UK Competition Commission rejects Live Nation – Ticketmaster tie up
Competition , Live Events / November 2009

COMPETITION  Live events, ticketing In provisional findings, the UK’s Competition Commission (CC) has ruled against the proposed merger between Live Nation and Ticketmaster Entertainment, predominantly because it would hinder German ticketing company CTS Eventim’s entry into the UK market. The opposition is the first against a US merger since the CC was given the power to oppose mergers in 2003. The merger, which was announced in February and would create one of the world’s largest entertainment companies with annual sales of about $6 billion and interests in concerts and tours, venues, ticketing, artist services and merchandise, is also the focus of investigation in the US. Live Nation also has a number of so called 360 degree deals with artists including U2, Madonna, Shakira, Jay-Z and Nickleback. Since it’s 2008 merger with Irving Azoff’s Frontline Management which saw Azoff installed as CEO at TM, the combined TM portfolio now includes the management of the Eagles, Christina Aguilera, Jimmy Buffet and Neil Diamond amongst another two hundred acts and alongside the world’s biggest ticketing operation. In a separate move TM also recently acquired a majority stake in Nashville based DS management whose roster includes Alison Krauss and Union Station amongst others CC…

Guns n Roses face sampling claim
Artists , Copyright , Record Labels / November 2009

COPYRIGHT Record labels, artists Two British independent labels, Independiente and Domino, have launched a lawsuit against Universal’s Interscope-Geffen-A&M division, claiming that one of their artists, Guns N Roses, used samples taken from two recordings by German musician Ulrich Schnauss, who is represented by the two Brit labels without permission. It is claimed that portions of Schnauss’ ‘Wherever You Are’ and ‘A Strangely Isolate Place’ reportedly appear on GNR’s ‘Riad N The Bedouins‘ from GNR’s 2008 Chinese Democracy’ album. Independiente and Domino are seeking $1 million in damages in relation to the infringements. GNR manager and Ticketmaster boss Irving Azoff responded to the lawsuit saying “The band believed when the record came out and still believes that there are no unauthorised samples on the track. The snippets of ‘ambient noise’ in question were provided by a member of the album’s production team who has assured us that these few seconds of sound were obtained legitimately. Artists these days can’t read the minds of those they collaborate with and therefore are unfortunately vulnerable to claims like this one. While the band resents the implication that they would ever use another artist’s work improperly and are assessing possible counterclaims, they are confident this situation will be satisfactorily resolved”.  7th…

Content owners lawsuit against ISP reaches Australian court
Copyright , Internet / November 2009

COPYRIGHT Internet Followng on from successful actions against file swapping sites in the USA (MGM v Grokster), Australia (Kazaa) and Sweden (The Pirate Bay), a coalition of film and TV companies are suing an Australian internet service provider for failing to stop it’s customers from file-sharing arguing that the net company is liable under existing Aussie copyright rules. The coalition of content owners, under the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft banner, allege that Perth-based iiNet is guilty of so called authorising (or contributory) copyright infringement for knowingly ignoring massive amounts of illegal file-sharing undertaken by its customers on its servers saying that investigators hired by FACT set up iiNet internet accounts and used them to share film content online, even telling iiNet about the infringement being conducted by the investigators. It is alleged that the net firm failed to take any action even though their own terms and conditions say customers must not access illegal content and that customers could be disconnected as a result of being in breach of contract. The US case of MGM v Grokster sets an important precedent in this area of law although not one that binds Australian courts but in both the US and…

As the Future of Music Conference closes, artists still lead the way in providing new business models
Copyright / November 2009

COPYRIGHT All areas As record labels struggle to survive the digital change it seems to be artists who are taking the lead in finding new ways to monetise their music. But as consumers want cheap (or free) music, on demand and with no strings attached, the key questions posed at the Future of Music Conference was which of these varied goals were achievable and who will lose out in the race to the digital future – or indeed will everyone lose out in the long term as labels collapse, artists fail to develop and fan’s lose a vibrant music business providing and promoting new music. At the top of the Summit agenda was net neutrality, the principle that keeps the Internet equally accessible to all users. A few major corporations have advocated tiered access to the Internet based on the ability to pay, a notion strongly rejected in keynote speeches by Senator Al Franken (Democrat, Minnesota.) and Federal Communications Chairman Julius Genachowski, who will oversee the rulemaking process on net neutrality getting underway in the next few weeks. But Franklin and Genachowski also said that any Internet activity that violates artist copyright could not be tolerated. “Enforcement of copyright and…

