Jackson clan face cancellation claim from 1990 tour
Contract , Live Events / August 2010

CONTRACT Live events industry A new lawsuit, specifically targeting Michael Jackson’s mother Katherine Jackson, is being brought by a South Korean newspaper called The Segye Times in relation to a Jackson family tour that never happened back in the early nineties. The Segye Times is owned by the Unification Church, often referred to as the ‘Moonies’ after the church’s founder, Sun Myung Moon. It seems that in 1990 the Church had the idea of putting the whole Jackson family back on tour for the first time since 1984, and used their Korean media firm to negotiate a deal. The original plan involved Michael Jackson, though he never actually agreed to take part. Because of this refusal the whole project collapsed, but not before the Church, via their media firm, had paid out considerable advances which they claim $5.5 million, to Katherine, Joe and Jermaine Jackson. Michael Jackson settled a specific litigation against him in 1992, but the rest of the family failed to negotiate a deal so the whole dispute went to court in 1994. According to reports in the US, Katherine and Joe Jackson ignored the litigation, and therefore a judgement was made against them to the tune of…

Rooney win highlights importance of restraint of trade considerations when contracting minors
Artists , Contract , Restraint of Trade / August 2010

CONTRACT Artists Whilst Wayne Rooney might be one of the planet’s best known football stars, the England and Manchester United striker’s legal triumph is an important reminder about the role of restraint of trade in contracts, particularly those involving minors. Rooney was accused of withholding commission on multi-million pound deals that had been brokered by the sports management firm Proactive, which used to represent him in a claim totalling £4.3 million. Rooney made no payments after the football agent Paul Stretford, a director and founder of Proactive, left in October 2008, taking Rooney with him. The 24-year-old was signed by Stretford for Proactive in 2002 when he was then 17 and he went from being an £80-a-week Everton trainee living in his parent’s council house in Croxteth, Liverpool, to being a Manchester United and England star enjoying multi-million-pound sponsorship deals with the likes of Nike and Coca-Cola. Rooney was unhappy about certain financial disclosures in Court but the case revealed the value of his image rights – in addition to his weekly £90,000 club salary for playing football, he receives £700,000 a month for image rights, as well as £1 million per annum from Nike and £237,000 annually from EA…

Page faces lawsuit over ‘Dazed and Confused’
Copyright , Music Publishing / August 2010

COPYRIGHT Music Publishing Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page is facing a copyright infringement lawsuit with regards the band’s song ‘Dazed & Confused’. The origins of the 1969 Led Zepplin track have long been debated, because of its links to an earlier song by folk singer Jake Holmes. Popular comment has it that Page did start with Holmes’ track when he started work devising‘Dazed & Confused’ but by the time Page had finished devising the song, and Led Zepplin had recorded it, everyone involved seemed to think the guitarist had created a new piece of work in which a new copyright existed. The song was registered with US collecting society ASCAP as a new song penned by Page. The debate has resulted in a particularly active Wikipedia entry for the song, with different contributors taking different viewpoints on the relationship between the Holmes song and the Page song. Now forty years on, Holmes is claiming Page did take his song and in doing so infringed his copyright and according to the Guardian, Holmes has filed an infringement lawsuit against Page. Page is yet to respond. http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2010/jun/30/led-zeppelin-sued-dazed-and-confused http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Led_Zeppelin http://www.ledzeppelinnews.com/2010/06/lawsuit-alleges-jimmy-page-infringed.html

Kookaburra publishers awarded 5% of ‘Down Under’
Copyright , Music Publishing / August 2010

COPYRIGHT Music Publishing A judge in Australia has ordered Men At Work and their publishers EMI to hand over 5% of the royalties from their eighties hit ‘Down Under’ to the owners of the song ‘Kookaburra Sits In The Old Gum Tree’, Larrikin Music. The Australian courts had already ruled that Men At Work’s most famous track used a segment of the famous Aussie children’s folk song without permission, and that the owners of that song were therefore due a cut of the pop hit’s royalties although it should be noted that EMI are appealing the original ruling – partly by claiming the use of a little bit of the ‘Kookaburra’ melody in ‘Down Under’ was at most a “tribute” to the folk song, and partly by again disputing Larrikin’s ownership of the song – today’s decision regarding royalty share really went in Men At Work’s favour. Larrikin had been pushing for up to 60% of the royalties generated by ‘Down Under’. Under the ruling, EMI and ‘Down Under’ writers Colin Hay and Ron Strykert will have to give Larrikin 5% of all money generated by the song since 2002, and 5% of all future royalties. Royalties received prior to 2002 stay with EMI and the…

