Liam sues Noel – definitely – maybe … maybe not
Defamation / September 2011

DEFAMATION Artists Oasis frontman Liam Gallagher is suing his brother for libel over recent comments Noel made about the reasons behind their band’s split in 2009 when Noel said that the siblings had fallen out because his brother wanted to place advertisements for his clothing company, Pretty Green, in their tour programme. He also claimed that Liam had forced the band to pull out of a headline slot at V Festival’s Chelmsford leg that year because he had a hangover. Liam says it was due to a sudden bout of laryngitis. In a statement issued on Friday, Liam said: “I have taken legal action against Noel Gallagher for statements he made during the Electric Cinema press conference on 6 Jul during which he claimed Oasis pulled out of the 2009 V Festival Chelmsford gig because I had a hangover. That is a lie and I want Oasis fans, and others who were at V, to know the truth” adding “Noel also falsely stated that the demise of Oasis followed a massive row in which he claimed I demanded to advertise my clothing range Pretty Green in the Oasis tour programme. The truth is there was no such discussion or row…

US festival accused of unregistered investment sales
Live Events , Regulation / September 2011

FINANCIAL REGULATION Live events industry   The organisers of an Orange County  weekend music festival in Irvine may have run foul of state law with an unusual financing scheme  – by attempting to sign up investors by allegedly using “boiler-room” style phone calls. Billed as a “new music experience in Orange County”, the two-day Playgound Festival is planned to feature hip-hop and rock acts at Hidden Valley, a grassy area adjacent to Verizon Amphitheater. Rapper the Game and rock bands the Bravery and Panic! are currently billed  as headliners according to Orange County Register, However, it seems that sales teams from promoters Elevated Sound Productions having been cold calling local residents offering exceptional returns from investments in the Festival. Steve Blasko, an ESP managing partner, denied that the company made unsolicited calls to investors. He told the Orange County Register that the company only contacted people who had previously expressed interest through the company’s website. If anyone got an unsolicited call to invest, Blasko said, it was because “wires were crossed somewhere”. Investigations by the Register say that one salesman compared the newly established Playground Festival with long-established Coachella Festival and the Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas and that another unsuccessfully pushed an undercover reporter to make an…

Five dead in Pukklepop storm disaster
Health & Safety , Live Events / September 2011

HEALTH & SAFETY Live events industry At least five people have died and many more injured at the 60,000 capacity Pukklepop Festival in Belgium after a storm swept through a popular open-air music festival in the town of Hasselt, 50 miles east of Brussels. The storm hit the site in the late afternoon on Thursday 18th August. Concertgoers described scenes of panic as the sky darkened, the winds whipped, rain poured, hailstones nearly half an inch across pelted the crowds, and concert structures buckled. The worst affected area was the Chateau Stage which collapsed as the Smith Westerns began their set.  Lead singer Cullen Omori  told Pitchfork: “We had just finished the first song of our set at Pukkelpop when the stage/tent started shaking. We simply thought it was a storm passing through. I made a comment about Cheap Trick, and we were about to play the next one, when our tour manager yelled at me to run off the stage. Right then the tress collapsed one foot in front of Max. At this point we thought only the stage broke, not the tent. Amid the chaos it was hard to tell exactly what had happened, but after the rescue teams started coming in it became clear…

Six die in Indiana rigging collapse during storm
Health & Safety , Live Events / September 2011

HEALTH & SAFETY Live events Six people have died after stage rigging at the Indiana State Fair in Indianapolis collapsed after being hit by 70mph freak gusts of wind just before country stars Sugarland were due to take to the stage. An announcement warned concert-goers that a storm was approaching BUT and critically it seems also said that it was hoped Sugarland’s concert could go ahead: Seconds later strong winds blew up in the space of seconds and a large stage rig collapsed onto the waiting crowd. According to local media reports, four people died immediately, while one more died later in hospital. Over 40 others were being treated for injuries incurred during the stage collapse. . One member of the audience managed to film the incident State Governor Mitch Daniels told reporters later that many precautions had been taken ahead of the event to cope with stormy weather, but that the stage collapse had been caused by a freak gust of wind – between 60 and 70 mph – that could not have been foreseen. It appears that Sugarland had delayed the start of their set to see how bad the weather was, potentially saving the band’s own and…

