Article: “Let He Who Is Without Sin, Cast The First Stone”
Articles / May 2012

Click here to download this article as a PDF file (.pdf) By Ben Challis The title of this article is from the Bible, from the story of a woman who is caught committing adultery, then a mortal sin. The sinner is brought before Jesus by the less than unblemished Scribes and Pharisees: In the lesson, Jesus refuses to condemn the woman, because of the hypocrisy of those who brought the charges, and whilst he tells the woman to ‘sin no more’ he also tells her accusers to repent their sins. Now why does this remind me of what’s happening with copyright law reform at the moment? Well, let me explain.   Pontificating Pirates Reading The Pirate Bay co-founder Peter Sunde’s rather pathetic excuses and whinging repudiation of the quite proper conviction he was given by the Swedish Courts, laden with conspiracy theories and self pity, I couldn’t but think that in my heart of hearts, I do feel that copyright theft is wrong because it steals from the very people who create beauty and enjoyment in our lives. Where would we be without music, art, books, films, plays, poetry and the other marvellous fruits of human creativity? But there again,…

SiriusXM Files Antitrust Claims Against SoundExchange and A2IM

COMPETITION / COPYRIGHT Record labels, broadcasting In a curious move, Satellite and internet radio station Sirius XM Radio has filed a complaint against US collection society SoundExchange, Inc. and the American Association of Independent Music (“A2IM”) saying both organisations unlawfully interfered in SiriusXM’s efforts to secure, through a competitive market, the use of sound recordings critical to its business.  The complaint contends that the conduct violates federal antitrust, as well as New York state law, in particular violating Section 1 of the Sherman Act by interfering with the satellite channel’s efforts to obtain cheaper direct licenses that pay royalty rates of 5% to 7%, instead of the 8% statutory rate for master rights owners. SoundExchange is the non-profit performance rights organization that collects statutory royalties from satellite radio (such as SIRIUS XM), internet radio, cable TV music channels and similar platforms for streaming sound recordings.  The Copyright Royalty Board, which is appointed by The U.S. Library of Congress, has entrusted SoundExchange as the sole entity in the United States to collect and distribute these digital performance royalties on behalf of featured recording artists, master rights owners (like record labels), and independent artists who record and own their masters. SiriusXM is seeking injunctive relief to stop SoundExchange and…

Weird Al joins digital royalties battle

COPYRIGHT Record labels, artists CMU Daily reports that Weird Al’ Yankovic is the latest artist to enter the digital royalties dispute party in the US, in a wide ranging royalties lawsuit that accuses Sony Music of improper reporting of its costs, of failing to pass on any of the damages it won from file-sharing companies like Kazaa, and of paying him a record sale royalty on download sales when such revenues should be treated as licensing income. He joins Toto in the latest assault on the major, who had recently settled (subject to court approval) the 2006 lawsuit launched by The Allman Brothers, Cheap Trick, The Youngbloods and others which would see artists receive a 3% increase in their share of download revenue and a lump sum payment. Meanwhile EMI faces litigation on this issue from Kenny Rogers and early 80s new wave band called The Motels, led by singer Martha Davis; Warner Music from Sister Sledge and Tower Of Power; and Universal already have lost one case, brought by eminen producers FBT and face claims from Rob Zombie, Chuck D, David Coverdale (Whitesnake), Dave Mason (Traffic) and the estate of Rick James Whilst obviously (and perhaps unsurprisingly) less than…

Hadopi claims 50% drop in French piracy
Copyright , Internet / May 2012

COPYRIGHT Internet A new report on the effectiveness of the French three-strikes ‘Hadopi’ anti-piracy law claims that it had managed to cut Internet piracy in half in 2011. Well I imagine it would, as it’s from the Hadopi office itself, and as Torrentfreak points out the Report is “conveniently written in English so it can be used by lobbyists all around the world”, The Report says that “Benchmarking studies covering all of the sources available shows a clear downward trend in illegal P2P downloads. There is no indication that there has been a massive transfer in forms of use to streaming technologies or direct downloads.” The report goes on to cite a variety of statistics ranging from a 29 percent decrease in visits to “pirate” sites in 2011, to a 66 percent drop in illegal file-sharing traffic in France in the same period. Impressive figures indeed, and Hadopi correlates this to the French three-strikes law. However there is no corresponding rise in digital sales in France and Torrentfreak asks “[if] the entertainment industry has claimed that digital piracy is the main cause for the gradual decline in revenues …… one would expect that the revenues are soaring, right? But they’re not”…

