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are calling on Congress to reform existing US copyright law saying that the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) is obsolete, dysfunctional and harmful,  and calling for stronger measures against the ongoing piracy troubles they face.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”,…

AIF and the MU launch new terms for emerging talent at UK Festivals
Contract , Live Events / April 2016
UK

CONTRACT Live events sector     Fair Play for Festivals’ is a joint initiative between AIF and The Musicians Union (MU). It is a code of conduct intended for use between AIF members and emerging artists who are defined as ‘Artists without representation from agents, managers or other third parties’. It sets out a series of pragmatic guidelines for artists and festivals in various areas, including remuneration, logistics, promotion and performance details. You can Download the agreement.   http://aiforg.com/wp-content/uploads/Fair+Play+For+Festivals+Agreement.compressed.pdf

UK law firm launches lawsuit against Michael Jackson’s Estate over unpaid bill
Artists , Contract / April 2016
UK

CONTRACT Artistes     A British law firm has sent a $204,204.36 invoice to Michael Jackson’s Estate In the years since Michael Jackson’s death, The pop icon’s estate has faced a number of other claims, including a royalty row with Quincy Jones and a profit suit from the director of “Thriller.” The latest claims comes from a London-based law firm that claims it is owed more than $200,000 in fees for work it did for the music icon in the two years leading up to his death.  Atkins Thomson Solicitors have now launched the action in California against entertainment attorney John Branca and music executive John McClain who are the executors of Jackson’s estate. The claim is for breach of contract and Atkins claims it provided legal and other services to Jackson from 2007 through 2009, and in the months leading up Jackson’s  death the firm “provided hundreds of hours of services to Jackson across nearly a dozen matters.”  The suit says: “Defendants have failed to honor Jackson’s obligations under, and has materially breached, the agreement with Atkins, and any implied covenants therein, by failing to make the payments as required” In November 2009, the firm filed a creditors claim for $204,204.36 and…

UK WILL adopt something like the ‘agent of change’ principle
Live Events / April 2016
UK

PLANNING Live events sector     The “toilet circuit” network of small music venues and indeed other larger venues in the UK has claimed an important victory after ministers agreed to introduce legislation which will protect established music venues and clubs from property developers and incoming residents. Planning rules favouring complaints from residents in new developments over the noise levels from an established music venue nearby have been cited by clubs forced to close their doors.Now the British government is introducing new legislation giving local authorities the powers to better protect live music venues against redevelopment pressures. Its not a full ‘agent of change’ approach – but its an important step forwards. Its too late for some though: venues including The Cockpit in Leeds and the Sheffield Boardwalk, where Ed Sheeran and Arctic Monkeys played formative shows, have shut whilst in London an estimated 40% of music venues have closed over the past decade. A UK Music study of Bristol’s live scene found that 50% of the city’s music venues were affected by development, noise or planning issues.  These issues pose a direct threat to the future of Bristol’s vibrant ecosystem which generated £123 towards the local economy in 2015 and supported…

Labour’s UK Licensing Act has ‘failed’
Licensing , Live Events / April 2016
UK

LICENSING Live events sector     A new report has been published that says the Licensing Act 2003, implemented in 2005, has done little to push forwarded its much heralded aims of promoting a new ‘continental’ style drinking culture in England and Wales, and instead and the Guardian opines that New Labour’s ambition to create a “continental cafe style of drinking culture” through the introduction of 24-hour licensing has failed, and was unlikely to ever succeed. Indeed the Act has put significant strain on local authorities abd the police and the Police. Police Professional says that later opening hours for licensed premises have ‘handicapped’ police and local authorities, and had no impact on rates of crime, disorder and overall alcohol consumption and that the Act was “likely to undermine rather than protect the public welfare”.   The Report, published by the Institute of Alcohol Studies. examines the Act’s effects 10 years after it came into force on 24 November 2005. The study found that the legislation has failed to lead to a relaxed continental drinking culture or to a more diverse drinking culture. Instead, it says that it has meant people drink more at home before going out and stay out…

Ticket fraudster gets 6 years in prison
Criminal Law , Live Events / April 2016
UK

CRIMINAL Live events sector     Terence Butts (63) has been convicted of fraudulent trading and converting or transferring criminal property at Southwark Crown Court and sentenced to 6 years in prison. Butts, 63, and accountant Nimal Fonseka (78), were alleged to have sold £2m worth of non existent tickets to potential customers for occasions including the V Festival and the 2008 Beijing Olympics. But they only provided £280,000 worth of tickets – just 14% of what they had sold – claiming that their key supplier ‘Peter’s Tickets’ had let them down.  Butts sold 15,000 through his company Durban Vienna Ltd and his websites included summerfestivals.com and tickets4venues.com.  Butts would tell customers that he could not supply tickets, telling them to reclaim the funds paid from their credit card provider. It was estimated B+S Card Services lost £1.2 million.  Foneska was found not guilty on the same two charges. Security expert Reg Walker from iridium Consultancy told Live UK that Butts was ‘top of the ticket fraud tree’ but added that he had made the police aware of his actions as far back as 2008. http://www.standard.co.uk/news/tickets-to-games-on-offer-from-swindling-websites-6866912.html

UK tax change may impact on record labels and music publishers
Taxation / April 2016
UK

