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

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
UK
USA

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
USA

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
France
Russia

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
USA

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
UK

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
USA

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
Brazil

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
India

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
USA

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
UK

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
Canada
Germany

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
UK
USA

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
USA

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
UK

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
Germany

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
UK
USA

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
USA

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
UK

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
India
UK

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
EU

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
UK

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...

Buenos Aires EDM ban hits Kraftwerk
Health & Safety , Live Events / December 2016
Argentina

HEALTH & SAFETY Live events sector   Following the six fatalities that occurred as a result of drug overdoses at Time Warp back in April of this year, The Mayor of Argentina’s capital Buenos Aires stopped issuing permits for major electronic music festivals.  Mayor Horacio Rodriguez Larreta  said the measure would remain in effect until the city legislature approved a new law to prevent drug abuse during such events. At the ti...

Director cleared of manslaughter after Fishermen’s Friend’s deaths
Health & Safety , Live Events / December 2016
UK

HEALTH & SAFETY Live events sector   The director of a door manufacturing company has been cleared of manslaughter resulting from the deaths of Fisherman’s Friends singer Trevor Grills and tour manager Paul McMullen at Guildford’s G Live venue in February 2013. Grills, 54, and McMullen, 44, were killed after a two-tonne steel door, which allowed backstage access from the outside, collapsed on them.Grills suffered critic...

Shearer launches Spinal Tap lawsuit against Universal
Contract , Copyright / November 2016
USA

COPYRIGHT / CONTRACT Film & TV   This Is Spinal Tap star Harry Shearer is suing Universal parent Vivendi for alleged is deliberate under-payment of music and other royalties from the classic spoof rockumentary. His website, Fairness Rocks, opens with this Popular music and films make huge money for rights-owning corporations. Yet, too often, the artists and creators get a raw deal from exploitation of their talent. I want to help...

Avenged Sevenfold face a trial – AND a competing ‘best of’ from their former label
Artists , Contract , Record Labels / November 2016
USA

CONTRACT Recorded music, artistes   Avenged Sevenfold surprise announcement of the arrival of their seventh studio album, on Vivendi SA’s Capitol Records, after playing several songs on the roof of Capitol’s circular building in Los Angeles that was streamed online via a virtual reality app, may have come as some surprise to their former; record label, Warner Music Group, who sued the band earlier this year in California state...

WSJ probe Bon Jovi’s China cancellation
Contract , Live Events / November 2016
China
USA

CONTRACT Live events sector   The Wall Street Journal has published an article which seemingly alleges that AEG Live used a video of Bon Jovi “performing in front of an image of the Dalai Lama” to convince Chinese censors to ban the rock act – and thus force the cancellation of a concert tour in China which was being promoted by AEG. The supposed reason?  The third party intervention by Chinese authorities would be an in...

US appeals court revisits ‘safe harbor’
Copyright , Internet , Music Publishing / November 2016
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet, record music, music publishing   A U.S. appeals court has agreed that former members of the EMI Group can pursue additional copyright infringement claims in a long-running lawsuit over defunct online music storage firm MP3tunes. In rejecting an appeal by MP3tunes founder Michael Robertson, who was ordered to pay $12.2 million after a federal jury in 2014 found him liable for copyright infringement, the 2nd U.S. ...

Turtles’ case against Sirius XM reaches New York’s appeals court
Copyright , Record Labels / November 2016
USA

COPYRIGHT Recorded music, broadcasting   New York’s highest court has now heard oral arguments in the case brought by the owner of The Turtles’ 1967 hit song “Happy Together” against Sirius XM Radio. The issue at the heart of the case is  whether the copyright holders of recordings made before 1972 have a common law right to make radio stations and others pay for their use. The lawsuit was filed by Flo & E...

Beatles’ team move to dismiss Shea Stadium copyright claims
Copyright , Live Events / November 2016
UK
USA

COPYRIGHT Live events sector, films and television   Last month we reported that estate of Sid Bernstein, who promoted the Beatles’ famed August 1965 concert at Shea Stadium in New York, was taking legal action against two of the bands’ companies, Apple Corps and Subafilms, for alleged copyright infringement over use of footage from the concert in upcoming documentary film Eight Days a Week: The Touring Years – directed by Ron...

