Cross party support to protect pre-1972 sound recordings and a new music database in the USA
Copyright , Music Publishing / August 2017
USA

COPYRIGHT Recorded music, broadcasting   US legislation has been introduced to close the long-standing anomaly in US copyright law which means that pre-1972 sound-recordings are nor protected by federal law, a position highlighted in the long running litigation between SiriusXM and Flo & Eddie, the California corporation with the rights to songs by the 1960s group The Turtles (“Happy Together,” “She’d Rather Be With Me”).   The Compensating Legacy Artists for their Songs, Service and Important Contributions to Society Act (CLASSICS) was introduced by a group of House Republicans and Democrats, including Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.). Issa is the chairman of a key House Judiciary subcommittee on intellectual property, and Nadler is the ranking member The legislation would make the owners of the pre-1972 recordings eligible for royalties for digital broadcast. The legislation also ensures that artists are entitled to the same share of royalties regardless of whether a label and a digital music platform reach an agreement on payment. “This an important and overdue fix to the law that will help settle years of litigation and restore some equity to this inexplicable gap in our copyright system,” Issa said. “For years, we have been working to ensure…

Will legalities rain down on the Purple Rain stage show?
UK

COPYRIGHT Live events sector, music publishing   It has been announced that a ‘jukebox musical’ made up of Prince’s songs will tour the UK next year and the current plan is that it will open very shortly with a string of dates across the UK.     I say plan because Prince’s family or the Prince estate has not given permission for the musical. In fact, Troy Carter, entertainment advisor to the Prince estate has explained that “Neither Prince’s family nor the estate have given permission to use his name, likeness or music catalogue for this event”,   But do they need permission?  With the music, there are two licensing issues that must be taken into account.    Firstly, let’s take the boring option, if the Purple Rain musical is in essence just a band performing Prince’s catalogue of music, nothing more, nothing less, so in effect a tribute band playing Prince songs (albeit under the guise of a musical) it would be likely that permission of the Prince estate would not be needed. This is because it is possible to obtain, or play a venues where  a PRS ‘blanket licence’ will cover the public performance of the musical works.   Now, the more…

Stream-ripping tops music piracy chart
Copyright , Internet / August 2017
UK

COPYRIGHT Internet, digital   A study carried out by PRS for Music and the Intellectual Property Office (IPO), has found that stream-ripping is now the most prevalent and fastest growing form of music piracy in the UK, with nearly 70% of music-specific infringement dominated by the illegal online activity.   Research revealed that the use of stream-ripping websites, which allow users to illegally create permanent offline copies of audio or video streams from sites such as YouTube, increased by 141.3% between 2014 and 2016, overwhelmingly overshadowing all other illegal music services.   In 2016, PRS for Music and the IPO jointly commissioned two separate studies by INCOPRO and Kantar Media to better understand stream-ripping and its impact on the UK market and online consumer behaviour. Over 9,100 consumers participated.    Stream-ripping can be carried out via apps, websites, plug-ins or specially developed software on any online audio and video content to create a permanent audio-only copy of the music, without the rightsholders’ permission. Once saved, the track/file can be listened to offline on any digital device such as smartphones and tablets.   YouTube was found to be the most popular source of content for these sites, used by 75 of…

France’s Highest Court Rules in Favor of Freedom of Expression of Director over Heirs’ Droit Moral
Copyright / August 2017
France

COPYRIGHT Theatre   This article was written by Marie-Andree Weiss   Readers of the 1709 blog may remember that the Paris Court of Appeals found in October 2015 that the staging of the opera Le Dialogue des Carmélites by Dmitry Chernyakov for the Munich Opera in 2010 violated the moral rights of composer and librettist Francis Poulenc, which adapted the eponymous theatrical play by Georges Bernanos.   Le Dialogue des Carmélites tells the story of French aristocrat Blanche de la Force who decides to enter the Carmelite Convent, possibly to be sheltered from life, as she is fearful and shy. The French Revolution upset her world and the Carmelites must leave the convent. Blanche leaves the congregation to return to her family. When the Carmelites are arrested and sentenced to death by the revolutionary tribunal, Blanche returns to them as they are each climbing the steps to the guillotine, and she is the last one to have her head cut off.   Dmitry Chernyakov had not modified the score or the dialogue. However, his interpretation did not take place during the French revolution, but in contemporary time. In the last scene, the Carmelites are locked up in a shed full of explosives. Blanche appears on the…

The Canadian Supreme Court brings music to the ears of the music industry
Copyright , Internet / August 2017
Canada

COPYRIGHT Internet, digital   The Canadian Supreme Court has brought music to the ears of the music industry, although it’s not a music case!  It’s no secret, Google regularly links to content that is an infringement of copyright. It is also no secret that Google de-lists specific web pages that link through to copyright infringing content, but does not actually de-list the whole website.  Now the Supreme Court has ruled that the internet giant Can be forced to remove results worldwide, although the decision criticised by civil liberties groups who argue the judgment sets a precedent for censorship on the internet. The landmark ruling from Canada’s Supreme Court, which will undoubtedly have a major impact in the music industry, comes in the case of Google v Equustek. The music industry has been complaining, for some time that whilst Google does remove individual web pages, it will not remove the whole website. And indeed it’s always a game of ‘whack a mole’ – as soon the infringing content is removed, it then just pops up again. And it should be noted, safe harbour obligations provide that Google should de-list the web page, but there is no obligation to de-list the whole website….

Connecting to free wifi at venues ? Make sure you read the small print!
Belgium

DATA REGULATION / CONTRACT Live events sector Some 22,000 people have agreed to undertake 1,000 hours of community service – including cleaning festival toilets and scraping chewing gum from the pavement – in return for free wireless internet, reveals an experiment designed to illustrate a lack of awareness among consumers signing up for free in-venue wifi. Purple, who launched the experiment, said “We welcome the strengthening of data protection laws across Europe that GDPR [General Data Protection Regulation] will bring. Not only will it give wifi end users more control over how their personal data is being used by companies, it will also raise the level of trust in the digital economy”. During the experiment users were given the chance to flag the unreasonable condition in return for a prize. But only one person did. In separate news, Belgium newspaper De Standaard reports that the Belgian Privacy Commission is investigating the way the Tomorrowland festival shares ticket buyer data with the federal police to screen attendees for security reasons. 8 ticket-buyers have been excluded from the Belgian festival this year https://www.iq-mag.net/2017/07/connecting-wifi-venues-read-small-print-purple/#.WX7ec4TyuM- –    

New regulatory powers for live music for Balearic Island councils
Licensing , Live Events / August 2017
Spain

