Plastic Bertrand never sang on his biggest hit
Artists , Copyright , Record Labels / September 2010

COPYRIGHT Record labels, artists Belgian performer Plastic Bertrand, whose real name is Roger Jouret, has admitted that he was not the singer on his 1977 hit ‘Ça Plane Pour Moi’. French composer and producer Lou Deprijck has long claimed that his was actually the voice on the track and now expert evidence presented to a Belgian court has confirmed this – with a linguist commissioned by the judge saying that the person who sang the song did so in a specific regional accent of northern France (where Deprijck comes) which could not have been replicated by Belgian-born Jouret. The judgement read: “The way the phrases end on each record show that the song could only have been sung by a Ch’ti – otherwise known as someone from the Picard region of France. It could therefore not have been Plastic Bertrand – who was born in Brussels – and was surely Mr Deprijck”. That said, it appears that in 2006, the Brussels Court of Appeal had already ruled that, although Deprijck may indeed have been the person who sang the vocals, Jouret was the “legal performer” of the song because his face had appeared on the single’s artwork and he signed the…

Pirate Bay founder banned from running service
Copyright , Internet / September 2010

COPYRIGHT Internet Pirate Bay co-founder Peter Sunde has been banned from ‘operating’ The Pirate Bay by a Swedish court. Last year he and three others were sentenced to a year in prison and a fine of £2.4 million after being found guilty of various copyright crimes in relation to their involvement with the rogue BitTorrent site. Though none of the men have served any jail time or paid any of the damages as yet. An appeal hearing is due to take place in September. The new separate ruling ordering Sunde not to work on The Pirate Bay follows a similar court decision relating to Svartholm and Neij made in May, which banned them from working on the file-sharing service also. All three men face fines of just under £45,000 if they fail to comply. Sunde has appealed the decision.

Convicted pirate ordered to pay up
Copyright , Record Labels / September 2010

COPYRIGHT Record labels A judge at Snaresbrook Crown Court has ordered a convicted music pirate to pay record label trade body the BPI £170,000.  Farrah Nissa was jailed for copyright crimes in 2008 for his role in running a counterfeit CD operation which sold an estimated 1.2 million bootleg discs. The order was made under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002. Nissa’s partner in crime had already been ordered to pay £70,000 following similar proceedings last year. The money will be shared out between the BPI’s members.

Hendrix covermount damages determined
Artists , Copyright , Media , Performer's Rights / September 2010

COPYRIGHT / PERFORMERS RIGHT Artists, media By Hugo Cox at On 20 September 2006 the Sunday Times was distributed with a covermount CD of Jimi Hendrix’s legendary last UK concert at the Albert Hall in 1969. Experience Hendrix (Hendrix’s family’s company) and The Last Experience (the company of Jerry Goldstein, who recorded the concert) successfully asserted title to the band’s performance rights and the copyright in the recordings of the concert in a summary judgment in 2008. The question Sir William Blackburne has decided today is what damages Times Newspapers should pay. Blackburne J was clear the defendant did have reasonable grounds to know that it was infringing as Experience Hendrix had challenged them prior to publication, though the paper was not recklessly indifferent the problem – so damages would not be increased by reference to flagrancy or ‘moral prejudice’. Article 13 of the Enforcement Directive (2004/48/EC) sets out different damages regimes depending on the defendant’s knowledge, though it seems unclear that this altered the judge’s calculations. At the time of the covermount the claimants were themselves intending to release a film of the concert plus accompanying DVD, CD and merchandising. Following the covermount this project was put on hold because (1) the claimants…

Beach Boys want California credit and cash
Copyright , Music Publishing / September 2010

COPYRIGHT Music publishing  7Rondor Music, which owns the copyright to the Beach Boys classic hit “California Girls,” has sent a letter to Capitol Records demanding that it makes songwriting credits and pay songwriting royalties for the Katy Perry summer hit “California Gurls“. The credits and payments are for Brian Wilson and Mike Love, the writers of the 1965 classic. The two tracks appear quite different but at the end of Perry’s 2010 hit, rapper Snoop Dogg says, “I really wish you all could be California girls” prompting comparison “I wish they all could be California girls” in the Beach Boys’ refrain.

