A worrying trend of police intervention in Licensing?
Licensing , Live Events / June 2010

LICENSING Live events Industry What do Moonfest 2008, The Big Green Gathering 2009, the Strawberry Fayre in 2010 Cambridge and now this year’s Glade Festival all have in common? Well, they have all been cancelled after intervention by the police in the licensing process – sometimes (but not always) against the wishes of local residents and even the licensing authority. The organisers of the Glade Festival said this “With great sadness we have been forced to cancel the Glade Festival 2010. When we started back in 2004 we did so out of a love of electronic music, free spiritedness and alternative culture and in response to the vibrant free party scene in the UK. We wanted to have our own version of the kind of colourful, creative and non-corporate events that happen in many places across the planet… Looking back it is amazing that it happened. As many Glade fans will know over the years we have fought hard to maintain the integrity of the event against steadily increasing restrictions imposed by local authority and police. The resulting compromises have led to increased costs, increased ticket prices and a throttling of the very essence of what we wanted to do….

Celtic Blue Rock festival loses licence over safety fears
Licensing , Live Events / June 2010

LICENSING Live events industry The 10,000 capacity Celtic Blue Rock Festival in PembrokEshire, Wales, which has previously been included in a top 20 list of alternative UK festivals to visit  has had its licence revoked, amid concerns about public safety. It follows a meeting of Pembrokeshire Council’s sub-licensing committee which was told there was inadequate management and poor organisation. Dyfed-Powys Police urged the council to revoke the premises licence, citing drug and alcohol abuse as dangers to the public. Organisers of the event now intend to appeal against the decision, which they say was taken without allowing proper representations from their committee. The annual event in Llanfyrnach was criticised by health and safety officers who had attended last summer’s three-day event. They said that when visiting the site, they spotted potential hazards and were not provided with electrical certificates before revellers arrived on site. Other issues included emergency access, traffic management and use of police resources and lighting. A report from the licensing committee said: “There is evidence of repeated non-compliance with a number of conditions which have been imposed over the years, a number of which have been agreed to through mediation but which have not been adhered to.”…

Absolut and Absolute settle name dispute
Trade Mark / June 2010

TRADE MARK All areas Absolute Radio has settled its trademark dispute with Absolut vodka. The vodka company had objected to Virgin Radio being rebranded with the Absolute name in 2008, despite the difference in spelling and the different sectors the two companies operate in. The drinks company said they believed there could be confusion between their two brands, and also pointed to their music sponsorship activity and an Absolut branded music website as an area where the two firms had operations in common. Trademark infringement and passing off litigation followed. But both companies confirmed an out of court settlement had been reached this morning. The terms of the deal aren’t known, but Absolute Radio boss Clive Dickens said: “Absolute Radio is pleased with this settlement which will see us continue to build our music radio brand and advance our position as one of the leading commercial radio networks in a digital age”. http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2010/apr/29/absolute-radio-absolut-vodka

Whilst the UK shows a small improvement, new figures show a slump in global record sales

COPYRIGHT Record Labels, Music Publishing Global recorded music sales fell 7.2% in 2009, led by significant falls in the world’s two biggest markets, the US and Japan. According to the IFPI’s Recording Industry In Numbers 2010 report global recorded music trade revenues totalled $17.0bn (£11.1bn) in 2009, with physical sales down 12.7%. Digital revenue rose 9.2% in 2009 to $4.3bn (£2.8bn). Digital channels now account for about 25.3% of all music sales. Performance rights revenues from recorded music also rose, up 7.6% to $0.8bn (£0.5bn). However, globally the results were very mixed: US sales fell 10.7% to $4.6bn (£3.0bn), while sales in Japan plunged 10.8% to $4.0bn (£2.6bn). Excluding these two markets, recorded music sales fell just 3.2% in 2009. Mirroring the UK figures from the BPI, IFPI figures indicate that music sales in the UK rose 1.9% to £1.0bn last year. Other music markets that experienced an increase in trade value were Australia (up 4.3%); Brazil (up 0.5%); South Korea (up 10.4%), Sweden (up 11.9%), India (up 2.0%) and Mexico (up 0.2%). The IFPI says that the increases in South Korea and Sweden are particularly significant, as these two countries have put in place legislation to fight online piracy. Another country that…

