Director jailed for providing unlicensed security staff to UK events
Health & Safety / February 2019

HEALTH & SAFETY Lee Szuchnik, a director of Welsh event security firm, LS Armour, has received a prison sentence of two years and three months after being convicted of providing unlicensed security staff at UK music events. The conviction followed an investigation by the Security Industry Authority (SIA) into how Szuchnik supplied unlicensed guards to music festivals in June and July 2017.  The SIA investigation began in July 2017 after a regional investigator stopped two guards with false licences at 2000Trees festival in Cheltenham. The investigator spotted two LS Armour security guards working with fake licences.She then stopped two further operatives who were trying to leave the site. Both of them were also using assumed identities. Unlicensed staff were supplied to events including Download, Glastonbury Festival and two Adele concerts at Wembley Stadium. Szuchnik retained copies of genuine licences and identity details from SIA licence holders he had invited for interview at the LS Armour offices in Barry, South Wales. He later created fraudulent badges for use by unlicensed staff. The badges displayed the name and licence number of official operatives alongside a photograph of the unlicensed bearer. Szuchnik and fellow director Emily Lloyd were consequently summonsed on several counts of providing unlicensed operatives…

The battle over secondary ticketing goes on
Competition , Consumers / February 2019

CONSUMER / COMPETITION On the back of successful moves to prohibit Viagogo from re-selling Rammstien and Ed Sheerhan concert tickets in Germany, the German promoters’ association BDKV has won a legal victory against Ticketbande, a leading secondary ticketing site, securing a judgment that prevents its listing tickets where the resale of those tickets has been prohibited by the promoter.  Ticketbande is one of three main secondary ticketing platforms along with StubHub and Viagogo. Eventim owns the price-capped fanSALE platform. The BDKV (Federal Association of the Concert and Event Industry) launched its Nein zum Ticketschwarzmarkt (No to the Ticket Black Market) campaign in August, pushing for a price cap of 25% above face value for secondary market tickets. In its 21st January ruling, the regional court of Hanover agreed that any further mark-ups made by the re-seller were anti-competitive, and forbade Ticketbande from reselling tickets where the T&Cs prohibit such a re-sale and where there is a named ticket. The Court ruled that Ticketbande must not list tickets when any one of three scenarios apply: (i) the terms and conditions on the original ticket prohibit resale (ii) when tickets have a box for the buyer’s name (iii) if a seller marks up the ticket…

Gone With The Wind – de Havilland loses legal battle
Defamation , Image Rights / February 2019

DEFAMATION / IMAGE RIGHT  The US Supreme Court has decided not accept the law the suit brought by actress Olivia de Havilland against the makers of the FX series “Feud“. “Feud” is a TV dramatisation of the real-life rivalry between actresses Bette Davis and Joan Crawford. In the miniseries, de Havilland (now 102) is played by Catherine Zeta-Jones and is a supporting character. De Havilland’s attorney argued that she is incorrectly portrayed as a hypocrite and gossip who spoke casually and disparagingly of friends and acquaintances such as Davis, Crawford, Frank Sinatra, and her own sister, Joan Fontaine. The Gone Withe The Wind and Captain Blood star’s suit was initially allowed to proceed by a Los Angeles judge, but a California appellate court reversed that decision in March 2018. The California Supreme Court had previously declined to take up the case prior to the application the U.S. Supreme Court. The 2nd District Court of Appeal said in a unanimous decision that the First Amendment rights of the show’s creators clearly trumped de Havilland’s claims that permission to use her likeness was needed, and she should have been compensated In the appellate court Justice Anne Egerton wrote “Whether a person portrayed in one of these expressive works is…

Swedish Ombudsman rules that the ‘man-free’ Statement Festival violated discrimination laws
Discrimination / February 2019

