Anti-graft law may threaten K-pop concerts
Live Events , Regulation / November 2016

CORPORATE REGULATION Live events sector   The new “anti-graft” law (the Kim Young-ran Act) could have profound effects on live music in South Korea – something already seen in the classical music sector as conglomerates have moved to reduce or discontinue their support for concerts to avoid corruption charges – meaning symphony orchestras and concert organisers will lose the main buyers of bulk tickets, with concerts relying on corporate sponsorship for about half of ticket sales with the companies often using the tickets VIP customers as part of marketing promotions. “Orchestras are desperate for funding but it’s always difficult to find a patron. The new law will discourage companies even further from sponsoring orchestras,” said a public relations (PR) official for a renowned Korean orchestra, declining to be named adding “Companies will find it harder sending out invitation tickets and some are considering ditching sponsorship. I heard that one company has pulled out of sponsorship entirely.” Major domestic companies said they will cut their sponsorship of various cultural events as the anti-graft law mean companies cannot give out tickets to customers with one telecoms company saying “The ridiculous law will practically outlaw the sponsorship of classical concerts by big companies, taking a toll on…

FCC blow to net neutrality
Internet , Regulation / February 2014

COMMUNICATION REGULATION Broadcasting, internet   In what could be a major blow to the concept of net neutrality, a federal appeals court on Tuesday overturned a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rule essentially aimed at keeping Internet service providers from being able to charge content companies to speed the rate of their downloads. The court ruled the FCC doesn’t have the authority to prevent the practice of “discrimination” because it hasn’t classified broadband Internet as a “common-carrier” service, like traditional phone service. The Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler has now suggested that he has no immediate plans to formally reinstate his agency’s net-neutrality regulations. Instead, Wheeler touted the benefits of waiting for abuses to occur and then cracking down on a case-by-case basis. The FCC chief said he favours addressing problems “in a dynamic rather than a static way.”

Hunt to rethink UK’s new Communications Act, Cable to review copyright
Copyright , Regulation / July 2012

COPYRIGHT / REGULATION Broadcasting Embattled UK Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt has said that he will scrap a proposed green paper which would have kicked off the drafting of a new Communications Act, which in itself is planned to reform the way the British broadcasting and internet sectors are regulated. Hunt says he will replace the green paper with a series of ‘policy seminars’ to feed into a white paper early next year, which will ultimately lead to new legislation. Amongst changes mooted is the reform of regulation of the UK’s radio industry which many terrestrial radio station owners believe are too strict, given they are now competing with so many new rivals on digital networks and the internet. The radio industry is also likely to use any review to call for an axing of the public performance royalty requirement on workplaces, offices, shops and bars which play out music radio on their premises. Currently such premises need both PRS and PPL licences for using songs and sound recordings even though the radio stations have already paid royalties on the music they air. The UK’s Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, Vince Cable, introduced the second reading of the…

Could musicians fall foul of US environmental law?

ENVIRONMENTAL LAW Artistes A US senator has made it his mission to save musicians from a federal environmental law that could be cited to confiscate the instruments of US performers travelling abroad for the summer concert season? Republic Senator Lamar Alexander from Tennessee (its capital is Nashville, better known as Music City) says that the law should be clarified or ‘tweaked’ if necessary.   “I don’t want the musicians from Nashville who are flying to Canada to perform this summer to worry about the government seizing their guitars,” Alexander said in a statement. Why seize guitars? Because many of those instruments are made from exotic woods that were outlawed by a 2008 amendment to the century old  Lacey Act, an amendment Alexander himself proposed, by adding wood and forest products to Act, which was  first passed to protect endangered birds whose feathers were being used to decorate womens’ hats,   However, he now seemingly accepts that the law was not meant to apply to musical instruments made pre-2008 and wants to create a ‘safe harbour’ for instruments made before that date – saying “the law was never intended to apply to those instruments”. It’s no secret that American timber companies were being…

Google fined for blocking FCC investigation
Internet , Regulation / May 2012

MEDIA REGULATION Internet, Technology The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has fined Google $25,000 for hampering an investigation into whether the company’s Street View mapping team illegally collected data from Wi-Fi networks. Though clearing Google in the investigation, the FCC said the company “deliberately impeded and delayed the bureau’s investigation by failing to respond to requests for material information and to provide certifications and verifications of its responses.”

