Will Australia ban secondary ticketing?
Competition , Consumers , Live Events / March 2018
Australia

CONSUMER / COMPETITION Live events sector   Following on from the introduction of tough anti-touting laws in the state of New South Wales last year, Australia’s federal government is considering a nationwide ban on the re-sale of tickets in some circumstances.   According to Australia’s Daily Telegraph, the country’s government is considering five possible options to legislate in the market for the resale of tickets. One of those options is to completely outlaw the re-selling of tickets by anyone other than primary outlets.   The government’s Assistant Minister to the Treasurer, Michael Sukkar, told the newspaper that the aim of any proposed legislation would be to benefit consumers, saying: “I expect consumers should always get a fair deal when purchasing tickets for events and to access all available tickets on the market. While we are still working to properly address these problems, Australians can be assured that we will do all that is necessary to protect them from any unfair or unscrupulous practices”.   In October last year, the New South Wales government passed an amendment to its Fair Trading Act, banning the selling of tickets at anything more than 10% of their face value. Substantial fines were put in place as…

How should Europe remould the digital market ?
Copyright / March 2018
Australia
EU

COPYRIGHT All sectors: audio-visual, sound recordings, music publishing   An open letter, addressed to the European Parliament has asked MEPs to back an effort to reform the safe harbour laws and implement legislation to narrow the so called ‘value gap’. Not much new there? Well, the letter had two prominent signatories: the godfather of electronic music, Jean-Michel Jarre, and the Grammy Award winning Angelique Kidjo.  In essence, under the E-Commerce Directive, safe harbour laws as they stand mean that Internet Society Service Providers are not liable if they are unsuspectingly hosting copyright infringing content. If we look at the YouTube example, so much content is uploaded every day that it is practically impossible to sieve through it all for copyright infringing works, therefore if YouTube is doing all that it can to root out the infringing material it is protected under the safe harbour principle. Liability may arise if YouTube was put on notice of the infringing content and failed to remove it in a timely fashion.  Due to the quantity of infringing material out there and with entities only being liable in certain circumstances, not everyone is happy. Artists are not happy that their content is out there and…

No safe harbour for Google in Oz
Copyright , Internet / January 2018
Australia

COPYRIGHT Internet   Google and perhaps more importantly YouTube will be excluded from new proposed extended safe harbour provisions which form part of the copyright law reforms in Australia. Australia had a very narrow definition of safe harbour and currently these only apply to commercial Internet service providers. After extensive lobbying by the technology sector in Australia, who of course want wider safe harbour provisions, the Australian media and music industries hit out at proposed reforms pointing out that current safe harbour systems that operate in America and the European Union under review. And the Austrlian government seems to have listened, and the new beneficiaries of the safe harbour under the latest proposals are libraries and educational or cultural institutions. Australia’s Communications Minister Mitch Fifield said that safe harbour protection would initially be extended to organisations that “provide beneficial services to all Australians and who are working collaboratively with copyright owners to address infringement”. The Government now plans further consultation on extending the safe harbour to the technology sector and in particular the likes of Google and Facebook but Fifiled added they would be “mindful of the need to ensure the rights of creators are properly protected” adding “Australia’s copyright industries make a significant…

Viagogo faces Australian investigation
Competition , Live Events / September 2017
Australia
UK

COMPETITION / CONSUMER Live events sector    The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission has begun legal proceedings against the secondary ticketing website Viagogo, accusing the controversial ticket resale platform of making false or misleading representations, and of engaging in misleading or deceptive conduct, joining a number of actions that Viagogo is facing in different countries around the globe.   In the UK, Viagogo has faced growing complaints, not least because it re-sold tickets for the Teenage Cancer Trust charity concert, because not one representative of the now Swiss based company turned up for the investigation into ticketing by the Parliamentary Culture Select Committee despite Viagogo having a UK office, and has faced a furious backlash from consumers, most noticeably from the Victims Of Viagogo campaign on Facebook.   The ACCC is claiming in the filing with the Australian Federal Court that the secondary ticketing company breached Australian consumer rights law between 1st May and 26th June this year. Among the specific complaints made by the ACCC are that:  Viagogo failed to disclose upfront significant booking fees, estimating that these average 27.6% for most events; that it misled consumers about ticket availability by making statements like “less than 1% of tickets…

Australian law makers look to ban bots, whilst in the UK, Viagogo are a no show
Consumers , Live Events / April 2017
Australia

CONSUMER Live events sector     Lawmakers in Australia are also considering a nationwide ban on the software used by ticket touts to buy up large quantities of tickets for in-demand events from primary ticketing sites, using so called ‘bots’. In 2016 President Obama signed banning the use of ticket tout bots, while the UK government has now said it supports inserting a similar specific bots ban into Digital Economy Bill. In Australia, where touting (scalping) has traditionally been legislated for on a state by state basis, the Federal Senate has approved a motion introduced by independent senator Nick Xenophon calling on the country’s government to also ban bots. He is quoted by MusicFeeds as saying: “Genuine Australian fans are being unfairly deprived of tickets because ticket scalpers are using automated systems to buy a bulk of tickets when they are released. They’re then on-selling them for massive amounts to those that missed out. It’s a clear cornering of a market that hurts consumers”. In early March, Australian consumer watch organisation Choice revealed ticket sellers were inflating prices by up to 500 percent. It also dismissed current consumer laws as inconsistent and ineffective. Xenophon’s motion was not backed by the Australian government,…

Australia drops ‘safe harbour’ reforms
Copyright / April 2017
Australia

COPYRIGHT All areas   The Australian government has dropped plans to extend safe harbour protection from the revision of the country’s copyright laws. The Australian recorded music industry was among those who criticised plans to extend the country’s copyright safe harbour to be more in line with those in the US and Europe. Others in the media and entertainment industries hit out at that proposal, pointing out that the wider safe harbour provisions were becoming increasingly controversial in the US and the European Union, and that moves were afoot in the latter to put new limits on safe harbour protection, and that the proposed safe harbour reform hadn’t been subject to proper consultation, unlike the other proposals in the Copyright Amendment Bill. Dan Rosen of the Australian Recording Industry Association said on the news: “The other schedules to the bill were subject to a proper consultation and review by the department and that would be the appropriate place for an evidence-based inquiry into the commercial and market impact of any reform to safe harbour”. Communications Minister Mitch Fifield said that the safe harbour proposal had been taken out of the copyright bill in response to “feedback” from the content industries, and…

Falls Festival crowd crush lawsuit reaches court
Health & Safety , Live Events / April 2017
Australia

