Birmingham’s Rainbow to fight licence revocation
Licensing , Live Events / January 2018

LICENSING Live events sector   In the United Kingdom, Birmingham City Council has revoked the licence of  The Rainbow Venues nightclub complex, following the drug-related death of a teenager last month. The decision was made after nineteen year old Michael Trueman died at a Halloween event after taking MDMA in the venue’s toilets. He died in hospital the next day. Resident Advisor reports that PC Abdul Rohomon from the West Midlands told a licensing hearing that the Police had “no option but to call for Rainbow’s licence to be revoked” as this was the second drug-related death in the eleven room complex in two years, the first being eighteen year old Dylan Booth in 2015. He added that there was also “evidence that a fifteen year-old boy has been admitted to the venue”,  based on video footage collected from Snapchat. Rohoman added: “There are around 3000 licensed premises in Birmingham and this is the only venue which has suffered drug related deaths. The most stringent measures are in place yet drugs are still being consumed inside the venue”. The Guardian reports that The Rainbow Venues already took robust action to restrict drug use. In a case that will remind many of…

RMLC’s anti-trust suit against GMR dismissed in Pennsylvania
Competition , Music Publishing / January 2018

COMPETITION Broadcasting, music publishing   A federal magistrate judge has recommended that a lawsuit filed by the Radio Music License Committee against Global Music Rights should be dismissed, concluding it was improperly filed in the state of Pennsylvania. U.S. Magistrate Judge Lynne Sitarski of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania rejected arguments advanced by RMLC for filing the antitrust suit in Pennsylvania, a state where neither the plaintoff or the defendant had offices or employees, where no relevant songwriters or publishers live, and where no relevant meetings or business have ever taken place. Magistrate Judge Sitarski stated “There is no basis in fact or law to assert personal jurisdiction over GMR in Pennsylvania and therefore, venue in this judicial district is improper” concluding that the RMLC suit was filed in Pennsylvania solely for tactical advantage. Magistrate Judge Sitarski recognized that Global Music Rights’ home state is California, where the company has filed its own antitrust suit alleging that the RMLC’s 10,000 member stations are conspiring to suppress payments to Global Music Rights’ songwriters. Global Music Rights describes itself as a music rights management company focused on licensing, surveying and distributing public performance royalties to songwriters, composers and publishers who “represent today’s…

Digital Music News object to Jay-Z’s legal claims
Defamation , Live Events / January 2018

DEFAMATION Live events sector   Digital Music News are not happy with Jay-Z,  aka Sean Carter, or more specifically his lawyers, Cummings & Lockwood LLC, who they have said threatened them “with ridiculous legal claims” over coverage of poor ticket sales on “Jay-Z’s disastrous ‘4:44’ tour” which Digital Music News described as a “sinking tour” The threats stemmed from an article DMN wrote about the availability of $6 tickets for a 4:44 show in Anaheim, CA, where DMN say they “discovered entire sections of unsold inventory across Anaheim and other upcoming tour dates” and that there was even a show cancelled in Fresno, CA “just days before showtime.” The article prompted a letter from Cummings & Lockwood LLC  (which DMN have reproduced in full) which included the assertion that: Both the headline and content of this article is false.  I am attaching a link for a billboard article which contains more accurate facts regarding 4:44 tour sales. And  We demand that you correct your story both in tone and content immediately.  We trust that now that you have correct facts you will not allow your errors to continue.  As I am sure you are aware knowledge of a story being false…

CTS to appeal competition rulings
Competition , Live Events / January 2018

COMPETITION Live events sector   CTS Eventim is to appeal the decision by the German Federal Cartel Office (Bundeskartellamt) which prohibits the Munich-based ticketing giant, the market leader in ticketing in Germany with a 50–70% marketshare in Germany, of requiring partners to “only sell tickets exclusively or to a considerable extent via CTS’s ticket sales system” – something it claims is an abuse of the company’s dominant market position. The Bundeskartellamt said that these “abusive exclusivity contracts with event organisers and advance booking offices” are shutting out competing ticketing companies and “encouraging a general trends towards further monopolisation” in Germany. Under the regulator’s decision, Eventim partners must have the option of selling at least 20% of their inventory annually via other ticket agencies, if their deal with the company is longer than two years. CTS has been given four months to comply with the ruling. Andreas Mundt, president of the Bundeskartellamt, said: “As the operator of the largest ticketing system in Germany, CTS Eventim holds a dominant position in the market. Under competition law, a company with such a market position has special obligations …. Where CTS Eventim commits its contract partners to sell tickets exclusively via its own ticketing system, the…

