Wolfgang’s Vault looks buried in copyright dispute
Copyright , Media / May 2018

COPYRIGHT Recorded music, film and TV   U.S. District Court Judge Edgardo Ramos has made a monumental decision in favor of members of The National Music Publishers’ Association (incl. Sony/ATV & EMI Music Publishing, Warner/Chappell, ABKCO, peermusic, Spirit Music and Imagem Music). Judge Ramos ruled that the owners of Wofgang’s  – a collection of thousands of live concert performances such as those of legendary Rock and Rollers Keith Richards, David Byrne and Michael Stipe – had committed extensive copyright infringement by streaming the collection to the public. Wolfgang’s (formerly Wolfgang’s Vault) is described as “a private music-focused company established in 2002 dedicated to the restoration and archiving of live concert recordings in audio and video format and the sale of music memorabilia. It began with the collection of the late promoter Bill Graham”. This saga dates back to 2015, when the NMPA led its members to bring legal action, alleging that the licenses required to stream a collection of works that was acquired from promoter Bill Graham and other operators of concert venues, had not been obtained. The main issue in the case pertained to approximately 200 musical compositions (with a separate class action also pending). As there was no…

Paul Weller wins privacy action against the Mail Online
Artists , Media , Privacy / May 2014

PRIVACY Artistes, media   Paul Weller has won £10,000 damages after a number of pictures of his 16 year old daughter Dylan and then 10 month of twins John-Paul and Bowie were used on the Mail Online. The High Court in London ordered Associated Newspapers to pay the sum after Weller complained of an invasion of privacy on behalf of his family. Seven paparazzi photos were published in October 2012 under the headline “A family day out: Paul Weller takes wife Hannah and his twin sons out for a spot of shopping in the hot LA sun”. The couple said the shots were “plainly voyeuristic” : A paparazzo had followed the family on a shopping trip in Santa Monica, California, and took photographs without their consent despite being asked to stop. In court, Associated Newspapers argued the images, in which the children’s faces were not pixellated, were entirely innocuous and inoffensive and the Wellers had previously chosen to open up their private family life to public gaze to a significant degree. The High Court found that whilst the images could have been published legally in California, their appearance in the UK violated the right to privacy enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights and…

New Book: Sorrow Will Come in the End
Copyright , Media / May 2014

BOOK : A new book by Jeremy Grice titled “Sorrow will come in the end” looks particularly interesting. It’s tagline is “Legal case studies in the music, theatre and entertainment industries” and the author – who is Head of Music, Theatre and Entertainment at the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts  -covers a number of now legendary cases including the lengthy ‘Apple’ trade mark dispute between the Beatles and Apple Inc, the battle between Morrissey and two other members of  The Smiths (the title is taken from a Morrissey lyric), the litigation between Stone Roses and their record label Zomba, and the dispute between Gary Kemp and three other members of Spandau Ballet, Tony Hadley, John Keeble and Steve Norman, over music publishing royalties. More on Jeremy’s website here http://jeremygrice.wordpress.com/

Zimbabwe clamps down on press freedom
Media / March 2011

MEDIA Broadcasting, press The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) are calling on Zimbabwe’s power-sharing government to repeal the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) after a late 2010 amendment to the legislation hiked mandatory registration and accreditation fees for the press working in the country by as much as 400%. The AIPPA requires news organisations and journalists operating in Zimbabwe to annually register with the government and pay accreditation fees under penalty of prosecution and custody. Following the September 2008 power-sharing Global Political Agreement between the ruling ZANU-PF and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, in April 2010, the Zimbabwe Media Commission lowered the fees, which once peaked at a total of US$30,000 in 2009 for foreign news outlets. The new amendments, published by the Zimbabwe government on 31 December 2010, and effective 1 January 2011, appeared to target international news media outlets operating in Zimbabwe and their local correspondents. Under the new fee structure obtained by CPJ, an international news outlet must pay US$6,000 for permission to operate a bureau in Zimbabwe (triple the old rate of US$2,000) in addition to a US$1,000 application fee for such permission (double the old rate of US$500). Renewal of…

