Agent of change comes closer still
Live Events / March 2017
UK

PLANNING Live events sector   As part of a wider review of UK housing, the Government has proposed new measures to boost the ‘agent of change’ protections to safeguard music venues from new property developments, which have been welcomed by UK Music, the Music Venue Trust and the Musicians’ Union. The ‘agent of change’ principal puts the responsibility for matters such as soundproofing new homes with the developer when they choose to develop or re-develop residential accommodation near to a venue, rather than on the venue itself. In proposals announced yesterday, the government said that it would amend the National Planning Policy Framework to emphasise the consideration of existing venues in planning policies and decisions, in an attempt to avoid future noise complaints. The problem was highlighted in the case between between the Ministry Of Sound nigh club in London’s Elephant & Castle and property company Oakmayne, which wanted to build a new block of flats opposite the club – and the Club was concerned that that complaints from new residents could impact on the venue’s licence and future ability to trade. Following a lengthy legal battle, the club and property firm reached a settlement brokered by then London Mayor Boris…

Duran Duran granted leave to appeal against Sony/ATV
UK

CONTRACT / COPYRIGHT Music publishing   Duran Duran have been granted leave by the High Court in London to appeal against the decision of Mr Justice Arnold in December 2015 when he ruled against the pop band in their dispute against Gloucester Place Music, which is owned by US company Sony/ATV. Arnold J found that the band would be liable for violating its contract with Sony/ATV by trying to avail itself of provisions in U.S. copyright law allowing Duran Duran to terminate license agreements after 35 years. Mr Justice Arnold ruled “not without hesitation” that the contractual interpretation suggested by Gloucester Place was the correct one.   On Friday, February 3rd, Duran Duran issued a press release outlining the details of the appeal. In a statement, Duran Duran founding member and keyboardist Nick Rhodes said: “It was enormously disappointing that Sony/ATV decided to mount this aggressive and unexpected action against us to try to prevent the simple principles and rights afforded to all artists in America regarding their copyrights after 35 years. We are relieved and grateful that we have been given the opportunity to appeal this case because the consequences are wide reaching and profound for us and all other artists. In his…

Viagogo faces fresh legal actions for ticket re-sales
Consumers , Contract , Live Events / March 2017
Italy
Switzerland
UK

CONSUMER / CONTRACT Live events sector   Hot on the heels of news that Viagogo were selling tickets for Ed Sheerhan’s Teenage Cancer Trust charity concert at the the Royal Albert Hall at vastly inflated prices, the now Geneva based secondary ticketing platform is facing fresh legal action from a coalition of Spanish promoters, “adding to its ever-growing collection of lawsuits”. The second lawsuit of 2017 follows the outcry over the speculative selling of tickets for a postponed show by Joaquín Sabina in A Coruña (Corunna), Spain, next July, and in a joint statement, the promoters of Sabina’s Lo niego todo (I deny everything) tour, TheProject, Get In and Riff Producciones, and his management company, Berry Producciones, say they are “outraged” and intend to bring legal action action against Viagogo for the fraudulent listing of “tickets that do not exist”.   A spokesperson told IQ magazine that the parties’ lawyers are currently in the process of filing the action and that the lawsuit mirrors one filed by SIAE in late January, in Italy in which the Italian collection society alleged Viagogo listed tickets for a Vasco Rossi show in Modena before they went on sale on the primary market in a move that dragged Live…

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

TRADE MARK Artistes   Australia’s The New Daily has a well written piece on the trials and tribulations of founding (but former) members of Little River Band, one of the country’s first bands to crack America when their track “Help Is On Its Way” entered the US Top Twenty in November 1977. The song, written by lead singer Glenn Shorrock, peaked at number 14 on the Billboard charts and  Between 1977 and 1983 Little River Band had eleven top 20 hits in the United States, leading the way for an Oz invasion that included success for Air Supply, Men At Work, INXS, Savage Garden, Wolfmother, Tame Impala and many more. But for Shorrock and other LRB founding members, The New Daily says “the anniversary of the band’s breakthrough in America is tinged with bitterness.” And why is that? Well, since 1998, all of the original members, including Shorrock, Graeham Goble, Beeb Birtles and Derek Pellicci have been blocked from performing their hits in the US and Australia under the “Little River Band” banner because they no longer control the band’s trademarks. These are owned by Stephen Housedon, a British-born musician and songwriter, who was invited by the founding members to join LRB as lead guitarist in…

McCartney files against Sony/ATV to reclaim song copyrights
Copyright , Music Publishing / February 2017
UK
USA

COPYRIGHT Music Publishing   Sir Paul McCartney, the former Beatle, has filed a lawsuit against Sony/ ATV in the federal court in New York.  The lawsuit is aimed at reclaiming the copyright in 267 of the songs that he wrote with John Lennon throughout the 1960s when they were members of the Beatles. The first steps to reclaim the copyrights were taken back in 2008 when McCartney first filed to reclaim the rights in the song ‘Love Me Do’. Since then McCartney has upped the pace; in 2010 he filed for the reversion of copyright in 40 songs in a single claim. As of today, the total number stands at 267 songs this includes hits such as “I Want To Hold Your Hand” and “All You Need Is Love”.  Not surprisingly Sony/ ATV have remained silent as to the transfer of the copyright back to McCartney. The lawsuit is based upon the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, specifically the reversion element found within. This allows songwriters that have assigned their works to a third party to reclaim the copyrights following a 56 year period for tracks written before 1978. Reclaiming the copyrights is not as easy as simply taking them…

Italy moves to crimimalise touting
Consumers , Live Events / January 2017
Italy
UK

