World Piracy News

COPYRIGHT Record Labels, Music Publishers, Internet, Computer Software Malaysian software pirates are selling copies of the next generation of Microsoft’s flagship Windows operating system, years before its official release and at a fraction of the expected price. Compact discs with a version of the system code-named Longhorn are being sold openly for less than $A 3.50 (£2.00) per copy . Malaysia is one of the worst offenders, with CDs, CD-ROMs and DVDs sold openly in stores and street stalls. Longhorn is still in development and won’t officially be ready until 2005 at the earliest. A Japanese peer-to-peer file-sharing network which claimed to keep user identities untraceable has failed to work and two users in Japan have been arrested. The developer of the P2P software has also had his home searched by police. There are around 250,000 users of the supposedly anonymous file-trading network, called Winny, which rides on the more well-known Freenet network. Freenet is an open-source project and is part of a growing number of projects aimed at giving people the ability to communicate online without being tapped, traced or monitored. There is some evidence from the USA that the controversial RIAA lawsuits against ordinary computer users are making…

Chinese Rights Owners Seek Payment For Mobile Telephone Use

COPYRIGHT Record Labels, Music Publishers, Telecommunications The Music Copyright Society of China is seeking US$1.4 million, from China’s second biggest mobile phone operator, TCL Mobile Communication and its distributor, Beijing Digital Electronic Communication Technology, for installing 107 copyrighted Chinese tunes on 12 TCL models. TCL has offered to pay only about a quarter of the damages. A court ruling is pending after a hearing last week in Beijing. China, which is plagued by pirated CDs and DVDs which are on sale on street corners shortly after first release has vowed to crack down on copycats and strengthen intellectual property protection after the country joined the World Trade Organization two years ago. Chinese copyright laws do not specify how much cellphone makers should pay when they include copyright material. “Butterfly Lovers Concerto,” based on a Chinese tragic love story, and “Full Moon of the Fifteenth,” are among the most popular among Chinese cellphone users. China overtook the United States as the world’s biggest cellular market last year. With 244 million users at the end of August. The Chinese copyright owners have demanded 1.4 U.S. cents, for every tune installed on a phone and the dispute is really about how much TCL…

Australian Internet Service Provider Faces Claim For Copyright Infringement

COPYRIGHT Record Labels, Music Publishers, Internet The Australian music industry has listed an internet service provider (ISP) as a respondent in a court case involving alleged music piracy. E-Talk Communications, trading as Comcen Internet Services, has been served with a law suit in Federal Court (Justice Brian Tamberlin) charged with making money from the provision of copyright-infringing music files. This is the first time the music industry has accused an ISP of being directly involved in piracy by allowing its infrastructure to be used for file-trading activities according to Music Industry Piracy Investigations (MIPI), who led the industry’s investigation. The tactic marks the escalation in the simmering battle between the music industry and the ISPs over how much responsibility the latter should take for any copyright infringing behaviour of their subscribers. The charge is the result of an 11-month investigation into the web site The registrant of the domain name, Australian Stephen Cooper, was also charged. The MIPI claimed that the website was highly organised and allowed and assisted users to find and download music files. The site received 7 million unique visits in the previous 12 months and MIPI claim that E-Talk economically benefited by hosting the website….

Ghostface Killah Wins Copyright Infringement Case

COPYRIGHT Music Publishing, Record Labels A New York federal court has upheld the “fair use” doctrine by dismissing a lawsuit against Sony Music Entertainment and rappers Ghostface Killah, Raekwon and the Alchemist for copyright infringement. The plaintiff, Abilene Music, accused the rappers and Sony, which released the album, of infringing its copyright in the well known song “What a Wonderful World.” The infraction allegedly occurred when the trio made slang references to marijuana in a rap that began with a variation on the first three lines of the song popularized by Louis Armstrong (news). The defendants successfully argued that while the song’s lyrics were adapted from “What a Wonderful World,” they were protected as fair use under the Copyright Act. In granting a summary judgement for Sony and the rappers, Judge Gerard Lynch said the rap was clearly a parody, intended to criticise and ridicule the cheerful perspective of the original song. The judge also noted that the rap made key changes to the lyrics and to the overall effect of the lines, and it was not an imitation of the original. The Judge held that whereas the original first three lines of ‘Wonderful World’ describe the beauty of nature,…

Sampling Newton -v- Diamond and Others (2003)

COPYRIGHT Music Publishing, Record Labels, Artists In 1992 the Beastie Boys got a license from ECM Records to sample a copyrighted sound recording from James W. Newton Jr.’s flute composition, Choir. The group sampled and used a six-second, three-note sequence and looped it throughout its song “Pass the Mic,” featured on the Capitol album “Check Your Head.” In 2000, Newton who also composed the work, sued the Beastie Boys, alleging that the remix infringed the “heart” of his flute composition, and that the band should have obtained a license from him as the composer of the underlying work in addition to obtaining a sample to use the recording. The US Appeals Court, affirming the court of first instance’s decision, held that there was no infringement because the use of the sample was minimal and there were no substantial similarities between the two works or that the average person would recognise the appropriation. COMMENT : The band clearly felt that they had obtained the relevant appropriate licence: They had gone to the owner of a recording they wished to sample and licensed this. As they had only used three ‘unidentifiable’ notes in sequence they believed (rightly it seems) that they hadn’t used the…