Hendrix covermount damages determined
Artists , Copyright , Media , Performer's Rights / September 2010

COPYRIGHT / PERFORMERS RIGHT Artists, media By Hugo Cox at www.the1709blog.blogspot.com On 20 September 2006 the Sunday Times was distributed with a covermount CD of Jimi Hendrix’s legendary last UK concert at the Albert Hall in 1969. Experience Hendrix (Hendrix’s family’s company) and The Last Experience (the company of Jerry Goldstein, who recorded the concert) successfully asserted title to the band’s performance rights and the copyright in the recordings of the concert in a summary judgment in 2008. The question Sir William Blackburne has decided today is what damages Times Newspapers should pay. Blackburne J was clear the defendant did have reasonable grounds to know that it was infringing as Experience Hendrix had challenged them prior to publication, though the paper was not recklessly indifferent the problem – so damages would not be increased by reference to flagrancy or ‘moral prejudice’. Article 13 of the Enforcement Directive (2004/48/EC) sets out different damages regimes depending on the defendant’s knowledge, though it seems unclear that this altered the judge’s calculations. At the time of the covermount the claimants were themselves intending to release a film of the concert plus accompanying DVD, CD and merchandising. Following the covermount this project was put on hold because (1) the claimants…

Court throws out Janet Jackson wardrobe malfunction fine
Media / August 2008

BROADCASTING Television This is a tad embarrassing for the US’s Federal Communications Commission. Their $550,000 fine against broadcaster CBS for broadcasting Janet Jackson’s ‘wardrobe malfunction’ at the 2004 Super Bowl halftime show when she performed with Justin Timberlake has been ruled to have been made “arbitrarily and capriciously” by a three judge panel of the 3 rd US Circuit Court of Appeals. The 90 million people watching the Super Bowl, many of them children, heard Justin Timberlake sing, “Gonna have you naked by the end of this song,” as he reached for Jackson’s bustier and then saw fleeting nudity. The court found that the FCC deviated from its nearly 30-year practice of fining indecent broadcast programming only when it was so “pervasive as to amount to ‘shock treatment’ for the audience.” “Like any agency, the FCC may change its policies without judicial second-guessing,” the court said. “But it cannot change a well-established course of action without supplying notice of and a reasoned explanation for its policy departure http://www.billboard.com/bbcom/news/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1003829656

DJ sentenced to 10 months in prison for illegal broadcasting
Media / January 2008

MEDIA Broadcasting A DJ running an illegal FM station has been jailed for a total of 20 months following a case pursued by broadcast regulator Ofcom and the Metropolitan police. Jason Weatherman, the DJ and station manager of Lightning FM, received a sentence of 10 months for illegal broadcasting offences under the Wireless Telegraphy Act 2006. Weatherman, who ran the station from Tulse Hill in south London, received a further 10 months for other criminal offences including benefit fraud. In passing sentence at the Inner London Crown Court (Southwark) the judge referred to the dangerous nature of illegal broadcasting which runs the risk of interfering with the signal for emergency services such as the fire brigade and air traffic control as well as broadcasts by licensed radio stations. Ofcom estimates that there are around 90 illegal stations operating across the UK, with over half of these in London. Last year Ofcom undertook 1,085 operations against illegal broadcasters, and achieved 63 convictions . http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2007/dec/07/radio.ofcom

Trespass – An Ancient Legal Doctrine Gains Traction In Cyberspace
Internet , Media / May 2007

MEDIA LAW Internet ARTICLE LINK By Eric Sinrod Fed up with commercial spammers invading your inbox, unauthorized deep linking to your website, spyware on your PC or finding out that someone is using your server to send out spam – well here Eric Sinrod explains that the ancient legal doctrine of trespass to chattels which establishes liability when one person dispossesses or causes physical harm to the chattel (private property) of another person can be useful in Cyberspace. As Information technology development continues to advance at an astonishing pace, and with the law evolving at a much slower rate, traditional legal theories have had to be dusted off to grapple with Internet disputes and the best example is the application by the courts of the trespass to chattels notion to the new world of the Internet. Cases reviewed include AOL v IMS, AOL v LCGM,Compuserve v. Cyber Promotions Kerrins v. Intermix Media and Ticketmaster v. Tickets.com http://technology.findlaw.com/articles/00006/010761.html See the Article Internet Trespass:  Measuring and Controlling Internet-Distributed Advertiser-Funded Content Music Law Updates April 2006 and a review of Kerrins v Intermix Media Music Law Updates March 2006

