Irish MP launches anti touting Bill
Competition , Consumers , Live Events / February 2017
Ireland
Italy

CONSUMER / COMPETITION Live events sector   Two months after Italy’s landmark legislation which criminalised ticket touting in Italy, an Irish MP has introduced a similar bill – the Prohibition of Above-Cost Ticket Touting Bill 2016 – for consideration by the Oireachtas in the Republic of Ireland. The ,move comes after the widespread re-sale of tickets for U2’s Joshua Tree tour, and the bill is authored by Noel Rock TD and seeks to outlaw above-face value resale in the Irish republic and would, if passed, “render it unlawful for any unauthorised person to sell or offer for sale tickets for major sporting, musical or theatrical events for a price in excess of the officially designated price [face value]”.   The bill has won the backing of a number of other members of Oireachtas, including Stephen Donnelly TD, who has separately contacted the Irish Competition and Consumer Protection to ask for an “investigation into potentially illegal activity” by ticket touts. Rock said: “I have been inundated with people contacting me regarding examples of ticket touting following the sale of U2 concert tickets ” adding “This will be one of the biggest concerts of the year and consumers are now being asked to pay a…

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

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by Virgin) to set up a ‘three strikes’ regime whereby infringers of copyright are identified, warned and their service withdrawn if they do not desist.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…

Irish Judge says pop concerts are not ‘teetotaller conventions’
Licensing , Live Events / July 2016
Ireland

LICENSING Live events sector   An judge has rejected calls for alcohol to banned at a number of high-profile summer concerts in Ireland, saying that local residents must realise that concerts by the Stone Roses and Kodaline would not be a “teetotaller convention”, and that to consider a ban there would have to be specific incidents of alcohol-related criminal damage in the past or evidence of inadequate policing. Twenty-five residents from  the South Dublin suburb Rathfarnham had objected to the application for the alcohol licence by Events Bars and Catering for three MCD-promoted events in Marlay Park, saying there had been underage drinking, public urination and antisocial behaviour at previous concerts in the 300-acre park. But Judge Michael Coghlan in the Dublin District Court denied their objections, saying: “I was interested to hear if there was a prevalence of public-order breaches, antisocial behaviour or violent incidents and the sergeant [Michael Phelan, who is co-ordinating the policing of the events] suggests that on the Richter scale things it was well down [at previous concerts].” Five Rathfarnham residents gave evidence, highlighting problems with a Swedish House Mafia concert in Dublin’s Phoenix Park in 2012, when nine people were stabbed in a series of…

Spain’s Supreme Court sides with promoters over disproportionate 10% tariff
Competition , Live Events / June 2016
Ireland
Spain
UK
USA

COMPETITION Live events sector     The Supreme Court of Spain has ordered national music collection society the Sociedad General de Autores y Editores, or Society of Authors and Publishers (SGAE) to immediately abolish its “abusive” 10 per cent tariff on box-office receipts in favour of a “fair” levy to pay music copyright-holders. SGAE had appealed a ruling by the National Competition Commission (Comisión Nacional de los Mercados y la Competencia, CNMC) which held that Spain’s 10 per cent rate was excessive and unfair to Spanish concert promoters noting that much lower royalty fees were applied in other European countries – the rate in the UK is a 3% tariff applied by the PRS on box office (Tariff LP) – and also noted the 1% tariff the US. In 2014 the CNMC ruled that SGAE had committed an abuse of a dominant position, and infringed Spanish and European competition regulation. The CNMC fined SGAE with 3.1 million euros and urged the Spanish collecting society to modify the rate system for live music licensing within a period of 3 months. SGAE had failed to comply with the CNMC resolution much to the fury of Spanish concert promoters The Supreme Court dismissed SGAE’s appeal. The court noted…

PRS for Music announces signing of a new two year deal with Spotify for Europe
Copyright , Music Publishing / September 2015
Ireland
UK

