Sweden updates copyright laws to prohibit illegal downloading
Copyright , Internet , Record Labels / July 2005

COPYRIGHT Record Labels, software, Internet Sweden has made it illegal to download copyright material from the Internet and approved measures to discourage people from burning copies of CDs and DVDs. The law, which takes effect July 1, also bans technology and software used to circumvent protections on copyright material, including music, movies and games mirroring similar legislation in the USA. Previously whilst it was prohibited in Sweden to make copyright material available for others to download, downloading itself was legal. The new law also makes it illegal to copy an entire book, including text books, on a copying machine. Sweden does not forbid making a copy of a CD or DVD for personal use but there is a 24% tax on recordable CD and DVD-discs. See: http://www.qlinks.net/quicklinks/copyrigh.htm andhttp://www.theregister.co.uk/2005/06/06/swedish_file_sharers/

Infringements under US Artist Rights and Theft Prevention Act limited to true distribution
Copyright , Internet , Record Labels / July 2005

COPYRIGHT Record Labels, Internet Federal judge Marilyn Hall Patel presiding over the Napster copyright litigation has clarified that the Artists’ Rights and Theft Prevention Act of 2005 does not establish that the operator of a peer-to-peer Internet file-sharing service who maintains and posts on the Internet an index of downloadable files embodying copyrighted sound recording and musical compositions infringes on the copyright owners’ distribution rights. The Artists’ Rights and Theft Prevention Act of 2005 (the ART Act) was signed into law in April 2005. Section 103(a) of the ART Act creates criminal liability for certain acts of willful copyright infringement, including the willful infringement of a copyrighted work that is “being prepared for commercial distribution.” The ART Act specifically provides at Section 103(a)(1)(C) that “[a]ny person who willfully infringes a copyright shall be punished. .. if the infringement was committed. .. by the distribution of a work being prepared for commercial distribution, by making it available on a computer network accessible to members of the public, if such person knew or should have known that the work was intended for commercial distribution.” According to Judge Patel, “if Congress wanted to make clear that the distribution right was broad enough to encompass making…

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…

Weblisten finally shut down after admission of criminal liability
Copyright , Record Labels / July 2005

COPYRIGHT Record Labels Weblisten, the Spanish based website Weblisteb, which had offered many thousands of international and local songs for download and streaming through its website has been shut down by a court order. The move follows Weblisten’s admission of criminal copyright infringement in a Spanish court hearing on May 31. Weblisten had been making copyrighted music files available online since 1997, despite successive legal actions against it over six years. Civil and criminal copyright infringement proceedings were taken against it by AGEDI, the Spanish producers’ collecting society, on behalf of the country’s music industry, as well as by seven independent and major record companies. Until now, Weblisten maintained that it was operating legally, even though it had secured licences only from music publishers and not the affected record labels. As part of the final order to be issued in the case, Weblisten will be required to destroy its databases of unauthorised music, pay a fine and refrain from engaging in any similar such activities in the future. Spain has a growing market for online music, with at least ten legitimate online music services operating in the country including iTunes, MSN Music Club, Tiscali, Vitimanic Music Club and Wanadoo. See: http://www.ifpi.org

First Norwegian conviction for file swapping
Copyright , Record Labels / July 2005

COPYRIGHT Record Labels The Oslo municipal court has sentenced a 36-year-old man for running an illegal file sharing service on the Internet, the first conviction of its type in Norway. The court ruled that the man had willingly and knowingly made a significant number of film and music files available to at least 300 people at a time and had violated copyright law. The Sandefjord man placed material on his employer’s (telecom company NetCom’s) server to facilitate transfer. A police raid revealed more than 60,000 pirated film and music files. It is expected that the Norwegian recording industry will now bring a civil action for damages. See: http://www.aftenposten.no/english/local/article1050773.ece

Welsh pirate caught after test purchase from Ebay
Copyright , Record Labels / July 2005

COPYRIGHT Record Labels James Russell Harley, 26, used his ten year old son’s name to register an Ebay account and sold copied pirate CDs on the worldwide web. He was caught when special investigators made a test purchase. The British Phonographic Institute bought a counterfeit CD and made a complaint to Flintshire public protection department. A search found more than 1,300 CDs and DVDs at Harley’s home in Broughton, North Wales as well as a computer and copying system, which was capable of producing 11 copies from a single CD . Harley admitted 11 trademarks and copyright offences involving various CDs including School of Rock, Elton John Sings the West Coast and Now 86, and asked for 100 similar offences to be taken into consideration. Richard Powell, prosecuting, said investigators found 540 names or email addresses, which showed the defendant had received payments of between £5 and £50. Flintshire magistrates said that they were considering a community punishment order but adjourned sentence for a report from the probation service. See:http://icnorthwales.icnetwork.co.uk/news/regionalnews/tm_objectid=15583096&method=full&siteid=50142&headline=dad-sold-fake-cds-in-name-of-son–10-name_page.html