Zappanale win on appeal, Ozzy settles with Tony
Artists , Live Events , Trade Mark / August 2010

TRADE MARK Artists, live events industry Frank Zappa’s family have lost a trade mark case on appeal in Germany where the Oberlandesgericht Düsseldorf has ruled against the Zappa Family Trust (20 U 48/09) in a trade mark infringement action against a group of Zappa fans. The Trust, which owned the ZAPPA Community trade mark, objected to the annual “Zappanale“, a meeting of Zappa fans which involved many uses of the Zappa name and image. However it appears that the Trust had used the word “Zappa” only as part of the “official” Zappa website www.zappa.com, which operated from the US. According to the court, reversing the decision of the Landgericht, this was not genuine use of the trade mark in the EU under Article 15(1) of the Community Trade Mark Regulation. The court added that the use of a mark in a domain name may be sufficient to constitute genuine use in principle, but that here the public would consider the use of the word Zappa as a general descriptive reference, not as a reference to the trade mark owner In other trade mark news, Ozzy Osbourne has reportedly reached a settlement with Tony Iommi over who owns the name Black Sabbath. Iommi, Black…

EFF files brief in support of secondary ticketers
Contract , Live Events / August 2010

CONTRACT Live events industry TicketNews.com has published an interesting story about the secondary ticket market in the US. Stressing its belief that allegedly violating a private company’s terms of service is not a federal crime, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has filed a friend-of-the-court brief calling for the dismissal of a computer fraud case against ticket broker Wiseguys Tickets. Described as a “Brief of Amici Curiae,” the document piggybacks a motion to dismiss the case filed by the defendants late last week before U.S. District Court Judge Katharine S. Hayden. Joining the EFF in signing the brief were the Center for Democracy and Technology; the Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys of New Jersey; and law professors Gabriel “Jack” Chin, Eric Goldman, Michael Risch, Ted Sampsell-Jones, and Robert Weisberg. The case itself was detailed in a 43-count federal indictment filed earlier in the year where the principals of Las Vegas-based Wiseguy Tickets are accused of computer fraud in procuring more than 1.5 million event tickets by allegedly hacking into the computers of Live Nation Entertainment’s Ticketmaster division and Tickets.com. Wiseguy resold the tickets and allegedly generated about $25 million. But, the company paid for the tickets it resold, and the question…

Tenenbaum damages reduced by 90%
Copyright , Internet , Record Labels / August 2010

COPYRIGHT Internet, record labels US District Judge Nancy Gertner has slashed the federal jury award made against convicted file sharer Joel Tenenbaum by 90 percent, ruling that the award of $22,250 per infringed work could not withstand scrutiny under the Due Process Clause and was “unconstitutionally excessive’’ in light of what she described as the modest harm caused to the record labels whose works were infringed. She cut the award to from $675,000 to $67,500, one-tenth of the original sum. Judge Gertner said “There is no question that this reduced award is still severe, even harsh …. It not only adequately compensates the plaintiffs for the relatively minor harm that Tenenbaum caused them; it sends a strong message that those who exploit peer-to-peer networks to unlawfully download and distribute copyrighted works run the risk of incurring substantial damages awards.’’ Judge Gertner’s maths to get to a figure of $22,250 damages for each act of infringement went like this statutory damages must bear a reasonable relationship to the actual damages the actual damages sustained by plaintiffs was no more than $30 the benefit to the defendant was in the neighborhood of $1500 it was permissible to treble the minimum statutory damages…

British Black Music Month Copyright Panel and Pete Jenner on ‘digital content consumers’
Copyright / August 2010

COPYRIGHT All areas Here is link to the recent panel that Ben Challis, Editor of Music Law Updates, took part in at Westminster University as part of British Black Music Month http://www.ip-watch.org/weblog/2010/07/12/panel-copyright-needed-in-music-but-should-benefit-musicians/ and here is another link, this time to to Pete Jenner’s interesting talk on copyright laws in the digital age and ‘digital content consumers’ also hosted by the University of Westminsterhttp://musically.com/blog/2010/07/14/westminster-eforum-peter-jenner-on-digital-content-consumers