Northampton Country falls silent

COPYRIGHT Music Publishing Northampton County Courthouse, the Gracedale nursing home and other Northampton County buildings have gone silent after failing to pay a licence fee demanded by ASCAP to use music usually radio broadcasts, poped through buildings.  County Executive John Stoffa ordered the music silenced after an ultimatum by from ASCAP saying “Out of the blue one day in my mail was this letter from the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers,” Stoffa said. “I’d never heard of it before”.  ASCAP wanted $2,343 per year to allow the county to perform the tunes through the public buildings. Stoffa inquired further and learned ASCAP had similarly informed the county before, but the Authority had ignored the request . ASCAP offered the county a contract based on its population size that would have granted use of its repertory as background music in municipal buildings, as on-hold music and at other government-sponsored activities. The license, an ASCAP representative wrote in an email to Stoffa, provides an “efficient and affordable” method for local governments to comply with copyright law. “Frankly, I waited three months to make a decision because I thought these people might go away,” Stoffa said. The $2,343 fee is equal…

Gooveshark faces more woes

COPYRIGHT Internet, record labels There is more trouble ahead for Grooveshark the popular streaming service that in one way or another has run afoul of every major record label. EMI Music, the only major record label to license its music to Grooveshark, has now sued the company in New York State Supreme Court, saying that the service owes $300,000 plus interest for non-payment on a promissory note having paid $150,000 from the alleged $450,000 due. As a result, EMI says, it has terminated its licensing agreement with Grooveshark. In a statement, Grooveshark said: “Grooveshark was recently forced to make the difficult decision to part ways with EMI due to EMI’s currently unsustainable streaming rates and EMI’s pending merger with Universal Music Group, which we consider monopolistic and in violation of antitrust laws. To date, Grooveshark has paid over $2.6 million to EMI, but we have yet to find sustainable streaming rates.” Grooveshark has an estimated  35 million users, and argues that its service is legal under the terms of the Digital Copyright Millennium Act, which i simple terms gives ”safe harbor” to sites that host third-party material if they comply with takedown notices from copyright holders. Grooveshark is facing a…

50 cent faces sampling claim

COPYRIGHT Record labels, artistes Rapper 50 Cent is being sued by Robert Poindexter (The Persuaders) for allegedly sampling one of his band’s tracks without permission. The sampled recording in question, “Love Gonna Pack Up And Walk Out,” was allegedly sampled on a 2009 track called “Redrum” and then included on a mixtape called “War Drum” that 50 Cent posted online for free and the latter point appears to be the rapper’s initial legal contention in defence of his actions – he didn’t make any money out of it (which might beg the question – then why did he do it – were there any other benefits to 50 Cent?). The filed legal papers reportedly describe this contention as “frivolous and immaterial.” Poindexter is demanding $600,000 in punitive damages, as well as statutory damages of an unexpressed amount.

Australia’s iiNet decision comes down firmly in favour of ISPs
Copyright , Internet / May 2012

COPYRIGHT Internet Australia’s High Court -the nation’s highest – has given a clear ruling that internet service providers are not liable for authorising copyright infringement by making their services available to people who do infringe copyright. In case case originally brought by rights group AFACT, the High Court unanimously dismissed the appeal in the case and the Court observed that iiNet had no direct technical power to prevent its customers to infringe copyright in the appellants’ films. Rather, the extent of iiNet’s power to prevent its customers from infringing the appellants’ copyright was limited to an indirect power to terminate its contractual relationship with its customers. Further, the Court held that the information contained in the AFACT notices, as and when they were served, did not provide iiNet with a reasonable basis for sending warning notices to individual customers containing threats to suspend or terminate those customers’ accounts. For these reasons, the Court held that it could not be inferred from iiNet’s inactivity after receiving the AFACT notices that iiNet had authorised any act of infringement of copyright in the appellants’ films by its customers. The unanimous decision distinguished the Kazaa case (where the Kazaa P2P site was successfully pursued…

US appeals court reverses Viacom v Google decision to allow Viacom’s action
Copyright , Internet / May 2012

COPRIGHT Internet The 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals has reversed (Thursday 4th April) the June 2010 lower court ruling from Judge Louis Stanton in favour of YouTube which resulted from the $1 billion lawsuit filed by Viacom, the English Premier (football) League and others in 2007 to stop users posting of clips from programmes like the Daily Show and SpongeBobSquarePants amongst 79,000 copyrighted works on the YouTube platform. YouTube seemed to put a positive spin on the decision with a YouTube spokeswoman said in an e-mailed statement: “All that is left of the Viacom lawsuit that began as a wholesale attack on YouTube is a dispute over a tiny percentage of videos long ago removed from YouTube. Nothing in this decision impacts the way YouTube is operating.” Viacom, in a statement, said the appeals court “delivered a definitive, common sense message to YouTube: intentionally ignoring theft is not protected by the law.” and more on other developments here

