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…

European Parliament vote on EU copyright law reform looms large (UPDATED)
Copyright / October 2018

COPYRIGHT   Tomorrow (Wednesday 12th September) sees the European Parliament vote on what have become a series of somewhat controversial reforms to EU copyright law, in a battle which pits content creators and content owners against the tech giants of Amazon, Google, YouTube and Facebook. Its been a fertile feeding ground for the lobbyists as both sides fought to catch the eyes and attention of of politicians and the general public, with the tech giants spending heavily on lobbying and the content axis wheeling out a plethora of stars and big names in advance of a vote which could “change the balance of power between producers of music, news and film and the dominant websites that host their work.”   The Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market 2016/0280(COD), also known as the EU Copyright Directive, is intended to harmonise certain aspects of the European Union copyright law and moved towards a ‘Digital Single Market’.The European Parliament Committee on Legal Affairs approved the proposed Directive on the 20th June 2018, with further voting by the entire European Parliament required before it became a Directive. On the 5th July 2018, a vote on the Directive rejected the then reforms with…

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…

EU Copyright Reforms Stalled
Copyright / August 2018

COPYRIGHT All areas   European MEPs who voted on the Copyright Directive in Strasbourg today have failed (by a small majority) to move the legislative process forwards whereby the European Union Council, Commission and Parliament could have negotiated a final text for passage into law. The vote was close, with 278 in favour, 318 against and 31 abstentions. The outcome rejects the earlier Legal Committee decision to approve the draft law, which will now be sent back to parliament for further discussion.   The battle to update the EU’s copyright laws, the first since 2001, has sparked fierce lobbying from opponents to the  led by internet giants such as Google and free specch advocates (see our previous post), with the backing of celebrities such as Stephen Fry and Tim Berners-Lee, and those in favour of the plans such as film companies and record labels and artistes who included the former Beatle, sir Paul McCartney and James Blunt. The cultural and creative sectors, and rights owners will be more than disappointed. Anders Lassen, president of the European Grouping of Societies of Authors and Composers who backed the rule changes, said the vote was a “missed opportunity”, and PRS for Music’s Chief Executive, Robert…

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…

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

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…

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…

Spotify and Deezer call for a level European playing field with the American tech giants
Competition , Internet / January 2018

COMPETITON Internet   Spotify and Deezer have urged European legislators to ensure that the globally dominant giant US technology companies (primarily Apple, Amazon and Google) don’t abuse their position as gatekeepers to digital consumers, not least as all three tech giants make and operate devices, control transaction platforms and content services, and many feel they utilise the first two to promote the latter – and that might be unfair to streaming platforms like Spotify and Deezer – big in their sector, but dwarfed by the likes of Google.  The Financial Times reported that Spotify chief Daniel Ek and Deezer CEO Hans-Holger Albrecht  have now sent a letter to European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, urging the European Union to ensure “a level playing field” which would prevent American tech giants from “regularly abusing their advantaged position”. The letter, also signed the gaming sector, has been sent the EC because the EC is actively considering new rules for how big tech companies work with smaller firms whose digital tools and services are sold and/or distributed via the former’s platforms. Both Spotify and Deezer put their names to a similar letter back in May. Spotify and Deezer are upset that Apple takes a 30 percent cut…

Manowar and Womanowar are in a trade mark war
Artists , Trade Mark / November 2017

TRADE MARK Artistes   Manowar is a heavy metal band from New York, Womanowar are a “feminist tribute band” to…you guessed it: Manowar.  Manowar’s bassist, Joey Demaio, is the proprietor of US trade mark registration numbers: 75645524 and 85065290. The first registration is for a word device (logo) mark and the second is for a word only mark ‘Manowar’. The bassist is also the proprietor of EU registration number: 0011118041 for a word device (logo) mark. The three trade marks, amongst others, are all registered for use in class 41 entertainment services, namely, live performances rendered by a vocal and/or instrumental group.  But it appears that Manowar and not fans of their feminist tribute band ‘Womanowar’, it has been reported that Demaio’s legal representative has sent a cease and desist letter to the tribute band. The letter alleges that Womanowar’s logo is likely to “cause confusion among the consuming public”. In practice, coincidences at the beginning of marks will increase the similarity as opposed to the middle or the end.  If I were, Womanowar’s lawyer, I would certainly be arguing that the fact that one mark starts with ‘Man’ and the other ‘Woman’ means that the marks might not be…

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…

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…

The European Copyright Directive, safe harbour and the value gap found in the middle of it
Copyright , Internet / August 2017

COPYRIGHT Internet, digital   The EU’s E-Commerce Directive created the ‘safe harbour’ to protect Information Society Service Provides (ISP) where, subject to certain requirements, they unknowingly provided copyright-infringing material.   Take the YouTube example; due to the scale and amount of content that is uploaded to YouTube on a daily basis, it is almost an impossible task to monitor all content for copyright-infringing material. Therefore, and providing YouTube is doing all that it can in actively monitoring for copyright infringing content, it is protected by the ‘safe harbour’ rules. These rules mean that YouTube cannot be found to be liable for the infringement. However, with all rules there is an exception, the general exception for the safe harbour rules mean that if a ISP is put on notice that it is hosting infringing material it must act efficiently and expeditiously to remove the content, if this does not happen the ISP may be found to be liable.   It has been argued by both the music publishing and recorded music sectors that sites such as YouTube exploit the safe harbour rules. It is said that YouTube uses the safe harbour rules to effectively pay (much) lower royalties to copyright holders and this…