COPYRIGHT Music publishing, streaming     PRS for Music confirms it has agreed a new two year Europe wide multi-territory licensing deal with music streaming and subscription service, Spotify. Continuing the ongoing relationship between the pair, the recent deal allows the music streaming and subscription service to continue to offer its users a vast bundle of repertoire in the UK and Ireland (including repertoire from over 100 affiliated societies from around the globe), plus PRS for Music’s and Eire based IMRO’s direct members’ repertoire across Europe. The repertoire PRS for Music licenses to Spotify across Europe further includes musical works represented by a growing number of IMPEL publishers. IMPEL currently represents the rights of 40 leading independent publishers, a number that is anticipated to grow further before the end of the year.   Ben McEwen, PRS for Music’s Head of Online said: “We are excited to continue working with Spotify, a relationship that allows millions of users across the globe to enjoy our members’ repertoire. The prodigious growth of Spotify is helping to shape a strong future for dynamic, legitimate streaming services, and we support this thriving online market that recognises and remunerates the works of the creator.”   James…

New licensing regime for Ireland?
Licensing , Live Events / May 2015
Ireland

LICENSING Live events sector     New licensing laws could be introduced in Ireland the wake of the Garth Brooks cancellation fiasco at Dublin’s Croke Park in July, 2014. The measures follow the widely publicised collapse of Brooks’ five sell-out shows, which were cancelled just 17 days before show time after Dublin City Council (DCC) would only give permission for three nights. The Gaelic Athletic Association had previously agreed with residents that a maximum of three concerts would be held each year at the venue. Brooks himself took an ‘all or nothing’ approach – and refused to perform two shows as matinees, meaning no concerts took place. The Irish Examiner reports that the issues being considered by the review group, set up in the wake of the fiasco, include the minimum time frames before an event for the submission of a licence application and the making of a decision by a planning authority on such an application, and public consultation arrangements on licence applications. A Department of Environment spokesman told Audience Magazine “From the outset the review group has been mindful of the fact that any legislative changes need to be fair and balanced to all stakeholders including promoters, venue owners, local communities. Local…

Police to investigate ‘fake objections’ in cancelled Garth Brooks saga
Licensing , Live Events / December 2014
Ireland

LICENSING Live events sector   A file has been sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions in Ireland following the cancellation of the series of Garth Brooks concerts at Dublin’s Croke Park. Whilst Dublin City Council were prepared to licence three of the concerts planned for the July 25-29 block, they were not prepared to licence them all and Brooks took a ‘all or none’ stance resulting in the cancellation. The Council had based their decision on the ‘unacceptable level of disruption’ the run of shows would have on local residents and businesses – but it now seems that some of the 384 objections received from local residents may have been fake – with promoter Peter Aiken, who lost over E1 million in the debacle, saying some 40% of the objections were suspect. The Council confirmed that police investigations of a sample of 200 objections showed that 64% were ‘not suspect’.   Audience magazine Issue 178 November 2014

Irish minister rejects Irish music quota for radio
Competition / November 2014
EU
Ireland

COMPETITION Broadcasting   FRENCH-style radio quotas for Irish music could contravene European law, Irish Minister Jan O’Sullivan has insisted. The minister  was responding to Labour colleague Deputy Willie Penrose, who was speaking in the Dail in support of Limerick songwriter Johnny Duhan’s call to set aside a minimum amount of airtime to Irish acts. Deputy Penrose said: “It is well argued by Mr Duhan that we are more vulnerable than any other EU country as we are very near England, and as many of our singers generally sing in English we are more exposed and susceptible to the cultural influence of England and the US than any of our EU partners”. Responding the minister said that while the government supported the promotion of Irish music, its approach had to be “consistent with EU and Irish regulatory structures”.   http://www.limerickleader.ie/what-s-on/arts-entertainment/music/jan-o-sullivan-says-radio-quotas-could-breach-eu-law-1-6359905

Electric Picnic dispute settled
Contract , Live Events / June 2014
Ireland

COMMERCIAL, CONTRACT Live events sector   The founder of Ireland’s Electric Picnic festival, John Reynolds, has settled his legal action against the company that now operates the Electric Picnic. Reynolds took legal action against Festival Republic Dublin, alleging breach of a March 2009 shareholders agreement and oppression of the petitioner’s interests. Reynolds argued that management decisions made by Melvin Benn, the chief executive of FRD, relating to the 2012 and 2013 festivals were damaging to Reynold’s POD Music Ltd, the 100 per cent shareholder of EP Republic Ltd, but were to the benefit of the FRD Group. In 2009 FRD paid €4.2m on acquiring a 71 per cent stake in EP Festivals Ltd, then a subsidiary of POD. Reynolds also claimed he was kept out of volume discounting on sales of tickets and lost out as a result – estimating a discounting sum of €450,000 was involved over the five Electric Picnics between 2009 and 2013 which had a direct impact on the value of his shareholding. Reynolds had previously secured an order requiring Ticketmaster to provide him with information about volume discounts paid on the sale of tickets for five Electric Picnic festivals up to 2013. In response FRD alleged Mr…