Van the Man named and shamed by UK IPO
Artists , Trade Mark / September 2011

TRADE MARK Artists There is an interesting entry on the UK’s Intellectual Property Office’s list of those ‘named and shamed’ for failing to pay the costs of failed Trade Mark oppositions – and it is this and concerns the mark ‘Lioness Films’ and Van Morrison Opp 100284 £400 2 November 2010 George Ivan Morrison trading as Van Morrison 26 July 2011 Van has had a mixed bag of results in court over the last few years: Most recently there have been some ups and downs in litigation recently concerning his own, long term partner Michelle Rocca’s and his family’s privacy and also a high profile story concerning an alleged illegitimate child born outside of his relationship with Rocca, as well as repeated disputes with neighbours: a now settled sex discrimination case was brought against him by singer Linda Gail Lewis, sister of Jerrry Lee Lewis, although Van won a libel action against the Sunday Independent over the same story: and pub landlord Gary Marlow won £20,000 damages and the return of the £20,000  fee after Van Morrison cancelled a 2002 pub concert after the singer claimed that the publican had breached the terms of a ‘secrecy’ provision. Mr Justice Cresswell…

Bobby G wins Bucks Fizz Trade Mark dispute
Artists , Trade Mark / September 2011

TRADE MARK Artists Bobby G (Robert Gubby), one of the four original members of Bucks Fizz and owner of the band’s Trade Mark “Bucks Fizz”, has successfully prevented the three other original members, Mike Nolan, Cheryl Baker and Jay Aston registering “Original Bucks Fizz”. The UK Intellectual Property Office ruled that given Buck Fizz has existed in all sorts of incarnations over the years, the number original members was not relevant. And as Bobby G was the original trademark registrant, he has the right to use the name saying “The public would have no reason to expect the group performing as Bucks Fizz to consist of the original line-up [that] had not performed together for 24 years”. An appeal is planned. See August 2011 Music Law Updates

Sugarbabes’ Trade Mark dispute
Artists , Trade Mark / September 2011

TRADE MARK Artists Mutya Buena’s 2009 application for the ‘Sugarbabes’ European Community Trade Mark, which had been opposed by  the current incarnation of the band and their label Universal, appears to have been successful but the former member only appears to have succeeded in achieving registration of the name for only one class – Class 16 for paper products and stationery’. In a statement the current band’s label  said “”Further to ongoing media speculation and mis-reporting of the facts by various sources, we would like to clarify the following. Over four months ago (21 Apr 2011) it was officially confirmed by the European Trade Marks Department [OHIM] that Sugababes were successful in claiming their ongoing right to use the name ‘Sugababes’ for all areas of commercial activity that the band requires, namely within the music, sound recording and entertainment industry, as well as being granted extensive rights to produce a wide range of merchandise” adding “The Trade Mark rights for Class 16 (excluding those items which are already covered by Sugababes merchandise, eg posters, stickers, etc.) include certain paper and cardboard goods, such as stationery, paper gift wrap and paper gift wrapping ribbons. This is a category that currently holds…

Syl Johnson considers action over Kanye and Jay-Z sample
Artists , Copyright , Record Labels / September 2011

COPYRIGHT Record labels, artists Soul singer Syl Johnson and archive label Numero Uno are threatening legal action against Jay-Z, Kanye West and Universal’s Def Jam label over the use of a sample on the hip-hop duo’s recent collaborative album ‘Watch The Throne’ with Numero Uno saying thsat the pair sampled Johnson song ‘Different Strokes’ on their track ‘The Joy’ without permission. It adds that it had been in talks with Def Jam about West using the sample of his previous album ‘My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy’, but could not reach an agreement. There had been no talk, the music company adds, of the same sample being used on ‘Watch The Thone”.

Kiwi ISP Chief says that three strikes in the wrong approach
Copyright , Internet / September 2011

COPYRIGHT Internet Allan Freeth, The chief executive of New Zealand ISP TelstraClear, has spoken out against his country’s Copyright (Infringing File Sharing) Amendment Act 2011, which comes into force on September 1st. The New Zealand legislation is another example of the ‘three strikes’ legislative approach adopted by France, South Korea and which will be implemented in the UK. The Act introduces a set of penalties (described by some as ‘draconian’, others as ‘ineffective’) that impose fines and possible account suspension for infringing activities, and it involves Internet Service Providers in the process of identifying and notifying account holders based on IP addresses. Freeth said that “TelstraClear respects copyright and supports the ability of rights owners to realise value from their intellectual property. But a business model that has to be propped up by specific legislation in this way is flawed and needs to change,” adding The new law will not help copyright owners defend their rights” and “It may encourage parents to take more notice of what their kids are doing online, and that’s a good thing. But it won’t stop those who really want content from getting it.” Freeth said his company’s market research found definitive reasons why people…

