US COURT DIMISSES COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT CASE

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 ...

HARRODS v DOW JONES

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 ...

SPIKE LEE WINS SURPRISE VICTORY IN ACTION OVER VIACOM’S ‘SPIKE’ CHANNEL

IMAGE RIGHTS Artists, Record Labels Director Spike Lee issued proceedings against US media giant Viacom over plans to rename a cable channel Spike TV. Viacom had said that it wanted to make the name change in order to attract more male viewers. Lee’s application included a request for injunctive relief against Viacom’s use of the name Spike, saying he had never given his consent for it to be used. Lee – real name Shelt...

DJ’s CASE STRENGTHENS CASE FOR UK PRIVACY LAW
Artists , Privacy / July 2003
UK

PRIVACY Artists UK DJ Sara Cox has been successful in an action against Sunday newspaper The People after the newspaper published nude shots of Cox and boyfriend John Carter on their honeymoon whilst relaxing on a private beach. Cox had originally complained to the UK’s Press Complaints Commission, the self-regulatory body which issues and adjudicates on the PCC’s code of conduct. The photographs which were in clear breach o...

VERIZON HAND OVER SUBSCRIBER DETAILS

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 dec...

ASSOCIATED NEWSPAPERS PROTECT ‘MAIL’ NEWSPAPER MARK

TRADE MARK Artists, Record Labels, Internet Associated Newspapers, owners of the Daily Mail, Mail on Sunday and Evening Standard suceeded in a High Court action to prevent rival publishing group Express Newspapers from calling their planned new evening newspaper theEvening Mail or the London Evening Mail. Mr Justic Laddie held that the the proposed title could confuse the general public into believing that the new paper came from the ...

RIAA FACE SETBACK IN LATEST ACTION AGAINST P2P FACILITATORS

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...

US COURT HAMMERS MAJORS’ ACCOUNTING PRACTICES
Artists , Copyright , Record Labels / June 2003
USA

COPYRIGHT Record Labels, Artists On April 22 2003, the U.S. District Court based in Los Angeles, dealt a blow to BMG and Sony, deciding that record clubs owned by the two majors had to face a court action scheduled for January 2004. The court found that the record clubs failed to pay for mechanical licenses on the premium records given away (roughly 6-8 cents per song, per copy sold). Songwriters’ lawyers estimate that the record ...

MICHAEL JACKSON LAUNCHES ACTION AGAINST MOTOWN
Artists , Copyright , Record Labels / June 2003
USA

COPYRIGHT Artists, Record Labels Michael Jackson is suing his former label Motown Records and its parent company Universal Music Group. Jackson claims that Motown, the label he signed with in 1969, breached a contract dated January 1980 that required the label to pay him royalties for certain pre-1976 recordings made by Jackson as a solo artist and the Jackson 5. In exchange for those royalties, Michael Jackson had agreed to waive his r...

CALIFORNIA SENATE TO CONSIDER DRAFT LAW TO OBLIGE RECORD LABELS TO CALCULATE ROYALTIES

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 devel...

UGANDAN MUSIC PIRACY PROMPTS NEW COPYRIGHT SANCTIONS
Artists , Copyright , Record Labels / June 2003

COPYRIGHT Record Labels, Artists Widescale CD and cassette piracy in Uganda have prompted the Uganda Performing Right Society (UPRS) to push for legislation to criminalise piracy. UPRS estimate that over ten million units are copied and sold in Uganda annually depriving copyright owners of substantial royalty payments. Source:http://allafrica.com/stories/200304240277.html ...

BELGIUM TO INTRODUCE TAX ON REWRITABLE CDs

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 aga...

US JUDGE THROWS OUT CLAIM FOR DAMAGED HEARING

HEALTH & SAFETY Live Concert Industry Manhatten Supreme Court Judge Matrin Schoenfeld threw out a lawsuit from 56 year old lawyer Jeffrey Powell who claimed that John Fogerty’s music damaged his hearing. Judge Schoenfeld rejected the claim saying “if you don’t like loud music don’t go to rock concerts” and added that “Nobody is forced to attend rock ‘n’ roll concerts”. Powell saw...

BRITISH SINGER MISS KIER ALLEGES THAT HER CHARACTER RIGHTS ARE BEING USED WITHOUT CONSENT
Artists , Copyright , Trade Mark / June 2003
UK

COPYRIGHT, TRADEMARK Artists, Merchandising The flamboyant British singer Lady Miss Kier believes a video game has stolen her image including her pink ponytailed hair, short skirt and knee-high boots and signature cry of “Ooh La La.” Miss Keir, who found fame with Deee-Lite, filed the suit in the Los Angeles Superior Court this week against the U.S. arm of video game publisher Sega, alleging the 2000 game “Space Channe...