London Olympic Act 2006
Media / April 2007

MEDIA All areas ARTICLE LINK  In this article Lee Fisher looks at the (somewhat draconian) measures set out in the London Olympic Act to protect official sponsors and prevent ambush marketing. http://www.mondaq.com/article.asp?articleid=42738&email_access=on

China impose tight rules for digital music distribution
Internet , Media / January 2007

MEDIA Internet, broadcasting The Chinese government is set to impose new laws on digital music. The new measures will mean that all music products and music service operators will be required to obtain a central license from the Ministry of Culture. “ The “Guidelines on the Development and Management of Network Music” have the stated purpose of preventing problems, such as poor quality, pirated uploads and downloads, and content that “offends” ethnic groups or “affects social stability”. They will also ban the creation of ‘network entertainment firms’ funded by foreign investors and will see the government increase control over blogs and social networking sites. Whilst the new laws will primarily govern piracy in the internet and mobile space, they are also likely to have severe consequences for foreign companies looking to capitalise on the growth of digital music, especially in the mobile space. www.chinatechnews.com english.people.com.cn http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2006-12/17/content_5499019.htm

Islamic Courts ban western music in Somalia
Media / October 2006

MEDIA Broadcasting The Union of Islamic Courts, which now govern large parts of Somalia, have extended their influence into Somalia’s media by prohibiting the broadcast of Western love songs in areas of the country that they control. The UIC had previously banned broadcasts of the World Cup and cinemas are now censored, with many closed for showing “un-Islamic movies” such as Bollywood films. Night clubs have been shut down and many aspects of social life have been ‘Islamized’. A wedding party was stopped because beer was being served, women and men were openly socializing together and the wedding band was playing what were deemed “filthy songs”. In September the Union banned the broadcasts of Western pop music and love songs. A radio FM station in Jowhar, an airport town which lies 90 kilometers from the capital of Mogadishu was shut down for airing “music and love songs,” according to an Islamic official Sheik Mohamed Mohamoud Abdirahman. In a statement issued on Saturday, and later read on several radio stations, Abdirahman wrote: “We are here by announcing to suspend temporarily the work of the Radio Jowhar from 9 p.m. local time and forbid releasing all music which is a big crime…

Buckcherry accused of featuring a minor in video
Artists , Media / October 2006

MEDIA Artists, broadcasting US rockers Buckcherry are facing a lawsuit over allegations that they enticed an under aged girl to appear in a raunchy video for their song ‘Crazy Bitch’, which was then posted on their MySpace site. The girl in question, who was under 18 when the video was shot, appears topless, kissing another girl and writhing against a pole. She also appears and is named in a ‘behind the scenes’ video shot on the set. The girl and her mother are now suing the band saying that they plied her with alcohol before enticing her to perform in the pop promo, and that she has suffered “emotional stress”. The band run the risk not only of having to pay compensation if they loose the civil suit but also facing a serious criminal charge of enticement of a minor. The band are not surprisingly disputing the claim pointing out that the girl, known only as Jane Doe, used fake ID to enter the video shoot, that it was made clear in advance that the shoot was strictly for over 18s only and that she voluntarily took part in the scenes seen in the original video. The band’s manager told…