Chicago says DJs and rap are art forms
Licensing , Live Events / November 2016
USA

LICENSING Live events sector   Chicago’s small venues are breathing a sigh of relief following the decision by Cook County to officially recognise popular music and DJ performances as legitimate forms of art. Several Chicago music venues have been locked in a dispute with the county over US$200,000 worth of “crippling” back taxes after one official, Anita Richardson, said DJs, “rap music, country music and rock and roll do ...

Foos settle insurance claim
Insurance , Live Events / November 2016
USA

INSURANCE Live events sector   Foo Fighters have settled a lawsuit relating to a series of cancelled concerts during the band’s 2015 world tour. The American band were forced to cancel portions of their Sonic Highways world tour following lead singer Dave Grohl’s breaking his leg and, later, the November terrorist attacks in Paris.   The Central District Court of California has now dismissed a lawsuit by Foo Fighters which had...

Live Nation sued over US booking fees
Competition , Live Events / November 2016
USA

COMPETITION Live events sector   A New York man is suing Live Nation over its practice of charging booking fees on tickets, accusing the promoter and its ticketing companies of violating the Truth in Lending Act by “advertising one price for a ticket and then charging a higher price when people arrive at the box office”.   David Himber, of West Hempstead, had complained that the price for an advertised $49.50 ticket to Ras...

Rock am Ring organisers cleared of blame for extreme weather evacuation
Health & Safety , Live Events / November 2016
Germany

HEALTH & SAFETY Live events sector   There will be no prosecution of the organisers of the storm-hit Rock Am Ring 2016. Following a anonymous complaint The Koblenz public prosecutor, investigated the safety procedures and emergency storm plan drawn up by festival promoters Marek and Andre Lieberberg/CTS Eventim and licensing authorities and found no evidence of negligence on either part.   At the International Festival Fo...

Radiohead fatality case can progress despite slow pace
Health & Safety , Live Events / November 2016
Canada
UK

HEALTH & SAFETY Live events sector   Live Nation Canada’s moves to have charges it faces over the death of a drum technician before a Radiohead concert four years ago dismissed because of “unreasonable delay” in the case have failed. Scott Johnson, 33, from Doncaster, South Yorkshire, was killed when the stage collapsed in Downsview Park, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, on June 16, 2012.  Live Nation Canada, Live Nation On...

Anti-graft law may threaten K-pop concerts
Live Events , Regulation / November 2016
South Korea

CORPORATE REGULATION Live events sector   The new “anti-graft” law (the Kim Young-ran Act) could have profound effects on live music in South Korea – something already seen in the classical music sector as conglomerates have moved to reduce or discontinue their support for concerts to avoid corruption charges – meaning symphony orchestras and concert organisers will lose the main buyers of bulk tickets, wit...

SFX oppose Sillerman claims
Business , Live Events , Record Labels / November 2016
USA

BANKRUPTCY Live events sector, recorded music   SFX’s founder Robert FX Sillerman, who stood down as CEO shortly after the firm applied for Chapter Eleven bankruptcy protection, has filed a claim for monies to cover legal costs and financial guarantees he made on behalf of the business. According to Amplify, Sillerman has requested just over half a million dollars o pay the law firm he has hired to represent him in litigati...

Mobb Deep’s Prodigy looks to break free from UMG
Contract , Record Labels / November 2016
USA

CONTRACT Recorded music   Having seemingly settled a legal action with Universal last November, Prodigy of Mobb Deep (Albert Johnson) is taking the industry powerhouse to court again, in efforts to completely break free from the major. HipHopDX reports that Prodigy’s attorney Corey D. Boddie said “This particular case involves Prodigy actually looking to get out of his contract based on what is called a ‘mutual mistake....

Ticket re-seller faces fraud allegations
Fraud , Live Events / November 2016
USA

FRAUD Live events sector   42 year old Traci Monti, who allegedly raised more than US$5 million from investors to buy and sell tickets on the secondary ticketing market, has been charged with seven counts of wire fraud – each of which is punishable by up to 20 years in prison – and two counts of money laundering, each of which carries a maximum sentence of ten years. It is alleged Monti ispent the money on a house and car, and...

What do the European Commission’s moves on copyright really mean for the music industry?
Copyright / October 2016
EU

COPYRIGHT All areas   In the context of its Digital Single Market Strategy, the EU Commission is currently engaged in a discussion of whether the liability principles and rules contained in the E-Commerce Directive should be amended – and the focus of commentators has shifted to how hosting providers have been increasingly using ‘safe harbour immunity’ in Article 14 – an alleged abuse which has led to a distort...