The Pirate Bay and The Pirate Party face actions in Eire and the UK
Copyright , Internet , Record Labels / January 2013
Ireland
UK

COPYRIGHT Record labels, internet   Efforts by the Irish record industry to force internet service providers in the country to block access to The Pirate Bay have reached the Commercial Court in Dublin. The Irish Recorded Music Association has launched proceedings against net firms UPC, Imagine, Vodafone, Digiweb and Hutchison 3G seeking a web-block injunction forcing the named ISPs to stop their customers from accessing the controversial file-sharing websites. In the UK, the BPI has threatened to pursue legal action against five members of the national executive of the Pirate Party and its head of IT over the proxy link it operates providing easy access to The Pirate Bay. The BPI wrote to Pirate Party Leader Loz Kaye last month asking that he stop operating the TPB proxy.  After an initial refusal, the record label trade body is preparing to issue proceedings. The move promoted the Pirate Party to disable the proxy. The Pirate Party have also pulled their legal battle fundraiser campaign. http://torrentfreak.com/pirate-party-shuts-down-pirate-bay-proxy-after-legal-threats-121219/

Hendrix biopic in the line of fire
Ireland
UK
USA

TRADE MARK / COPYRIGHT Film, television, music publishing, image rights   The proposed Jimi Hendrix biopic starring Outkast MC Andre 3000 is definitely being made, despite the Hendrix Estate saying that it was not involved in any biopic last week, adding that that would stop any unapproved project from using the legendary guitarist’s music, which the Estate controls The biopic’s director, John Ridley, says he will begin filming his Hendrix movie in Ireland later this month, deriving part of his original screenplay from archived live and interview footage. A statement from Hendrix’s estate – which doesn’t rule out the potential for a Hendrix-scored Hendrix film in the future – says: “Experience Hendrix CEO Janie Hendrix, sister of Jimi Hendrix, and the EH board have not ruled out a ‘biopic’ in the future. Though producing partners would, out of necessity, have to involve the company from the inception of any such film project if it is to include original Jimi Hendrix music or compositions”. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-18032311

Irish Three strikes works ‘incredibly well’ – but will it spread?
Copyright , Internet , Record Labels / February 2012
Ireland

COPYRIGHT Internet, record labels   The battle for the heart and soul of copyright in recorded music continues in Ireland, where The Irish Times (“EMI Records launches action against State over anti-piracy order”, by Carol Madden) reports on further legal action to prevent unauthorised music downloads.  According to this article: “The Irish arm of multinational music group EMI has launched a High Court action against the State as part of its bid to stop the illegal downloading of music. The Government recently pledged to issue an order to allow copyright holders to compel internet service providers (ISPs) to block access to websites that they consider are engaged in piracy. However, EMI Records (Ireland) remains unhappy with what it perceives to be foot-dragging on the part of the Government in tackling this issue. It is concerned that the matter could be delayed again, and that even if a statutory instrument is issued, its contents may not be satisfactory. Chief executive Willie Kavanagh … said yesterday that EMI asked the Government to show them the forthcoming instrument, but it has not yet received it, “leading me to believe it’s unlikely to satisfy the music industry’s requirement for injunctive relief”. … [In] 2010, … EMI and a number of…

French fans launch Jackson action
Artists , Criminal Law / February 2012
France
Ireland
USA

CRIMINAL LAW Artists   In another bizarre twist in the Michael Jackson story, a group of French fans of the King of Pop are launching a legal action in France against Dr Conrad Murray, who has now been convicted of involuntary manslaughter after the singer’s death in 2009 in the USA. They are each claiming symbolic damages of one Euro for the ’emotional damage’ the death has had on them. Murray was sentenced to four years imprisonment. http://edition.cnn.com/2011/11/29/justice/california-conrad-murray-sentencing/index.html and Leonard Watters, the 24 year old unemployed Irish dance instructor who wrongfully accused X-Factor judge and BoyZone/Westlife manager Louis Walsh of groping him in a Dublin nighclub toilet has been imprisoned for six months.