US Copyright Office Review

COPYRIGHT Record Labels, Music Publishers, Computer Technology, Internet, Telecommunications The U.S. Copyright Office has rejected dozens of requests to relax a 1998 federal copyright law, including proposals to allow people to play DVDs bought in other countries and to copy DVD bonus materials for non-commercial use. This week’s ruling concludes a review conducted every three years on whether the legal use of some copyright materials has been hurt by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which bans the bypassing of copy protection on digital music, movies and other works. More than 50 requests for exemptions were made but the Copyright Office granted only two new exemptions. One permits access to electronic books by software for the blind and to computer programs and video games distributed in formats now obsolete.

Piracy News From Around The World

COPYRIGHT Record Labels, Music Publishing, Internet A recent report published by NPD in the US shows that the threat of legal action against individuals who download copyrighted songs and swap files has led to a reduction in the number of infringements. The number of US households acquiring digital music via p2p file-sharing services declined by 11% from August to September and the total number of music files downloaded decreased 9%, says the company. However, the report also shows that the public image of record labels has suffered badly. In Malaysia, the record industry has resorted to ‘digital watermarking’ preview CDs sent to journalists after numerous album titles were found on the Internet before release but after review copies had been sent to the press. The watermarking is a series of invisible and unique digital codes embedded onto the CD which allows investigators to trace the source of the download. However, and in contrast to the problems reported by the record industry, US collection society Broadcast Music Incorporated (BMI) which represents music publishers and artists such as Britney Spears, Sheryl Crow, Pink and Eminen has announced increased annual revenues for last year, pre record industry actions. The performing right organisation distributed…

Germany considers new copyright reform

COPYRIGHT Internet, Record Labels, Artists, Music Publishing The German Minister of Justice Brigitte Zypries has announced the “second basket” of reform for copyright laws for Germany. Zypries said she wanted to see the remaining provisions of the EU Directive of Copyright in the Digital Age enacted into law by next summer (see the position in the UK below). In particular the new laws will prohibit the right to make private copies made from digital sources. German commentators have remarked that this provision is similar to that of the US Digital Millenium Copyright Act and have pointed out that such a provision would be unacceptable; Copyright owners who protect their content by encyryption would be relieved from the obligation to offer access for privileged users such as libraries, schools or disabled persons and commentators add that basic constitutional freedoms would be undermined. Eva-Maria Michel, Legal Counsel of the WDR Public Broadcasting Station has said that the provisions would be a violation of the constitutional liberties of the media. Michel warned that the copyright reform focuses too much on combating piracy and thereby destroy basic privileges in the copyright field. The movie and music industries have, by contrast, lobbied to remove the right to…

Taiwan copyright law revisions ‘a step backwards’

COPYRIGHT Record Labels, Music Publishers, Artists, Film, Television The Taiwan Anti-piracy Coalition have said that the country’s revised copyright laws are a step backwards in the fight against piracy. The Coalition said the removal of minimum penalties on some intellectual property offences was a major concern. The Legislative Yuan passed the revised Copyright Law in June 2003 after making a total of 53 changes to a draft originally proposed by the Executive Yuan. According to the Coalition, these changes have seriously weakened copyright protection, especially regarding penalties for copyright violators, since the law now defines a copyright violation as making more than five copies of a product or selling copies that are worth more than NT$30,000 on the street. This means that persons who make fewer than five copies or less than NT$30,000 will not be regarded as criminals. In addition, the Coalition argue that the removal of the minimum six-month prison penalty would make people less worried about infringing copyright. The Coalition said the lack of adequate intellectual property protection will have serious consequences for industry and the future of the nation’s economy. See:

Ghana to introduce new copyright legislation

COPYRIGHT Record Labels, Music Publishers, Internet The current Copyright Bill before Ghana Parliament will provide for the creation of a Copyright Tribunal which would have substantially increased penalties available against those who infringe the rights of authors and composers in Ghana. Professor George Hagan, Chairman of the National Commission on Culture, said the Bill met the minimum requirement of the World Intellectual Property Organisations (WIPO) Internet Treaties. At a four day conference, over 30 executives from African intellectual property organisations looked at the problems of piracy on a pan-African level as well as the negative affect of piracy of Western copyrights on African culture. “African culture faces the real risk of being adulterated under the guise of foreign influences, whilst the advanced world are progressively adopting measures to protect and promote their cultural heritage,” Prof. Hagan said. Ghana, through the active collaboration of the WIPO, International Federation of Reproduction Rights Organisation (IFRRO) and the Reproduction Rights Organisation of Norway has now succeeded in establishing a Reprographic Rights Organisation. The Conference was convened under the auspices of the Copyright Society of Ghana in collaboration with the International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers (CISAC) and the WIPO. See:

Japanese authors to win lending right
Copyright , Music Publishing / November 2003

