National Trading Standards takes action over alleged ticket touting
Consumers / October 2018

CONSUMER   The UK’s National Trading Standards authority has begun legal action against nine alleged ticket touts on chargesof money laundering and breaches of consumer rights law following an investigations. The nine are split between three secondary ticketing organisations – Connoco, BZZ and Ticket Queen. National Trading Standards is one of two UK government agencies that have been investigating the secondary ticketing market and compliance with consumer rights law, including the specific ticket resale regulations introduced by the 2015 Consumer Rights Act. The Competition & Markets Authority focused on the main ticket resale platforms including Seatwave, Get Me In, StubHub and (in particular) Viagogo. National Trading Standards has investigated individuals and companies using thise platforms to re-sell tickjets. The accused include Timothy Connor, who has been charged alongside his girlfriend and his parents (they are ‘Connoco’), and who allegedly used multiple names, addresses, credit cards and bespoke “sophisticated browser software” to acquire substantial numbers of tickets from primary ticketing sites. NTS say that, between June 2015 and December 2017, together they bought £2.3 million in tickets which they resold for £4.5 million. At a hearing at York Magistrates Court, the defendants indicated they would enter a not guilty plea. Two other defendants, Peter…

UK Copyright if there’s no Brexit deal
Copyright / October 2018

COPYRIGHT   The UK’s Department for Business, Energy& Industrial Strategy has now published it’s long awaited paper which offers guidance on what will happen with copyright if the UK leaves the European Union with ‘no deal’ outcome – an increasingly likely scenario (although the paper paints a more positive picture!). The key points? – The UK and other EU member states are already party to the main international treaties on copyright and related rights. Under the rules of these treaties, countries provide copyright protection for works originating in or made by nationals of other countries. These rules underpin the copyright legislation in all member states of the EU and do not depend on the UK’s membership of the EU. There is also a body of EU law on copyright and related rights that goes beyond the provisions of the international treaties, including several cross-border copyright mechanisms. These mechanisms are unique to the EU and provide reciprocal protections and benefits between EU member states. They include: Sui generis database rights. Under the Database Directive (Directive 96/9/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 March 1996 on the legal protection of databases, extended to the EEA in paragraph 9a, Annex XVII…

Europe’s songwriters seek to block Sony Music takeover
Competition , Copyright / October 2018

COMPETITION / COPYRIGHT   The European Composer & Songwriter Alliance has joined the increasing clamour urging the  European Commission to block Sony’s plans to take complete control of EMI Music Publishing. The organisation -says that Sony’s proposed deals would “threaten competition in the licensing market, endanger music authors’ revenues across the EU and ultimately jeopardise cultural diversity in the European music landscape”. Other vpices who have argued against the merger include UK songwriter organisation BASCA and pan-European indie music companies trade group IMPALA Under the proposed new deal, Sony would have complete control of the EMI repertoire and could fully merge the Sony/ATV and EMI music publishing businesses into its own, making Sony the biggest music publisher in the world – sitting alongside the second biggest recorded music company, (Sony Music). The ECSA’s President, Alfons Karabuda said: “We believe that allowing such a major and dominant publisher in the market is not only detrimental to a competitive market place but will also lead to a net loss for Europe’s culturally diverse music landscape. If approved, such a deal can only further exacerbate the domination of the top Anglo-American repertoire to the detriment of millions of music authors’ works that are…

EU approves Sony takeover of EMI Music 
Competition / October 2018

COMPETITION   Songwriters and independent music publisher have criticised the decision of the EU’s competition regulators to approve Sony’s deal to take complete ownership of EMI Music Publishing. Sony made no concessions to the European Commission who in turn said the deal “raises no competition concerns”.  Sony will become the world’s biggest music publisher and the World’s second biggest recorded music rights-holder. Sony originally led a consortium of investors to buy EMI Music Publishing in 2012 and  Sony/ATV has been the administrator of the EMI catalogue since then.  Sony is now clear to complete a $2.3bn deal where Sony will buy a further 60% of EMP from the Mubadala Investment Company, adding to the 30% it already owns. A $287.5m deal for the remaining 10% has already been agreed with Michael Jackson’s Estate. The takeover double Sony’s catalogue of songs from 2.16m to 4.21m compositions. Figure from pan-European indie label trade group IMPALA  (who opposed the deal) suggested that once complete, Sony’s catalogue of recordings released or distributed by Sony Music and the song catalogues of Sony/ATV and EMI would give Sony control of over 50% of chart tracks in seven key European markets in 2017. In the UK, Sony had control over an average…

American promoters take issue with proposed BMI music use rate rise
Copyright / October 2018

COPYRIGHT   Hot on the heels of the now agreed settlement in the UK between the live sector and the UK’s performing right organisation, PRS for Music, which included a rate rise, but a decrease for festivals and an acknowledgement of so called ‘direct licensing’, comes news that in the US a proposed change to music use royalties from live events will be determined by the Rate Court. Unable to reach agreement for a blanket license fee with the North American Concert Promoters Association (NACPA), the US performing rights organisation (PRO), Broadcast Music Inc (BMI) earlier this week (24 Sept 2018)  filed a court petition seeking the court’s decision in determining the license fees for live concerts in line with their proposed rate of a blanket license fee of 1.15% of gross revenues levied on an expanded revenue base for all live music events (which European readers will note is substantially lower than many rate agreed or set in the European Union). BMI issues performing rights licenses to music users across a range of industries which include radio broadcasters, TV, cable television, internet and website services, concert halls, concert promoters, nightclubs, restaurants and similar, and  collects license fees from them…

Warners extend their reach in merchandising tie-up
Contract / October 2018

CONTRACT   Last week Warner Music Group (WMG) purchased the German merchandising company EMP for $180m,[1] Europe’s top provider of merchandise for video game (including Nintendo and Play Station; TV and film including Marvel, DC, Disney, Star Wars, Game of Thrones; and clothing and music for a catalogue of bands/artists’ almost exclusively in the heavy metal genre).  For EMP, CEO Ernst Trapp said that by joining WMG, his company “will be able to expand our international reach, explore new genres, reach new audiences, and take fan experience to a whole new level.”   Once the deal is complete, EMP will become a stand-alone, direct-to-fan business unit within WEA – WMG’s global artist and label services division.  Stu Bergen, CEO of International & Global Commercial Services, Recorded Music, WMG said the deal “will be a perfect complement to our global artist development and marketing strategies.”[2] This deal brings to WMG the expertise of a specialist merchandising company with a client base in 18 European countries. Warner Music Artist Services already provide tour services, campaign marketing, e-commerce merchandising and licensing for their roster of artists. Of the other two majors, Sony Music Entertainment have their own in-house merchandising company, The Thread Shop, whose artist services include…

The Viagogo soap opera trundles on
Competition , Consumers , Contract / October 2018