TAXATION Recorded music, music publishing   Music accountancy expert, Nick Lawrence has picked up on one aspect of the new UK Budget that might just deserve the attention of the larger music industry businesses. The UK Spring Budget included one change, relating to withholding tax which may have particular relevance for the worldwide music industry and connected creative sectors even though it is a  result of the tax avoidance schemes set up by the likes of Facebook, Google and others. Now a series of transactions that take place between the two companies involving royalties, where one of the main aims is to effectively transfer profit from the higher to the lower tax jurisdiction will now result in withholding tax applied at the full relevant UK tax rate. Once the 2016 Budget becomes law (July 2016), if royalty payments are clearly and obviously made between the two UK businesses, even if the contract for the transactions is made between the UK-based and the overseas company, the payments will now fall under UK tax rules and be taxed at the appropriate UK rate. Music Business Worldwide says the most important message for any music business of a significant size – where royalties, trade names or trademarks…

Dangerous Glastonbury flying stunt ends in fine
Health & Safety , Live Events / March 2016
UK

HEALTH & SAFETY / AVIATION Live events sector     A paraglider gatecrasher has been fined for flying into the 2015 Glastonbury Festival. David Hoare, 59, used a paramotor and launched himself from a hill overlooking the site. He landed in the Sacred Space arena which was full of attendees on the Saturday night of last year’s festival. Security guards saw his canopy and heard the noise from his smaller propeller engine and removed him and the equipment. Hoare, of Somerton, Somerset, was prosecuted by the Civil Aviation Authority for flying into restricted airspace on June 27th 2015. Magistrates in Weston-Super-Mare, Somerset, heard that this was the second offence of the same nature committed by Hoare. He was previously fined £250 with £100 costs in November 2011 after trying to fly into Glastonbury in 2010. For the new offence Magistrates fined Hoare £400 and ordered him to pay £160 CAA prosecution costs. The CAA said: “We are determined to take action whenever necessary to protect members of the public, including prosecuting those responsible for flying into restricted airspace” adding “Although a paramotor is not classified as an aircraft, and as such the person flying it does not require a licence,…

Ticketing URL launches new scheme to counter domain squatting
Live Events , Trade Mark / March 2016
UK

TRADE MARK Live events sector, Internet     IQ magazine reports that Accent Media, the company which owns the .tickets generic top-level domain (gTLD), has unveiled a new initiative which it hopes will prevent ‘cybersquatting’ on .tickets URLs by non-ticketing-related websites. Under the new system, someone wanting to register a .tickets web address will be entered into the public database at domains.watch, where interested parties can then lodge an objection (subject to payment of a fee). “We wanted to gear our registry towards genuine rights holders and felt this was a great way to do it,” Accent Media CEO Gary Fisher told Domain Incite. “We want rights holders around the world, whether they be sports teams, travel companies, entertainers and their agents or stadia, to be aware of when people have applied for their names – hence the need to make it a public website. We’ve already had rights holders including Disney successfully challenge applicants and secure their names. We think it’s a better model than the TMCH [Trademark Clearinghouse], which was massively gamed.”   Registering for a .tickets URL can be done in one of two ways: fast-track and standard. The former, for organisations whose trademarks match their company name, is…

Police voice licensing worries over Brighton’s ‘Russian rock festival’
Licensing , Live Events / March 2016
UK

LICENSING Live events sector     Brighton newspaper The Argus has published a warning over a Russian rock music festival that had been been advertised in the seaside City. The Argus reports that the police and council are investigating the purported event, which is being advertised to take place above the cliffs at Ovingdean. Sussex Police have said neither they nor Brighton and Hove City Council have been contacted regarding licensing or safety and have so far not been able to get in touch with the organisers.. The Eastwood Festival is being advertised as a two day Russian rock music festival with tickets being sold for £200 each. Sussex Police has urged festival goers hold off purchasing tickets “until the validity of the event can be confirmed and relevant licences have been granted.” Chief Inspector Chris Veale of Sussex Police is quoted as saying, “Until we are able to ascertain the validity of both this website and the event we would ask residents who are thinking of attending to exercise caution and take our advice into account before providing your bank details for payment. “We will continue to attempt to make contact with event organisers and land owners and will provide more information as and when…

Petition launched to support secondary ticketing
Consumers , Live Events / March 2016
UK

CONSUMER Live events sector     A new pro-secondary ticketing campaign has been launched in the UK, calling on the government to ensure the secondary ticketing market is protected from suggested reforms. The UK government is currently reviewing the secondary ticketing market as a result of commitments made in last year’s Consumer Rights Act. Professor Michael Waterson is leading the review, and numerous promoters and artists including Elton John and Mumford & Sons are calling for tighter regulation of the resale market. Professor Waterson will lead “an independent, consultative and evidence based review of consumer protection measures in the online ticket resale market. As required by the Consumer Rights Act 2015, this independently chaired review on secondary ticketing will report its findings before 26 May 2016.” The new online petition says “as fans who regularly attend live events, we urge [Waterson] to support our right to resell tickets without restrictions being imposed by event organisers” adding “Event organisers are lobbying hard to make it easier to cancel or void tickets that have been offered for resale without their permission” and “But we believe that fans should be free to resell tickets that they have purchased wherever they want”. The petition continues with “Further…

Deep Purple – failed companies can’t sell our copyrights
Artists , Copyright / March 2016
UK