COPYRIGHT Publishing The Japanese Cultural Affairs Agency intends to require major book-lenders to pay copyright royalties to novelists, cartoonists and other holders of copyrights. The plan is part of an effort to address growing concerns that an increase in the number of major chains entering the book-lending business could violate cartoonists and authors’ copyrights. For years, shops renting out books, magazines and other publications have been exempted from the law governing payment of copyright royalties. The Agency plans to submit a bill to revise the Copyright Law to the next ordinary session of the Japanese Diet. Under the proposed bill, major book-lenders will be obliged to pay royalties to copyright holders, such as novelists and cartoonists, starting in 2005 at the earliest. Copyright holders have the right to restrict the lending of copyrighted material under existing Copyright Law. With videos of Japanese movies, video rental shop operators buy the videos for three to four times the market price to cover the cost of copyright royalties paid to film companies and scriptwriters. In the case of music compact discs, composers, performers and music production companies have the right to lend out the copyrighted material on the CDs. According to the Agency,…

Suspended prison sentence for contempt of court for repeat copyright infringer: PPL v Tierney

COPYRIGHT Record Labels, Music Publishers, Live Concert Regular ‘users’ of music who either refuse to pay licence fees at all or who do so only under threat of legal proceedings are the bane of music collecting societies. The threat of legal proceedings does not always dissuade a repeat infringer. Furthermore, some infringers are prepared to ignore court orders or undertakings which they have given to the court. In this case the defendant Mr Tierney, the proprietor of an establishment in Guildford, breached a court order by failing to pay licence fees to Phonographic Performance Ltd in relation to certain sound recordings played at his establishment. He had also failed to comply with undertakings given to the court on a number of occasions. Failure to comply with a court order is a contempt of court which is punishable by a fine or an order for committal to prison. PPL applied for an order to commit Mr Tierney for contempt of court in respect of his failure to comply with the court order. It had reportedly made seven previous applications of this nature against Mr Tierney. PPL succeeded in its application. Mr Tierney had been warned of the consequences of further breaches…

EU Copyright Directive will finally be implemented in UK law

COPYRIGHT Artists, Record Labels, Music Publishers, Internet, Film, Television Legislation implementing the European Copyright Directive has finally been laid before the UK Parliament. Among other things, it extends the UK’s copyright laws to deal with digital piracy, albeit ten months behind the EU’s deadline. The Copyright and Related Rights Regulations 2003 will amend the Copyright Designs and Patents Act of 1988 and will come into force on 31st October. The Copyright Directive, passed in 2001, was the EU’s attempt to update copyright protection to the digital age. It is also the means by which the European Union and its Member States will implement two 1996 World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) Treaties: the WIPO Copyright Treaty and the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty. The new Regulations are available at:


COPYRIGHT Record Labels, Music Publishers, Internet, Telecommunications The phenomenal growth of Asia’s mobile phone market has spawned widespread ringtone download piracy. Copyright owners are battling to claim royalties in Asia – a region which has long been problematical with widespread traditional forms of music piracy, such as the organised distribution of counterfeit and bootleg CDs and cassettes. The International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers have said that the problem is prevelant in most South-East Asia territories. Whilst territories such as Japan, Korea, Singapore and Malaysia have systems in place to govern ringtone copyright, and owners are compensated for use, ringtone downloads in countries like Thailand and Phillipines are almost entirely unlicensed with little legal revenue. The ringtone market is now big business (see Law Updates September 2003). In Japan, music publisher collection society JASRAC receives multi-million dollar royalties from ringtone operators. In Singapore, one of the biggest cellular phone markets in Asia (with an ownership rate of 80 per cent) ringtones cost about $S2 ($1.79) on average in the legitimate market. Whilst a number of favourite downloads are mainstream western artists such as Norah Jones and Britney Spears, Asian composers are also being hurt because local hits are…


COPYRIGHT Record Companies, Internet, Music Publishers, Artists, Merchandisers, Radio, Television INTRODUCTION : This article, by Professor Jonathan Zittrain, suggests a new approach to copyright law in the digital age. The article was first published on in their July/August edition. Bars can’t have TVs bigger than 55 inches. Teddy bears can’t include tape decks. Girl Scouts who sing “Puff, the Magic Dragon” owe royalties. Copyright law needs to change. By Jonathan Zittrain. A couple of years ago I was talking with a law school colleague about cyberlaw and the people who study it. “I’ve always wondered,” he said, “why all the cyberprofs hate copyright.” I don’t actually hate copyright, and yet I knew just what he meant. Almost all of us who study and write about the law of cyberspace agree that copyright law is a big mess. As far as I can tell, federal courts experts don’t reject our system of federal courts, and criminal law experts split every which way on the overall virtue of the criminal justice system. So what’s with our uniform discontent about copyright? I think an answer can be gleaned from tax scholars. Without decrying the concept of taxation, every tax professor I’ve met regards the U.S. tax…