HEALTH & SAFETY Live events sector   A class-action lawsuit has just been filed against the organisers of Falls Festival following the  crowd crush that took place at the Lorne edition  of the 2016/17 event in Australia, which left approximately 80 people injured – some very seriously. The Industry Observer reports that the incident occurred as festival-goers were leaving a set by local trio DMA’S to catch international act London Grammar, with the crowd’ surge towards the seemingly inadequate exits caused audience members to be crushed against the barriers or beneath the resulting stampede. Pres reports in December 2016 said “Festival-goers were crushed, left gasping for air and unconscious during a chaotic crowd stampede at the Falls Festival in Lorne on Victoria’s south-west coast” A representative for the lawyers acting for the claimants stated “The allegation is that if proper care and attention had been taken to configuring the area where the acts were taking place, and the scheduling of the successive acts this stampede would not have occurred, that this was entirely avoidable” adding “That’s the basis of this action – predominantly in negligence of the organisers. 65 participants are seeking damages in the case. Falls co-producer Jessica Ducrou responded with a…

Little River Band Trade Mark Dispute
Artists , Trade Mark / February 2017
Australia
UK
USA

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  Between 1977 and 1983 Little River Band had eleven top 20 hits in the United States, leading the way for an Oz invasion that included success for Air Supply, Men At Work, INXS, Savage Garden, Wolfmother, Tame Impala and many more. But for Shorrock and other LRB founding members, The New Daily says “the anniversary of the band’s breakthrough in America is tinged with bitterness.” And why is that? Well, since 1998, all of the original members, including Shorrock, Graeham Goble, Beeb Birtles and Derek Pellicci have been blocked from performing their hits in the US and Australia under the “Little River Band” banner because they no longer control the band’s trademarks. These are owned by Stephen Housedon, a British-born musician and songwriter, who was invited by the founding members to join LRB as lead guitarist in…

Sydney’s ‘lock out’ laws take a knock
Licensing , Live Events / October 2016
Australia

LICENSING Live events sector   The Supreme Court of New South Wales has ruled that Sydney venues are exempt from New South Wales’s controversial ‘lock-out laws’ which were introduced by the New South Wales (NSW) government in 2014 and require that music venues, nightclubs, bars and hotels lock their doors at 1.30am and not serve drinks past 3.00 in a bid to curb alcohol-related violence. The legislation has been attacked by a number of prominent Australians as illogical and damaging to the music industry. This case was brought by the owners of the Smoking Panda bar who persuaded the Court that  the New South Wales Justice Department lacked the authority to subject to the city to the 1.30 curfew. The bar now joins tourist areas and hotels which are already exempt from the lock-outs, The Smoking Panda’s exemption was cancelled after an investigation found some bar patrons were not hotel guests.   In addition to live music venues, Supreme Court judge Natalie Adams also ruled that strip clubs should be exempt, stating the laws are “not a proper exercise of the regulation-making power conferred upon the governor [of New South Wales]”. Lock-out laws continue to apply to other establishments. The…

Sydney’s late night industry not impressed by independent review
Licensing , Live Events / October 2016
Australia

LICENSING Live events sector     The independent report into Sydney’s controversial ‘Lock Out’ laws by former High Court judge Ian Callinan has recommended a two-year trial in which the 1.30am lockout and 3am last drinks measures are relaxed for live entertainment venues. Easing those restrictions by half-an-hour could help restore the vibrancy and lost employment opportunities in the precincts affected by the laws Callinan said in his report. The previous O’Farrell government introduced the laws in 2014, following a series of fatal one-punch attacks and other violence.   NSW state premier Mike Baird said he was pleased the review had confirmed the laws had reduced alcohol-related violence in the CBD and Kings Cross area. He said the government would consult with Mr Callinan and the industry to clarify a clear definition of live entertainment venues, including whether it should include recorded music or DJs. Opponents of the lockout laws had hoped the Report would prove their claim that the measures passed by the New South Wales government in 2014 had pretty much killed Sydney’s nightlife. The laws were originally passed in an effort to end alcohol-fuelled violence in Sydney’s key nightlife areas, such as Kings Cross. Callinan acknowledged the adverse effect the…

Australian Greens prompt review of drug laws
Licensing , Live Events / October 2016
Australia

LICENSING Live events sector   The Green Party in Australia has prompted a rewiew of  drug laws after successfully passing a motion through the Senate calling for the introduction of pill testing and an end to the use of sniffer dogs at music festivals.  The motion passed without objection from either major party, and calls for an number of harm reduction measures, including “needle and syringe programs”, “supervised injecting rooms” and “pill testing”. “We know that [dogs] frighten people into taking their drugs in one hit and are contributing to overdoses rather than preventing them,” Greens leader Richard Di Natalie wrote in The Guardian earlier this year, adding that “a government’s responsibility is to keep our young people safe.” Comment in Austrlia says that any meaningful change will require the cooperation of the state governments – but that this remains unlikely. NSW Premier Mike Baird has previously dismissed the concept of pill testing as “ridiculous”, while Tasmanian Police Minister Rene Hidding called it “quality assurance for drug pushers” – despite the fact that Tasmania’s police association came out in support of just such a proposal.   http://junkee.com/senate-passed-motion-calling-pill-testing-removal-festival-sniffer-dogs/84381   https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/mar/02/richard-di-natale-we-need-to-reclaim-our-courage-and-vision-on-drugs-policy

Sydney’s ‘lock out’ laws take a knock
Licensing , Live Events / September 2016
Australia

LICENSING Live events sector     The Supreme Court of New South Wales has ruled that Sydney venues are exempt from New South Wales’s controversial ‘lock-out laws’ which were introduced by the New South Wales (NSW) government in 2014 and require that music venues, nightclubs, bars and hotels lock their doors at 1.30am and not serve drinks past 3.00 in a bid to curb alcohol-related violence. The legislation has been attacked by a number of prominent Australians as illogical and damaging to the music industry. This case was brought by the owners of the Smoking Panda bar who persuaded the Court that  the New South Wales Justice Department lacked the authority to subject to the city to the 1.30 curfew. The bar now joins tourist areas and hotels which are already exempt from the lock-outs, The Smoking Panda’s exemption was cancelled after an investigation found some bar patrons were not hotel guests.   In addition to live music venues, Supreme Court judge Natalie Adams also ruled strip clubs should be exempt, stating the laws are “not a proper exercise of the regulation-making power conferred upon the governor [of New South Wales]”. Lock-out laws continue to apply to other establishments. The…

