Iranian Metal Band Reportedly Jailed For Making ‘Satanic’ Music and Blasphemy
Artists , Censorship / March 2016
Iran

CENSORSHIP Artistes     The international metal community is rallying behind members of the Iranian groove/nu/thrash metal outfit Confess, who have reportedly been arrested in their native Iran — and potentially face execution — for a range of “offences” including playing heavy metal, owning an independent record label and corresponding with Western media. Metal Nation Radio was the first to break the story of musicians Nikan Siyanor Khosravi and Arash ‘Chemical’ Ilkhani after a message from an anonymous “close friend” of the musicians who also claimed to be the administrator of the band’s official Facebook page: The message asked MNR to publicise the case saying “He really needs you now by [sharing] it, post[ing] it and [talking about] it in the network and your radio shows and your co-workers and friends”  and “We … need your help.” It appears that that the men were  arrested by the intelligence unit of Sepah-e Pasdaran, (Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution) on 10 November last year — a matter of weeks after the band released their most recent album, In Pursuit Of Dreams — and were held in solitary confinement in Evin Prison, in north-west Tehran, until 5 February this year, when they were…

Dangerous Glastonbury flying stunt ends in fine
Health & Safety , Live Events / March 2016
UK

HEALTH & SAFETY / AVIATION Live events sector     A paraglider gatecrasher has been fined for flying into the 2015 Glastonbury Festival. David Hoare, 59, used a paramotor and launched himself from a hill overlooking the site. He landed in the Sacred Space arena which was full of attendees on the Saturday night of last year’s festival. Security guards saw his canopy and heard the noise from his smaller propeller engine and removed him and the equipment. Hoare, of Somerton, Somerset, was prosecuted by the Civil Aviation Authority for flying into restricted airspace on June 27th 2015. Magistrates in Weston-Super-Mare, Somerset, heard that this was the second offence of the same nature committed by Hoare. He was previously fined £250 with £100 costs in November 2011 after trying to fly into Glastonbury in 2010. For the new offence Magistrates fined Hoare £400 and ordered him to pay £160 CAA prosecution costs. The CAA said: “We are determined to take action whenever necessary to protect members of the public, including prosecuting those responsible for flying into restricted airspace” adding “Although a paramotor is not classified as an aircraft, and as such the person flying it does not require a licence,…

Beyoncé faces police backlash after controversial Superbowl performance
USA

HEALTH & SAFETY / CENSORSHIP Live events sector     Beyoncé is facing protest from the police as well as sports fans as well after her controversial halftime performance at Super Bowl 50. Beyoncé’s  show featured outfits resembling Black Panther and Black Power regalia.  The performance, viewed by more than 112 million people, also featured an unmistakeable ‘X’ formation (believed to commemorate the legacy of Malcolm X) and was soon followed by the equally controversial video for ‘Formation’. Immediately after the show, New York Mets enthusiastically announced that Beyoncé was scheduled for an upcoming performance at Citi Field, but many Mets vented their anger in social media, with angry fans demanding Citi Field cancel her event. Now, a number of police unions are speaking out against the singer, with some urging all-out boycotts. Police unions in Miami, Nashville, New York, and Tampa, Florida are taking the lead. Miami police union president Javier Ortiz said “Beyoncé used this year’s Super Bowl to divide Americans by promoting the Black Panthers, and her anti-police message shows how she does not support law enforcement”. The Tampa Police Benevolent Association expressed ‘disgust’ at both the half time performance and the ‘Formation’ video and urged “all law enforcement officers to boycott the purchase of Beyoncé’s…

Coachella targets Hoodchella
Live Events , Trade Mark / March 2016
USA

TRADE MARK Live events sector     Coachella Music Festival LLC has taken action against the underground music festival Hoodchella, now on its second edition, with a trademark suit in California federal court which claims that Hoodchella deliberately abuses the famous Coachella brand. Coachella and its producer, Goldenvoice LLC, claim that Kamil al-Ahdali, the operator and advertiser of Hoodchella, knowingly infringed and unfairly profited from common law rights and six registered trademarks by advertising a competing music festival called Hoodchella. The complaint alleges that al-Ahdali is harming and confusing both Coachella and the public by promoting a comparable event in the same market, and that the Hoodchella name infringes their trade marks, creates unfair competition and dilutes the Coachella brand.  The lawsuit seeks $100,000 and immediate abandonment of the “Hoodchella” name. http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/coachella-sues-hoodchella-over-festival-name-20160130