COPYRIGHT Record Labels, Music Publishers, Internet, Artists The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) today launched a “Let the Music Play” campaign urging the more than 60 million U.S. citizens who use file-sharing software to demand changes in copyright law to get artists paid and make file-sharing legal. The EFF Let the Music Play campaign counters the Recording Industry Association of America’s (RIAA) announcement that it will file thousands of lawsuits against individuals who use file-sharing software like Kazaa, Grokster, and Morpheus. “Copyright law is out of step with the views of the American public and the reality of music distribution online,” said EFF Executive Director Shari Steele. “Rather than trying to sue people into submission, we need to find a better alternative that gets artists paid while making file sharing legal.” EFF’s Let the Music Play campaign provides alternatives to the RIAA’s litigation barrage, details EFF’s efforts to defend peer-to-peer file sharing, and makes it easy for individuals to write members of Congress. EFF will also place advertisements about the Right to Share campaign in magazines such as Spin, Blender, Computer Gaming World, and PC Gamer. “Today, more U.S. citizens use file-sharing software than voted for President Bush,” said EFF Senior…


COPYRIGHT Record Labels, Music Publishers, Artists, Internet A report published by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) shows that the illegal music market is now worth $4.6bn (£2.8bn) globally. It believes two out of every five CDs or cassettes sold are illegal. The IFPI said much of this money is going to support organised criminal gangs, dispelling the myth that it is a “victimless crime”. Jay Berman, chairman of the IFPI, said: “This is a major, major commercial activity, involving huge amounts of pirated CDs. The IFPI’s top 10 priority countries where labels want a crackdown on piracy are Brazil, China, Mexico, Paraguay, Poland, Russia, Spain, Spain, Taiwan, Thailand and Ukraine. The IFPI also pointed out that when factoring in unlicensed downloads then “only one in three music products in the UK is authorised.” Despite the increase in the amount of CDs illegally produced and sold around the world, up 14% on 2001, there has also been a rise in the amount of CDs and recording equipment seized. The number of discs seized on their way for public sale was more than 50 million, a four-fold rise on the previous year. The IFPI is concerned in two main…


CONTRACT LAW Record Labels, Music Publishers, Television, Radio, Artists, Internet With the quick-fire thrust and parry of email becoming increasingly popular as a means of communication, the possibility of inadvertently creating a binding contract is an ever present danger. However, a recent case which came before the High Court has reinforced the basic legal principle that if the parties only intend to be bound by signature of a formal legal document, then an affirmation of the principal terms of the proposed agreement in email correspondence will not suffice for that purpose. In Pretty Pictures v Quixote Films the question came before the court as a preliminary issue. The claimant, a French film distributor, alleged that a binding contract had been concluded with the defendant, the owner of a film called ‘Lost in La Mancha’. Over a period of two or three months the claimant and the defendant’s sales agent had corresponded by email culminating in an email from the claimant setting out his ‘revised offer’. This, in effect, was a bald statement of the principal terms: minimum guarantee, term, territory, rights granted and income splits. There followed further negotiations but ultimately an accord was reached and the defendant’s sales agent sent an…


CONTRACT LAW Record Labels, Music Publishers, Artists Confetti Records & Others -v- Warner Music UK Ltd This UK case involved the purported licence of a sample of the track Burnin by the claimants to the defendants. The first claimant (Confetti) had been negotiating with the defendants about use of the track and had issued a ‘subject to contract’ deal memorandum which both parties signed. The first claimant then issued an invoice to the defendant and sent a recording of the track. Mr Justice Lewison held that ‘subject to contract’ had the same meaning in the music industry as other businesses and the document was not binding as such. It was for the defendant to prove otherwise. As the defendant had failed to do this, the deal memorandum was not binding. But Mr Justice Lewison went on to decide that the subsequent sending of an invoice with the track constituted an offer which was subsequently accepted by the defendant’s conduct in making use of the track and hence a contract had come into existence so there could be no copyright infringement as permission to use was granted. The third claimant, Andrew Alcee, brought a claim under Section 80 of the Copyright Designs and Patents…


COPYRIGHT Artists, Record Labels, Music Publishers A federal judge has dismissed a copyright infringement lawsuit against Britney Spears, her record label (Zomba/Jive) and BMG Music Publishing, saying two Philadelphia songwriters failed to prove the pop singer copied the melody of one of their songs. U.S. District Judge Berle M. Schiller ruled last week that Michael Cottrill and Lawrence Wnukowski couldn’t provide enough evidence to prove Spears had access to their song titled, “What You See Is What You Get,” when she recorded, “What U See (Is What U Get).” Cottrill and Wnukowski said they gave one of Spears’ representatives a copyrighted version of their tune in late 1999 after being asked to submit songs for consideration for the singer’s upcoming album. But Schiller, citing defence testimony, said the melody of Spears’ song was completed by the beginning of November 1999, before Spears and her representatives “would have had access to a copyrighted version of plaintiffs’ song.” The Judge went on to say that there weren’t enough similarities between the two songs to prove copyright infringement. The four men credited with writing Spears’ song, released on her best-selling second album, “Oops! … I Did it Again,” testified that they hadn’t heard…


