Microsoft To Settle Class Actions, Record Labels Face Scrutiny
Competition , Record Labels / December 2003
USA

COMPETITION Computer Software, Telecommunications, Record Labels Microsoft has agreed to settle class action lawsuits from a number of US states which alleged that the software giant abused its dominant market position. Microsoft are handing out discounts worth approximately USD $200 million to consumers and schools in several US states including Kansas, North Dakota, South Dakota and Tennessee. The Times(29/10/03) estimate that Microsoft has paid out more than $1.5 billion over the last ten years in anti-trust and competition payments. Microsoft is now facing further actions from the US Government and state justice departments who have raised concerns the world’s largest software maker is trying to use its dominant Windows operating system to influence where customers buy their music online. If action is brought, it will be the first test of Microsoft’s unique and federal Court approved anti-trust settlement. The Justice Department and 19 state attorneys general have formally complained to a federal judge about a design feature of Windows that compels consumers who buy music online to use only Microsoft’s Internet Explorer browser and steers them to a web site operated by the company. Microsoft is also now facing competition investigations from the European Commission. In another anti-trust action, the five…

US Copyright Office Review
USA

COPYRIGHT Record Labels, Music Publishers, Computer Technology, Internet, Telecommunications The U.S. Copyright Office has rejected dozens of requests to relax a 1998 federal copyright law, including proposals to allow people to play DVDs bought in other countries and to copy DVD bonus materials for non-commercial use. This week’s ruling concludes a review conducted every three years on whether the legal use of some copyright materials has been hurt by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which bans the bypassing of copy protection on digital music, movies and other works. More than 50 requests for exemptions were made but the Copyright Office granted only two new exemptions. One permits access to electronic books by software for the blind and to computer programs and video games distributed in formats now obsolete.

Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Back The ‘Broadcast Flag’
Copyright / December 2003
USA

COPYRIGHT Film, Television The US FCC has approved plans to embed a digital marker or flag in all digital television programmes in order to prevent their illegal distribution over the Internet as broadband develops. Broadcasters and film makers are particularly concerned that illegal copies will reach foreign markets in a digital form before foreign broadcasters have had a chance to legally broadcast there. In the UK, a number of foreign series such as Friends are often months, if not years, behind first transmission in the US. But the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) have voiced serious concerns about the broadcast flag and its impact on the manufacturing of digital televisions and DVD recorders as well as on the personal liberty of consumers – “The FCC today has taken a step that will shape the future of television,” said EFF Senior Intellectual Property Attorney Fred von Lohmann. “Sadly, this represents a step in the wrong direction, a step that will undermine innovation, fair use, and competition.” The EFF’s pre-ruling ‘action alert newsletter’ commented: Hollywood is at it again, trying to control the design of new digital technologies. If the motion picture studios have their way, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will force manufacturers to include…

Piracy News From Around The World
Malaysia
UK
USA

COPYRIGHT Record Labels, Music Publishing, Internet A recent report published by NPD in the US shows that the threat of legal action against individuals who download copyrighted songs and swap files has led to a reduction in the number of infringements. The number of US households acquiring digital music via p2p file-sharing services declined by 11% from August to September and the total number of music files downloaded decreased 9%, says the company. However, the report also shows that the public image of record labels has suffered badly. In Malaysia, the record industry has resorted to ‘digital watermarking’ preview CDs sent to journalists after numerous album titles were found on the Internet before release but after review copies had been sent to the press. The watermarking is a series of invisible and unique digital codes embedded onto the CD which allows investigators to trace the source of the download. However, and in contrast to the problems reported by the record industry, US collection society Broadcast Music Incorporated (BMI) which represents music publishers and artists such as Britney Spears, Sheryl Crow, Pink and Eminen has announced increased annual revenues for last year, pre record industry actions. The performing right organisation distributed…

Will Smart CDs provide an answer to file swapping?
Copyright , Record Labels / November 2003
EU
USA

COPYRIGHT Record Labels Recording companies are looking at a new generation of smart CDs that promise to stifle music fans’ ability to use file-swapping networks while still allowing them some freedom to make copies and share music. BMG Entertainment’s new album by hip-hop singer Anthony Hamilton will be the first commercial release to use a technology that restricts copying but lets buyers play protected CDs on computers and burn copies onto blank CDs. Fans can even send a limited number of copies to friends over the Internet. BMG is using the new copy-protection advancements by embedding Comin’ From Where I’m From with MediaMax CD-3 technology from Phoenix-based SunnComm Technologies Inc. With MediaMax CD-3, each song is written onto the CD twice, once in a format readable by standard CD players and the other as a Windows media file playable on a computer. BMG has set up the CD so fans can burn each track three times per computer. Songs can also be e-mailed to a limited number of people, who can then listen to the song up to 10 times each. SunnComm says that most people, unless they are hackers or truly determined, won’t be able to circumvent the limits, including one…

Does the Recording Industry need a new model to exploit copyright?
Artists , Copyright , Internet , Record Labels / November 2003
USA

COPYRIGHT Record Labels, Internet, Artists, Film & Television I remember the first VHS tape I ever brought in 1985. The cassette cost £29.99, a lot in 1985, and far more than I would pay for a film on video or even DVD now. This was at the time of the 1984 Sony Betamax case and the film industry was still coming to terms with the ramifications of the US Supreme Court’s split decision that the Betamax machine was legal. But unlike the current situation with legal actions being filed around the world by the recording industry against the likes of Napster, Verizon, KazaA and even individuals who download files, the film industry made efforts to widen the consumption of their ‘product’ – films – through television, video rental, pay-per-view, sell-thru video and video on demand. Could this approach perhaps have been a useful lesson or basic blueprint for the recording industry? The film industry seems historically to have adapted to changes in consumer habits alongside and embraced changes in technology – cinemas were improved, multiplexes built, new price structures launched and the film companies adapted to and explored the new media. This Law Update it written just two months after…

Sentencing for online film piracy
Copyright , Internet , Record Labels / November 2003
USA

COPYRIGHT Film & Television, Internet, Record Labels A New Jersey man who pleaded guilty to illegally copying and posting a digital version of summer action movie “The Hulk” on the Internet received a three-year probation, was fined us $2,000 and was ordered to serve six months confinement in his home. He also must pay $5,000 in restitution to Universal, the company that produced and distributed the movie. Kerry Gonzalez pleaded guilty to one count of copyright infringement. He admitted to receiving an unfinished copy of the movie from a friend who in turn sourced the ‘work print’ from a third party who worked for an advertising agency. No one from the ad agency has been charged. The FBI traced the Internet copy back to Gonzalez through an encoded “security tag” on the print. The Motion Picture Association of America already puts the number of films pirated off the Internet at 400,000 to 600,000 a day, and no one has calculated what that costs the industry. Jack Valenti, the president of the MPPA, went before Congress in March to warn that “America’s crown jewels – its intellectual property – are being looted”. See: http://www.philly.com/mld/inquirer/2003/09/27/news/local/6873888.htm