CONTRACT / CONSUMER / COMPETITION   Hardly a day passes without Viagogo hitting the headlines, with news breaking that the Geneva based  secondary ticketing had finally complied with the Advertising Standards Authority’s demands on how it presented pricing information, that Viagogo had pulled out of a planned Culture Select Committee Parliamentary debate on secondary ticketing, that it was moving the firm’s London based business to New York, and that it was itself tacking legal action in Germany against promoter Kilimanjaro Live and its boss Stuart Gailbraith over the promoters decision to cancel thousands of re-sold and touted tickets on a 2017 Ed Sheerhan tour. Viagogo’s usually silent PR department set up a Twitter account to comment on the German litigation, alleging that Kilimanjaro boss “Stuart Galbraith duped Ed Sheeran fans by confiscating thousands of genuine tickets at the gate, forcing fans to buy new tickets and pocketing millions of pounds in duplicate sales”. As a result, it said, it was now suing the promoter “for defrauding thousands of fans out of several million pounds on Ed Sheeran’s recent tour”. The resale firm alleges that Kilimanjaro set up Victims Of Viagogo booths at Sheeran’s shows. This meant it was the fans on the night who…

AEG files to dismiss Ozzy’s anti-trust action
Competition , Live Events / August 2018

COMPETITION Live events sector   The almighty spat between O2 owner and promoter AEG, artist Ozzy Osbourne and AEG’s rival Live Nation, which also includes the joint venture between manager Irving Azoff and Madison Square Gardens (MSG) has gone legal, with Ozzy accusing AEG of anti-competitive behaviour.   The case revolves around the reported requirement set by that AEG that links bookings at venues it operates in London and Los Angeles, namely The 21,000 capacity O2 and the similar sized Staples Center, with a number of reports saying that artists wishing to play the former had been told they must also commit to play the latter when in LA, rather than rival Los Angeles venue the Forum, which is run by Azoff-MSG. AEG countered by saying that MSG had started the acrimonious spat by similarly linking bookings at its flagship 20,780 capacity New York venue Madison Square Garden with the 17,500 capacity LA Forum. Live Nation then stirred up the pot by complaining about AEG’s venue linking practices, prompting AEG to counter by asking why LNE hadn’t criticised MSG for their similar approach, before noting that maybe it was because the MSG venues use Live Nation’s Ticketmaster service, saying “Live…

Sir Cliff triumphs in privacy claim against the BBC
Privacy / August 2018

PRIVACY Broadcasting   Perhaps unsurprisingly, Sir Cliff Richard has won his privacy battle with the BBC and has won a substantial damages payment from the state broadcaster.   You will probably remember that this litigation spewed from the BBC’s coverage of South Yorkshire Police’s (SYP) raid on Sir Cliff’s Berkshire home in 2014. The raid was the result of a claim against Sir Cliff for historical sexual abuse. Whilst the BBC have already claimed the result of the case is a blow to press freedom, it must be remembered that no arrest was made, and ultimately resulted no charges were brought.   The BBC was tipped off about the time and date of the raid by SYP and went on to break the story as an exclusive on the 1 o’clock news. Scenes of the raid were filmed from both the ground and a helicopter. Following the BBC’s coverage, the story rapidly spread around the World.   Originally SYP was a named as a defendant alongside the BBC. In this tranche of the claim Sir Cliff claimed that SYP had breached privacy and the Data Protection Act 1998 by disclosing that he was under investigation for sexual offences and the date…

Fender at centre of price fixing claim
Competition / July 2018

COMPETITION Musical instruments and technology   The world-famous guitar maker Fender and four leading keyboard manufacturers are at the centre of a price fixing investigation after “dawn raids” were carried out at their British offices by staff from the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA). Although the companies have not been officially named, The Sunday Telegraph named the four companies as Yamaha, one of the biggest musical instrument manufacturers in the world, Roland, Korg and Casio. The CMA is investigating alleged anti-competitive agreements in the musical instruments and equipment sector under Chapter I CA98 and Article 101 TFEU. The CMA website states that five separate “initial investigations” have been launched into “suspected breaches of competition law by various parties”. It adds that inquiries “relate to alleged anti-competitive agreements and/or concerted practices in relation to musical instruments and equipment”, adding that it is focusing on “suspected anti-competitive agreements”. However, the CMA stresses that the investigations are “at an early stage and no assumptions should be made that competition law has been infringed”. The inquiry is thought to be focusing on whether any attempt has been made to manipulate sales of musical instruments and pro-audio equipment, the supply of stick and price fixing. It is understood 14…

Viagogo faces criminal action from FIFA

COMPETITION / CRIMINAL Live events sector   World Cup organisers FIFA have filed a criminal complaint in Switzerland against the ticket website Viagogo as part of a crackdown on unauthorised World Cup sales, the latest in a line of legal challenges to the company’s business practices. Last week, a UK government minister urged consumers to boycott Viagogo as National Trading Standards launched an investigation into allegations that it has persistently misled consumers, while the Competition and Markets Authority has separately threatened the company with court action.   Football’s governing body said it has received numerous complaints from individuals, consumer protection bodies and other market players about “opaque and deceptive” Viagogo. The criminal complaint filed on Monday with the public prosecutor’s office in Genevais based on a breach of the law on unfair competition against Viagogo   FIFA is reportedly looking to “prioritise the safety and security of fans and enforce a fair 2018 FIFA World Cup ticketing pricing scheme.” In a statement FIFA said: “FIFA regards the illicit sale and distribution of tickets as a serious issue and views the security implications of the unauthorised transfer and/or resale of tickets as being of paramount importance” “In light of the above, we encourage fans…

Planned EU legislation for lighting efficiency could be ‘catastrophic’ for culture

HEALTH & SAFETY Live events sector   Venues and theatres have warned that new EU legislation will see their ‘lights going out’ after new legislation is introduced which will not provide any exemption for stage lighting and will make specialist lighting subject to the same environmental rules that govern lighting sold domestic and office use. The Artistic Director of the National Theatre, Rufus Norris, has estimated the restrictions on traditional and LED light bulbs due to be enforced by the 1st September 2020 could cost British Theatres £1.25 billion, with a disproportionate burden falling on smaller venues. The European Union (EU)’s proposed Ecodesign Working Plan 2016–2019 will require all new stage lighting, from traditional tungsten bulbs to the latest LED fixtures, to meet new efficiency targets, from which they are currently exempt. According to the UK’s Association of Lighting Designers (ALD), the new regulations will “dramatically impact all areas of entertainment lighting and all who work in this field”, with the impact on live shows “immediate and overwhelming”. The PSA has joined the fight and General Manager Andy Lenthall told IQ magazine  “Professional stage lighting has always been exempt from the labelling regime, [but] that’s about to change” adding “Tungsten, halogen and other…

