Russian collection society fraud deepens
Criminal Law / March 2017

CRIMINAL Collection societies   Russian collecting society RAO has begun to uncover the extent of the frauds it has suffered following various accusations of embezzlement, one of which resulted in former General Director Sergei Fedotov being placed in custody. He is accused of funnelling over 500 million rubles (£6.9 million) out of the organisation during his time in charge. Authors’ rights collecting society RAO initially...

Russia proposes a ‘super’ EEU collection society
Copyright / March 2017

COPYRIGHT Collection societies   Billboard reports that the Russian government has proposed that there should be one collective licensing body across the Eurasian Economic Union. Russia’s government is still deciding whether or not the government should take over collective licensing in the country after a number of scandals, setting up a new agency that would combine RAO (which is the collection society for authors...

Swedish appellate court allows web blocking
Copyright , Internet / March 2017

COPYRIGHT Internet   The Swedish Court Of Appeal has overturned the ruling in the District Court Of Stockholm in 2015 which had dismissed an application that would have forced internet service providers to block The Pirate Bay and other platforms linked to music and other piracy – a move opposed Swedish ISP Bredbandsbolaget   The Patent And Market Court Of Appeal has now ruled in favour of music and movie ...

Sirius XM wins again against the Turtles
Copyright / March 2017

COPYRIGHT Recorded music, broadcasting   Sirius XM Holdings Inc has won the dismissal of a New York copyright lawsuit over the satellite radio company’s use of pre-1972 sound recordings brought by Flo & Eddie, Inc, who own the 60s pop band the Turtles’ catalogue, reducing the size of a related settlement between both sides in November.  The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has now accepted the December 20th ru...

Florida appellate court to hear Turtles’ appeal
Copyright , Music Publishing / March 2017

COPYRIGHT Recorded music, broadcasting   The Florida Supreme Court will hear arguments beginning on April 6th in the copyright-infringement lawsuit filed by founding members of the 1960s rock group the Turtles against SiriusXM satellite radio. Flo & Eddie Inc., the California-based company whose principals are Turtles vocalists Mark Volman and Howard Kaylan, filed the lawsuit in 2013 alleging copyright infringement involving mu...

Can ReDigi re-sell its self to the Court of Appeal?

COPYRIGHT Recorded music, internet It appears that ReDigi is making a comeback with some high-profile support. Back in 2013 we were listening to the case of Capitol Records, LLC v ReDigi Inc. The case asked if the digital music purchases were capable and eligible for resale under the first sale doctrine.  The doctrine of first sale is (of course!) the legal concept that has been enshrined into US and other copyright laws....

ITV loses Copyright Tribunal appeal
Copyright , Music Publishing / March 2017

COPYRIGHT Broadcasting, music publishing     UK national broadcaster ITV has lost its appeal to the  High Court appeal against the 2016 Copyright Tribunal ruling that set rates for the current (2014-2017) period with PRS for Music, the collection society which represents composers, lyricists and music publishers in the United Kingdom. The Tribunal agreed that PRS could increase the tariff beyond the 2013 fee payment of £...

T Bone Burnett takes aim at DCMA safe harbours
Copyright , Internet / March 2017

COPYRIGHT Internet   Congress enacted the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (“DMCA”) nearly two decades ago, aiming to provide a balance between the needs of content creators, who were struggling to protect their intellectual property in the digital age, and fledgling Internet companies, who feared being held liable for the misdeeds of their customers, giving the technology companies the benefit of ‘safe harbour’...

New Spanish decision might offer support for direct licensing

COPYRIGHT Music publishing, live events sector     A Spanish court has ruled against collection society SGAE in favour of a venue which had negotiated to pay performance royalties directly to artists. The ruling, by Judge Pedro Macías in the commercial court of Badajoz in Extremadura, centres on two shows by veteran Spanish rock group Asfalto and comedian Pablo Carbonell at Badajoz’s 325 capacity Sala Mercantil in 2010...

When will I see my royalties again?
Artists , Contract , Music Publishing / March 2017

CONTRACT Recorded music, artistes   Three members of The Three Degrees, the female vocal group who had hits with  “When Will I See You Again”, “The Runner”, “Woman In Love” and “My Simple Heart”, are suing Sony Music Entertainment, seeking to recoup decades of royalties they say were withheld by a former manager and his widow. The Three Degrees were formed in 1963 in Ph...

