message sent through Twitter by co-defendant Emmanuel “Mano” Nickerson, a prominent music producer who worked on “The Hills.” The Hollywood Reporter says that according to the complaint “On or about March 9, 2015, Defendant MANO sent Raybould a Twitter direct message stating ‘I sampled your music might make it 2 the weeknd next album. Huge fan of what u did 4 the machine movie!’ ” “The Hills” was released in May as the second single from The Weeknd’s album, “Beauty Behind the Madness.” It’s topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart for several weeks and has been remixed by Eminem, Nicki Minaj and Lil Wayne. As for alleged substantial similarity,…

Pandora shares soar after Copyright Royalty Board set new rate
Copyright , Internet / January 2016
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet, broadcasting, recorded music   Pandora, the world’s largest Internet radio service, will pay record companies more money to stream its music following a long-awaited decision on Wednesday by the three-judge panel of the U.S. Copyright Royalty Board.  The Board, a panel of three federal judges, decides how much Internet radio stations such as Pandora must pay record companies. Under a 1995 law and its successors, disputes over this rate are settled by the Copyright Royalty Board. But the new fee represents a comparatively small increase – the record companies were seeking much higher rates. The new statutory per-stream rate os paid to recorded music rightsholders by non-interactive digital ‘radio’ platforms such as Pandora and iHeartRadio.  the non-subscription per-stream rate set by the CRB will be $0.0017, which $0.0003 more per stream than recorded music rightsholders currently receive from Pandora. According to MBW calculations, that will mean Pandora paying out $94.1m more to recorded music rightholders next year compared to 2015 for the same amount of consumption. However this rate will only apply for definite in 2016 – the following four years (2017-2020) will be determined by fluctuations in the US Consumer Price Index, which could bring the rate back down – or…

PRS and Soundcloud settle
Copyright , Internet , Music Publishing / January 2016
UK

COPYRIGHT Music publishing, Internet     PRS for Music has written to its membership informing them that it has settled the recently launched legal action against the online music platform, which is widely used by PRS members. The licence covers the use of PRS for Music repertoire from SoundCloud’s launch, and extends to. cover SoundCloud in its plans to introduce subscription and advertising supported platforms across Europe in 2016.   Robert Ashcroft, Chief Executive of PRS for Music said: “On behalf of our members, I am pleased that we have been able to reach a settlement with SoundCloud without extended legal proceedings. This ends over five years of discussions on the licensing requirements for the platform, resulting in a licence under which our members are fairly rewarded for the use of their music.” adding “The safe harbours in current legislation still present ambiguity, and obstruct the efficient licensing of online services, but our agreement with SoundCloud is a step in the right direction towards a more level playing field for the online marketplace.”   The letter from Karen Buse, Executive Director, Membership and International, reads:   I wrote to you earlier this year to explain our action against the online music streaming service SoundCloud. After five…

Spotify face $150 million lawsuit from songwriter over infringement and non payment issues
Copyright , Internet / January 2016
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet     A US recording artist has filed a US$150 million lawsuit against Spotify, alleging that the market leader in the streaming sector has knowingly reproduced his copyrighted songs – without permission or payment. David Lowery, best known for leading alternative rock bands Cracker and Camper Van Beethoven, has now asked a US judge to allow a class action suit on behalf of “hundreds of thousands” of potential plaintiffs he believes were similarly affected.   The lawsuit, filed in the federal court in Los Angeles, accuses the streaming giant of ignoring mechanical rights. The singer-songwriter and musician’s rights advocate, who holds a degree in mathematics and is a lecturer at the University of Georgia, accused Spotify of copying and distributing compositions for its online service without permission or informing the copyright holders, listing four tracks from Camper Van Beethoven and Cracker that he said were used without his permission.   The lawsuit also alleged unfair business practices by Spotify saying that its payment structure was arbitrary and “depresses the value of royalties” overall: “Unless the court enjoins and restrains Spotify’s conduct, plaintiff and the class members will continue to endure great and irreparable harm that cannot be fully compensated or…