Bush signs new decency legislation in the USA
Media / July 2006

MEDIA Television broadcast, radio broadcast President Bush has signed legislation that will cost US broadcasters dearly when raunchy programming exceeds “the bounds of decency. The Federal Communications Commission can now fine a broadcaster up to $325,000 per incident of indecency. Approval of the bill culminates a two-year effort to get tough on sexually explicit material and offensive language on radio and television following Janet Jackson’s 2004 Super Bowl “wardrobe malfunction.” The FCC recently denied a petition of reconsideration from CBS owned stations facing $550,000 in fines over the Jackson incident, in which she briefly revealed a breast during a halftime concert. The agency recently handed down its biggest fine, $3.3 million, against more than 100 CBS affiliates that aired an episode of the series “Without a Trace” that simulated an orgy scene. That fine is now under review. The FCC has received increasing complaints about lewd material over the airwaves, and has responded with fines jumping from $440,000 in 2003 to almost $8 million in 2004. In an age of emailing just a few organized protestors can generate huge numbers of ‘complaints’. In the UK the BBC screening of Jerry Springer – The Opera sparked off a massive email protest to the…

Fort Lauderdale pirate station shut down
Media / May 2006

MEDIA Radio Agents with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement have shut down a Fort Lauderdale based creole / carribbean music broadcaster Sak Pase Compas – the seventh pirate station the FDLE has dismantled in a year. Junior K. Pierre (41) of Fort Lauderdale, and Willem Michel (32) of Lauderhill, were arrested and charged with operating an unlicensed radio station. Officers seized the station’s radio equipment, including a transmitter, mixing board, CD’s and microphones, she said. Pirate stations are frowned upon as they (a) block and/or interfere with licensed stations (b) could block emergency / public safety messages and (c) interfere with other broadcasts. The Miami Herald reports that the FDLE recently confiscated pirate radio equipment in after airline pilots complained it interrupted their transmissions. Florida anti-piracy law went into effect last summer, making interfering with signals from licensed public or commercial stations, or broadcasting without a license a third-degree felony. The Fort Lauderdale case began in March with a complaint from the Federal Communications Commission that was forwarded to FDLE. The FCC regulates radio stations in the United States and is currently investigating ‘payola’ claims against four of the USA biggest radio groups. http://cbs4.com/topstories/local_story_111164222.html

Mobile television exempt from federal regulation in Canada
Internet , Media / May 2006

MEDIA Telecommunications, television, internet The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has announced that mobile television broadcasting services operated by Bell Mobility Inc, TELUS Mobility and Rogers Wireless Inc, in conjunction with MobiTV Inc (MobiTV), fall within the Exemption Order for New Media Broadcasting Undertakings (New Media Exemption Order) and are exempt from federal regulation, including content and Canadian ownership rules. All three wireless carriers provide subscribing customers with real-time access to audio-visual content on wireless handsets. The US-based service MobiTV converts video content to a format compatible with mobile browsers and handsets and provides the servers and connections to allow video streams to travel via the Internet. The CRTC found that MobiTV sends the television signals by the Internet to the Internet gateway of the mobile carrier, and they are then routed to an appropriate tower and transmitted wirelessly for the last mile to the user’s handset, where the user connects to the Internet with a web browser to access the television signals. Thus, because they were both “delivered and accessed over the Internet”, the CRTC concluded that the services fell within the New Media Exemption Order From a summary by Nick Wong in E-Tips Volume 4 No 21, a publication…

UK Media Warned Over Soham Trial Coverage
Internet , Media / January 2004

MEDIA LAW Television, Radio, Internet, Newspapers In a speech to journalists and editors, the Attorney General, Lord Goldsmith QC, set out a series of guidelines for the press after he stated that the coverage of the Soham murder trial was ‘unacceptable’. He reminded journalists at the Law for Journalists Conference that reports which asserted or assumed that the defendant was guilty were not acceptable. He also warned that stories which might prejudice the police’s investigation and stories which prejudiced the defendant’s right to a fair trial were also not acceptable. However, on the same day, the Home Secretary, David Blunkett, said of Sajid Badat, arrested for possible terrorism charges, “This individual posed a very real threat to life and liberty of our country … this person has connections with the network of Al-Qaeda groups”. COMMENT : It is difficult to see how the Home Secretary’s comments are anything but prejudicial to the defendant and his right to a fair trial in the United Kingdom. Whilst it is coincidental that the Attorney General’s guidance were on the same day as the Home Secretary’s comments (The Times, 29 November 2003) there has always been the presumption of innocence until proven guilty in the UK. The Human…