Behind the music: We7’s streaming success
Copyright , Internet / June 2010

COPYRIGHT Internet ARTICLE By Helienne Lindvall Blogging on guardian.co.uk The UK streaming service has shown that internet advertising can cover running costs and pay proper royalties to artists. Why can’t rival Spotify do the same? …… In what other profession does it take a year and a half to get paid – and when you do, you don’t know on what basis your income is calculated? http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/musicblog/2010/apr/29/we7-streaming-success

Club doormen convicted of manslaughter
Criminal Law , Live Events / June 2010

CRIMINAL Live events industry  A Shropshire doorman accused of the manslaughter of a county father-of-four today told a jury he had acted properly when he restrained the man at a nightclub. Daryl Brown told the jury at Birmingham Crown Court today he had been a doorman for six years and on the night in question he had only tried to restrain 41-year-old Darren Griffiths to stop him acting aggressively. Brown, 33, denied the manslaughter of Mr Griffiths, who died following an incident at the Liquid & Diva nightclub on June 29, last year. Brown told the jury he had “acted properly” on the night when he restrained Mr Griffiths, from Harmer Hill, near Shrewsbury, along with other door staff including Neil Stokes. Brown said: “I didn’t realise how seriously injured he was.” Mr Paul Farrer, prosecuting, said: “Mr Griffiths had turned blue in colour from the neck up and despite you tending to him for eight minutes you claim you didn’t see the colour of his face. “This man was unconscious for at least eight minutes. Are you really maintaining you didn’t really know how seriously injured Mr Griffiths was?” But Brown said he was not aware how seriously injured…

ECJ reference on dental surgery music could set important precedent

COPYRIGHT Collection societies, record labels, music publishers The Corte di Appello di Torino has made a reference to the European Court of Justice by in Case C-135/10 SCF Consorzio Fonografici v Marco Del Corso. Here the questions, involving copyright, arepossibly of great interest to collection societies across Europe, not least in the Uk where the PRS have adopted an fairly aggressive approach to contacting businesses to ask for payment for the use of music. “1. Are the Rome Convention for the Protection of Performers, Producers of Phonograms and Broadcasting Organisations …, the TRIPs Agreement … and the WIPO … Treaty on Performances and Phonograms … directly applicable within the Community legal order? 2. Are the abovementioned sources of uniform international law also directly effective within the context of private-law relationships? 3. Do the concepts of ‘communication to the public’ contained in the abovementioned treaty-law texts mirror the Community concepts contained in Directives 92/100 [on rental and lending rights] and 2001/29 [on the Information Society] and, if not, which source should take precedence? 4. Does the broadcasting, free of charge, of phonograms within private dental practices engaged in professional economic activity, for the benefit of patients of those practices and enjoyed by them without any active choice on their…

Fixture lists copyright protected: Football Dataco v Yahoo! UK
Copyright / June 2010

COPYRIGHT All areas ARTICLE:   By Tom Frederikse, solicitor, Clintons A UK court has ruled that copyright exists in annual fixture lists for football leagues in a case which will almost certainly result in licence fees being payable for publication of lists of this type. In Football Dataco Ltd (and others) v Yahoo! UK Ltd and Britten Pools (and others) [2010] EWHC 841 (Ch) (reported 23 April), the Court found that, whilst the fixtures lists were not protected by the recently-introduced “Database Right”, they were protected by old-fashioned copyright as a “literary work”. Football Dataco, owned by the Premier League and the Football League, had filed suit against Yahoo and the pools company for publishing fixture lists, claiming that the lists were protected either by the Database Right or as a literary copyright work and the Court was asked to rule on the “preliminary issue” of whether any (and if so what) rights legally exist in the lists. The Database Right was introduced in 1998 as a means of protecting a pure database of information – such as a phone book – but in the 2005 case involving William Hill and British Horseracing (in the highest court in Europe) it was ruled that…

UK’s Competition Commission gives final clearance to Live Nation/Ticketmaster merger
Competition , Live Events / June 2010

COMPETITON Live events industry The UK’s Competition Commission (CC) has cleared the Live Nation/Ticketmaster merger, removing the last obstacle in the creation of the world’s largest live entertainment company.  After reversing its initial approval in December, the Commission’s findings follow a fresh round of submissions, after which it concluded that “the merger would not result in a substantial lessening of competition in the market for live music ticket retailing or in any other market in the UK, including live music promotion and live music venues.” The merger of Ticketmaster and Live Nation was completed (subject to conditions) in the USA on 25 January, following approval from the Department of Justice. In the UK, a key sticking point in the CC’s original decision was the effect it would have on Germa ticketer CTS Eventim, which is contracted to provide ticketing services to Live Nation as part of a ten-year international deal. Eventim challenged the first approval of the deal, arguing that the merger would hinder their entry into the UK market. In summary, however, the CC said: “The CC has found that the merger will make little difference to the prospects of Eventim’s success in the UK. On the basis of…