Viola player’s claim for damaged hearing succeeds in the High Court

HEALTH & SAFETY Live events sector   Chris Goldscheider, a former Royal Opera House viola player has won a landmark High Court judgment after he suffered a life-changing hearing injury at a rehearsal of Wagner’s Die Walkure in 2012. The claim came from a rehearsal on the 1st September 2012, Mr Goldscheider was seated directly in front of the 18 strong brass section of the orchestra for a rehearsal in the orchestra pit at the Royal Opera House. Evidence presented showed that during that rehearsal, the noise levels exceeded 137 decibels, roughly equivalent to that of a jet engine 100 feet away. Despite wearing ear defenders Mr Goldscheider’s hearing was irreversibly damaged and he claimed damages for acoustic shock, a condition with symptoms including tinnitus, hyperacusis and dizziness. He told the BBC: “With this condition if you are exposed to normal sounds, unfortunately they become incredibly painful” adding “I suppose the nearest analogy is if you imagine for a normal person to walk on normal ground and then you imagine walking barefoot on glass.” Mr Goldscheider studied in Prague and the UK and played with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and BBC Symphony orchestras. In 2002 he joined the viola section of the…

Tulisa wins a massive ‘scream & shout’ pay out

COPYRIGHT Music publishing   Former N-Dubz member and X-Factor judge Tulisa Contostavlos has reportedly won a 10% share of the songwriting income from the Britney Spears and will.i.am track ‘Scream & Shout’ after a six year dispute over who should share the royalties from the hit song.   Contostavlos argued that she had collaborated on an original version of the song ( then called I Don’t Give A F**k) with producers Jean Baptiste and Jef Martens, who work with will.i.am, the plan being to include it on her album ‘The Female Boss’. However the producers didn’t use the song  and instead Will.i.am used the song for a track featuring Britney Spears, with Spears apparently providing the vocals using Tulisa’s original vocals as a guide. The track ended up on will.i.am’s album ‘#willpower’ in 2012, accredited to Britney Spears and will.i.am. Tulisa, 29, immediately filed a claim and all income for the Number 1 hit was frozen by the court.   As the legal dispute continued, Tulisa insisted that Will.i.am and Britney’s version still included parts she had written including the line: ‘When you hear this in the club, you’d better turn this s**t up.’ It also transpired that some of Contostavlos’s vocals were still present on the final…

Viagogo faces more problems in the UK market

CONSUMER / COMPETITION Live events sector   The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has indicated that it will take action against Viagogo, the online secondary ticketing site. CMA announced last year that it has secondary ticketing sites in is sights. That was last year, and this week the CMA has stated that a number of secondary ticketing sites, namely StubHub, GetMeIn! and Seatwave had updated their policies to ensure that seat numbers and seller’s identity will be provided and will even include ‘health warnings’ about the possibility of event promoters cancelling tickets sold without permission and in breach of terms on the secondary market. Not so Viagogo.   The executive director for enforcement of the CMA, Michael Grenfell, said “We welcome the changes already made and new commitments we’ve been given by StubHub, Seatwave and GetMeIn! to improve the information on offer, so that people can better judge whether they’re getting a good deal”… “But all secondary ticketing websites must play by the rules and treat their customers fairly if anything goes wrong. We take failure to comply with consumer protection law very seriously”.   Switzerland based Viagogo has not been compliant with the CMA’s requests. In fact, Grenfall explained “So far…

Viola player’s claim for damaged hearing succeeds in the High Court
Health & Safety , Live Events / April 2018

HEALTH & SAFETY Live events sector   Chris Goldscheider, a former Royal Opera House viola player has won a landmark High Court judgment after he suffered a life-changing hearing injury at a rehearsal of Wagner’s Die Walkure in 2012. The claim came from a rehearsal on the 1st September 2012, Mr Goldscheider was seated directly in front of the 18 strong brass section of the orchestra for a rehearsal in the orchestra pit at the Royal Opera House. Evidence presented showed that during that rehearsal, the noise levels exceeded 137 decibels, roughly equivalent to that of a jet engine 100 feet away. Despite wearing ear defenders Mr Goldscheider’s hearing was irreversibly damaged and he claimed damages for acoustic shock, a condition with symptoms including tinnitus, hyperacusis and dizziness. He told the BBC: “With this condition if you are exposed to normal sounds, unfortunately they become incredibly painful” adding “I suppose the nearest analogy is if you imagine for a normal person to walk on normal ground and then you imagine walking barefoot on glass.” Mr Goldscheider studied in Prague and the UK and played with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and BBC Symphony orchestras. In 2002 he joined the viola section of the…

ASA clamps down on the secondary ticketing platforms
Competition , Consumers / April 2018

CONSUMER / COMPETITION Live events sector   The UK’s four main secondary ticketing agencies have been banned from using certain “misleading” price strategies. The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said they had not been clear enough about extra fees added at the end of the booking. The four largest sites are Get Me In, Viagogo, StubHub and Seatwave. The action, comes after widespread concern from consumers, some politcians and industry groups such as the Fanfair Alliance, and seeks to ensure that advertisers are upfront about booking and delivery fees at the end of the process, which can drastically affected pricing. The ASA have also demanded that Viagogo stops using the words “official site” and “100% Guarantee” as it could not guarantee entry. . Concert promoters may use contract terms in the sale of tickets to cancel touted tickets meaning tickets bought on Viagogo could not guarantee entry. The ASA’s chief executive, Guy Parker, said: “Many of us will recognise the frustration of being happy with the initial price of tickets on a secondary website only to be stung by hefty fees when we come to book” and “The message from our rulings is simple and it’s clear: The price you see at the start should be the…

PPL and PRS for Music combine for joint licence
Copyright / April 2018

COPYRIGHT Collection societies   PRS For Music and PPL have officially launched a new joint venture company which will provide one licence to cover all public performance rights. The new company will administer the joint licence – called TheMusicLicence which will allow users to play recorded music publicly in venues including bars, offices, gyms, fishmongers and music venues. The licence will cover users for the performing right in both recordings and songs. Suzanne Smith is the new head of the JV, joining from credit rating company Experian: “We are very excited to now offer customers of both PPL and PRS For Music a more streamlined approach for licensing their businesses to play and perform music” Smith said, adding “With the launch of TheMusicLicence we are providing one licence and one contact, enabling companies and organisations to enhance their customer and employee experience by playing music in their premises”. PRS For Music chief executive Robert Ashcroft said: “We have invested years of effort and millions of pounds to simplify music licensing for UK businesses and on behalf of PRS For Music, I am delighted to launch what is the largest joint venture of its kind in the world. This is the beginning of a new era…