CONSUMER Live event sector   An amendment to Italy’s 2017 budget law that would criminalise ticket touting has been approved by the country’s Chamber of Deputies. The amendment, introduced earlier this month by culture minister Dario Franceschini, prohibits the “sale, or any other form of placement [on the secondary market], of tickets” by anyone other than the issuer, and provides for fines of between €5,000 and €180,000 for those caught doing so – both online and elsewhere. In addition, secondary ticketing sites will themselves be held responsible if found to be facilitating the illegal resale of tickets, and subject to “removal of the [tickets] or, in severe cases, the blocking of the website through which the infringement has taken place”. The amendment does allow for the sale of the personal unwanted ticket(s), which are “not sanctioned when carried out by a physical person on an occasional basis, provided there is no commercial purpose”. The amendment will still need to be approved within 30 days by the justice, culture and economic ministries, although a source close to the situation told IQ Magazine that the move will “definitely be approved by [all] parties”. The passage of the bill could, however, be complicated by the…

US and UK move against ticketing touts
Competition , Consumers , Live Events / January 2017
UK
USA

CONSUMER – COMPETITION Live events sector   In the USA, anti-touting legislation has primarluly been governed by state level legislation – New York recently banned the use of the so called ‘bots ‘– software that enables ticket touts to buy up large quantities of tickets from primary sites – so that using such technology could result in criminal sanctions including imprisonment. But lawmakers in Washington have been increasingly talking about ‘banning the bots’ and this has resulted in the  ‘Better Online Ticket Sales Act’ (The ‘BOTS’ Act) which means that the use of tout bots will be defined as an “unfair and deceptive practice” under the Federal Trade Commission Act, a move which will empower the FTC to pursue cases against people using such technology. The Act received Congressional approval earlier this month, and now President Obama has approved to the legislation and his office said the new US-wide measure would “prohibit the circumvention of control measures used by internet ticket sellers to ensure equitable consumer access to tickets for certain events”. Live Nation’s Ticketmaster was quick to welcome the passing of the BOTS Act saying: “On behalf of artists, venues, teams, and especially fans, Ticketmaster is pleased that the BOTS Act…

PRS led investigation results in prison term for chart pirate
Copyright , Internet , Music Publishing / January 2017
UK

COPYRIGHT Internet, recorded music   A Liverpool man has been sentenced to a 12 month prison sentence after pleading guilty to illegally distributing UK chart hits online, which PRS for Music says potentially cost the music industry “millions of pounds and depriving the creators of the content fair remuneration for their work”. The sentence was the result of a joint investigation between PRS for Music and the City of London’s Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) and is the first custodial sentence to arise from the two organisations working together.   In October Wayne Evans pleaded guilty to two counts of distributing an article infringing copyright and one of possessing or controlling an article for use in fraud – Evans had been illegally uploading the UK’s Top 40 singles to various torrent sites as they were announced each week by the Official Charts Company. The 39-year-old was also distributing tracks through his own website, including ‘acappella’ music to be used for DJ-ing and remixing. He admitted using his computers and the website deejayportal.com for use in or in connection with fraud. Before sentencing Judge Alan Conrad, QC, agreed that a pre-sentence report was a necessity,  and said the sentencing judge would require assistance,…

Music copyright owners target FaceBook
Copyright , Music Publishing / January 2017
UK
USA

COPYRIGHT Music publishing   Universal Music Group is leading a pack of music companies who are issuing takedown notices against FaceBook in an effort to remove unlicensed covers of popular tracks – unsurprising given that FaceBook currently doesn’t pay to use music to the likes of PRS for Music. But there some significant casualties – a number of unsigned artists for whom the fallout is causing major headaches. MBW highlights Samantha Harvey, the British singer/songwriter who has attracted 1.97 million ‘Likes’ on her official Facebook page: In a video update to fans originally posted on December 10th, Harvey explained that Facebook had started removing her cover performances on copyright grounds. This, she said, was “on the instruction of publishing companies” saying  “There isn’t a [licensing] deal in place at the moment like there is on YouTube which allows people like me and thousands of others on Facebook to record covers of artists we absolutely love.” Harvey’s manager said that 45% of Harvey’s cover videos have now been removed from Facebook as a result of publisher notifications. Since the takedown notifications began to pour in, the artist has been busy encouraging her Facebook fans to migrate to YouTube – where her official channel now has more than…

Clement Jones withdraws Licensing Act amendments – for now
Licensing , Live Events / January 2017
UK

LICENSING Live events sector   A recent House of Lords investigation in the United Kingdom’s Parliament has seen leading figures from across the live music industry calling for a change in live event licensing to make it easier to stage events and help the live sector thrive. At the heart of the debate was a proposed amendment to licensing law which would ensure cultural benefits to the community are considered by local authorities when they make decisions about the award of music licences. Paul Latham, chair of the UK Live Music Group, Alex Mann, live music official of the Musicians’ Union, and Mark Davyd, chief executive of the Music Venue Trust, gave evidence to a select committee proposing the introduction of a new “objective” in the decision-making process which would take account of the positive cultural impact of staging an event. At present authorities are not obliged to consider the wider benefits of music and entertainment in the community and instead focus on the negative impact of applications. These are the four licensing objectives under the 2003 Licensing Act: The prevention of crime and disorder, public safety, the prevention of public nuisance and protection of children from harm. Mr Latham, who is also…

Culture Committee calls for a ban on ticketing ‘bots’
Consumers , Live Events / December 2016
UK

CONSUMER LAW Live events sector     The Culture, Media and Sport Committee has written to the UK’s Secretary of State for Culture, media & Sport Culture, Karen Bradley MP, asking her to ban the use of ‘bots’ – software programmes used by touts to harvest tickets for resale in the secondary market. The letter also raises concerns about the operation of the event ticketing market following last week’s evidence session on ticket abuse for the Committee, citing “inappropriately close relationships” between those selling tickets on the primary market and the resellers on the secondary market which was recently exposed in Italy, where the boss of Live Nation had to admit that the promoter did directly provide tickets to the resale website Viagogo. Committee chairman Damian Collins MPsaid “The answers we got from witnesses representing the ticket sellers and resellers went from complacent to evasive” adding “Their failure to provide the most basic assurances about what they’re doing to tackle known large scale touts and fraudsters operating on their own sites – we had an example on screen in front of a Member in the session – have led us to believe there may be much bigger problems in this…