Juke Box pirates get custodial sentences
Copyright , Record Labels / August 2010

COPYRIGHT Record labels Record label trade body the BPI and collecting society PPL have welcomed the custodial sentences handed down to the three men who ran that previously reported jukebox racket in the North East. Malcolm Wylie, his son Peter Wylie and William Ross, were arrested in 2008 for their role in running an unlicensed jukebox company operating in the Newcastle area called Access All Areas. For seven years the three men implied to their clients that they ran a legit jukebox service, but they pocketed over half of million in revenues that should have gone to PPL and onto the owners of the sound recordings being played. They were found guilty of copyright crimes in March and sentenced for those crimes last week. Malcolm Wylie got three years and was banned from being a company director for ten. His son Peter will spend fifteen months in prison, while Ross got 36 weeks. When sentencing, Judge Guy Whitburn reportedly said that “a clearer more flagrant breach of copyright law is hard to find”.http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/hr/content_display/news/e3if93da65e51c14c3db4702feb44978573

RIAA looks to ringfence Limewire damages
Copyright , Internet / August 2010

COPYRIGHT Internet The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has asked a federal court to freeze the assets of file-sharing company LimeWire and its founder, Mark Gorton, alleging assets have been moved in an attempt to avoid paying damages for copyright infringement, CNET News.com reported. LimeWire was found guilty of inducing copyright infringement in May and it is widely beliwved that the service will close or indeed  be permanently closed by the court. During the trial, the RIAA noted LimeWire had generated over $20 million in ad revenue. The RIAA have daid that LimeWire founder Groton began trying to hide assets days after the Supreme Court’s landmark MGM v. Grokster ruling in 2005, transferring 87.1% of the company’s ownership to a family trust. While Gorton has filed statements offering different reasons, the RIAA claims Gorton moved the assets to avoid paying copyright infringement damages, which experts told CNET could reach $1 billion in the case. http://www.dmwmedia.com/news/2010/07/12/riaa-asks-court-freeze-assets-limewire-founder

PRS call for internet piracy levy on service providers
Copyright , Internet , Music Publishing / August 2010

COPYRIGHT Internet, music publishing U.K. royalty collection society PRS for Music is pressing the government there to compel ISPs to compensate the music industry for the unauthorized music downloads made through their services by infringing customers. The group’s chief economist Will Page suggests the move in a white paper that calls for varying tariffs to be paid by ISPs, which would go down in relation to the reduction of illicit file-sharing on their networks.”The desired end game is one of no compensation as there is no pollution of piracy on networks,” writes Page. Some U.K. ISPs have already rejected the idea.  With ISP Talk Talk saying “It would require monitoring of traffic and this has huge implications in respect of directives on privacy and data retention”. http://www.dmwmedia.com/news/2010/07/14/uk-royalty-society-prs-backs-levy-piracy-isps

Costly failure of RIAA legal strategy made public
Copyright , Internet / August 2010

COPYRIGHT Internet The Recording Industry Association of America’s 2008 finances have been published with the revelation that the major labels trade body paid out over $17 million to the three legal firms who spearheaded the organisation’s legal actions against file sharing fans. In return, they recovered $391,000 in damages. On his Recording Industry vs The People blog, Ray Beckerman analysed the same figures for 2006 and 2007 and claims that the trade body spent a total of $64,000,000 on legal and investigation firms involved in their “sue-the-fans” campaign during those three years, and these cases brought in a total of $1,361,000 in damages. The RIAA eventually dropped the strategy of suing individual fan after years of costly failures, bad publicity and widespread criticism of high profile cases against defendants such as Joel Tenenbaum and Jammie Thomas-Rasset. In the same year, the RIAA’s chief executive Mitch Bainwol was paid just over $2 million in salary ($1.9 million) and benefits ($123,000). President Cary Sherman was paid $1.33 million, Neil Turkewitz (EVP, International) was paid $696,000, Mitch Glazier (EVP, Government & Industry Relations), earned $566,000 and Steven Marks (EVP & General Counsel) received $562,000. http://recordingindustryvspeople.blogspot.com/ http://www.digitalmusicnews.com/stories/070910riaa For an interesting take on the whole area of…