X-factor accused on Sony bias
Regulation / January 2012

BROADCASTING REGULATION Broadcasting Warner Music has submitted a formal complaint to UK media regulator OfCom claiming that ‘X-Factor’ producers had unfairly prioritised artists signed to Sony Music labels or its highly viewed final shows. The shows featured four Sony acts – Leona Lewis, One Director and JLS (all former contestants) and Westlife, formerly managed by Judge Louis Walsh and another Sony act. Two artistes from other major labels appeared – Coldplay (EMI) and Michael Buble (Warners). Particular anger is directed at lewis who has no current album to promote, although she is a previous winner of the show.  Sony owns half of Simon Cowell’s Syco company, one of the producers of contest. With slots for new pop and rock music on TV in serious decline, X-factor remains an important platform for existing acts.  With the demise of programmes such as Top of the Pops and CD:UK (Top of the Pops is now just a Christmas special)  coverage is now restricted to later night slots such as Later with Jools on BBC2, festival coverage such as Glastonbury and the Radio Big Weekend, along with occasional Channel 4 and ITV specials (who broadcast a Beyonce special) and chat show special appearances. Warner’s…

Updates from the Electronic Frontiers Foundation on global broadcasting issues
Regulation / January 2012

BROADCASTING REGULATION Broadcasting The EFF reports that the Indian Telecommunications Minister has met with top officials of Internet companies and social media sites, including the Indian units of Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo, to try to compel them to filter offensive content. The New York Times reported that Minister Kapil Sibal met with executives to ask the companies to create internal mechanisms that would prevent any comments the state deemed “disparaging, inflammatory or defamatory” towards political and religious figures. A Belgian Internet watchdog group (NURPA) has reported that one of the three major mobile Internet providers in Belgium, Base, voluntarily started blocking access to the Pirate Bay. This block comes after a case initiated by the Belgian Anti-Piracy Federation, in which an Antwerp Court of Appeals ordered two major fixed broadband providers to block access to the Pirate Bay at the DNS level. EFF also reports from Thailand, which declared at the start of December that Facebook users “liking” or sharing content offensive to the Thai throne could be sentenced up to 15 years in prison; Joe Gordon, an American-Thai who translated a banned biography of Thailand’s king and posted the content online while living in Colorado was sentenced to…

US festival accused of unregistered investment sales
Live Events , Regulation / September 2011

FINANCIAL REGULATION Live events industry   The organisers of an Orange County  weekend music festival in Irvine may have run foul of state law with an unusual financing scheme  – by attempting to sign up investors by allegedly using “boiler-room” style phone calls. Billed as a “new music experience in Orange County”, the two-day Playgound Festival is planned to feature hip-hop and rock acts at Hidden Valley, a grassy area adjacent to Verizon Amphitheater. Rapper the Game and rock bands the Bravery and Panic! are currently billed  as headliners according to Orange County Register, However, it seems that sales teams from promoters Elevated Sound Productions having been cold calling local residents offering exceptional returns from investments in the Festival. Steve Blasko, an ESP managing partner, denied that the company made unsolicited calls to investors. He told the Orange County Register that the company only contacted people who had previously expressed interest through the company’s website. If anyone got an unsolicited call to invest, Blasko said, it was because “wires were crossed somewhere”. Investigations by the Register say that one salesman compared the newly established Playground Festival with long-established Coachella Festival and the Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas and that another unsuccessfully pushed an undercover reporter to make an…

Live sector joins up with UK Music
Licensing , Live Events , Regulation / June 2011

REGULATION / LICENSING Live events industry The UK’s live music sector has finally joined UK Music, the umbrella organisation representing the collective interests of the UK’s commercial music industry – from artists, musicians, songwriters and composers, to major and independent record labels, music managers up, music producers, music publishers, music licensing companies and, now, the live music sector – now ensuring that, for the first time, the UK’s entire commercial music industry will be represented by one umbrella body. The move follows the establishment of the UK Live Music Group, a coming together of the live industry’s main trade associations and representative bodies whose members are The Agents Association, The AFO (the Association of Festival Organisers, representing many jazz and folk festivals), the Association of Independent Festivals (whose members include Bestival and Creamfields), The Concert Promoters Association, The International Live Music Conference, the NAA (National Arenas Association), the PSA (Production Services Association ) and we:Live, the independent venue and promoter association. The group will meet every six weeks and have nominated Paul Latham of Live Nation Entertainment to be their representative on the UK Music board. Feargal Sharkey, chief executive of UK Music said: “This is a fantastic development for UK Music. The…