Project Playlist settles with Universal and Warners
Copyright , Internet / June 2010

COPYRIGHT Internet Project Playlist, the operator of a site that lets users create playlists from streaming songs available online, has settled copyright infringement lawsuits with major record labels Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group, CNET News.com has reported. The labels had been unhappy with the fact that Playlist.com let users aggregate streaming songs from unauthorized as well as licensed sources. “While it was unfortunate that legal action was necessary, we are pleased to have resolved this litigation in an amicable manner,” a Universal spokesman told CNET.  The site already has deals in place with Sony Music and EMI. EMI also had sued but eventually settled with Project Playlist. In other news, Usenet newsgroup index site Newzbin, which the U.K. High Court in February found liable for copyright infringement, shut itself down on Wednesday, TorrentFreak has reported. Newzbin created a format for Usenet, called .NZB, which facilitated the downloading of copyrighted materials found amid the postings of newsgroup users. The Motion Picture Association filed suit in early 2009, and recently the U.K. court ruled against Newzbin and ordered the site to pay the MPA’s legal costs.  http://filesharingz.com/

German and US actions take the shine off Google

COPYRIGHT Internet, music publishing Rights holders in Germany and the USA are stepping up the pressure on Google’s YouTube as rights holders seek to monetise the use of their copyrights. In Germany licensing talks between YouTube and GEMA have broken down, leading the German music rights holder group to demand that 600 videos be removed from the German version of the site. After a year of negotiations, GEMA said in a statement it was unable to reach a deal with YouTube, which had similar issues with UK collection society PRS for Music although the PRS and YouTube eventually reached new licensing terms. Billboard reports that GEMA “wanted assurances that a new deal would include a share of advertising revenue and take account of YouTube’s revenue growth” with GEMA saying in a statement: “Operators of online platforms which generate [revenue through] the use of copyrighted works – such as, in YouTube’s case, millions in advertising revenue – must ensure that those who create these works, providing the so-called ‘content’, are properly remunerated”. In the USA performing rights organisations ASCAP, BMI and SESAC have signed on to an amicus brief in support of Viacom’s $1 billion copyright infringement lawsuit against Google and YouTube. The…

Spanish Court Clears Streaming Sports Link Index Rojadirecta
Copyright , Internet / June 2010

COPYRIGHT Internet A Spanish appeals court has upheld a lower court’s decision and found that Rojadirecta, a site that indexes links to unauthorized streams of sporting events, is not breaking any Spanish laws.  Rojadirecta, which has been offering streams of NBA, MLB, NFL, FIFA and other sports leagues since 2005, was sued for copyright infringement in 2007 by Audiovisual Sport, a unit of Spanish communications group PRISA. The appeals court said that Rojadirecta was merely providing an index of links, and although it did carry advertising, profits were not being made directly from infringement. http://www.dmwmedia.com/news/2010/05/11/spanish-court-clears-streaming-sports-link-index-rojadirecta Also see http://torrentfreak.com/piracy-rampant-among-spanish-government-officials-100403/

Pirate Bay judges cleared of bias, website forced offline in Germany
Copyright , Internet / June 2010

COPYRIGHT Internet A number of Swedish judges who were members of copyright interest groups have been cleared of bias charges and approved to preside over the appeal of convictions for operators of file-sharing hub The Pirate Bay. Complaints were lodged by the defendants in the criminal trials of the Pirate Bay organisers after it emerged that Judges Ulrika Ihrfelt and Kristina Boutz were members of local Swedish pro-copyright organizations, but Sweden’s Supreme Court has found no conflict of interest and cleared them to hear the trial. The operators of The Pirate Bay were found guilty of copyright infringement in April 2009, and sentenced to a year in prison and combined fines of $3.9 million. The appeal of their convictions is now expected to be heard some time in late 2010. In related news, a German court has granted a preliminary injunction against the current Germany-based Web hosts of file-sharing hub The Pirate Bay, TorrentFreak has reported.  The Motion Picture Association petitioned a court in Hamburg for an injunction against CB3ROB Ltd, operators of the CyberBunker Web hosting service. The court said that CyberBunker must specifically remove links to torrents purporting to facilitate downloads of “The Bounty Hunter,” “Alice in Wonderland,” “Our…