German court gives partial victory to GEMA in case against YouTube
Copyright , Internet / May 2012

COPYRIGHT Internet In a provisional victory for content owners a court in Hamburg on Friday ordered Google to install filters on its YouTube service in Germany to detect and stop people from gaining access to material for which they do not own the rights. The case was brought by German music collection society GEMA. The judge, Heiner Steeneck, agreed in his ruling that Google was not directly responsible for the uploaded material: YouTube will only liable for copyright infringing videos uploaded by its users where the portal does not follow certain control and behavioural duties. Only after the portal owners have been alerted of the copyright infringement will the duty to block the video without delay and to commit to measures that are suitable to prevent further right infringements. There was, however, no duty for YouTube to control and check all videos that had already been uploaded to the platform. “This is a victory along the way to what will be a very important case,” Peter Hempel, a spokesman for GEMA, saying “This case, when it is eventually decided, will set a precedent for the legal responsibilities of online platform operators such as Google in Germany.” The judge rejected a request…

Musicians should protect their finances and art: ilive

COPYRIGHT Artistes, record labels, music publishing ARTICLE LINK:  Stephen Hollis, senior associate at law firm Adams & Adams encourages established and aspiring musicians to check out their recording label before they sign, and compares the choices made by Whitney Houston and Michael Jackson and the resulting state of their posthumous fortunes, and in particular compares revenue streams from record labels and music publishers and the importance of the latter.

RIAA – the best way to kill piracy is innovation
Copyright , Record Labels / May 2012

COPYRIGHT All areas, record labels   ARTICLE LINK:    This from TorrentFreak: “It took more than half a decade, but there’s finally something we can agree on with the RIAA. After suing college students, shutting down LimeWire and pushing for draconian anti-piracy laws, the RIAA now finally admits that the best answer to illegal downloading is innovation. A milestone, but unfortunately also a message that is bundled with the usual creative statistics that have to be debunked” ….. “Today the RIAA takes this notion back – “The single most important anti-piracy strategy remains innovation, experimentation and working with our technology partners to offer fans an array of legal music experiences,”. More here:

China’s proposed copyright reforms prompt widespread comment
Copyright / May 2012

COPRIGHT All areas The National Copyright Administration in China has published a preliminary amendment draft to revise China’s copyright laws (Copyright Law of the People’s Republic of China (modified draft)) on its official website (on March 31st). The draft has been posted to “collect public opinion and constructive feedback”, and there has already been a vocal response as bloggers, songwriters and music producers (amongst others) digest the news – and many have singled out Articles 46 and 48 for criticism. The amendment to Article 46 (which governs infringement of copyright) is interesting and says that any record producer who acts pursuant to Article 48 shall have the right to make recordings of musical works owned by another, without needing authorisation from the original owner, provided that the content had been published for three months or longer. The existing law says (and I quote from a press article) “no such work may be used where the copyright owner declares that use is not permitted”. You can see the current wording of Article 46 and Article 47 here. Now if I understand that correctly surely that’s what would be called ‘statutory licensing’? However there is some confusion as a number of the press…

Is it legal to sell digital downloads?

COPRIGHT Internet, record labels ARTICLE LINK: More on the recent debate about the legality of consumers re-selling digital downloads they have purchased (currently being tested in the US courts in the ‘Re-Digi’ case) here from a UK perspective with reference to the new European Consumer Rights Directive and a potential revised definition of ‘tangible goods’?

Idol winner faces royalties claim from ex-bandmates

COPYRIGHT Artistes, music publishing Former ‘American Idol’ contestant Chris Daughtry says he is “very hurt” by claims by former band mates over what they say are unpaid royalties and unacknowledged song writing credits for four songs. After appearing on the 2006 series of ‘Idol’, Daughtry formed a band called Daughty but he is now facing a claim from former members of Absent Element, Daughtry’s pre-Idol band. Ryan Andrews, Scott Crawford and Mark Perry claim that four songs on the first Daughtry album were co-written by them before they disbanded, and that their former frontman previously acknowledged this fact and promised them a share of any revenues the songs generated. The lawsuit claim “constructive fraud, breaches of fiduciary duty, unfair trade practices and other deceptive and wrongful conduct”. Daughtry denies that his former bandmates were in any way involved in the writing of the songs saying “I am very hurt by these false accusations. The songs listed in this lawsuit were written solely by me and no one else and at this time, I have no further comment”. North Carolina News & Record /