Taylor Swift Seeks More Trade Marks
Artists , Trade Mark / January 2016
USA

TRADE MARK Artistes, merchandising   Taylor Swift has filed trade mark applications for 20 words and phrases in the U.S including “Blank Space” and “1989” (the name of her last album) as well as “Swiftmas”. Whilst some commented that Swift appeared to be trying to gain trade mark protection for large swathes of the English Language (including Republican Congressman Justin Amash from Michigan), the Tantalizing Trademark blog notes that the reason Swift’s lawyers filed for so many applications is that trademarks only protect specific categories of goods and services. A trademark for a category covering handbags won’t apply to cars, for instance. And in some cases, including Taylor’s “1989,” the application isn’t for the word mark itself, but for a stylized writing of it as a logo.   Swift has also  been accused of wrongfully using an artist’s work to promote 1989. US artist Ally Burguieres complained on Facebook after Swift used a wrongly-credited drawing of a fox identical to one of her watercolour designs. Swift removed the image but the artist claims she took months to compensate her, that it wasn’t enough and she was told she had to give it charity. Swift’s representatives say Ms Burguieres is just…

‘The Slants’ trade mark CAN be registered – for now
Artists , Trade Mark / January 2016
USA

TRADE MARK Artistes   A U.S. appeals court has overturned the legality of refusals of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s to register offensive trade marks. The case, which concerned a band’s name, had been closely watched as the decision could impact on the attempt by the NFL’s Washington Redskins to overturn the cancellation of its trademarks. The NFL team had seven trade marks cancelled on the grounds the mark disparages American Indians. The new decision vacates the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s refusal to register the name of the Asian-American rock band The Slants: The Portland, Oregon-based band, which plays “Chinatown dance rock,” appealed because the USPTO had twice rejected its name for a trademark on the grounds it disparages Asians. The Slants’ front man Simon Tam (Simon Young) had argued  that the band adopted the name as a way to reclaim what had become a racial slur. In an interview after this decision he rejected any concern that the ruling would open the floodgates for racism or hate speech. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit sitting ‘en banc’ said approach taken by the USPTO violates the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The court struck down the…

Horan libel case proceeds in the right direction
Artists , Defamation , Music Publishing / January 2016
UK

DEFAMATION Artistes, publishing   A libel case brought by One Direction’s Niall Horan against the Daily Star will proceed, after a judge refused the tabloid’s request to have the case dismissed. The case centres on an allegation made in an article in July 2015 that implied Horan had used drugs during a night out with Justin Bieber and Cody Simpson. Horan’s legal team have claimed that claims their client was “staring blankly” and that there were “rumours the singers were using hard drugs”, coupled with some ‘Breaking Bad’ references, made it very clear what the Star was alleging. The newspaper has countered by saying that there is enough doubt its story – at one point stating of hard drug use that “there is no suggestion that this is the case”  that readers would not have interpreted the article in the defamatory way that Horan claims. Mr Justice Dingemans said that the tabloid’s piece was at least capable of bearing the defamatory meaning that Horan claims. Therefore, he said, this case should proceed to a full hearing, and the Star’s application for dismissal was rejected.   http://www.completemusicupdate.com/article/niall-horan-wins-in-round-one-of-libel-action-against-the-star/

Nickleback insurance claim disputed
Insurance , Live Events / January 2016
USA

INSURANCE Live events Sector   Nickelback frontman Chad Kroeger is reportedly being sued for failing to disclose the pre-existing throat condition which forced the group to cancel a string of concerts. The band cancelled more than 60 shows earlier this year when Kroeger had a cyst surgically removed from his vocal cords and the cancellations were put in place to allow Kroeger an “extended period of vocal rest”   This resulted in a $13 million claim to cover losses for the cancelled concerts but TMZ reports that  documents from insurers argue the singer had the condition prior to taking out his policy but never disclosed this. Lloyd’s of London is now suing to cancel the policy, according to the report.   At the time the band said “Most of all, we are sorry to miss our fans out on the road this fall, but Chad’s health, healing and full recovery are what is most important right now,” read a statement issued by the band in August.   http://www.billboard.com/articles/news/6805339/nickelback-sued-insurance-claim