Belgian live industry go to court over the Sabam rate hike

COMPETITION  / COPYRIGHT Live events sector, collection societies   The live sector in Belgian including the Rock Werchter, Pukkelpop and Night Of The Proms, festivals and tour promoter GraciaLive are heading to court with the  country’s performing rights organisation Sabam over the new royalty rates introduced at the start of the year by the PRO. Sabam justified the recent changes to the live event tariffs to bring Belgium more in line with royalties charged elsewhere in Europe.  Jan Vereecke of Night Of The Proms promoter PSE told HLN: “Sabam has unilaterally decided to increase its tariffs by 30%. It says this is based on what is charged by societies in neighbouring countries, but the rate increase is a simple abuse of monopoly”, adding “Actually, the whole system is outdated. Sabam takes a percentage of our ticket sales. But the shows of today are different than ten years ago, as staging, large screens, fireworks and such like become more common. These production elements increase the costs of the show, and therefore the cost of the ticket, and Sabam gets to skim more off the top. That is wrong”.   And in the USA, the ongoing issues around a planned move to ‘100%…

PRS for Music launches new live concert tool for members performing overseas
Copyright , Music Publishing / June 2017

COPYRIGHT Music publishing     PRS for Music has launched a new live concert tool for members performing overseas which will show local tariffs across global territories and  could potentially help touring acts who write their own material additional royalties with the PRS for Music saying the tool will “help members who perform their music internationally negotiate full and fair royalty settlements.”   Unique to PRS for Music, the live concert tool removes the difficulty of calculating a specific country’s local tariff, which often varies significantly from territory to territory and has historically been a complex area for bands and their tour managers.   The live concert tool features a tariff calculator which can provide advance estimates of royalty value per concert across the globe, as well as ensuring the correct licence tariff rates are applied for major concerts. PRS for Music say the are the first ever collective management organisation to have developed and implemented this technology and has made it accessible to its members upon request.   The tool can also be used for royalty reconciliation post-performance, enabling members to review the progress of a royalty payment, as well as access a summary of the royalties they will…

ARTICLE LINK  – Trade Marks and Google Adwords
Trade Mark / April 2017

TRADE MARK All areas     This week LA Weekly broke the news that Coachella’s  parent company, Goldenvoice,  is suing Urban Outfitters for trademark infringement, alleging the unauthorised use of the word “Coachella”. The lawsuit relates to Urban Outfitters subsidiary Free People, who have allegedly been selling various items that use the Coachella name: “Coachella Valley Tunic” and  “Bella Coachella” accessories being two examples. According to the LA Weekly report, Goldenvoice had sent a cease-and-desist letter along with several other demands that Urban Outfitters stop using the “Coachella” name, to no avail. Now Laura Harper, a partner at Shoosmiths LLP, has written a very good article on this in the context of UK and European law, with a particular nod towards the onlIne sphere, Google and ‘adwords’.  https://www.iq-mag.net/2017/03/trademarks-fair-game-use-google-adwords-laura-harper-shoosmiths/#.WNPgdTuLSM9

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

COPYRIGHT Internet   The Swedish Court Of Appeal has overturned the ruling in the District Court Of Stockholm in 2015 which had dismissed an application that would have forced internet service providers to block The Pirate Bay and other platforms linked to music and other piracy – a move opposed Swedish ISP Bredbandsbolaget   The Patent And Market Court Of Appeal has now ruled in favour of music and movie companies, ordering Bredbandsbolaget to implement web-blocking of both The Pirate Bay and another piracy site called Swefilmer. The court confirmed that their judgement was in part influenced by the web-block injunctions that have been ordered elsewhere in the European Union. Torrentfreak reports that judge Christine Lager said in a statement: “In today’s judgment, the Patent And Market Court held that right holders such as film and music companies can obtain a court order in Sweden against an ISP, which forces the ISP to take measures to prevent copyright infringement committed by others on the internet. The decision is based in EU law and Swedish Law should be interpreted in the light of EU law. Similar injunctions have already been announced, such as in Denmark, Finland, France and the UK, but the verdict today is…

Sound marks must be distinctive
Trade Mark / December 2016

TRADE MARK All areas     The General Court (GC) of the Court of Justice of the European Union has confirmed that sound marks need to have a distinctive character to be registered as a European Union Trade Mark (EUTM).   Globo Comunicação e Participações S/A (Globo) applied to register a sound mark (shown above) initially for goods and services in classes 9, 16, 38 and 41. This specification was later limited and covered “DVDs and other digital recording media; computer software; applications for tablets and smartphones” in class 9, “television broadcasting services” in class 38 and a range of educational and entertainment and television programmes in class 41. The sound mark was refused registration by the European Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) under Article 7(1)(b) of the EUTMR because it consisted of a simple “banal ringing sound” that could not be perceived as an indication of commercial origin. The Board of Appeal who agreed, saying: “the mark applied for consisted of the repetition of a sound that resembled a ringtone which was banal in every respect, notwithstanding the fact that the mark consisted of a stave with a treble clef with a tempo of 147 crotchets per minute, repeating two G…