Apple suggests new royalty rate for streaming music
Australia
USA

COPYRIGHT Music publishing, internet, artistes     Apple has filed a new proposal with the US Copyright Royalty Board which it says it hopes will “simplify” songwriting royalties in the States by 2018. Apple has suggested that all on-demand streaming services should pay songwriters a statutory rate of 9.1 Cents every 100 plays – a per-stream rate of $0.00091, or $910 per million streams, or $910,000 for a billion – thought to be more that Spotify’s ‘free’ ad supported platform would generate.   And in Australia, commercial radio broadcasters will have to pay a licence fee for songs streamed over the internet after a Copyright Tribunal ruling. The long-running legal battle between the Phonographic Performance Company of Australia (PPCA) and Commercial Radio Australia (CRA) finally reached a conclusion after nearly seven years. CRA had previously argued that as it already pays a licence fee for music for radio and shouldn’t have to pay again for making  that broadcast available over the internet. Now the Copyright Tribunal has finalised the terms of the scheme where commercial radio broadcasters will pay simulcast licence fees for songs streamed over the internet.   And Screen Producers Australia (SPA) has reached agreement  with performers for the broadcasting, repeats and…

Surely there is only ONE Kylie? And its NOT Kylie Jenner
Artists , Trade Mark / March 2016
Australia

TRADE MARK Artistes     Surely there’s only one Kylie – the Australian pop star Kylie Minogue? Surely not – and Ms Minogue is now mounting a legal bid to prevent Kylie Jenner claiming ownership of the name. Jenner, who appears in the reality TV show Keeping Up With the Kardashians, has applied to trademark the name “Kylie” to the USPTO (US Patent & Trademark Office). KDB, an Australian firm representing Minogue, filed their opposition to the application, claiming that allowing Jenner to take the Kylie name will cause confusion for Minogue fans and dilute her brand. KDB goes on to describe Ms Jenner as a “secondary reality television personality”. In making their case for which Kylie is the “better Kylie, they go on to list criticism Ms Jenner has faced from African-American communities and disability rights groups.   Ms Jenner, a half sister to Kim Kardashian, is just 18 but has a social media following in the tens of millions and has just launched her own make up line. Ms Minogue, a former soap star,  is 47 with over a dozen studio albums to her name. Minogue currently controls trade marks for “Kylie Minogue”, “Kylie Minogue Darling” (the name of her perfume brand)…

Australia’s  ‘lock out’ laws start to hurt live music
Licensing , Live Events / March 2016
Australia

LICENSING Live events sector     There has been a 40 per cent drop in live music revenue in Sydney’s lockout zone since the laws were introduced, according to new figures from the Australasian Performing Rights Association (APRA) with APRA’s figures also showing a 19 per cent drop in patrons at nightclubs in the areas of the city affected by the legislation. The lockout laws have been the subject of intense debate over the last fortnight, with Premier Mike Baird saying it would take a lot to change his mind about the rules. He cited a 40 per cent drop in the assault rate in Kings Cross as proof the legislation was fulfilling its purpose — to curb alcohol-fuelled violence. And the live music industry has lamented Queensland’s equally contentious lockout laws and their exemption for casinos, saying “what’s good for the goose should be good for the gander”. The measures include a statewide 2am last drinks call from July 1, with venues in nightclub precincts able to serve alcohol until 3am if they impose a 1am lockout. However, the rules don’t apply to casinos – which generate nearly $100 million in state revenue each year. Attorney-General Yvette D’Ath claims casinos are “in a different business”…

Australian drug experts plan pill testing at festivals
Health & Safety , Live Events / March 2016
Australia

HEALTH & SAFETY Live events sector     The Australian drug expert who pioneered the nation’s first legal injecting centre has vowed to break the law in New South Wales and roll out pill testing at Sydney’s forthcoming music festivals. The president of the Australian Drug Law Reform Foundation, Dr Alex Wodak, has joined forces with emergency medical specialist David Caldicott and they have announced that a privately funded drug testing “trial” will commence with or without the blessing of a NSW government.   The NSW government has repeatedly blocked the proposal in favour of a hard line, law enforcement strategy but Fairfax Media revealed that the NSW government has sought a secret briefing on how such a concept might occur, receiving a detailed,18-page research dossier “We are going to do this,” said Dr Wodak. “Doctors, analysts who know how to operate the [testing] machines and peer interviewers who can translate the scientific results and explain to people why the drug they bought is talcum powder or highly toxic. The idea is to save lives. I am prepared to break the law to save young people’s lives.” Dr Caldicott said: “It’s very straight forward. We want to run a trial at a…

New South Wales bans private sniffer dogs
Licensing , Live Events / January 2016
Australia

LICENSING Live events sector   Event organisers and club owners down under who are trying to keep illicit drugs out of their venues have been prevented from using hiring private sniffer dogs – to search for either narcotics or terrorist threats. A change to the law means that only official NSW Police sniffer dogs can be used for drug detection purposes.   Alpha K9 Security owner Madeleine Mortiss, said she understood the legislation had been amended to prevent guard dogs from being used in crowds, but had also put detection dogs into the same category.   http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/nsw/private-sniffer-dogs-banned-from-events-clubs-under-law-change/story-fni0cx12-1227642931362

South Australia removes ‘entertainment consent’ provisions from licensing requirements
Licensing , Live Events / December 2015
Australia

LICENSING Live events sector     One of the more ‘curious tenets’ of South Australia’s Liquor Licensing system was officially repealed this week with the passing of a welcome new amendment by South Australian Parliament. The new amendment, part of Attorney-General John Rau’s response to a review of the Late Night Code, will remove the need for licensed venues to apply for “entertainment consent” in order to host live music and other entertainment between 11am and midnight. “Entertainment consent” meant that venues had to specify not only the days and times live music would be played, but their genre as well. The law made South Australia the only state in the country where the Liquor Licensing Commissioner presides over the kind of music played in venues. Glenelg’s Dublin Hotel was taken to court after it was discovered hosting DJs mixing tunes on the premises. It was only being licensed to host traditional Irish music.   http://www.tonedeaf.com.au/464874/one-of-australias-stupidest-music-laws-just-got-repealed.htm

BMG look to Modular and UMG for Tame Impala mechanicals
Australia

CONTRACT / COPYRIGHT Music Publishing   The founder of Aussie independent record label Modular Recordings, Steve “Pav” Pavlovic, is being taken to court by BMG over an alleged non-payment of $US450,000 (about A$588,000) in unpaid mechanical royalties for Aussie rock outfit Tame Impala works. Modular, along with its co-owner, Universal Music Australia, Universal Group, Universal Music Australia and others have been accused by BMG of withholding substantial royalty payments and failing to meet agreed 45 day payment windows in each quarter, and ignoring legal advice to cease and desist selling operations with regard to Tame Impala’s recordings as mechanical royalties were not being paid for use of the songs This resulted in a law suit being filed with the New York Southern District Court early last month. BMG owns the rights to Tame Impala’s songs through its publishing agreement with songwriter Kevin Parker. Parker recently alluded to a lack of payment for international sales during a recent Reddit AMA. In his words “Up until recently, from all of Tame Impala’s record sales outside of Australia I had received zero dollars. Someone high up spent the money before it got to me. I may never get that money.” BMG’s allegations are that they haven’t received any…