West wins payout in insurance battle
Contract , Live Events / April 2018

CONTRACT Live events sector   Rapper Kanye West has settled his battle against Lloyd’s of London, which began when insurers refused to pay out West’s claim stemming from the cancellation of several dates on his 2016 Saint Pablo tour.  The Stour ran from August to November. West performed 41 shows in 87 days before the stoppage. In all, 22 dates were cancelled. West has not ventured back on the road since those cancelled dates. According to TMZ, the insurer has agreed to pay most of what West was claiming. Initially, Lloyd’s had refused to make any payment on the grounds  that the mental health issues which West suffered had stemmed from his drug use, which would have voided the policy. West’s touring company Very Good Touring sued Lloyd’s for $9.8 million (plus interest) and Lloyd’s had originally counter-sued. West was admitted to a Los Angeles hospital in November of 2016 following a series of “bizarre incidents” including feuding with Beyonce and Jay-Z, telling a San Jose, California crowd that he would have voted for then President-elect Trump if he had voted, and stopping a show after two songs and 30 minutes in Sacramento. A source told NBC news at the time that police responded…

New UK rules introduced to protect consumers against ticket touting
Competition , Consumers / March 2018

CONSUMER / COMPETITION Live events sector   The UK’s Consumer Minister Andrew Griffiths has announced the implementation of a number of new rules to regulate the online secondary ticketing marketplace, although readers of this blog will note that some of these are already law, coming into force after amendments were made to the 2015 Consumer Rights Act by MPs Sharon Hodgson and Mike Weatherley. That Act also instigated the Waterson Report on the ticketing marketplace.  In a statement the Department For Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy said: “Fans of live events are set to benefit from new rules which will demand more information from sellers on secondary ticket websites. Under the new rules, which will come into force in April 2018, ticket resellers will be required to provide purchasers with additional detailed information about tickets including the location of seats, disclosure of any restrictions and the original price of the ticket itself”. However, Griffiths’s announcement does provide some clarity on exactly what ticket restrictions must be declared when a tout is touting. Also, there is a new obligation to provide the unique ticket number (UTN) of any ticket being resold where it is numbered (meaning a show promoter could cancel that ticket if…

New UK anti-bot ticketing legislation
Competition , Live Events / February 2018

COMPETITION / CONSUMER Live events sector   The UK Government has unveiled new legislation aimed at preventing ticket touts from using so called ‘bots’ to bulk buy tickets. The new measure will be a new criminal offence contained in the Digital Economy Act, and touts who use automated software to harvest tickets to sell on at inflated prices, in effect circumventing limits on maximum ticket purchases set by event organisers and vars on the subsequent re-sale of tickets, will face unlimited fines. Matt Hancock, the UK’s minister for the creative industries, said: “We’re determined to make sure 2018 is the year we help real fans get the chance to see their favourite music and sports stars at a fair price. We’ll be acting to stamp out the growing problem of touts misusing technology to scoop up vast numbers of tickets only to sell them on at rip-off prices” adding “Our work, together with improvements by industry, will help make the market more transparent and mean a great year for Britain’s thriving live events scene.” The UK Government has now notified the European Commission of its plans to take forward the proposals, a move that comes as part of a crackdown to tackle misuse of…

Is there a lawsuit creeping up on us?
Copyright , Music Publishing / February 2018

COPYRIGHT Recorded music, music publishing   For perhaps the first time this year it appears there may, or may not, be a Blurred Lines effect case on the horizons.     Lana Del Rey recently tweeted: “it’s true about the lawsuit. Although I know my song wasn’t inspired by ‘Creep’, Radiohead feel it was and want 100% of the publishing. I offered up to 40 over the last few months but they will only accept 100. Their lawyers have been relentless, so we will deal with it in court”.” Whilst many took this to mean a lawsuit had been filed by Radiohead’s lawyers, that isn’t quite the full picture.   First a bit of background and in short the dispute revolves around Radiohead claiming that Del Rey lifted aspects of Radiohead’s ‘Creep’ and placed it in her song ‘Get Free’.  If you listen to the two you may feel the same. You may not!   It was alleged by Del Rey that she was being sued and that Radiohead’s lawyers were demanding 100% of the publishing rights to Del Rey’s song. However, in a twist, Warner/ Chappell, Radiohead’s music publisher have stated that there is no lawsuit and the company has not asked for…

UK adopts ‘against of change’ to protect music venues
Live Events / February 2018

PLANNING Live events sector   On the back of a private members bill which almost certainly failed to have reached the statute books, the UK government has agreed is to write the “agent-of-change” principle into planning law, in an announcement welcomed as a “seismic victory” for music venues by UK Music chief executuve Michael Dugher. Its a major triumph for the live sector and Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Sajid Javid MP confirmed that the National Planning Policy Framework, with which local authorities are legally bound to comply, will be amended to include “detailed reference” to agent of change, making housing developers building new homes near exisiting UK venues responsible for addressing noise issues. Javid said: “Music venues play a vital role in our communities, bringing people together and contributing to the local economy and supporting the country’s grassroots music culture. I have always thought it unfair that the burden is on long-standing music venues to solve noise issues when property developers choose to build nearby. That’s why I consulted on this in February last year as part of the housing white paper” adding “I am pleased to finally have an opportunity to right this wrong and also…

Sir Paul backs the ‘agent of change’ law
Licensing , Live Events / February 2018

PLANNING / LICENSING Live events sector   Artists and music industry leaders joined politicians in Westminster to support the ‘agent of change’ principle as John Spellar MP presented his bill to Parliament in a legislative move which if successful would change UK planning law so that property developers putting new residential buildings close to existing music venues would be responsible for identifying and resolving any future sound issues. This agent of change proposals, which attracted a message of support from Sir Paul McCartney, aims to ensure that music venues are protected from new arrivals who move into an area. The former Beatle was joined by Brian Eno, Pink Floyd’s Nick Mason, The Kinks’ Ray Davies in backing a plan to stop the closure of grassroots venues after more than a third were said to have closed in the past decade, according to research by UK Music. In his speech to Parliament Spellar said: “I accept that there is a variety of reasons for the decline in venues, but many relate to changes in the neighbourhood, increasingly when redundant commercial or industrial premises are converted to residential, or are knocked down and rebuilt, or as empty sites are developed” adding “Of course, much of that…

YouTube adopts ISNI to help allocate payments
Copyright , Internet , Music Publishing / February 2018