More Blurred Lines: Has ‘Uptown’ been funked up?
Copyright , Music Publishing / December 2016
UK
USA

COPYRIGHT Music publishing     This guest blog is by Jonathan Coote   2014’s ‘Uptown Funk’ by Bruno Mars and Mark Ronson is a 70s and 80s collage of influences, a knowingly reverential homage to the songwriters’ musical amours. However, for eighties electro-funk band Collage, this knowing veneration seems to sit too close to home. They are suing Mars and Ronson alongside co-writers, Sony’s Music Entertainment, Sony’s RCA Records, Warner/Chappell Music, and Atlantic Records for copyright infringement of their 1983 track ‘Young Girls’. The band are following in the well-trodden footsteps of other forgotten gems including ‘Oops Upside Your Head’ from the Gap Band (who were given song-writing credits alongside Mars and Ronson in 2015) and the unrealised lawsuit from The Sequence for ‘Funk You Up’.   Pitchfork obtained a statement from Collage, which says that there are clear copied elements “present throughout the compositions […] rendering the compositions almost indistinguishable if played over each other and strikingly similar if played in consecutively”:   “Upon information and belief, many of the main instrumental attributes and themes of ‘Uptown Funk’ are deliberately and clearly copied from ‘Young Girls,’ including, but not limited to, the distinct funky specifically noted and timed consistent guitar…

Nightclub banned from using music without a licence
Copyright , Live Events / December 2016
UK

COPYRIGHT Live events sector     Essex nightclub Miya, which has featured in the hit ITV show The Only Way Is Essex, has been ordered to stop using music and sound recordings after a trial for copyright infringement. In an action brought by Phonographic Performance Limited and PRS for Music (PPL and PRS) the Court found that Kerry Ormes, the nightclub’s designated premises supervisor, (charged with the day-to-day management of premises under the Licensing Act 2003) was liable for authorising and procuring acts infringing copyright, namely the playing of sound recordings and musical works at the club without the requisite licences from PPL and PRS for Music. Ormes had denied liability say the licences were not her responsibility, but the court found that Ormes acted as the nightclub manager and that her responsibilities would generally include the booking of DJs and dealing with promoters. Clark awarded PPL and PRS for Music an injunction against the defendant to prevent further infringement by Ormes at any public premises, and awarded damages against Ormes personally. A costs hearing will take place in January 2017. PPL said that it had repeatedly contacted the business owner to get the correct licensing in place and only after that failed was proceedings issued in…

I Take the Dice – Duran Duran seek to reclaim their copyrights
Contract , Music Publishing / December 2016
UK
USA

CONTRACT Music publishing     Duran Duran have begun their action in the High Court in London in a case that will test the ability of UK songwriters to exercise their reversion rights under US copyright law.   The band are fighting Sony/ATV ownedEMI Music Publishing. EMI is seeking to block the band’s songwriter members from taking back control of the rights to songs on their early albums. Duran Duran members Simon Le Bon, Nick Rhodes, Roger Taylor and John Taylor, and former member Andy Taylor had put EMI Music Publishing subsidiary Gloucester Place Music on notice of the reversion of the American copyrights in songs on their first three albums and the James Bond theme ‘A View To A Kill’ in 2014. The publisher has argued that under the band’s (English) contract there is no option to reclaim American rights. According to the Press Association, EMI’s  lawyer, Ian Mill QC, said: “My clients entered into contracts and agreed to pay these artistes sums of money … in return for which the artistes promised to give them rights to exploit, subject to the payment of those sums, for the full term of copyright” and that  “these writers have agreed that they will…

Fabric gets a second chance with new licence conditions
Licensing , Live Events / December 2016
UK

LICENSING Live events sector   Following extensive talks with Islington Council and the Metropolitan Police, and the public outcry at the threatened permanent closure, London’s Fabric nightclub will reopen after Highbury Magistrates Court approved a new set of licensing conditions. The exact reopening date has not been decided as yet. Fabric raised a six figure sum in excess of £325,000 from donations to fund legal fees to fight the closure. Philip Kolvin QC for Fabric told the court that fabric “has always set about trying to lead the industry,” and has engaged in a “root and branch reappraisal” of its operating procedures. Fabric and the Authority have issued a joint statement detailing new conditions and these include the use of a new ID scanning system, enhanced searching procedures, physical changes to the club, and lifetime bans for anyone found in possession of drugs or attempting to buy drugs in the club.  Sniffer dogs, which police had tried to enforce at the end of 2014 need not be used by the Club.  An appeal had been planned against the August decision by Islington council’s licensing sub-committee to revoke fabric’s license following the deaths of two 18-year-old clubbers. That appeal, which was scheduled to…

Coldplay’s Indian debut overcomes legal challenge
Live Events , Taxation / December 2016
India
UK

TAXATION Live events sector   Coldplay’s debut show in India has been allowed to go ahead, following the failure of a legal challenge in the High Court of Bombay. Anti-corruption activists Anjali Damania and Hemant Gavande challenged a decision by the Maharashtra state government, which had waived entertainment duty on the concert: their challenge was based on the argument that the British band’s performance at the not-for-profit Global Citizen festival would not qualify as an educational or charitable activity, as required by the Bombay Entertainments Duty Act 1923. The event, at the Bandra Kurla Complex in Mumbai, also features Jay-Z, Demi Levato and a host of local acts.   Judges Manjula Chellur and MS Sonak found in favour of Global Citizen and acting advocate-general Rohit Deo, who said the festival was “an eight-hour programme, and the concert by Coldplay is just part of it. The festival is to create awareness of three subjects: gender equality, education and clean water”. Deo said that only 11,000 out of the 80,000 tickets would be sold, and 65,000 would be free to those who have demonstrated their commitment to positive social change – as with previous Global Citizen events: tickets could be won by promoting the charity’s work (by,…