It’s clearly time for coalitions and comment – as copyright reform looms on both sides of the Atlantic
Copyright / June 2015
Australia
Canada
EU
Japan
USA

COPYRIGHT All areas     Along with the U.S., Japan, Canada and Australia (amongst many others), the European Union is currently looking to reform its copyright laws and in January 2014 launched a public consultation. And there is MUCH to ralk about and many stakeholders want to have their say. In the USA, Torrentfreak recently exposed what they say is the MPAA’s true position on “fair use” which was that it was “extremely controversial,” and the MPAA didn’t want it included in various trade agreements such as the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement. Fair use in the USA – but not elsewhere then. Now fair use fans in the U.S. have formed a new coalition, Re:Create, to advocate for “balanced” copyright laws, which means ones that do not “encroach” on creativity and speech by being overly protective of those copyrights. Coalition members include the Consumer Electronics Association, the Computer & Communications Industry Association and the American Library Association and other members of the group include the Association of Research Libraries, Center for Democracy & Technology, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Media Democracy Fund, New America’s Open Technology Institute, Public Knowledge, and the R Street Institute. Sherwin Siy, VP of legal affairs at Public Knowledge said “We and the other…

Australian ‘Three Strikes’ moves closer
Australia

COPYRIGHT Internet, recorded music   Australia’s telecoms sector has submitted the final draft of its plans for a three-strikes system to combat online piracy in the country. The draft was submitted to the Australian Communications and Media Authority, after input from over 370 interesting parties and the planned moves will see ISPs sending warning letters to suspected file-sharers. Australian ISPs have resisted the move, but the country’s government forced action late last year. As with other three-strikes programmes, a series of letters will be sent to web-users who rights owners suspect of accessing unlicensed content, the first being educational, but with subsequent correspondence ‘graduating’ to more severe. However the third strike will mean that the personal details (of those who ignore letters) being handed over to the rights owners, who will then be able to take legal action for copyright infringement. Web-users who get to stage three will have the right to appeal, The current set up also puts a cap on the total number of warning letters that can be sent each year, with 200,000 the current limit. Though that’s really a financial arrangement, and rights owners could push for more letters to be sent if they can agree financial…

Rolling Stone’s Australian tour cancellation claim in dispute
Contract , Live Events / December 2014
Australia
USA

CONTRACT Insurance, live events   L’Wren Scott’s tragic and unexpected suicide prompted the Rolling Stones to cancel a number of Australian dates and resulted in a claim against the bands $23.9 million insurance policy. As Mick Jagger’s partner, Scott was named in the policy which would have covered cancellation in the event of the death of close family members of the band and indeed possibly senior tour personnel and the tour cancellation occurred after Jagger was “diagnosed as suffering from acute traumatic stress disorder” and advised by doctors not to perform for at least 30 days. However, reports in early November said that underwriters apparently argued that Scott might have been suffering from a pre-existing but undeclared mental illness at the time the insurance policy was agreed, which would, they argued, render cover in relation to her death invalid. It emerged that the insurers then refused to pay out $12.7 million on the claim – resulting in a further legal claim in the London courts by the band.  However the matter came to wider attention because of legal efforts in the US by the insurers to gain papers relating to Scott’s mental health prior to her death. According to The…

Eagles’ Don Henley defends legal action against Frank Ocean and Okkervil River
Australia
USA

COPYRIGHT Music publishing, recorded music sector, artistes   In what might be a misguided move, The Eagles’ frontman Don Henley has taken aim at Frank Ocean and Okkervil River for reworking his band’s music, prompting Okkervil River frontman Will Sheff to respond in an article in Rolling Stone saying that copyright law is “strangling and depleting our culture”. Ocean used the instrumental version of The Eagles’ ‘Hotel California’ as the basis for the track ‘American Wedding’ on his 2011 free download album, ‘Nostalgia, Ultra’ -a clear breach of US copyright law,  Writing on his Tumblr blog ahead of a performance at Coachella in 2012, Ocean said: “[Henley’s label Warner/Rhino] threatened to sue if I perform [‘American Wedding’] again. I think that’s fuckin awesome … They also asked that I release a statement expressing my admiration for Mr Henley, along with my assistance pulling it off the web as much as possible. Shit’s weird. Ain’t this guy rich as fuck? Why sue the new guy? I didn’t make a dime off that song. I released it for free. If anything, I’m paying homage”. In a new interview with Australia’s Daily Telegraph, Henley admitted that he had initiated this action, saying: “Mr…

Photography spat puts snapper’s rights in the frame
Artists , Copyright / May 2014
Australia

COPYRIGHT Artists   When Sydney based photographer Rohan Anderson spotted one of his pictures on the Facebook page of  Florida-based alt-rock group Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, he was hoping that he might be credited and wondered why the band had posted – without permission or attribution –  a cropped and filtered version of his photo of their guitar player and indeed Anderson wanted to have that version taken off the band’s Facebook page. Having now added a credit, what followed was a Facebook exchange with the band claiming “You have no legal claim as the photo is credited and is not posted for a monetary gain and features our likeness and image not yours. Also you have just got your self banned from any festival or show we ever play again in that region for life! Congrats!” Anderson, a student at New South Wales University, asked one of his visiting lecturers (who happened to be a copyright  lawyer) to confirm his understanding that he did indeed own the copyright in his images he had taken – which he did – and Anderson, 22, told Digiday that this is not the first time he’s had to ask a band to either credit his work or take…

All age events back on track in Melbourne
Licensing , Live Events / May 2014
Australia

LICENSING Live events industry   “All-ages” gigs are set to return to some of Melbourne’s music venue under changes made by the state government. The new laws, which came into effect in April, remove the requirement for liquor licensees to get approval to host alcohol-free under-age and all-ages live music events in licensed venues under the previously bureaucratic procedure that requited  venues to apply for an all-ages, alcohol-free event giving at least 45 days notice – often an impossibility given touring schedules, and a costly administrative burden. State Minister for Liquor and Gaming Regulation Edward O’Donohue said the changes removed onerous paperwork saying ”Venues across the state, like the famous Corner Hotel, are able to host under-age shows without the paperwork and costs that had previously made them too expensive and time consuming to contemplate,.’ It is estimated that live music contributed $301 million towards Victoria’s economy in 2009-10, supporting 15,000 jobs. Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/allages-gigs-to-return-to-rock-venues-after-changes-to-law-20140415-36pvk.html