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

COPYRIGHT All areas   In the context of its Digital Single Market Strategy, the EU Commission is currently engaged in a discussion of whether the liability principles and rules contained in the E-Commerce Directive should be amended – and the focus of commentators has shifted to how hosting providers have been increasingly using ‘safe harbour immunity’ in Article 14 – an alleged abuse which has led to a distortion of the online marketplace, and the resulting ‘value gap’ suggested by some right holders. A proposal has been recently advanced in France advocating the removal – at a European Union level – of the safe harbour protection for hosting providers that give access to copyright works,  to enable the effective enforcement of copyright and related rights in the digital environment, particularly on platforms that disseminate protected content. In particular, the French document considers that the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has erred in its interpretation and application of relevant principles of online intermediary liability. Statewatch has now leaked a draft version of the Commission Staff Working Document – Impact Assessment on the modernisation of EU copyright rules and this appears to suggest some of the areas where changes might made: In relation…

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

COPYRIGHT All sectors   The European Commission has now published their Digital Single Market copyright reform proposals, including a Directive of the European Parliament and Council on copyright in the Digital Single Market’.   The proposed Directive, alongside the ‘Regulation of the European Parliament and Council laying down rules on the exercise of copyright and related rights applicable to certain online transmission of broadcasting organisations and the retransmission of television and radio programmes’, represent the European Commission’s efforts to modernise the copyright framework in order to further realise the European Digital Single Market. These – among other things – include proposals for a new directive on copyright in the Digital Single Market and a regulation on certain online transmissions of broadcasting organisations and retransmissions. Both instruments, if adopted in their current form, will have a deep impact on the EU copyright framework, particularly with regard to online uses of copyright works, responsibilities of hosting providers, users’ freedoms, and authors’ contracts.   In announcing the publications President Junker (who had earlier given his annual state of the union address to MEPs in Strasbourg) said: “Artists and creators are our [Europe’s] crown jewels” going on to say “I want journalists, publishers and authors to be paid fairly for…

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

COPYRIGHT All areas   As we know, the EU Commission has presented its plans for a modernisation of copyright. GEMA have now responded, and this is their take on how things are developing: “The position of authors should be reinforced with a focus on improving how they assert their rights vis-a-vis online platforms. In addition, access to creative contents in the online sector should be improved by a simplified rights clearance in Europe. GEMA considers the Commission’s efforts as an important first step in order to establish fair conditions for creative content on the digital common market.” GEMA CEO Dr Harald Heker says: “With its proposal for a copyright review, the EU Commission is sending an important signal that the value transfer of creatives towards platform operators in Europe can no longer be tolerated. For fair conditions regarding digital usage of creative content, there must be no ambiguity left that platforms such as YouTube are actively involved in making content protected by copyright publicly available. Legal safeguards have to be established so that these platforms can no longer hide behind privileged positions regarding the liability for host providers, which are intended for purely passive service providers.” Internet platforms generate substantial…

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

COPYRIGHT Music publishing   Some 212 musicians have attached their names to a brief supporting Pharrell, Robin Thicke and TI’s appeal in the “Blurred Lines” copyright case, including Earth Wind & Fire, R Kelly, John Oates, Linkin Park, Fall Out Boy’s Patrick Stump, film composer Hans Zimmer, Tears for Fears’ Curt Smith, Juicy J, the Go-Go’s, Frank Ocean collaborator Malay, Jennifer Hudson, Train’s Patrick Monahan, the production duo Stargate, Aloe Blacc, Jean Baptiste and Kiesza. The amicus brief echoes the concerns many artists and commentators have voiced since a Los Angeles jury determined that “Blurred Lines” plagiarised Marvin Gaye’s 1977 hit “Got to Give It Up” – that the songs were not actually similar (even if the sound recording ‘vibe’ was and “Blurred Lines” and “Got to Give It Up” have completely different melodies and song structures, and do not share any lyrics or “a sequence of even two chords played in the same order and for the same duration.” The brief reads: “The verdict in this case threatens to punish songwriters for creating new music that is inspired by prior works ” and “All music shares inspiration from prior musical works, especially within a particular musical genre. By eliminating any…

What do the European Commission’s moves on copyright really mean for the music industry?
Copyright , Internet / September 2016

COPYRIGHT Online   In the context of its Digital Single Market Strategy, the EU Commission is currently engaged in a discussion of whether the liability principles and rules contained in the E-Commerce Directive should be amended – and the focus of commentators has shifted to how hosting providers have been increasingly using ‘safe harbour immunity’ in Article 14 – an alleged abuse which has led to a distortion of the online marketplace, and the resulting ‘value gap’ suggested by some right holders. A proposal has been recently advanced in France advocating the removal – at a European Union level – of the safe harbour protection for hosting providers that give access to copyright works,  to enable the effective enforcement of copyright and related rights in the digital environment, particularly on platforms that disseminate protected content. In particular, the French document considers that the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has erred in its interpretation and application of relevant principles of online intermediary liability.   Statewatch has now leaked a draft version of the Commission Staff Working Document – Impact Assessment on the modernisation of EU copyright rules and this appears to suggest some of the areas where changes might made: In relation…

Sony buyout of Sony/ATV gets EU consent
Competition , Music Publishing / September 2016