Mixed results for content industries in Spain and Ireland
Copyright , Internet / January 2012
Ireland
Spain

COPYRIGHT Internet An attempt by the Spanish record industry to sue the provider of file-sharing technologies in Spain has failed. All four majors joined with Promusica to sue Pablo Soto and his MP2P company, which distributes various file-sharing clients, including Blubster, Piolet and Manolito P2P. Paszt rulings have led to an approach that individuals sharing copyright content online do not infringe if the users are not profiting from their actions. The Spanish music industry hoped that if they could prove MP2P was profiting from activities that were detrimental to their business that might be a strong enough case in itself (similar arguments have had some success in the Italian courts) but it wasn’t to be. According to El Mundo, a Spanish court has now ruled that Soto and his companies provide a neutral technical function, and that there is no liability for any sort of infringement. Spain’s Sinde Law will provide a system through which rights owners can have copyright infringing websites blocked. Whilst approved by the country’s parliament, implementation of the Sinde Law has been delayed by an election and now a change of government in Spain. Eircomm’s voluntary the ‘three-strike’ anti-file-sharing system being operated by Eircom has been…

Eircom re-launches three strikes in Eire
Copyright , Internet / January 2011
Ireland

COPYRIGHT Internet Eircom, the Irish internet service provider, has resumed its policy of cutting off the internet connection of customers who illegally share music online. The company had suspended its policy earlier this year but before this the company sent out about 1,000 warning notifications each week to people who were allegedly infringing copyright by illegally downloading music. Its “three strikes” policy allows customers three official warnings before their internet connection is suspended. The move is especially interesting given that the Mr Justice Charleton in Irish High Court had (somewhat reluctantly) agreed with rival broadband supplier UPC in a battle against several record companies, ruling that internet service providers were not liable for a customer’s illegal downloading nor did Irish law provide any basis for a ‘three strikes’ approach. In an very impressive presentation on recent case law in this area at the recent Music and IP conference in London  (8th December) 5RB barrister Christina Michalos explained that Mr Justice Charleton said that there was no injunctive relief available in Ireland in the matter and that Irish copyright legislation made ”no proper provision for the blocking, diverting or interrupting of internet communications intent on breaching copyright” – and that the powers of…

“Music labels lose downloads case” as Irish High Court reverses its earlier decision
Copyright , Internet , Record Labels / November 2010
Ireland

COPYRIGHT Record labels, internet The extraordinary and wonderful IPKat reports in detail on an article in the Irish Times (11/10/2010). The story is a sequel to the efforts made in Ireland to get a “three strikes” policy up and running in the Emerald Isle in respect of unauthorised copying and file-sharing by internet users. Big-name recording companies Warner Music, Universal Music, Sony BMG and EMI Records brought an action in which they sought to have unauthorised internet copyists identified and then cut off, but in today’s High Court judgment Mr Justice Peter Charleton held that there was no legal basis for such relief in Ireland. According to the press report, the judge agreed that online infringement not only undermined the recording companies’ business but “ruins the ability of a generation of creative people in Ireland, and elsewhere, to establish a viable living. It is destructive of an important native industry”. However, there were no laws in place in Ireland to enforce disconnections over illegal downloads despite the record companies’ complaints being merited. He also said this gap in legislation meant Ireland was not complying with European law. Meanwhile defendant internet service provider UPC predictably said it would work to identify and address the main areas of concern…

Irish High Court upholds new internet laws
Copyright , Internet / May 2010
Ireland

COPYRIGHT Internet Ireland’s High Court has approved the terms of a settlement reached between the Irish music industry and the country’s leading internet service provider, Eircom, to address piracy on its networks.  Under the terms of the settlement between Eircom and the music industry group IRMA, the ISP agreed to implement a graduated response system to address illegal file-sharing.  Eircom would send warnings to infringing file-sharers with the possible sanction of account suspension for those ignoring the messages and continuing to infringe.  During its implementation, the settlement was referred back to the Court due to concerns raised by Ireland’s Data Protection Commissioner that the settlement could be incompatible with data protection laws.  in the case, EMI Records (Ireland) Ltd and others v Eircom Ltd [2010] IEHC 108 Mr Justice Charleton rejected these concerns and held that the implementation of the settlement is lawful and does not involve a breach of data protection law saying  “It is completely within the legitimate standing of Eircom to act, and to be seen to act, as a body which upholds the law and Constitution.  That is what the Court expects of both individuals and companies.”  and “The internet is only a means of communication. It has not rewritten the legal rules…