Kylie dancers get paid after outcry
Artists , Employment Law / May 2014
Australia

EMPLOYMENT LAW Artists   Warner Music Australia has agreed to pay the dancers who appeared with Kylie Minogue in her new ‘I was Gonna Cancel‘ video and those who performed during a performance at the Logie Awards at least the legal minimum wage for Australia. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, a number of professional dancers were asked to work on the eleven hour video shoot for free, or below the standard rate. After complaints, some were then offered AUS$100 (about £55). Meanwhile, the dancers who appeared at the Australia TV awards ceremony were offered AUS$700 (£385) for their time. Director of the Equity Australia union Sue McCreadie said that Warner Music and the production company behind the video had now agreed to pay legal minimum rates to all of the 30 affected dancers for both performances. This ranges from AUS$174 (£95) to AUS$448 (£246) for the video (depending on each dancer’s experience) and up to AUS$1156 (£636) for the Loogie Awards show. http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/music/warner-music-finally-gets-in-step-on-payments-to-kylie-minogues-dancers-20140429-zr1dn.html

Australia senator proposes nationwide anti-scalping laws
Consumers , Live Events / May 2014
Australia
UK

CONSUMER Live events sector   In Australia a senate Economics References Committee (SERC) member has called for a national law to be introduced to tackle the “scourge” of ticket touting. The independent senator for South Australia, Nick Xenophon, made the plea following the release of a SERC inquiry report on the subject, which made recommendations based on evidence supplied by 21 parties. Xenophon instigated the enquiry after disquiet over tickets for shows such as One Direction’s Australian GTour, priced at A$79, were being re-sold in eBay for A$4,000. The Senator called for “clear national consumer protection law that brings to an end this scourge on music and sports events”. The senator is keen on measures including a cap on the price of resale tickets, ticket sales to be subject to statutory consumer protection measures prohibiting and for secondary sites to reveal the of identify sellers. He also said promoters and other primary sellers should make the public aware of the number of tickets being sold and those being passed on to others including sponsors and  secondary markets.  New South Wale has already begun the process of implementing state laws to govern the re-sale of tickets – capping any  mark up…

Sound alikes cause Antipodean angst
Copyright / February 2014
Australia
New Zealand
USA

COPYRIGHT Advertising, recorded music Music sound-alikes used in advertising campaigns are leading to a number of legal wrangles in New Zealand and Australia according to Kelly & Co partner Peter Campbell in an article in Adelaide Now.  There is the current dispute between Audi and New Zealand band OMC and their label Universal Music: UMG have accused the car company of copying the 1996 hit song Land of Plenty in the Land of Quattro advertisement. Mr Campbell said if the case proceeded, it would be the first in New Zealand to address passing off and misleading and deceptive conduct for a musical sound-alike, on top of the issue of copyright infringement. Mr Campbell believed this could lead to different tests being applied to copyright infringement and misleading conduct claims in Australia. Last year, dairy company Dannon used a soundtrack in its advertisement aired during the US Superbowl, which resembled the John Butler Trio’s 2003 hit Zebra. Dannon and the John Butler Trio negotiated an arrangement, so that the advertisement no longer contains the similar music. In other jurisdictions some musicians have had similar success. In the US the singer Bette Midler sued an advertising agency over a sound-alike version of her…

Australian High Court decides simulcast dispute
Copyright , Internet / September 2013
Australia

COPYRIGHT Broadcasting, internet   The International Federation of The Phonographic Industry has welcomed a recent ruling that brings to an end a long legal battle between the record and radio industries in Australia. The dispute centred on whether existing music licenses held by commercial radio stations in Australia covered simulcasts on the internet and the High Court Of Australia has backed lower court rulings that radio stations do need new licences to webcast sound recordings. Welcoming last week’s ruling yesterday, IFPI boss Frances Moore said: “This welcome ruling confirms that Australian broadcasters should pay rights holders when they stream their music online. It is a well established principle in most countries that broadcasters should pay a fair rate for the recorded music they use to attract audiences and drive advertising revenues. This principle should hold true when they use simulcasting technology to reach an audience online”. And I suppose that’s right – IF it’s a new audience.

Why is digital music more expensive in Australia?
Copyright , Internet , Record Labels / September 2012
Australia

COPYRIGHT Record labels, internet   By Catherine Lee, writing for the IPKat Why is digital music more expensive in Australia? This question is currently being considered by the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Infrastructure and Communications. On 24 May 2012 the Committee resolved to inquire into IT price discrimination, following a request from the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy. The often given example is that the Apple iTunes store in the United States sells most albums at between US$9.99 and US$12.99, whereas in Australia those same albums are sold for AU$16.99 or higher. In recent times, under the currency exchange rates, the value of the US and Australian dollars has almost been equal. Eighty-one written submissions were received by the due date of 6 July 2012. The first public hearing was held in Sydney on 30 July 2012, with the following organisations were invited to make ora submissions: Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA), Australian Publishers Association (APA), Australian Performing Rights Association (APRA), the Australasian Mechanical Copyright Owners Society (AMCOS), Choice (consumer group), the Australian Retail Association (ARA) and the Communications Alliance. Some of the more interesting comments were as follows: The AIIA, represented by Suzanne Chambers, suggested the…

Facebook service for Flo Rida
Artists , Contract , Live Events / September 2012
Australia

CONTRACT Artistes, live events industry   By Iona Harding on the 1709 Blog In October 2011 Flo Rida failed to turn up to headline at the Fat As Butter Festival in Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia. As he was supposed to walk on stage the festival was forced to announce: “Flo Rida has slept in and will not be able to make the concert”. Understandably, fans were outraged. The festival organisers, Mothership Music Pty Ltd, sued Flo Rida and his manager for breach of contract: they had paid $50,000 for a performance that they had not received and alleged damage to their reputation. This isn’t a copyright case, however from it arise several interesting points of practice which will be relevant to all litigators. Because Mothership was never able to get close enough to Flo Rida to serve the claim on him whilst he was in Australia, it applied to court for alternative means of service. In April of this year Gibson DCJ ordered substituted service by email and by a post on Flo Rida’s Facebook page. The court order set out the text to be posted on Facebook. The Judge referred to the “international reach of Facebook” and to previous case…

Australia’s iiNet decision comes down firmly in favour of ISPs
Copyright , Internet / May 2012
Australia