Sentencing for the online sale of pirated CDs
Copyright , Internet , Record Labels / November 2003
USA

COPYRIGHT Record Labels, Internet New Yorker Alan Davis was sentenced to six months in jail after being convicted of using the Internet to sell hundreds of CDs that were loaded with unauthorised copies of songs. Davis, 42, of Brooklyn, was also ordered to pay $3,329.50 (£2,000 approx). Judge Walton in the US District Court of Washington DC also sentenced Davis to one year of supervised parole, to be served upon his release from jail, and barred him from using a computer for one year. Davis had admitted using his site, EmpireRecords.com, to market more than 100 different CDs and cassette tapes featuring compilations of copyrighted materials from various musical artists. He was caught after an FBI agent ordered 200 CDs and had them shipped from New York to Washington. The Web site has since been shut down. See: http://news.zdnet.co.uk/business/legal/0,39020651,39117063,00.htm

Limp Bizkit sued by irate fans
Artists , Contract / November 2003
USA

CONTRACTS Artists Limp Bizkit are being sued by 172 rock fans who attended July’s infamous Chicago show, which ended after only 17 minutes when the band were booed off stage. A lawsuit was submitted yesterday to District Court in Illinois. The band were supporting Metallica on the Summer Sanitarium tour, at Chigaco’s Hawthorne Racetrack. The suit alleges that the plaintiffs were expecting a ninety minute show but the band’s front man, Fred Durst, fired-off a tirade against the city and the audience, before challenging the entire crowd to a fight. The breach-of-contract suit has been filed by Michael Young, the lawyer acting on behalf of the 172 aggrieved concertgoers, who are seeking a $25 refund from the July 26 show opening the door to up to 40,000 re-payment claims. See: www.dotmusic.com

Microsoft, OD2 and Tiscali face patent action
Internet , Patents / November 2003
EU
USA

PATENT LAW Internet Microsoft MSN Music Club, Tiscali Music Club and Peter Gabriel’s OnDemand Distribution (OD2) are facing a patent infringement lawsuit in a German court over their on-demand music services. New York-based E-Data filed the lawsuit last Tuesday in the German court of Mannheim, seeking an injunction against the German subsidiaries of Microsoft, Tiscali and OD2 to defend its European patent EP0195 098B-1. The patent covers the downloading and recording of information, such as music, films and text from a computer onto a tangible object such as a CD or a sheet of paper. The patent also covers nine other European Union countries (the UK, Austria, France, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Italy, Luxembourg, Belgium and Sweden. The original patent was granted in the US in 1985 to Charles Freeny for his “system for reproducing information in material objects at a point of sale location”. Both the MSN Music Club and the Tiscali Music Club use OD2’s music catalogue of over 200,000 recordings. Because E-Data’s US patent has expired, Apple’s popular digital music store, iTunes, is not subject to any action but E-Data’s lawyers have written to Apple to alert them to potential patent problems should iTunes be launched in Europe…

DVD pioneers consider Warners suit
Internet , Patents , Record Labels / November 2003
Germany
Japan
USA

PATENT LAW Record Labels, Internet The inventors of the world’s first combined compact disc and DVD are considering legal action against Warner Music, one of the largest record groups, amid allegations of breach of contract and patent abuse. The Dierks Group, the privately-owned German music and technology group that pioneered the double-sided CD and DVD, has warned Warner that it has patents and contract rights over combined music and video discs after the US group signalled plans to manufacture so-called dual discs. Warner Music, a subsidiary of Time Warner, is planning to launch dual discs in the US next year in a potential tie-up with Sony Music, part of the Japanese consumer electronics and entertainment giant. Dieter Dierks who patented the combined disc technology under the name DVD Plus, has written to Warner Music claiming it has licenses over production of such discs and royalty agreements that promise a share of future profits arising from sales by the US group. See: www.cdfreaks.com/news2.php?ID=8078

MPAA BRINGS ACTION AGAINST PRODUCER OF DVD COPYING SOFTWARE
Copyright , Internet , Record Labels / October 2003
UK
USA

COPYRIGHT Record Labels, Internet, Film & Television In a case reminiscent of the 1984 ‘Sony Betamax’ case, the Motion Picture Association of America has launched an action in the High Court of England & Wales against 321 Studios which produces software which allows the copying of DVDs by consumers. The MPAA has already filed an action in the US (December 2002) seeking to prohibit the sale of 321 Studios’ software titles DVD X Copy and DVD Copy Plus. It also wants any profits from sales as recovery of damages. 321 Studios says it has sold a total of 150,000 copies of the two software titles. 321 Studios insists that its software does not violate the Digital Millennium Copyright Act in the US which outlaws providing information or tools to circumvent copy-control technology. At the same time, the movie studios are using the Digital Millenium Copyright Act against a software package produced by Tritton Technologies. The studios have filed a suit in a Manhattan court to block the sale of “DVD CopyWare” that allows DVD owners to backup their DVD collection to DVD-R media. Also named in the suit are three website hosts selling the software. Paramount and Twentieth Century Fox…

LIABILITY FOR EMPLOYEE’S COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT
Copyright , Internet / October 2003
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet Lowry’s Reports Inc v Legg Mason Inc et al In this case, two related financial services companies were found to be vicariously liable for copyright infringement as a result of the acts of an employee. The employee re-distributed e-mail newsletters containing a daily stock market analysis originating from the plaintiff, Lowry’s Reports Inc, by posting these on Legg Mason’s intranet which was available to all brokers and by e-mailing copies of the newsletter to other Legg Mason employees. The Lowry newsletter contains up to date stock market information and valuable predictive data calculated using confidential algorithms. Lowry’s require subscribers, who are limited to individuals and cannot be corporations or organisations, not to make unauthorised copies nor to disseminate the newsletters or their content. An existing Legg Mason policy prohibited copying of such copyrighted materials by employees. The US District Court in Maryland ruled that the activities of the defendant’s employee infringed the plaintiff’s copyright. The defendant was found to be vicariously liable for copyright infringement because it had (a) the right and ability to supervise the infringing activities and (b) it has an obvious and direct financial interest in exploitation of the copyrighted material. The fact that the employee’s actions…

EFF FIGHTS BACK AS DirecTV SENDS OUT FIRST WARNINGS TO SMARTCARD OWNERS
Copyright , Internet / October 2003
USA