Decision looms on frontman’s claim to return of Village People copyrights

COPYRIGHT Artistes, music publishing It seems that U.S. District Judge Barry Ted Moskowitz will be deciding Victor Willis’s claim against his music publisher sooner rather than later, possibly by the end of this month.  The ex-lead singer of the Village People, is seeking to regain ownership of U.S. copyrights in the group’s hits, including “Y.M.C.A.,” “In the Navy” and “Go West” from music publisher, Scorpio Music SA. The claim is under 1976 US provisions that allow songwriters to regain control of their works after 35 years. The Songwriters Guild of America said the outcome was “critical to whether songwriters and other creators will be enabled on both a legal and a practical basis to pursue and enjoy their statutory rights, or whether publishers will be allowed to frustrate those rights through a protracted-litigation strategy” in court papers supporting Willis. Scorpio have said Willis can’t terminate the rights to the Village People songs because they are “joint works written by more than one person.” and that copyright law “unambiguously requires the agreement of the majority of authors” to invoke the right of termination. French producers Henri Belolo and Jacques Morali who created the Village People in 1977 are listed with Willis as the…

Final agreement on new digital rates

COPYRIGHT Internet, music publishing More than two decades after the first song went online, a mechanical royalties settlement has been reached that acknowledges some of the new business models digital music has spawned. The newly reached deal pretty much keeps existing rates for CDs and downloads, but it also adds five new categories. Three trade groups were signatories to the settlement, which now goes forward for approval by the U.S. Copyright Royalty Board: the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), National Music Publishers’ Association (NMPA) and Digital Media Association (DiMA). If approved, which is expected, the agreement will run from 2013 TO 2017.  The five new bands of royalties apply to paid locker services; free cloud storage that comes with a purchased download; mixed bundles of content such as streamed music in a mobile phone package; services with a limited amount of interactivity; and music that comes in a combined package, like a free download with purchase. The current rate for downloads and CDs stays at 9.1 cents and 24 cents for ringtones.

Red Alert for the Pirates
Copyright , Internet / May 2012

COPYRIGHT Internet It looks like the principles behind SABAM v Netlog and more importantly SABAM v Scarlet might be tested soner rather than later – and the testing might be done by none other than the Pirate Party in the Netherlands who have been taken to task by anti-piracy grup BREIN. The Scarlet decision by the ECJ (on a referral from the courts in Belgium) decided inter alia that the fundamental rights enshrined in EC Directives (2000/31, 2001/29, 2004/48, 95/46 and 2002/58) must be interprested as precluding an injunction made against an internet service provider which requires it to install a system for filtering all electronic communications …. which applies to all customers indiscriminatly. Netlog similarly held that a filtering system that would require the owner to carry out general minitoring of information stored on its servers would be prohibitedby Artivle 15(1) of the E-Commerce Directive. In the Pirate Party case, The Dutch rights group had successfully secured a web-block injunction against the Pirate Bay itself January, on the ground that the Pirate Bay was liable for the copyright infringement many of its users undertook. The injunction named two internet service providers, Ziggo and XS4ALL, and BREIN is now pursuing…

Tupac Back?

COPYRIGHT / TRADE MARK Live events industry, record labels, broadcasting The big talking point from Coachella 2012 was the technological resurrection of the late Tupac Shakur – and talks are underway to take the digital West Coast rap legend on tour. Shakur made his first on-stage appearance since being murdered in 1996 thanks to the technological wizardry of Digital Domain and the practicalities were handled by Philip Atwell of Geronimo Productions and Dylan Brown of The Yard. Immersive technology solutions provider AV concepts executed the Dr Dre led project. The ultimate revival show possibility was reported following headline appearances by Dr. Dre himself and Snoop Dogg with the virtual Shakur in a show that also featured appearances from Eminem, 50 Cent, Wiz Khalifa and Warren G. US attorney Don Passman (author of All You Need to Know About The Music Business) told Billboard that the performance from Tupac in the songs “Hail Mary” and “2 of Amerikaz Most Wanted” was  “unique” but also explained that the use of the image “didn’t come for free” and that the final digital reproduction that was used on the stage “had to have started with some image of Tupac, and somebody would own that image” adding that…

Kiwi third strikes are out
Copyright , Internet / May 2012

COPYRIGHT Internet New Zealand’s ‘three strikes’ legislation which was introduced last September and which sees alleged Kiwi file-sharers monitored, warned, and eventually punished for their infringements has now reached the final phase  with the first so-called ’3rd strike’ issued. The ‘enforcement’ notices were delivered on behalf of the music industry although commentators noted that even after more than 6 months, their movie industry counterparts are yet to send even one initial warning. Internet users who are discovered uploading copyright material are first sent two warnings via their ISP. On receipt of a third, under the “Skynet” legislation, copyright holders can take the Internet account holder to the Copyright Tribunal where they face hefty fines. The Copyright (Infringing File Sharing) Amendment Act 2011 had a tortuous path before implementation. Argument, counter-argument and intense lobbying from the copyright industries preceded its introduction in September last year. NZ ISPs TelstraClear and Orcon have both confirmed that they have sent third and final “enforcement” warnings to customers, delivered on behalf of RIANZ. The alleged music pirates now have a week from the date of the notice to lodge a dispute. Failure to do so could lead the individual to be referred to the Copyright…