COPYRIGHT Internet Australia’s High Court -the nation’s highest – has given a clear ruling that internet service providers are not liable for authorising copyright infringement by making their services available to people who do infringe copyright. In case case originally brought by rights group AFACT, the High Court unanimously dismissed the appeal in the case and the Court observed that iiNet had no direct technical power to prevent its customers to infringe copyright in the appellants’ films. Rather, the extent of iiNet’s power to prevent its customers from infringing the appellants’ copyright was limited to an indirect power to terminate its contractual relationship with its customers. Further, the Court held that the information contained in the AFACT notices, as and when they were served, did not provide iiNet with a reasonable basis for sending warning notices to individual customers containing threats to suspend or terminate those customers’ accounts. For these reasons, the Court held that it could not be inferred from iiNet’s inactivity after receiving the AFACT notices that iiNet had authorised any act of infringement of copyright in the appellants’ films by its customers. The unanimous decision distinguished the Kazaa case (where the Kazaa P2P site was successfully pursued…

UK’s One Direction face name challenge from US band
Artists , General , Trade Mark / May 2012
Australia
UK
USA

TRADE MARK Artistes British boy band One Direction, among the hottest new acts in the music business on both sides of the pond, are being been sued for Trade Mark infringement by a Californian pop-rock group with the same name.  Attorneys for the California band are seeking an injunction that would stop X-factor supremo Simon Cowell’s Syco Entertainment and Sony Music Entertainment as well as the UK band from using the name One Direction and they also want a share of the profits earned by the chart-topping British boys. In a federal lawsuit filed on Monday in California Central District Court the California band says it is entitled to three times the profits made by their rivals, as well as compensatory damages in excess of US$1 million. The lawsuit said the continued use by both bands of the same name was causing “substantial confusion and substantial damage” to the goodwill earned by the California group. The Northern California band has been using the name One Direction since late 2009 and has recorded two albums, the lawsuit states. It filed an application to register the trademark name in the United States in February 2011. The British band, made up of Niall…

Chugg calls for anti-touting laws in Australia
Competition , Live Events / April 2012
Australia

COMPETITION Live events industry Australian promoter Michael Chugg has called from new ‘anti-scalping’ laws after tickets for Radiohead’s latest tour sold out in minutes and fans fumed over tickets at inflated prices posted on eBay. As fans took to social media to vent their frustrations, prompting Chugg Entertainment to release a statement advising against buying from unauthorised sources. Chugg says action needs to be taken on a national level, including co-operation between promoters, federal and state government and websites, to curb the ongoing issue of ticket on-selling saying “The federal government should be bringing in a blanket policy but the state governments also need to act,” Chugg told AAP. But Live Performance Australia, which sets policy for the music industry, continues to oppose any moves to make scalping illegal with Suzanne Daley, Director of Policy and Programs for LPA saying “Scalping is a very difficult practice to monitor and stamp out” adding “We believe resources would be better focused on educating consumers around the risks rather than trying to prevent it via legal means.” Scalping comes under commercial law which is decided at a state level. The practice is illegal only in Queensland and only after a scalper makes a…

A bauble for Bon Bon – rapper does have a reputation but it isn’t greatly damaged rules Aussie court
Australia
USA

COPYRIGHT / MORAL RIGHTS / CONTRACT Artistes, internet   This (again!) from the ever wonderful IP Kat: Question: what do you get if you cross an American rap artist with a digruntled Australian tour promoter and a song with the title ‘We No Speak Americano’? Answer: a moral rights dispute. If you have been on the dance-floor in recent times as many times as this Kat has, it would have been virtually impossible for you to miss hearing ‘We No Speak Americano’. This ditty, released in February 2010, was created by Australian duo Yolanda Be Cool and producer DCUP by sampling the 1956 Italian song ‘Tu vuò fà l’Americano’ (by Renato Carosone). This release soared to No 1 in the charts in many discerning nations and featured prominently in a number of Best Songs of 2010 lists. The combined song was further sampled in November 2010 by American rapper Armando Perez (stage name ‘Pitbull’) for the Spanish-language track  Bon Bon’ in his fifth studio album, Armando (the ‘Bon Bon Song’). Jamie Fernandez is a prominent DJ and live music promoter in Perth, Western Australia. Fernandez goes by the name DJ Suave and operates a website at http://www.suaveproductions.com.au (the ‘Suave Website’).Pitbull Perez was due to come to Australia to perform…

Camden Coroner admits hiring of wife as deputy was ‘error’
Artists / March 2012
Australia
UK

ARTISTS   The coroner who oversaw the inquest into Amy Winehouse’s death has resigned after it was revealed that she was not technically qualified to take on the role. The singer’s family are said to be “taking advice”. Camden Council has confirmed that Suzanne Greenaway had qualified as a lawyer in Australia in 1999 but had not practiced in the UK for the required five years before she became a coroner. But despite this she was appointed by her husband, Andrew Reid, who is coroner for the St Pancras area of London. Reid is now writing to 30 families to explain that the results of inquests into the deaths of loved ones carried out by Greenaway, while currently remaining legal, could be overturned by the High Court. In a statement, Reid said: “I appointed my wife as an assistant deputy coroner as I believed at the time that her experience as a solicitor and barrister in Australia satisfied the requirements of the post. In November of last year it became apparent that I had made an error in the appointment process and I accepted her resignation. While I am confident that all of the inquests handled were done so correctly,…

Where does the music industry go post Limewire?
Copyright , Internet / June 2011
Australia
EU
Japan
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet, all areas I’ve been pondering over the weekend who the real winners and losers in the LimeWire saga were – and where the recorded music industry goes from here – and for that matter where film companies and other content owners go from here. Despite a court victory for the record labels, and an agreed settlement,  I just can’t find any real winners, but I can find lots of losers, including (of course) LimeWire which has been shuttered and forced to pay over $105 million. What we had was a widely popular internet service that was admittedly used by many to download illegal content – but LimeWire’s own figure showed that 30% of consumers used the service to find new music – and another 25% were “morally persuadable”  – in that they could have been encouraged to pay for content. In a “can pay, won’t pay” era, not a bad market at all – and that’s gone. So a potential business has been lost, the consumer has lost out – and consumers have been lost too. The recorded music sector is still in a steep decline, and the unpalatable truth is that those who used LimeWire for illegal…