Detonate Hallowe’en shut down after over crowding
Health & Safety , Live Events / December 2016
UK

HEALTH & SAFETY Live events sector   The promoter of Detonate Halloween, in Nottingham, UK, says it is “gutted” after being forced to call off the event three hours early amid claims of serious overcrowding following fence breaches at Nottingham Racecourse on the 29th October 2016. The event was ended at around 20.20, three hours early, on the advice of the festival’s health and safety officer and Nottinghamshire police, which meant cancelling or cutting short sets by Kano, New York Transit Authority, Kurupt FM, Andy C, TQD and The Prototypes and 2Shy. A sister event at the O2 Academy in Sheffield went ahead as planned. The site was said to be clear of guests by 21.00.   In a statement, promoter Detonate said “The safety issue was due to the majority of people wanting to be in one tent, which caused large queues. When some of the surrounding fence was breached and crowds surged, action had to be taken to avoid people being injured.” “Flow of people is estimated based on capacities of each area; popularity of the acts which are on at the same time in each arena; and dynamic assessments on the day. We surveyed our ticketholders in the lead…

Director cleared of manslaughter after Fishermen’s Friend’s deaths
Health & Safety , Live Events / December 2016
UK

HEALTH & SAFETY Live events sector   The director of a door manufacturing company has been cleared of manslaughter resulting from the deaths of Fisherman’s Friends singer Trevor Grills and tour manager Paul McMullen at Guildford’s G Live venue in February 2013. Grills, 54, and McMullen, 44, were killed after a two-tonne steel door, which allowed backstage access from the outside, collapsed on them.Grills suffered critical injuries after being hit by the falling metal door at  and  McMullen, 44, from Disley in Cheshire, died at the incident. Officers said Mr McMullen suffered serious injuries to his legs and died at the scene. Police were called to the London Road venue just after 11:45 GMT on February 9th after a report that two men were trapped under a metal door in a loading bay. The 10-piece band had been due to perform at the venue later that day. In October 2016 the jury in the trial visited the venue. On the opening day of the trial, the jury was told doors manufactured by Mr David Naylor’s company had failed previously. Proesecutor Zoe Johnson QC said: “The prosecution alleges that the failure to have an anti-drop safeguard coupled with other evidence of earlier door collapses and this…

Beatles’ team move to dismiss Shea Stadium copyright claims
Copyright , Live Events / November 2016
UK
USA

COPYRIGHT Live events sector, films and television   Last month we reported that estate of Sid Bernstein, who promoted the Beatles’ famed August 1965 concert at Shea Stadium in New York, was taking legal action against two of the bands’ companies, Apple Corps and Subafilms, for alleged copyright infringement over use of footage from the concert in upcoming documentary film Eight Days a Week: The Touring Years – directed by Ron Howard. The film has been produced in cooperation with both surviving Beatles Paul McCartney and Ringo Strarr, and the widows of George Harrison (Olivia) and John Lennon (Yoko Ono) and includes 30 minutes of remastered footage from Shea Stadium. It is understood that the the copyright in the film later acquired by Apple Corps, founded by The Beatles in 1968, and film-distribution outfit Subafilms. Sid Bernstein Presents has challenged that ownership of the copyright and in turn claims ownership of the concert footage, parts of which have appeared previously in the Ed Sullivan-produced film The Beatles at Shea Stadium and in the Anthology documentary series.  Billboard reports that the claim proposes several solutions, including having Sid Bernstein Presents named sole author, or joint author (with The Beatles) as well as a declaration that previous use of…

Radiohead fatality case can progress despite slow pace
Health & Safety , Live Events / November 2016
Canada
UK

HEALTH & SAFETY Live events sector   Live Nation Canada’s moves to have charges it faces over the death of a drum technician before a Radiohead concert four years ago dismissed because of “unreasonable delay” in the case have failed. Scott Johnson, 33, from Doncaster, South Yorkshire, was killed when the stage collapsed in Downsview Park, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, on June 16, 2012.  Live Nation Canada, Live Nation Ontario and Optex Staging and Services each face four charges under the Canadian Occupational Health and Safety Act.  Engineer Dominic Cugliari faces one charge of endangering a worker by negligence. All have pleaded not guilty and the trial had begun last year after charges were brought in June 2013. The trial is not due to conclude until January 2017   According to the Toronto Star, the trial judge Justice Shaun Nakatsuru has agreed that the long period of time so far taken up by the case was acceptable because of the complexity of the evidence needed to determine “The issue of how the stage collapsed, and who is responsible for that” saying this was “complex”.   The trial is scheduled to resume on December 5th. The maximum fine against a corporation, if convicted, is $500,000…

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

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…

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

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…

London nightclub Fabric to close permanently after licence revoked
Licensing , Live Events / October 2016
UK

LICENSING Live events sector   One of Britain’s best known nightclubs, Fabric, has been forced to close permanently after its licence was revoked following the drug-related deaths of two people. After deliberation that lasted into the early hours of Wednesday morning, the local council decided that searches by security staff at the London venue had been “inadequate and in breach of the licence”. “People entering the club were inadequately searched,” Islington Borough Council’s decision read adding that covert police operations suggested people were openly buying and taking illegal drugs on the premises and that staff should have been aware of this: “Staff intervention and security was grossly inadequate in light of the overwhelming evidence that it was abundantly obvious that patrons in the club were on drugs and manifesting symptoms showing that they were” …. This included sweating, glazed red eyes and staring into space, and people asking for help.” The Metropolitan Police had asked the council to shut down the 2,500-capacity nightclub after the deaths of two teenagers in the space of nine weeks. One died after collapsing outside the club in August, while another died in late June. In documents provided to the council, superintendent Stuart Ryan wrote: “If the…