DEFAMATION Artists, Record Labels, Music Publishers, Internet In December 2002 the Australian decision of Gutnick v Dow Jones established the principle that where a newspaper or magazine was published on the internet, a claimant could bring an action in ANY jurisdiction where that magazine could be received, in this case in the state of Victoria in Australia even though the newspaper was published in the US. In this case (with the same defendant) Mr Justice Eady was presented with the following case. On 31 March 2002 Harrods issued a spoof press release proposing a “first-come-first-served share option offer” by way of an April Fool’s joke. The Wall Street Journal picked up the press release with a story headed “The Enron of Britain?” The article suggested that “If Harrods, the British luxury retailer, ever goes public, investors would be wise to question its every disclosure.” The evidence before the court was that only ten copies of the Wall Street Journal are distributed in this country from the United States. There was evidence of only a very small number of hits on the article as published on the web. By contrast, the Wall Street Journal has a national distribution within the United…


COPYRIGHT Record Labels, Music Publishers, Internet Having failed to persuade the appeals court of its case, US ISP Verizon has handed over the names of four of its customers to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) – marking a significant victory for the RIAA and a shift in the way that the US courts deal with the conflict between copyright infringements on the internet and customer privacy on the internet. The decision will undoubtedly have an impact on net users around the world. The RIAA first contacted Verizon last year after finding files being shared through the Kazaa peer-to-peer network from computers with IP addresses on Verizon’s network. The RIAA had no way to find who the users behind those computers were, so used a provision of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act to issue a court-authorised subpoena to the ISP, asking for the subscriber names. Verizon refused, arguing that they were just a communications channel and had nothing to do with the potentially copyright-infringing behaviour of their customers. For comment in this area see: ‘Copyright holders like record labels have too much power over what people do with songs’ argues technology analyst Bill Thompson. See:


COPYRIGHT Record Labels, Music Publishers, Internet In a blow to record labels, music publishers and film producers, a Federal judge in Los Angeles on Friday denied the Recording Industry Association of America’s (RIAA) motion for summary judgement in its copyright-infringement suit against peer-to-peer file-swapping services Morpheus and Grokster. The RIAA along with the National Music Publishers’ Association and the Motion Picture Association of America, filed the suit in 2001. Judge Stephen Wilson broke with the recent series of victories for the entertainment industries’ trade association recently and ruled that the P2P service providers are not liable because they are capable of non-infringing use. He compared the case to landmark litigation brought by movie studios in 1984 against Sony Corporation over the sale of Betamax videocassette recorders which of course could be used to (legitimately) play pre-recorded copies of films but could also be used to copy programmes from the television. Judge Wilson held that “The sale of copy equipment … does not constitute contributory infringement if the product is capable of substantial non-infringing uses,” Wilson wrote. Grokster and StreamCast Networks, firms that distribute the file-sharing programs Grokster and Morpheus, were not guilty of copyright infringement just because some users swap…


COPYRIGHT Record Labels, Artists, Music Publishers A Bill designed to provide Californian recording artists with accurate accounting has won approval from the Senate Judiciary Committee. The Bill (SB1034) introduced by Senator Kevin Murray (D) would make it a “fiduciary duty” for labels to accurately calculate royalty earnings owed to artists. Music industry officials oppose the Bill, saying it would impede labels from developing new business models in the face of surging piracy. RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) President Cary Sherman testified Tuesday that the bill “would distort the intensely negotiated, arms-length contractual relationship between an artist and recording label by imposing a fiduciary duty only on one party.” However, Committee members countered that only one party, the record company, holds the financial information to calculate royalties. The Recording Artists’ Coalition have repeatedly claimed that recording contracts are outmoded and complex, lack clarity in royalty calculations and contain numerous unjustifiable royalty reduction and discount provisions. See


COPYRIGHT Record Labels, Music Publishing The Belgian Ministry of Economy has announced that a 12 eurocent per hour tax will be levied on blank rewritable CDs to compensate composers, copyright holders and performers for copies made for personal use and to counterbalance the likely lower income paid to copyright owners from reduced music CD sales. Meanwhile, in a different approach to music piracy, Italy has announced tough new laws against those illegally buying and selling pirated music on street stalls. For the first time, buyers of pirated CDs will face a fine of up to 154 euros for each illegal CD brought. Sanctions against vendors have been increased and vendors face fines and imprisonment for up to three years. See,89,&item_id=30857


COPYRIGHT Record Labels, Music Publishing, Internet Four US students have agreed to pay damages after the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) issued proceedings for providing illegal peer-2-peer downloading sites for profit. Daniel Peng, Joseph Nievelt, Jesse Jordan and Aaron Sherman also agreed not to illegally distribute copyrighted music, although they did not admit to any wrongdoing (see Law Updates May 2003 RIAA Launches Pre-emptive Strike Against Student Downloading). The four students will pay between $12,000 (ÿ£7,500) and $17,500 (ÿ£11,000) each to the RIAA. The RIAA hope that the action will prompt universities to shut down similar downloading services which are facilitated by university high speed broadband and cable services which are available to students. Source


COPYRIGHT Record Labels, Music Publishers, Internet In an update on the case between the RIAA and Verizon (see Law Updates March 2003), Judge Bates of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, has denied Verizon’s motion to quash a subpoena requiring it to identify a subscriber who was suspected of illegally sharing music online on the 24th April. The RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) had served the subpoena on Verizon under the provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 (“DMCA”). Under the DMCA, a copyright holder can request a subpoena by asserting that a violation has occurred. Verizon put forward constitutional challenges, arguing that the Courts construction of the provisions of the DMCA does not provide sufficient safeguards to protect Internet users’ rights of expression and association under the First Amendment Rights of Internet users, and violates Article III of the Constitution. Both of these arguments were rejected by the Court. See and For the full decision see (pdf file) :