COPYRIGHT Sound recordings, artistes     In the wake of news that ReSolve Partners has been appointed as the administrator for Limited Deep Purple (Overseas) Ltd (“DPO”) and HEC Enterprises Ltd (“HEC”) and is asking for expressions of interest from third parties for the companies and their assests, Deep Purple themselves say their assets cannot be sold without their agreement, and that they had commenced legal proceedings against DPO and HEC before the firms fell into administration. The remaining members of Deep Purple – Ian Gillan, Ian Paice, Roger Glover – along with Victoria Lord, widow and executor of the Estate of Jon Lord, sent the following statement to MBW It has come to our attention that two companies, Deep Purple (Overseas) Ltd (“DPO”) and HEC Enterprises Ltd (“HEC”) have recently gone into administration and that ReSolve Partners Limited (“ReSolve”) have been appointed as administrators for both companies. We believe ReSolve are inviting offers from third parties for the business and assets of the two companies. We, (Ian Gillan, Ian Paice and Roger Glover, being continuing members of Deep Purple and Victoria Lord, representing Jon Lord, who was a member of the group until his death) commenced legal proceedings against both DPO…

PRS and PPL launch a new joint venture for public performance licensing
Copyright / March 2016
UK

COPYRIGHT All areas     In the United Kingdom, PRS for Music and Phonographic Performance Limited (PPL) have confirmed that, following a strategic review commenced in 2015, the two companies plan to create a joint venture. The new company, jointly and equally owned by PPL and PRS for Music, would focus on serving all PPL and PRS for Music UK public performance licensing customers for both music and sound recording rights. PPL is the music licensing company which works on behalf of record companies and performers to license recorded music played in public. PRS for Music represents the rights of over 115,000 songwriters, composers and music publishers in the UK. The two CMOs say that this will further streamline the experience for customers obtaining public performance licences, allowing them to secure a joint PPL and PRS for Music licence |”with a single phone call or a few clicks on the web, paid for with a single invoice.” Over the coming months, PRS for Music and PPL will be undertaking the necessary preparatory work for the joint venture “Including engagement with regulators and other key stakeholders.” It is anticipated that the new company would start licensing in 2017, followed by a…

PRS Launches New Anti-Piracy System ‘MAPS’
UK

COPYRIGHT Music Publishing, online     PRS for Music has announced the launch of its new anti-piracy take-down tool ‘MAPS’. The newly developed system will “revolutionise” the way PRS for Music tackles copyright infringement of its members’ repertoire in the continued fight against online music piracy. Working in partnership with The Publishers Association, the trade body for the UK book publishing industry, MAPS has been developed for PRS for Music to deliver a bespoke notice and takedown system. MAPS will initially be available to a selected number of publisher members in March 2016. The tool will locate unlicensed and infringing content made available online and will then allow users to automatically generate and serve notices to remove the content.  It will also allow users to remove links to the content found on Google and elsewhere. PRS for Music’s Head of Litigation, Enforcement and Anti-Piracy, Simon Bourn said: “We are very excited to be rolling-out our new anti-piracy system to publisher members.  Where opportunistic and illegal use is made of our members’ repertoire online, without the necessary business model to sustain a legitimate licensed marketplace, it is important that we take action to protect the rights of our members and to…

Warners agree to share any Spotify equity windfall with artistes – but how much?
Contract , Copyright , Internet / March 2016
UK
USA

COPYRIGHT / CONTRACT Recorded music, internet     Warner Music Group has told investors that should the major ever sell its stake in Spotify, it will pay its recording artistes a portion of the proceeds. Warner is believed to own between 2% and 3% in Spotify – an equity position which it received via licensing negotiations – in effect for ‘free’ due to its position as the owner of a large catalogue of sound recordings. Warners also hold an equity stake in Soundcould on the same basis. Recent market analysis has given Spotify a valuation of $8bn – so the key question must be – WHAT percentage will they share with artistes – if they takethe ‘per unit’ rate from CD sales – npot very much … if they take a fair and equitable approach – upwards of half – a big difference! WMG CEO Stephen Cooper said “”As there is an ongoing debate in the media regarding how artists should be paid for use of their music on streaming services, we wanted to take this opportunity to address the issue head on” adding “the main form of compensation we receive from streaming services is revenue based on actual streams”, but acknowledged…

UK tax relief can apply to recording advances
Artists , Taxation / March 2016
UK

TAXATION Artistes     The UK’s Treasury minister has confirmed that the 2001 tax relief which allows creators to average their income over two consecutive years can be applied to recording artists when they are paid advances by their record labels.  The relief recognises the volatile nature of earnings in the creative sector – authors and artists often have one very profitable year followed by one that is less so: Where profits are “wholly or mainly derived from literary, dramatic, musical or artistic works or designs” it is possible to average the profits for successive tax years. This reduces the burden of the more profitable year, and can in some circumstances drop one year’s tax bill into a lower band, meaning less tax is due. UK Music and the Featured Artists Coalition sought the clarification on exactly if and when the relief applied to recording artists who receive an advance from a label are covered by the system, because the rule is slightly ambiguous saying that “profits must come from royalties or disposal of the works rather than from the provision of services”. DAvnavces are of course advance payments of royaltieds that may become due at a later date. In a…

Police arrest suspected Bieber ticket frausdster in Northern Ireland
Criminal Law , Live Events / February 2016
UK