Prince settles on Dublin cancellation
Contract , Live Events / April 2010
Ireland

CONTRACT Live events industry Irish promoters MCD have settled a court action with Prince for cancelling a concert scheduled at Dublin’s Croke Park in 2008. MCD had alleged that the last minute cancellation was the fault of Prince, or his booking agents the William Morris Agency. Prince’s defence was that the singer never agreed to the gig, and the William Morris Agency had no business in telling MCD he had. MCD were looking for damages of 1.7 million Euros in the Dublin Commercial Court and MCD representative Denis Desmond told reporters that he was “delighted” with the outcome of the lawsuit. http://newsblog.thecmuwebsite.com/post/William-Morris-agent-in-court-over-Prince-cancellation.aspx http://www.current-movie-reviews.com/industry/2010/02/26/prince-settles-irish-lawsuit-for-cancelled-concert/ http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/breaking/2010/0223/breaking24.html

Ahoy there Pirates – more stories from the Bay
Copyright , Internet / September 2009
Ireland
Sweden

COPYRIGHT Internet Well well well, not just one Pirate Bay story but four. What’s in the news – well, first and foremost The Pirate Bay website did momentarily go off line on the 25th August, no doubt to gasps of relief from the music and film industries, but perhaps unsurprisingly (and as promised by the owners) the BitTorrent site was back online this morning. The removal of the service was the result of a decision of the Swedish district court which ordered Black Internet to stop servicing The Pirate Bay – the court order was complied with in the face of a 500,000 Kroner fine – but the victory was short lived and within twenty four hours it seems to be “service as normal” although not through Blacks. Secondly, the hunt for money goes on. As readers are probably aware, the four Pirate Bay founders, Peter Sunde Kolmisoppi, Fredrik Neij, Gottfried Svartholm Warg, and Carl Lundstrom, lost a major Swedish court case in April (reported on this blog) when they were found guilty of copyright violations and were fined and face jail sentences. In a second story from Sweden it appears that Sweden’s government run debt-collection agency, commonly referred to…

South Korea, Ireland and, errm Hull, take action over illegal downloads
Copyright , Internet / August 2009
Ireland
South Korea
UK

COPYRIGHT Internet South Korea has passed new legislation setting up a ‘three strikes’ copyright law within a summary trial based system which has prompted Google to forbid uploading any music to blogs in the country for fear of running foul of an incredibly, broadly-worded law which includes unintentional downloading – a number of social networking sites are also warning their users not to do anything that might potentially infringe and fall foul of the system. In Ireland Eircom, the largest Internet service provider (ISP), will be rolling out a trial phase of a new “three strikes and you’re out” approach to first delay, and then deny, Internet service to people who use filesharing networks to illegally download music. First-time offenders will get a warning on their bill; a second offence will see service “throttled,” which means that download speeds will be reduced to a snail’s pace, and a third offence will cause disconnection. It had seemed that Ireland was first in reaching a voluntary agreement and not requiring that an ISP have a court order to disconnect but then the BBC Radio Humberside revealed that that Karoo, the sole ISP in the British city of Hull had unilaterally announced their own internet cut off policy for copyright infringers. Whilst both the Korean and Eircom announcements…

IFPI continue actions against file swappers
Copyright , Internet , Record Labels / November 2006
Argentina
Austria
Brazil
Denmark
Finland
France
Germany
Hong Kong
Iceland
India
Ireland
Italy
Mexico
Netherlands
Poland
Portugal
Singapore

COPYRIGHT Record labels, internet Legal actions against thousands of music file-sharers across the world have been announced as the recording industry stepped up its campaign to deter copyright theft and promote legitimate use of music on the internet. Over 8,000 new cases in 17 countries are being announced today, including the first ever cases against illegal file-sharing in the two biggest markets of South America and in Eastern Europe.   A total of more than 13,000 legal actions have now been taken outside the United States. Legal actions are being extended to Brazil, where more than one billion music tracks were illegally downloaded last year and a country where record company revenues have nearly halved since 2000. Mexico and Poland are also seeing actions for the first time – while a further 14 countries are launching fresh actions against illegal file-sharing.  Over 2,300 of people have already paid the price for illegally file-sharing copyrighted material, with average legal settlements of €2,420.   Many of those on the receiving end of legal action are parents whose children have been illegally file-sharing.  They are finding that in many countries they are liable for any activities third parties undertake using their internet connection.  In…