LICENSING Live events sector   The Council of Ibiza will have the power to ban new open-air music venues under new provisions in the Balearic Islands’ tourism law which was passed in July 18th. When in effect, the new law will apply to Mallorca, Menorca, Formentera and Ibiza. An amendment has been made by the socialist PSOE party that grants the four local councils the power to “regulate, determine or prohibit, in a reasonable manner, tourist activities” related to entertainment, and that would include any venue hosting musical events, including clubs, café conciertos, beach clubs and ballrooms.  Vicent Torres, director of tourism for Ibiza council said “It was very clear that the tourism law needed to be modified … such a previously liberal law offered the opportunity for activities that are incompatible with the day-to-day life of an island that wants a sustainable kind of tourism.”  The amendment also states that the islands’ municipalities may apply more restrictive measures without the agreement of the  relevant council.    http://mixmag.net/read/a-new-law-will-give-the-ibiza-council-the-power-to-ban-open-air-venues-news

Ed Sheeran takes on the touts
Competition , Live Events / August 2017
UK

COMPETITION Live events sector   The promoters of Ed Sheeran’s UK 2018 stadium tour have cancelled up to 10,000 touted tickets to put back into the primary market.  Kilimanjaro, DHP Family and AEG Presents confirmed in a statement  that they were cancelling any touted tickets to the sold out stadium shows. The promoters told fans to only buy tickets from primary sellers or their approved secondary site, resale platform Twickets which re-sells at face value.  Viagogo was targeted by Sheerhan’s team after eBay’s StubHub and Live Nation’s Seatwave and Get Me In! agreed to the musician’s request to block touted tickets.   The promoters statement reads:  “[We] and Ed Sheeran’s team worked closely together in advance of the on-sale date to put in place measures designed to protect fans from profiteering companies”. Noting that “most profiteering companies heeded the promoters’ warnings not to trade and resell tickets that would instantly be cancelled”, the statement adds: “This has resulted in 90% of tickets being delivered directly into fans’ hands at the face value” and “Despite these efforts, it has become clear that one company, Viagogo, have ignored the promoters’ requests, and there is an increasing number of customers who are realising they…

GMR and RMLC square up to each other in the US courts
USA

COMPETITION / COPYRIGHT Broadcasting, music publishing   Irving Azoff’s performing rights organisation Global Music Rights has a small catalogue of songwriters when compared to the two US giants,  ASCAP and BMI, but it is certainly not insubstantial,  with songwriter clients including the Eagle’s Don Henley and Glenn Frey, Billy Idol, Jon Bon Jovi, Bruce Springsteen, Drake, Bruno Mars, Bryan Adams, Cathy Dennis, Drake, Don Henley, Ira Gershwin, John Lennon, Pharrell Williams, Boz Scaggs and Smokey Robinson, and music publisher clients including Prince, Imagen Global Music and Universal Television Global Music.    GMR is now squaring up to its latest battle with America’s Radio Music License Committee (RMLC): The radio industry’s RMLC, which has iHeart, CBS, Cox Media and Entercom amongst its members, is now seeking an injunction to force GMR to provide interim licences to radio stations in Pennsylvania.   BMI and ASCAP are regulated by the US Department Of Justice under the so called ‘consent decrees’ which are designed to mitigate competition concerns from ASCAP and BMI’s monopoly position, and provide a mechanism for settling disputes when the PROs cannot agree licence terms with licensees. The final of the four US PROs, SESAC, is not regulated by consent decree, but allows third party mediation on royalty…

Sid Bernstein’s Estate fails in its copyright claim over the Beatles’ Shea Stadium film
Contract , Copyright , Live Events / August 2017
USA

CONTRACT / COPYRIGHT Live events sector, film, TV   A New York judge has dismissed a lawsuit brought the estate of promoter Sid Bernstein, who staged the Beatles’ legendary 1965 show at Shea Stadium. The Estate had argued that band’s Apple Corps had infringed on the copyright of Sid Bernstein Presents by including footage from the concert in ron Howard’s  documentary film Eight Days a Week – the Toruing Years which was released in September 2016.     The Estate’s action sought ownership (or joint ownership) of the master tapes and copyright by Bernstein’s company, Sid Bernstein Presents, arguing that, “[w]ithout Sid, the mastermind of the event, this film would never have been made”.   Copyright to the film, originally released in 1966 as The Beatles at Shea Stadium, was acquired by Apple Corps and the band’s Subafilms, from their management company, Nems Enterprises. In a ruling on the 26th July, Judge George B. Daniels, in the US District Court for Southern New York, said the company could not claim ownership of the footage as Bernstein did not himself film the concert, instead signing over the rights to do so to Nems. Judge Daniels held:  “The relevant legal question is not the extent to which Bernstein…

Injunction available after claimed licence fees paid – PPL v JJPB
Copyright , Live Events / July 2017
UK

COPYRIGHT Live events sector By Rosie Burbidge writing for the IPKat    Should an injunction be granted when the licence fees which were the reason for a claim being issued have all been paid? What about if further licence fee payments (incurred after the claim form was issued) have not been paid?   Phonographic Performance Limited (or PPL) “licenses recorded music played in public or broadcast and then distributes the licence fees to its performer and recording rightsholder members.” It is one of the most regular users of the IP Enterprise Court.   One of its recent targets, Mr Gaughan, runs a bar called the Watkins Folly.  The owner, Mr Gaughan reached a settlement with PPL shortly after service of the claim form. He paid the licence fee for past infringements but: (i) did not set up the agreed Direct Debit to cover payments over the following year and; (ii) continued  to play sound recordings to the public. After failed attempts to persuade Mr Gaughan to pay up, PPL applied to the court for judgment in default and to lift the automatic stay which applies six months after the period for filing a defence has expired.  The big question was not whether Mr Gaughan was…

Radiohead stage collapse trial to be re-set
Canada
UK

HEALTH & SAFETY Live events sector   A new trial has been set for the defendants charged after the stage collapse at an outdoor Radiohead concert in Toronto five years ago, which killed British drum technician Scott Johnson, then aged 33.   Johnson was killed and three others were injured after scaffolding collapsed. The show was promoted by Live Nation and the live music giant was subsequently charged under Ontario’s Occupational Health And Safety Act. Optex Staging & Services Inc was also charged over four alleged breaches of health and safety laws, while an engineer working on the show, Dominic Cugliari, faced a single charge. The case had progressed progressed for some forty days,  and closing arguments were expected but a mistrial was declared after the presiding judge, Justice Shaun Nakatsuru, said that his recent appointment to the Ontario Superior Court meant he no longer had jurisdiction over the case. Nakatsuru said he came to the decision with “great regret” saying “My appointment was unexpected and without notice. I know that the defendants have waited a long time for the final resolution of this case. So has the public” and “There are many compelling reasons why it would be in the best interests of…