Live Music Bill reintroduced in the UK
Licensing , Live Events / August 2010

LICENSING Live events industry Liberal peer Lord (Tim) Clement-Jones, whose party is now the junior partner in the UK’s coalition government, has reintroduced his Live Music Bill to the House of Lords, The Bill, in enacted, would make various changes to the 2003 Licensing Act, most of them recommended in 2009 by the Parliamentary Culture Media & Sport Select Committee (chaired by Conservative John Whittingdale) but ignored by the last Labour government – including re-introducing the ‘two in a bar’ rule for pubs (where two or one musicians can perform without the need for a licence), removing small venues from licensing requirements and allowing hospitals, schools and colleges to perform live music without the need for a licence. The Bill attempts to implement some of the 2009 Report which said that licensing conditions were stifling live music and that “We are concerned at the linkage of live music and public order issues by the Licensing Act and its accompanying guidance, and we emphasise that music should not automatically be treated as a disruptive activity which will inevitably lead to nuisance and disorder,” and the Report also said “To encourage the performance of live music we recommend that the Government should…

Barbican nightclub loses late night licence
Licensing , Live Events / August 2010

LICENSING Live events industry A nightclub which kept Barbican residents in London awake into the early hours of the morning at weekends has had its licensed hours cut back and must now close at midnight at weekends. The decision to cut opening times at Parker McMillan club was taken at a packed Islington Licensing Committee meeting and comes after a campaign by local residents who complained of suffering sleepless nights had “called in” the club’s licence for review. They were able to do this under powers in the 2003 Licensing Act. The council’s noise team received 43 complaints about the club over three years. It visited the premises and complainants on 22 occasions. “The frequency of complaints has increased each year,” said a report.  “The current premises are not protecting the neighbouring residents from noise disturbance.”  The committee meeting was shown dramatic film, taken by Islington’s noise patrol and the residents.  It showed what was claimed to have been customers from the club milling about outside at 3.30am and 4.15am and creating a “cacophony” of noise – laughter, shrieks, car horns and animated conversation. It was claimed much of the din could be heard in flats nearby. One leading opponent,…

The Pirate Bay and BREIN draw 1-1 in Dutch Courts
Copyright , Internet / August 2010

COPYRIGHT Internet Dutch anti-piracy organisation BREIN have had two results in the Dutch courts this month in their battle against The Pirate Bay.  The first court upheld a previous ruling that The Pirate Bay and its founders are liable for copyright infringement, and that the people running the rogue BitTorrent service should block access to it from anyone accessing the net in The Netherlands. It has been ignored even though the ruling set a fine in motion of $42,300 per day for every day TPB continued to be available in the country. Nearly one year on – and despite the mounting fines and the appeal court upholding the original ruling – TPB continues to be available in the Netherlands. Presumably frustrated with the failure if direct action against TPB, BRIEN brought a separate case to force internet service providers to block access to The Pirate Bay. One ISP, Ziggo, objected to efforts to force them to block TPB arguing that it is not their role to police the net and in separate Dutch court last week judges sided with the ISP on the grounds that TPB MAY have non-infringing uses and therefore it would be inappropriate to block access to…

Univision settles payola charges with $1 million payment
Competition , Record Labels / August 2010

COMPETITION Radio, record labels The three-year criminal investigation into a pay-for-play scandal at Univison Communications in which Latin-music executives were said to have bribed radio station managers with briefcases stuffed with cash has ended after Univision agreed to pay $1 million in penalties to federal authorities. Somewhat bizarrely, in many cases the bribes were from Univision’s labels to executives at Univision’s radio stations. As part of an agreement with the US Justice Department the Spanish-language media giant Univision pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud. During the four-year scheme, executives and music promoters at the now-defunct Univision Music Group paid thousands of dollars to radio station programmers in exchange for increased radio air time for Univision’s songs. The LA Times report that in one instance, a Los Angeles-based Univision executive in February 2006 sent a Federal Express package that contained $157,800 to a New York radio station programmer, according. Program managers in California and Texas also received bribes. Univision executives and the record promoters then concocted phony contract invoices and payments to hide the true purpose of the payments, documents filed by the U.S. Justice Department said, The cash payments violate federal laws because they were…