COPYRIGHT Television, Internet The following comment is from the Electronic Frontiers Foundation newsletter of the 16th August 2003, Vol 16 No 21: Satellite TV giant DirecTV has sent ominous letters to an estimated 100,000 individuals, accusing them of purchasing “pirate access devices” and threatening to haul them into court for stealing television channels. The letters tell the unlucky recipients that the prospect of an expensive legal battle will go away if they pay up, usually to the tune of $3,500. Yet, in too many cases, the targets of the letters never intercepted DTV’s signal; they’re only guilty of owning smart card technology. This dragnet is catching innocent security professionals, hobbyists, and entrepreneurs. Without proof of a violation of law, DTV’s unsubstantiated threats to sue are an abuse of the legal system. As if that’s not bad enough, DirecTV has filed over 9,000 lawsuits against purchasers of smartcard technology, employing an army of lawyers to squeeze even more costly settlements out of individuals nationwide. Ask your Members of Congress to initiate an investigation into DirecTV’s misuse of the law and blatant disregard for the public’s right to use technology. See: www.eff.org The DirecTV Defense website sponsored by EFF and Stanford Law School’s Center…

RIAA LAUNCHES FIRST ACTIONS AGAINST US INDIVIDUALS
Copyright , Internet , Record Labels / October 2003
USA

COPYRIGHT Record Labels, Internet Having fought to obtain subscriber and user details from the likes of Verizon and Universities, The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) filed 261 lawsuits against individuals who are ‘chronic’ abusers of internet download services on the 9th September 2003. US Copyright law allows for damages of up to $150,000 per track infringed, although the RIAA have said they are open to offers of settlement from the individuals concerned. www.globeandmail.com report on the story of twelve-year-old Brianna Lahara’s love for TV theme songs, Christina Aguilera and the nursery song If You’re Happy and You Know It which made made her a target of the multibillion-dollar U.S. recording industry. Yesterday Brianna, a user of KaZaA, promised never again to share songs over the Internet and her mother agreed to pay $2,000 (U.S.). The RIAA issued a statement announcing that Brianna’s mother had settled for $2,000 and quoting the little girl as saying: “I am sorry for what I have done. I love music and don’t want to hurt the artists I love.” The release also quoted Ms. Torres as saying: “We understand now that file-sharing the music was illegal. You can be sure Brianna won’t be doing it any more.” The RIAA has…

APPLES’s iTUNES FACES LEGAL CHALLENGE
Artists , Internet , Record Labels , Trade Mark / October 2003
USA

TRADEMARK Record labels, artists, internet Apple’s new and successful online music store, iTunes, which recently sold its ten millionth download at 99cents, and the Apple iPod, face a legal challenge from Apple Corp, the management company and record label behind the Beatles which was set up in 1968. Apple Corp, based in London, have served papers in the High Court seeking injunctive relief and damages to prevent Apple Computers using the word “Apple” and the Apple Computer’s logo in relation to iTunes and the iPod. It seems that now the Computer company’s activities have spread into the ‘music’ business, Apple Corp is seeking to protect its own business reputation, goodwill and name and is relying on an earlier 1991 agreement it reached with Apple Computers which purportedly prevented Apple Computers using the name Apple or an Apple mark in the music business. Apple Computers were set up in 1977 and the name is allegedly Steve Job’s tribute to the Beatles. The 1991 agreement (which itself was a result of previous litigation over a previous agreement) resulted in Apple Computers agreeing that their use of the Apple name and logo would be restricted to use with computers and never with music….

JACKSON FALTERS IN SUIT AGAINST MOTOWN AND UNIVERSAL
Artists , Copyright , Record Labels / October 2003
USA

COPYRIGHT Artists, Record Labels A California judge has dismissed part of Michael Jackson’s lawsuit against Universal Music in which he claimed he was owed royalties for songs he recorded before 1979 (see Law Updates, June 2003). In a January 1980 settlement with Motown, Jackson gave up rights to songs released before 1979, giving the record label exclusive rights to the name the Jackson 5, the group of Jackson-family members that first put the star on the map. Jackson contends he should be paid for any songs he recorded alone or with his brothers that were re-released after the 1980 agreement. Jackson is seeking payment of royalties he claimed are owed and recission of the 1980 agreement. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Emilie Elias found on Friday that Universal had not breached any fiduciary duty, since Jackson gave up the rights to the pre-1980 tunes.

MS DYNAMITE WINS PRIVACY PROTECTION FOR HER HOME
Artists , Privacy / October 2003
USA

PRIVACY Artists It is a common problem for celebrities to find themselves beset by unwanted attention, harassment or worse because details have made their way into the public domain about where they live. An application in June 2001 by Heather Mills McCartney for an order preventing publication of details of a new property she had bought was rejected by the High Court. However, this was the result, at least in part, of the newspaper having offered an undertaking not to publish details. The law remains unclear as to the extent to which it will protect a celebrity’s Article 8 privacy rights so far as their home is concerned. The Press Complaints Commission has taken a big step towards recognising the need for such protection in an adjudication published last week on behalf of Ms Dynamite. Ms Dynamite complained to the PCC, through her record company Polydor, that an article (and accompanying photograph) headlined “Chart Star’s dream house is right next door to my mum” published in the Islington Gazette on 26 March 2003 intruded into her privacy contrary to clause 3 of the PCC Code of Practice. This PCC provision closely mirrors the Article 8 wording and reads as follows:…

US TRADE MARK PROTECTION EXTENDED TO FOREIGN MARKS EVEN WHERE THESE MARKS ARE NOT REGISTERED IN THE USA
Artists , Internet , Record Labels , Trade Mark / September 2003
USA

TRADE MARK Record Companies, Artists, Merchandisers, Internet International Bancorp LLC et all -v- Societe des Bains et du Cercle des Etrangers A Monaco (May 19, 2003) In a split decision a United States Court of Appeal (Fourth Circuit) held that a non-US Company’s use of a non-US trademark in advertising in the United States was enough to give that company trade mark protection under US law despite the fact that the mark was not registered in the US. In US law an unregistered mark can be protectible if it is (a) distinctive and it is (b) “used in commerce”. In this case, concerning the company (SBM) which owns the Casino de Monte Carlo, the court held that extensive advertising in the US and sale of services to US citizens in the USA was sufficient to satisfy the second requirement – that mark was used in commerce – even though the actual business was based in Monte Carlo and the services provided outside of the USA. SBM spent more than $1 million annually on trade fairs, mail shots, telephone marketing and sponsorship. SBM Company maintained a small office in New York. SBM had a valid trade mark registration for ‘Casino de Monte Carlo’ in Monaco….