Waits challenges download royalties based on physical product sales

CONTRACTS AND COPYRIGHT Music Publishers, Internet, Record Labels Third Story Music, a Los Angeles-based music publishing firm and the successor to the production company that managed singer-songwriter Tom Waits early in his career, has filed a federal suit against Warner Music Group, alleging that Waits has been shortchanged on the sale of digital downloads. The action, filed in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California in Los Angeles stems from 1972 and 1977 contracts signed by Third Story principal Herb Cohen and Warner-owned Asylum Records regarding Waits’ services. According to the suit, under the terms of the two contracts, Waits was entitled to royalties of either 25% or 50% from revenues derived from third-party licenses. Third Story maintains that digital music downloads constitute a form of third-party license, and that Waits is entitled to payment at that level. Wait’s 2003 and 2004 royalty statements to Third Story from WMG computed royalties from Waits’ digital download sales at the same (and much lower) rate as royalties from the sale of physical product. – on those calculations Waits would be entitled to either 9% or 13% of the 67 cents received by WMG from each 99-cent download. Third Story seeks…

Trent Reznor wins $2.9 million judgment against former manager
Artists , Copyright / July 2005

COPYRIGHT Artists Former Nine Inch Nails manager John Malm has been ordered to pay up $2.9 million for allegedly cheating Trent Reznor out of millions of dollars. Reznor filed the lawsuit in 2004 in New York claiming that former manager John Malm mismanaged the bands finances and stole money from them. Allegedly, Malm had tricked Reznor into signing a contract that assigned the manager 20 percent of Gross earnings (rather than Net). The judgment also awarded trademarks back to Reznor. See: http://www.internetdj.com/article.php?storyid=615

George Clinton wins back master tape rights
Artists , Copyright , Record Labels / July 2005

COPYRIGHT Record Labels, Artists Federal Judge Manuel L. Real of Federal District Court of Los Angeles returned ownership of the master recordings of four albums George Clinton made in the 1970’s with his band Funkadelic: In winning possession of the recordings, Mr. Clinton can now control licensing and distribution of the music and lay claim income from past licensing fees. The ruling came as the latest twist in a 12-year legal fight over the rights to the recordings and the copyrights to the songs of Funkadelic and of Parliament, Mr. Clinton’s other funk band. Mr. Clinton may be entitled to income from past licensing fees from record labels whose artists lifted samples, or snippets, from Parliament and Funkadelic albums. Mr. Clinton also has grounds to seek compensation for the re-release of the albums in 2002 by Priority Records, now a unit of the music giant EMI Group. See: http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/07/arts/music/07funk.html?

Court of Appeals re-affirms Westbound Records and Bridgeport Music v No Limit Films and Dimension Films
Copyright , Record Labels / July 2005

COPYRIGHT Record Labels The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit today has reaffimed the position that it first announced last year – that there is no “de minimis” rule when looking at the use of sound recordings as samples. Under the court’s latest ruling in even two notes sampled from a sound recording without permission would amount to copyright infringement. (The court acknowledged that taking one note probably would not amount to infringement, since copyright law defines a sound recording as “the fixation of a series of musical, spoken, or other sounds.”) The case involves a two-second, three-note guitar riff sampled from the song “Get Off Your Ass and Jam,” which was changed in pitch and “looped” into another song, “100 Miles.” “100 Miles” was used in the soundtrack of a movie and the moviemakers were the defendants in the case. A federal trial court ruled that the copying was de minimis and therefore not actionable under copyright law. The Sixth Circuit reversed this decision last year, but then agreed to grant “rehearing.” It has decided not to change its stance. For Comment see: http://www.fepproject.org/news/bridgeport.html and see :http://www.musicjournal.org/03thesongremainsthesame.html UPDATE Newton v Diamond and Others (2004) 04-0129  In a similar decision the 9th…

Anti-piracy group broke Swedish data laws
Copyright , Record Labels / July 2005

COPYRIGHT Record Labels Sweden’s anti-piracy group, Antipiratbyrån (APB), broke the personal data act in its hunt for illegal file-sharers, the country’s Data Inspection Board has ruled. At the beginning of March, a large number of Swedish citizens reported the film and games industry-backed non-governmental organisation for its method of tracking the downloading of copyright-protected files. APB used new software to record the IP-addresses of file sharers, as well as the alias, the file name and the server through which the connection was made. The Data Inspection Board ruled that if an IP address can be linked to an individual it is classed as personal information and therefore falls under the Personal Data Act and is protected. As a private company the APB has no right to use the information and indeed could be classed as a criminal offence (although it could be held to be a minor infringement). APB have now stopped collecting the data, passing on details of suspected file swappers to the police although APB are entitled to apply for an exemption from the Personal Data Act. See: http://www.thelocal.se/article.php?ID=1581&date=20050610

Experience Hendrix LLC v Purple Haze Record Ltd and Another
Artists , Performer's Rights / July 2005

PERFORMERS’ RIGHTS Artists The Court of Appeal has now given directions for the conduct of the appeal by Purple Haze Records Ltd against the summary judgment obtained by Experience Hendrix LLC. The case alleges infringement of performers’ rights and was brought by Experience Hendrix LLC (the successor in title to the Jimi Hendrix estate) against Purple Haze Records Ltd and Lawrence Miller for the release of an album with a performance by Jimi Hendrix and his band that had been recorded in Stockholm in 1969. At the time of the recording, UK legislation did not protect performers unless the recording itself was unauthorised – performers’ rights in their present form were only introduced in the UK in 1998. However, the High Court found in its summary judgment that later legislation could be applied retrospectively. See Law Updates June 2005