Two face Ghost Ship party manslaughter charges
Health & Safety / July 2017
USA

HEALTH & SAFETY Live events sector   Two people have each been charged with 36 counts of involuntary manslaughter in connection to the fire that occurred at the Ghost Ship warehouse party in Oakland, California on the 2nd December 2016, headlined by electronic group Golden Donna. The two have been named as Derick Almena, who leased the warehouse and is decribed as the Ghost Ship founder an party ‘promoter’, and Max Harris, who had a supervisory role at the building and was titled the ‘creative director’.  A total of 36 people died in the blaze, including artists Cherushii, Joey Casio, Nackt, and Cash Askew from dream-pop band Them Are Us Too.   District Attorney of Alameda County, Nancy E O’Malley, who has brought the charges against the two men, told reporters that Almena and Harris had “knowingly created a fire trap with inadequate means of escape [and] then filled that area with human beings and are now facing the consequences of their actions” saying “The paying guests at the event were faced with a nearly impossible labyrinth of the defendants’ making. They allowed individuals to live in the warehouse and deceived the police, the fire department and the owner of the building…

Mankowitz’s famous portrait of Jimi Hendrix is original and deserves copyright protection, says Paris Court of Appeal.
Copyright / July 2017
France

COPYRIGHT Photography   A couple of years ago the Paris Tribunal de Grand Instance (TGI) concluded (to much criticism at the time) that the well-known portrait of Jimi Hendrix realised by Gered Mankowitz would not be eligible for copyright protection in France. University of East Anglia academic Sabine Jacques has an update to report, this being the rather different outcome of the appeal decision in this case: “After the surprising judgment of the TGI Paris, the Paris Court of Appeal reversed the first instance decision with a ruling delivered earlier this week.  In this case, an electronic cigarettes and accessories sales company had reproduced and altered the famous portrait of music legend Jimi Hendrix taken by Gered Mankowitz for commercial advertising purposes. The defendant depicted Jimi Hendrix smoking an electronic cigarette instead of a real cigarette to promote its products. Having been made aware of this unauthorised use, Gered Mankowitz and his assignees decided to sue the electronic cigarettes sales company for copyright infringement. Let’s rewind back to May 2015… The decision of the TGI created somewhat a seismic shock amongst practitioners and photographers as without expressly acknowledging it, the High Court seemed to have interpreted the originality criterion as being based upon artistic merits, thus…

Drake’s transformation prevails in plagiarism claim
Copyright , Music Publishing / July 2017
USA

COPYRIGHT Sound recordings, music publishing   Drake, along with his record labels and music publishers, have won a difficult lawsuit that had claimed his song “Pound Cake/Paris Morton Music 2” which featured on the 2013 album “Nothing Was the Same” sampled a 1982 spoken-word recording titled the “Jimmy Smith Rap.” The use complained of is where Deake used a cut down version of lyrics spoken by jazz musician James Oscar Smith which originally read “Jazz is the only real music that’s gonna last ….. All that other bulls**t is here today and gone tomorrow. But jazz was, is and always will be.” Drake’s version is “Only real music’s gonna last …. All that other bulls**t is here today and gone tomorrow.” Drake’s record label engaged a music licensing company to obtain all necessary licenses. They obtained a license for the use of the sound recording of “Jimmy Smith Rap” but clearing the composition became problematic. The Estate maintained it would not have granted a license for the composition because JSmith “wasn’t a fan of hip hop.” District Court judge William H. Pauley III has now isssued a summary judgment for the defendants and against the Estate of James Oscar Smith, and…

State law not relevant to protect the broadcast of pre-1972 sound recordings in Illinois
Copyright , Music Publishing / July 2017
USA

COPYRIGHT Sound recordings   A federal judge in Chicago had dismissed a class action in another US case that looked at the performance right in sound recordings made before 1972, and which are not covered by federal copyright law.   In his June 5th ruling, Judge John J. Tharp Jr. sided with defendants iHeartMedia in the action brought by Arthur and Barbara Sheridan, who own own the copyrights in a number of pre-February 15th 1972 master recordings  The Sheridans said they and other copyright holders should be entitled to royalties when iHeartMedia played their sound recordings in radio and internet broadcasts and the Sheridans claimed that the defendants had infringed their Illinois state law copyright infringement, and claimed unfair competition, conversion and unjust enrichment. Defendant iHeartMedia argued the Plaintiffs failed to state any viable claim. In the 1950s and 50s the Sheridans owned and operated “several recording companies specializing in recording and selling doo-wop, jazz, and rhythm and blues music” including artists like the Flamingos, J.B. Lenoir and the Moonglows. In addition to owning audio masters, they also assert ownership of “intellectual property and contract rights associated with the recordings” which they continue to market to receive “revenue from licenses granted to…

Gene in the horns of a dilemma
Artists , Trade Mark / July 2017
USA

TRADE MARK Artistes   Gene Simmons (yes, he of rock band Kiss) attempts to register a trade mark for the widely used heavy metal ‘devil horns gesture always looked doomed to fail, and sure enough, they have.   The Hollywood Reporter reported that Simmons had applied to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for protection of the gesture in class 41. Simmons claims he first used it in commerce in 1974, although it’s fellow rocker Ronnie James Dio (Rainbow, Black Sabbath) who generally is credited with popularising the gesture, and has said he learned it from his Italian grandmother as a way to ward off the evil eye. In the application, the sign is described as “a hand gesture with the index and small fingers extended upwards and the thumb extended perpendicular”. The registration covered “services having the basic aim of the entertainment, amusement or recreation of people” and the “presentation of works of visual art or literature to the public for cultural or educational purposes”. The application further identified the types of services for which registration was sought as “entertainment, namely, live performances by a musical artist; personal appearances by a musical artist”.    Simmons said that “the mark was…

One for the scalpers! Connecticut prohibits ticket resale restrictions
Competition , Contract , Live Events / July 2017
USA

CONTRACT / COMPETITION Live events sector   Much to the dismay of those who are fighting back against ticket touts and scalpers, but in a move billed as “protecting consumers who purchase e-tickets”, the US state of Connecticut has passed legislation that will to prohibit terms that restrict the sale of non-transferable paperless tickets. Whilst a growing number of major artists, including, prominently, Iron Maiden, now use named electronic tickets which usually require proof of ID to enter the venue to clamp down on the rapidly escalating secondary ticketing industry (which regularly harvests large quantities of tickets before real fans can get their hands on them, forcing them to pay inflated prices to the scalpers), Connecticut House Bill 7114 (HB 7114) has been passed to block these moves and remove restrictions on the sale of entertainment event tickets on the secondary market. The Act has been signed into law by Governor Dan Malloy and outlaws the practice unless “the purchaser of such tickets is offered the option, at the time of initial sale, to purchase the same tickets in another form that is transferrable”. The new legislation also prohibits venues from denying admission “solely on the grounds that such ticket has been…

Belgian live industry go to court over the Sabam rate hike
Belgium
EU
USA

COMPETITION  / COPYRIGHT Live events sector, collection societies   The live sector in Belgian including the Rock Werchter, Pukkelpop and Night Of The Proms, festivals and tour promoter GraciaLive are heading to court with the  country’s performing rights organisation Sabam over the new royalty rates introduced at the start of the year by the PRO. Sabam justified the recent changes to the live event tariffs to bring Belgium more in line with royalties charged elsewhere in Europe.  Jan Vereecke of Night Of The Proms promoter PSE told HLN: “Sabam has unilaterally decided to increase its tariffs by 30%. It says this is based on what is charged by societies in neighbouring countries, but the rate increase is a simple abuse of monopoly”, adding “Actually, the whole system is outdated. Sabam takes a percentage of our ticket sales. But the shows of today are different than ten years ago, as staging, large screens, fireworks and such like become more common. These production elements increase the costs of the show, and therefore the cost of the ticket, and Sabam gets to skim more off the top. That is wrong”.   And in the USA, the ongoing issues around a planned move to ‘100%…