US indie publishers settle with YouTube
Copyright , Internet , Music Publishing / September 2011

COPYRIGHT Music publishing, internet While Viacom’s long-standing copyright lawsuit against YouTube has grabbed all of the headlines, a second related suit has been running ion parallel – the class action brought by the Premier League and other major content owners against youTube. Now one big part of that class action suit, the US independent music publishers, have bowed out of the case after striking a deal with YouTube. Whilst the terms of the settlement weren’t disclosed it appears to be based on a share of advertising revenue that YouTube’s collect from identified music videos. The record labels, which represent the artists that perform the songs, already have similar deals going as did the major label’s music publishing xompanies.  Its interesting to note that YouTube settled the suit despite the fact that it in the actual court case, at the first hearing the judge ruled that YouTube was protected from copyright lawsuits because YouTube had followed the rules of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). . The settlement has no bearing on Viacom’s lawsuit. In that case, Viacom says that YouTube should pay up to $1 billion in damages, because it knowingly built up its user base with pirated material. However,…

Syco settles Penguin claim

COPYRIGHT Music publishing / record labels Leona Lewis and her label, Simon Cowell’s Sony imprint Syco, have settled out of court with Swedish producer Avicii and Avicii’s label the Ministry of Sound over the use of his instrumental track, ‘Penguin’ in Lewis’ new single, ‘Collide’.  An application for an injunction to prevent the alleged unauthorised use (which was disputed by Syco) was due to be head in the High Court mid-August but a settlement was reached and Lewis’s track will be released on the 4th September as planned  In a statement, Syco said: “It is announced today that Leona Lewis and Avicii will work together on the forthcoming single of ‘Collide’. ‘Collide‘ will be released on 4 Sep. Since getting its first radio play in the UK it has received rave reviews and is already topping club charts across the country”. Avicii said via Twitter: “We’ve finally come to an agreement with Leona on all the issues. So happy to move on and focus on hit making!” No further details of the settlement have been given See Music Law Updates August 2011 Ministry of Sound claims Leona’s Collide samples Avicii’s Penguin

Major artistes look to reclaim recordings and songs: Springsteen and others soon eligible to “recover song rights”
Artists , Copyright , Record Labels / September 2011

COPYRIGHT Artistes, record labels ARTICLE LINK:  An interesting article in the New York Times notes that since their release in 1978, hit albums like Bruce Springsteen’s “Darkness on the Edge of Town,” Billy Joel’s “52nd Street,” the Doobie Brothers’ “Minute by Minute,” Kenny Rogers’s “Gambler” and Funkadelic’s “One Nation Under a Groove” have generated tens of millions of dollars for record companies. But thanks to a little-noted provision in United States copyright law, those artists — and thousands more — now have the right to reclaim ownership of their recordings, potentially leaving the labels and music publishers out in the cold.  Other artistes currently looking to regain rights include Bryan Adams, Bob Dylans, Tom Waites, Kris Kristofferson, Kool & The Gang and Fleetwood Mac. When copyright law was revised in the mid-1970s, musicians, like creators of other works of art, were granted “termination rights,” which allow them to regain control of their work after 35 years, so long as they apply at least two years in advance. Recordings from 1978 are the first to fall under the law, but in a matter of months, hits from 1979, like “The Long Run” by the Eagles and “Bad Girls” by Donna Summer, will…

Gaga gets Judas claim and mermaid blues
Artists , Copyright , Music Publishing / September 2011

COPYRIGHT Music publishing, artists Lady Gaga (Stefani Germanotta) is facing a claim from singer Rebecca Francescatti that Gaga’s song Judas is a copy of  Francescatti’s Juda released in 1999 and that musicologists supported her claim. Francescatti, A Chicago based singer, has said that whilst the two songs have been recorded in different styles, the compositon is the same and the chorus has the same melody. Francescatti, who records as Rebecca F, also says that her former bass player Brian Gaynor now works with Gaga producer Paul Blair (DJ White Shadow) who worked on Gaga’s Born This Way album and helped record a version of Juda in 2005.  The  lawsuit has been filed in the Northern District of Illinois Gaga has also faced criticism from  Bette Middler who says Gaga’s appearance on stage in a wheelchair dressed as a mermaid copied an act Middler had been performing since 1978. Gaga has said that she didn’t know about Middler’s act when she first used the mermaid routine but does now.  Middler tweeted “I’ve been doing the singing mermaid act since 1980 – you can keep the meat dress and the firecracker tits – the mermaid’s mine”. Of the 99,652 votes cast on TMZ when I logged on, 70% thought Gaga’s song…

