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

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

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

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

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

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

Prince’s estate takes on TIDAL
USA

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sound marks must be distinctive
Trade Mark / December 2016
EU

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

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

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

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

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

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

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