EQUALITY Sweden’s Discrimination Ombudsman (DO) has ruled that describing an event as ‘man-free’ is discriminatory, dealing a blow to the ‘Statement Festival which was promoted as a music festival aimed at women in August earlier this year. Statement Festival, which took place in Gothenburg this summer, was organised following multiple reports of sexual assaults at other Swedish festivals including the now discontinued Bravalla. Comedian Knyckare who instigated the festival said at its launch “It felt important when so many people wanted it” and “All men are not rapists, but almost all rapes are carried out by men. We want to create a free space, a cool festival where women can be without feeling worried. A festival is not the solution, but a reaction to the problem. The goal with the festival is that there shouldn’t need to be separatist events.  After questions were first raised about the festival’s definition as ‘man-free’, organizers confirmed they would also welcome trans men and non-binary people. The ruling, issued on Monday, confirmed that describing the festival as “man-free” amounted to “an infringement of discrimination law”. Although the ruling noted that festival organizers did not enforce the “man-free” rule and that “no differentiation based on…

French Constitutional Council confirms ticket touting ban is legal
Competition , Consumers / February 2019

CONSUMER / COMPETITION France’s constitutional court (Constitutional Council) has ruled that the country’s 2012 anti-ticket touting laws are compliant with the French constitution, knocking back secondary platform Viagogo’s efforts to have the law ruled unconstitutional on the basis they are  “disproportionate breach of freedom of enterprise” – a move backed by rival platform, Ticketbis, owned by eBay’s StubHub. The secondary ticketing firm argued that the ban “infringes the freedom of trade, challenges the right of ownership which grants everyone the freedom to use their property as they see fit, and consequently grants a de facto monopoly to event organisers”. The resale of tickets for profit,without the permission of a show’s promoter, was prohibited in 2012,  The director of French live industry trade group PRODISS, Malika Séguineau, welcomed the Council’s decision, saying that it “strongly reinforces the French law”, and in doing so “protects the consumers, the fans, the artists and the promoters”. The trade group also confirmed that it and several French promoters have filed a criminal action against Viagogo, which will now proceed after the  Constitutional Council’s ruling saying “We welcome today’s decision, especially as PRODISS, alongside several promoters, have parallelly filed a criminal action against Viagogo. The judge is…

Vinyl pirates face prison sentences
Copyright / February 2019

COPYRIGHT Vinyl has become so fashionable again its attracted the attention of pirates – and now two UK men have been jailed and two others have received suspended sentences for their involvement in a bootleg vinyl operation that was manufacturing and selling unlicensed copies of mainly Northern Soul recordings. Alan Godfrey, Christopher Price, Robert Pye and Stephen Russell were variously accused of copyright and trademark infringements as a result of their piracy activities.  Explaining that the four men were part of one co-ordinated piracy venture, Alex Greenwood, speaking for the prosecution, told Newport Crown Court that: “All defendants were engaged in the large scale commercial sale of counterfeit goods infringing both trademark and copyright” and  “In many instances identical copies of recordings were found at the addresses of each of the defendants, indicative that they were supplying each other. All defendants’ PayPal records reflected thousands of sales of similarly described recordings over many years”. Greenwood said Price and Russell were involved with the “manufacture and sale” of the recordings, while Pye and Godfrey were involved in their “commercial sale between November 2013 and October 2016”. Analysis of bank accounts in Godfrey’s name showed he made transfers of £101,518 to Pye, and his…

Gig-goers or bootleggers? Are phone recordings an irritant or potential copyright infringement?
Copyright / February 2019

COPYRIGHT “Go to any stadium gig and you’ll be met with a forest of arms holding up mobiles and blocking lines of sight, so people behind feel irritated,” says Katie McPhee, Head of Marketing at Eventbrite who commissioned a new report by ComRes – 1,031 adults who attended a live event in the past twelve months were interviewed.  The research found that: • 70% found it irritating when others constantly take pictures or videos during live performances; • 69% would support more than minimal action to minimise the disruption; • 65% said using their phones to capture images could make them feel as though they are missing out on the live experience; • Nearly half (49%) took photos and videos with a clear majority (62% each) among those aged 18-24 and 35-44; • A large majority (81%) understood why an artist might not like videoing and photographing at the event; • A majority (69%) would support measures to reduce filming and photographing with phones. Artists, including Adele, Alicia Keys, Nick Cave, Kendrick Lamar and the late Prince have asked fans to refrain from using their phones during the performance. Rock bands White Stripes and Guns n’ Roses have famously banned…