Will new music streaming business models survive the dawn of the digital age?
Copyright , Internet , Record Labels / November 2009

COPYRIGHT Internet, record labels The word on everyone’s lips in the music industry (this month) is ‘Spotify’ – and it’s ‘all you can eat’ business model for providing unlimited music streams to music fans either for free – if fans are prepared to put up with advertising – or for £9.99 per month as a premium service. As Spotify, launched by Swedish internet entrepreneur Daniel Ek, reached its first birthday, attention turned to figures released by Ek about the success of the service and his self declared problems in getting what he considers workable deals with the record labels who control the rights to sound recordings and music publishers (and their collection societies) who control the rights to songs. Many media commentators are saying that the service will soon be out of business unless they can get more people to pay for music – with commentators arguing that the adverting funded model will not work and Spotify needs to rapidly increase the number of its two million UK users who pay the subscription – currently it is thought only about 10% pay and indeed Ek, writing on the company’s blog to mark the first anniversary this week, said “Spotify has…

Icebergs in the Stream – Always the Danger Lurking Beneath
Copyright , Internet / November 2009

COPYRIGHT Internet ARTICLE:  By Cassandra Williams, post graduate law student at the College of Law  As anyone who has kept up with the news knows, downloading illegal content is allegedly killing off the music and film industries. That said, downloading may just be the tip of the iceberg and   streaming could be the real danger lurking beneath to music, film and television companies. Why risk the possibility of huge fines, being cut off from the internet and court action when all content a user needs can be easily accessed via streaming? Youtube may have started the revolution in terms of streaming content, but the mantle has been picked up by sites that actually stream entire television series and films as well as the latest singles and back catalogue of most artists.  Of course most of these sites streaming the content are breaking the law in the same way that a TV channel that broadcasts a programme without the correct clearances would be liable for copyright infringement.  However the viewers of the TV channel at home who happened to tune into the channel will not be held liable for watching an illegal stream. Why, well as an ‘end user’ the consumer…

Merkel attacks Google’s book project
Copyright , Internet / November 2009

COPYRIGHT Internet France may have reluctantly accepted Google’s plan to build a massive digital library of the world’s books but now the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, has waded into the debate on the eve of the Frankfurt Book Fair, appealing for more international copyright protection and saying that her government opposed Google’s drive for the giant online library full of the world’s books warning of “considerable dangers” for copyright protection in the internet. Google has already scanned in 10 million books but in her weekly video podcast Merkel said “the Government has a clear position: copyrights have to be protected on the internet”. In the US a court approved settlement between publishers and authors and Google is in its final stages with a lump sum payment and ongoing royalties payable for the use of literary copyrights but German book publishers have criticised European regulators for failing to oppose the settlement. Source: The Observer  11th October 2009 p35

Edwyn Collins furious at MySpace takedown
Copyright , Internet / November 2009

COPYRIGHT Internet Edwyn Collins’ manager and wife Grace Maxwell’s has publicly attacked MySpace and Warner Music for refusing to let the musician’s biggest hit, ‘A Girl Like You’, from being streamed on his MySpace page due to a copyright claim from Warner Music despite the fact that Warner don’t own the copyright to the song. It seems the copyright is retained by Collins who had a previous relationship with Warners but that relationship has expired. Maxwell also pointed out that Warner sell the song, and others they don’t own the rights to, on download stores worldwide. Taking to her blog on Collins’ official website again this week, Maxwell said: “Whaddaya know? After 30 odd fruitless emails, ‘A Girl Like You’ is now available in full on the MySpace player! So, today’s lesson is simple: the most powerful department in any organisation is the press office.The whole sad world runs scared of bad publicity, especially from a righteous source like Edwyn Collins”. She added: “Warner Music Group has no connection with Edwyn whatsoever and yet they are still corporately arrogant enough to steal Edwyn’s copyright and God knows what else from others. A guy from MySpace advised me to treat their…