Mars seeks to escape Bug
Artists , Contract , Music Publishing / September 2011

CONTRACT Artists, music publishing Bruno Mars has filed papers ar the LA County Superior Court in a move to to end his music publishing contract with Bug Music. TMZ reports that Mars believes that he has fulfilled his commitments under his contract with the up-for-sale independent publisher, and that it failed to take up an option to renew in the renewal period previously agreed. Mars now says he is currently without any commitments to any music publisher. TMZ reports that Bug seems not agree and maintains that he is still under contact to the company.

Mixed results for EMI in MP3tunes case
Copyright , Internet , Record Labels / September 2011

COPYRIGHT Internet, record labels In a potentially highly damaging day for the US content industries, the New York district court has ruled that digital music lockers don’t need licences from record labels to store recorded music and that the operators of digital locker services are protected by the ‘safe harbor’ provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, something that will bring cheer to both Amazon and Google who launched their cloud storage services without licences from record labels or music publishers, The New York District Court handed Capitol Records, part of the EMI Group, a mixed verdict in their lawsuit against MP3tunes, the San Diego music locker service founded by technology entrepreneur Michael Robertson. The lawsuit, filed in November 2007, contended that MP3tunes (and Robertson personally) violated copyright law when they allowed users to find music online and add songs to an online locker service that let them listen to those songs from any Internet connection. In its defence MP3tunes argued that it qualified for a so-called “safe harbor” exemption under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, Judge William H. Pauley, III, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York ruled that MP3tunes didqualify for safe harbor exemption when it responded to…

Why did Google launch its cloud service without licences?
Copyright , Internet / September 2011

COPYRIGHT Internet I’ve been sitting on a story from BusinessWeek from two months ago when the magazine reported that Google offered the major record labels $100 million to obtain licenses for its new cloud music service, but that talks broke down and one of the reasons was that the labels wanted Google to be more proactive in the fight against digital piracy. Google then launched a cloud locker service – without licences – and the legality of that has yet to be tested in the US courts. It is also interesting that Google filed a Amici curiae brief back in January in support of the defendant in the main case looking at this issue, EMI v MP3Tunes. MP3tunes operates a digital cloud “locker” service and is being sued by the major labels (see details of the decision in the New York District Court below) CNET asks why the labels would pass up big dollars for antipiracy considerations. Whether the story is true or not,  it is clear that the large entertainment companies are trying to pressure Google to make changes – and the news of the new scheme brokered in the USA with the major ISPs means that this story makes more…

Down Down, Deeper and Down
Artists , Copyright , Internet , Record Labels / September 2011

COPYRIGHT Internet, record labels, artists What do Justin Bieber, Rhianna, Lady Gaga , Beyonce  and Shakira  have in common? Well you can make your own minds up about their music, but they are undoubtedly some of the biggest pop stars on the global music jukebox at the moment – and NONE of them are signed to iLCreation. Why do I mention iLCreation – well this entity managed to get videos by Bieber, Gaga, Shakira, Rhianna, Beyonce and others including Bruno Mars and Miley Cyrus taken down from YouTube. Seemingly rather easily. Many of the artistes who whose videos were targeted had performed at the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards last Sunday and according to Webpronews an unknown individual using the name iLCreation submitted a copyright claim on numerous videos including Miley Cyrus’ “Party In The USA”,  Rhianna’s “What’s My Name” and. Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance” and following its standard procedures, YouTube pulled down the video including Bieber’s entire Vevo channel, it seems without requiring any form of verification that the claimant had the right to request the take-down. Vevo initially posted a statement that explained, “Someone is making false copyright claims against the Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga channels and YouTube has blocked…