CRIMINAL Ticketing     Police in Northern Ireland have arrested a man over an alleged online ticketing scam. It’s claimed that an unnamed man was selling counterfeit tickets to upcoming Adele and Justin Bieber concerts, the former in Belfast and the latter in Dublin. It is thought that the fake tickets were being advertised on listings site Gumtree. Police in the Northern Irish town of Strabane arrested the suspect, who was subsequently released on bail pending further enquiries. Commenting on the investigation, Detective Inspector Lindsey Kitson told reporters: “As part of this ongoing investigation we want to ensure that we identify as many people as possible who may have been victims of this fraud”. The officer added: “We believe tickets for the Justin Bieber and Adele concerts were offered in a group of four from the Gumtree website and a subsequent face to face transaction took place involving the exchange of money for fake tickets. I want to hear from anyone who has bought tickets for these concerts from a man after seeing an offer on Gumtree”. http://www.completemusicupdate.com/article/northern-ireland-police-arrest-suspected-adele-and-bieber-ticket-fraudster/ 

Glastonbury admits sewage discharge
Environmental Law , Live Events / February 2016
UK

ENVIRONMENTAL LAW Live events sector     The Glastonbury Festival has admitted causing a drop in water quality in a stream close to the festival’s site, after a sewage tank sprung a leak during the 2014 event. CMU Daily reports that Michael Eavis and the Festival’s Operations Director, Christopher Edwards, both appeared in court in Yeovil after a prosecution was brought against the event by the Environment Agency. Accepting that “significant” harm had been caused, the Festival challenged the levels of damage claimed by the Environment Agency – and in particular the death of protected brown trout. Representing the festival, Kerry Gwyther said an environmental report found the stream had a history of being of a “poor quality”. Of the 42 dead fish, 39 were recorded downstream and only 10 of these were brown trout, he said.They also disputed that a fine of up to £300,000 should be levied, based on the Festival’s turnover of £37 million that year, saying that the festival’s profit was actually £84,000 before tax. The Festival donates a large proportion of its annual profit to charity with three lead charities, Greenpeace, WaterAid and Oxfam all receiving six figure sums. In a statement, the Festival acknowledged the…

T-in-the-Park facing licencing scrutiny after 2015 mistakes
Licensing , Live Events / February 2016
UK

LICENSING Live events sector     The Scotsman says that senior officials at Perth & Kinross Council have warned they will not allow T in the Park to be staged again at the Strathallan Estate unless there is an overhaul of the event.   The Scotsman says that “a damning dossier” has revealed “the full scale of problems, including traffic congestion, concerns over crowd safety inside the arena and campsite security, and disruption to residents.” The council report said confidence in promoters DF Concerts had been “undermined”. Environment director Barbara Renton told the Scotsman that although the council had taken a “can do approach” to major events, it was appropriate for T in the Park to be treated differently “until DF can demonstrate their capability to effectively manage this event in future.” Festival director Geoff Ellis, initially declared the event had a “great first year at Strathallan,” but later apologised for “challenges that we know impacted upon the weekend.” The council has now reported a string of “organisational blunders” which are alleged to include last-minute changes to the event’s layout, infrastructure, transport plans and security arrangements, as well as repeated breaches of the event’s planning permission. Plans were said to have been…

Mobile snappers evicted from NEC
Contract , Live Events / February 2016
UK

CONTRACT Live events sector   Pollstar reports that twenty-three people were escorted out of Birmingham’s Barclaycard Arena after not complying with a phone ban during a gig by popular comedian Kevin Hart. Many comedians like to keep their ‘live show’ material secret so each audience gets a new show, and Hart had requested no pictures/videos to be taken and this was communicated to the audience before the show in various ways. The NEC Group, which owns the Barclaycard Arena, told the Birmingham Mail that “for Kevin Hart’s show the usage of mobile phones, cameras and recording devices were strictly prohibited in the arena bowl. This was at the request of both the artiste and touring production who hired the venue for their event.” Gig-goers were also informed that they wouldn’t be subject to a refund if caught using the banned devices. The newspaper highlights the fact that Hart finished his show by asking his fans “to light up the arena with the torches of their phones for a picture.” On its website the NEC added “The venue made every effort to ensure that the message was clearly communicated to customers via all avenues available, prior to the show and onsite. The security measures…

Could the ‘agent of change’ principle finally become UK law?
Live Events / January 2016
UK

PLANNING Live events Sector   The live music sector has welcomed amendments to the UK’s Planning Bill which would introduce the ‘agent of change’ principle into UK law on a statutory basis. The amendments are planned to be debated this week as part of the Public Bill Committee consideration of the Housing And Planning Bill in the House of Commons.   When Labour’s Michael Dugher  became shadow culture secretary, one of the first issues he raised was the plight of small music venues. Of the 430 that traded in London between 2007 and 2015, only 245 remain open. At the Music Trust’s Venue Day 2015, Dugher, renowned for his love of karaoke, warned: “There is a real crisis at the moment and that’s why we need a national strategy to support small music venues before many more shut.”   The agent of change principle ensures that a new development must shoulder responsibility for compliance when situated near an existing music venue. Similarly, if a music venue opens in a residential area, it too would be responsible for complying with residential requirements.   Jo Dipple, CEO, UK Music, said: “Grassroots music venues are under threat. They are closing. These venues are…

Live sector call for action over threats to festivals and small venues
Live Events , Taxation / January 2016
UK