RIAA -V- STUDENTS

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 Launc...

VERIZON MOTION TO QUASH FAILS

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 subp...

RAVE ACT PASSES THROUGH US CONGRESS
Licensing , Live Events / June 2003
USA

LICENSING Live Concert Industry The US Rave Act has passed through the US Congress when Senator Joe Biden tied the provisions to the Child Abduction Prevention Act. This means that the promoter or organiser of events and/or the property owner can face imprisonment for up to twenty years if drugs are found being used at venues and nightclubs. The Drugs Policy Alliance warned that ‘Property owners can be punished for drug offences w...

BARBARA TAYLOR BRADFORD BRINGS ACTION IN INDIAN SUPREME COURT
Copyright / June 2003
India
UK

COPYRIGHT Television, Radio The author Barbara Taylor Bradford has won an injuction in the Indian Supreme Court to prevent transmission of a 260-episode Bollywood serial ‘inspired’ by her best selling novel A Woman Of Substance. The novel tells of the heroine’s rise from an impoverished servant to become head of a business empire and the Bollywood serial Karishma – the Miracles Of Destiny charts a similar stor...

ARSENAL VICTORY IN COURT OF APPEAL
Trade Mark / May 2003
UK

TRADE MARK Merchandising The Court of Appeal has published its decision in the case of Arsenal Football Club Plc -v- Reed substantially overturning the decision of Mr Justice Laddie in the High Court. The Court of Appeal applied the European Court of Justice’s decision that where a third party used in the course of a trade a sign that was identical to a validly registered trademark on goods which were identical to those for which ...

TRADER FREE TO SELL CELTIC AND RANGER’S FAKES
Trade Mark / May 2003
UK

TRADE MARK Merchandising A Scottish Court has confirmed the approach of Mr Justice Laddie in Reed -v- Arsenal Football Club when it allowed a street trader to continue selling branded ‘Celtic’ and ‘Rangers’ associated football club goods. The defendant, Joseph Gallacher, could have faced up to 10 years in jail when he was charged with breaching the Trademarks Act 1994 by selling unlicensed merchandise. Sheriff La...

COURT PROVIDES NEW WEAPON IN THE AUDIT ARSENAL

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 t...

RIAA LAUNCHES PRE-EMPTIVE STRIKE AGAINST STUDENT DOWNLOADING

COPYRIGHT Internet, Record Labels The RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) has issued lawsuits against four students in the United States to prevent the illegal downloading of music files. Two of the students are from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, one from Princeton and one from Michigan Technological University. The Record Industry’s previous tactic (e.g. in the UK) had been to send university and employers formal...

SUPREME COURT OF CANADA TO REVIEW THE POSITION OF INTERNET SERVICE PROVIDERS (ISPs)
Copyright , Internet / May 2003
Canada

COPYRIGHT Internet The Supreme Court of Canada is to review the position of Internet Services Providers who facilitate the transmission of music on the internet. The case in question, known as the ‘Tariff 22 case’ began in 1995 when the Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers of Music in Canada (SOCAN) filed an application with the Copyright Board of Canada for the creation of a new royalty to cover music on the Interne...

CATHERINE ZETA JONES AND MICHAEL DOUGLAS HAVE LIMITED SUCCESS AGAINST HELLO! UNDER THE LAW OF CONFIDENCE
Artists , Privacy / May 2003
UK

PRIVACY Artists In a 104 page High Court judgement, Mr Justice Lindsay ruled that Hello! magazine had breached commercial confidentiality by publishing photographs secretly taken of the Douglas/Zeta-Jones wedding, and that Hello! had breached the Press Complaint’s Commissions’ code of conduct – but that there had been no invasion of the couple’s privacy in law. The Judge held that the evidence that Hello! and OK ...

ASTORIA FIGHTS FOR LICENCE
Licensing , Live Events / May 2003
UK

LICENCING Live Concert Industry The London Evening Standard reported (08/04/03) that the Astoria in Charing Cross Road faces a fight for its public entertainment licence after Westminster Council renewed efforts to remove the venue’s public entertainment licence. The venue has had a number of high profile problems and in the eight months between September 2001 and May 2002 the emergency services were called to the venue 152 times....

DAMAGES AWARDED IN EASYINTERNETCAFE LITIGATION

COPYRIGHT Internet, Record Labels Easyinternetcafes have agreed to pay costs and damages totalling £210,000 to the British record industry as a result of the High Court judgement awarded against the internet café chain in January 2003 as a result of the chain’s activities in illegally downloading music and burning CDs for customers (see Law Updates February 2003). See http://media.guardian.co.uk/newmedia/story/0,7496,933184,00...