COMPETITION Music Publishing   MBW reports that Sony Corporation has been granted unconditional permission by the European Commission to complete its buyout of the Jackson Estate’s 50% stake in Sony/ATV. The deal faced opposition from quarters including Warner Music Group and indie label body IMPALA, but EU regulators have now ruled in Sony’s favour saying “The transaction will not materially increase Sony’s market power vis-a-vis digital music providers compared to the situation prior to the merger.”  Sony/ATV is the biggest publisher in the world in terms of the volume of copyrights it controls. Across both its own repertoire and its administration of the catalogue of EMI Music Publishing, Sony manages over 4.2m songs. Opponents to Sony’s acquisition of Sony/ATV argued that its subsequent ‘control share’ in europe would distort the music marketplace. Back in 2012, both Warner and IMPALA lobbied against Universal Music Group’s £1.2bn ($1.9bn) acquisition of EMI Music in the EU. Although the deal ultimately went through, UMG was forced to sell Parlophone Label Group which included the catalogues of David Bowie, Pink Floyd, Blur, Kate Bush and Coldplay –and which Warner Music Group brought for what now looks like the bargain price of £487m ($740m). And in 2012, the European Commission made Sony…

Virgin told to implement three strikes in Ireland – but who pays?
Copyright , Internet / August 2016

COPYRIGHT Internet     The Court of Appeal in Ireland has ruled that Ireland’s second largest internet service provider, Virgin Media, must take steps to deal with illegal music downloading, upholding a March 2015 High Court decision that required UPC (since taken over by Virgin) to set up a ‘three strikes’ regime whereby infringers of copyright are identified, warned and their service withdrawn if they do not desist. Subject to a minor variation, the High Court order in favour of Sony, Warner and Universal companies should apply, Mr Justice Gerard Hogan said on behalf of the three-judge appeal court. That variation is that a five year review of the regime would not apply.   Virgin would be entitled to apply to the court again if there are fundamental changes in circumstances or other significant changes which may merit a change in the order, or even its discharge, the court said. UPC/Virgin had appealed the High Court decision arguing, among other reasons, that because it (UPC) was not the infringer of the copyrighted music, the court had no jurisdiction to make the orders it had. For the appeals court, Mr Justice Hogan said the order was necessary and it satisfied the requirements of a 2001 EU…

Spotify launch anti-trust claims against Apple
Competition , Internet / August 2016

COMPETITION Internet   Music streaming platform Spotify has accused Apple of using its control of the iOS platform and App Store to keep the latest Spotify app out of the iOS ecosystem, in a move that favours its own Apple Music service. Spotify said that Apple rejected a new version of the firm’s app from the App Store, citing various technicalities. Apple has insisted that Spotify’s app did not conform to “business model rules”, and demanded that Spotify use Apple’s own billing system “to acquire new customers and sell subscriptions”. Companies such as Spotify have sought to sidestep Apple’s App Store cut by encouraging consumers to sign up for their services online. Apple forbids developers from promoting alternative payment methods within their apps. This is a requirement of all app developers who wish to sell apps on Apple’s App Store. iOS is a closed platform, and so Spotify say there is no choice but to comply. Apple takes a 30 per cent fee for the privilege, which Spotify is forced to pass on to customers. Spotify claimed that this makes its service appear uncompetitive. But Apple General Counsel Bruce Sewell countered that the company deserves a cut of transactions in the App Store for its…

Ex Deep Purple member rocks up 20 years later to register band name as trade mark
Artists , Live Events , Trade Mark / June 2016

TRADE MARK Artistes, live events sector   By Emma Perot   Purple seems to be a popular colour in the world of trade marks. Recently, this Kat reported on Cadbury’s ill-fated attempt to preserve an existing colour mark. Thanks to Katfriend Plamen Ivanov, this Kat has learned of another purple trade mark dispute, this time concerning the word mark ‘Deep Purple’. Deep Purple is the name of a British rock band, formed in 1968. A former member of the band, Richard Blackmore, applied to register ‘Deep Purple’ as a word mark for certain goods and services in class 9, class 25, and class 41. As this Kat will explain, the attempt to register the mark was largely unsuccessful.   Ian Paice, one of the members of Deep Purple, opposed Blackmore’s application, based on Article 8(4) of the Community Trade Mark Regulation (now EU Trade Mark Regulation). This article provides for a relative ground of refusal for registration where an earlier proprietor of a non-registered mark has a right to prohibit use of the mark under the law of the member state. In the case of the opponent, the relevant law was the English tort of passing off.   On 17 February 2015, the Opposition Division  accepted registration…

IFPI Global Music Report 2016
Copyright , Internet / May 2016

COPYRIGHT Recorded music, internet     The record labels’ international trade body, the IFPI, has published its Global Music Report for 2016 with headline news that global recorded music revenues are up 3.2% as digital revenues overtake physical for the frst time. The report highlights: –       Digital revenues contribute 45 per cent of industry revenues, overtaking physical’s 39 per cent share –       Streaming revenues up 45.2 per cent, helping to drive 3.2 per cent global growth –       Music consumption is exploding globally, but the “value gap” is the biggest brake on sustainable revenue growth for artists and record labels Digital revenues now account for 45 per cent of total revenues, compared to 39 per cent for physical sales. IFPI’s Global Music Report 2016 also reported a 10.2 per cent rise in digital revenues to US$ 6.7 billion, with a 45.2 per cent increase in streaming revenue more than offsetting the decline in downloads and physical formats. Total industry revenues grew 3.2 per cent to US$ 15.0 billion, leading to the industry’s first significant year-on-year growth in nearly two decades.  Digital revenues now account for more than half the recorded music market…