COPYRIGHT Internet, recorded music, music publishing   YouTube is to begin issuing International Standard Name Identifier  (ISNI) numbers to creators. The platform has become a registration agency which means it will now start requesting and issuing ISNI codes from and to any creators who publish content, including musicians and songwriters in a move which should help with attribution and royalty payments. ISNI numbers can cover “researchers, inventors, writers, artists, visual creators, performers, producers, publishers, aggregators, and more”. YouTube will use the ISNI code to identify musicians and songwriters on its platform, allocating numbers to those who don’t already have one. It also plans to share those codes with any one creator’s business partners, such as record labels and music publishers, to encourage wider adoption of the identifier system. YouTube’s Technical Program Manager FX Nuttall said “By adopting ISNI, artists, songwriters and other creators will be unambiguously identified, enabling better visibility and tracking on YouTube. Bringing the ISNI open standard to music opens the door to more accurate credit for creators, discovery for fans, and transparency for the industry”. The ISNI International Agency’s Executive Director Tim Devenport said: “We’re delighted to partner with YouTube on such an ambitious effort. Many organisations active in the…

Two cases on either side of the pond puts equality in the spotlight
Live Events / February 2018

EQUALITY Live events sector    Female comedian Iliza Shlesinger is being sued in the US by a male patron who was turned away from her “Girls’ Night In with Iliza – No Boys Allowed” comedy show in Los Angeles. George St. George says he and a friend bought tickets to the show on November 13th through the Largo website. They arrived at the will-call window early, and were given their tickets but told they would need to sit in the back. After returning after a drink they were then told that Shlesinger and the theatre had decided not to allow entry because it was, as advertised, a women-only show, and that they would be refunded for their tickets. The event page on the Largo website says “Iliza is bringing her girls invited only show back to Los Angeles “Girls’ Night In is a hybrid stand up show and interactive discussion between Iliza and the women in the audience aimed at giving women a place to vent in a supportive, fun and inclusive environment. She invites women of all walks of life to come, laugh with her and at her and be ready to share and feel safe for an awesome night of…

Birmingham’s Rainbow to fight licence revocation
Licensing , Live Events / January 2018

LICENSING Live events sector   In the United Kingdom, Birmingham City Council has revoked the licence of  The Rainbow Venues nightclub complex, following the drug-related death of a teenager last month. The decision was made after nineteen year old Michael Trueman died at a Halloween event after taking MDMA in the venue’s toilets. He died in hospital the next day. Resident Advisor reports that PC Abdul Rohomon from the West Midlands told a licensing hearing that the Police had “no option but to call for Rainbow’s licence to be revoked” as this was the second drug-related death in the eleven room complex in two years, the first being eighteen year old Dylan Booth in 2015. He added that there was also “evidence that a fifteen year-old boy has been admitted to the venue”,  based on video footage collected from Snapchat. Rohoman added: “There are around 3000 licensed premises in Birmingham and this is the only venue which has suffered drug related deaths. The most stringent measures are in place yet drugs are still being consumed inside the venue”. The Guardian reports that The Rainbow Venues already took robust action to restrict drug use. In a case that will remind many of…

Apple Music in hot water over unpaid mechanical royalty payments
Copyright , Music Publishing / January 2018

COPYRIGHT Music publishing   Mechanical royalties are the royalties paid to a songwriter when a copy of the songwriter’s song is reproduced. The term mechanical royalties dates back to the days when music was recorded on piano rolls. Nowadays, it relates to the sale of any sound recording that is within copyright. Therefore, every time a sound recording is manufactured into a CD, downloaded, or streamed this “mechanical” process will generate a royalty. The royalty will then usually be passed through the collection societies and to the songwriter, well not in Apple Music’s case.  Apple Music has found itself in “treble” ;) over allegations of not paying the correct mechanical royalties due to US songwriters. However, mechanical royalties and streaming platforms are having bit of a hard time as of late. Spotify, Tidal, Slacker and Google Play have all been on the receiving end of mechanical royalty payment lawsuits.  Generally speaking the streaming platforms are claiming that they want to pay songwriters their due mechanical royalties. But, because of inefficient US framework for the collection of mechanical royalties in the US it is difficult for the streaming platforms to pay every songwriter. In the streaming platforms’ defence, unlike the UK,…

Multiple moves against the ticket touts
Competition , Consumers , Live Events / January 2018

COMPETITION / CONSUMER Live events sector   In August, the Vienna Commercial Court found that the fees on tickets sold via CTS’s oeticket website, which charges €2.50 for ‘print @ home’ and mobile tickets and €1.90 for those picked up from branches of Libro or oeticket’s own box offices fell foul of Austrian law. Now the Higher Regional Court of Vienna (Oberlandesgericht Wien, OLG) has also ruled against Eventim. VKI said that the OLG took particular exception to the fact oeticket does not offer a fee-free delivery option, leaving the consumer with no option but to pay them. And British consumer protection body National Trading Standards has made four arrests as part of its investigation into the business activities of large-scale secondary ticket sellers in the UK. In a separate investigation, the Competition and Markets Authority raided the London offices of StubHub and Viagogo. The new arrests are linked to alleged breaches of the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 which introduce a general prohibition against unfair commercial practices, specific prohibitions against misleading and aggressive practices and a blacklist of 31 practices that will be deemed unfair in all circumstances.    A National Trading Standards statement said “Officers from National Trading Standards conducted raids at a number of…

Bjork: the new kid on the blockchain
Copyright , Music Publishing / December 2017

COPYRIGHT Recorded Music   The Icelandic singer, songwriter and DJ, Bjork, is very well known for being a “restlessly experimental creative force” and is releasing her new album, Utopia, on the blockchain. She has announced that the latest album will only be available for purchase by way of cryptocurrencies. Blockchain, at its core, is a decentralised distributed ledger that registers and validates transactions without the need for a central authority. Further, the information that is stored on the blockchain is virtually tamperproof because of cryptographic hashes. This all means that two parties are able to exchange currency, data, or almost anything else in a secure way. Bjork has teamed up with British start-up Blockpool to put blockchain on the centre stage for the new release. Fans will need Bitcoin, Litecoin, DASH, or AudioCoin if they wish to purchase the album. In fact, it will not be possible to purchase the album with usual currency. Further, whilst fans will need cryptocurrencies to purchase the album, they will also receive cryptocurrency for doing so. Fans of Bjork will be given 100 Audicoins, a cryptocurrency designed for the music industry and currently worth around $0.19 each, when they purchase the album. Fans will…

Met axes Form 696
Live Events / December 2017

EQUALITY Live events sector   IQ reported that London’s Metropolitan police is to abolish form 696, the controversial risk-assessment document critics claim discriminates against grime and other predominantly black music, in a move welcomed by mayor Sadiq Khan. Following a review process, which included consultations with local authorities, venues, the Musicians’ Union, London Promoter Forum and the Institute of Licensing, the Met announced it is to abolish the form – which it acknowledged was perceived to “disproportionately affect” certain genres of music – in favour of a “new voluntary partnership approach” with venues and promoters in the city.    A survey had revealed that almost half the British general public think that the controversial risk-assessment document Form 696 is discriminatory against those forced to complete it. The results of the survey are part of Ticketmaster’s State of Play: Grime report and shows that 48% of those polled – a “nationally representative” sample of the British population – think the form is discriminatory because it only applies to certain events. Culture minister Matt Hancock and the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, are among those to have called for a review of form 696, which is used by London’s Metropolitan police to determine the potential level of…