Where next with EU copyright law?
Copyright / May 2012

COPYRIGHT All areas On the 1709 Eleonora Rosati gives a detailed report back from the Fordham IP Conference in the USA which this year focussed on the current state of affairs in the EU, and Eleonora starts with the views from the European Commission, Head of Unit – Copyright, DG Internal Market & Services Maria Martin-Prat first who recalled that in the 1990-2000s copyright harmonisation occurred whenever this was necessary to ensure the proper functioning of the internal market. This objective is and remains at the centre of attention when it comes to legislative initiatives. At the moment, said Martin-Prat, the priority of the Commission is to facilitate licensing across the EU. Interestingly enough, this implies facing the issue of territoriality. In any case, the establishment of EU-wide licensing system is not going to affect the territoriality of Member States’ copyright laws. This is because territorial rights do not necessarily imply territorial licensing, explained the Head of Unit. This said, the Commission’s efforts are directed at tackling five areas of copyright. These include improving the functioning of collective licensing and management and, possibly, setting out an extended collective licensing system; favouring mass digitisation of works and facilitating the use of out-of-commerce works,…

European festivals launch standard contract terms
Contract , Live Events / May 2012

CONTRACT Live events industry YOUROPE, the European festivals organisation that has a membership of over 80 festivals across Europe, has announced that 22 of its members will be introducing standard artiste booking terms for the 2012 festival season. The new terms cover areas such as force majeure, cancellation, insurance, security, the use of pyrotechnics and lasers, noise limits, curfews and payment terms and are designed to set out basic standards that festivals and performers have to adhere to. The association also said it was introducing simplified booking contracts for emerging talent with General Secretary Christof Huber saying “It was the wish of many of our members to create these Standard Terms for European festivals. It should make life easier for festivals as they will have standard terms for important topics, rather than a number of contract terms which they can’t fulfil“. The standard terms resulted from a series of meetings in Hamburg, at Eurosonic in Groningen in the Netherlands and finally in London in March and YOUROPE were advised by UK lawyer and Music Law Updates Editor Ben Challis, and insurance broker James Dodds (Doodson Entertainment). Participating member festivals include Melt! (Germany), Exit (Serbia), Sziget (Hungary), Oya Festival (Norway), Open…

Bill Graham estate still in the courts
Artists , Probate / May 2012

PROBATE Artistes, merchandise David Graham and Alexander Graham-Sult, the sons of the late rock impresario Bill Graham, who accused their father’s executor Nicholas Clainos, former president of Bill Graham Enterprises,  of cheating them out of millions of dollars’ worth of music memorabilia  have been ordered instead to pay more than $500,000 in legal fees by a judge who found their suit meritless. U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken ruled in June 2011 that the alleged fraud was actually an above-board transaction that had been disclosed to the sons’ lawyer in 1997. She also said the suit was filed more than a decade too late. Now Judge Wilken has ordered Graham’s sons to pay $146,000 to Clainos, $240,000 to a law firm that had represented Graham’s estate, and $138,000 to the Bill Graham Archives, another defendant in their lawsuit. The Judge said that the suit had no chance of success and targeted Clainos’ legally protected actions as Graham’s executor. The sons have now asked the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to overturn her ruling, arguing in court papers that they were “victims of a cynical, fraudulent scheme”  to deprive them of the memorabilia including 100 sets of original posters of such…

Ray Charles’ Foundation takes on his children
Probate / May 2012

PROBATE Artistes The Ray Charles Foundation is taking legal action against a number of the late soul star’s children, claiming that they have reneged on an agreement reached with their father before he died in 2004 regarding his estate, by attempting to reclaim ownership of the copyright in some of the songs he wrote by using US copyright law provisions that say that works may be reclaimed after 35 years (for works written after the law was passed, longer for works that already existed). The Foundation says, prior to his death, all of the soul singer’s children agreed to forego any future claims to their father’s estate in return for becoming beneficiaries of a $500,000 trust. The remainder of Charles’s estate, including future income from his copyrights, was left to the Foundation, which supports research and education programmes for the hearing impaired, as well as youth education initiatives. The Foundation says that the children have no right to try and reclaim control of the copyrights in their father’s songs. The Foundation’s lawsuit also claim Charles entered into a new deal with his publisher in 1980 involving a number of works, which used up his ‘one time claim back’ option anyway…