Sony pay $1 million to settle child privacy case
Internet , Privacy , Regulation / January 2009

PRIVACY / REGULATORY AFFAIRS Internet Sony BMG Music Entertainment has agreed to pay $1 million to settle charges that it violated US law by collecting personal information online from children under the age of 13. Sony BMG agreed to the payment as part of a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission over charges it violated the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. The FTC had alleged that Sony BMG, through its music fan Web sites, had improperly collected and disclosed personal information from thousands of children under the age of 13, without their parents’ consent. Users are required to submit their date of birth to register for the sites, the FTC said, and on 196 sites, Sony BMG knowingly collected personal information from at least 30,000 underage children without parental consent which also meant that this might allow children to interact with adults through comments, message boards and other forums.

China regulates for a sanitised web
Internet , Regulation / November 2005

REGULATION Internet The Chinese State Council Information Bureau and Ministry of Industry and Information have issued new restrictions on Chinese websites. All Chinese websites are now prevented from putting out news that: – violates the basic principles of the Chinese constitution – endangers national security, leaks national secrets, seeks to overthrow the government or endangers the unification of the country – destroys the country’s reputation and benefits – arouses national feelings of hatred, racism, and endangers racial unification – violates national policies on religion, promotes the propaganda of sects and superstition – diffuses rumours, endangers public order and creates social uncertainty – diffuses information that is pornographic, violent, terrorist or linked to gambling – libels or harms people’s reputation, violates people’s legal rights – includes illegal information bounded by law and administrative rules. Websites also have to conform with the following provisions: – It is forbidden to encourage illegal gatherings, strikes, etc to create public disorder – It is forbidden to organise activities under illegal social associations or organisations Websites that break these new rules will be shut down and those running them will have to pay a fine that could reach 30,000 yuans (3,000 euros). See:

New OFCOM Broadcasting Code
Regulation / July 2005

BROADCAST REGULATION Television, radio, communications ARTICLE :  by Robin Hilton, solicitor Ofcom, the Office of Communications, yesterday published a revised Broadcasting Code for the television and radio broadcast industries which will come into effect on 25 July 2005. The Code was designed to unify and modernise the codes previously set by the “legacy regulators”: the Independent Television Commission, the Radio Authority and the Broadcasting Standards Commission. It is intended not just to comply with the requirements of legislation such as theCommunications Act 2003, the Broadcasting Act 1996 and the Human Rights Act 1998, but also to deal with the changing broadcasting environment, particularly the growth of digital television, digital radio and the internet. The 89-page Code seeks to balance the interests of those who need protection (in particular those under 18) with broadcasters’ freedom to include more challenging material. It covers areas such as fairness and privacy, protecting the under 18s, harm and offence, and sponsorship and commercial references. Subject to certain exceptions, the Code applies to radio and television content in services licensed by Ofcom, services funded by the BBC licence fee and to Welsh broadcaster S4C. Certain sections dealing with impartiality, elections, sponsorship and commercial references do not apply to BBC services…

Internet , Regulation / September 2003

PRESS REGULATION Television, Radio, Internet, Print The UK Government is to review the law after convicted murderer Tony Martin sold his story to the Daily Mirror for £125,000. Martin was convicted of murder after shooting a 16 year old burglar in the back and wounding his accomplice as they tried to burgle his remote and rundown farm, Bleak House. Martin’s original sentence was reduced from life to five years on the grounds of diminished responsibility and he served three years of this. Martin also signed an exclusive deal with the ITV programme Tonight With Trevor MacDonald, also for a fee, to give his first interview on UK television. At one point the murdered burglar’s accomplice was going to sue Martin for his own injuries on legal aid. The accomplice, Brendan Fearon, has just been released from prison on drugs related offences. The Press Complaints Commission Code states that: Payments or offers of payments for stories, pictures or information must not be made directly or through agents of convicted or confessed criminals ÿ…. except where the material concerned ought to be published in the public interest and payment is necessary. The public interest includes (i) detecting or exposing crime or serious misdemeanour…