Music videos face age restrictions in UK
Censorship , Internet / July 2011

CENSORSHIP Internet, broadcasting A new report commissioned by UK Prime Minister David Cameron says that music videos should come with age ratings to protect children from overt sexual imagery and lyrics at an early age. The rating system is one of a number of proposals put forward by Reg Bailey, the head of the Mothers’ Union, as a way to curb the “sexualisation and commercialisation of children”. The BPI recently announced plans to extend its parental advisory scheme, which results in stickers being put on CDs which contain strong language or adult themes, to the digital domain for sites like YouTube. Songwriter and producer Mike Stock of Stock Aitken Waterman Fame (Kylie, et all) has criticised the fashion for raunchy videos and performances from acts such as Rhianna, Nicole Scherzinger and Christina Aguilera – whose overtly sexual performance on the X-factor attracted thousands of complaints but narrowly avoided regulatory censure for broadcaster ITV. Stock blamed “American acts who have sexualised imagery, dance moves and lyrical content way beyond the limits of decency” adding that the UK’s 9pm “watershed” when it is a presumed an adult audience will be watching was “irrelevant” in the age of digital catch up TV with…

The Doors close on Lizard Bar
Artists , Trade Mark / July 2011

TRADE MARK Artists A French bar called the Lezard King bar, a play on Jim Morrison’s nickname of the ’Lizard King’, and which is situated close to the Pere Lachaise cemetery where the Doors frontman is buried in Paris, is on the receiving end of a letter from the band’s lawyers who have objected to the bar, its name and its association with Morrison and the Doors.  The letter said that the bar, which features cocktails with names based on the band’s hits such as Light My Fire, Waiting for the Sun  and Strange Days,  had no right to use the band’s name or photographs of the Doors in connection with the sale of alcohol and said that the band did not want to be seen as endorsing the bar or the sale of alcohol.  Jeff Jampol, the bands manager reportedly said “there is a difference between a homage to Jim being created by a fan, and a business owner”. The Times  10th June 2011

WIPO announce breakthrough on Performers’ rights
Artists , Performer's Rights / July 2011

PERFORMERS RIGHTS Artistes “WIPO’s top copyright negotiating body will recommend to the September session of the General Assembly to resume a Diplomatic Conference on the Protection of Audiovisual Performances after agreement on the last outstanding issue relating to the transfer of rights. The convening of a diplomatic conference signals entry into the final phase of treaty negotiations, with the objective of concluding a treaty that would shore up the rights of performers in their audiovisual performances More at

Publishing chief calls for improved licensing

COPYRIGHT Internet, music publishing Billboard reports that David Israelite,CEO of the US National Music Publishers Association has called on his sector to endorse more collective licensing in the digital domain, especially for so called mechanical rights and for synchornisation rights. Israelite, speaking at the MPA’s AGM said that mechanical and some sync rights should be licensed collectively in the US  just like performance rights generally are via BMI, ASCAP and SESAC – to ensure promising new digital music services can get to market telling members: “If you look at the challenges of the industry, the way we license doesn’t work: it is broken”. New start ups continually point to the massive amount of work involved in legally licensing music content and many say that it allows other illegal services to flourish. But the  issue of digital licensing still contentious in the music business, with some supporting the introduction of collective licensing – via societies and licensing agencies – across the board for both recording and publishing rights, while others feel rights owners should retain the right to negotiate their own terms with digital services, including advances and other upfront incentives.

The need to register your US copyrights!
Copyright , Music Publishing / July 2011

COPYRIGHT Sound recordings, music publishing A Finnish record company’s claim that pop music producer Timbaland and pop star Nelly Furtado plagiarized its recordings and music has been thrown out by  Miami federal judge Edwin Torres, who said that  Kernal Records and Oy’s claim that its song and recording  “Acid Jazzed Evening” was the basis for parts of Furtado’s hugely popular 2006 album “Loose.” Judge Torres approved a motion by Miami-based Timbaland, whose real name is Timothy Mosley, and Furtado, for summary judgment and refused to allow the Finnish company to seek an overdue copyright and amend its complaint. Kernal Records and Oy were seeking $10 million to $20 million in damages on one of the biggest selling albums of the decade and the copyright infringement claim was that a Norwegian musician who sold his music to Kernal wrote and recorded a song that was plagiarized by Furtado. The case centered on whether the European tracks were first published on the Internet – or in Europe – as under U.S. copyright law,  music and sound recordings published first on the Internet are considered U.S. created and thus must be copyright registered to be protected in the US. The plaintiffs argued Glenn…