Scotland debates IP
Copyright / September 2011

COPYRIGHT All areas Scottish lawyer Paul Carlyle has told the Festival of Politics in Edinburgh that neither the government nor the entertainment industry has successfully persuaded the public of the need to pay for digital content saying “It’s interesting, is it not, that an industry that can sell us Cheryl Cole, Jedward and all the other ‘X-Factor’ creations, and which can persuade us to part with good money for all sorts of products linked to these celebrities, has somehow failed to persuade much of the public that they should pay for digital content”. Carlyle said that education and communication, should be at the top of the agenda of rights owners and their political supporters, Also at the conference at the Scottish Parliament’s building at Holyrood was Pete Wishart, the Scottish Nationalist MP and a former member of Scottish band Runrig, Wishart is a vocal supporter of copyright in Westminster, and stressed the importance of intellectual property rights for the UK and Scottish economies, and of the need for new laws, including the new measures in the Digital Economy Act , to maintain a defence against online infringers. Carlyle pointed out that in the main Intellectual Prooperty  law in Scotland was…

UK Goverment responds to The Hargreaves’ Review – it’s a yes!
Copyright / September 2011

COPYRIGHT All areas The UK Government’s have responsed to Professor Ian Hargreaves review of IP law in a Response that accepts all ten of Professor Hargreaves’ recommendations. The Government say that their goal is to have measures in place by the end of this Parliament that will realise the Review’s vision and deliver real value to the UK economy, and to the creators and users of Intellectual Property saying  “the Government announced plans to support economic growth by modernising UK intellectual property laws. Ministers have accepted the recommendations made in an independent review which estimate the potential to deliver up to £7.9 billion to the UK economy”. You can read the response in full here (pdf download) as well as a letter from UK Business Secretary Vince Cable to stakeholders saying that consultation will begin this autumn. The Response covers a number of topics (I haven’t covered patents and design rights here) and even suggests a new name for the Patents County Court and a new ‘small claims’ track for IP. The only seemingly negative for content owners is that site blocking legislation will not be brought in although in light of Newzbin2 this may not be of such concern. Anyway,…

China seeks to order online music
Copyright , Internet , Record Labels / September 2011

COPYRIGHT Internet, record labels The Chinese Ministry of Culture has ordered domestic websites to cease streaming and download services for a list of over 100 songs which the Ministry has not authorised for the Internet saying “A website that is engaged in the operation of an online music product must go through procedures with the Ministry’s department of cultural markets” – the ministry operates a review procedure all foreign tracks and operates a registration system for domestic product. Li Jian, an official told reporters “the procedure is a bid to strike out copyright infringement and refine the order of the online cultural market”. Domestic search engines and websites have been told to review and cancel services dealing with the list of (unapproved) tracks, which features Lady Gaga and the Backstreet Boys by September 15th or face investigation and penalties. The registration system means that whichever website gains the first permission to use the track can then pass that permission on – other websites have to go to the first registrant for permission. Record industry executive have pointed out that they do not agree that once they have licensed a website to sell their music it can re-authorise others, that the…

Grooveshark faces new action
Copyright , Internet , Music Publishing / September 2011

COPYRIGHT Internet, music publishing Online music service Grooveshark is facing a new action from music publishers.. The online service that allows users to post their own tracks to their site while sharing them with the world is being sued by a number of songwriters and music publishers. Filed in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee, the plaintiffs claim the music illegally violates many copyright laws, and therefore is liable for contributory infringement, copyright infringement and vicarious infringement  saying “Defendant neither sought nor obtained a license, permission, or authorization from plaintiffs”.. The company claims to abide by all rules of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and that it is protected from any copyright violations committed by its users. However, companies like EMI Music and Universal Music Group disagree — having both filed lawsuits against the company, with EMI Music being the only one to settle.

Major knockback for IPRS in Indian broadcast claim
Copyright , Internet , Music Publishing / September 2011

COPYRIGHT Internet, music publishing In a judgment I found extremely surprising, the Bombay High Court have decided that the owner of a sound recording can authorize the public communication of that sound recording and that no royalty is payable to the owner of the underlying works – here music and lyrics (Music Broadcast Private Limited v Indian Performing Right Society Limited, before S. J. Vadzifdar J). The Indian Performing Rights Society (IRPS) have claimed a royalty when a ‘sound recording’ is ‘communicated to the public’ in many proceedings before various courts in India. The members of the IPRS are the authors of literary and musical works. The IPRS has always claimed that they are entitled to claim royalty when ‘work’  – which is embodied in the sound recording – is communicated to the public through broadcast on radio in the sound recording. IPRS claims that, in the absence of a licence from IPRS, such communication of sound recordings amounts to infringement of copyright of the members of the IPRS in the underlying works embodied in the sound recording. The radio broadcasters have valid licences to broadcast the sound recordings from Phonographic Performance Limited (PPL), the collection society for owners of sound…