No safe harbour for Google in Oz
Copyright , Internet / January 2018

COPYRIGHT Internet   Google and perhaps more importantly YouTube will be excluded from new proposed extended safe harbour provisions which form part of the copyright law reforms in Australia. Australia had a very narrow definition of safe harbour and currently these only apply to commercial Internet service providers. After extensive lobbying by the technology sector in Australia, who of course want wider safe harbour provisions, the Australian media and music industries hit out at proposed reforms pointing out that current safe harbour systems that operate in America and the European Union under review. And the Austrlian government seems to have listened, and the new beneficiaries of the safe harbour under the latest proposals are libraries and educational or cultural institutions. Australia’s Communications Minister Mitch Fifield said that safe harbour protection would initially be extended to organisations that “provide beneficial services to all Australians and who are working collaboratively with copyright owners to address infringement”. The Government now plans further consultation on extending the safe harbour to the technology sector and in particular the likes of Google and Facebook but Fifiled added they would be “mindful of the need to ensure the rights of creators are properly protected” adding “Australia’s copyright industries make a significant…

New York Attorney General Files Lawsuit Over Cancelled Buffalove Festival
Consumers , Live Events / January 2018

CONSUMER Live events sector   The Attorney General for New York has filed a lawsuit against concert promoter Cody Conway who allegedly cancelled the Buffalove event without refunding customers nearly $15,000. State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman has filed a lawsuit against Conway and the Buffalove Music Festival. Schneiderman is accusing Conway of canceling the three-day Franklinville, New York, festival two weeks before it was scheduled to begin on July 20 and failing to refund 146 customers who bought tickets from $85 to $125 a piece for a combined $14,896.42. The investigation was led by James M. Morrissey and Erica Law with help from Michael Russo and Marty Mack: A statement read “New Yorkers should get what they pay for – and they’re entitled to timely refunds if event organizers don’t follow through on their promises,” and Schneiderman said in the release. “My office won’t tolerate scammers who trick hardworking consumers into forking over cash for performances they’ll never see.”

Love Parade trial begins in Germany
Health & Safety , Live Events / January 2018

HEALTH & SAFETY Live events sector   Ten of the organisers of the tragic 2010 Love Parade festival are now on trial in Germany.   The ten defendants – four employees of the festival’s promoter, Lopavent, and six officials of the city of Duisburg, in North Rhine-Westphalia, were initially cleared of any wrongdoing in an April 2016 decision by the Duisburg state court, which found there was “no sufficient case to answer”. The ruling was widely criticsed and was described as a “judicial scandal” by relatives of the deceased. The appeals court overturned the decision in April of this year, with prosecutors saying they are confident of convictions the second time around. Twenty-one people died, and more than 650 were injured in the 24th July 2010 crush in a tunnel that served as the sole entrance to the techno festival. Over a million people are said to have attended the 2010 event, which was held at a former goods yard with a capacity of around 250,000. The victims included festivalgoers from Spain, Australia, Italy, Bosnia-Herzegovina, China and the Netherlands. The defendants face charges of negligent manslaughter and bodily harm. If convicted, they face up to five years in prison each  The scale of…

Apple Music in hot water over unpaid mechanical royalty payments
Copyright , Music Publishing / January 2018

