Potter Lexicon binned in victory for Rowling
Copyright / October 2008

COPYRIGHT Books, all areas An unofficial guide to the phenomenally successful ‘Harry Potter’ series of books must be scraped after a ruling in the US courts. The Harry Potter lexicon, a 400 page reference book, was held to infringe J K Rowling’s (and Warner Brothers) copyrights and that the defence of fair use would not apply. Judge Robert Patterson said that the book ‘appropriates too much of Rowling’s creative work for its purposes as a reference book and that independent publisher RDR Books had ‘failed to establish an affirmative defence of fair use. As the book had yet to be published the judge made nominal awards of damages to Rowling and Warner Brothers of £430 for each of the seven novels Rowling has written and £3,888 for two companion books she has also written.   Laurie Kaye has this to say in his most excellent and wizard blog athttp://laurencekaye.typepad.com/laurence_kayes_blog/ So J K Rowling won a permanent injunction yesterday from a NY federal judge to stop RDR Books from publishing a book entitled “The Lexicon”, based on the materials Steven Vander Ark culled from the Harry Potter works (including her companion books) and published on his website “The Harry Potter Lexicon”. The…

So Def chief Dupri and Daz Dillinger face defamation claim
Artists , Defamation , Record Labels / October 2008

DEFAMATION Record labels, artists So Def chief Jermaine Dupri is facing a defamation lawsuit because of the use of a recording of a private phone-call that appeared on Daz Dillinger album ‘So So Gangsta’ back in 2006. A woman called Aika Kendrick claims that the Dupri and Dillinger recorded a personal conversation with her and then used it as a background to the song ‘The One’, which is about an emotionally abusive relationship; the conversation ends with Dillinger launching a tirade of abuse at Kendrick. Kendrick says that as soon as she was aware that the call had been recorded she sent a cease-and-desist to Dupri’s label, but they ignored it, and adds that her inclusion on the album track has made her “the subject of embarrassment, humiliation, and degradation”. She’s seeking $250,000 in damages on the grounds of negligence, copyright infringement, defamation, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. CMU Daily 12 th September 2008 www.cmumusicnetwork.co.uk

Updates on copyright and music in the US
Copyright , Internet / October 2008

COPYRIGHT Internet ARTICLE LINKS –  Rendering ‘Fair Use’ fairly useless and other stories from the digital frontline This is an interesting article by C M Boots-Faubert of the Cape Code Times about proposed US legislation which would immunize entities such as the Recording Industry of America and the Motion Picture Association of America from state and federal laws if they decide that it is necessary to hack, disable, hijack, or otherwise impair “publicly accessible peer-to-peer networks” in order to protect the copyrights they own or represent http://www.capecodonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080902/BIZ/809020303/-1/NEWS Suit sends message says Prof – this article by Isshin Teshima writing in the Flat Hat describes how the College of William and Mary complied with a court order from District Judge F Bradford Stillman and released details of 19 students who had allegedly been sharing music online to the Recording Industry Association of America. This is a useful review of where the music industry is at the moment in the US when trying to enforce copyrights. http://www.flathatnews.com/content/riaa-suits-send-message-says-prof Here is a review of the RIAA’s actions to date – File Sharing Lawsuits at a Crossroads, After 5 Years of RIAA Litigation by David Kravets on Wired.com – have the RIAA’s actions against individual peer-2-peer file swappers worked? Have these actions been a necessary tool to fight back against…

Payola – could an old idea save online radio and the music industry?
Copyright , Internet , Record Labels / October 2008

COPYRIGHT Internet, radio, record labels ARTICLE LINK: Remembering that in the US terrestrial stations (but not satellite or online) pay nothing to labels to use music, this interesting article looks at the illegal practice of record labels paying radio stations to get airtime (“pay for play” or payola) and asks if a reworked idea could be a boon to the music industry. http://www.alleyinsider.com/2008/9/could-payola-save-online-radio