TAXATION / PLANNING Live events sector   The UK festival industry has been given more time to prepare its case on how business rates are assessed against agricultural land that hosts music events. Music Weeek reports that a Live Nation led coalition of 720 interested parties, including the Association Of Independent Festivals (AIF), UK Music, The Agents’ Association, The Concert Promoters Association and The Association Of Festival Organisers, has called for an immediate halt to the rating of festival sites for business rates by the Valuation Office Agency until a clear policy is established. “We do not consider that festivals and events sites should now be rateable as they are essentially temporary and ancillary uses of agricultural land,” it said in a letter to MPs.  The proposed changes including backdating the rate bill for five years, and could put the future of some festivals at risk as rural landowners take stick of financial risks. Last week’s Spending Review by Chancellor George Osborne did not include an announcement on the Business Rates Review, which will now revert to March 2016. AIF general manager Paul Reed said events and festival organisers are hoping the Government will use the extra time to take action on business…

Fabric fights off strict licensing conditions
Licensing , Live Events / January 2016
UK

LICENSING Live events sector   CMU Daily reports that London night club Fabric has successfully appealed a number of new licensing conditions placed on the venue by Islington Council late last year. Fabric had faced losing its licence after a review of its operations was launched by the local authority last year. The review followed complaints by police, mainly in relation to alleged drug incidents, and claims that there had been a “wholly unacceptable number of deaths and near death incidents at the venue”. although the club managed to keep its licence, it had to agree to a number of strict new security measures, including sniffer dogs and ID scans althogh the owners said they would appeal the Local Authority ruling, saying at the time: “We need to see their written reasons but we fundamentally disagree on a number of key points. We are on the same page in lots of ways, we just have fundamental differences on how to operate that”.   As the conditions were appealed, most of the new security measures were never implemented, although ID scanning was trialled for a short period.   http://www.completemusicupdate.com/article/fabric-wins-appeal-over-proposed-new-security-measures/

C’MOn C’MOn – Music Publishing
Copyright , Music Publishing / January 2016
UK

COPYRIGHT Music publishing     Ahh, music publishing. While the Collective Rights Management Directive technical review by the UK IPO is still underway (coverage of the Directive on the 1709 blog here), discussions on music publishing are lively.  Today a group of researchers, industry and policy makers gathered at Birkbeck workshop to debate recent research on music publishing. We started with a trip down memory lane with Fiona Macmillan and Jose Bellido presenting on the history of Collective Management Organisations (CMOs). Granted by access by PRS for Music to the PRS legal archives, the researchers detail the evolution of PRS from the early 1900s. As is often the case, starting a CMO ain’t easy, and the early days of PRS required negotiation with other organisations (including a boycott in 1918 by the Amalgamated Musicians’ Union) and recruitment struggles. PRS’s early litigation was very strategic, typically successful and ran about one case per year from the early 1920s to the early 1940s. (These cases likely represent only about 10% of disputes, with the rest settling out of court.) Interestingly, the young PRS was very protective of its reputation, and took pains to set the record straight in the reporting of the cases and brought actions for libel. While PRS was a bit late to the CMO…

PRS live music consultation prompts a range of responses
UK

COPYRIGHT Live events sector, music publishing   The music publishing sector’s collecting society PRS For Music has confirmed that it has received 111 direct responses to its consultation on the way the organisation licenses live events – the so called ‘Tariff LP’ (Popular Music Concerts Tariff’). Concert and festival promoters, as well as their trade bodies such as the Concert Promoters Association (CPA) and the Association of Independent Festivals (AIF), clubs and other venues submitted their views, along with the PRS membership (which comprise songwriters and music publishers). There was some disquiet about the way PRS for Music attempted to structure responses, and indeed how a body seeking to increase a rate could be allowed to run an ‘independent’ consultation. The current rate is 3% of gross box office, but PRS for Music would like to expand this to secondary ticketing, sponsorship and ancillary income. The PRs reviewed the rate just 5 years ago, and were again criticised not only for yet another review, but also for launching the review in the busy summer season, leaving the live events sector little time to respond, although the deadline was later extended at the request of the CPA.  The Report can be found…

I financed it so it’s my copyright–well, not really
Copyright / January 2016
UK

COPYRIGHT Recorded music   Aaron Wood has provided THE IPKat an edifying summary of a recent case from the UK Intellectual Property Enterprise Court, Henry Hadaway Organisation v Pickwick Group Limited and Ors [2015] EWHC 3407 (IPEC), concerning the vexing question that copyright practitioners know all too well: Who is the owner of the copyright in a recording where one party finances and the other is the creative/organiser? Here’s what Aaron writes:   “Mr Lorenz, a well-known musical producer, had entered into an agreement with a company called Pickwick (called Pickwick 1 in the case and not the same Pickwick as the defendant), which resulted in the making of recordings in various shows called The Shows Collection. The claimant’s position was that it was the exclusive licensee of various recordings from GLPL, the company through which Mr Lorenz operated before his death, and was the owner of copyright in the remainder of the relevant recordings by virtue of an assignment from the same.   It alleged that the defendant company Pickwick (called Pickwick 2 throughout the case to distinguish it from the earlier company) had infringed the copyright by copying, issuing copies to the public and communicating to the public the Recordings and adaptations…

PRS and Soundcloud settle
Copyright , Internet , Music Publishing / January 2016
UK

COPYRIGHT Music publishing, Internet     PRS for Music has written to its membership informing them that it has settled the recently launched legal action against the online music platform, which is widely used by PRS members. The licence covers the use of PRS for Music repertoire from SoundCloud’s launch, and extends to. cover SoundCloud in its plans to introduce subscription and advertising supported platforms across Europe in 2016.   Robert Ashcroft, Chief Executive of PRS for Music said: “On behalf of our members, I am pleased that we have been able to reach a settlement with SoundCloud without extended legal proceedings. This ends over five years of discussions on the licensing requirements for the platform, resulting in a licence under which our members are fairly rewarded for the use of their music.” adding “The safe harbours in current legislation still present ambiguity, and obstruct the efficient licensing of online services, but our agreement with SoundCloud is a step in the right direction towards a more level playing field for the online marketplace.”   The letter from Karen Buse, Executive Director, Membership and International, reads:   I wrote to you earlier this year to explain our action against the online music streaming service SoundCloud. After five…