Is Hackney using underhand methods to close down the night-time industries?
Licensing , Live Events / October 2016
UK

LICENSING / PRIVACY Live events sector     Thousands of clubbers have had their names shared secretly with the Metropolitan Police. The 200-capacity Studio Spaces was granted an alcohol licence by Hackney Council in January 2014, on the condition that director Yuval Hen supply the Metropolitan police and the council with a list of everyone attending events of 40 people or more 48 hours in advance. The Hackney Gazette reports that Hen initially complied, but later became aware that he was the only licensee in the area having to hand over names. He has since relaunched the venue as a ‘co-working space’. Hen told IQ magazine “The conditions killed us. We got lots of cancellations from people saying, ‘We don’t want to give you the guest list.’ It’s a nightmare – we can’t run a business like that with only 40 people allowed inside.” Hackney Council tells the Islington Gazette that the ruling was made to ensure the venue didn’t exceed its 24 permitted events of over 40 people. Nappter Tandy, who runs promoter Turf Series, has put on shows at Studio Spaces and says he was unaware guestlists were being sent to police saying “It’s extremely disappointing councils like Hackney…

Mayor to implement ‘agent of change’ principle in London Plan
Live Events / October 2016
UK

PLANNING Live events sector   London Mayor Sadiq Khan has said he plans to introduce the ‘agent of change’ principle into the next London Plan to protect London’s cultural heritage and vibrant night life from the actions of developers building residential homes near existing cultural venues. The move comes after more than 25,000 people signed a petition to save Mayfair’s historic Curzon cinema from being shut down over a soundproofing dispute. Developers 38 Curzon Ltd, who are converting office space above the cinema into luxury flats, have complained of noise from films shown velow. Reports say the developers want the 82-year-old cinema to foot the £500,000 bill for soundproofing work. But the the Curzon said it cannot afford and that as the building is a listed building iut would “never obtain approval for as the auditorium and surrounding walls” The deadlock has resulted in a court “action for forfeiture”, meaning the cinema faces surrendering its lease and vacating the building. Khan told the London Evening Standard: “I intend to protect venues like the Curzon Mayfair by introducing an ‘Agent of Change’ rule into the next London Plan. That would mean developers building flats near existing venues will need to ensure that residents are not…

Solfest survives police licence challenge
Licensing , Live Events / September 2016
UK

LICENSING Live events sector     Solfest which takes place near Silloth in Cumbria (August 26-28) will go ahead despite a request from the Police to revoke the event’s licence, saying organisers had failed to provide a detailed event management plan in enough time. In a report to Allerdale Council’s licensing panel members, Superintendent Gary Slater said “It is the submission of Cumbria Constabulary that the event organisers are unable to satisfy the event safety group or the constabulary that they have the plans, capacity and capability to maintain public safety, protect children from harm, prevent crime and disorder and prevent public nuisance.” The Panel has the power to revoke the festival’s licence and stop it going ahead. It can also modify the licence’s conditions, remove the premises’ supervisor, suspend the licence for three months or exclude a licensable activity from the licence. Allerdale Council have allowed the event to continue but have sent the Festival’s organising committee a written warning.   However, one of London’s biggest nightclubs has closed its doors for the foreseeable future. It comes after two teenagers died of suspected drug overdoses in the last nine weeks. Fabric in Farringdon initially announced it was closing for the weekend…

Is Hackney using underhand methods to close down the night-time industries?
Licensing , Live Events / September 2016
UK

LICENSING / PRIVACY Live events sector     Thousands of clubbers have had their names shared secretly with the Metropolitan Police. The 200-capacity Studio Spaces was granted an alcohol licence by Hackney Council in January 2014, on the condition that director Yuval Hen supply the Metropolitan police and the council with a list of everyone attending events of 40 people or more 48 hours in advance. The Hackney Gazette reports that Hen initially complied, but later became aware that he was the only licensee in the area having to hand over names. He has since relaunched the venue as a ‘co-working space’. Hen told IQ magazine “The conditions killed us. We got lots of cancellations from people saying, ‘We don’t want to give you the guest list.’ It’s a nightmare – we can’t run a business like that with only 40 people allowed inside.” Hackney Council tells the Islington Gazette that the ruling was made to ensure the venue didn’t exceed its 24 permitted events of over 40 people. Nappter Tandy, who runs promoter Turf Series, has put on shows at Studio Spaces and says he was unaware guestlists were being sent to police saying “It’s extremely disappointing councils like Hackney…

London local authorities battle over plans for more common concerts
Licensing , Live Events / August 2016
UK

LICENSING Live events sector     IQ reports that two London councils are at loggerheads over plans hold more concerts and large-scale live events on Clapham Common. The the 220-acre park is managed and maintained by Lambeth Council, but the South half of the Park lies in neighbouring Wandsworth, and the latter council has voiced “serious concerns” over a new events strategy proposed by Lambeth that paves the way for the borough to hold up to eight shows a year on Clapham Common, as well as eight each in four other ‘event zones’ (Streatham, North Lambeth, Brixton and Norwood). Lambeth has also approved the increase in maximum sound levels on the common and three other parks. The new music noise level (MNL) will be 75dB L(A), with a maximum low-frequency music noise level (LFMNL) of 90 dB L(C). Wandsworth Council’s environment spokesman, Councillor Jonathan Cook, criticised Lambeth for “burying” the recommendations “some 300 pages into a 520-page” report and says more “noisy music festivals and other loud events” will negatively affect those living near the Common. Mr Cook said: “Instead of trying to conceal the level of opposition that exists to these proposals and trying to sneak them through without the public’s…

Ban on audience pyrotechnics moves closer in the UK
Licensing , Live Events / August 2016
UK