COPYRIGHT Record Labels, Music Publishers, Merchandising CARLTON FILM DISTRIBUTORS -v- VCI & VDC As a result of a High Court decision last month companies pursuing royalty audit claims have acquired a new procedural weapon. It has now been established that in appropriate cases the court will order pressing plants to disclose their manufacturing records to an audit claimant prior to the commencement of any court proceedings. One of the most contentious areas in royalty audits is access to manufacturing records so audit claimants can compare numbers of units accounted with numbers of units actually manufactured. Companies being audited often will not, and sometimes cannot, provide manufacturing records. This leaves audit claimants in a difficult position. Should they pursue claims where they have reasonable suspicions but no hard evidence that all units manufactured have not been properly accounted? It is possible to obtain disclosure of documents from the potential defendant prior to commencing court action. But what if that company says it has no manufacturing records? This was the dilemma facing the claimant in Carlton Film Distributors -v- VCI and VDC. Carlton had entered into a licence agreement with VCI for the manufacture by VCI of videos. The licence agreement contained…


COPYRIGHT Record Labels, Music Publishers The PRS/MCPS Alliance have announced a number of global successes in combating the sale of illegal music product. In ITALY collection society SIAE joined with the police in a series of high profile raids across the country targeting 454 premises and resulting in charges brought against 137 people with 78,000 CDs, 5,000 DVDs and 6,000 VHS cassettes confiscated along with 17 sets of mastering equipment. In RUSSIA a number of government agencies have joined forces with the trade mark protection agency and various intellectual property organisations to tackle counterfeiters. Russia has one of Europe’s highest piracy levels with well over half of all music product sold being illegal copies. In THAILAND the British Government has formally asked the Thai Government to clampdown on illegal copies of music product flooding onto the world market. Thailand is the third largest exporter of illegal music product after China and Taiwan. See Mbusiness7 (PRS/MCPS magazine Spring 2003)


COPYRIGHT Record Labels, Music Publishers, Internet The legal battle between the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and Verizon Communications over the pursuit of alleged internet music pirates could have a major impact on cable operators, telecom companies and internet service providers. If the RIAA wins the case, record labels and music publishers wielding broad federal subpoena power could force operators to divulge the names of high-speed data subscribers each time one is suspected of breaking a copyright. RIAA also want operators with high-speed data operations to pay copyright use fees into a new industry-wide ISP pool. The RIAA has proposed that the fund should compensate music companies for the copyright violations which they can’t track down. The case places the right to fair remuneration for use of copyright in direct conflict with individuals right to privacy, and further, would put an obligation on ISPs to take responsibility for subscribers unauthorised copyright infringements. The cable industry is carefully watching the case. The case also highlights the conflicts within major media conglomerates – AOL Time Warner owns two major ISPs, cable channels and of course a major record label and major music publishing house. The legal action arose when Verizon refused…


COPYRIGHT Record Labels, Music Publishers A folk musician says he is to take legal action against Rod Stewart over his contribution to the 1970s hit song “Maggie May”. Ray Jackson, a member of folk/rock band Lindisfarne, says he was paid just in 1971 for his contribution of a distinctive mandolin section in the recording. Mr Jackson believes he may have lost at least because he was not credited for the track’s distinctive “hook”. Mr Jackson is basing his claim on the Court of Appeal ruling that held that session musician Bobby Valentino should be recognised for his part in writing the distinctive violin riff on the Bluebells’ 1983 hit and subsequent 1993 number one hit “Young At Heart”. Stewart’s defence is that Jackson was engaged on a ‘work for hire’ basis and that all and any copyright which might have subsisted in the mandolin recording was assigned to Stewart absolutely and the was ‘full and final settlement’ for his services and any contribution. It is accepted that Mr Jackson had played on the song but not that he had any part in writing it. Stewart’s argument is that the recording and song were from the inception of their creation “the…


COPYRIGHT Record Labels, Music Publishers CD pirates and street vendors in Ecuador are decimating the legitimate music industry as copied CDs featuring tropical salsa, hard rock and even Christmas carols are retailing for just $1 each – a price even the citizens of this poverty-stricken nation can afford (the minimum wage is just $138 a month). More worryingly for record labels and music publishers is the statistic that pirates sold an estimated 13 million compact discs in 2002 – compared to just 650,000 sold legitimately. The pirates are now exporting copied CDs, and pirate CDs made in Ecuador have been found in Peru and Columbia. Ecuador is a prime spot for all types of pirated goods. Weak police intervention compounds the problem. As the pirating industry grows, local shops suffer. Just 80 record stores are still in business in Ecuador, compared with 300 shops four years ago. Even with the US dollar adopted as currency, two of the ‘big five’ majors (BMG and EMI) have left Ecuador after they were unable to compete with counterfeiters. Sony Music Entertainment and Universal still operate in Ecuador. See


