EFF criticize US labels’ approach to digital radio: EFF article “Don’t Touch That Dial, RIAA!”
Copyright , Internet , Record Labels / October 2005

COPYRIGHT Radio, Record Labels, Internet The EFF have (somewhat tongue in cheek) suggested that the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has seen the future of radio – and would prefer to live in the past. Digital broadcast radio is a standard for transmitting digital stations on existing analog radio bands. Known somewhat misleadingly as “HD radio” (the audio quality is about the same as analog FM), its adoption is giving tech companies a chance to experiment and innovate in the world of consumer radio. TiVo-like functionality could be built into your digital receiver, letting you automatically build playlists and skip across channels based on your personal tastes. Computer-operated radio cards could be enhanced with new features using the standard’s metadata. Tomorrow’s tinkerers could give us new ways to enjoy radio, just as the engineers who brought us VCRs helped transform the way we watch TV. As Mitch Bainwol, chairman of RIAA says, radio has a chance to become active, not passive, entertainment. But when he and the RIAA say that, they don’t say it like it’s a good thing. Last week, with a coalition of copyright holders, the RIAA sent messages to members of Congress requesting that the FCC…

EFF’s new guide to digital music services points to unexplained restrictions with Digital Rights Management Systems
Copyright , Record Labels / October 2005

COPYRIGHT Record Labels “If you buy music from an online music store, you may be getting much less than you thought” – that’s according to the The Electronic Frontiers Foundation. The EFF have just released “The Customer Is Always Wrong – A User’s Guide to DRM in Online Music,” which exposes how today’s digital rights management (DRM) systems can compromise a consumer’s right to lawfully manage his or her music the way she wants. The Guide takes a close look at popular online music services with built-in DRM created by Apple, RealNetworks, and Napster 2.0, as well as Microsoft’s “Plays for Sure” DRM labeling campaign. Although these companies claim their services allow consumers “freedom” and the ability to play music “any way you want it, The EFF suggests that “the reality often does not live up to the marketing hype”. When you download in these formats from online music services, the services don’t trumpet the fact that your music contains hidden restrictions that complicate your life and limit the universe of devices you can use to play your music. The Report points out that CDs purchased 20 years ago not only continue to play in every CD and DVD player,…

Centre for Crowd Safety Management is launched
Health & Safety , Live Events / October 2005

HEALTH & SAFETY Live Event Industry The Centre for Crowd Management and Security Studies has been formally opened by the Rt Hon Bruce George MP on the 6th September. The Centre, part of Buckinghamshire Chilterns University College is headed up by live music industry veteran Mick Upton who received an honorary doctorate from the University College the same day. Keynote speakers at the launch were Iain Hill and Professor Chris Kemp. The legal consultant for the Centre is the Law Updates editor, Ben Challis. The Centre was set up to help promote the creation of a safer concert and security environment. The Centre is also endorsed by the Security Industry Authority (SIA) to offer licensed qualifications in the security industry. The Centre has already worked with the ILMC Safety Focus Group to produce the http://www.safety-rocks.org website and has conducted research at the VE Day event in London’s Trafalgar Square, the Red Hot Chilli Peppers concert in London’s Hyde Park, the Robbie Williams concert at Knebworth, the Eminen concerts at Milton Keynes Bowl, and at the Roskilde Festival. The Centre is now looking at safety barriers in conjunction with Mojo Barriers and Professor Kemp added that the Centre is now looking at scientific…

Korn sign all in deal with EMI
Contract , Record Labels / October 2005

CONTRACTS Record Labels Following the much discussed deal between Robbie Williams and EMI, The LA Times reports that EMI has signed a five-year deal with Korn where the label will have a stake in the band’s additional earnings beyond sales of recorded music. An estimated fifteen million dollar advance has been paid. Similar deals are being done with new acts including A&M/Interscope’s deal with the Pussycat Dolls. My Chemical Romance’s deal with Warners covers both recording rights and merchandise. Under Korn’s new deal, EMI will get more than 25% of the band’s publishing, merchandising and touring revenue as well as profit from the group’s albums The signing of a band as big as Korn is seen as possibly indicative of how recording contracts will change across the industry. Some see this as a way for labels to get a better/quicker return on their investment (as bands will be marketed more aggressively through all media channels). However, others are suggesting that Korn’s recording and touring fortunes are on the slide, making this a curious time to sign a deal such as this with the band. Music executives and artists say that if all-encompassing agreements become common, they could significantly shift the…