PRS for Music welcomes the Collective Management of Copyright (EU Directive) Regulations 2016

COPYRIGHT Music publishing     PRS for Music has issued a statement saying that the CMO supports the principles and objectives of the Collective Right Management (CRM) Directive which came into force yesterday. Details of the UK Regulations can be found here (The Collective Management of Copyright (EU Directive) Regulations 2016). In welcoming the new UK Regulations, PRS believes the CRM Directive will improve the way collective management organisations operate across the EU, which will be in the best interests of rightholders and users. The CRM Directive is intended to provide long term legislative solutions to ensure all collective management organisations operating in Europe meet minimum standards of transparency, governance and customer service generally and also in respect of multi-territorial online licensing. With 60% of PRS for Music’s international revenues deriving from the EU, greater transparency and efficiencies will improve the administration and collection of royalties for PRS members, and are in the best interests of all affiliated parties. Robert Ashcroft, Chief Executive, PRS for Music, commented: “From its inception we have supported the overarching principles and objectives of the CRM Directive and the intention to create a framework that promotes transparency, efficiency and accountability by collecting societies in Europe. These characteristics…

EU digital chief takes aim at YouTube
Competition , Internet / May 2016

COMPETITION Internet     The head of the EC’s digital single market, Andrus Ansip, has spoken out over what he perceives as unfair competition in music streaming. He said that YouTube’s comparatively small payments to artists gave it an unfair advantage over rivals such as Spotify, the Swedish streaming service.   Ansip said “this is not only about rights owners and creators and their remuneration — it is also about a level playing field between different service providers,” said the former prime minister of Estonia. “Platforms based on subscriptions are remunerating those authors; others service providers do not. How can they compete?” Record labels have long complained that YouTube — which has become the world’s most popular music service — pays too little to use their songs.   And Artistes have also been vocal in their complaints: “YouTube is paying out about a sixth of what Spotify and Apple pay artists,” said Nikki Sixx adding: “[YouTube is] hiding behind this safe-harbor loophole. That is allowing them the freedom to not take care of artists.” Metallica manager Peter Mensch said: “YouTube? They’re the devil. If someone doesn’t do something about YouTube, we’re screwed. It’s over. Turn off the lights.” YouTube has publicly blamed non-disclosure…

Live music sector puts CMO ‘kickbacks’ into the spotlight
Copyright , Live Events / April 2016

COPYRIGHT Live events sector     They may not want to be in the spotlight, and the until recently practices of ‘discounts’ or ‘rebates’ offered by European Collective Management Organisations such as Buma-Stemra in Holland and GEMA in Germany to large and established live music promoters and venues were relatively unknown. But 2016 saw the topic rear up as one of the main talking points at this year’s International Live Music Conference (ILMC). The Conference held a packed main conference session dedicted to the topic and with managers for Mark Knopfler and Muse on the Stage along with representatives from two Collection Societies, and many artiste and songwriter representatives expressed their anger at the practice. Back in July 2015 Music Law Updates reported that Dutch collection society Buma’s practice of rewarding the country’s biggest promoters with a kickback for ‘helping’ to collect the levy on live music concerts (which is meant to remunerate songwriters and music publishers for the use of their works) had come under fire after a number of tour accountants for performers who pen their own material could not reconcile deductions made by promoters against revenues received by their songwriter clients from their own collection societies – even after taking…

IFPI and Sound Exchange make ISRC Codes publicly accessible for the first time
Copyright / April 2016

COPYRIGHT Recorded music     The international trade body for the recording industry, IFPI, has partnered with the world’s biggest digital Collective Management Organisation, SoundExchange, to create a new website that will make it easier to identify sound recordings. SoundExchange collects and distributes royalties on the behalf of sound recording copyright owners for non-interactive digital transmissions, including satellite, Internet radio, and cable television music channels. In addition to music, SoundExchange also collects royalties for comedy and spoken word recordings. The ISRC Search Site will provide access to nearly 20 million unique recordings, enabling recording artists, rights owners and music services to quickly identify data associated with sound recordings. The initiative will increase transparency and efficiency in the handling of data about recordings. ISRC (International Standard Recording Code) is the standardised identifier for recorded music and is a unique code assigned to every single music recording or music video to ensure their usage can be tracked and accounted for.  IFPI manages the ISRC system globally under an appointment from the International Organisation for Standardisation. For the first time, ISRC codes – supplied directly from record companies across the globe – will be publicly accessible and searchable. Commenting on the launch of…

German Judges put secret EU-US trade negotiations into the spotlight
Restraint of Trade / March 2016