Fyre Festival failure prompts legal challenges
Contract , Live Events / June 2017
USA

CONTRACT Live events sector     Why anyone thought the partnership of rapper, a young technology ‘serial entrepreneur’, neither of whom had organised a festival before, and an unbelievable Instagram video featuring models Bella Hadid, Hailey Baldwin and Emily Ratajkowski sailing on a luxury yacht and posing on beautiful beaches would result in a mind blowing festival is anyone’s guess. Spending thousands of dollars on ‘artists passes’ is an equally misguided approach to the festival scene. The fact that the elite few who made the trip to the disastrous Fyre Festival had paid anything between $1,200 to over $100,000 to the two-weekend event on Great Exuma Island in the Bahamas for the promised “once-in-a-lifetime” musical experience with beach cabanas and gourmet cuisine was almost certainly a recipe for a lawsuit. Especially when festival-goers then complained of delayed and cancelled flights, being stranded for hours without food, water or shelter, luggage being “unceremoniously dumped from shipping containers” and allegedly left for thieves to to rifle through, and a so called luxury village which consisted of refugee tents, rubbish piled high and burst water pipes.    Now a new lawsuit also alleges Fyre’s organisers warned musicians and celebrities not to attend the…

Injunction Blocks the Release of Prince Recordings
General / June 2017
USA

CONTRACT/COPYRIGHT Recorded music   A number of Prince recordings will not be released until the dispute between Ian Boxill and the Prince Estate is resolved.   Ian Boxill has been told by a US court that he cannot release any tracks that he worked on with Prince: however, things may change when the dispute between Prince’s Estate and Boxill is resolved.   The action stared when Boxill announced that he had plans to release a six track EP of unreleased Prince tracks. He planned to release the EP on the first anniversary of the unfortunate death the superstar.  The tracks were the work of a collaboration between Boxill and Prince from 2006 and 2008.   However, when Prince’s Estate found out about Boxill’s plans they went to the courts to stop the release. A temporary restraining order was initially issued, stopping Boxill’s plans to release the EP on the first anniversary of Prince’s death. This initial restraining order had been extended to Monday just been and now a preliminary injunction has been issued. The preliminary injunction provides that Boxill is prevented from releasing any collaborations between himself and Prince until the legal action is concluded. The injunction also provides that…

PRS for Music launches new live concert tool for members performing overseas
Copyright , Music Publishing / June 2017
EU
UK
USA

COPYRIGHT Music publishing     PRS for Music has launched a new live concert tool for members performing overseas which will show local tariffs across global territories and  could potentially help touring acts who write their own material additional royalties with the PRS for Music saying the tool will “help members who perform their music internationally negotiate full and fair royalty settlements.”   Unique to PRS for Music, the live concert tool removes the difficulty of calculating a specific country’s local tariff, which often varies significantly from territory to territory and has historically been a complex area for bands and their tour managers.   The live concert tool features a tariff calculator which can provide advance estimates of royalty value per concert across the globe, as well as ensuring the correct licence tariff rates are applied for major concerts. PRS for Music say the are the first ever collective management organisation to have developed and implemented this technology and has made it accessible to its members upon request.   The tool can also be used for royalty reconciliation post-performance, enabling members to review the progress of a royalty payment, as well as access a summary of the royalties they will…

New lawsuits over Jefferson Starship name, the Hotel California name and …. a cat
Artists , Trade Mark / June 2017
Canada
USA

TRADE MARK Artistes     A founding member of Jefferson Starship has filed a legal action in a move designed to prevent the current version of the legendary band from using the name Jefferson Starship. The band evolved out of the group Jefferson Airplane in 1974 and also produced the ‘spin off’ band Starship (itself a name change after a legal dispute). Craig Chaquico,  who was member of the Jefferson Starship line-up, and subsequently played with Starship, has brougt the action: The Jefferson Starship name was retired in the mid-1980s after a little legal battle between members. In the 1990s, Paul Kantner, a founder member of both Jefferson Airplane and Jefferson Starship and the first member of Jefferson Airplane to use the Jefferson Starship name, began to use the Jefferson Starship name again. Chaquico, who had also played on  three of Kantner and Grace Slick’s solo albums, now says that he gave permission for Kantner’s later use of the band’s Jefferson Starship brand, but his agreement and consent was for Kantner personally and again came after litigation and arbitration in 1993 (Kantner died in 2016), and that previous inter-band agreeements and settlements mean the current band members do not have his permission to continue using the name,…

BBC in pain over Sir Cliff’s legal bills
Artists , Privacy / June 2017
UK

PRIVACY Broadcasting, Artistes     The BBC has hit out at Sir Cliff Richard’s legal spend after the broadcaster provided controversial live coverage of a raid on Richard’s Berkshire home by the South Yorkshire Police in an investigation into claims of sexual abuse that were made against the singer in 2014.  No charges were made in relation to the allegations of historical sexual assault, with the Crown Prosecution Service dropping the case because of insufficient evidence.  Richard claimed that the BBC’s coverage of the case, facilitated by South Yorkshire Police, breached his privacy rights and, in doing so, inflicted “profound and long-lasting” damage on the singer’s reputation. The case is ongoing, with the BBC denying any wrongdoing.  At a High Court hearing the legal costs were set out, with the singer having already spent £525,437 on the civil case, in addition to £369,414 spent on solicitors who dealt with the legalities around the police raid. The BBC’s lawyers argue that those costs are “disproportionate” for a case of this kind. Unless any settlement can be reached, the case will now proceed to a full court hearing. The BBC has said it will defend its coverage of the raid.   https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/news/bbcs-fury-at-900k-pre-action-legal-costs-of-sir-cliff-richard/5060954.article

Winsconsin to let minors attend festivals
Licensing , Live Events / June 2017
USA

LICENSING Live events sector   Wisconsin Governor. Scott Walker has signed a new bill which will allow minors to attend music festivals where alcohol is being served.  Under current law, minors may not be on the premises of a site that has been issued an alcohol license unless they are accompanied by a parent or guardian. However, a number of venues are exempt from the law, including bowling alleys, movie theatres and sports stadiums. In a statement, Governor Walker said adding music festivals to the list “just made sense.”  Under the new law, minors will be allowed to attend a music festival where alcohol is served on private property as long as attendance is expected to exceed more than 2,500 people which will mirror state laws already in place for festivals on public property, such as Summerfest in Milwaukee. Assembly Bill 194 adds music festivals to the list of exceptions, and was authored by Representative Rob Summerfield (R – Bloomer) and Senator Terry Moulton (R – Chippewa Falls). The Bill passed the Assembly on a voice vote, and was concurred by the Senate on a voice vote. It is Act 7. http://urbanmilwaukee.com/pressrelease/governor-walker-signs-music-festival-bill-into-law/ http://www.fox9.com/news/256718883-story