US SENATOR VOICES CONCERN OVER RIAA TACTICS
Copyright , Internet , Record Labels / September 2003
USA

COPYRIGHT Record Labels, Internet US Senator Norm Coleman, chairman of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee of Investigations, is concerned that the recording industry is taking an extreme approach in its attempt to quash online file trading and may hurt innocent people in the process and has asked the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), to provide detailed information about the more than 900 subpoenas it has issued so far. As previously detailed in Law Updates, the RIAA has issued the subpoenas to universities and Internet service providers in order to obtain the names of file traders it suspects are violating copyrights. At the end of the month, the music trade group plans to file lawsuits against those caught offering “substantial” amounts of music for others to share. The Senator has asked for five pieces of information from the RIAA: Copies of all the subpoenas, a description of the standard the RIAA uses to file an application for a subpoena, and an explanation of how the group is collecting evidence against alleged file sharers. Coleman also wants to know how the RIAA is protecting computer users’ privacy and how the trade lobby is protecting people from erroneous subpoenas. The RIAA issued a…

THE COPYRIGHT CAGE
EU
USA

COPYRIGHT Record Companies, Internet, Music Publishers, Artists, Merchandisers, Radio, Television INTRODUCTION : This article, by Professor Jonathan Zittrain, suggests a new approach to copyright law in the digital age. The article was first published on www.legalaffairs.org in their July/August edition. Bars can’t have TVs bigger than 55 inches. Teddy bears can’t include tape decks. Girl Scouts who sing “Puff, the Magic Dragon” owe royalties. Copyright law needs to change. By Jonathan Zittrain. A couple of years ago I was talking with a law school colleague about cyberlaw and the people who study it. “I’ve always wondered,” he said, “why all the cyberprofs hate copyright.” I don’t actually hate copyright, and yet I knew just what he meant. Almost all of us who study and write about the law of cyberspace agree that copyright law is a big mess. As far as I can tell, federal courts experts don’t reject our system of federal courts, and criminal law experts split every which way on the overall virtue of the criminal justice system. So what’s with our uniform discontent about copyright? I think an answer can be gleaned from tax scholars. Without decrying the concept of taxation, every tax professor I’ve met regards the U.S. tax…

ELECTRONIC FRONTIER FOUNDATION LAUNCH CAMPAIGN TO CHANGE US COPYRIGHT LAW
USA

COPYRIGHT Record Labels, Music Publishers, Internet, Artists The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) today launched a “Let the Music Play” campaign urging the more than 60 million U.S. citizens who use file-sharing software to demand changes in copyright law to get artists paid and make file-sharing legal. The EFF Let the Music Play campaign counters the Recording Industry Association of America’s (RIAA) announcement that it will file thousands of lawsuits against individuals who use file-sharing software like Kazaa, Grokster, and Morpheus. “Copyright law is out of step with the views of the American public and the reality of music distribution online,” said EFF Executive Director Shari Steele. “Rather than trying to sue people into submission, we need to find a better alternative that gets artists paid while making file sharing legal.” EFF’s Let the Music Play campaign provides alternatives to the RIAA’s litigation barrage, details EFF’s efforts to defend peer-to-peer file sharing, and makes it easy for individuals to write members of Congress. EFF will also place advertisements about the Right to Share campaign in magazines such as Spin, Blender, Computer Gaming World, and PC Gamer. “Today, more U.S. citizens use file-sharing software than voted for President Bush,” said EFF Senior…

GLOBAL SALES OF ILLEGAL CDs TOP 1 BILLION UNITS
Brazil
China
EU
Mexico
Poland
Russia
Spain
Taiwan
Thailand
Ukraine
USA

COPYRIGHT Record Labels, Music Publishers, Artists, Internet A report published by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) shows that the illegal music market is now worth $4.6bn (£2.8bn) globally. It believes two out of every five CDs or cassettes sold are illegal. The IFPI said much of this money is going to support organised criminal gangs, dispelling the myth that it is a “victimless crime”. Jay Berman, chairman of the IFPI, said: “This is a major, major commercial activity, involving huge amounts of pirated CDs. The IFPI’s top 10 priority countries where labels want a crackdown on piracy are Brazil, China, Mexico, Paraguay, Poland, Russia, Spain, Spain, Taiwan, Thailand and Ukraine. The IFPI also pointed out that when factoring in unlicensed downloads then “only one in three music products in the UK is authorised.” Despite the increase in the amount of CDs illegally produced and sold around the world, up 14% on 2001, there has also been a rise in the amount of CDs and recording equipment seized. The number of discs seized on their way for public sale was more than 50 million, a four-fold rise on the previous year. The IFPI is concerned in two main…

AUSTRALIAN RECORD INDUSTRY SECURES ORDER TO ALLOW ACCESS TO UNIVERSITY COMPUTERS
Copyright , Internet , Record Labels / August 2003
Australia
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet, Record Labels Three of Australia’s largest Universities today lost the battle to block the music industry from gaining access to their computer infrastructure, with the Federal Court ordering them to allow the industry’s experts to gain access. Federal Court Justice Brian Tamberlin ordered the Universities of Sydney, Melbourne and Tasmania to allow the music industry access to the infrastructure to seek information regarding alleged breaches of copyright, such as file-sharing, by University staff or students. The music industry had been seeking access to information on the Universities’ network it claims contains evidence of copyright infringement, but the Universities refused, citing privacy concerns. Justice Tamberlin previously stated he would order the Universities to hand over the relevant information but had allowed time for both parties to provide arguments appealing the decision. This story is from: http://www.zdnet.com.au/newstech/security/story/0,2000048600,20276375,00.htm COMMENT : This Australian case follows on from the Recording Industry Association of America’s successful action against Verizon. There, the US Courts granted the RIAA access to the cable provider’s subscriber details so that the RIAA could identify those who infringed copyright on the internet. In both cases the right to privacy was held to be inferior to the right of copyright owners to seek…

US COURT DIMISSES COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT CASE
USA

COPYRIGHT Artists, Record Labels, Music Publishers A federal judge has dismissed a copyright infringement lawsuit against Britney Spears, her record label (Zomba/Jive) and BMG Music Publishing, saying two Philadelphia songwriters failed to prove the pop singer copied the melody of one of their songs. U.S. District Judge Berle M. Schiller ruled last week that Michael Cottrill and Lawrence Wnukowski couldn’t provide enough evidence to prove Spears had access to their song titled, “What You See Is What You Get,” when she recorded, “What U See (Is What U Get).” Cottrill and Wnukowski said they gave one of Spears’ representatives a copyrighted version of their tune in late 1999 after being asked to submit songs for consideration for the singer’s upcoming album. But Schiller, citing defence testimony, said the melody of Spears’ song was completed by the beginning of November 1999, before Spears and her representatives “would have had access to a copyrighted version of plaintiffs’ song.” The Judge went on to say that there weren’t enough similarities between the two songs to prove copyright infringement. The four men credited with writing Spears’ song, released on her best-selling second album, “Oops! … I Did it Again,” testified that they hadn’t heard…