UK Home Office exempts football stewards from door supervisor regulations
Licensing , Live Events / October 2005

LICENSING Live Event Industry The Home Office has decided to exempt in-house football stewards from licensing under the Private Security Industry Act 2001 following consultation with the SIA, the Football Licensing Authority and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. The Private Security Industry Act (PSIA) 2001 allows for specific groups to be exempt for the Act in circumstances where suitable equivalent alternative arrangements apply. The exemption for football stewards is expected to take place from around January 2006. Media enquiries on this subject are being handled by the Home Office Press Office. The Home Office has issued a Regulatory Impact Assessment (RIA) which considers the options for ensuring that football stewards, their supervisors and managers satisfy the requirements of the PSIA 2001 without creating an unnecessary burden on the businesses and individuals affected. It also sets out the Government’s preferred option and explains how the proposed framework will work. See: http://www.the-sia.org.uk

UK judicial review finds local authority policy illegal
Health & Safety , Live Events / October 2005

HEALTH & SAFETY Live Music Industry The pub sector has won a landmark legal case against Canterbury City Council in the UK finding that Canterbury’s Licensing Policy is unlawful. Central to the case was that Canterbury’s Licensing Policy was far too prescriptive, set broad blanket conditions on licensed businesses and misled those applying for licences about what they had to do to be granted a licence – in effect the case was that the Council’s Licensing Policy was in breach of the provisions of the Licensing Act 2003. Mr. Justice Richards stated in his ruling, ‘It is sufficient that my judgment speaks for itself, not just to the council [Canterbury] but also to the other licensing authorities whose policies are under examination’. The case highlighted the problem in the licensed trade where a number of local authorities attempted to use their Licensing Policies to impose what are said to be unnecessary and unlawful conditions and regulatory burdens on pubs. The Judicial Review was a joint action taken on behalf of the pub industry by the British Beer & Pub Association, The Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers and the British Institute of Innkeeping. Government figures now show that 86% of premises…

Australian Court rules that Kazaa file swapping software is illegal

COPYRIGHT Record Labels, Music Publishers, Internet Australian Court rules that Kazaa file swapping software is illegal: Universal Music of Australia Pty Ltd vs Sharman License Holdings (2005) whilst other P2P companies review strategies in light of the Grokster decision The Federal Court of Australia has ruled that the internet peer-to-peer operator Kazaa is illegal and the IFPI has called on similar networks throughout the world to stop infringing copyright or face the legal consequences. The judgment, coming just ten weeks after the US Supreme Court ruling against the ‘file-sharing’ operator Grokster, concludes the 18-month trial of the best-known international file-swapping service and helps to lay down the law for the new generation of unauthorised peer-to-peer operators. The Court ruled that Kazaa – until recently the world’s biggest single internet piracy operation with 2.4 million users worldwide – is an illegal business that is liable for copyright infringement. The move is part of a global trend clarifying the rules around internet music distribution. A court ruling in Korea last month required the peer-to-peer service Soribada to stop unauthorised file-swapping on its network or shut down. IFPI Chairman and CEO John Kennedy said: “Within the space of ten weeks, three courts in three different…

First criminal ruling against an internet peer-to-peer service in Taiwan

COPYRIGHT Record Labels, Music Publishers, Internet The IFPI, representing the international recording industry, has welcomed the conviction of Taiwan-based internet file-sharing service Kuro, in what is the first criminal conviction of a peer-to-peer (p2p) service in the world. A Taiwan court today convicted Kuro of criminal copyright infringement, imposing a fine of NT$3 million (approx US$90,000) and sentencing the three principals of Kuro, along with a user, to jail terms of up to three years. The judgement follows three other court rulings on file-sharing services – all within the past three months. The IFPI say that all four – the ruling against Kazaa in Australia (see abopve), the unanimous US Supreme Court ruling against Grokster, and the injunction against Soribada in Korea – establish there is no defence for file-sharing services that build their businesses on the back of unauthorised trading of copyrighted material. Lauri Rechardt, IFPI Taiwan has called upon Kuro to stop immediately the unauthorised file-sharing, to either close or make the necessary changes to allow the technology to be used legally. The Chen brothers, who ran the service, have been each sentenced to three years imprisonment; their father, who was president of Kuro, to two years; and…