Labels finally have their day with Limewire
Copyright , Internet / June 2010

COPYRIGHT Internet The international music industry has responded with delight at a court ruling that has found against Limewire, one of the oldest file-sharing networks on the Internet. In a 59-page decision issued Tuesday (May 12th) in New York, U.S. District Judge Kimba Wood has ruled in a summary judgment that the peer-to-peer company is guilty of inducing copyright infringement, committed copyright infringement and practiced unfair competition. Reuters report that the judge leaned heavily on one of the plaintiff’s expert witnesses, Dr. Richard Waterman of the Wharton School, who testified that a random sample of 1800 files turned up copyright infringement in 93% of them, including 43.6 percent of copyrighted files owned by the plaintiff record labels. Based on the results, Dr. Waterman concluded that “98.8 percent of the files requested for download through LimeWire are copyright protected or highly likely copyright protected, and thus not authorized for free distribution.” The judgment itself is perhaps unsurprising given the Supreme Court’s stance in MGM v Grokster  where the Court unanimously held that defendant P2P file sharing companies Grokster and Streamcast (maker of Morpheus) could be sued for inducing copyright infringement for acts taken in the course of marketing file sharing software Here it is interesting that…

Canadian court extends fair dealing to consumer ‘research’
Copyright , Internet / June 2010

COPYRIGHT Internet In an interesting decision, Canada’s Federal Court of Appeal has ruled that no royalty is payable for the use of thirty-second or less clips which are used by consumers to ‘preview’ potential purchases on digital music services. The court was hearing an appeal by the songwriter’s collection society SOCAN from the Copyright Board of Canada which had applied the ‘fair dealing’ doctrine to preview clips – it seems by extending the exception for ‘research’ on the basis that these clips were used by consumers to research music that they might then want to buy. SOCAN had argued that research-based fair dealing exception only applied to proper academic or scientific research, the traditional interpretation of that provision. The Board disagreed and said research did include circumstances when a “consumer is searching for an object of copyright that he or she desires and is attempting to locate and wishes to ensure its authenticity and quality before obtaining it”. The Federal Court affirmed the Copyright Board’s interpretation, saying: The legislator chose not to add restrictive qualifiers to the word “research” in section 29. It could have specified that the research be “scientific”, “economic”, “cultural”, etc. Instead it opted not to qualify…

EC promises copyright and data protection reforms
Copyright / June 2010

COPYRIGHT All areas The European Commission will strengthen legal protections for personal data, reform copyright law and ensure that device and software makers embrace open standards, it said when outlining its new digital policies. The Commission has published its Digital Agenda, the series of aims which will guide its legislating and policy formation activities in the next 10 years. “We must put the interests of Europe’s citizens and businesses at the forefront of the digital revolution and so maximise the potential of Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs) to advance job creation, sustainability and social inclusion”, said Commission vice president for the digital agenda Neelie Kroes. “The ambitious strategy set out today shows clearly where we need to focus our efforts in the years to come. To fully realise the potential of Europe’s digital future we need the full commitment of Member States, the ICT sector and other vital economic players.” The Commission’s priorities include changing copyright law to make cross-border trade in digital goods and services more widespread, it said. The Commission’s plan also includes a proposal to strengthen data protection law to cultivate trust in online services. www.out-law.com

Axl Rose fights back over Azoff’s claims
Artists , Contract / June 2010

CONTRACT Artists Axl Rose has responded to the lawsuit from his former manager Irving Azoff which claimws unpaid commission with a countersuit. Azoff, now a co-chief of the combined Live Nation Ticketmaster conglomerate, sued Rose back in March, claiming the Guns N Roses frontman had reneged on an oral agreement to pay him 15% of earnings from the band’s‘Chinese Democracy’ tour, which would paid over approximately $2 million. Rose had previously parted company with Azoff and his Front Line management firm, which is now the management division of the Live Master. In his countersuit, Rose claims that Azoff tried to force him to reunite with the original Guns N Roses line-up for a world tour, and got so absorbed with those doomed plans that he failed to properly promote the ‘Chinese Democracy‘ album as a result. He also alleges Azoff lied about the potential of a Van Halen/Guns n Roses “supertour” and then bungled the management of the tour. Interestingly Rose also accuses Azoff of misusing his combined role of manager, promoter, venue owner and ticketing maestro to force artists into projects in which they’d rather not participate. The lawsuit notes “Ticketmaster recently merged with Live Nation, the largest concert promoter in…