Agent of change comes closer still
Live Events / March 2017

PLANNING Live events sector   As part of a wider review of UK housing, the Government has proposed new measures to boost the ‘agent of change’ protections to safeguard music venues from new property developments, which have been welcomed by UK Music, the Music Venue Trust and the Musicians’ Union. The ‘agent of change’ principal puts the responsibility for matters such as soundproofing new homes with t...

Kylie (M) stops Kylie (J) taking the name
Artists , Trade Mark / March 2017

TRADE MARK Artistes   Kylie Minogue has reportedly won – or at least settled – an important legal battle with Kylie Jenner over the latter’s application to trade mark their shared first name. The reality TV star filed paperwork at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in 2015, aiming to register ‘Kylie’ as a trademark for “advertising services” and “endorsement services”...

Battle for SOS 4.8 set to run
Contract , Live Events , Trade Mark / March 2017

TRADE MARK / CONTRACT Live events sector     Legal Music, the promoter of the successful Spanish festival SOS 4.8, has accused the Murcian government of illegally laying claim to the name of the event, and indeed the event itself, which it is says it is “sole and rightful owner” which has featured a host if international artistes over the last nine years including Pulp, Morrissey, The National, PJ Harvey, Franz Ferdin...

Major labels take aim at mixtape app

COPYRIGHT Recorded music, internet   The digital platform that specialising in the distribution of unofficial hip hop mixtapes is in the sights of the US major labels, with the Recording Industry Association Of America accusing Spinrilla and its founder Jeffery Dylan Copeland of rampant copyright infringement. The record labels have, until now, seemingly turned a blind eye to smaller underground labels who release unlicensed mixtap...

Duran Duran granted leave to appeal against Sony/ATV

CONTRACT / COPYRIGHT Music publishing   Duran Duran have been granted leave by the High Court in London to appeal against the decision of Mr Justice Arnold in December 2015 when he ruled against the pop band in their dispute against Gloucester Place Music, which is owned by US company Sony/ATV. Arnold J found that the band would be liable for violating its contract with Sony/ATV by trying to avail itself of provisions in U.S. ...

Will Prince’s musical catalogue return to Tidal?

COPYRIGHT / CONTRACT Recorded music, streaming     There is speculation that Prince’s catalogue will come flooding back to Tidal, as details of the dispute between Prince’s estate and Tidal, the music streaming service owned by the rapper Jay Z and a number if other artistes including , Beyoncé, Rihanna, Kanye West, Nicki Minaj, Daft Punk, Jack White and Madonna have surfaced.    In November, reports say that th...

Thirteen face charges over Manilla festival deaths
Health & Safety , Live Events / March 2017

HEALTH & SAFETY Live events sector   Thirteen people are facing criminal charges over the deaths of five people at last May’s Closeup Forever Summer festival in Manilla in the Philippines. During the event was ongoing, five people were found unconscious in separate locations on the concert grounds on the 22nd May 2016. They were Ariel Leal (22), Lance Garcia (36), Ken Migawa (18), Bianca Fontejon (18) and ...

Viagogo faces fresh legal actions for ticket re-sales
Consumers , Contract , Live Events / March 2017

CONSUMER / CONTRACT Live events sector   Hot on the heels of news that Viagogo were selling tickets for Ed Sheerhan’s Teenage Cancer Trust charity concert at the the Royal Albert Hall at vastly inflated prices, the now Geneva based secondary ticketing platform is facing fresh legal action from a coalition of Spanish promoters, “adding to its ever-growing collection of lawsuits”. The second lawsuit o...

Irish MP launches anti touting Bill
Competition , Consumers , Live Events / February 2017

CONSUMER / COMPETITION Live events sector   Two months after Italy’s landmark legislation which criminalised ticket touting in Italy, an Irish MP has introduced a similar bill – the Prohibition of Above-Cost Ticket Touting Bill 2016 – for consideration by the Oireachtas in the Republic of Ireland. The ,move comes after the widespread re-sale of tickets for U2’s Joshua Tree tour, and the bill is authored by Noel...

Little River Band Trade Mark Dispute
Artists , Trade Mark / February 2017

TRADE MARK Artistes   Australia’s The New Daily has a well written piece on the trials and tribulations of founding (but former) members of Little River Band, one of the country’s first bands to crack America when their track “Help Is On Its Way” entered the US Top Twenty in November 1977. The song, written by lead singer Glenn Shorrock, peaked at number 14 on the Billboard charts and  Be...