Leonard Cohen’s former manager guilty of harassment charges
Artists , Criminal Law / May 2012

CRIMINAL Artistes Leonard Cohen has given evidence against his former manager Kelley Lynch, who he fired in 2004 amidst allegations she had stolen from the iconic singer, leaving him facing bankruptcy. Cohen subsequently successfully sued Lynch, though has struggled to claim the $9 million in damages the courts awarded him. He subsequently toured to rebuild his finances. Lynch has now been found guilty on criminal charges of harassing various people, including Cohen, and of violating previous restraining orders issued against her. In court the singer, who once had a brief romantic relationship with Lynch, said his former manager sent him long and rambling voicemail messages and emails which became increasingly frequent, with sometimes twenty to thirty messages received each day, and these sometimes included violent threats. The messages accused Cohen of drug addiction amongst other things. Lynch was held in custody as the case progressed in lieu of $25,000 bail and was found guilty of two counts of leaving or sending harassing or obscene messages and five counts of violating a restraining order. Whilst all charges were misdemeanours, Lynch was given an eighteen month custodial sentence as part of a five year sentence, during which time she will have to…

Ticketmaster’s fees potentially deceptive in Tennessee
Criminal Law , Live Events / May 2012

CRIMINAL Live events industry Tennessee’s law on deceptive practices applies to Ticketmaster and its parent company Live Nation  the Arkansas Supreme Court has ruled, but the court stopped short of offering an opinion on whether the company’s fees violated the statute. The court’s 4-3 split decision comes after Corey McMillan, an Arkadelphia resident, complained that he was charged nearly $50 in fees to buy four tickets to see country music singer Jason Aldean in concert. McMillan sued Live Nation Entertainment Inc. and Ticketmaster and Ticketmaster took the case to federal court, where a judge asked the Arkansas Supreme Court to determine whether the state law applies to an entity such as Ticketmaster. Writing for the majority, Associate Justice Karen R. Baker said the court “offer(s) no opinion on whether the additional fees or charges by Ticketmaster violate [the statute]”. In a dissenting opinion, Chief Justice Jim Hannah said that whilst the majority did establish Ticketmaster’s criminal liability, the law in question was intended to control ticket scalping and that “By any analysis, Ticketmaster is not scalping tickets; it is the seller in the first instance”.  McMillan said that at an advertised price of $42.75 each, the four concert tickets should…

Cameron wants more action on over-sexed promo videos

CENSORSHIP Artistes, broadcasting, record labels UK Prime Minister David Cameron has said that he is disappointed at the music industry’s efforts to regulate access by children to overly-sexualised pop promo videos, and plans to host a summit on the issue next month. An earlier report on the topic, authored by  Mothers Union boss Reg Bailey prompted the record industry to announce that it was extending its ‘parental advisory’ labelling programme, which identifies content that is possibly inappropriate for children on music CDs and DVDs, to the digital domain, with both audio and video services pledging to more clearly identify such tracks and videos.  However it seems that this has not far enough to satisfy Bailey and Cameron who think the music industry should be doing more to block access for children to more raunchy or violent videos, especially online and in particular the Sony / Universal owned VEVO platform, with Bailey as saying “Many of the industries mentioned in last year’s report have responded positively to our recommendations. I cannot say that has been the case with music videos. Age ratings should be introduced for music videos and there is also a clear case for age-verification for music video websites”….

Google fined for blocking FCC investigation
Internet , Regulation / May 2012

MEDIA REGULATION Internet, Technology The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has fined Google $25,000 for hampering an investigation into whether the company’s Street View mapping team illegally collected data from Wi-Fi networks. Though clearing Google in the investigation, the FCC said the company “deliberately impeded and delayed the bureau’s investigation by failing to respond to requests for material information and to provide certifications and verifications of its responses.”

Coachella take on the counterfeit Does
Live Events , Trade Mark / May 2012

TRADE MARK Live events industry Organisers of the USA’s Coachella Music and Arts Festival have won a preliminary injunction in the federal court prior to the festival’s second weekend to protect a number of registered trade marks. In the action, Coachella Music Festival LLC listed the marks Coachella, Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival, Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Radiohead and a pending  trademark for The Black Keys. The phrase “Coachizzle” is also “off limits to bootleggers”. Any law enforcement officers including deputy sheriffs, state police, local police and the U.S. Marshal can seize the concert contraband bearing the “Coachella Festival” and the other protected names as long as it’s being sold within 15 miles of the Empire Polo Club in Indio and within 48 hours of the event. Those who have their merchandise seized will get a receipt and have the right to object to the court within 10 days. Coachella Music Festival LLC v. John Does 1-5, Jane Does 1-4 and XYZ Company (CV 12-3069)

BB King sued over – ermmmm – BB King biopic
Artists , Trade Mark / May 2012

TRADE MARK Artistes, Film   Amanda Harcourt reports on the 1709 blog that the legendary BB King, before whom all blues lovers should kneel, is, according to the Hollywood Reporter being sued for allegedly interfering in the production of a biopic called ….errrr… The King and I.  King Size Film Productions allege that the blues legend is attempting to use trademark and rights of publicity to halt or thwart completion of the picture.