DTI CONSULTATION ON EC PRIVACY DIRECTIVE
Internet , Privacy / May 2003
UK

PRIVACY Internet, Telecommunications The draft DTI (UK government’s Department of Trade & Industry) Regulations to implement the European Commission’s Privacy and Electronic Communications Directive were published on the 27th March 2003. The Privacy Directive aim is to ensure that the rules which currently apply to phone and fax services will be extended to email and SMS and that privacy will be respected when individual...

SOLOISTS CAN PROVIDE VAT FREE SERVICES IN GERMANY
Artists , Live Events , Taxation / May 2003
Germany

TAXATION Live Concert Industry, Artists The ECJ (European Court of Justice) held on appeal that the meaning of ‘cultural bodies’ in the context of the supply of cultural services in the concert industry could extend to individual performers who would not need to charge VAT for their services. This case arose out of an appeal from the Federal Court of Justice in Germany (Bundesgerichtshof) by a German promoter against a crimi...

US MERCHANDISER TO BRING COUNTERCLAIM ACTION AGAINST BRITNEY
Copyright / April 2003
USA

COPYRIGHT Merchandising SKECHERS USA Inc. the US footwear manufacturer has announced that the Company will file a counterclaim lawsuit against singer Britney Spears and her companies, Britney Brands Inc. and Britney Touring Inc. for fraud and breach of contract. The suit, in the Federal court in Los Angeles, also includes allegations of unjust enrichment and negligent misrepresentation, and seeks rescission of all agreements between Ske...

FORMER MANAGER SUES DRU HILL
Artists , Contract / April 2003
USA

CONTRACTS Management, Artists The R&B group Dru Hill have been served with a $30 million lawsuit from former manager, Kevin A. Peck, who claims the group owes him millions of dollars in management fees. The lawsuit, filed in Baltimore Circuit Court on March 20 2003, alleges unjust enrichment and is served against all of the original band members. Peck believes that his management contract entitled him to a percentage of the group...

STIFF PENALTIES HANDED DOWN TO UK MUSIC PIRATES
Artists , Copyright , Record Labels / April 2003
UK

COPYRIGHT Record Labels, Artists His Honour Judge Lowen, sitting in the Isleworth Crown Court on 12th March 2003, sentenced Yogesh Raizada to 3 years imprisonment and record fines of ,000 under a Confiscation Order. Raizada was charged and found guilty on eleven counts under the Trade Marks Act 1994 and a further two counts under the Video Recordings Act. The Court heard that Raizada had been subject to a number of raids carried out by ...

UK COMMUNICATIONS BILL FACES DETAILED SCRUTINY
Legislation / April 2003
UK

BROADCASTING Television, Radio The UK’s draft Communications Bill has now reached the House of Lords where peers are expected to table amendments to many of the provisions. The Bill is a massive piece of legislation reforming the regulation of telecommunications, broadcast television, radio and the newspapers. The Bill will also reform rules of ownership of the media as well as providing for a new regulatory infrastructure under t...

GLOBAL CLAMPDOWN ON PIRACY

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 equi...

US INTERNET ASSOCIATION SUPPORTS VERIZON
Copyright , Internet / April 2003
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet The US Internet Industry Association (USIIA) has announced that it will support the efforts of Verizon to overturn a recent ruling by the Washington DC District Court in the case of RIAA v Verizon. The ruling was based on a narrow and erroneous reading of a single provision of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act,” says David P. McClure, president of the USIIA. “In reality, this ruling will cause great har...

BPI TARGET UNIVERSITIES OVER ILLEGAL DOWNLOADS
Copyright , Internet , Record Labels / April 2003
UK

COPYRIGHT Internet, Record Labels The BPI (British Phonographic Industry) has today (March 27th) sent out a letter to every University in the United Kingdom warning them that they face criminal sanctions if they collude in the illegal downloading of music files. This action follows similar actions by record company associations in Australia and the USA, the latter resulting in in the US Navy Acadamy warning nearly 100 students about dow...

WHEN ‘MOVING’ IS ‘DANCING’
Licensing , Live Events / April 2003
UK

LICENSING Live Concert Industry Undercover licensing officers for Westminster Council in London have investigated and now succesfully prosecuted the Pathfinder Pubs, owner of the Pitcher & Piano chain of bars, for allowing customers to dance at bars which did not hold a public entertainment licence. The bars argued that customers were simply ‘moving rhythmically’ to the music. Horseferry Road Magistrates Court fined the ...

Article: THE DOCTRINE OF RESTRAINT OF TRADE
Articles / March 2003

Click here to download this article as a PDF file (.pdf) The Doctrine of Restraint of Trade in Relation to Music Industry Agreements Andrew Evans MA, Solicitor March 2003 In this article Andrew looks at the decisions of the UK courts which have, over the last thirty years, developed a body of law under the doctrine of restraint of trade which will, in certain circumstances, allow artists to ask courts to hold their excusive recording co...