Horan libel case proceeds in the right direction
Artists , Defamation , Music Publishing / January 2016
UK

DEFAMATION Artistes, publishing   A libel case brought by One Direction’s Niall Horan against the Daily Star will proceed, after a judge refused the tabloid’s request to have the case dismissed. The case centres on an allegation made in an article in July 2015 that implied Horan had used drugs during a night out with Justin Bieber and Cody Simpson. Horan’s legal team have claimed that claims their client was “staring blankly” and that there were “rumours the singers were using hard drugs”, coupled with some ‘Breaking Bad’ references, made it very clear what the Star was alleging. The newspaper has countered by saying that there is enough doubt its story – at one point stating of hard drug use that “there is no suggestion that this is the case”  that readers would not have interpreted the article in the defamatory way that Horan claims. Mr Justice Dingemans said that the tabloid’s piece was at least capable of bearing the defamatory meaning that Horan claims. Therefore, he said, this case should proceed to a full hearing, and the Star’s application for dismissal was rejected.   http://www.completemusicupdate.com/article/niall-horan-wins-in-round-one-of-libel-action-against-the-star/

Glastonbury faces sewage charges
Environmental Law , Live Events / January 2016
UK

ENVIRONMENTAL LAW Live events sector   Local press reports says that the Glastonbury Festival is being prosecuted after failures in the way the event deals with the thousands of gallons of human urine and excrement. The charges stem from the 2014 Festival, the first year the majority of the toilets on the site were specially-built long drop toilets, which collected the waste in huge underground concrete tanks.  Organiser Michael Eavis had earlier that year said the Festival had plans to store human waste on site and convert this to fertiliser for farmland (although not for Worthy Farm itself).   It is understood the charges relate to the numbers of people urinating into hedgerows, with the Environment Agency closely monitoring the pollution levels in the stream that flows through the Worthy Farm site.   Operations Director Christopher Edwards appeared before Magistrates in Yeovil to represent the company, and faced a charge that on or before June 29, 2014 at the Glastonbury Festival, ‘otherwise that under, and to the extent authorised by an environmental permit, caused or knowingly permitted a water discharge activity or groundwater activity, namely the discharge of human sewage derived from the Glastonbury Music Festival’, breaching the  Environmental Permitting…

Adele fights back against the ticket touts
Consumers , Live Events / January 2016
UK

CONSUMER Live events sector   Last week Sir Elton John branded ticket resale websites “disgraceful” for selling tickets to his gigs at inflated prices, joining other big name such as Mumford & Sons, Prince and Coldplay, who have all recently attacked the resale “rip-off”. Adele is now taking much publicised action to fight off the touts on her latest dates. The Observer has also revealed that Justin Bieber fans wanting tickets for his October 2016 London O2 dates are being asked on Get Me In to hand over as much as £1,825 for seats with a face value of just £50. That figure includes a £285 cut taken by Get Me In. The Observer has monitored the main sites in the UK (Seatwave, Viagogo, Get Me In and StubHub) and has found all four carry listings that appeared to be in breach of the Consumer Rights Act 2015, which requires anyone who resells an event ticket via a secondary market website to provide details of the seat row and number, as well as the face value and information about any restrictions amid fresh claims that many sites are flouting the law and supporting “industrial-scale touting”.  A spokesman for Viagogo told the…

Radiohead stage collapse death hearing begins
Health & Safety , Live Events / December 2015
Canada
UK

HEALTH AND SAFETY Live events sector     The hearing into the death of Radiohead’s drum technician, 33 year old Scott Johnson, who was killed when the stage collapsed before a concert three years ago, has begun in Canada. Three other crew members were injured in the incident, which took place in Toronto’s Downsview Park on June 16, 2012, reports Exclaim. Live Nation Canada, Live Nation Ontario and Optex Staging and Services each face four charges under Canada’s Occupational Health and Safety Act, while an engineer, Domenic Cugliari, faces one charge of endangering a worker by negligence. All have pleaded not guilty.  The concert, which was due to have been the final show on Radiohead’s 2012 North American tour, was cancelled following the tragedy.

Radiohead sue Parlophone over unauthorised deductions
Artists , Contract , Music Publishing / December 2015
UK

CONTRACT Recorded Music, Artistes     Radiohead are suing their former record label, Parlophone, over a deduction of £744,000 from digital download royalties which had been paid to the band from 2008 and 2009 sales, and which they contend were unauthorised. Radiohead’s contract with Parlophone ended in 2003 with the album Hail to the Thief. At the time the deductions were made the band were signed to EMI – but that catalogue has now moved to Warners.   Explaining the case, lawyer Howard Ricklow from Collyer Bristow said: “Most recording contracts contain a provision that royalties for recordings on ‘future formats’ will be paid at a rate to be agreed. The band contends that no such rate was agreed with Parlophone for digital downloads and that the deductions made in 2008 and 2009 for costs apparently incurred in 1992 and 1998, long before the advent of digital downloads, were in breach of the contract”. Warner Music had tried to have the matter dismissed on the basis that there is a contractual time limit for the band to dispute deductions made against their royalties, and that deadline had passed. But Radiohead’s team argued that, as there was no specific agreement about the band’s digital…