LICENSING Live events sector   MPs have supported a law banning flares and fireworks from UK music concerts and festivals. Conservative MP Nigel Adams put forward the amendment to the Police and Crime Bill, which would make it illegal for concert-goers to carry pyrotechnics including flares, fireworks and smoke bombs into a venue. Flares have been banned at sporting events since 1985. It is a criminal offence to enter or attempt to enter a football ground while in possession of a flare, smoke bomb or firework, punishable by up to three months in prison. The same penalties would now apply to concerts. Football fans in breach of the law have also found themselves banned from football grounds for up to six years. Currently, it is not illegal for fans to bring smoke bombs, flares and fireworks into a concert venue unless it can be proved they intend to cause harm to other people. UK Music, Live Nation and the Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) have all supported the move, with Bestival co-founder Rob da Bank saying “there are increasingly more incidents and the time is right for the Government to act and support organisers in minimising risk” and  UK Music CEO Jo Dipple said “Safety…

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

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…

Sheeran claim puts ‘Blurred Lines’  back in focus
Copyright , Music Publishing / July 2016
UK

COPYRIGHT Music publishing   Two musicians based in California are suing Ed Sheeran for $20m (£13.8m) over alleged copyrigt infringement of one of their songs in Sheerhan’s single ‘Photograph’. Martin Harrington and American Thomas Leonard claim ‘Photograph’ has a similar structure to their song, ‘Amazing’. The two songwriters allege Ed Sheeran’s 2015 ballad has the same musical composition to their track, which was released as Matt Cardle’s winning X Factor track in 2010. Harrington and Leonard say they wrote ‘Amazing’ in 2009. Ciurt filings include musical note comparison and chord breakdowns of the two songs, and the pair claim the chorus of Photograph shares 39 identical notes with their track. The court documents say that ‘Photograph’ has sold more than 3.5 million copies worldwide.   The claim also states that ‘Photograph’ features prominently in Hollywood drama Me Before You, released last week, as well as trailers for the film. Matt Cardle’s version of ‘Amazing’ has more than one million views on YouTube, while Ed Sheeran’s music video for ‘Photograph’ has 208 million Documents were filed on Wednesday at LA’s federal court in the Central District of California. Other named defendants being sued include Snow Patrol’s Johnny McDaid, who is credited as a co-writer on’ Photograph’, as well…

ARTICLE LINKS – the Led Zeppelin case
Copyright , Music Publishing / July 2016
UK

COPYRIGHT Music publishing Led Zeppelin Wins Copyright Infringement Suit Over Opening Lick of ‘Stairway to Heaven’ http://abcnews.go.com/Entertainment/led-zeppelin-wins-copyright-infringement-suit-opening-lick/story?id=40026259 Led Zeppelin cleared of stealing riff for Stairway to Heaven. Los Angeles jury finds Robert Plant and Jimmy Page did not steal the most famous passage from the 1971 anthem from the band Spirit http://abcnews.go.com/Entertainment/led-zeppelin-wins-copyright-infringement-suit-opening-lick/story?id=40026259 There may be a lady who’s sure that all that glitters is gold, but Thursday’s verdict from a Los Angeles jury in the “Stairway to Heaven” copyright infringement case says otherwise. http://www.bizjournals.com/buffalo/news/2016/06/24/led-zeppelin-case-could-have-had-a-chilling-legal.html Led Zeppelin have won a copyright lawsuit that claimed they had plagiarized the music to their most celebrated song, “Stairway to Heaven.” A Los Angeles jury determined Thursday that the lawyer representing the estate of late guitarist Randy Wolfe, who played with the group Spirit, did not prove that the hard rockers lifted the song’s intro from Spirit’s 1968 instrumental “Taurus.” http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/led-zeppelin-prevail-in-stairway-to-heaven-lawsuit-20160623 Led Zeppelin Wins Copyright Infringement Suit Over Opening Lick of ‘Stairway to Heaven’ http://wtnh.com/2016/06/24/led-zeppelin-wins-copyright-infringement-suit-over-opening-lick-of-stairway-to-heaven/ UPDATE Lawyer Who Sued Led Zeppelin Suspended From Practicing Law https://www.digitalmusicnews.com/2016/07/01/lawyer-led-zeppelin-suspended-law/

New UK review of secondary ticketing leaves some disappointed
Competition , Live Events / July 2016
UK

COMPETITION Live events sector   The much-anticipated independent review of the UK’s secondary ticketing market, commissioned by the British government in October 201, has divided industry figures with its call for greater enforcement of the Consumer Rights Act (CRA) but no recommendation for any new legislation. Some provisions of the Act remain largely ignored, despite the Government introducing amendments to create greater transparency around secondary sales in 2015. The Act stipulates that consumers must be made aware of the original face value of tickets for secondary sale, any restrictions on the ticket and, where appropriate, standing or seating information. However, consumer group Which? had previously uncovered numerous examples where consumers were not provided with this information on al four of the main secondary ticketing sites, Viagogo, StubHub, Seatwave and Get Me In! In his 227 page report, Professor Waterson has rejected the need for further legislation – but called for greater enforcement of existing measures. Management of acts such as Paul McCartney, Arctic Monkeys, Mumford & Sons, Radiohead, One Direction, Ed Sheeran, Noel Gallagher, and agents from CAA, ITB, UTA, Coda, X-ray Touring and 13 Artists have added their name to the statement, which reads: “Professor Waterson exposes a dysfunctional and under-regulated ticketing…

Foos fight insurance underwriters and broker for cancellation pay out
Contract , Live Events / July 2016
Sweden
UK
USA

CONTRACT Live events sector   Billboard reports that the Foo Fighters have accused Lloyd’s of London and insurance brokers Robertson Taylor of ‘despicable’ behaviour in a lawsuit filed in Los Angeles, alleging they have “failed to pay amounts that even they appear to recognize are due and owing” on insurance claims the band made on several shows cancelled during its 2015 world tour. The cancellations resulted firstly after Grohl broke his leg on June 12th, 2015, during a show in Sweden (a show that Grohl finished before going to hospital). The injury resulted in the cancellation of seven shows, three of which are at the core of the band’s complaint — two shows at London’s Wembley Stadium and one at Edinburgh’s BT Murrayfield Stadium. After his leg was treated, Grohl went on to perform 53 shows from the “throne” he designed (or crutches). The complaint says: “After paying certain amounts owed under the Cancellation Policy for four of the cancelled performances, [the insurers] began searching for ways to limit their payment obligations on the other three performances, including the two Wembley Stadium shows, which represented the largest potential gross income” for the band’s tour. The complaint continues,(insurance broker) “Robertson Taylor failed to…