German hackers get jail
Copyright , Internet / July 2011

COPYRIGHT Internet Two computer hackers who targeted pop stars and record companies in a bid to secure personal information and distribute pre-release tracks online have been handed down prison sentences by a court in Duisberg, Germany.  The two men hacked computers containing material belonging to international stars such as Lady Gaga and Dr. Dre, accessing email accounts, banking details and other private data. One of the hackers, Deniz A (known as DJ Stolen), was given a prison sentence of 18 months. The other, Christian M (known as CEE), received a suspended 18-month sentence. Both were found guilty of copyright theft and computer intrusion. Deniz A was also found guilty of extortion. Jeremy Banks, anti-piracy director at IFPI, which provided key assistance in the case, commented: “These are deterrent sentences for serious crimes which cause huge damage to artists and record companies. Hacking into people’s email accounts to obtain and then distribute private information or property is a very serious offence which takes considerable resources to investigate. This case shows the sheer scale and scope of measures taken to identify the offenders and bring them to justice.” The judgments, handed down in Duisberg on June 16th, are the culmination of a…

US senate moves to make illegal streaming a felony
Copyright , Internet / July 2011

COPYRIGHT  Internet The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee has approved a bill that would make it a felony to stream copyrighted movies and TV episodes online. Sponsored by Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and John Cornyn (R-Texas), the Commercial Felony Streaming Act is actively supported by the  entertainment industry and the trio of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), the Independent Film & Television Alliance (IFTA) and the National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO) issued a joint press release with some deeply insightful comment. Drum roll please ……. Jean Prewitt, IFTA President & CEO said  “The illegal streaming of motion pictures and television programming is as financially devastating for our industry as is illegal downloading” adding “Stealing is stealing, regardless of the means in which the product is being received. This legislation is a critical step forward in the piracy fight and we commend the Committee for their support. NATO President and CEO John Fithian said  “We commend the Committee for moving this important piece of legislation for consideration by the Senate. It will close a gaping hole in the law and go far in protecting the livelihoods of theater employees from the threat posed by illegal streaming” adding the move…

Eminem vs Audi: Audi’s ad “imported from Detroit”
Advertising , Copyright / July 2011

COPYRIGHT Advertising From Brigit Clark at the IPKat comes the news that US rapper Eminem is suing German car manufacturer Audi for allegedly using parts of Eminem’s song “Lose Yourself” in an ad for the Audi A6 Avant car without the singer’s permission. A spokesperson for Audi is quoted by German media as having said that the spot was only used “once” at the car’s recent launch party in Berlin. Obviously this was once too often for Eminem’s taste. The spot in dispute is available on YouTube and you can have a look and listen by clicking here. What appears to make the situation slightly more awkward for Audi is that a rather similar spot for US car maker Chrysler using “Lose Yourself” (with Eminem’s permission) was recently shown during US the Super Bowl event. This ad is also available via YouTube and you can retrieve it by clicking here. German website today cites a spokesperson for the Regional Court of Hamburg (Landgericht Hamburg) who confirmed that a law suit has been filed by Eminem’s publisher’s Eight Mile Style (case reference 310 O 185/11). US website cites a spokesperson for Eight Mile Style who reportedly said that Audi’s spot…

WPP moves to cut off infringing website from advertising cash
Copyright , Internet / July 2011

COPYRIGHT Internet In another example of how the imagined ‘Wild West’ of the internet is (slowly) being tamed by proactive business practices which can run alongside new legislation and court decisions, advertising giant WPP has announced a list of 2,000 websites in the USA which it says carry illegal or pirated content and will not be used for advertising for the group’s clients. The list will be used by the media buying agencies within WPP’s GroupM business and executives in those companies have been told not to buy any advertising on those site – and since they have a combined annual spend of $3.5 billion in the US alone – that’s quite a major move. WPP’s clients include Ford, Unilever, AT&T and IBM and interestingly their client list also includes two major labels – Universal Music and the Warner as well as the Paramount film company. The list will be regularly updated. GroupM Interaction’s Global CEO Rob Norman told reporters: “We’re serious about combating piracy and protecting our clients’ intellectual property as forcefully as we possibly can. This policy extends to digital media buyers at all GroupM agencies, as well as other WPP companies like Team Detroit, which manages Ford’s…

Forecast iffy for music cloud services in Canada
Copyright , Internet / July 2011

COPYRIGHT Internet ARTICLE LINK: Michael Geist’s take on the legality of Amazon’s and Google unlicensed digital cloud music services under Canadian law at–geist-forecast-iffy-for-music-cloud-services-in-canada?bn=1

Apple’s iCloud launches and faces trade mark challenge
Copyright , Internet , Trade Mark / July 2011