Hook looks to former bandmates for a revised new order
Artists , Contract , Trade Mark / December 2015
UK

CONTRACT Artistes, Trade Mark   The BBC reports that former New Order bassist Peter Hook is suing his ex-bandmates Bernard Sumner and Stephen and Gillian Morris for millions of pounds in a row over royalties. Hook claims he has lost out on more than £2.3m since the three other band members set up a company without him to handle the band’s income in 2011 and Hook has accused them of “pillaging” the group’s assets. The trio say they have treated Hook fairly and that the guitarist’s stake of the royalties is reasonable. At a High Court hearing, Judge David Cooke ruled that Hook was not acting out of “spite” and cleared the way for him to take his complaints to a full trial.   When record label Factory collapsed in 1992, the original bands members (including Hook) formed a company named Vitalturn to hold all of New Order’s rights. Hook leftr the band in 2007, but the other members carried on without him, and continued to use the New Order name. Hook still owns 25% of Vitalturn but was not involved when the other three – who own 75% – set up a new company, New Order Ltd, in 2011. They granted the new company worldwide…

ICE announces new Nordic partners and new brand
Copyright , Music Publishing / December 2015
Denmark
Finland
Norway
UK

COPYRIGHT Music publishing     PRS for Music have announced that the Koda (Denmark), TONO (Norway) and Teosto (Finland) performing rights societies are integrating their copyright data and services with the ICE.  ICE’s mandate is to hold a single multi-territory, multi-rights entry for a copyright work.  The decision was taken by the societies to set up the ‘Polaris Nordic initiative’ to offer their members a more efficient and cost-effective service.  PRS for Music also tells us about its new branding for ICE and tells us in marketing babble: “The existing ICE branding refreshes with a new master logo and an additional set of service descriptor logos”.   In addition, ICE partners announced the first appointments to the new expanded ICE offering.  Ben McEwen will transfer from PRS for Music to take up post as Commercial Director of ICE Licensing to lead the licensing and front office rightsholder acquisition and management functions.  Neil Jones will be seconded from PRS for Music as the Services Director for ICE Services and will drive the setup of the operational and professional functions.   Robert Ashcroft was appointed as the CEO of the ICE Licensing and ICE Services arm of the hub earlier this summer,…

PRS set up “Extensive tariff review “
Copyright , Music Publishing / December 2015
UK

COPYRIGHT Music publishing     Already reviewing the Tariff LP rate for concerts, live events and festivals, PRS for Music have announced an extensive review of more tariffs with the stated aim to “simplify, streamline and consolidate more than 40 public performance licensing tariffs as part of a Public Performance Tariff Simplification programme” although detractors will be looking to see if hidden rate increases are included in conclusions. The programme will involve a series of customer consultations across the public performance licensing tariffs PRS operate who say “responses will help inform and shape a set of tariffs that are simple to understand, operate and fit for purpose.” Rob Kirkham, PRS for Music Head of Business Development, said: “The purpose of the simplification programme is to create tariffs that are easy to understand and use. By reviewing public performance tariffs across a number of sectors, our aim is that customers can continue to utilise and enjoy PRS for Music’s repertoire in a simpler and more efficient way. The consultations will provide opportunities to engage with our customers offering them open lines of communication with us, as PRS seeks to ensure that we continue to operate modern and appropriate licensing schemes.” The…

New paper explores “Making Available” right and “Communication to the Public”
Copyright / December 2015
UK

COPYRIGHT All areas   Music Tank have published a new paper by Westminster University LLM graduate Fiona McGugan. The free paper “Making Available, Communication To The Public & User Interactivity” considers the evolution of communication rights that overshadow conventional distribution and reproduction rights as music consumption increasingly shifts away from ownership, towards access models of streaming services. Understanding how this right is applied, territorial variations in the application of rights, and how licensing structures are determined according to the levels of user-interactivity of digital services lie-at the heart of possibly the single biggest issue facing the music industry in recent times – how much artists get paid. You can download the paper here: https://www.musictank.co.uk/resources/reports/making-available-communication-to-the-public-user-interactivity . Also see “It’s Just A Click Away: How Copyright Law Is Failing Musicians” (Webber & McGugan) https://www.musictank.co.uk/resources/reports/one-click

Amen for crowdfunding
Copyright , Music Publishing / December 2015
UK
USA

COPYRIGHT Music publishing, recorded music     One of the musicians behind the most-sampled pieces of music in history has finally been rewarded for the work. Not by the courts – but by a crowdfunding page. The Amen Break – a six-second drum solo in The Winstons’ 1969 track “Amen, Brother” – was performed in 1969 by drummer Gregory Cylvester “G. C.” Colem   The six second riff has been sampled by artists including The Prodigy, Oasis and NWA. It became very widely used as sampled drum loops in breakbeat, hip hop, breakbeat hardcore, hardcore techno and breakcore, drum and bass (including old school jungle and ragga jungle), and digital hardcore music. The Amen Break was used extensively in early hiphop and sample-based music, and became the basis for drum-and-bass and jungle music— “a six-second clip that spawned several entire subcultures.” It is one of the most sampled loops in contemporary electronic music and arguably the most sampled drum beat of all time.   But its writers never received any royalties from those recordings. In an effort to correct that, British DJs Martyn Webster and Steve Theobald set up a crowdfunding page (GoFundMe) and Spencer  urged musicians who had used…

