Hungary raps rude radio amid growing media storm
Censorship / February 2011

CENSORSHIP Broadcasting Hungary’s new media authority has launched proceedings against a local radio station in Hungary that dared to play two songs filled with obscenities during daytime hours. The Authority launched an investigation last week after local broadcaster Tilos played Ice-T’s “Warning” and “It’s On” on a September afternoon, outside the allowed late-night time slot, when in all events a vulgar language warning would have been needed to have precede the tracks. The Authority said that the obscenities in Ice-T’s songs could have an adverse impact on the moral development of listeners under the age of 16 although the radio station responded that children under 16 rarely have the command of English to be able to understand what the songs were about. In Hungary, still relatively few possess advanced foreign language skills. Tilos Radio, whose name means “forbidden” has played songs with obscene lyrics in the past and was fined both in 2003 and 2005. The Ice-T scandal comes when Hungary is exposed to mounting criticism both at home and from the international community for the new and controversial media law that came into effect the same day the country assumed the European Union’s rotating presidency for the next six…

Feargal asks for Licensing Act action
Licensing , Live Events / February 2011

LICENSING Live events industry UK Music has expressed its frustration over the UK Coalition government’s inaction to exempt pubs from Licensing Act red tape. Many had hoped that when the new government came into power the endless (and ultimately pointless) round of consultations under Labour would end – and action would start. UK Music CEO Feargal Sharkey there was “immense frustration” that the new coalition government had yet to deliver on its promise to cut red tape around live music in pubs adding “Live music is part of this country’s DNA. It stitches communities together and in this economic environment remains a vital part of the livelihood of musicians, pubs, clubs, bars and a host of other businesses” … “The Licensing Act is failing small venues and that is having a huge impact on the future of the live industry. We have one of the most successful creative and commercial music industries in the world, but the first step for many live acts is to be able to play in front of a few of their mates in a local pub.” The Music Industries Association, which represents the musical instrument sector, also called for government action, again saying that current rules…

Glasgow pantomime nurse in breach of Geneva Convention
Trade Mark / February 2011

TRADE MARK Theatre A Glasgow theatre has had to change a nurse’s pantomime costume after being told it the use of the Red Cross emblem was breaking the Geneva Convention Act of 1957. The dress worn by Nurse Poltis in the Pavilion Theatre production of The Magical Adventures of Robin Hood, starring Jim Davidson as Robin and Dean Park as Nurse Poltis, originally had red crosses on the hat and tunic but these were changed to green crosses after the British Red Cross informed the theatre it was breaking the law and could face prosecution. A spokesman for the humanitarian organisation told the BBC “We have no desire to be the villains of the pantomime or to appear heavy handed, but we do have a very serious obligation to protect the Red Cross emblem … the emblem is a special sign of neutrality and protection recognised by all sides during armed conflicts” adding “Misuse of that emblem – even when done in an innocent and light-hearted manner – has to be addressed. Repeated and widespread misuse of the Red Cross emblem could dilute its neutrality and its ability to protect”.

US Live and recorded music sectors both suffer sharp decline
Artists , Copyright , Live Events , Record Labels / February 2011

COPYRIGHT / ECONOMIC NEWS Live sector, artists, record labels reports that US concert ticket sales dropped by double digits in 2010, as economic concerns, fan apathy, over exposure of acts and resistance to high ticket prices caused artists and promoters to cancel shows or entire tours. According to figures from Pollstar, combined ticket sales for the Top 50 North American tours generated $1.69 billion in 2010, down 15 percent from $1.99 billion in 2009. The Top 50 worldwide tours generated $2.93 billion in 2010, a drop of 12 percent from $3.34 billion the previous year. The total number of tickets sold to North American concerts dipped to 26.2 million, a 12 percent drop from 29.9 million in 2009. In addition, the show count was also less at 2,114, a 3 percent decrease, and the average cost of a show fell by $1.55, or 2 percent, primarily due to heavy discounting by Live Nation and others in an 11th-hour attempt to move slow-selling tickets. At the worldwide level, the total number of tickets sold decreased 15 percent to 38.3 million in 2010, down from 45.3 million in 2009. The show count dropped 8 percent to 2,650, but unlike in North America,…

Universal fails to stop re-sale of promo CDs
Copyright , Record Labels / February 2011

COPYRIGHT Record labels The U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that consumers have a right to re-sell “promotional” CDs distributed for free by record labels to radio stations, music journalists and others. The court upheld a lower court’s 2008 finding in favor of Troy Augosto, an eBay re-seller of promo CDs who was sued by Universal Music Group (UMG) for copyright infringement. Universa; had argued that the use of a label stating “For Promotional Use Only, Not For Sale” on the discs constituted a term of a “license” of the CDs, meaning they could recall them at any time and prohibit their resale. The Appelate court was having none of this and  found that, “UMG transferred title to the particular copies of its promotional CDs and cannot maintain an infringement action against Augosto for his subsequent sale of those copies.” The Court added that Universal did not require recipients of the promo CDs to agree to the “not for sale” condition, nor had it demanded return of the CDs if recipients did not consent. Copyright’s “first sale” doctrine prevents a copyright owner from restricting further sales or uses of a work once title has passed. Corynnew McSherry, from…

Pink Floyd and EMI settle down
Artists , Copyright , Record Labels / February 2011

COPYRIGHT Artists, record labels It seems the legal war between EMI and Pink Floyd has run its course with the parties now agreeing to a new five year deal – and it seems EMI will be able to sell individual Pink Floyds tracks as digital downloads. EMI’s Roger Faxon said: “Pink Floyd are one of the most important and influential bands of all time and I know I speak for everyone at EMI when I say that it is a privilege to have the opportunity to work with them. We’re looking forward to continuing to help the band reach new and existing fans through their incredible body of work”.