Cross party support to make US radio ‘pay to play’
Competition , Copyright / May 2017
USA

COPYRIGHT / COMPETITION Broadcasting, recorded music   A bipartisan group of legislators led by Representatives Jerry Nadler and Marsha Blackburn have reintroduced the Fair Play Fair Pay Act, a bill that would establish a public performance right for sound recordings on terrestrial radio, forcing stations to pay labels and artists for using their material, and correct the unusual position in the USA where there is no performance right for sound recordings on AM/FM stations (although there is for satellite and internet radio, and those royalties are collected by the collection society SoundExchange).  If the bill passes, and is signed into law by President Trump, it would put webcasters like Pandora and iHeartRadio, which pay statutory royalties for their online radio platforms, on an equal footing with AM/FM radio, who would have to reimburse the owners of sound recordings for using their copyrights.  Members of Congress say the bill will not be used to lower royalties that radio stations now pay to publishers and songwriters, which stations have always paid for the use of their songs.  The legislators also say the bill will “make a clear statement that pre-1972 recordings have value and those who are profiting from them must pay appropriate…

Italian ticketers hit with €1.7m in fines
Competition , Live Events / May 2017
Italy

COMPETITION Live events sector   The Italian Competition Authority (AGCM) has levied fines totalling €1.7 million on five ticket agencies for breaching consumer rights legislation AGCM’s investigation dates back to October, when consumer group Altroconsumo asked the quango to look into allegations primary seller TicketOne was passing tickets directly to the secondary market. It found that while TicketOne, owned by Germany’s CTS Eventim, is “contractually bound to adopt anti-touting measures, [it] did not take appropriate steps to prevent bulk buying through specialist software, nor has it tried to limit multiple purchases or set up a system of ex-post controls to cancel them”.   For violating article 20(2) of the Italian Consumer Code, TicketOne has been fined €1m. Additionally, four secondary ticketing sites – Viagogo, MyWayTicket, Live Nation’s Seatwave and eBay/StubHub’s Ticketbis – have been hit with a collective €700,000 fine for their failure to provide complete ticket information to customers “concerning several essential elements which potential buyers need to make their transactional decisions”. “In particular, the traders would not provide adequate information concerning the ticket features, including their face value, the row and the seat, as well as consumer rights in case of the event’s cancellation,” reads a statement from AGCM….

Isle of Wight festival sale in the spotlight
Competition , Live Events / May 2017
UK

COMPETITION Live events sector   The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority is to investigate the recently announced acquisition of  the Isle of Wight Festival by Live Nation. The CMA said  it was: “considering, pursuant to section 22 of the [2002 Enterprise] Act”, whether the merger of Isle of Wight Festival Ltd and Live Nation/Denis Desmond’s LN-Gaiety Holdings Ltd “has resulted or may be expected to result in a substantial lessening of competition in any market or markets in the United Kingdom”. The live music major has expanded its UK festivals portfolio considerably in recent years, mainly via LN-Gaiety, its joint venture with Irish music industry veteran Denis Desmond, who now heads up Live Nation’s UK operation. LNE owns festivals including Creamfields, Dowlnload and Wireless in the UK and subsidiary Festival Republic runs the Reading, Leeds and Lattitude festivals and over 85 festivas worldwide.    LNE describes itself as “the largest live entertainment company, operates concert promotions, venue operations, sponsorship, ticketing solutions The CMA says the two companies are currently prohibited from taking any actions which may “lead to the integration of the Isle of Wight Festival business with the Live Nation business” or “transfer the ownership or control of the Live Nation…

Lords move to strengthen ticket re-sale transparency
Consumers , Live Events / May 2017
UK

CONSUMER Live events sector   In the UK, the House of Lords has passed an amendment that anti-touting campaigners say will strengthen the position of consumers who use secondary ticketing sites. Whilst the UK government now supports the recommendations made in the Waterson report, an independent review which recommended no new legislation against secondary ticketing but did suggest proper enforcement of the existing Consumer Rights Act (CRA) 2015, the new amendment to the Digital Economy Bill is opposed by the government Despite the opposition, the Lords voted 180–157 in favour of the amendment, which would require sites such Seatwave, Get Me In!, StubHub and Viagogo to provide the ticket reference or booking number, as well as any specific condition attached to the resale of the ticket. Under the current legislation, secondary sites are already obliged to list the original face value, seat/row numbers and any usage restrictions.   Conservative peer Lord Moynihan, a former sports minister and Olympic rowing coxswain, said: “We do not want to ban the [secondary] market, although noble Lords did so for the Olympic Games in London 2012. Similarly, this is not about a cap on resale prices. It is perfectly within the conclusions [of], and the…

Lords push on with establishing the ‘agent of change’ principle into UK law
Licensing , Live Events / May 2017
UK

LICENSING Live events sector   Cross-sector trade group UK Music has welcomed new recommendations made by a House Of Lords Select Committee a call to extend the the ‘agent of change’ principle to revisions of the Licensing Law. The Committee that has been reviewing the licensing rules that impact on concerts and venues and said that the 2012 Live Music Act, which aimed to simplify the licensing process for smaller gigs, was working well. They also said that the appointment of ‘night czars’ in cities to focus on the local night-time economy were a positive move.   Extending the agent of change principle was a key recommendation. The UK government already has proposals to boost ‘agent of change’ protections to safeguard music venues from new property developments under the National Planning Policy Framework.   The Lords’ Committee has also proposed that the ‘late night levy’  which can be imposed by local authorities on late night licensed premises  should be abolished on the basis that it is a burden on pubs and clubs, and was not  contributing to local policing costs as had been originally intended.   For UK Music Jo Dipple said: “UK Music asks government to take forward the Lords suggestion that a…

This is Spinal Tap, and this is going to be another copyright reversion case.
Copyright , Record Labels / May 2017
USA

COPYRIGHT Film, recorded music   As we have previously reported, the original dispute arose in the actors behind This Is Spinal Tap and StudioCanal began when Harry Shearer, a co-creator of the cult movie, alleged that StudioCanal, Vivendi’s movie business had “wilfully manipulated certain accounting data…to deny [the] co-creators their rightful stake in the production’s profits”. If the co-creators are correct it wasn’t a small mistake either, $400 million is being claimed by the creators Harry Shearer, Christopher Guest, Michael McKrean and Rob Reiner.   Vivendi has been calling the lawsuit “absurd” for some time now. They have always insisted that the financial performance of the movie has been modest. However, things have taken a twist, a twist that seems all too common these days. Shearer is now attempting to reclaim the rights to all things “Spinal Tap” in the US. Shearer is attempting this by utilising the reversion right that is a part of US copyright law.   In a nut shell, US law states that a creator who has assigned his rights to a third party is able to reclaim the rights after 35 years. This law is around 35 years old now, and so the technicalities of the law are being tested…