UK’s One Direction face name challenge from US band
Artists , General , Trade Mark / May 2012

TRADE MARK Artistes British boy band One Direction, among the hottest new acts in the music business on both sides of the pond, are being been sued for Trade Mark infringement by a Californian pop-rock group with the same name.  Attorneys for the California band are seeking an injunction that would stop X-factor supremo Simon Cowell’s Syco Entertainment and Sony Music Entertainment as well as the UK band from using the name One Direction and they also want a share of the profits earned by the chart-topping British boys. In a federal lawsuit filed on Monday in California Central District Court the California band says it is entitled to three times the profits made by their rivals, as well as compensatory damages in excess of US$1 million. The lawsuit said the continued use by both bands of the same name was causing “substantial confusion and substantial damage” to the goodwill earned by the California group. The Northern California band has been using the name One Direction since late 2009 and has recorded two albums, the lawsuit states. It filed an application to register the trademark name in the United States in February 2011. The British band, made up of Niall…

Beatles seek Trade Mark exclusivity against mobility aid applicant
Artists , Trade Mark / May 2012

TRADE MARK Artistes The IPKat reports that the General Court has given its decision in a Community trade mark appeal, Case T-369/10 You-Q BV v OHIM. According to the Curia press release: “Apple Corps can prevent the registration of a figurative Community trade mark composed of the word ‘BEATLE’ in respect of electric mobility aids saying It is likely that, by using that mark, You-Q would take unfair advantage of the repute and the consistent selling power of the marks BEATLES and THE BEATLES held by Apple Corps”. In January 2004, Handicare Holding BV applied to OHIM, the Community Trade Mark Office, for registration of a figurative sign composed of the word ‘BEATLE’ as a Community trade mark in respect of electric mobility aids for persons with reduced mobility. However, Apple Corps Ltd, an undertaking founded by ‘The Beatles’ group, opposed that application, relying on its various earlier Community and national trade marks, including the word mark ‘BEATLES’ and several figurative marks composed of the word ‘BEATLES’ or ‘THE BEATLES’. On 31 May 2010 rejected Handicare’s application, finding that, because of the similarity of the signs, the considerable and long-standing reputation of the earlier marks of Apple Corps and the overlap of the relevant public it was likely…

Prince loses perfume case again – but will appeal
Artists , Trade Mark / May 2012

TRADE MARK Artistes Prince has been ordered to pay just under $3.95 million to perfume company Revelations Perfume And Cosmetics Inc after a US judge upheld an earlier court ruling that said the singer made false promises to the perfume maker, which resulted in the firm investing millions in making a Prince-based perfume the pop star had no intention to help promote. The 2008 case claimed that the singer failed to fulfil promotional commitments he made to help the company promote ‘3121’ named after prince’s 2006 album. Revelations claimed that Prince had agreed to promote the product, and also to sell it at his live shows, but that neither of those things happened, making the venture an expensive flop. Prince’s case was that there was no evidence that Revelations’ decision to make the ‘3121’ perfume was directly motivated by the singer’s promises to undertake promotional duties and have said that the matter will be appealed, telling The Hollywood Reporter: “This was a default judgment, not based on any trial on the merits and without any ability of Prince to challenge the factual assertions of the plaintiff. The judge’s refusal to set aside the default for good cause is currently being…

Nettle’s testimony released during ongoing Indiana State Fair claims
General / May 2012

HEALTH & SAFETY Live events industry Jennifer Nettles, one half of the country music duo Sugarland, has said she was never asked to delay the band’s show at the Indiana State Fair because of an approaching storm. She would have complied if asked, Nettles said, according to testimony given during a taped deposition. Seven people died and more than 40 were injured last year when a storm caused a stage at the state fair to collapse, shortly before Sugarland was to perform. Metal scaffolding supporting the stage lights fell onto a crowd of fans and workers as a storm swept through the fairgrounds on August 13th, 2011 one of three serous incidents involving inclement weather at outdoor events in North America that year, mirrored by the Pukklepop tragedy in Belgium. “We’re invited to come into a place and play. It’s not our place,” Nettles said. “I don’t feel it’s my responsibility, or my management’s responsibility, to evacuate the fans in the case of danger. Do I care about their safety? Absolutely”. Nettles also said she did not know whether Sugarland tour manager Helen Rollins prevented a delay or not, and was unaware of conversations that allegedly occurred about a possible…