PPL to make charities pay up!
Copyright , Record Labels / February 2011

COPYRIGHT Record labels Christmas is over – and from January 1st 2011 Phonographic Performance Limited, the record and recording artists collection society, have secured the removal of an exception in music licensing rules which enables PPL to collect from charities and not-for-profit sector. The sector had enjoyed an exemption from the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988, although this did not include an exemption from PRS payments which are collected on behalf of publishers and songwriters. PPL has extensively lobbied to have the exemption for music use in village halls, community halls, student nightclubs and council buildings to be removed and bring the UK in to line with European law (the European Copyright Directive and the Copyright and Related Rights Regulations 2003) and provide remuneration for performers and record companies. PPL and VPL chairman and chief executive Fran Nevrkla told Music Week “From a business point of view the countless artificial exceptions and exclusions in existence gave the excuse to many licensees to avoid payment for use of sound recordings” and Nevrkla added, “On my part I was not prepared to accept a situation which meant that the rights of our constituents, both the performers and the record labels, were being constantly downgraded”….

Stopping illegal file sharing a low priority for the DOJ?
Copyright , Internet / February 2011

COPYRIGHT All areas, internet ARTICLE LINK:  Despite extensive lobbying by the content industries, In this article Greg Sandoval looks at the apparent lack of prosecutions against file sharing sites revealed in a report froM the FBI and the Department of Justice. In its report, the DOJ provides a list of its priorities as: (1) protecting the health and safety of U.S. citizens – and here the DOJ reported that it successfully prosecuted people involved in the sale of fake cancer drugs, phony airplane parts, and dubious pharmaceuticals; (2) combating organized criminal networks; (3) the prosecution of large scale commercial counterfeiting; (4) protecting the country’s trade secrets and battling economic espionage. Read more:

Love’s twitter defamation case to go to court
Artists , Defamation / February 2011

DEFAMATION Artists Fashion designer Dawn Simorangkir is continuing with a defamation case against Courtney Love after the Hole frontwoman launched a tirade against her on Twitter and various other social networks in March 2009. Amongst other things, Love accused Simorangkir of prostitution, drug dealing, assault and stealing from her. It appears that the accusations came after the designer demanded payment for several thousand dollars worth of clothing. Love claims that all the accusations she made were based on things told to her directly by Simorangkir, though the designer denies this. Simorangkir’s legal team will argue that Love’s rant, coupled with their client’s status as a fashion icon and trendsetter, caused significant damage to the designer’s career, entitling her to millions of dollars in compensation. Love’s attorney, James Janowitz, told the Hollywood that he is confident his team can win the case, saying: “We don’t believe there’s any defamation, and even if there were defamatory statements, there was no damage”. Love herself has said she will now close all of her social media accounts. The case, due to begin in January, is now scheduled to start on 8th February after a mandatory settlement conference.

UK Coalition government looks to reform UK’s ‘farcical’ defamation laws
Artists , Defamation / February 2011

DEFAMATION Artists, broadcasters The UK’s Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, has outlined plans to reform the UK’s libel laws, branding the current legislation an “international farce”. In a speech at the Institute for Government, Clegg announced the details of a draft Defamation Bill, due in Spring, which will include a new statutory defence for those speaking out in the public interest, “whether they be big broadcasters or the humble blogger”. He said the government also intends to clarify the law surrounding existing defences of fair comment and justification saying “We intend to provide a new statutory defence for those speaking out in the public interest” (for example doctors and scientists) “and to clarify the law around the existing defences of fair comment and justification.” And he also wants large corporations to show they have suffered substantial damage before they sue individuals and non-governmental organisations. Clegg said “My party spent years campaigning against the erosion of our civil liberties under Labour and now, in government, we are going to turn a page on that chapter; resurrecting the liberties we have lost; embarking on a mission to restore our great British freedoms. Clegg also addressed a number of issues raised by the…

Major labels must face internet price fixing case
Competition , Record Labels / February 2011

COMPETITION Record labels This is a case that has been bubbling under for a while now and one I have kept my eye on. Did the record labels set up MusicNet and PressPlay (remember them?) to try and enforce their control over the distribution of music on the internet and fix prices  ….. well, the US Supreme Court has rejected an move by the major record labels’ to block a lawsuit lodged by consumers who claim the majors colluded to fix prices on music sold on the Internet. Universal Music Group, Sony Music, Warner Music and EMI had asked the Supreme Court to block the lawsuit, after a federal appellate court in New York agreed with a lower court’s ruling that sufficient evidence existed for the lawsuit to proceed. The now five year old lawsuit (Starr v Sony) alleges the labels charged unreasonable rates for songs, and unreasonably imposed restrictions on consumers transferring songs to portable players. It also alleges the labels colluded to set a base price of 70 cents per song for selling their songs. In 2008, a federal judge dismissed the original lawsuit, ruling the plaintiffs had not presented enough evidence for a anti-trust hearing  but on…

Rammstein win damages for ‘appearance’ claim
Artists , Trade Mark / February 2011

TRADE MARK Artists Rammstein have won 45,000 euros in damages from Sony Music Germany in a Berlin court over claims that the German heavy metal band appeared on 2007 album by Finnish band Apocalyptica, which was released on the now defunct Sony subsidiary Gun Records. Sony’s marketing for the album, ‘World’s Collide’, claimed that the band Rammstein appeared on the record. In reality only one member of the band, Rammstein frontman Till Lindemann, guested.  Rammstein argued that the advertising infringed their trademark in the Rammstein name, because it was used without their permission. CMU Daily 11th January 2011