Congress escalates battle over radio royalties
Copyright / November 2009

COPYRIGHT Broadcasting ARTICLE LINK   Will US radio broadcasters end up paying over $1 billion in royalties to record labels and recording artists to use their sound recordings? The battle lines are set as a new bill moves through the US legislature

US Court allows EMI to chase firm’s boss
Copyright , Internet / November 2009

COPYRIGHT Internet A US judge has given EMI the green light to directly sue digital music veteran Michael Robertson over his service. EMI has been pursuing litigation against since November 2007, arguing that the online storage system, which lets users store their MP3 collections on an external server which they can then access on any computer, infringes the music company’s copyrights. EMI’s original lawsuit named and its founder Michael Robertson as defendants, but last year a judge ruled that the entrepreneur himself could not be targeted through the litigation. However, that ruling has now been changed, significantly after seeing a deposition given by Emily Richards, the former President of which said that Robertson had a very hands-on involvement in the day to day development and running of, and often made decisions without consulting her. This, EMI successfully argued, backed up their viewpoint that Robertson should accept some personal liability for any infringement his new service may or may not be guilty of. Because Richards’ deposition differed, the judge concluded, from one she had previously given while still working for Robertson, and because the original decision regarding Robertson’s liability had in part been based on that…

PPL to appeal Copyright Tribunal ‘one size fits all’ decision
Copyright , Record Labels / November 2009

COPYRIGHT Record labels PPL have said they will appeal the Copyright Tribunal’s ruling on the disagreement between the recording royalty collecting society and the pub industry over how much bars, shops, cafes and offices should pay to play recorded music in their establishments. PPL say they are disappointed with the Tribunal’s decision, which sets a standard rate for all businesses who play recorded music in public places, and that they will appeal the ruling in the High Court. Responding to the decision this morning, PPL boss Fran Nevrkla told CMU: “We are extremely disappointed by the decision of the Tribunal which, even by its own admission, is ‘ill-equipped’ to perform its new investigatory role. The Tribunal has failed to have proper regard for the real value of music to businesses, ignoring PPL’s extensive consultation with licensees. On behalf of our 42,000 performer and 5,000 record company members, many of whom themselves are small businesses, we are appealing this decision in the High Court”. He continue: “The Tribunal’s ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach, which was proposed by the hospitality industry, is particularly unfair to small pubs and shops that in future would pay exactly the same as much larger businesses. Despite a total absence…

France approves Loi Hadopi – and Europe drops opposition to three strikes
Copyright , Internet / November 2009

COPYRIGHT Internet France will send out it’s first warnings to digital pirates early next year after passing its much debated ‘three strikes’ legislation allowing for Internet access to be cut for those who illegally download movies and music. The French Constitutional Court passed the law at the end of October to the joy of President Nicolas Sarkozy.  Culture Minister Frederic Mitterrand said the members of a watchdog to oversee application of the digital clampdown would be named in November and the first warnings would go out “from the start of 2010”. The law sets up an agency that will send out an email warning to people found to be illegally downloading films or music. A written warning is sent if a second offence is registered in six months and after a third, a judge will be able to order a one-year Internet rights suspension or a fine. At the same time, efforts in the European Parliament designed to hinder the three-strikes system have been dropped. CMU Daily reports that moves to amend new Europe-wide telecom rules so that disconnecting the net access of persistent file-sharers would be illegal. has been dropped, seemingly in response to pressure from those European governments…

The UK Government finally acts on Licensing Act bureaucracy after a barrage of complaints
Licensing , Live Events / November 2009

LICENSING Live events The ongoing threat to the U.K.’s live music business from bureaucracy introduced by the 2003 Licensing Act was once again the focus of attention at a Music Tank meeting in October held at the PRS for Music building titled ‘Live Music – Licensed to Thrill?’ which is detailed below but the barrage of complaints from across the entertainments industry does seem to finally sparked some Government action. In July 2009 The Culture Media & Sport Select Committee recommended that venues under 200 capacity be excluded from the need for a licence to put on the performance of live music, that the old ‘two in a bar’ rule be introduced and that the controversial Metropolitan Police form 696 be reviewed. At the time Committee chair John Whitingdale said “Broadly speaking the Licensing Act has in our view been a success. The Act has simplified the licensing system, bringing together a number of different regimes into one licence. There is also a greater diversity of premises on the high street and the Act’s emphasis on partnership working is welcome. However in some areas it is clearly not working. However the licensing requirements are still too bureaucratic and costly – particularly…