COPYRIGHT / TRADEMARK Internet Apple head honcho Steve Jobs has taken a break from his medical treatment and launched the company’s new music offering, the iCloud, at the Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco. Fully licensed by all four major record companies and publishers Billboard cited sources this weekend confirming that the split of revenues generated by the iCloud service will be 58% to the labels, 12% to the publishers and 30% to Apple. It will be interesting to see if Apple’s digital locker service will have more or less limitations compared to those launched by Amazon and Google, who decided to go without licenses – and perversely therefore don’t have any content owners to placate – and on first looks it appears that iCloud doesn’t actually allow you to store music in the cloud. In separate news, it seems all is not well with Apple’s new names though. In iCloud news, a company called  In a iCloud Communications, LLC,  a Phoenix-based voice over IP provider, has claimed trademark infringements against Apple over the use of the name iCloud in a law suit filed in the US District Court in Arizona and New York book publisher has filed a lawsuit…

UK Three Strikes laws ‘breach human rights’
Copyright , Internet / July 2011

COPYRIGHT Internet A new report from the United Nations says that provisions of the UK’s Digital Economy Act that could see music and film pirates cut off from the internet are disproportionate, contradicting a recent judgment at the High Court. Frank La Rue, the report’s author and UN special rapporteur on freedom of expression, called on the government to “repeal or amend” the legislation. He said he was “alarmed by proposals to disconnect users from Internet access if they violate intellectual property rights”. More at  and

CNET faces limited Limewire actions from David
Copyright , Internet / July 2011

COPYRIGHT Internet  Wired reports that a copyright infringement lawsuit targeting CNET Networks for its distribution of LimeWire file-sharing software service now accuses the company of infringing just six works in total. CNET was sued for distributing some 220 million copies of LimeWire via its software distribution service, and profiting from advertising against the downloads. The lawsuit filed last month by rappers and filmmaker Alkiviades David accuses CBS Interactive, CNET’s publisher, of illicitly profiting from piracy by distributing 220 million copies of LimeWire over CNET’s site since 2008, accounting for 95 percent off all LimeWire downloads. The plaintiffs allege CNET’s distribution of LimeWire resulted in the unauthorized distribution of the 2007 movie “Fishtales,” as well as five hip-hop musical tracks associated with the Plaintiff. If CNET — and parent company CBS — are found guilty in the matter, damages could reach  a maximum $150,000 in damages per work ($900,000) in statutory copyright damages, or more if multiple infringements per work are proven. Alki David also runs online TV-on-demand service

VPL lose Copyright Tribunal Appeal
Copyright / July 2011

COPYRIGHT Broadcasting Video Performance Limited, the audio-visual arm of collection society PPL (Phonographic Performance Limited) have lost a major case in the Court of Appeal against a decision of the Copyright Tribunal that said that that the correct royalty rate payable by TV channel operator CSC should be somewhere in the region of 10% to 15% rather than the higher rate set in an earlier licence between VPL and BSkyB  of 20%. On appeal to the High Court Mr Justice Floyd had supported VPL’s arguments and had ordered that the matter be re-submitted to a differently constituted Tribunal. CSC’s submitting that Floyd J had (i) failed to attribute to the Tribunal awareness, in fixing the reduced window, of its subsequent discussion of comparables and (ii) failed to appreciate that the Tribunal’s treatment of the relevance and weight of those comparables was coloured by its earlier discussion of the law and of the music video market and the Court of Appeal allowed CSC’s appeal. CSC Media Group Ltd (formerly Chart Show Channels Ltd) v Video Performance Ltd [2011] EWCA Civ 650, 27 May 2011 For more see Jeremy Philips on the 1709 Blog

Nashville passes a ‘sharing’ but not caring law
Copyright / July 2011

COPYRIGHT All areas Tennessee state lawmakers in Nashville, the home of country music, have passed a groundbreaking measure that would make it a crime to use a friend’s login – even with permission. The new law would make it an offence to listen to songs or watch movies from services such as Netflix or Rhapsody. The bill, which has been signed by the state Governor, was pushed by the recording, television and film industries to try to stop the loss of billions of dollars to illegal music and film sharing – and free access to paid for services. The legislation was aimed at hackers and thieves who sell passwords in bulk – but could be employed against people who use a friend’s or relative’s subscription. Reports says that those who share their subscriptions with a spouse or other family members ‘under the same roof ‘ almost certainly’ have nothing to fear but college students who give their logins to everyone on their dormitory floor – could get in trouble, however. Tennessee would become the first state to update its theft-of-cable laws for the 21st century and address the new trend toward Internet delivery of entertainment, according to the Recording Industry…