Now BMI takes on the US Radio industry
Copyright , Music Publishing / February 2017

COPYRIGHT Music Publishing    Last month, Irving Azoff’s US collection society, Global Music Rights (GMR), launched a legal attack on the Radio Music License Committee (RMLC), which represents over 10,000 commercial radio stations in the United States. The suit followed an action by the RMLC that moved that GMR be enjoined from licensing its catalogue of songs for more than a rate that represented the pro-rata...

McCartney files against Sony/ATV to reclaim song copyrights
Copyright , Music Publishing / February 2017

COPYRIGHT Music Publishing   Sir Paul McCartney, the former Beatle, has filed a lawsuit against Sony/ ATV in the federal court in New York.  The lawsuit is aimed at reclaiming the copyright in 267 of the songs that he wrote with John Lennon throughout the 1960s when they were members of the Beatles. The first steps to reclaim the copyrights were taken back in 2008 when McCartney first filed to reclaim the rights in the song ...

Sirius XM triumph in New York appellate court
Copyright , Music Publishing / January 2017

COPYRIGHT Recorded music, broadcasting   New York’s highest court has ruled that Sirius XM does not have to get permission, or pay compensation, to the owners of pre-1972 music recordings in order to play their tracks in the case brought by the owners of The Turtle’s 1967 hit “Happy Together.” The Court of Appeals determined that New York common law does not recognise a “public performance right” in ...

Italy moves to crimimalise touting
Consumers , Live Events / January 2017

CONSUMER Live event sector   An amendment to Italy’s 2017 budget law that would criminalise ticket touting has been approved by the country’s Chamber of Deputies. The amendment, introduced earlier this month by culture minister Dario Franceschini, prohibits the “sale, or any other form of placement [on the secondary market], of tickets” by anyone other than the issuer, and provides for fines of between €5,000 and €180,...

Italian Court Fines Secondary-Ticketing Websites for ‘Bagarinaggio 2.0’
Copyright , Live Events / January 2017

COPYRIGHT Live events sector   Italian collection society SIAE has won a court order to prevent the resale of tickets to Coldplay’s shows in Milan next July. This update by Jonathan Coote. Judge Fausto Basile at the Civil Tribunal of Rome has ordered that secondary-ticketing sites Viagogo, Seatwave and TicketBis pay €2,000 a ticket if they continue to break copyright laws re-selling Coldplay tickets. However, it has not retros...

US and UK move against ticketing touts
Competition , Consumers , Live Events / January 2017

CONSUMER – COMPETITION Live events sector   In the USA, anti-touting legislation has primarluly been governed by state level legislation – New York recently banned the use of the so called ‘bots ‘– software that enables ticket touts to buy up large quantities of tickets from primary sites – so that using such technology could result in criminal sanctions including imprisonment. But lawmakers in Washington h...

US music industry asks Trump for a fair deal (but less fair use!)

COPYRIGHT Recorded music, music publishing   Nineteen US music industry organisations have come together deliver an open letter to President-elect Donald Trump (pictured left), pointing out that the likes of YouTube, Google and Facebook have thrived on ‘free’ music and what they term the “value grab”, and that “sophisticated technology corporations can do better” at fighting piracy, and and shoul...

PRS led investigation results in prison term for chart pirate
Copyright , Internet , Music Publishing / January 2017

COPYRIGHT Internet, recorded music   A Liverpool man has been sentenced to a 12 month prison sentence after pleading guilty to illegally distributing UK chart hits online, which PRS for Music says potentially cost the music industry “millions of pounds and depriving the creators of the content fair remuneration for their work”. The sentence was the result of a joint investigation between PRS for Music and the City of Lo...

Music copyright owners target FaceBook
Copyright , Music Publishing / January 2017

COPYRIGHT Music publishing   Universal Music Group is leading a pack of music companies who are issuing takedown notices against FaceBook in an effort to remove unlicensed covers of popular tracks – unsurprising given that FaceBook currently doesn’t pay to use music to the likes of PRS for Music. But there some significant casualties – a number of unsigned artists for whom the fallout is causing major headaches. MBW...