Pistols at dawn in ice cream wars
Artists , Trade Mark / November 2009

TRADE MARK Artists The Sex Pistols are threatening to sue an ice cream maker who are selling an ice cream cocktail called The Sex Pistol, and who are using the strapline ‘God Save The Cream’, in some instances displayed over a picture of the queen which would appear mimic the Jamie Bell’s iconic cover for the Pistols ‘God Save The Queen’ 7” vinyl release. The company, Icecreamists, have set up a stall in Selfridges, and describe their ice cream based products as being “more Sid & Nancy than Ben & Jerry”. The Sex Pistol ice cream includes a shot of absinthe. The ‘God Save The Cream’ slogan is used on the stall as well as on ads and the company’s website. They also use a snippet of the national anthem played on an electric guitar. According to the Guardian, lawyers representing the surviving Sex Pistols have sent a letter to Icecreamists demanding they stop using the Pistols-related strapline and imagery. They are also requesting damages to compensate the band for the “passing off and copyright infringement” they allege the ice cream firm have committed, based on the sorts of money the band could demand for an official licensing deal. The icreamists…

Schwarzenegger signs anti-paparazzi law
Artists , Privacy / November 2009

PRIVACY Artists California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has signed a new bill into law that will fine paparazzi photographers for taking pictures that invade a celebrity’s right to privacy. The new California law makes it a crime to take and sell unauthorized photos of celebrities in “personal or familial activity,” and also targets media outlets that purchase those photos, with violators facing fines of up to $50,000. The law is slated to take effect in January.  Last summer, as part of the Los Angeles Police Department’s more aggressive crackdown on the practice, two paparazzi photographers were arrested for staking out Britney Spear’s Hollywood home. Earlier that year, four paparazzi were arrested by the LAPD on suspicion of reckless driving after they followed Spears on a street in the San Fernando Valley, with police alleging that at least one had tried to run the singer off the road, seemingly in an attempt to get a prized picture of her in distress.  In 2005, Schwarzenegger, who once testified against two photographers who used their cars to surround him when he was picking his kids up from school in 1998, before he was governor, signed a bill that tripled damage celebrities could seek from…

Beyonce pulls out of Malaysian date for second time
Artists , Censorship , Live Events / November 2009

CENSORSHIP Live events industry, Artists Beyonce Knowles has postponed a planned concert in Malaysia following protests by Islamic conservatives – who said that the show would be immoral. Beyonce, had been scheduled to perform at a Kuala Lumpur stadium on October 25th but promoters Marctensia said in a statement that the show “has been postponed to a future date to be announced shortly” and that “the postponement is solely [the] decision of the artist and has nothing to do with other external reasons,” the statement said. The concert promoters declined to say whether the decision was prompted by criticism from the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party who protested against the concert as it would promote “Western sexy performances”. Beyonce also cancelled a show in Malaysia in 2007, after similar protests from the opposition party.

Articles / November 2009

Click here to download this article as a PDF file (.pdf) By Bart Day In recent years there has been a rapidly increasing use of so-called “Net Profit Deals,” as an alternative to the traditional type of record deal. This has been the particularly true with indie label record deals. The basic idea is that any net profits will be split between the artist and the record label, after ALL expenses connected with the artist’s records have been deducted by (and reimbursed to) the label from record sales income. Compare this with the traditional record deal, where the artist is paid on a royalty basis, with a typical artist royalty in the range of 12 to 15% (of the retail price) but sometimes higher (especially for more established artists). Ten years ago, out of every ten indie record deals I negotiated, only one or two were Net Profit Deals. Today it’s more like six or seven out of every ten, at least. In this article, I will first compare the basic aspects of Net Profit Deals and traditional record deals, and the advantages and disadvantages of each, both for labels and for artists. Then I will show some sample royalty calculations for both. Finally, I will provide some detail about…