EMI and Men at Work lose appeal on Kookaburra claim
Australia

COPYRIGHT Music Publishing The appeals court in Australia has upheld a Federal Court ruling that said Larrikin Music, publishers of Australian children’s classic ‘Kookaburra Sits In The Old Gumtree’, are due a share of all songwriting royalties on the Men At Work classic ‘Down Under’, because the short but distinctive flute sequence in the 1981 pop hit borrowed from the folk tune. The Federal Court ruled that Larrikin should get 5% of all ‘Down Under’ royalties dated paid back to 2002. EMI must also cover Larrikin’s legal costs in relation to the appeal. My good friend Jeremy Philips writing on the 1709 Copyright blog (www.the1709blog.blogspot.com) picked up on the following comment from  Emmett J, in which the judge expressed some disquiet concerning the finding of infringement: “If, as I have concluded, the relevant versions of Down Under involve an infringement of copyright, many years after the death of Ms Sinclair, and enforceable at the behest of an assignee, then some of the underlying concepts of modern copyright may require rethinking. While there are good policy reasons for encouraging the intellectual and artistic effort that produces literary, artistic and musical works, by rewarding the author or composer with some form of monopoly in…

AFACT loses appeal in case of ISP’s liability for infringement
Copyright , Internet / April 2011
Australia

COPYRIGHT Internet The Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft (AFACT) has lost its appeal against Australian ISP iiNet. In the absence of specific legislation in Australia, AFACT, representing the TV and movie industries, had argued that net companies had an obligation under Australian copyright laws to take a proactive role in policing online piracy and that the Australian ISP was responsible for illegal content downloading by its users.  The acts of copyright infringement in issue in the case were copies of films illegally accessed by iiNet users using the BitTorrent system of file sharing.  Under the Australian Copyright Act an intermediary that authorises the infringing conduct is also liable for infringement. To be liable for authorisation, a party must sanction, approve or countenance the infringement. This will depend on the extent (if any) of the relationship with the infringer, its power to prevent the infringement and whether it took any reasonable steps to prevent or avoid the infringement (1) Australian courts had previously found that Kazaa was liable for ‘authorising’ infringement (2) and clearly content owners were hoping that the courts would extend copyright law to include a duty on ISPs to monitor and filter unlicensed content on their networks, and/or…

Forced to walk the line?
Health & Safety / March 2011
Australia
USA

HEALTH AND SAFETY All areas We have all probably had the same experience of walking along a pavement and having to negotiate around someone else who is walking slowly, weaving or bumping into other pedestrians because he or she is talking on a cell phone, listening to an iPod or texting on a Blackberry. Now a US politician, Carl Kruger, the state senator from Brooklyn, NY, wants to make it illegal to use an electronic device whilst crossing city streets on foot. He has an ally in Arkansas state Senator Jimmy Jeffress, who wants to ban pedestrians from wearing headphones in both ears on or near a roadway. And in Australia New South Wales Police  have said “should legislation such as that described be introduced, it would receive our support and ongoing attention”, a U-turn from the 2007 view of  NSW Police State Traffic Commander John Hartley, who said when the US laws were first talked about, that “you can’t legislate stupidity”. The Pedestrian Council of Australia said there should be a much stricter legislation and an enforcement campaign to complement an awareness campaign. They also said device manufacturers had a “moral and corporate responsibility” to put warnings on their…

Australia decides on light touch regulation for secondary ticketing
Competition , Live Events / January 2011
Australia

COMPETITION Live events industry Government officials in Australia have decided to take a “hands-off approach” to the secondary ticket market, a move that can be seen as a victory for the country’s small resale industry according to Tciketnews.com.  In a report released by the Commonwealth Consumer Affairs Advisory Council (CCAAC)  the Council concluded that consumer claims that an abundance of ticket scalpers were unfairly buying up loads of live entertainment tickets and reselling them at high prices were largely unfounded. While the council did not dismiss the fact that some brokers and fans buy tickets with the purpose of flipping them for a profit, it said that the “onselling” market — the name for the resale market in Australia represented well under 10 percent of all ticket sales in the country, and that existing consumer protection laws are adequate to keep the industry in check. “CCAAC recognises that consumer dissatisfaction can be widespread. However, this is often a result of market forces when high demand exceeds limited supply, particularly for popular events, rather than as a direct result of ticket onselling,” the report stated. “CCAAC found that technology is a major contributor to tickets being sold out quickly. The internet…

Kookaburra publishers awarded 5% of ‘Down Under’
Copyright , Music Publishing / August 2010
Australia

COPYRIGHT Music Publishing A judge in Australia has ordered Men At Work and their publishers EMI to hand over 5% of the royalties from their eighties hit ‘Down Under’ to the owners of the song ‘Kookaburra Sits In The Old Gum Tree’, Larrikin Music. The Australian courts had already ruled that Men At Work’s most famous track used a segment of the famous Aussie children’s folk song without permission, and that the owners of that song were therefore due a cut of the pop hit’s royalties although it should be noted that EMI are appealing the original ruling – partly by claiming the use of a little bit of the ‘Kookaburra’ melody in ‘Down Under’ was at most a “tribute” to the folk song, and partly by again disputing Larrikin’s ownership of the song – today’s decision regarding royalty share really went in Men At Work’s favour. Larrikin had been pushing for up to 60% of the royalties generated by ‘Down Under’. Under the ruling, EMI and ‘Down Under’ writers Colin Hay and Ron Strykert will have to give Larrikin 5% of all money generated by the song since 2002, and 5% of all future royalties. Royalties received prior to 2002 stay with EMI and the…

AFACT appeal goes ahead in iiNet case
Copyright , Internet / April 2010
Australia

COPYRIGHT Internet The Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft has said it will appeal that previously reported court ruling by Justice Cowdroy regarding the liabilities of internet service providers to police copyright infringement undertaken by their customers via their servers (see Music Law Updates March 2010). AFACT lost the original case against Aussie ISP iiNet where it had been looking to force Australian net firms to become more proactive in stopping illegal file-sharing on their networks. AFACT had been relying on case law including the frequently cited High Court decision in favour of Frank Moorhouse who successfully sued the University of NSW after a student used a photocopier in the institution’s library to copy his book. AFACT also relied on recent cases involving online piracy including the Kazaa copyright trial and Universal Music v Cooper. Justice Cowdroy said that in those cases the respondents were sued successfully because they provided the means of infringement. “There does not appear to be any way to infringe the applicants copyright from mere use of the internet. Rather, the means by which the applicants’ copyright is infringed is an iiNet users’ use of the constituent parts of the BitTorrent system. iiNet has not control over the BitTorrent system and…