Agent of Change to (hopefully) change and protect UK Live Music and Venues
Live Events / December 2017

PLANNING Live events sector   UK Music has launched a new campaign with the aim to persuade Parliament to introduce the “agent of change” principle into UK law.  It’s been bubbling under for some time now (see http://www.musiclawupdates.com/?p=6681 and we last updated readers on this in March 2017.  But what is the “agent of change” principle? Three years ago, Frank Turner warned the Culture Secretary Sajid Javid that  the country is facing “a meltdown in the British live music circuit” as venues closed – often forced to shut by new developments as new residents and businesses who move in then objected to being next door to a venue. In short it means that the person/ business responsible for the change is also responsible for the management of the impact of the change.  For example, new houses are being built near a live music venue: Under the agent of change principle, because the business behind the new houses is creating a change, the business would be responsible for paying for the soundproofing.  On the flipside, if a new music venue wanted to set up in a residential area, the venue would be responsible for the newly required soundproofing.  UK law at the moment says…

CMA to take action over secondary ticketing abuses
Competition , Consumers , Live Events / December 2017

COMPETITION / CONSUMER Live events sector   Hot on the back of news that Google is updating its rules on how ticket-resellers can advertise on its search engine, meaning secondary ticketing platforms globally will have to be certified with Google before they can advertise using its AdWords platform (in turn promoting greater transparency), comes the announcement that the UK’s Competition And Markets Authority (CMA) will take enforcement action against secondary ticketing websites suspected of breaking consumer protection law following a long-running investigation – through the courts, if necessary. The CMA said it has gathered evidence, which it considers reveals breaches of the law, and identified “widespread concerns” about the information consumers are given. The CMA launched an “enforcement investigation” into secondary ticketing in December 2016. The CMA then said that it intended to “consider whether, in its view, both the businesses selling tickets and the secondary ticketing platforms advertising them are failing to provide the full range of information in breach of the law and, if so, take enforcement action”, responding to claims that the major re-sale platforms were ignoring transparency obligations laid out in the Consumer Rights Act 2015. These include stating the face value of the tickets being sold, information on the…

This is Spinal Tap – it’s gone past eleven
Contract / November 2017

CONTRACT Film & TV, recorded music   We previously reported about the ongoing ‘This is Spinal Tap’ litigation. In fact, I am sure that we are now running out of puns, I guess each time “it’s one louder, isn’t it?” But now the four creators, have amended their claim. The amendments have resulted in more specific claims against Vivendi and now Universal Music is also featured as a co-defendant.  The legal representatives for Harry Shearer, Christopher Guest, Michael McKean and Rob Reiner have stated that “The amended complaint details the fraud by concealment and misrepresentation conducted by Vivendi and its agent Ron Halpern and others. The co-creators contend there was longstanding and deliberate concealment by Vivendi of material facts regarding the actual gross receipts of the film, soundtrack, music and merchandise sales, plus expenses and the profits owed to them” and “Further compounding this fraud, improper expense deductions were made in Vivendi’s accounting to the creators, allegedly representing print, advertising and publicity expenses (undocumented) totalling over $3.3 million and a further $1 million in freight and other direct costs, more than half of which extraordinarily appears to fall some 20 years after the film’s release. Vivendi has also recently charged over $460k in ‘interest’ on…

Met’s Form 696 back in the spotlight after new survey results
Discrimination , Live Events / November 2017

EQUALITY Live events sector   A new survey has revealed that almost half the British general public think that the controversial risk-assessment document Form 696 is discriminatory against those forced to complete it. the results of the survey are part of Ticketmaster’s State of Play: Grime report and shows that 48% of those polled – a “nationally representative” sample of the British population – think the form is discriminatory because it only applies to certain events. Culture minister Matt Hancock and the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, are among those to have called for a review of form 696, which is used by London’s Metropolitan police to determine the potential level of risk involved in events where a DJ or MC is using a backing track. The study was produced by Ticketmaster’s LiveAnalytics division in partnership with Disrupt and the University of Westminster’s black music research unit. Form 696  currently asks for the names, stage names, addresses and phone numbers of all promoters and artists at events where pre-recorded backing tracks are used. An earlier version of the document also asked about the specific genre of music being performed and likely ethnic make-up of the audience. Those questions were dropped in 2009 after allegations they were racial…

YouTube-MP3 agrees to shutter
Copyright , Internet , Music Publishing / October 2017

COPYRIGHT Internet, recorded music   YouTube-mp3 has agreed to shut down and hand its domain(s) over to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). With millions of visitors each day, the ‘steam ripping’ YouTube-MP3.org was one of the most visited websites on the Internet.  Last year, the Germany-based YouTube to MP3 converter website was sued by the RIAA for copyright infringing their rights.  It had also been sued by the record industry in its home country in 2013. Now in an agreed settlement, YouTube-MP3 will shut down indefinitely. The BPI (British Recorded Music Industry) and the IFPI (International Federation of the Phonographic Industry) were also parties to the action, which accused the site of not only copyright infringement, but also circumventing YouTube’s copy protection mechanism, and violating the USA’s Digital Millennium Copyright Act. A report earlier this year by the UK’s Intellectual Property Office and PRS For Music said that stream ripping was now the “most prevalent and fastest growing form of music piracy”. According to an IFPI  report published last year, the site has been reportedly attracting more than 60 million monthly visitors. In the same report, it was mentioned that 50 percent of the 16 to 24-year-old survey respondents used stream ripping services…

Public Enemies
Artists , Contract , Music Publishing / October 2017

CONTRACT Artists, recorded music   Flavor Flav has launched a legal action against his former Public Enemy collaborator Chuck D and various other parties associated of the seminal hip hop group over allegedly unpaid royalties.  That said it seems Flavor Flav and Chuck D will still perform together in upcoming live shows. According to TMZ, the lawsuit covers unpaid royalties and revenue shares from recording income, publishing, live performances and merchandising income generated by Public Enemy, including monies from the recent album ‘Nothing Is Quick In The Desert’ and money relating to a deal that resulted in Public Enemy action figures being sold. In the lawsuit, Flavor Flav (real name William J. Drayton) claims that he and Chuck D (real name Carlton Ridenhour) had a long-established agreement that profits from their music, merchandise and concerts would be split between them. Despite that alleged arrangement, Flavor Flav claims that Public Enemy’s business management firm Eastlink has not been sending the earnings he is owed, which have “diminished to almost nothing, and Drayton has been refused accountings, even on the items bearing his likeness, Responding to the litigation, Chuck D told TMZ: “Flav has his rights, but took a wrong road on…