COPYRIGHT Record Labels, Music Publishers The parent company of ‘major’ record label BMG are the latest recipient of a lawsuit in the Napster saga. The German media giant Bertelsmann has received a $17 billion lawsuit from a group of songwriters, composers and music publishers alleging that by funding the file swapping service BMG had been involved in the widespread infringement of copyrighted music works and had deprived the claimants of millions of dollars of revenues. Bertlesmann invested in Napster in the hope of turning Napster into a subscription service. Bertlesmann argue that their investment is only a loan and deny any legal liability. Ironically Bertlesmann owns a major publishing catalogue through BMG which would benefit from any successful action. See


COPYRIGHT Record Labels, Music Publishing, Artists Indian composer Bappi Lahiri has won a court injunction halting the sale of Dr. Dre protéguth Hurts’ debut album and single based on claims that the hit song, “Addictive,” sampled more than four minutes of one of his compositions, without credit. A federal judge in Los Angeles ruled that “Addictive” must be removed from shelves unless the composer Bappi Lahiri’s name is added to the credits. Lahiri filed suit against Dre, his Aftermath Records label, and parent company Interscope/Universal Music Group, citing uncredited use of the Hindi song “Thoda Resham Lagta Hai,” composed by Lahiri for the 1987 Indian film “Jhoothi.” Lahiri is seeking compensatory damages in excess of $1 million as a result of the failure to give credit and the loss of his ability to properly promote his music in the United States. The figure represents a combination of the profits Lahiri’s attorneys said the sales of Truth Hurts’ music has reaped for Universal along with the losses suffered by their client. The album has sold in excess of 300,000 units. Universal had the choice of pulling all product from the shelves or affixing a sticker with Lahiri’s credit on copies of…


COPYRIGHT Music Publishing, Internet The Daily Yomiuri Online reports that the Osaka District Court have ordered an online karaoke machine leasing firm in Osaka to take necessary measures to prevent its customers, who have not paid copyright fees for music to the Japanese Society for Rights of Authors, Composers and Publishers (JASRAC), from using music delivered online. The Court’s ruling held that Hit One had been assisting its customers to infringe copyrights. The verdict is a precedent for a number of forthcoming lawsuits of a similar nature in Japan and means that music distributors who do not take an active role in violating the law can, and will, be asked to take remedial measures to prevent infringements by users. According to the Daily Yomiuri Online, Hit One leased karaoke machines and distributed music online to bars and restaurants in the Osaka and Hyogo prefectures. About 97 percent of the songs distributed by the firm were reportedly controlled by JASRAC. However, Hit One knowingly delivered music to a number of its customers who had not paid copyright royalties to JASRAC. Presiding judge Kazuo Komatsu said in his ruling, “The firm was responsible for confirming that its customers already closed a deal…


COPYRIGHT Record Labels, Music Publishing, Internet In a major victory in the fight against the unauthorised uploading and downloading of music and other copyrighted works, a U.S. District Court Judge granted an all-encompassing preliminary injunction against the file swapping site Aimster (Madster). The Court’s decision follows its ruling on September 4th granting the record companies’ request for a preliminary injunction. In that prior ruling, the Court described the Aimster system as “a service whose very raison d’etre appears to be the facilitation of and contribution to copyright infringement on a massive scale.” After issuing that opinion, the Court asked for proposals from the parties for the language of the Injunction. The record companies and music publishers submitted a proposal that the Defendants opposed; however, the Defendants did not submit their own proposal, arguing that it was impossible to filter out infringing recordings. The Court adopted the record companies’ and music publishers’ proposed Injunction in full, outlining the roadmap by which Aimster must act immediately to halt the massive copyright infringement it facilitates. U.S. District Court Judge Marvin Aspen of the Northern District of Illinois ordered that Aimster implement filtering technologies now available so that it does not directly, indirectly, contributorily,…


COPYRIGHT Record Labels, Music Publishing The European Union Justice & Home Affairs Commissioner Antonio Vitorino unveiled a tough new draft anti-piracy code on Thursday January 30th designed to standardise the approach to piracy throughout the European Community. The new legislation would direct all member states to treat large scale piracy and counterfeiting as a criminal offence as well as a civil offence meaning that offenders would be liable for damages, fines and possible imprisonment. Rights owners could sue for damages and ancillary remedies such as accounts for profits and destruction orders whilst the authorities could shut down infringing companies and seize assets. The legislation would work alongside revised border controls allowing for the seizure of counterfeit and pirate goods.