Beyonce faces copyright claim over logo chain
Copyright , Music Publishing / January 2017

COPYRIGHT Recorded music, artwork     Beyoncé is facing a law suit in the U.S for alleged copyright infringement in the video for ‘Drunk in Love’. According to Billboard and TMZ, Dwayne Walker, who claims to have designed the Roc-A-Fella logo,  has filed a suit against Beyonce  for holding Jay Z’s chain in her hand in the video, alleging she does not have permission for “prominently displaying” the image. Walker ...

French songwriter arrested in plagiarism row
Copyright , Music Publishing / January 2017

COPYRIGHT Music publishing   A French musician and his Russian lawyer have spent a night in a Moscow police station after a Russian pop star accused them of attempting to extorting one million euros from him in a plagiarism row. Didier Marouani, who first came to tour in the Soviet Union in 1983, and his lawyer Igor Trunov were detained at a bank where they said they were to sign an out-of-court settlement with Filipp Kirkorov, on...

Ghost Ship fire leaves 36 dead
Health & Safety , Live Events / January 2017

HEALTH & SAFETY Live events sector   A devastating warehouse fire which killed at least 36 people in Oakland, California, has painful echoes with the 2003 ‘Great White’ disaster in Rhode Island where 100 people died and the more recent Colectiv nightclub fire in Bucharest – and is California’s deadliest structure fire in California since the 1906 earthquake and fire that killed hundreds in San Francisco....

Clement Jones withdraws Licensing Act amendments – for now
Licensing , Live Events / January 2017

LICENSING Live events sector   A recent House of Lords investigation in the United Kingdom’s Parliament has seen leading figures from across the live music industry calling for a change in live event licensing to make it easier to stage events and help the live sector thrive. At the heart of the debate was a proposed amendment to licensing law which would ensure cultural benefits to the community are considered by local auth...

Dweezil faces siblings’ challenge to his use of the Zappa name
Artists , Trade Mark / January 2017

TRADE MARK Artists   Dweezil Zappa has  announced a public campaign to protect his right to use the ‘Zappa’ name. Hosted by Pledge Music, The Others of Intention campaign is offering original music downloads and merchandise – donors are invited to participate in the campaign by purchasing items ranging from a digital access pass to Zappa-inscribed guitar picks to limited edition Zappa artwork and vinyl record ...

Bono and Larry must compensate libelled promoter
Defamation , Live Events / January 2017

DEFAMATION Live events sector   U2 vocalist Bono and drummer Larry Mullens have been ordered to pay damages to a Brazilian promoter for wrongly claiming that they were not paid for three shows in 1998. The Court of Justice of Santa Catalina ruled that the musicians must pay Franco Bruni R$1.5m (US$441,000) in “material and moral damages” for remarks made in a 2000 O Globo interview, in which Bono and Mullens alleged they had n...

Delhi High Court rules that three Indian collection societies must cease to issue licences
Copyright , Live Events / January 2017

COPYRIGHT Live events sector   In a blow to three Indian music copyright collection societies, the Delhi High Court has restrained them from granting any such licence till April 24th 2017. Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva, in an interim order, restrained the Indian Performing Right Society (IPRS), the Phonographic Performance Ltd (PPL) and Novex Communications Pvt Ltd from contravening section 33 of Copyright Act,  which provides that on...

Cases to watch in 2017
General / January 2017

ARTICLE LINK: All Areas   This article on Forbes by music attorney Erin M Jackson  highlights the top music legal cases to watch in 2017, what to expect, and how they could affect the industry as a whole (albeit from a US perspective)   – Global Music Rights v. The Radio Music Licensing Commission  – The Turtles v. SiriusXM –  “Blurred Lines” v. “Got To Give It Up”   http://www.forbes.com/s...

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

CONSUMER LAW Live events sector     The Culture, Media and Sport Committee has written to the UK’s Secretary of State for Culture, media & Sport Culture, Karen Bradley MP, asking her to ban the use of ‘bots’ – software programmes used by touts to harvest tickets for resale in the secondary market. The letter also raises concerns about the operation of the event ticketing market following last week...

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

CONSUMER Live events sector   Canadian promoter and ticket agency Evenko has been fined C$10,056 for misleadingly pricing concert tickets after Quebec’s Office of Consumer Protection (L’Office de la protection du consommateur, OPC) took action against L’Aréna des Canadiens, Inc., trading as Evenko OPC found the company failed to offer a free delivery method for tickets to shows by Charles Aznavour and Enrique Iglesias at the 21...