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

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

One Year on, the UK’s Private Copying Exception is now Dead
Copyright / December 2015
UK

COPYRIGHT All areas     Following the CJEU’s decision in the Reprobel case, it is perhaps not surprising that the UK Intellectual Property Office has announced that it is to abandon the UK’s private-copying exception which was introduced in October 2014, and which was effectively declared illegal by the High Court in July of this year, and so had to be withdrawn. For the background to Mr Justice Green’s decision in July’s Judicial Review, please see this blog post. It now seems clear that the IPO were never going to find a workable scheme which met the criterion of ‘fair compensation’ for rights holders demanded by the EU InfoSoc Directive, while at the same time avoiding unpopular levies on consumables and hardware capable of being used to copy, in particular, music, computer games, ebooks and films, for personal use. The Reprobel decision, although not specifically concerned with copying for private use, highlights just how complicated the levy system can become. Each EU member state has found its own way of tackling the issue, with no overall EU-wide harmonisation in prospect. It seems that the IPO and those representing rights owners could not find an existing model to achieve ‘fair compensation’. So where does this leave ordinary…

3 jailed for Kendal Calling drugs offences
Live Events / December 2015
UK

CRIMINAL Live events sector   Three young men who committed drugs offences at the Kendal Calling music festival in Cumbria have been imprisoned after a trial at Carlisle Crown Court. Anthony McKibbin, 22, and Liam Dean, 21, were arrested the festival site near Penrith. Both were found in possession of illegal drugs, and further quantities of illicit substances were discovered in their car nearby. Fingerprints belonging to Joel Basnett, 19, were found on a plastic bag in the vehicle. He was detained several months later. The trio, all from Liverpool, admitted conspiracy to supply class A ecstasy along with ketamine and cannabis – both class B. In addition, McKibbin and Dean admitted a fourth count relating to class C drug BZP. Judge Peter Davies gave all three immediate custodial sentences. Basnett was sent to a young offenders’ institution for four years and eight months having also been caught trying to sell drugs at another festival. McKibbin and Dean were jailed for four and two years, respectively. Judge Davies told the three men: “Drugs spoil these festivals and ruin them for people whilst you make money out of it” adding “That is why these offences are serious.”   This year nine people were taken seriously ill after taking substances at…

Music Streaming – a timely update
Artists , Copyright , Internet , Music Publishing / November 2015
France
UK
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet, recorded music, artistes, music publishing   As Music Law Updates finalised the November Updates, news broke that streaming platform Deezer had postponed its planned IPO (initial public offering) on the Paris Stock Exchange due to difficult ‘market conditions’. MBW opined that the least of Deezer’s worries were competition from Apple Music and Spotify, a declining subscriber base and a currently loss making business model. In a timely article, George Chin looks how streaming has developed and the major players in the field – against of background of the success of streaming being blamed for declining physical product and download sales, but conversely offering a workable alternative to piracy to many consumers as habits change, and a valuable new source of revenues, at least for the record labels.   The latest Music 360 report from Nielsen (9th Sept 2015) confirms that sales of recorded music are down and that streaming is growing with 75% of the population (in the USA) listening to music online.  Given that there is now a wide choice of music streaming services available, the report reveals that when making a choice, over 80% of users cite cost and ease of use as their deciding factor…

Happy Halloween – Physical formats are back from the dead
Copyright / November 2015
UK
USA

COPYRIGHT Recorded music   By Leeza Panayiotou LLB(Hons)   There is a terrible monster of which many speak. They say this monster is worse than anything that went before. They say it never sleeps and has left nothing but ruin and destruction in its wake. They speak of the empires it has crushed and the things it has murdered with fear in their eyes.   This monster’s name? The internet. Plenty of people have gravely accused the internet of slowing murdering the music industry. And while one of those people was Kanye West, that view point was so well regarded that for a time, it was heralded as something of a prophecy – the music industry would soon be dead and physical formats would be the first to go. This then morphed into the view that, excluding piracy (as pirates don’t pay anyway), digital consumption would come in and obliterate physical sales. So many people pronounced physical formats dead at the scene of the Spotify app. Much like their predecessors of new consumption formats/methods (think Cassettes, CD’s and mini-discs), streaming and digital downloads were blamed for more stuff than I have the time to write about. The physical doomsday envisioned a vinyl, cassette…

Blinkbox employees seek recompense after dismissal
Employment Law , Internet / November 2015
UK

EMPLOYMENT Internet   A group of 80 former employees of the defunct Blinkbox music service have launched a £10m class action lawsuit against the company that acquired it from Tesco for damages claiming redundancy pay outs were not honoured. The claim is against Guvera Ltd and two of its UK-based subsidiaries, who purchased the music service from Tesco in January 2015. The lawsuit, issued through the UK Employment Tribunal, seeks damages following the dismissal of the entire workforce shortly after this acquisition. Blinkbox Music Ltd fell into administration in June, owing licensing debts to major record companies. The group of workers claim they were given written assurance from both Tesco and Guvera that they would receive redundancy payments if cutbacks were required. The lawsuit argues that the Blinkbox music service was taken from solvency (with a reported £3.5 million in the bank) to insolvency within 5 months following its sales to Guvera. The Guardian quotes  Paul Jennings, a partner at City law firm Bates Wells Braithwaite representing the former employees., who saud that 100 staff were dismissed without any warning and without any notice or redundancy payments saying “[Also] at the heart of this case is the data of 2 million to 3 million users of the…