TRADE AGREEMENTS All areas     German judges have dealt a blow to US-EU free trade agreement talks after declaring a proposed arbitration court illegal. But the decision is a rare glimmer of good news for opponents of the secretly negotiated trade agreement, as the signing of the US-EU Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is imminent, and comes hard on the heels of the already signed Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) – another international trade agreement that was negotiated in secret between tweleve Pacific Rim nations including the US, Canada, New Zealand, Peru, Mexico, Vietnam and Japan.   As part of the TTIP, the European Commission had proposed setting up an investment tribunal court that would allow firms to challenge government decisions: these are the so called Investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) provisions –  instruments of public international law, which grants an investor the right to initiate dispute settlement proceedings against a foreign government. Critics says the new court, which is intended to replace the actual ISDS system, would be even worse – and would will pressure governments into clawing back consumer protection rights, pushing up the price of medicines and watering down environmental protection to favour of corporate interests. Now the German Association of Magistrates, the…

Music Tank debate points out the reality of how the music industry uses the law to underpay performers
Contract , Copyright , Internet / December 2015

COPYRIGHT / CONTRACT Recorded music, streaming     Performers and songwriters – the actual creators of recorded music – have been making noises recently in the ongoing debate about reforms to copyright.  Indeed the Featured Artists Coalition and the globally-focused International Artists Organisation have issued an urgent call to the European Parliament demanding That the Parliament ensures that performer rights be included in the European Union’s current review of copyright law. The move comes as part of the campaign called Artists In Europe which is a bid to “ensure that protection for artists’ intellectual property sits at the heart of the new legislation”. Songwriters have already had a say. BASCA chairman Simon Darlow has used his speech at the 2015 Ivor Novello Awards to criticise current ‘safe harbour’ provisions in EU and US law, pointing out that the likes of YouTube undermine streaming services, and were exploiting safe harbour legislation saying this was “undermining the value of our music”. But even those who do pay songwriters and their publishers don’t pay much. Internet radio service Pandora is currently appealing the US Rate Court’s decision to order it to pay 2.5% of revenues to compensate BMI songwriters and publisher members. The rate of rival PRO ASCAP…

Performers speak up for their rights in the big IP debate

CONTRACT / COPYRIGHT Artistes, music publishing, recorded music, internet   The Featured Artists Coalition and the globally-focused International Artists Organisation have issued an urgent call to the European Parliament demanding it ensure that performer rights be included in the European Union’s current review of copyright law. The move comes as part of the campaign called Artists In Europe which is a bid to “ensure that protection for artists’ intellectual property sits at the heart of the new legislation”. Continuing recent debates in the artist and songwriter communities, the FAC and IAO say that to achieve a “vibrant creative cultural music industry in the digital age” both the business and law-makers need to ensure there is transparency throughout the music value chain and that there is an enhanced duty of care from corporations so that artists know their interests are protected. Artists should also share in the profits from all the ways their music is exploited. FAC boss Paul Pacifico says: “To ensure a vibrant creative cultural music industry in the digital age, it is essential that the review of copyright currently underway in Europe puts the rights of creators and artists front and centre of any new legislation. If not, we stand to lose an…

EMI production Music launch Song Sample Amnesty
Copyright , Music Publishing / October 2015

COPYRIGHT Recorded music, music publishing   The EMI Production Music catalogue, which contains thousands of tracks, spanning every genre of music, and which over the years have been sampled by artists including Jay Z, Mark Ronson, Nelly and Fatboy Slim, has set up a unique “sample amnesty”: Anyone who has sampled a song in the catalogue without getting the sample cleared will be able to come forward, declare it, and agree a legitimate release for the recording. The “sample amnesty”, believed to be the first of its kind, will run for 6 months, has been approved by Sony/ATV Music Publishing, which owns EMI Music Publishing. Alex Black, EMI Production Music Global Director said “We’re offering those labels and artists the chance to legitimise their master recordings. We will not seek past royalties from the songs created before the amnesty and we will set up a licence going forward on sensible commercial terms.” adding “The artists can then licence their tracks for advertising for adverts and soundtracks without the fear that EMI will come knocking at the door. The original composer of the source work will get recognition. It works for everybody so we’re hoping that people will come forward with something…

Employees time travelling to work CAN be working time
Employment Law , Live Events / October 2015

EMPLOYMENT LAW Live events sector     The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has decided that time spent travelling to and from work for non-office based employees must now be classed as working time in a decision that may have a significant impact under the Working Time Regulations and arguably could impact on minimum wages in the UK. The case centred on a Spanish company, Tyco, whose employees were required to travel between client premises installing and maintaining security equipment.  The employees then became home based after the closure of their office.  A dispute arose about whether the time spent travelling at the start and the end of their working day should be classed as ‘working time’. Previously under the Working Time Regulations it was considered that working time did not include travel to and from work. The company  argued that this remained the same even with the change to a home base, but employees disagreed, saying theior travel should be classed as working time. These journeys varied greatly, with occasions of up to 100km of travel,  and the employees wanted to be paid for this additional ‘time’. The Spanish Courts sought clarification on the term ‘working time’ in…

Apple Music and labels cleared of streaming market abuse by EU
Competition / September 2015

COMPETITION / ANTI-TRUST Recorded music, streaming   Re-Code reports that the European Commission failed to find evidence of collusion among the major music labels and Apple to quash free music streaming services such as those offered by Spotify. Investigators examined whether the labels conspired with one another or with Apple on Apple’s new streaming Apple Music service in a way that would damage rival services. The EU had questioned the three major labels — Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment and Warner Music Group — seeking details about their licensing discussions with Apple. The probe examined whether the music industry executives and Apple were working to stifle free offerings from services like Spotify, which uses its ad-supported service to entice listeners to buy a subscription. Spotify was under pressure by the major labels to move more of its listeners to its paid tier, though the pressure appears to have receded amid the inquiries. The EU will continue to monitor the market and investigators’ files will remain open as licensing talks continue between Spotify and some of the major labels Separately, the EU has asked Spotify and other music streaming services for information pertaining to Apple’s mobile App Store. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission similarly is…