COPYRIGHT Music publishing   Mechanical royalties are the royalties paid to a songwriter when a copy of the songwriter’s song is reproduced. The term mechanical royalties dates back to the days when music was recorded on piano rolls. Nowadays, it relates to the sale of any sound recording that is within copyright. Therefore, every time a sound recording is manufactured into a CD, downloaded, or streamed this “mechanical” process will generate a royalty. The royalty will then usually be passed through the collection societies and to the songwriter, well not in Apple Music’s case.  Apple Music has found itself in “treble” ;) over allegations of not paying the correct mechanical royalties due to US songwriters. However, mechanical royalties and streaming platforms are having bit of a hard time as of late. Spotify, Tidal, Slacker and Google Play have all been on the receiving end of mechanical royalty payment lawsuits.  Generally speaking the streaming platforms are claiming that they want to pay songwriters their due mechanical royalties. But, because of inefficient US framework for the collection of mechanical royalties in the US it is difficult for the streaming platforms to pay every songwriter. In the streaming platforms’ defence, unlike the UK,…

French regulator takes aim at Viagogo’s ‘deceptive’ practices
Consumers , Live Events / January 2018

CONSUMER Live events sector   In France, Viagogo has been ordered to change its “deceptive” sales and marketing practices in France by the Directorate-General for Competition, Consumer Affairs and Fraud Control (DGCCRF) which has taken injunctions out against Switzerland-based Viagogo and its Delaware-based division that operates   The DGCCRF said Viagogo must stop its misleading commercial practices within the meaning of Articles L.121-2 and L.121-4 of the Consumer Code. these practices include displaying prices that do not include add-on fees (so called ‘drip pricing’) and Viagogo must stop misleading consumers on the availability of the tickets offered. The DGCCRF added that the resale platform should also not resell tickets for subsidised events beyond their face value. The DGCCRF has not disclosed any potential punishment or deadline for Viagogo to comply, but the authority is empowered to fine companies which break French competition law. The resale of tickets without permission from the original seller is prohibited under French law, and Viagogo is believed to owe promoters’ association Prodiss some hundreds of thousands of Euros in fines.   The French Consumer Federation (FRC) had already lodged a criminal complaint with the Geneva Public Prosecutor against Viagogo accusing the company of breaching unfair competition…

Multiple moves against the ticket touts
Competition , Consumers , Live Events / January 2018

COMPETITION / CONSUMER Live events sector   In August, the Vienna Commercial Court found that the fees on tickets sold via CTS’s oeticket website, which charges €2.50 for ‘print @ home’ and mobile tickets and €1.90 for those picked up from branches of Libro or oeticket’s own box offices fell foul of Austrian law. Now the Higher Regional Court of Vienna (Oberlandesgericht Wien, OLG) has also ruled against Eventim. VKI said that the OLG took particular exception to the fact oeticket does not offer a fee-free delivery option, leaving the consumer with no option but to pay them. And British consumer protection body National Trading Standards has made four arrests as part of its investigation into the business activities of large-scale secondary ticket sellers in the UK. In a separate investigation, the Competition and Markets Authority raided the London offices of StubHub and Viagogo. The new arrests are linked to alleged breaches of the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 which introduce a general prohibition against unfair commercial practices, specific prohibitions against misleading and aggressive practices and a blacklist of 31 practices that will be deemed unfair in all circumstances.    A National Trading Standards statement said “Officers from National Trading Standards conducted raids at a number of…

Spotify and Deezer call for a level European playing field with the American tech giants
Competition , Internet / January 2018

COMPETITON Internet   Spotify and Deezer have urged European legislators to ensure that the globally dominant giant US technology companies (primarily Apple, Amazon and Google) don’t abuse their position as gatekeepers to digital consumers, not least as all three tech giants make and operate devices, control transaction platforms and content services, and many feel they utilise the first two to promote the latter – and that might be unfair to streaming platforms like Spotify and Deezer – big in their sector, but dwarfed by the likes of Google.  The Financial Times reported that Spotify chief Daniel Ek and Deezer CEO Hans-Holger Albrecht  have now sent a letter to European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, urging the European Union to ensure “a level playing field” which would prevent American tech giants from “regularly abusing their advantaged position”. The letter, also signed the gaming sector, has been sent the EC because the EC is actively considering new rules for how big tech companies work with smaller firms whose digital tools and services are sold and/or distributed via the former’s platforms. Both Spotify and Deezer put their names to a similar letter back in May. Spotify and Deezer are upset that Apple takes a 30 percent cut…