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

COPYRIGHT Music publishing     This guest blog is by Jonathan Coote   2014’s ‘Uptown Funk’ by Bruno Mars and Mark Ronson is a 70s and 80s collage of influences, a knowingly reverential homage to the songwriters’ musical amours. However, for eighties electro-funk band Collage, this knowing veneration seems to sit too close to home. They are suing Mars and Ronson alongside co-writers, Sony’s Music Entertainment, ...

Prince’s estate takes on TIDAL

COPYRIGHT Recorded music, internet     A court battle over the streaming rights to Prince’s back catalogue is looming after the late singer’s estate filed a claim in the US courts against Jay Z’s Roc Nation and the TIDAL streaming service. The action on behalf Prince’s estate, fronted by NPG Records, claims that Roc Nation and TIDAL is streaming more than a dozen of the star’s albums without permi...

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

COPYRIGHT Recorded music     Members of 1960s rock group The Turtles have settled their action against Sirius XM over what the band claimed were unpaid royalties for the use of ‘Pre 1972’ copyrights. The terms of the settlement were not disclosed. The filing of settlement papers was noted by both The Hollywood Reporter and National Law Journal. New York’s highest court had heard oral arguments in the case, which...

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

COPYRIGHT Live events sector     Essex nightclub Miya, which has featured in the hit ITV show The Only Way Is Essex, has been ordered to stop using music and sound recordings after a trial for copyright infringement. In an action brought by Phonographic Performance Limited and PRS for Music (PPL and PRS) the Court found that Kerry Ormes, the nightclub’s designated premises supervisor, (charged with the day-to-day managemen...

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

COPYRIGHT Music publishing, internet     It’s been one of the biggest stand-offs in digital music history – but now it appears that YouTube and German collection society GEMA have finally reached a licensing agreement – meaning German consumers can now finally (legally) use YouTube to stream music videos   Someone must have blinked, although the blank screens in one of the world’s major economies c...

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

CONTRACT Music publishing     Duran Duran have begun their action in the High Court in London in a case that will test the ability of UK songwriters to exercise their reversion rights under US copyright law.   The band are fighting Sony/ATV ownedEMI Music Publishing. EMI is seeking to block the band’s songwriter members from taking back control of the rights to songs on their early albums. Duran Duran members Simon Le B...

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

COMPETITON / ANTI TRUST Live events sector   America’s newest performing rights organisation Global Music Rights (GMR) is facing a law suit brought by the US radio industry in a move to force the rights agency to submit to independent arbitration to set the rates broadcasters must pay to play the songs it represents In the US, the big two collecting societies representing the performing right in compositions (ASCAP and BMI) are regul...

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

LICENSING Live events sector   Following extensive talks with Islington Council and the Metropolitan Police, and the public outcry at the threatened permanent closure, London’s Fabric nightclub will reopen after Highbury Magistrates Court approved a new set of licensing conditions. The exact reopening date has not been decided as yet. Fabric raised a six figure sum in excess of £325,000 from donations to fund legal fees to figh...

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

TAXATION Live events sector   Coldplay’s debut show in India has been allowed to go ahead, following the failure of a legal challenge in the High Court of Bombay. Anti-corruption activists Anjali Damania and Hemant Gavande challenged a decision by the Maharashtra state government, which had waived entertainment duty on the concert: their challenge was based on the argument that the British band’s performance at the not-for-pro...

Sound marks must be distinctive
Trade Mark / December 2016

TRADE MARK All areas     The General Court (GC) of the Court of Justice of the European Union has confirmed that sound marks need to have a distinctive character to be registered as a European Union Trade Mark (EUTM).   Globo Comunicação e Participações S/A (Globo) applied to register a sound mark (shown above) initially for goods and services in classes 9, 16, 38 and 41. This specification was later limited and cover...

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

HEALTH & SAFETY Live events sector   The promoter of Detonate Halloween, in Nottingham, UK, says it is “gutted” after being forced to call off the event three hours early amid claims of serious overcrowding following fence breaches at Nottingham Racecourse on the 29th October 2016. The event was ended at around 20.20, three hours early, on the advice of the festival’s health and safety officer and Nottinghamshire...