Kookaburra wins down under
Australia

COPYRIGHT Music publishing, record labels More of the same – An Australian Court has found that Men at Work did copy Larrikin Music’s  song Kookaburra Sits in the Old Gum Tree, written by Marion Sinclair in 1934, in their composition and recording Down Under. Down Underrecord company Sony BMG and publisher EMI Songs Australia had disputed the claim but today the Federal Court ruled in Larrikin’s favour and Larrikin Music’s lawyer Adam Simpson welcomed his win saying it was yet to be decided what percentage of earnings from the song they’d be seeking commenting “It depends. I mean anything from what we have claimed which is between 40% and 60% and what they suggest which is considerably less”. The judge also ruled that a Qantas advertisement which used a small similar section of the riff was not in breach of copyright laws. EMI said it was pleased with this decision but Larrikin Music’s has said that it wasn’t ruling out further legal action. In an interview with ABC Australia’s The World Today programme music lawyer Stephen Digby said he was surprised by the court’s decision saying “ think it could have gone either way but my initial reaction and also looking at this case…

Australian court holds ‘safe harbour’ for ISPs
Copyright , Internet / March 2010
Australia
EU
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet, all areas Australia’s Federal Court has ruled that Internet Service Providers cannot be held liable for copyright infringements committed by their subscribers, dealing a blow to content owners in a closely-watched lawsuit against Australian Internet Service Provider iiNet. Justice Dennis Conroy found that whilst it was shown that iiNet had knowledge that its customers were committing copyright infringement, this knowledge did not equate to “authorizing” the activities ruling “While I find that iiNet had knowledge of infringements occurring, and did not act to stop them, such findings do not necessitate a finding of authorisation. I find that iiNet did not authorise the infringements of copyright of the iiNet users”. The case was brought by AFACT (the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft) on behalf of a consortium of film and TV companies and centred on the ISP’s liability for illegal file-sharing committed by its customers. AFACT had asked for damages and wanted iiNet to be forced to disconnect any customers it knew were illegally sharing music online. The ISP had refused to forward file-sharing warning notices to its subscribers on behalf of the studios, saying they violated privacy provisions in Australian law. Instead, iiNet had taken to forwarding the…

Britney’s alleged lip synching prompts political debate
Contract , Live Events / December 2009
Australia

CONTRACT Live events industry It all started when Britney Spears was alleged to have mimed on her recent fourteen date tour of Australia and now the great lip syncing debate continues and has clawed its way up the political agenda with the country’s Musicians Union stepping in and backing an Australian politician’s call for promoters to make it clear when artists are going to mime on their marketing literature. The Fair Trading Minister of New South Wales, Virginia Judge, got the ball rolling by saying her state government was considering new rules to force promoters to tell ticket buyers if artists would not be singing live at events, either on promotional literature or printed tickets. The story gained momentum when some Australian media reported that fans had walked out of Spears’ first gig in the country in protest at all the miming and whilst the reports of fans leaving have strongly denied, Indeed the promoters of Spears’ dates said that the singer makes no secret of the fact she mimes and that fans understand this is because of the lengthy energetic dance routines which add to the overall entertainment experience. The Musicians Union of Australia says that it backs Judge…

Content owners lawsuit against ISP reaches Australian court
Copyright , Internet / November 2009
Australia

COPYRIGHT Internet Followng on from successful actions against file swapping sites in the USA (MGM v Grokster), Australia (Kazaa) and Sweden (The Pirate Bay), a coalition of film and TV companies are suing an Australian internet service provider for failing to stop it’s customers from file-sharing arguing that the net company is liable under existing Aussie copyright rules. The coalition of content owners, under the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft banner, allege that Perth-based iiNet is guilty of so called authorising (or contributory) copyright infringement for knowingly ignoring massive amounts of illegal file-sharing undertaken by its customers on its servers saying that investigators hired by FACT set up iiNet internet accounts and used them to share film content online, even telling iiNet about the infringement being conducted by the investigators. It is alleged that the net firm failed to take any action even though their own terms and conditions say customers must not access illegal content and that customers could be disconnected as a result of being in breach of contract. The US case of MGM v Grokster sets an important precedent in this area of law although not one that binds Australian courts but in both the US and…

Facebook service held to be valid by Australian court
Litigation / January 2009
Australia
UK
USA

LITIGATION All areas I was recently asked about service by MySpace where a US band’s attorney had sent a cease and desist letter to a UK band they claimed had a similar sounding name. I have to admit I wasn’t sure this was effective service of any sort and I could not find any precedents on the matter. Now and in what may be a first, lawyers have pursuaded a judge in the Australian Canberra’s Supreme Court to allow them to serve the documents over the internet after repeatedly failing to serve the papers in person. Carmel Rita Corbo and Gordon Poyser had allegedly failed to keep up repayments on a $150,000 (£44,000) loan they had borrowed from MKM Capital, a mortgage provider. The pair had ignored emails from the law firm and did not attend a court appearance on Oct 3 and claimants said the pair had “vanished”. The claimant’s lawyer, Mark McCormack said “It’s somewhat novel, however we do see it as a valid method of bringing the matter to the attention of the defendant” and insisted there was no other way to find the pair saying “They weren’t available at their residence. They no longer worked at…

Big ruck down under
Copyright , Music Publishing / November 2008
Australia

COPYRIGHT Music Publishing Australian music publishing firm Larrikin Music has lodged a statement of claim against the iconic 80’s hit ‘Down Under’ recorded by Aussie tunesmiths Men At Work alleging that the international song carries an unlicensed sample from a well known Australian children’s nursery rhyme, “Kookaburra,” which it represents. Larrikin claim that the flute riff in Men At Work’s hit is lifted from the earlier song, written in the 1930s by Marion Sinclair, a music teacher and a long time supporter of the Girl Guide movement which has embraced the song as a anthem. The proceedings were instigated when the similarities were raised during a September 2007 episode of the local ABC TV quiz show “Spicks and Specks.” During the show, the question was posed, “What children’s song is contained in the song ‘Down Under?’” The answer, according to the program, was “Kookaburra.” Larrikin is seeking compensation from the “Down Under” songwriters, Colin Hay and Ron Strykert, plus Sony BMG Music Entertainment, Sony DADC Australia, EMI Songs Australia and EMI Music Publishing and are claiming part ownership of the music telling billboard.biz “obviously, we’ve had nothing to do with the lyrics of the song – we’d say that’s 50%…

Australian customs to search for illegal music on iPods
Copyright , Internet / September 2008
Australia

COPYRIGHT Internet, technology If it was April 1st we might have thought this was a clever joke. It isn’t and the following is just a depressing story. In what could prove to be an administrative nightmare, it has been revealed that the Australian government (amongst others) is considering conducting searches of MP3 players as they pass through airports, in order to check for illegally-obtained music. The proposal, which suggests “criminal sanctions for infringement on a commercial sale” was discovered when an Australian Federal Government discussion paper was leaked to the press. CMU Daily reported that the office of Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith confirmed that they were part of negotiations for the international agreement but that they had not agreed or signed up to any aspect of it. www.cmumusicnetwork.co.uk