AEG and Live Nation join Universal in fight against counterfeit merchandise
Live Events , Trade Mark / September 2010

TRADE MARK Live events industry AEG Live and Live Nation have joined Universal Music’s merchandising company Bravado lead in launching legal actions in the US courts with so-called ‘John Doe lawsuits’ in a bid to force law enforcement officials to crack down on illegal merchandisers. Universal took the lead with actions to protect Lady Gaga official merchandise at venues where the star vas playing, accusing potential bootleggers of infringing their trademark rights. The aim of the lawsuit was to give the police the power to seize counterfeit goods being sold by bootleg merchandisers – and even to obligate them to do so. AEG Live have now filed a similar John Doe lawsuit ahead of their Mile High Music Festival in Denver, while Live Nation went down a similar route to stop bootleg Ozzfest merchandise being sold around the Ozzy Osbourne festival.

Amazon prices “devalue” music
Artists , Copyright , Record Labels / September 2010

COPYRIGHT Record labels, artists, retail Laura Ballance, the co-founder of Arcade Fire’s US label, Merge Records, has accused Amazon of “devaluing music” after the e-tailer decided to sell the download version of the band’s new album, ‘The Suburbs’, for just $3.99. The album, which shifted 156,000 copies in its first week, went to number one in the USA but Ballance says that 97,000 units were sold  at the $3.99 price point which Balance says “devalues”. ‘The Suburbs’ went to number one in the UK as well and Amazon UK also sold the album at a discounted price of £3.99 during its first week of release.

Truth in Music laws take a knock in court setback
Artists , Trade Mark / September 2010

TRADE MARK Artists The State of New Jersey has been handed a setback in a case involving the Truth in Music Act, though advocates of the law said Monday that the ruling would not materially affect its effectiveness.  The Act is designed to protect both original band members and the audience against touring acts using heritage band names but containing no original members or no connection with original line ups. The case stems from 2007, when then New Jersey Attorney General Anne Milgram sought a restraining order to force the groups to call themselves “tribute” bands when they performed in Atlantic City. The groups sued, and the state eventually conceded in U.S. District Court that it had enforced the law incorrectly.  In the federal case, the state Attorney General’s Office contended that the unregistered trademarks held by Live Gold, the promoter for the groups performing as the Platters and Coasters, prevented them from performing unless they billed themselves as “tribute” bands. U.S. District Judge Dickinson Debevoise rejected the argument and ruled that an unregistered trademark, if found valid, had the same rights as a trademark registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Whilst neither of the bands who went…

Copyright Tribunal asked to look again at VPL rates
Copyright , Internet / September 2010

 COPYRIGHT Broadcasting, internet The High Court has decided that the Copyright Tribunal did not have a sound basis for the royalty rate it set in a dispute between rights holder VPL and a music TV broadcaster CSC . Mr Justice Floyd said that the Tribunal set a new rate on spurious grounds and misunderstood evidence in the dispute between Video Performance Ltd (VPL) and CSC Media Group about how much in royalties CSC’s seven pop video TV stations should pay VPL. At the heart of the case was a disagreement over thae rates the broadcaster pay – CSC said that the 20% of revenues it paid to VPL was too high, whereas VPL argued that it was fair and was the basis of other licensing deals. CSC wanted to pay 8.5% and claimed that a fair comparison was with the radio industry, where the highest rates were 5%. The percentages were pro-rated, meaning that they applied to a proportion of income equal to the proportion of broadcast material that was licensed through VPL and the method of pr0-rating formed a second part of the appeal, brought by VPL after the Tribunal set the rate at 12.5% of attributable revenues for…

EMI takes down Newport
Copyright , Internet , Music Publishing / September 2010

COPYRIGHT Internet, music publishing The spoof of Jay-Z and Alicia Keys’ ‘New York State Of Mind’, the now near legendary ‘Newport State Of Mind‘, which has had over two million views on YouTube in its first two weeks has been taken down after EMI Music Publishing submitted a copyright claim against it. US readers might be surprised to learn that the UK’s concept ‘fair dealing’ does not extend as widely as the US doctrine of ‘fair use’ and it is unclear how far (if at all) parody is protected. Andrew Gower’s 2006 review of the UK’s IP laws in 2007 recommended a new exception for parody and satire – as yet not implemented. See Rhodri Marsden’s article in The Independent 19th August 2010

RIAA vs The Radio Industry – what’s phones got 2 do with it?
Copyright , Record Labels / September 2010