Major labels seek to outlaw Chinese search engine
Copyright , Internet , Record Labels / October 2005

COPYRIGHT Internet, Record Labels China’s leading internet search engine has said that it would appeal a decision by a Beijing court that it should pay compensation to a unit of global music group EMI music, over downloads of pirated pop music offered through its website. The ruling, which also ordered the company to stop providing the services, highlighted the potential legal vulnerability of the popular “MP3” digital music search service offered by Baidu, which enjoyed a hugely successful listing on the Nasdaq last month. The Baidu search engine (commonly refered to as ‘the Chinese Google’) has been sued for making copyright infringement easy via its MP3 search option. Baidu commands 37.4% of China’s search market. German and Australian courts have already held that internet links sites to other illegal download sites are in themselves illegal. The company claims that it is not offering downloads itself: it is merely offering a search option. Baidu’s VP of Marketing, Liang Dong, says: “From the copyright point of view, we think differently than the music companies. Baidu is just a platform for music search”. Source: Five Eight Magazine – http://www.five-eight.net See: http://www.mg.co.za/articlePage.aspx?articleid=251123&area=/breaking_news/breaking_news__business/ For the Australian decision see Law Updates August 2005 and Germany see Law Updates…

BPI issues new proceedings against CDWow!
Copyright , Record Labels / October 2005

COPYRIGHT Record Labels The BPI is to issue legal proceedings against internet music retailer CD Wow for importing illicitly cut-price CDs and DVDs from south east Asia. The BPI says it has evidence that CD Wow has broken court undertakings not to import such material. The BPI originally reached an out of court settlement with CD Wow in January 2004 after similar allegations. The retailer gave undertakings to both the BPI and the High Court that it would only import music legally. The case covers CDs and DVDs (including a cut-price version of the Live Aid DVD which the BPI feels may potentially have deprived the charity of income). Source: http://www.bpi.co.uk

Pirating cable TV in Hong Kong: By Ken Yip
Copyright / October 2005

COPYRIGHT Broadcasting ARTICLE: This is a link to a useful article on pirated internet streaming of cable TV programmes via the internet: Synopsis “First it was CD. Then it was DVD. Now, it is cable-TV …… Recently, a couple of specialized computer programs have been developed to allow P2P streaming of cable-TV contents, such as ESPN and Discovery Channel, over the Internet. Anyone can now log on to the internet and watch ESPN without paying a dime to a cable-TV operator or ESPN” See: http://www.mondaq.com/article.asp?articleid=34786&email_access=on

Music and film industries launch new software to fight file sharing
Copyright , Record Labels / October 2005

COPYRIGHT Software, Films, Record Labels The IFPI, in conjunction with Motion Picture Association of America, have launched the Digital File Check software to help individuals and companies prevent their computers from being used to illegally file-share copyrighted works online. The software is free and helps users delete P2P software and also ensure that copyright material is not in their shared folders. In addition, the IFPI is sending a copyright guide to IT managers at large companies to help them ensure their machines and networks are not used for file-sharing. The software is available online for free and will also be issued on CD in Denmark, Finland, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and the UK. This finally seems to be a positive move from the record labels who have tended to rely on litigation against file-sharers and P2P operators to ‘solve’ the problem of P2P file sharing. The timing of the initiative is also interesting in light of the growing legal pressure on Congress in the US to investigate how effective colleges and universities’ anti-piracy measures have been. See: http://www.ifpi.org/site-content/press/20050922.html and http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/thr/music/brief_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1001179669

Experience Hendrix LLC files additional suit against Purple Haze Records

COPYRIGHT AND PERFORMERS’ RIGHTS Record Labels, Artists Following its victory over Purple Haze Records earlier this year, Seattle-based Experience Hendrix LLC filed a second suit (on September 12th 2005) to stop the marketing and sales of all unauthorized Jimi Hendrix recordings through the U.K. independent label. In February, the High Court of Justice in London held Purple Haze and proprietor Lawrence Miller liable for infringing the rights of Experience Hendrix in recordings of the Jimi Hendrix Experience’s 1969 Konserthuset performance in Stockholm as these breached the artists performers rights provided for under the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 (as amended in 1996 and as applied retrospectively). See law updates July 2005 and June 2005 Experience Hendrix LLC v Purple Haze Record Ltd and Another