Ticketing URL launches new scheme to counter domain squatting
Live Events , Trade Mark / March 2016
UK

TRADE MARK Live events sector, Internet     IQ magazine reports that Accent Media, the company which owns the .tickets generic top-level domain (gTLD), has unveiled a new initiative which it hopes will prevent ‘cybersquatting’ on .tickets URLs by non-ticketing-related websites. Under the new system, someone wanting to register a .tickets web address will be entered into the public database at domains.watch, where interested parties can then lodge an objection (subject to payment of a fee). “We wanted to gear our registry towards genuine rights holders and felt this was a great way to do it,” Accent Media CEO Gary Fisher told Domain Incite. “We want rights holders around the world, whether they be sports teams, travel companies, entertainers and their agents or stadia, to be aware of when people have applied for their names – hence the need to make it a public website. We’ve already had rights holders including Disney successfully challenge applicants and secure their names. We think it’s a better model than the TMCH [Trademark Clearinghouse], which was massively gamed.”   Registering for a .tickets URL can be done in one of two ways: fast-track and standard. The former, for organisations whose trademarks match their company name, is…

Surely there is only ONE Kylie? And its NOT Kylie Jenner
Artists , Trade Mark / March 2016
Australia

TRADE MARK Artistes     Surely there’s only one Kylie – the Australian pop star Kylie Minogue? Surely not – and Ms Minogue is now mounting a legal bid to prevent Kylie Jenner claiming ownership of the name. Jenner, who appears in the reality TV show Keeping Up With the Kardashians, has applied to trademark the name “Kylie” to the USPTO (US Patent & Trademark Office). KDB, an Australian firm representing Minogue, filed their opposition to the application, claiming that allowing Jenner to take the Kylie name will cause confusion for Minogue fans and dilute her brand. KDB goes on to describe Ms Jenner as a “secondary reality television personality”. In making their case for which Kylie is the “better Kylie, they go on to list criticism Ms Jenner has faced from African-American communities and disability rights groups.   Ms Jenner, a half sister to Kim Kardashian, is just 18 but has a social media following in the tens of millions and has just launched her own make up line. Ms Minogue, a former soap star,  is 47 with over a dozen studio albums to her name. Minogue currently controls trade marks for “Kylie Minogue”, “Kylie Minogue Darling” (the name of her perfume brand)…

New code changes would ‘destroy the music scene in Philly’
Licensing , Live Events / March 2016
USA

LICENSING Live events sector     A Philadelphia city council member’s bill that would require music venues to obtain contact information of performers, as well as create a registry of event promoters, has been met with opposition. Billboard reports that Democrat Councilman Mark Squilla is attempting to amend a section of the “Special Assembly Occupancies” code to further regulate the application process for various entertainment-minded events and increase certain fees. He says the primary goal of the bill is to close a loophole in current legislation that has allowed venues to operate without a special assembly license (SAOL). However, opponents believe there are elements of the proposal that amount to an unnecessary invasion of privacy. The bill would require venues to gather full names, addresses and phone numbers of “all performance acts” scheduled for a promoted or special event. A “performance act” is defined in the bill as “any person or group of persons engaged in the act of singing, disc jockeying, rapping, dancing, playing musical instruments, and/or acting for an audience or group of patrons.” The designation also applies to the presentation of streaming or recorded audio/video, whether or not it has been properly licensed. In addition to acquiring artist or performer…

Australia’s  ‘lock out’ laws start to hurt live music
Licensing , Live Events / March 2016
Australia

LICENSING Live events sector     There has been a 40 per cent drop in live music revenue in Sydney’s lockout zone since the laws were introduced, according to new figures from the Australasian Performing Rights Association (APRA) with APRA’s figures also showing a 19 per cent drop in patrons at nightclubs in the areas of the city affected by the legislation. The lockout laws have been the subject of intense debate over the last fortnight, with Premier Mike Baird saying it would take a lot to change his mind about the rules. He cited a 40 per cent drop in the assault rate in Kings Cross as proof the legislation was fulfilling its purpose — to curb alcohol-fuelled violence. And the live music industry has lamented Queensland’s equally contentious lockout laws and their exemption for casinos, saying “what’s good for the goose should be good for the gander”. The measures include a statewide 2am last drinks call from July 1, with venues in nightclub precincts able to serve alcohol until 3am if they impose a 1am lockout. However, the rules don’t apply to casinos – which generate nearly $100 million in state revenue each year. Attorney-General Yvette D’Ath claims casinos are “in a different business”…

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…