Thank God/IFPI It’s Friday – New Music Fridays have arrived
Business / August 2015

BUSINESS Recorded Music This update is from Leeza Panayiotou LLB(Hons)   Friday 10th July 2015 a.k.a the start of New Music Fridays, came and went and the world did not implode.   To remind readers, on 26th February 2015, the International Federation of Phonographic Industry (IFPI) announced that following “consultation with artists, musicians unions, records companies and retailers…the release day for new music will be aligned internationally on a Friday”[1]. This also saw the move of the Official BBC Radio 1 Chart show to a Friday, which has aired on a Sunday since 1987[2].   There were a whole host of people (especially in the USA – seriously, check Twitter) who were outraged that the music industry had the audacity to synchronise the release of new music across the globe to one specific day – a Friday.   But the IFPI and music industry’s reasons for making the change were both commendable and all encompassing; “As well as helping music fans, the move will benefit artists who want to harness social media to promote their new music. It also creates the opportunity to re-ignite excitement and a sense of occasion around the release of new music”[3]. They also had the hope it would “reduce…

Sound recording copyright term extends to 70 years in Canada
Copyright / July 2015

COPYRIGHT All areas     The sound recording copyright term in Canada is now 70 years, mirroring the term in Europe. Recordings previously had 50 years of copyright protection in Canada, but legislators have now followed the lead of the European Union in extending the term of protection to 70 years from release, despite opposition from various quarters, with some critics arguing that copyright terms are, in the main, already too long and shouldn’t get any longer. Welcoming the development, Graham Henderson, President of Music Canada, said yesterday: “In extending the term of copyright in recorded music, Prime Minister Harper and the government of Canada have demonstrated a real understanding of music’s importance to the Canadian economy. Thank you. We are thrilled to see Canada brought in line with the international standard of 70 years”.   https://www.billboard.com/articles/business/6612571/canada-offically-extends-copyright-term-to-70-years

EU Legal Affairs Committee moves copyright reform one step closer
Copyright / July 2015

COPYRIGHT All areas     Following a vote by the European Parliament’s Legal Affairs Committee, an amended version of its report on the implementation of the EU’s 2001 InfoSoc/Copyright Directive will now go forward for further likely amendment and vote a by the full European Parliament on 9 July 2015. The draft report amongst other things calls for: – An impact assessment in relation to any single European copyright title proposal – looking at issues arising from geo-blocking of access to certain content services within the EU. the draft report contains strong language in favour of protecting the rights of “cultural minorities” living in the EU to access content in their native languages, which they are now often prevented from doing because of geo-blocking practices. – Mandatory adoption of some copyright exceptions and limitations – whilst recognising that some difference may be justified on the grounds of specific cultural and economic interests – Assessment of proposed new exceptions to allow (for example):- Libraries to lend e-books; and text and data mining – An impact study of the Commission’s copyright modernisation initiative on the production, financing and distribution of films and TV content, and on cultural diversity. – The report rejected the…

EU gives all clear for PRS-GEMA-STIM hub

COMPETITION Music publishing   The European Commission has given the all clear for European collecting societies PRS, STIM and GEMA – which represent publishers and songwriters in, respectively, the UK, Sweden and Germany – to form a central hub to license and process royalties from multi-territory digital services. PRS For Music CEO Robert Ashcroft: “This is a very significant day for online music licensing as our new joint venture is uniquely positioned to deal with the rapidly transforming online music market. What this clearance means is that we are now able to work even more effectively on behalf of songwriters, composers and their music publishers, while at the same time helping to develop the Digital Single Market across Europe” whilst STIM CEO Karsten Dyhrberg Nielsen said: “Today’s competition clearance announcement is testament to the incredible work that has gone into the design of this new offering, which will provide a seamless service for both music rights holders and pan-European digital service providers. It’s the result of years of productive collaboration between STIM, GEMA and PRS For Music to deliver a solution that will help the digital market grow”.

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

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…

Where next with the European Digital Single Market?
Copyright / June 2015

COPYRIGHT All areas     This update is from George Chin: George has worked as a music photographer for the past 30 years and George has worked officially with the Rolling Stones, Guns n’ Roses, Whitney Houston, Aerosmith, Iron Maiden and Bon Jovi, among many others. He is now studying for an LLB (Hons) at the University of Law in London. George runs a boutique photo agency (www.iconicpix.com), largely based on his image archive and those of other music photographers.  He can be contacted by email at georgechin@iconicpix.com On May 6th, the European Commission published its proposals for a Digital Single Market (DSM), identifying it as one of its ten political priorities, with the aim of making “the EU’s single market fit for the digital age – tearing down regulatory walls and moving from 28 national markets to a single one” with the bold claim that harmonisation across the Member States could contribute €415 billion per year to the EU economy and creating 3.8 million jobs in the process. A Digital Single Market is one in which the free movement of goods, persons, services and capital is ensured and where the individuals and businesses can seamlessly access and exercise online activities…