Wireless wins High Court victory against local residents’ group
Licensing , Live Events / July 2016
UK

LICENSING Live events sector   A High Court judge has dismissed a bid to have Wireless Festival removed from Finsbury Park. A local residents’ group, The Friends of Finsbury Park,  had requested a judicial review of the Local Authority’s decision to allow the festival to go ahead, arguing that that Haringey Council “does not have the power” to approve the Live Nation event for the grade II-listed public park, which is classified as Metropolitan Open Land. The group, which raised over £11,000 on crowdfunding website CrowdJustice towards its legal costs, contended the council’s decision was illegal under the Greater London (Parks and Open Spaces Act), which allows a maximum of the 10% of the park to be shut off for a private event (Wireless takes up 27%). Wireless Festival faced criticism in 2015 after serious security problems when the 45,000-capacity festival featured acts such as Drake, David Guetta, Avicii, Kendrick Lamar and Nicki Minaj in 2015. Video footage emerged showing chaotic scenes after a crowd forced open a security gate to gain access to the site during a performance by Lethal Bizzle. The Friends Of Finsbury Park group said a the time: “There were serious safety issues when hundreds 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…

Ticketing updates
Consumers , Criminal Law / June 2016
UK

CONSUMER / CRIMINAL Live events sector     The manager of Mumford & Sons has announced the band’s support for a petition demanding new tough penalties for ticket touting in UK ticket touts. Adam Tudhope says he hopes action on touting in Britain could set a precedent elsewhere in the world. The petition, entitled Enforce the Consumer Rights Act to protect music, arts and sport fans from touts, makes reference the statute of the same name, which requires ticket resellers to provide certain information on the seat or standing area the ticket is for, its face value and restrictions (for example, age). Tudhope’s petition has gained support from artistes including One Direction, Little Mix and Keane as well the Music Managers’ Forum (MMF) and the Association in Independent Festivals (AIF) and a number of MPs, and currently has approximately 27,000 signatures out of a target of 100,000, when it will be considered for debate in parliament. Tudhope said he supported making touting a criminal offence as it is with football tickets, or was with the London 2012 Olympics Games. However, although both Tudhope and Mumford & Sons have long been critical of the secondary ticket market in its current form, Tudhope told IQ…

UK ticket tout jailed for fraud, whist Swiss promoters seek better regulation
Switzerland
UK

CONSUMER / CRIMINAL Live events sector     A ticket tout who sold over £400,000 worth of bogus concert and sports tickets in a 13-month period between May 2009 and June 2010 has been jailed for three-and-a-half years. John Lupton (53) of Upper Norwood, appeared at Blackfriars Crown Court where he was found guilty of two counts of fraudulent trading and one count of money laundering. He has also been banned from acting as a company director until 2026. The London Evening Standard reported that defrauded customers paid £636,000 to two of Lupton’s dummy companies, Lines Direct Ltd and Williams & Hill Ltd, but at least £435,000 worth of tickets were not supplied, When buyers requested refunds, they found that the companies had been dissolved and their bank accounts cleared. Companies House also lists three other companies of which Lupton is or was a director: Festival Ticket Store Ltd, Dracrow Ltd and Commercial Logistics and Trading Ltd. It appears that whist a director of the companies,  Lupton was not the ‘brains’ behind the operation, and investigations continue. Allison Clare, prosecuting, said there is no prospect of recovering the money as Lupton was sleeping on his mother’s settee and living off…

PRS posts increased revenues for 2015 – and increased costs
Copyright , Music Publishing / June 2016
UK

COPYRIGHT Music Publishing   The Performing Right Society (PRS) has announced its 2015 financial results, revealing a record high royalty income of £537.4m. This figure represents an increase of 7% on 2014 when measured on a constant currency basis, with year on year growth across all revenue streams with an 8.4% increase in distributions, equating to an extra £35.6m compared to 2014. Key drivers of this success include continued growth in the online market, the success of PRS member’s repertoire in overseas markets and efficiency improvements associated with the processing of online royalties.   Online revenues reached £42.4m, representing an increase of 12.8% over 2014. This was driven by market growth and improved licensing International revenues totalled £195.6m, an increase of 10.4% on a constant currency basis, showing the value of investing in better tracking of the use of members’ rights overseas. Broadcast revenues were £124.2m: an increase of 4.1%, in part due to growth in advertising on commercial radio stations.  Public performance royalties grew to £175.2m, an increase of 4.1%, reflecting PRS’ strategy of communicating the value of music to businesses However the collection society’s headline costs increased by £10.2m in the year (17.7%) to £67.8m and there was…

Lambeth Council told to think again over Club 414 redevelopment
Live Events / June 2016
UK

PLANNING The live events sector     The High Court has ordered Lambeth Council to reconsider a decision to grant planning permission to redevelop Brixton’s Club 414 into shops and flats. The club began life in 985 as a reggae club, hosting many famous acts. It switched to dance music in the 90s and is now one of the few specialist house and trance clubs left in London. Despite objections, the planning permission was granted by Lambeth council planning officers, and not councillors, under delegated powers, would lead to the closure of the club together with a flat which is the home of the club’s owner, Louise Barron, who fought the move. Both the council and the developer conceded the claim. However the council would not agree to a statement of reasons that included unlawful delegation as a reason for quashing the planning permission. The council did accept that it had failed to consider the (then emerging) Lambeth Local Plan, which was adopted just one week after the grant of permission. The Plan recognises the importance of protecting the night-time economy in Brixton and supports leisure uses where they contribute to the vitality and viability of Brixton town centre. Mr Justice Gilbart accepted…