Insane Clowns face infringement claim
USA

COPYRIGHT Music publishing   An Ohio poet says Detroit rap-metal group the Insane Clown Posse and in particular member Joseph Bruce have used a poem he wrote without his consent. Stanley Gebhardt filed the copyright infringement suit in the federal court in Detroit. The action seeks monetary damages and asks the court to restrain Bruce and the group from using Gebhardt’s 1993 work “But You Didn’t” which the suit  is about a father-son relationship. The suit alleges that in 2015 a video of Bruce reciting the poem had been posted on YouTube. Bruce, who goes by the stage name Violent J, called it “Violent J’s Poem.” http://www.wfsb.com/story/35033766/poet-files-copyright-lawsuit-against-insane-clown-posse

PRS for Music and GEMA announce record results
UK

COPYRIGHT Music publishing   The UK’s Performing Right Society (PRS) has announced it paid out more than half a billion pounds sterling in royalties to songwriters, composers and publishers ib 2016, in its strongest performance to date. The organisation, which represents the rights of over 125,500 music creators in the UK and two million worldwide, paid out £527.6m to its members last year, up 11.1% (£52.5m) on 2015.   It was also able to deliver more money to more creators than ever before, with 33% more members receiving a payment compared to 2015. The number of unique musical works and songs earning money also rose by 45% to 4.2 million. In turn, revenues collected by PRS increased by 10.1% (£57.2m) in 2016 to £621.5m.   Of the music licensing company’s four main revenue streams, international income generated from members’ music played abroad saw significant growth, with £233.7m received from equivalent societies overseas. This represents an increase of 5% (£11.2m) year-on-year. Revenue from music played via online platforms saw the largest uplift at 89.9% (£38.1m) to £80.5m, while public performance income grew 4.6% to £183.2m and broadcast revenues were stable at £124.1m(a decrease of 0.1% on 2015).   In 2016, over…

British DJ sentenced to prison after including the Muslim call to prayer in Tunisian show
Live Events / May 2017
UK

BLASPHEMY Live events sector   A court in Tunisia has sentenced a British DJ Dax J to one  year in jail after he played a dance remix of the Muslim call to prayer during a set at the Orbit Festival  last weekend. The UK DJ and producer was found guilty of public indecency and offending public morality after footage of him playing the track in a Nabeul club emerged on social media. The club, El Guitone, was shut down and its owner taken into custody. However, charges against the owner and the promoter were dismissed (although they may be re-instated on apeal). The owners had been arrested for “violation against good morals and public outrage against modesty.”  Nabeul governor Mnaouar Ouertan said that the government would “not allow attacks against religious feelings and the sacred.”  London-born and Berlin-based Dax J had fled Tunisia before the matter went to court. He has already apologised for including the remix of the Adhan in his set, insisting that “it was never my intention to upset or cause offence to anybody”. The promoters of Orbit apologised over the inclusion of the Adhan in Dax J’s set earlier this week, adding that the DJ “did not realise…

Defamation case against Kesha’s former lawyer has been given the go ahead
Artists , Defamation / May 2017
USA

DEFAMATION Artistes   Mark Geragos, the former lawyer for Kesha, who acted for the pop star in her legal battle against the producer Dr Luke, is now on the receiving end of legal action from the producer’s lawyers.    A New York judge has blocked efforts by Geragos to have the defamation case filed by Dr Luke (Lukasz Gottwald) dismissed. The case revolves around comments the ‘celebrity lawyer’ made on Twitter and the website TMZ. Set against a myriad of cross allegations, primarily made against producer Dr Luke where the singer says the producer manipulated her career and sexually abused her, in an unsuccessful attempt to free herself from record and publishing contracts with Dr Luke’s label and Sony, Geragos being the wise lawyer that he is, tweeted “Guess who the rapist was?” with a link to an article with Lady Gaga, who  explained in an interview that she had once been subject to a sexual assault. When subsequently asked on twitter if he meant Dr Luke, he tweeted “#bingo”. Later the lawyer told TMZ he said this “because it’s true”.    Geragos argued that neither his tweets nor the TMZ comments should be taken seriously and had sought to have…

Love Parade organisers will face criminal charges over 2010 deaths
Germany

HEALTH & SAFETY Live events sector   A German court has ruled that the organisers of the “Love Parade” techno-festival will stand trial in connection with the deaths of 21 people in a crowd crush ithat took place in in 2010. More than 500 others were injured in the crush. The disaster on the 24th July 2010 was the result of  a crush in a tunnel that served as the sole entrance to Love Parade. Over a million people attended the dance music festival, which was held at a former goods yard in Duisburg, with a capacity of around 250,000. The event, which began in 1989, was permanently cancelled by organisers. Ten people will now face criminal charges for the disaster in Duisburg after the court in Duesseldorf overturned the previous decision to drop the charges of negligent manslaughter, now holding that the case could be “proven with sufficient probability”, based on the available evidence. Four event organisers and six municipal employees will be tried. All had previously denied wrongdoing. In a statement, the regional appeals court said the results of an investigation suggested that “breaches of the duty of care with which the accused are charged were the cause of the deaths and injuries”…

Australian law makers look to ban bots, whilst in the UK, Viagogo are a no show
Consumers , Live Events / April 2017
Australia

CONSUMER Live events sector     Lawmakers in Australia are also considering a nationwide ban on the software used by ticket touts to buy up large quantities of tickets for in-demand events from primary ticketing sites, using so called ‘bots’. In 2016 President Obama signed banning the use of ticket tout bots, while the UK government has now said it supports inserting a similar specific bots ban into Digital Economy Bill. In Australia, where touting (scalping) has traditionally been legislated for on a state by state basis, the Federal Senate has approved a motion introduced by independent senator Nick Xenophon calling on the country’s government to also ban bots. He is quoted by MusicFeeds as saying: “Genuine Australian fans are being unfairly deprived of tickets because ticket scalpers are using automated systems to buy a bulk of tickets when they are released. They’re then on-selling them for massive amounts to those that missed out. It’s a clear cornering of a market that hurts consumers”. In early March, Australian consumer watch organisation Choice revealed ticket sellers were inflating prices by up to 500 percent. It also dismissed current consumer laws as inconsistent and ineffective. Xenophon’s motion was not backed by the Australian government,…

Ontario opens public consultation on ticket touting bots, but Virginia wants a free market
Consumers , Live Events / April 2017
Canada
USA