Beer tent collapse leaves one dead and seventeen hospitalised

HEALTH & SAFETY Live events industry Over 100 people were injured when a beer tent collapsed in St Louis, Illinois, where fans were celebrating. One patron, Alfred Goodman (58) died, seventeen were hospitalised and two remained in intensive care at the time of writing. High winds and severe weather were blamed for the collapse and Eddie Roth, director of Public Safety for the city of St. Louis, said the incident happened an hour after the St. Louis Cardinals-Milwaukee Brewers game ended. The National Weather Service reported winds of 50 miles per hour picked up the large tent at Kilroy’s bar and Art Randall, the owner the bar, said “everything that was not nailed down was picked up and thrown” adding “everything was going sideways. I had metal chairs ripping across the beer garden”. Building Commissioner Frank Oswald said Kilroy’s was granted a tent permit on April 11th and it passed inspection a couple days later. He said the city of St. Louis requires tents to be able to withstand winds up to 90 mph. The wind gust that destroyed the tent, shattering the aluminium poles and blowing the structure onto nearby railroad tracks, was measured at over 70 mph.…

First investigation under new NZ security industry laws

HEALTH & SAFETY Live events industry   An official investigation is under way into the appointment of an unlicensed security firm as security contractor at Eden Park, Auckland Council and Vector Arena in New Zealand in a “possible breach of a new law designed to clean up the industry”. Platform 4 Group, a new company incorporated in December 2011, won the stadium contract despite being unlicensed. Under a recent New Zealand laws, security firms must be licensed to do any work including crowd control. Platform 4 have applied for a licence (in December) but this was not completed at the time the contracts were awarded. In light of this it seems Platform 4 Group teamed up with a licensed company, Harrison Tew Consultants, to take over the contract. The New Zealand Herald reports that “Harrison Tew – staffed by two directors to provide emergency planning for schools but with no crowd-control experience – then employed Platform 4 casual staff and independent contractors to provide security at events” A spokesman for the Ministry of Justice, which administers the Security Licensing Authority, confirmed the matter was referred to the newly formed Complaints, Investigations and Prosecutions Unit at the Department of Internal Affairs…

Live Music Act to come into force on October 1st 2012
Licensing , Live Events / May 2012

LICENSING Live events industry   The Live Music Act will officially come into effect on October 1 2012 and the UK music industry hosted a reception at the Houses of Parliament to celebrate the occasion with performances by Martina Topley-Bird, Daytona Lights and MP4 – a group of musical MPs – and guests including Huey from the Fun Lovin Criminals, Joan Armatrading, Robert Wyatt and Show of Hands.  The reception was hosted by UK Music and the Musicians Union. As a result of the Acts performances of live amplified music to audiences of less than 200 people between the hours of 8am-11pm will no longer require local authority permission in England and Wales There will be no audience limit for performances of unamplified live music. Introduced by Lib Dem Peer Tim Clement-Jones and promoted in the Commons by Bath MP Don Foster, the Live Music Act will encourage pubs and other small venues to host live music events. Lord Clement-Jones said: “I very much welcome UK Music’s commitment to assessing the impact of the new Act. I am confident that the deregulation of live performances in small venues will be a real boost for musicians and the music economy.” Jo…

US talent unions back UMG on EMI takeover, and Sony/ATV deal for EMI Music publishing gets the EC’s green light

COMPETITION Record labels, music publishing In a surprise move, two of the US’s biggest talent unions have come out in support of Universal’s takeover of EMI’s recorded music division on the ground that UMG would, unlike previous owners Terra Firma, actually invest in music and musicians. In a letter to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission Chairman Jon Leibowitz The American Federation of Musicians said that UMG had shown “compliance with and respect for its collective bargaining agreements has been positive when compared to its peer companies” and that “Sustaining the EMI legacy” under Universal’s ownership “would appear to benefit AMF recording musicians.” The recently merged The Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists said Universal has shown commitment to the music industry, investing in new artists and innovative musical genres in a separate letter saying “For EMI to be left to further drift into oblivion, or for EMI to be acquired and sold off in pieces by capital investment speculators with no appreciation for, or commitment to, artists who fuel the recording industry, would ill serve the industry,” SAG-AFTRA said. Universal is “committed to reinvesting in EMI to create even more opportunities for new and…