COPYRIGHT Record Labels, Music Publishing, Internet The Tokyo District Court, in an interim ruling on Wednesday January 29th 2003, decided that the online music file-sharing service provided by MMO Japan Ltd has violated copyright law, thus supporting the Japanese music industry’s stance. The decision follows the Court’s April 2002 injunction, which prohibited Tokyo-based MMO’s Internet file-swapping service in an action brought by the Japanese Society for Rights of Authors, Composers and Publishers (JASRAC) and 19 record labels. Damages have yet to be assessed. This ruling, the first such suit filed in Japan, follows on from actions brought in the US against Napster, Aimster and KazaA. The service, which was provided by MMO Japan, automatically sent files over the Internet enabling online users to swap music and other files stored on their hard drives. The presiding Judge Toshiaki Iimura held that MMO had financially benefited and was responsible for the service. Also see “NEW ACTIONS IN CYBERSPACE” – DECEMBER 2002 LAW UPDATES


COPYRIGHT Record Labels, Music Publishing, Internet Sony Music Entertainment (UK) Ltd. & Others -v- Easyinternetcafe Ltd. (2003) Mr Justice Smith held that Easy-internetcafes were guilty of copyright infringement by allowing customers to download music and burn CDs at their chain of internet cafes. Investigators for the BPI (British Phonographic Industry) found that hundreds of tracks had been downloaded in the cafes. Users paid £2.50 (approx US $4) for the download and a further £2.50 to buy each CDR. Mr Stellios Haji-Ionannou, owner of the chain of internet cafes, said that he will appeal the High Court decision and that the music industry was itself guilty of ‘extortion’ for overcharging for CDs and that ‘copying music over the internet is no different to videotaping a programme to watch later’. In the UK ‘time shifting’ by copying TV programmes onto a VHS is legal (under the Copyright Designs & Patents Act 1988) for personal use but copying records and films otherwise unavailable is a copyright infringement. In the US case of RIAA -v- Napster (US, 2000) the so called ‘VCR defense’ failed to protect Napster against claims from the Recording Industry Association of America which shut the service down. Damages in the Easy-internet case have yet to be determined. [See…


COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT Record Labels, Music Publishing A man and a woman are being questioned after a raid on their Airdrie home in North Lanarkshire uncovered what is believed to be the biggest CD counterfeiting operation ever found in Scotland. Thousands of illegally copied CDs, DVDs and videos were discovered in the raid along with nineteen CD writers, 11 DVD writers and 15 video recorders. This MCPS-led raid (along with Strathclyde Police and Trading Standards officers) was designed to get to the root of the counterfeit problem in Scotland. It follows recent raids by other anti-piracy units that have focused on removing product from the market stalls themselves. Nick Kounoupias of the MCPS Anti-Piracy Unit said: “Getting to the source of significant counterfeiting operations like this one is the real key to stopping the proliferation of counterfeit product. You can strip a market of illegal goods but within a few days, the illegal product is back.” The two who were questioned could then face charges under theCopyright, Designs & Patents Act (1988), the Trade Marks Act (1994) and the Trade Descriptions Act (1968). The maximum penalty for counterfeiting and trade marks offences in the UK is ten years imprisonment. Late in 2002 Norwich Crown…


COPYRIGHT  TV, Film, Artists and Composers, Record Labels, Music Publishing, Internet Eldred -v- Ashcroft (2003) In this case, the US Supreme Court finally confirmed the provisions of the US Copyright Extension Act 1998. This Act, known as the ‘Sonny Bono’ Act after the late recording artist and congressman, extends US copyright protection to life of author plus 70 years (up from 50 years) and 95 years (up from 75 years) for works owned by corporations. The Act, passed after lobbying from Walt Disney and other media corporations (worried about older works falling into the public domain) returns certain works to copyright and gives extended protection to other works. It could be argued it is the end of public domain as hundreds of thousands of works which would have become freely available are now protected by copyright laws. (John Naughton, The Networker, Observer Newspaper 19/01/03). See : See :

Artists , Copyright , Music Publishing / January 2003

COPYRIGHT Music Publishing, Artists and Composers A recent study by the Informa Media Group shows that downloading mobile phone rings is a fast growing and lucrative business. Informa found that in 2002 songwriter’s collection societies collected in excess of £44 million for composers and publishers and that the global income from mobile tone rings was in excess of US$1 billion. See for further information.


COPYRIGHT Record Labels, Music Publishing, Internet Following on from the Recording Industry Association of America’s successful action against Napster (RIAA -v- Napster, Judge Marilyn Patel, July 2000) where a preliminary injunction was granted Effectively shutting Napster down, further cases have now reached the courts. In April 2001 Aimster applied to the US District Court requesting that it declare that its service was legal. A number of organisations including the RIAA reacted by filing lawsuits against Aimster alleging contributory and vicarious copyright infringements. The District Court agreed that Aimster had clear knowledge of the infringements taking place using its service and that Aimster materially contributed to these infringements, could supervise them if Aimster wanted and Aimster financially benefitted from the (infringements) on its service. A preliminary injunction was granted. A decision of the activities of KaZaA in the USA is expected soon. BUT in a Dutch decision, the activities of KaZaA were held NOT to infringe copyright in an action between KaZaA BV and the Dutch collection societies BUMA/STEMRA. The Court held that as KaZaA BV could not prevent the exchange of copyright material between its users the service itself was not unlawful although the acts carried out by some users were certainly…


COPYRIGHT Record Labels, Music Publishing, Artists and Composers The World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) has announced that the total number of contracting states for the Berne Convention (which sets out and defines minimum standards of protection for economic and moral rights for authors of literary and artistic works) is now 149 nations and that the total number of contracting states to the Geneva Convention (protecting phonographic copyrights) has reached 69. Email: for further information.