“England’s loudest band will be heard”….in a courtroom in the US
Artists , Contract / October 2017

CONTRACT Film & TV, Artistes   The ‘This is Spinal Tap’ litigation has been ongoing for some time and now and it looks like it will go ahead. Last week it was ruled that the case will proceed on the provision that some new paperwork is filed.  Harry Shearer, Christopher Guest, Michael McKean and Rob Reiner allege that Vivendi, owner of StudioCanal, who in turn is the rights holder of the ‘Spinal Tap’ movie, of deliberate under-payment of music and other royalties.  The action started when Harry Shearer began the lawsuit against Vivendi, and not long after Christopher Guest, Michael McKean and Rob Reiner followed suit. They turned it up to eleven, and claimed that Vivendi “wilfully manipulated certain accounting data, while ignoring contractually-obligated accounting and reporting processes, to deny [the] co-creators their rightful stake in the production’s profits”. Vivendi called the litigation ‘absurd’ and stated that they planned to have the case dismissed. In the ruling last week the Judge stated that the creators of ‘Spinal Tap’ had not done enough to substantiate the claims of fraud, Judge Dolly Gee explained that: although the creators had “vaguely alleged the elements of a fraud claim, they have failed to plead…

The UK’s competition regulator approves Live Nations takeover of the Isle of Wight Festival
Competition , Live Events / October 2017

COMPETITION Live events sector   The UK’s Competition & Markets Authority has approved Live Nation’s acquisition of the Isle of Wight Festival, concluding that the live giant’s latest expansion of its festival portfolio does not raise any competition issues. The deal was concluded through the LNE-Gaiety joint venture between Denis Desmond’s Gaiety and Live Nation. Desmond is also non-executive Chairman of LNE.    Prior to the decision, the UK’s festival trade association, the Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) had written to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) urging the CMA to widen its investigation into the acquisition of Isle of Wight Festival to include an inquiry into global promoter’s “position in the [UK] market overall”. AIF published a report that showed that Live Nation either owns or holds a majority stake in nearly a quarter (23%) of all UK events with a capacity of over 5,000. In total, Live Nation controls 28 UK festivals, including eight of Britain’s largest outdoor events (Download, V Festival, Reading/Leeds, Parklife, Creamfields, Lovebox and Wilderness) but  whilst this excludes Glastonbury, it is almost three times more than its nearest competitor, Global, which AIF says has a  8% marketshare. Rival AEG promotes the 65,000 capacity British…

Radiohead stage death trial collapses
Health & Safety , Live Events / October 2017

HEALTH & SAFETY Live events sector   “No doubt, this decision will be incomprehensible to Mr Johnson’s family, who can justifiably complain that justice has not been done”. Judge Ann Nelson   The criminal case and trial against the organisers of Radiohead’s 2012 concert in Toronto where British drum technician Scott Johnson was killed and three others injured when a scaffolding structure collapsed at Downsview Park in June 16th 2012 has ended because of delays in the trial itself, primarily as the original judge hearing the case received a promotion. In July 2017 Justice Shaun Nakatsuru, said that his appointment to the Ontario Superior Court meant he no longer had jurisdiction over the case. Nakatsuru said he came to the decision with “great regret” saying “My appointment was unexpected and without notice. I know that the defendants have waited a long time for the final resolution of this case. So has the public” and “There are many compelling reasons why it would be in the best interests of justice for me to finish this. But I cannot.” The show was promoted by Live Nation, and LNE and its Ontario subsidiary were subsequently charged under the Canadian province’s Occupational Health And Safety Act….

Yoko Ono forces a John Lemon re-brand
Artists , Trade Mark / October 2017

TRADE MARK Artists   John Lennon’s widow, Yoko Ono, has pushed  a Polish beverage company into changing the name of its new lemondade drink which had been called “John Lemon”. The singer-artist’s legal team alleged that the product infringed on Ono’s ‘John Lennon’ trademark and his personality rights. With a Dutch action pending, Mr Lemonade Alternative Drinks agreed to change the name to “On Lemon” after Ono wrote to the company and its distributors across Europe, warning that continued infringement could result in substantial damages which were reported as 5000 euros per day that the drink was on sale, and 500 euros for every bottle sold.    Ono’s attorney, Joris Van Manen, told the East London Advertiser that the lemonade sellers “were abusing and misusing the legacy of John Lennon to sell their soda”. In addition the lawyer cited various promotional efforts by the drinks company that also alluded to the one time Beatle.   The legal action referenced a Facebook post by John Lemon Ireland showing a large wall mural of Lennon holding lemons with the brand’s logo underneath. Other advertising depicted a pair of round glasses, closely linked with the famous Beatle, next to the words “Let It Be.”  …

Foos fight the touts
Consumers , Contract , Live Events / October 2017

CONTRACT / CONSUMER Live events sector   Foo Fighters have risked a PR disaster by turning away fans who had brought tickets for their show at London’s September 19th O2 from secondary re-sellers. Whilst the band  apologised to fans who were turned away from the O2 Arena  buying tickets from the secondary sites they and promoters SJM Concerts said they had made it very clear at the point of sale that each buyer’s name was printed on each ticket for the show and that buyers would be required to show ID to prove it was their name on the ticket before being granted entry.    It was reported that 200 people were turned away at the doors. In a statement, the band said: “The Foo Fighters show that took place at The O2 last night had a strict ‘names on ticket’ policy. The stipulation that ID would be required for admittance to the show was clearly stated at the time of announcement and was explicitly noticed at the point of purchase”. The band added that a number of other measures to ensure that tickets were not resold by touts were also put in place adding “despite these requirements being in place, some purchasers listed…

Viagogo faces Australian investigation
Competition , Live Events / September 2017

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…

Ticket touts and secondary re-sellers face increased scrutiny across Europe
Competition , Live Events / September 2017

COMPETITION / CONSUMER Live events sector   Spain and Italy are taking the lead on clamping down on ticket touting and some of the less savoury activities of some players in the secondary ticketing market, and now some of the biggest ticketing companies and concert promoters in Spain and Italy are facing prosecution.   In Milan, state prosecutor Adriano Scudieri has accused promoters Di and Gi, Live Nation and Vivo of misleading consumers the actual reality of a ‘sell out’ for some shows – panicking fans into hasty purchases at over inflated tickets prices for shows they were told were about to sell-out. Scudueri also claims that a number of companies signed “hidden agreements” with secondary ticketing site Viagogo to supply tickets to Viagogo from the primary market for sale at “unreasonably” high prices, netting €1.4 million in the process.   The State Prosecutor has announced that there will be two charges brought against the secondary ticketing companies.  The first will be for defrauding the State of 1.4 Million Euros, as a result of artificial price-rigging. The companies have further been accused of conspiring against the Italian music collection society, SIAE, and will be charged with defrauding the State of 150,000…