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

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…

Glastonbury fined £12,000 for sewage leak – but Festival had ‘low culpability’
UK

ENVIRONMENTAL LAW Live events sector     The Glastonbury Festival has been ordered to pay a fine of £12,000 and costs of £19,000 for the environmental incident at the 2014 Festival which saw 20,000 gallons of human waste pollute a nearby river after a steel tank used to hold sewage from the toilets sprang a leak, seeping into Whitelake river and killing 42 fish, among them 29 bullhead – a European protected species and10 protected brown trout. The BBC reported that the Judge at the trial found Festival had low culpability for incident in 2014 that led to death of 42 fish in Whitelake river and is ‘impressed’ with its response to incident. The Environment Agency claimed during a hearing that the event had grown more quickly than its ability to deal with so much waste. The Judge said the Somerset festival could have contacted the authorities more quickly following the problem in June 2014, but said it had largely dealt with it well. The court was told that Glastonbury used three very large steel tanks to store human waste from the site, which had a population of 170,000 during the 2014 event. One of the tanks sprung a leak in one…

IFPI Global Music Report 2016
Copyright , Internet / May 2016
EU
UK
USA

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…

Artistes call for major reforms of take down policies and the ‘largely useless’ DMCA
Artists , Copyright , Internet / May 2016
UK
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet, artistes     Some 400 recording artists, songwriters and groups including the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) are calling on Congress to reform existing US copyright law saying that the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) is obsolete, dysfunctional and harmful,  and calling for stronger measures against the ongoing piracy troubles they face. The DCMA was signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1998 and aimed to ready copyright law for the digital age. Christina Aguilera, Katy Perry, Steve Tyler, Lionel Richie and Garth Brooks are just some of music’s biggest names want to make it harder to pirate music online. The musicians are asking lawmakers to make “drastic reforms” to the Act. “Artists spanning a variety of genres and generations are submitting comments to the federal government’s U.S. Copyright Office …. demanding reforms to the antiquated DMCA which forces creators to police the entire Internet for instances of theft, placing an undue burden on these artists and unfairly favoring technology companies and rogue pirate sites,” says a statement issued by the Recording Industry Association of America: Recording artistes including deadmau5, Tony Bennett, Pearl Jam and Bette Midler have filed petitions to the U.S. Copyright Office detailing their struggles…

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

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…

CMA provisionally decides to release PRS for Music from 1997 undertakings
UK

COMPETITION Music publishing, broadcasting, internet     The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has published its provisional decision in its review of undertakings given by PRS to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission (MMC) in 1997.  The CMA has provisionally decided to release the undertakings. The PRS is one of the two main collecting societies for music in the UK. It licenses musical works and administers the royalties when such works are played in public or broadcast, for example on the radio or television.   The group of independent CMA panel members carrying out the review considers that the forthcoming implementation of the EU Collective Rights Management Directive will effectively address the areas and concerns covered by the undertakings. The group has therefore provisionally decided that the undertakings are no longer required.   This Directive, due to be implemented by each EU Member State by 10 April 2016, introduces a number of requirements that collective management organisations, such as the PRS, must meet – as well as various protections for their members. The requirements are intended to ‘ensure a high standard of governance, financial management, transparency and reporting.’   The CMA’s decision to review PRS’s undertakings is part of its wider review of the 76 existing…

Supreme Court confirms Court of Appeal to block Bob Marley claim
UK

COPYRIGHT / CONTRACT Music publishing     The Supreme Court in London has confirmed the Court of Appeal and High Court of Justice’s decisions that it is Blue Mountain Music, and not Bob Marley’ original publisher Cayman Music (CMI)(BSI), who owned the copyrights in a number of Marley’s songs. CMI were Marley’s original publisher but it is commonly believed that Marley claimed various friends wrote a number of his songs to avoid the contract terms with CMI which would have automatically transferred the copyrights in his work to the publisher – for ‘No Woman, No Cry’ the credit went to Vincent Ford. CMI had previously said ““It is now common ground between the disputing parties that the songs – including ‘No Woman, No Cry’ – were actually written by Bob Marley but that the music publisher’s share was never credited to Cayman Music, who have now been denied their contracted entitlement for more than 40 years”. CMI claimed these songs were not included when it sold some of its rights in 1992 to Blue Mountain Music, as Marley, who died in 1981, had penned them under other people’s names-  the ‘Misattribution Ploy’. However High Court  agreed the copyright had “passed” under…

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

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
EU
UK
USA

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…

McCartney moves to reclaim his US copyrights
Copyright , Music Publishing / April 2016
UK
USA

COPYRIGHT Music Publishing     Following the news that Sony Corp was buying the Michael Jackson Estate out of its music publishing joint venture Sony/ATV at a cost of $750 million comes the revelation that Sir Paul McCartney is in the process of reclaiming US publishing rights for a huge chunk of The Beatles’ catalogue from Sony/ATV.  The former Beatle is using the provisions of the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976 stipulates that writers of pre-1978 tracks can reclaim their US publishing rights – if they’ve previously signed them away – after 56 years. The publishing rights for McCartney’s share of Beatles songs will begin expiring in 2018 – 56 years after the Fab Four’s first hit, “Love Me Do”, was penned and recorded in 1962. The Lennon/McCartney repertoire is amongst the most prized of Sony/ATV’s catalogue. Music Business Worldwide trawled through the US Copyright Office’s records and discovered that McCartney filed termination notices last year for two batches of Fab Four tracks – “All You Need Is Love” and  23 other titles’. In addition “All Together Now” & 32 other titles had been filed. Between them, these filings included hits ranging from “Back In The USSR” to “Helter Skelter”, “Hey Jude”,…