CONSUMER Live events sector   Ontario has launched a public consultation on plans to introduce new laws banning the use of ticket tout bots. The Canadian province’s Attorney General Yasir Naqvi had announced the intention to introduce new legislation last October and moves to outlaw the use of such software were reinforced after tickets for Canadian rock band The Tragically Hip’s farewell tour quickly found their way to secondary sites at massive mark-ups, on the news that frontman Gord Downie had been diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. Ontarians with a view on secondary ticketing matters can fill out the consultation survey. And in advance of the UK’s move to regulate secondary ticketing and ban the use of bots to harvest tickets, the FanFair Alliance welcomed Prime Minister Theresa May’s “heartening” intervention on the secondary ticketing market. May was responding to Conservative MP Nigel Adams, who is leading the bid to make illegal the misuse of bot technology by ticket touts. “Does the Prime Minister agree that, when tickets to a teenage cancer charity gig by Ed Sheeran are being resold on the Viagogo ticket website for more than £1,000, with none of that money going to the charity… it is unfair…

UK government to act on touting
Consumers , Live Events / April 2017
UK

CONSUMER Live events sector   In the wake of an outcry over touts re-selling tickets for Ed Sheerhan’s Teenage Cancer Trust charity show at the Royal Albert Hall and Adele’s O2 concerts, UK ticket touts who use computer ‘bots’ to mine for concert tickets before selling them for massive profits, and blocking fans from seeing their favourite artists except at huge mark ups, will face unlimited fines. National Trading Standards will also be handed a ringfenced pot of money to fund efforts to stop fans being ripped off or shut out of the most in-demand events. As well as criminalising bots, United Kingdom ministers at the DCMS will accept in full the recommendations of a review by Professor Michael Waterson, who published proposals to tackle rogue ticket traders last year. These include demanding that ticket firms to step up their own efforts to prevent the use of bots and to report any attacks on their systems by touts trying to harvest tickets. Culture minister Matt Hancock said: “This profiteering is simply not fair, so we are acting to put fans first and improve the chances of seeing our favourite musicians and sports stars at a reasonable price” adding “Ticket sellers…

Alabama joins Virginia on the trail of the free market ticket
Consumers , Live Events / April 2017
USA

CONSUMER Live events sector   Lawmakers in Alabama are moving towards passing a new rule that would give consumers a statutory right to resell any tickets they have bought, which in turn would limit the tactics artists and promoters can employ to try to fight back against scalping (ticket touting). There are parallels between the proposals made by Alabama representative Paul Lee and the previously reported measures put forward in Virginia by delegate Dave Albo:  Virginia’s House Of Delegates has now passed the Ticket Resale Rights Act, which prohibits concert promoters from denying someone admission to an event because they have bought their ticket from a tout (scalper). The new legislation also seeks to stop the use of ticket controls designed to limit touting, such as locking a ticket to the credit card used to buy it. Under the Ticket Resale Rights Act, concert promoters  in Virginia wouldn’t be allowed to cancel a touted ticket in that way, whatever the terms and conditions of the ticket may say. Doing so could result in a fine of up to US $5,000.   The Alabama state-level laws would stop event organisers from cancelling tickets that have been resold, or forcing customers to resell their…

Live Nation fined for unfair AC/DC refund procedures
Consumers , Live Events / April 2017
Spain

CONSUMER Live events sector   The Spanish city of Seville has fined Live Nation 15,000 euros over the way it handled refunds in relation to an AC/DC concert in May 2016. Readers will remember the ‘Rock or Bust’ tour was interrupted and then substantially re-arranged when vocalist Brian Johnson was forced to pull out of live shows after being warned that he risked “total hearing loss” – and he was replaced by Guns ‘n’ Roses frontman Axl Rose. Those who had brought tickets for the show were offered  the option of a refund if they didn’t want to attend the rearranged date with Rose. However, according to Spanish consumer rights group Facua, Live Nation then set a deadline on refund applications within a three day window, so many consumers wishing to cancel their tickets could not do so. At the time many fans were appalled at Rose being even suggested as a replacement, although Rose went on to get good reviews for his performances from fans and critics alike, and he turned up on time for shows. In its formal complaint to Seville’s Economy And Commerce Department, Facua said that whilst Live Nation didn’t initially set a deadline for refund applications, it…

ARTICLE LINK  – Trade Marks and Google Adwords
Trade Mark / April 2017
EU
UK
USA

TRADE MARK All areas     This week LA Weekly broke the news that Coachella’s  parent company, Goldenvoice,  is suing Urban Outfitters for trademark infringement, alleging the unauthorised use of the word “Coachella”. The lawsuit relates to Urban Outfitters subsidiary Free People, who have allegedly been selling various items that use the Coachella name: “Coachella Valley Tunic” and  “Bella Coachella” accessories being two examples. According to the LA Weekly report, Goldenvoice had sent a cease-and-desist letter along with several other demands that Urban Outfitters stop using the “Coachella” name, to no avail. Now Laura Harper, a partner at Shoosmiths LLP, has written a very good article on this in the context of UK and European law, with a particular nod towards the onlIne sphere, Google and ‘adwords’.  https://www.iq-mag.net/2017/03/trademarks-fair-game-use-google-adwords-laura-harper-shoosmiths/#.WNPgdTuLSM9

Hendrix siblings back in court
Trade Mark / April 2017
USA

TRADE MARK Merchandise   Experience Hendrix LLC, the company run by the late guitarist’s adopted sister Janie, and which is the entity that that manages the estate and legacy of Jimi Hendrix, is in another dispute with Jimi Hendrix’s brother Leon, who is accused of involvement in a business venture that seeks exploit Jimi Hendrix trademarks without Experience Hendrix’s permission. The new lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, is against Leon Hendrix and associate Andrew Pitsicalis. A a press release from Expedience Hendrix begins by noting the past disputes over unofficial Hendrix-branded products that he has been involved in and  states: “Over the past ten years, defendants Andrew Pitsicalis and Leon Hendrix, and a variety of individuals and entities with which they have been associated, have attempted to hijack plaintiffs’ trademarks and copyrights for their own personal gain. Federal courts have repeatedly prohibited those unlawful activities” and goes on: “Ignoring those prohibitions, defendants recently have renewed and expanded their infringements of plaintiffs’ trademarks and copyrights through the creation, development, licensing, manufacturing, promotion, advertising and sale of cannabis, edibles, food, wine, alcohol, ‘medicines’, electronic products, and other goods”. The law suit continues: “Undaunted by their previously…

Appeal filed in ‘Stairway to Heaven’ plagiarism claim
Copyright , Music Publishing / April 2017
USA

COPYRIGHT Music publishing     The case which claims that iconic rock band Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven” rips off the Spirit song “Taurus” is back in court.  A unanimous jury verdict in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles decided last June that the two songs were not sufficiently similar to constitute copyright infringement. Lawyers for the estate of the late Randy Wolfe (Randy California), author of “Taurus”, have now filed a 90 page brief. Wolfe’s legal team, led by attorney Francis Malofiy, has now filed a lengthy submission with the Ninth Circuit appeals court, arguing that a series of “erroneous” jury instructions resulted in Led Zeppelin winning the case. Other complaints from the trial include “Limiting plaintiff’s trial time to 10 hours violated due process and was not even close to an adequate amount of time to try this case” as well as “The Court seriously erred when defining originality.”   According to The Hollywood Reporter, Malofiy wrote in his submission: “The most important of these errors was that the trial court refused to let the jury hear the full and complete composition of ‘Taurus’ embodied in the sound recordings that Jimmy Page possessed, instead limiting the comparison to an outline…

iHeart radio: Another pre-1972 sound recording case – with a twist
Copyright , Music Publishing / April 2017
USA