HARRODS v DOW JONES
Australia
UK
USA

DEFAMATION Artists, Record Labels, Music Publishers, Internet In December 2002 the Australian decision of Gutnick v Dow Jones established the principle that where a newspaper or magazine was published on the internet, a claimant could bring an action in ANY jurisdiction where that magazine could be received, in this case in the state of Victoria in Australia even though the newspaper was published in the US. In this case (with the same defendant) Mr Justice Eady was presented with the following case. On 31 March 2002 Harrods issued a spoof press release proposing a “first-come-first-served share option offer” by way of an April Fool’s joke. The Wall Street Journal picked up the press release with a story headed “The Enron of Britain?” The article suggested that “If Harrods, the British luxury retailer, ever goes public, investors would be wise to question its every disclosure.” The evidence before the court was that only ten copies of the Wall Street Journal are distributed in this country from the United States. There was evidence of only a very small number of hits on the article as published on the web. By contrast, the Wall Street Journal has a national distribution within the United…

SPIKE LEE WINS SURPRISE VICTORY IN ACTION OVER VIACOM’S ‘SPIKE’ CHANNEL
USA

IMAGE RIGHTS Artists, Record Labels Director Spike Lee issued proceedings against US media giant Viacom over plans to rename a cable channel Spike TV. Viacom had said that it wanted to make the name change in order to attract more male viewers. Lee’s application included a request for injunctive relief against Viacom’s use of the name Spike, saying he had never given his consent for it to be used. Lee – real name Shelton Jackson – had included affidavits from actors Ed Norton and Ossie Davis and former senator Bill Bradley. The signatories said they had thought of Lee when they heard about Spike TV and believed he had become affiliated with the network. Viacom argued that the word ‘spike’ was a common and ordinary word which they were free to use. Viacom, which also owns broadcasters such as CBS, MTV, and VH1 had been directed by the court to explain why it should not be barred from using the name. In a surprise decision the 5 member Manhatten Court held that Viacom did have a case to answer and ruled that Viacom could not use the name until a further hearing in September 2003. Acting Justice Tolub held that…

VERIZON HAND OVER SUBSCRIBER DETAILS
USA

COPYRIGHT Record Labels, Music Publishers, Internet Having failed to persuade the appeals court of its case, US ISP Verizon has handed over the names of four of its customers to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) – marking a significant victory for the RIAA and a shift in the way that the US courts deal with the conflict between copyright infringements on the internet and customer privacy on the internet. The decision will undoubtedly have an impact on net users around the world. The RIAA first contacted Verizon last year after finding files being shared through the Kazaa peer-to-peer network from computers with IP addresses on Verizon’s network. The RIAA had no way to find who the users behind those computers were, so used a provision of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act to issue a court-authorised subpoena to the ISP, asking for the subscriber names. Verizon refused, arguing that they were just a communications channel and had nothing to do with the potentially copyright-infringing behaviour of their customers. For comment in this area see: ‘Copyright holders like record labels have too much power over what people do with songs’ argues technology analyst Bill Thompson. See: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/2968216.stm

RIAA FACE SETBACK IN LATEST ACTION AGAINST P2P FACILITATORS
USA

COPYRIGHT Record Labels, Music Publishers, Internet In a blow to record labels, music publishers and film producers, a Federal judge in Los Angeles on Friday denied the Recording Industry Association of America’s (RIAA) motion for summary judgement in its copyright-infringement suit against peer-to-peer file-swapping services Morpheus and Grokster. The RIAA along with the National Music Publishers’ Association and the Motion Picture Association of America, filed the suit in 2001. Judge Stephen Wilson broke with the recent series of victories for the entertainment industries’ trade association recently and ruled that the P2P service providers are not liable because they are capable of non-infringing use. He compared the case to landmark litigation brought by movie studios in 1984 against Sony Corporation over the sale of Betamax videocassette recorders which of course could be used to (legitimately) play pre-recorded copies of films but could also be used to copy programmes from the television. Judge Wilson held that “The sale of copy equipment … does not constitute contributory infringement if the product is capable of substantial non-infringing uses,” Wilson wrote. Grokster and StreamCast Networks, firms that distribute the file-sharing programs Grokster and Morpheus, were not guilty of copyright infringement just because some users swap…

US COURT HAMMERS MAJORS’ ACCOUNTING PRACTICES
Artists , Copyright , Record Labels / June 2003
USA

COPYRIGHT Record Labels, Artists On April 22 2003, the U.S. District Court based in Los Angeles, dealt a blow to BMG and Sony, deciding that record clubs owned by the two majors had to face a court action scheduled for January 2004. The court found that the record clubs failed to pay for mechanical licenses on the premium records given away (roughly 6-8 cents per song, per copy sold). Songwriters’ lawyers estimate that the record clubs failed to account for approximately $100 million dollars a year. The following comment is from respected industry author – Moses Avalon, in his latest e-newsletter Moses Supposes. His site can be found at www.mosesavalon.com. It is an interesting attack on what might be seen as the hypocritical attitude of the labels in pursuing P2P file sharers and yet at the same time maintaining archaic and unfair accounting and trade practices. The Recording Artists’ Coalition have made similar comments (see Law Updates March 2003 and www.recordingartistscoalition.com). “All this makes you wonder why the RIAA (which is funded by companies who own both major publishing houses and record clubs) scream bloody hell over KazaA and Napster, and yet ignore this? Could it be to distract us from the fact…

MICHAEL JACKSON LAUNCHES ACTION AGAINST MOTOWN
Artists , Copyright , Record Labels / June 2003
USA

COPYRIGHT Artists, Record Labels Michael Jackson is suing his former label Motown Records and its parent company Universal Music Group. Jackson claims that Motown, the label he signed with in 1969, breached a contract dated January 1980 that required the label to pay him royalties for certain pre-1976 recordings made by Jackson as a solo artist and the Jackson 5. In exchange for those royalties, Michael Jackson had agreed to waive his rights to other pre-1976 recordings. The 1980 contract was actually a settlement agreement stemming from lawsuits filed in 1975 and 1976 by the members of the Jackson 5 against Motown over accounting and contractual obligations. Jackson is now seeking complete and accurate accounting from Motown with full payment of all royalties due. Jackson is also asking the court to rescind the 1980 agreement and the underlying contract allowing Jackson to regain ownership and title to his master recordings and compositions. For more details see http://www.rollingstone.com/news/newsarticle.asp?nid=18038