Songwriting community take aim at safe harbours

COPYRIGHT Music publishing, online     BASCA chairman Simon Darlow has used his speech at the Ivor Novello Awards at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London in London to criticise current ‘safe harbour’ provisions in EU and US law, pointing out that the likes of YouTube undermine streaming services were exploiting safe harbour legislation telling an audience of the great and the good from the song writing and music publishing worlds that this was “undermining the value of our music”. This is what Darlow said We [BASCA] exist to promote the creators’ voice and help maintain the value of their work through lobbying, education, community and celebration. Its fantastic that, for 60 years we have been able to honour the nominees and winners who have contributed so much to a culture and economy and have given so much pleasure to so many with heir music. These awards are always so special to those who receive them as they are judged by their peers who clearly know how much dedication and hard work go into making music that touches our lives . BASCA is hugely grateful to all the judges this year who gave so generously of their time and expertise. The…

Spotify leak puts streaming royalties in focus

COPYRIGHT / CONTRACT Online, music publishing, recorded music     The Verge has published details of the hitherto unknown terms of the January 2011 deal between streaming service Spotify and Sony Music, one of the two big record labels. And it makes for fascinating reading. Perhaps what isn’t surprising (given the then near start up nature of Spotify in 2011) is a contract laced with ‘Most Favoured Nations’ provisions for Sony. The basic deal consists of annual advances paid by Spotify and a 70:30 split of advertising revenues in favour of Sony: On gross revenues the detail shows the actual split of revenue varies from rights owner to rights owner, but labels are usually getting somewhere between 55-60% and publishers 10-15%. The Sony contact unsurprisingly puts the world’s second biggest record company at the top end of the range, on a 60% split. There are some odd quirks – Spotify seems to have a 15% buffer zone in ad sales which it doesn’t have to account to Sony (and therefor cannot be shared by Sony’s artistes) to cover out-of-pocket costs paid to unaffiliated third parties for ad sales commissions (subject to a maximum overall deduction of 15 percent “off the top”…

Spotify leaked contract prompts more comment

CONTRACT / COPYRIGHT Recorded music, internet     The fall out from the leaked 2011 Sony-Spotify contract continues as interested parties begin to digest exactly what Sony had secured from Spotify: In particular artistes are seeing some of their suspicions realised …. and now the International Artist Association has sent an open letter to European policymakers.The IAO is the umbrella association for national organisations representing the rights and interests of Featured Artists in the Music Industry.  Their letter reads: Andrus Ansip, Vice-President, Digital Single Market Günther Oettinger, Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society Margrethe Vestager, Commissioner for Competition Dear Policymakers The International Artist Association welcomes this morning’s open letter from the International Music Managers’ Forum, which highlighted a number of significant questions raised by the leaked Sony-Spotify contract from 2011, which was published on www.theverge.com on Tuesday of this week, but which has since been removed. The leaking of that document is a turning point for Artists that cannot be underestimated. The recorded music industry, as any other content industry, lives on the creativity of individuals and it is of the utmost importance – if we want to see a sustainable and healthy content industry continue in Europe – to make sure that…

IFPI publishes Digital Music Report 2015

COPYRIGHT Recorded Music     The recorded music sector’s international trade body, the IFPI, has  published its Digital Music Report 2015, detailing key trends in the recorded music sector over the last year – with the headline news that digital music revenues are now on a par with physical globally, that global industry revenues are marginally down 0.4 per cent to US$14.97 billion in 2014, and that subscription services at the heart of the recorded music portfolio business. Digital revenues rose 6.9 per cent to US$6.9 billion, representing 46% of all global music sales and underlining the deep transformation of the global music industry over recent years. Total revenues in  2014 were US$14.97 billion although it should be noted that there has been a reclassification of SoundExchange revenues in the US from “performance rights” to “digital”.  This has resulted in an upward adjustment in digital revenues and growth, and an equivalent downward adjustment in performance rights revenues and growth.   The new report shows the industry in continuing transition, with consumers embracing the music access models of streaming and subscription.  Another steep increase in subscription revenues (+39.0%) offset declining global download sales (-8.0%) to drive overall digital revenues, while the number of…

CISAC welcomes EU moves – but criticise MEP Reda’s review
Copyright / May 2015

COPYRIGHT Film and TV, all areas   CISAC says that the statement from Germany’s Federal Minister For Justice And Consumer Protection Heiko Maas and France’s Minister For Culture And Communication Fleur Pellerin backs its position that protecting the rights of authors should be an integral part of the ‘digital single market’. CISAC said: “France and Germany’s joint position has further emphasised that the modernisation of authors’ rights/copyright in Europe should be examined within the wider context of the digital single market package, in which establishing fair rules and fair regulations for all stakeholders should be a priority. This stresses the two countries’ intention to bring their legislative success in the analogue world to the digital context”. CISAC’s Director General Gadi Oron added: “Our 230 member societies around the world represent nearly four million creators who depend on effective protection for their works. The European territory is the largest market for royalty collections, accounting for 61% of the overall collections internationally. This figure not only shows the importance of the European market for creators, but also demonstrates the significant economic and cultural role played by creators” saying “It is vital to ensure that Europe continues to serve as a model for norm…