BROADCASTING / COPYRIGHT  Broadcasting, recorded music   The Georgia Supreme Court has ruled in favour of iHeart in another lawsuit concerning pr-192 sound recordings, whoch are protected by state laws rather than by federal copyright law.  Here, iHeart have defeated a copyright claim made by Arthur and Barbara Sheridan over iHeart streaming pre-1972 recordings they control – without licence.   As readers will remember the USA is a bit of a mess when it comes to who pays what for the use of recorded music. Federal law means that AM/FM stations have never paid royalties when playing post 1972 sound recordings. Digital online and satellite broadcasters are treated differently and do have to pay to use post 1972 copyrights (and there is a collection society, SoundExchange, set up to manage the collections).  But these broadcasters decided they could use pre-192 sound recordings without a licence. The Turtle’s Flo & Eddie have led the challenge against the likes of Sirius XM, arguing in California, New York and Florida arguing that state law there actually provides a general performing right for sound. They won at first instance in California, won at first instance in New York but lost on appeal, and lost in…

Spinrilla files defence against record labels’ claims
General / April 2017
USA

COPYRIGHT Recorded music   Spinrilla, the popular hip hop mixtape sharing app that was recently sued by the Recording Industry Association Of America RIAA)  has filed its response, calling for the case to be dismissed partly on safe harbour grounds, and on the basis that Spinrilla had been working with the very labels now suing to promote their artistes.  The RIAA claimed: Through the Spinrilla website and apps, users with an artist account can upload content that any other user can then download or stream on demand for free, an unlimited number of times – although the site does have DCMA takedown protocols.  A substantial amount of content uploaded to the Spinrilla website and apps consists of popular sound recordings whose copyrights are owned by plaintiffs”. The legal response, published in full by Torrentfreak, sees Spinrilla argue that it has in the past had a good working relationship with the recorded music industry and states: “Plaintiffs and defendants have been co-operating for years in a variety of ways to successfully prevent and remove unauthorised music from Spinrilla.com. Plaintiffs and defendants have also co-operated when plaintiffs have requested that its music be promoted and distributed by Spinrilla. This co-operation can and should…

Are Sir Paul McCartney’s copyright reversion up in the air pending the possible Duran Duran appeal?
General / April 2017
UK
USA

COPYRIGHT/CONTRACT Music Publishing   We have previously reported that Sir Paul McCartney had filed a lawsuit against Sony/ ATV. In this lawsuit McCartney is attempting to reclaim the rights to the 267 songs he co-wrote with John Lennon throughout the 1960s when they were members of the Beatles. Sony/ ATV had previously labelled the lawsuit “unnecessary and premature” in a statement, now it appears they have furthered this by explaining that it is not a matter for the court. In a letter to the court they have stated that “As an initial matter, Sony/ ATV has made no statement challenging the validity of plaintiff’s termination notices”. Does this mean that it is disputed that there is even a dispute?  Sony/ ATV have been put on notice that McCartney will be attempting to reclaim the copyright, and as of yet they have not said they will attempt to block the reversion of the copyright. However, it looks as if Sony/ ATV are looking to the outcome of the Duran Duran case that is going through the appeal procedure in the UK before they make a move. At first instance in the Duran Duran case, Arnold J found that on the application of English law,…

This is Spinal Tap and this is their lawsuit
Copyright / April 2017
France

COPYRIGHT Film, broadcasting, recorded music     The French media giant Vivendi SA has turned it up to eleven and called the $400 million Spinal Tap lawsuit “absurd”.  Vivendi, owner of Universal Music, is in the middle of a dispute with the members of Spinal Tap – yes the band that starred in the cult film ‘This is Spinal Tap’.  The dispute arose when Harry Shearer alleged that StudioCanal, the media giant’s movie business, “wilfully manipulated certain accounting data, while ignoring contractually-obliged accounting and reporting processes, to deny [the] co-creators their rightful stake in the production’s profits”. Since then, Shearer has been joined by Christopher Guest, Rob Reiner and Michael McKean and all are now named claimants. The lawsuit claims $400 million in damages to account for the alleged profits that has not been paid.  Not only does Universal, through its subsidiaries, own the rights to the film it also owns the rights to the soundtrack. The lawsuit alleges further that this use of subsidiaries is anti-competitive, and has resulted in the creators of the cult film being deprived of a fair reward for their services.   It is reported that Vivendi’s defence states that “Plaintiffs may not like the…

GWVR – the German Collection Society for promoters – publishes its first tariffs
Copyright , Live Events / April 2017
Germany

COPYRIGHT Live events sector     Some years ago, the German Association of Concert Promoters (BDV) applied to the German Patent & Trade Mark Office to set up a new collection society to collect revenues it has succsssfully argued are due to its members and due as compensation for the ‘neighbouring right’ under Section 81 of the German Copyright Act and arising from recordings made at live events. In 2014, the new royalty collecting society for promoters was approved by the German Patent and Trade Mark Office (DPMA) in Hamburg, after 10 years of lobbying by BDV.  At the time BDV President, lawyer Jens Michow, said that the new Society, Verwertungsgsgesellschaft fur Wahrnehmung von Veranstalterrecheten (GWVR) had plans to negotiate with broadcasters, record labels and other users of live recordings to set tariffs to compensate event promoters.  (GWVR, in English, The Collection Society for the Neighbouring Right) is a subsidiary of BDV. Michow said “after a protracted and difficult approval procedure with the GWVR, this mans that promoters are not merely dependent on the fleeting success of their concerts, but can also participate in longer-term rewards from the events they promote.” The GWVR will set tariffs, administer the rights procedures and collect…

Custodial sentence appropriate for sustained online infringement
UK

COPYRIGHT Recorded Music, Music Publishing, Internet     In an interesting decision, the Court of Appeal in London has upheld a custodial sentence imposed on Wayne Evans by HHJ Trevor Jones at the Crown Court in Liverpool for two offences of distributing an article infringing copyright contrary to section 107(1)(e) of the Copyright Designs & Patents Act 1988 and also to a further offence of possessing an article for use in fraud contrary to section 6(1) of the Fraud Act 2006. Evans operated a number of websites which were responsible for the illegal distribution of licensed and copyrighted material. He did not himself have the material on his own websites, but he facilitated internet users by operating websites which permitted them to go elsewhere in order to find digital material via what are called “torrent” websites which permitted such downloading. The appellant himself had three websites which he administered. They were hosted through a proxy server, a computer system or application which facilitated access to material on the internet and which also provided a degree of anonymity to those who were supplying or accessing it and which bypassed other sites which might have been blocked by UK internet service providers. The three website…