PRS for Music Chief Executive responds to EU copyright reform plans
Copyright / October 2016
EU
UK

COPYRIGHT All sectors   The European Commission has now published their Digital Single Market copyright reform proposals, including a Directive of the European Parliament and Council on copyright in the Digital Single Market’.   The proposed Directive, alongside the ‘Regulation of the European Parliament and Council laying down rules on the exercise of copyright and related rights applicable to certain online transmissi...

GEMA: EU Copyright Modernisation: First steps towards a fair and balanced relationship between authors and online platforms
Copyright / October 2016
EU

COPYRIGHT All areas   As we know, the EU Commission has presented its plans for a modernisation of copyright. GEMA have now responded, and this is their take on how things are developing: “The position of authors should be reinforced with a focus on improving how they assert their rights vis-a-vis online platforms. In addition, access to creative contents in the online sector should be improved by a simplified rights clearanc...

200+ Artists Support the “Blurred Lines” Appeal
Copyright , Music Publishing / October 2016
EU
UK
USA

COPYRIGHT Music publishing   Some 212 musicians have attached their names to a brief supporting Pharrell, Robin Thicke and TI’s appeal in the “Blurred Lines” copyright case, including Earth Wind & Fire, R Kelly, John Oates, Linkin Park, Fall Out Boy’s Patrick Stump, film composer Hans Zimmer, Tears for Fears’ Curt Smith, Juicy J, the Go-Go’s, Frank Ocean collaborator Malay, Jennifer Hudson, T...

Authors against music piracy: German sentences online service Uploaded to pay damages
Copyright , Music Publishing / October 2016
Germany

COPYRIGHT Music Publishing   German collective management rights organisation GEMA has won its case in the Regional Court Munich against file-sharing host Uploaded. The decision confirms that file-sharing hosts are liable to pay damages if they do not prevent the upload and distribution of copyright-protected contents. The Regional Court in Munich ruled  (10 August 2016) that online services whose business models are based on larg...

Shea promoter’s estate brings action against new Beatles film
Copyright , Live Events / October 2016
USA

COPYRIGHT Film & TV, live events sector   The estate of Sid Bernstein, who promoted the Beatles’ famed August 1965 concert at Shea Stadium in New York, is taking legal action against two of the bands’ companies, Apple Corps and Subafilms, for alleged copyright infringement over use of footage from the concert in upcoming documentary film Eight Days a Week: The Touring Years – directed by Ron Howard. The film has been pr...

APA take on Gersh over ‘poaching’ of agent
Competition , Contract , Live Events / October 2016
USA

CONTRACT / COMPETITION Live events sector   Two US booking agencies are battling it out in the Superior Court of Los Angeles over the alleged poaching of Beverly Hills-based agent Garrett Smith.  The Agency for the Performing Arts (APA), whose clients includes Paul Oakenfold, 50 Cent, The Proclaimers and Scorpions, is seeking damages for interference with contractual relations, interference with prospective economic advantage and ...

Court uphold fractional licence in BMI case
Competition , Music Publishing / October 2016
USA

COMPETITION Music publishing     In a win for Broadcast Music Inc (BMI), a federal judge has thrown out a recent determination by the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) that performance rights organisations cannot undertake so-called fractional licensing. Not only had the DoJ had refused alter the 70 year old anti-trust ‘consent decrees’ that both ASCAP and BMI operate under, the DoJ insisted that the societies h...

Russian Government looks to take over collection societies

COMPETITION Music publishing, recorded music   The Russian government is reportedly considering taking over some or all of the collective licensing regime in the country. The move comes in the wake of accusations of fraud  which have seen RAO General Director Sergei Fedotov arrested and jailed. There has been disagreement within the collecting society’s membership, with a group of members calling for a new  General Director to...

SFX faces two decisions in the bankruptcy court
Competition , Contract , Internet , Live Events / October 2016
USA

CONTRACT / COMPETITION Live events sector, online   A US bankruptcy judge has allowed Viagogo to proceed with a legal action against SFX Entertainment. modifying the “automatic stay” applied to SFX. Under Chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code, creditors are usually barred from collecting debts from the debtor. and allowing the secondary ticketing platform to “assert and prosecute any and all counterclaims” agains...