Potential sale of Isle of Wight Festival opens up competition issues
Competition , Live Events / September 2017

COMPETITION Live events sector   The UK’s festivals trade association, the Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) has written to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) urging the CMA to widen its investigation into Live Nation’s acquisition of Isle of Wight Festival to include an inquiry into US promoter’s “position in the [UK] market overall”. The 60 festival strong group made the recommendation after publishing research that showed that Live Nation either owns or holds a majority stake in nearly a quarter (23%) of all UK events with a capacity of over 5,000. In total, Live Nation controls 28 UK festivals, including eight of Britain’s largest outdoor events (Download, V Festival, Reading/Leeds, Parklife, Creamfields, Lovebox and Wilderness) and whilst this excludes Glastonbury, it is almost three times more than its nearest competitor, Global, which AIF says has a  8% marketshare. Rival AEG promotes the 65,000 capacity British Summer Time shows in London’s Hyde Park. Live Nation has divisions operating in tour and festival promotion, venue management, primary and secondary ticketing, and artist management, and continues to be acquisitive, not least in the UK where it has bought into a number of touring, festival and venue companies in recent years. AIF’s general manager, Paul Reed,…

Music not politically correct? Spotify will protect you
Censorship / September 2017

CENSORSHIP / EQUALITY Recorded music, streaming   Bands like Rage Against the Machine, Dead Kennedys and Public Enemy exemplify the fact that music is political and vice versa.  But how political is too political? In 2014 The Sothern Poverty Law Centre published a list of ‘white power’ artists, in which 37 artists including ‘Skull Head’ and ‘Tattooed Mother Fuckers’ were featured. The list was originally intended to target the iTunes store, and at the time Apple did remove many of the artists from download sales. The list has recently resurfaced, in the aftermath of the race related protests in Charlottesville, Virginia. Spotify has now taken action to remove artists that are identified as white supremacist hate bands.  Spotify has over 140 million users, but the question should be asked: do these users need to be told what they can and cannot listen to? Well, a spokesperson for the service, which claims to be a champion of free speech, stated that “Illegal content or material that favors hatred or incites violence against race, religion, sexuality, or the like is not tolerated by us.”  Spotify’s competitor Deezer has also joined in, and has also taken moves to decide what users can and…

Barry based security firm under investigation
Health & Safety , Live Events / August 2017

HEALTH & SAFETY Live events sector   A Welsh event security firm is under investigation by the Security Industry Authority (SIA) for allegedly supplying unlicensed stewards to several British music festivals. The Security Industry Authority (SIA) confirmed it was investigating LS Armour Security Ltd of Barry, South Wales, following a compliance check. The SIA It said it was “exceptional” for it to comment publicly and had taken “unprecedented action due to public safety.” The investigation is looking at wether the firm supplied cloned badges to unlicensed stewards at UK festivals. Reports say that Lee Szuchnik of LS Armour Security, had advertised for security staff for several festivals this summer, including Glastonbury Festival, Shindig Weekender in Bruton, Somerset, and Mutiny Festival in Portsmouth. The company has also been recruiting for stewards for Liverpool International Music Festival and Lewes Live Festival later this month.   In a statement, an SIA spokesman said: “This type of unlawful conduct remains rare due to responsible organisers and security providers conducting appropriate due diligence …. Nevertheless, the SIA understands that at this time of year, event organisers and primary contractors may not have sufficient SIA-licensed staff, which can lead to extensive sub-contracting” and “This provides opportunities to rogue providers…

Will legalities rain down on the Purple Rain stage show?

COPYRIGHT Live events sector, music publishing   It has been announced that a ‘jukebox musical’ made up of Prince’s songs will tour the UK next year and the current plan is that it will open very shortly with a string of dates across the UK.     I say plan because Prince’s family or the Prince estate has not given permission for the musical. In fact, Troy Carter, entertainment advisor to the Prince estate has explained that “Neither Prince’s family nor the estate have given permission to use his name, likeness or music catalogue for this event”,   But do they need permission?  With the music, there are two licensing issues that must be taken into account.    Firstly, let’s take the boring option, if the Purple Rain musical is in essence just a band performing Prince’s catalogue of music, nothing more, nothing less, so in effect a tribute band playing Prince songs (albeit under the guise of a musical) it would be likely that permission of the Prince estate would not be needed. This is because it is possible to obtain, or play a venues where  a PRS ‘blanket licence’ will cover the public performance of the musical works.   Now, the more…

Stream-ripping tops music piracy chart
Copyright , Internet / August 2017

COPYRIGHT Internet, digital   A study carried out by PRS for Music and the Intellectual Property Office (IPO), has found that stream-ripping is now the most prevalent and fastest growing form of music piracy in the UK, with nearly 70% of music-specific infringement dominated by the illegal online activity.   Research revealed that the use of stream-ripping websites, which allow users to illegally create permanent offline copies of audio or video streams from sites such as YouTube, increased by 141.3% between 2014 and 2016, overwhelmingly overshadowing all other illegal music services.   In 2016, PRS for Music and the IPO jointly commissioned two separate studies by INCOPRO and Kantar Media to better understand stream-ripping and its impact on the UK market and online consumer behaviour. Over 9,100 consumers participated.    Stream-ripping can be carried out via apps, websites, plug-ins or specially developed software on any online audio and video content to create a permanent audio-only copy of the music, without the rightsholders’ permission. Once saved, the track/file can be listened to offline on any digital device such as smartphones and tablets.   YouTube was found to be the most popular source of content for these sites, used by 75 of…

Ed Sheeran takes on the touts
Competition , Live Events / August 2017

COMPETITION Live events sector   The promoters of Ed Sheeran’s UK 2018 stadium tour have cancelled up to 10,000 touted tickets to put back into the primary market.  Kilimanjaro, DHP Family and AEG Presents confirmed in a statement  that they were cancelling any touted tickets to the sold out stadium shows. The promoters told fans to only buy tickets from primary sellers or their approved secondary site, resale platform Twickets which re-sells at face value.  Viagogo was targeted by Sheerhan’s team after eBay’s StubHub and Live Nation’s Seatwave and Get Me In! agreed to the musician’s request to block touted tickets.   The promoters statement reads:  “[We] and Ed Sheeran’s team worked closely together in advance of the on-sale date to put in place measures designed to protect fans from profiteering companies”. Noting that “most profiteering companies heeded the promoters’ warnings not to trade and resell tickets that would instantly be cancelled”, the statement adds: “This has resulted in 90% of tickets being delivered directly into fans’ hands at the face value” and “Despite these efforts, it has become clear that one company, Viagogo, have ignored the promoters’ requests, and there is an increasing number of customers who are realising they…