WILL THE VICTORY FOR THE RIAA IN ITS CASE AGAINST VERIZON OPEN THE FLOODGATES FOR LEGAL ACTIONS AGAINST CABLE COMPANIES AND ISPs?

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...

ROD STEWART FACES “MAGGIE MAY” ACTION FROM MANDOLIN PLAYER

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 distinct...

BERT WEEDON WINS LIBEL BATTLE WITH BBC
Artists , Defamation / March 2003
UK

DEFAMATION Artists Guitar legend Bert Weedon has won damages from the BBC over a false claim that he “learned to play the guitar whilst a convict.” His appearance in the libel case was a first time in court for the 82-year-old despite allegations to the contrary in the Daily Mail where a radio preview wrongly included Bert with musicians who had spent spells in prison. The Radio Choice review for Jailhouse Rock incorrectly...

CD PIRACY IN SOUTH AMERICA ESCALATES

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 so...

MISLEADING WEBSITE DIVERTED BUSINESS FROM ENDSLEIGH INSURANCE
Internet , Trade Mark / March 2003
UK

TRADEMARK Internet, Merchandising A website name used by Campus Insurance Services diverted customers intending to buy policies from Endsleigh Insurance to Campus’s own sales pages. Campus registered the names www.ensleigh.com and www.ensleigh.co.uk hoping web users would misspell the word ‘Endsleigh’. It is believed that a large number of students did this and Campus have been ordered to produce details of the number ...

NAPSTER: BMG FACES LAWSUIT

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 th...

AOL LAUNCHES SUBSCRIPTION INTERNET SERVICE
Copyright , Record Labels / March 2003
USA

COPYRIGHT Record Labels AOL’s 27 million subscribers will be offered legitimate access to record company catalogues from $3.95 (0) per month. Subscribers will be given access to the 250,000 strong recording catalogue of download service MusicNet, one of the music industry’s answers to the hugely popular but unauthorised sites like Aimster, KazaA and Morpheus. The New York Times has welcomed the move as the strongest attempt ...

GRAND JURY BEGINS ITS INVESTIGATION INTO THE STATION NIGHTCLUB TRAGEDY
Health & Safety , Live Events / March 2003
USA

HEALTH & SAFETY Live Concert Industry The Grand Jury began its investigation on February 26th behind closed doors at a National Guard training center in East Greenwich to decide whether anyone should be held responsible for the fire and the deaths of 97 people in West Warwick, Rhode Island. Most of the first Grand Jury session was devoted to preliminary talks between prosecutors and lawyers for the rock band Great White whose guitar...

“INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY IS THEFT. IDEAS ARE FOR SHARING”
Copyright , Internet / March 2003
Japan
Netherlands
UK
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet Columnist John Naughton used this headline in his February 09 column in the UK’s Sunday Observer newspaper advancing the argument that in the USA industry associations such as the RIAA (Recording Industries Association of America) and the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) have used politics and clever rhetoric to develop the concept of ‘intellectual property’ and to portray internet file...

OWNER OF SAMPLED SONG WINS COURT INJUNCTION

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 La...

UK PUB PAYS HEFTY PRICE FOR BREACHING PUBLIC ENTERTAINMENT LICENCE
Licensing , Live Events / March 2003
UK

LICENSING Live Concert Industry Pub licensee Peter Elton was fined 00 with 00 costs by Bromley Magistrates Court for two admitted breaches of the Pub’s Public Entertainment Licence. Mr Elton admitted to allowing entertainment to continue for 45 minutes past the licenced curfew at the Alexander Pub in Penge on the Kent Borders in England. The licence conditions had been imposed to prevent disturbance to residential neighbours of th...

DOORS DRUMMER TAKES ACTION AGAINST NEW ‘DOORS’
Artists , Copyright , Trade Mark / March 2003
UK

TRADE MARK, COPYRIGHT Artists, Merchandising A reunion concert featuring two original members of the Doors has prompted a law suit from original drummer John Densmore in the Los Angeles Superior Court for breach of contract and unfair competition. Original keyboardist Ray Manzarek and guitarist Robby Krieger have teamed up with vocalist Ian Astbury (formerly of the Cult) and Stuart Copeland, drummer with the Police, to play a concert in...

INTERNET PATENT VIOLATIONS ALLEGED
Internet , Patents / March 2003
Mexico
USA

PATENTS Internet Acacia Media Technologies have asserted ownership of a number of patents which govern the process of transmitting compressed audio or video online, one of the most basic multimedia technologies on the Net. Acacia have just signed up its latest licensee, Mexican satellite telecommunication company Grupo Pegaso. Radio Free Virgin, the online music division of Richard Branson’s Virgin Corporation, said it agreed to l...