UK CD Pirate jailed for three years
Copyright , Record Labels / October 2008

COPYRIGHT Record labels A UK man has been jailed for three years after running a bootleg CD business from his South East London home, in which he counterfeited all kinds of goods, including CDs, DVDs and video games, and then sold them via a website and eBay pretending they were the legitimate. Neil Norton was tracked down as the result of a three-year investigation involving Lewisham Council, Bromley Police, the Federation Against Copyright Theft and record label trade body the BPI. It’s estimated he made up to £850,000 as a result of his counterfeiting over an eight year period, funds which helped him buy the Porsche, BMW, personalised number plates, cameras and computer equipment found at his home – belongings the authorities will now seek to confiscate. A destruction order will also be sought to enable all the remaining counterfeit goods, which include fake designer label clothes as well as the CDs and DVDs, to be destroyed. www.bpi.org

China’s nonstop music machine
Copyright , Internet / October 2008

COPYRIGHT Internet ARTICLE LINK:  There’s an interesting article on website The Register looking into the operations of Chinese search engine Baidu, Chinas biggest search engine (far bigger than Google with a 70% market share) which provides a MP3 search engine which provides easy access to online sources of digital music, predominantly illegal unlicensed services. This service was been found to be legal by the Chinese courts after Baidu argued that they didn’t actually host any illegal content – merely linked to it. However the Chinese courts then later found Yahoo! guilty for running a similar service and Baidu now face a second case. The Register have noted that Baidu is one of China’s big internet success stories and at the end of last year it started to trade its shares on the New York based NASDAQ stock exchange – and is valued at $12 billion – and wonders what the implications were for investors. The Register also note that the Chinese government is starting to crack down on corporate infringers in their country as a result of pressure from the West – earlier this year Chinese authorities fined one of Baidu’s albeit smaller rivals, Zhongsou, and seized their servers in…

Is music policed and controlled?
Censorship / October 2008

CENSORSHIP & POLICY All areas, theatre The Taliban may rip tape from cassettes and smash radios – but other ways of controlling what we listen to are far more subtle – from copyright to BBC playlists – and this interesting article, which profiles the work of musician and academic Richard Witts, looks at how sound and music are controlled http://www.independent.co.uk/news/education/higher/is-music-policed-and-controlled-933831.html And for a look at the history of censorship in the theatre including recent cases see ‘A Disgusting Feast of Filth?’ http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/law/article4775754.ece

New trial ordered in Jammie Thomas case
Copyright , Internet / October 2008

COPYRIGHT Internet US Judge Michael J Davis has granted a new trial in the case of Jammie Thomas, the Minnesota woman convicted of pirating music files in the nation’s first file-sharing trial, ruling that he had made an error in the jury instructions that “substantially prejudiced” her rights. Thomas was convicted last October and a jury in Duluth found her guilty of copyright infringement for offering to share 24 songs on the Kazaa file sharing network. She was ordered to pay $222,000 to six record companies. The legal issue was whether the claimant record companies had to prove anyone else actually downloaded their copyrighted songs, as Thomas’ lawyer argued, or whether it was enough to argue, as the industry did, that a defendant simply made copyrighted music available for copying. Turning to a 1993 appeals court decision, Davis concluded in his 44-page ruling that the law requires that actual distribution be shown. In his jury instructions, he had said it didn’t. Judge Davis also called on Congress to change the federal Copyright Act to address liability and damages in similar peer-to-peer file-sharing network cases saying that whilst he didn’t discount the industry’s claim that illegal downloading has hurt the recording…

Nokia takes a bite out of Apple as the west finally catches up
Copyright , Internet / October 2008

COPYRIGHT Internet ARTICLE:  By Cassandra Williams postgraduate student at the College of Law Two new digital music services have just been announced, each potential threats to the dominance if Apple’s iTunes. Firstly MySpace announced that it would allow artists to stream as many tracks as they like from their MySpace site, funding the costs through advertising, and also announced that it would also compete with iTunes in selling downloads if users wish to keep tracks (on their computers or MP3 players) with a 79p per track offer. All four major labels (Warners, EMI, SonyBMG and Universal) have signed up to the service which will first launch in the US . But this article looks at a different platform – the mobile phone – where a new threat to Apple is perceived. That said, the combination of phone and music player only really took off with the iPhone. 5 million have been sold this quarter according to Information week. However there are drawbacks to Apple’s system: iTunes only offers music on a song by song basis; the tracks are all M4A and thus cannot be easily transferred to other devices; and record label executives are also known to be dissatisfied with the deals…