CALIFORNIA SENATE TO CONSIDER DRAFT LAW TO OBLIGE RECORD LABELS TO CALCULATE ROYALTIES
USA

COPYRIGHT Record Labels, Artists, Music Publishers A Bill designed to provide Californian recording artists with accurate accounting has won approval from the Senate Judiciary Committee. The Bill (SB1034) introduced by Senator Kevin Murray (D) would make it a “fiduciary duty” for labels to accurately calculate royalty earnings owed to artists. Music industry officials oppose the Bill, saying it would impede labels from developing new business models in the face of surging piracy. RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) President Cary Sherman testified Tuesday that the bill “would distort the intensely negotiated, arms-length contractual relationship between an artist and recording label by imposing a fiduciary duty only on one party.” However, Committee members countered that only one party, the record company, holds the financial information to calculate royalties. The Recording Artists’ Coalition have repeatedly claimed that recording contracts are outmoded and complex, lack clarity in royalty calculations and contain numerous unjustifiable royalty reduction and discount provisions. See http://www.billboard.com/bb/daily/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1883484

US JUDGE THROWS OUT CLAIM FOR DAMAGED HEARING
USA

HEALTH & SAFETY Live Concert Industry Manhatten Supreme Court Judge Matrin Schoenfeld threw out a lawsuit from 56 year old lawyer Jeffrey Powell who claimed that John Fogerty’s music damaged his hearing. Judge Schoenfeld rejected the claim saying “if you don’t like loud music don’t go to rock concerts” and added that “Nobody is forced to attend rock ‘n’ roll concerts”. Powell saw the former Creedence Clearwater Revival frontman in concert six years ago. In the eight-page decision released yesterday, the judge referred to Powell as an “eggshell ear” – and rejected his $5 million lawsuit. “That ‘loud music’ can cause hearing impairment is “perfectly obvious” and “commonly appreciated” Schoenfeld said. The judge said Powell admitted he suffered ringing in his ears for years after attending rock concerts but went to see Fogerty anyway with three friends. Powell said that after one or two songs, he left and listened from outside the ballroom, returning once to find his friends with their fingers in their ears. Judge Schoenfeld said Fogerty’s “bluesy, good-time, roots-rock” sound has never been thought of as particularly loud, compared with bands such as the The Who and Led Zeppelin. See http://www.nydailynews.com/news/local/story/79224p-72867c.html

RIAA -V- STUDENTS
USA

COPYRIGHT Record Labels, Music Publishing, Internet Four US students have agreed to pay damages after the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) issued proceedings for providing illegal peer-2-peer downloading sites for profit. Daniel Peng, Joseph Nievelt, Jesse Jordan and Aaron Sherman also agreed not to illegally distribute copyrighted music, although they did not admit to any wrongdoing (see Law Updates May 2003 RIAA Launches Pre-emptive Strike Against Student Downloading). The four students will pay between $12,000 (ÿ£7,500) and $17,500 (ÿ£11,000) each to the RIAA. The RIAA hope that the action will prompt universities to shut down similar downloading services which are facilitated by university high speed broadband and cable services which are available to students. Source www.riaa.com

VERIZON MOTION TO QUASH FAILS
USA

COPYRIGHT Record Labels, Music Publishers, Internet In an update on the case between the RIAA and Verizon (see Law Updates March 2003), Judge Bates of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, has denied Verizon’s motion to quash a subpoena requiring it to identify a subscriber who was suspected of illegally sharing music online on the 24th April. The RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) had served the subpoena on Verizon under the provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 (“DMCA”). Under the DMCA, a copyright holder can request a subpoena by asserting that a violation has occurred. Verizon put forward constitutional challenges, arguing that the Courts construction of the provisions of the DMCA does not provide sufficient safeguards to protect Internet users’ rights of expression and association under the First Amendment Rights of Internet users, and violates Article III of the Constitution. Both of these arguments were rejected by the Court. See www.riaa.com and www.dww.com/newsletter/ For the full decision see (pdf file) : http://www.dcd.uscourts.gov/03-ms-0040.pdf

RAVE ACT PASSES THROUGH US CONGRESS
Licensing , Live Events / June 2003
USA

LICENSING Live Concert Industry The US Rave Act has passed through the US Congress when Senator Joe Biden tied the provisions to the Child Abduction Prevention Act. This means that the promoter or organiser of events and/or the property owner can face imprisonment for up to twenty years if drugs are found being used at venues and nightclubs. The Drugs Policy Alliance warned that ‘Property owners can be punished for drug offences which their customers commit – even if they work hard to prevent such offences.’ See www.ilmc.com and www.drugpolicy.org

RIAA LAUNCHES PRE-EMPTIVE STRIKE AGAINST STUDENT DOWNLOADING
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet, Record Labels The RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) has issued lawsuits against four students in the United States to prevent the illegal downloading of music files. Two of the students are from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, one from Princeton and one from Michigan Technological University. The Record Industry’s previous tactic (e.g. in the UK) had been to send university and employers formal notices detailing their approach to the illegal downloading of music in educational institutions and the workplace (see Law Updates April 2003 BPI Targets Universities Over Illegal Downloads). These actions are against students who set up sites where sound recordings could be searched and then facilitated downloading and the lawsuits claim that one of the sites could distribute over 1 million MP3 files. See: http://www.wired.com/news/digiwood/0,1412,58351,00.html

US MERCHANDISER TO BRING COUNTERCLAIM ACTION AGAINST BRITNEY
Copyright / April 2003
USA

COPYRIGHT Merchandising SKECHERS USA Inc. the US footwear manufacturer has announced that the Company will file a counterclaim lawsuit against singer Britney Spears and her companies, Britney Brands Inc. and Britney Touring Inc. for fraud and breach of contract. The suit, in the Federal court in Los Angeles, also includes allegations of unjust enrichment and negligent misrepresentation, and seeks rescission of all agreements between Skechers and Ms. Spears, return of all advances paid, costs, and compensatory and punitive damages in excess of ten million dollars. Skechers signed an exclusive three year worldwide licensing deal with Britney for a line of Britney branded roller skates known as Britney 4 Wheelers and accompanying apparel and skating accessories The suit alleges that the singer breached her obligations to Skechers under a merchandise license agreement by unreasonably delaying and failing to approve manufacturers, product designs and product advertising for Britney 4 Wheelers roller skates and apparel. See www.mtv.com/news/articles/1459660/2100301/story.jhtml