COPYRIGHT Broadcasting, record labels The long-running dispute between US radio broadcasters and the recording industry over the royalties broadcasters should have to pay to use recorded music has taken an unexpected turn with a proposed settlement where a proposed new federal mandate would require all new mobile phones to come with a built-in FM radio chip. The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) has long been fighting any proposals that would require radio stations to pay  royalties to record labels and performers for the right to play their sound recordings on the air. The US unusually has no current legal requirement for a royalty for the use of recordings for FM stations – although now in the US internet, cable and satellite radio services and stations do have to pay an equivalent of the UK’s PPL royalty: Broadcasters have long argued that airplay provides free promotion and drives music purchases and concert ticket sales. The new idea is to push forward a proposed settlement that would establish a tiered system of royalty payments that would bring in a total of roughly $100 million for the music industry. Commercial radio stations with more than $1.25 million in annual revenue would pay royalties…

US labels say that copyright law “isn’t working”
Copyright , Internet , Record Labels / September 2010

COPYRIGHT Internet, record labels Speaking at the Technology Policy Institute’s Aspen Forum, The President of the Recording Industry Association of America, Cary Sherman, has said that the current U.S. copyright law “isn’t working” for content owners and contains a number of loopholes – the main one he objected to is, of course, the safe harbour protection given to internet service provides (ISPs), web companies and telecomms providers. According to CNet, Sherman said the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act “isn’t working for content people at all,” saying “You cannot monitor all the infringements on the Internet. It’s simply not possible. We don’t have the ability to search all the places infringing content appears, such as cyberlockers like [file-hosting firm] RapidShare.” Sherman added that YouTube is doing a good job of filtering and removing copyright-infringing videos but added that Google could do much more than simply having YouTube remove videos making the example that “If you enter in “Beyoncé MP3” as a Google search the “the chances are, the first thing you’ll see is illegal sites.” In response Lance Kavanaugh for YouTube, said that the DCMA is working exactly as Congress intended it to. “There’s legal plumbing to allow that to happen,…

Home Office open consultation on Licensing Act
Licensing , Live Events / September 2010

LICENSING Live events industry I have to say that parts of the Licensing Act 2003 were not particularly well thought out and the Act has almost certainly damaged grass roots music – but I didn’t think the Act was that bad. The new Home Secretary, Teresa May, has other ideas and in a move to cut down on binge drinking and late night city centre violence, The Home Office announced their review of the licensing act, they have opened consultation and given it 6 weeks. Saying that she believed that the system needs to be ‘rebalanced in favour of local communities’ and promising ‘tougher action to crack down on the small number of licensed premises which cause problems’ May has outlined a number of areas of concern a) Give licensing authorities the power to refuse licence applications or call for a licence review without requiring relevant representations from a responsible authority. b) Remove the need for licensing authorities to demonstrate their decisions on licences ‘are necessary’ for (rather than of benefit to) the promotion of the licensing objectives. c) Reduce the evidential burden of proof required by licensing authorities in making decisions on licence applications and licence reviews. d) Increase the…

Claudio acquitted on curfew breach
Licensing , Live Events / September 2010

LICENSING Live events industry Our friend, Italian promoter Claudio Trotter, has been acquitted on charges of breach of the peace arising out of a Bruce Springsteen concert that overran by 22 minutes. The case was brought by a residents association following the concert at Milan’s San Siro Stadium in 2008. Claudio faced a jail sentence if convicted. He told Audience magazine that the fact that the City authorities entertained the charges means that he will not use the Stadium again, pointing out the economic loss this would cause to the stadium and the city. Audience Magazine.  Issue 126  July 2010

Promoters and festivals to fight proposed PRS rate increases
Licensing , Live Events / September 2010

LICENSING Live events industry Having launched their ‘consultation’ in the midst of the busy summer concert and Festival season, music publisher and songwriter collection society PRS for Music have now agreed to extend the deadline for responses to the 31st October following a request from the Association of Independent Festivals who pointed out that many of their members were engaged in promoting their events in the proposed time frame. The Concert promoters Association have said that their members will fight any proposed rate increases, which for popular music events currently stands at 3% of Box Office.

US hearing loss case settled
Health & Safety , Live Events / September 2010

HEALTH & SAFETY Live events industry A lawsuit brought in the USA by an audience member and her husband who claimed that their hearing was damaged after being seated near a PA stack at Whitesnake concert in Orpheum Theatre in Massachusetts has been settled. Maryellen Burns claimed she suffered long term hearing loss which included the shearing of nerves cells in her cochlea. The Massachusetts Appeals Court confired that a sum of $40,000 had been paid.