FORMER MANAGER SUES DRU HILL
Artists , Contract / April 2003
USA

CONTRACTS Management, Artists The R&B group Dru Hill have been served with a $30 million lawsuit from former manager, Kevin A. Peck, who claims the group owes him millions of dollars in management fees. The lawsuit, filed in Baltimore Circuit Court on March 20 2003, alleges unjust enrichment and is served against all of the original band members. Peck believes that his management contract entitled him to a percentage of the group’s income from all three of its albums, as well as the members’ solo releases. Dru Hill attempted to settle with Peck, but were unable to reach an agreement with him. Dru Hill achieved multiple platinum albums, several music awards and generated millions of dollars in publishing royalties and record sales, including ‘The Thong Song’ released by band member Sisqo in late 1999. See www.news8.com Meanwhile, former Guns N’ Roses songwriter and guitarist, Izzy Stradlin, has also filed a lawsuit in the Los Angeles Superior Court. He alleges that he mistakenly paid his management firm Big FD $231,575 in post-term commissions after the ‘old’ Guns N’ Roses broke up and that Big FD had no right to receive this, since according to the agreement he entered, the remainder of his…

US INTERNET ASSOCIATION SUPPORTS VERIZON
Copyright , Internet / April 2003
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet The US Internet Industry Association (USIIA) has announced that it will support the efforts of Verizon to overturn a recent ruling by the Washington DC District Court in the case of RIAA v Verizon. The ruling was based on a narrow and erroneous reading of a single provision of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act,” says David P. McClure, president of the USIIA. “In reality, this ruling will cause great harm to the Internet community, and will place ISPs in jeopardy of violating contracts, subscriber agreements and local and federal privacy laws if they are forced to comply. It was never the intent of the Congress that copyright holders should have the right to invade the personal privacy and security of American consumers on the basis of allegations, and without due process under the law,” says McClure. “Internet service providers and their subscribers have the right to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects, including on the Internet. USIIA endorses and will support efforts by Verizon and other parties to stay and overturn this ruling.” Source: US Internet Industry Association

WILL THE VICTORY FOR THE RIAA IN ITS CASE AGAINST VERIZON OPEN THE FLOODGATES FOR LEGAL ACTIONS AGAINST CABLE COMPANIES AND ISPs?
USA

COPYRIGHT Record Labels, Music Publishers, Internet The legal battle between the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and Verizon Communications over the pursuit of alleged internet music pirates could have a major impact on cable operators, telecom companies and internet service providers. If the RIAA wins the case, record labels and music publishers wielding broad federal subpoena power could force operators to divulge the names of high-speed data subscribers each time one is suspected of breaking a copyright. RIAA also want operators with high-speed data operations to pay copyright use fees into a new industry-wide ISP pool. The RIAA has proposed that the fund should compensate music companies for the copyright violations which they can’t track down. The case places the right to fair remuneration for use of copyright in direct conflict with individuals right to privacy, and further, would put an obligation on ISPs to take responsibility for subscribers unauthorised copyright infringements. The cable industry is carefully watching the case. The case also highlights the conflicts within major media conglomerates – AOL Time Warner owns two major ISPs, cable channels and of course a major record label and major music publishing house. The legal action arose when Verizon refused…

CD PIRACY IN SOUTH AMERICA ESCALATES
USA

COPYRIGHT Record Labels, Music Publishers CD pirates and street vendors in Ecuador are decimating the legitimate music industry as copied CDs featuring tropical salsa, hard rock and even Christmas carols are retailing for just $1 each – a price even the citizens of this poverty-stricken nation can afford (the minimum wage is just $138 a month). More worryingly for record labels and music publishers is the statistic that pirates sold an estimated 13 million compact discs in 2002 – compared to just 650,000 sold legitimately. The pirates are now exporting copied CDs, and pirate CDs made in Ecuador have been found in Peru and Columbia. Ecuador is a prime spot for all types of pirated goods. Weak police intervention compounds the problem. As the pirating industry grows, local shops suffer. Just 80 record stores are still in business in Ecuador, compared with 300 shops four years ago. Even with the US dollar adopted as currency, two of the ‘big five’ majors (BMG and EMI) have left Ecuador after they were unable to compete with counterfeiters. Sony Music Entertainment and Universal still operate in Ecuador. See www.mercurynews.com

AOL LAUNCHES SUBSCRIPTION INTERNET SERVICE
Copyright , Record Labels / March 2003
USA

COPYRIGHT Record Labels AOL’s 27 million subscribers will be offered legitimate access to record company catalogues from $3.95 (0) per month. Subscribers will be given access to the 250,000 strong recording catalogue of download service MusicNet, one of the music industry’s answers to the hugely popular but unauthorised sites like Aimster, KazaA and Morpheus. The New York Times has welcomed the move as the strongest attempt yet to beat unauthorised downloading of music. The music industry has blamed internet piracy for contributing to a slump in CD sales, with sales dropping 9% in the US in 2002. But legal sites from the industry have so far struggled to persuade fans to use legitimate (paid for) services – MusicNet has 500,000 subscribers, compared with 100 million users of the free song-swapping services. The basic AOL $3.95 deal will give users 20 streamed songs and 20 downloads per month. Fans can sign up for more access for up to $17.95 (40) per month, which buys unlimited streams and downloads, and the ability to burn – or copy – 10 songs to blank CDs per month. AOL Director of Music Evan Harrison said “A music subscription service is not going to make sense…

GRAND JURY BEGINS ITS INVESTIGATION INTO THE STATION NIGHTCLUB TRAGEDY
Health & Safety , Live Events / March 2003
USA

HEALTH & SAFETY Live Concert Industry The Grand Jury began its investigation on February 26th behind closed doors at a National Guard training center in East Greenwich to decide whether anyone should be held responsible for the fire and the deaths of 97 people in West Warwick, Rhode Island. Most of the first Grand Jury session was devoted to preliminary talks between prosecutors and lawyers for the rock band Great White whose guitarist, Ty Longley, died in the blaze. The investigation will centre on the causes of the fire, Great White’s pyrotechnic display, the layout and construction of the nightclub and the use of inflammable soundproofing materials. There is also a dispute over whether Great White had permission to use pyrotechnics. The band has said it received approval to use special effects, but the two brothers who own the club have denied that they gave permission. Club owners Jeffrey and Michael Derderian, along with band members, could be indicted on state charges of involuntary manslaughter or second-degree murder. It appears that the brothers who own the club were about to sell the business and the Derderians were scheduled to begin transferring the liquor license the day after the disaster. See…

“INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY IS THEFT. IDEAS ARE FOR SHARING”
Copyright , Internet / March 2003
Japan
Netherlands
UK
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet Columnist John Naughton used this headline in his February 09 column in the UK’s Sunday Observer newspaper advancing the argument that in the USA industry associations such as the RIAA (Recording Industries Association of America) and the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) have used politics and clever rhetoric to develop the concept of ‘intellectual property’ and to portray internet file swopping as ‘theft’ of this property. Naughton says that, in his view, the industry associations’ aim is to ‘signify the moral equivalent between sharing a track from a CD with a friend and stealing your neighbour’s goods and handing them round’. Naughton goes on to point out that the new draft EU copyright directive (see Law Updates, February 2003) will impose criminal sanctions on large scale (e.g., for profit) piracy but not on individual file sharing and copying. See www.briefhistory.com/footnotes. The industry campaigning continues and the RIAA and MPAA have just published a brochure warning companies of the risk of internet piracy and work place related copyright infringement. See www.zdnet.com.au. COMMENT:Most legal systems recognise that granting ownership of copyright and other intellectual property rights provides economic stimuli for those who create, invent and design for a living and provides protection against…

OWNER OF SAMPLED SONG WINS COURT INJUNCTION
USA

COPYRIGHT Record Labels, Music Publishing, Artists Indian composer Bappi Lahiri has won a court injunction halting the sale of Dr. Dre protéguth Hurts’ debut album and single based on claims that the hit song, “Addictive,” sampled more than four minutes of one of his compositions, without credit. A federal judge in Los Angeles ruled that “Addictive” must be removed from shelves unless the composer Bappi Lahiri’s name is added to the credits. Lahiri filed suit against Dre, his Aftermath Records label, and parent company Interscope/Universal Music Group, citing uncredited use of the Hindi song “Thoda Resham Lagta Hai,” composed by Lahiri for the 1987 Indian film “Jhoothi.” Lahiri is seeking compensatory damages in excess of $1 million as a result of the failure to give credit and the loss of his ability to properly promote his music in the United States. The figure represents a combination of the profits Lahiri’s attorneys said the sales of Truth Hurts’ music has reaped for Universal along with the losses suffered by their client. The album has sold in excess of 300,000 units. Universal had the choice of pulling all product from the shelves or affixing a sticker with Lahiri’s credit on copies of…

INTERNET PATENT VIOLATIONS ALLEGED
Internet , Patents / March 2003
Mexico
USA

PATENTS Internet Acacia Media Technologies have asserted ownership of a number of patents which govern the process of transmitting compressed audio or video online, one of the most basic multimedia technologies on the Net. Acacia have just signed up its latest licensee, Mexican satellite telecommunication company Grupo Pegaso. Radio Free Virgin, the online music division of Richard Branson’s Virgin Corporation, said it agreed to license the technology late last year after a careful legal review. A number of basic Web technologies and practices have been subject to patent claims over the past year. Telecommunications giant SBC Communications is claiming rights to Web site “frames” and another company says it has rights to the e-commerce site staple known as the shopping cart. Acacia Media Technologies is part of a larger corporation called Acacia Research which holds intellectual property in several areas. One of its subsidiaries owns technology used in the television content-blocking V-Chip and last year alone earned close to $25 million in royalties from that side of the business. According to the Company, their patents could affect virtually anyone involved in the business of providing on-demand digital audio or video, from software companies to network service providers to the actual…

US DOUBLE TRAGEDY RE-FOCUSES LIVE INDUSTRY ATTENTION ON EVENT SAFETY
Health & Safety , Live Events / February 2003
USA

HEALTH & SAFETY Live Concert Industry Following on from the death of 21 clubbers in Chicago on the 17th February, America was reeling after the deaths of at least 95 people in West Warwick, Rhode Island when the band Great White’s pyrotechnic display set fire to the venue where they were playing. The 17th February tragedy was caused by security staff letting off pepper spray in a nightclub to break up a fight; this caused members of the audience to panic in trying to escape. The Rhode Island tragedy was described by state Governor Don Carcieri as ‘a real disaster. The building went up so fast no one had a chance’. It was estimated that over 300 people were inside the one-story wooden building. 187 people were taken to hospital and over 30 remain critical. The low ceiling ‘Station’ club had no water sprinkler system as it was too small to require one by law. It also had no pyrotechnics licence although the band claim that they had checked in advance with the venue and permission for their display was given. Reports say that that after the pyrotechnics ignited the roof of the venue soundproofing material also ignited and the…

COURT GRANTS MUSIC INDUSTRY SECOND MAJOR VICTORY IN AIMSTER CASE
USA

COPYRIGHT Record Labels, Music Publishing, Internet In a major victory in the fight against the unauthorised uploading and downloading of music and other copyrighted works, a U.S. District Court Judge granted an all-encompassing preliminary injunction against the file swapping site Aimster (Madster). The Court’s decision follows its ruling on September 4th granting the record companies’ request for a preliminary injunction. In that prior ruling, the Court described the Aimster system as “a service whose very raison d’etre appears to be the facilitation of and contribution to copyright infringement on a massive scale.” After issuing that opinion, the Court asked for proposals from the parties for the language of the Injunction. The record companies and music publishers submitted a proposal that the Defendants opposed; however, the Defendants did not submit their own proposal, arguing that it was impossible to filter out infringing recordings. The Court adopted the record companies’ and music publishers’ proposed Injunction in full, outlining the roadmap by which Aimster must act immediately to halt the massive copyright infringement it facilitates. U.S. District Court Judge Marvin Aspen of the Northern District of Illinois ordered that Aimster implement filtering technologies now available so that it does not directly, indirectly, contributorily,…

US SENATOR REINTRODUCES BILL ON COMPETITION IN RADIO
Competition , Live Events / February 2003
USA

COMPETITION Radio, Live Concert Industry Democrat Senator Russ Feingold has reintroduced his Competition in Radio and Concert Industries Act on January 28th 2003 which he says will help consumers, small and independent radio station owners, and independent concert promoters by prohibiting anti-competitive practices in the radio and concert industries. The Bill’s introduction comes as the Senate Commerce Committee holds a hearing on the problems of radio consolidation. Insiders say committee chairman, Republican Senator John McCain, is expected to sign on as a co-sponsor of the bill soon. The Committee expects to hear from representatives of leading radio station owner and concert promoter Clear Channel Communications, the National Association of Broadcasters, the Recording Artists Coalition and the Future of Music Coalition. Says Feingold: “Since originally introducing this legislation in June 2002, I have seen a groundswell of interest both in Congress and among artists, consumers, independent radio stations, and local promoters in restoring fairness to radio. My legislation will reduce concentration and crack down on anti-competitive practices, such as the new ‘pay to play’ system.” Feingold says the latter practice allows radio giants to “shake down the music industry.” See www.recordingartistscoalition.com See www.billboard.com