Japan introduces new download sanctions
Copyright / October 2012

COPYRIGHT all areas Illegal downloaders in Japan now face prison terms of up to two years and fines of nearly 2 million yen (U.S. $25,679) from today. The Japanese government says that the move is aimed to protect the film industry and stop falling music sales in the World’s second largest music market, where record industry officials estimate only one in 10 downloads are legally purchased. The Recording Industry Association of Japan says the legal download music market shrank 16% in 2011, the second consecutive year of decline. The slide comes despite global sales of digital music increasing 8% last year to $5.2 billion, according to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) and Japan content owners hope the new regime will mirror the success of the ‘three strikes’ legislation introduced in South Korea which the IFPI says warns off 70% of infringers after the first notification and France where according to the IFPI Peer-to-peer piracy levels declined by 26% in France in 2011 after the implementation of the law Hadopi. http://edition.cnn.com/2012/10/01/business/japan-music-piracy/index.html

Willis highlights download ownership issue
Copyright , Internet / October 2012

COPYRIGHT Internet   Bruce Willis is said to be considering legal action against technology giant Apple over his desire to leave his digital music collection to his daughters having discovered that, like anyone who has bought music online, he does not actually own the tracks but is instead ‘borrowing’ them under a licence. Most purchasers do not bother to read the details of the terms and conditions they agree to when buying an album, but the small print makes it clear that music bought through iTunes should not be passed on to others – Willis he is keen to be able to hand it on legitimately to daughters Rumer, Scout and Tallulah and one approach he is reportedly considering is to ask his legal team to establish family trusts as the “holders” of his downloaded music. Another option is to support ongoing legal action in five US states to give downloaders more rights to do what they want with their music. Similar problems apply to the digital books that millions download to electronic reading devices such as Amazon’s Kindle. Solicitor Chris Walton told news.com : “Lots of people will be surprised on learning all those tracks and books they have…

South Africa: Broadcasters (Needle) Time To Pay Has Come
Artists , Copyright , Record Labels / October 2012

COPYRIGHT Record labels, performers, broadcasting ARTICLE LINK   “Life can be terribly complex. Take music copyright for example. A composer writes a song and the song enjoys protection under the Copyright Act as a ‘musical work‘, with the songwriter owning that copyright. A performer (who could also be the song writer) then goes to a recording studio and makes a recording of that song. The recording enjoys separate protection as a ‘sound recording‘, with that copyright belonging to the record company.   So two different copyrights – copyright in the musical work which belongs to the composer, and copyright in the sound recording which belongs to the record company.  And, on top of that, the performer who performed the song when it was recorded enjoys a so-called ‘performer’s right‘, something that was created by a piece of legislation called the Performers’ Protection Act.” This useful and practical article by Rachel Sikwane explains how the Copyright Act applies in South Africa and how the Copyright Tribunal has assessed how a ‘needletime’ royalty formula will apply: Broadcasters will pay royalties on 7% of their net income, and the amount will be calculated with reference to the amount of music played by the station…

Warner Music face Muse claim
Copyright , Music Publishing / October 2012

COPYRIGHT Music Publishing   Warner Music is facing a $3.5 million legal action from songwriter Charles Bollfrass who says that Muse, the Warner’s signed band, copied his work in the three-track conclusion of Muse’s 2009 album ‘The Resistance’. Bollfrass says Muse copied his idea to create ‘Exogenesis’, a trilogy of tracks based around an apocalyptic sci-fi tale in which mankind hopes a team of astronauts can find humanity a new home. Bollfrass alleges that his 2005 idea was for a “cinematic science-fiction rock opera” called ‘Exogenesis’ and he approached three bands with the concept, one of which was Muse only to be told Muse were not interested in the project but that three years after that, ‘Exogenesis’ appeared on the band’s fifth album credited to frontman Matt Bellamy with an near identical plot line Bellamy explained the three tracks in liner notes for the iTunes LP version of his album, in which he revealed: “[‘Exogenesis: Symphony’] is a story of humanity coming to an end and everyone pinning their hopes on a group of astronauts who go out to explore space and spread humanity to another planet. Part One is a jaded acceptance that civilisation will end. Part Two is…

MyVidster not liable for copyright infringement
Copyright , Internet / October 2012

COPYRIGHT Internet   In a 7th Circuit Court of Appeals decision given by Justice Richard Posner, myVidster.com has been cleared of copyright infringement. The site, which allows users to engage in “social bookmarking,” which involves internet users sharing hyperlinks to online materials in which they may share a mutual interest in, is primarily a site to exchange links to pornographic material. As Judge Posner noted, there was other material available on the site and a family filter does exclude porn, but the site itself does not infringe copyright. In the District Court the plaintiff, porn company FlavaWorks, was granted an injunction after claiming that 300 of its videos had been linked too. On appeal Judge Posner acknowledged that FlavaWorks was being wronged, and that myVidster may even have encouraged subscribers to circumvent FlavaWorks’ pay wall.  However, the Judge was of the opinion that in order to have copyright infringement, someone has to make a copy.  And nobody at myVidster.com was actually making a copy – it was such facilitating links from those who had illegally uploaded a copy of Flavaworks videos – to those who then illegally downloaded a copy. Nor could the display of the video be considered a…

Another day, another adjustment of file sharing damages
Copyright , Internet / October 2012

COPYRIGHT Internet   What do these figures have in common? 4,500, 222,000, 1,920,000, 54,000, 1,500,000, 54,000, 222,000? Well, they are all dollar sums of money firstly offered as a settlement and then awarded as damages in the US courts against Jammie Thomas-Rassett for file sharing music online. The first sum is the settlement offered to Rasset-Thomas by the Recording Industry Association of America for illegal file sharing. The second sum of $222,000 is the initial award the court made against Thomas-Rassett for illegally sharing 24 songs. That case resulted in a re-trial and the two biggest sums represent subsequent jury awards, and the two awards of $54,000 represent judicial adjustments of those awards. The final sum is the sum decided upon by a three judge appellate court, rejecting Rassett-Thomas’ argument that that the award was excessive and violated her right to due process under the US Constitution. Judge Steven Colloton, giving the unanimous decision for the 8th Circuit, said that the award of $222,000 was “not so severe and oppressive” to violate the Constitution. In a separate case, in August the 1st Circuit reinstated a $675,000 judgment against Joel Tenenbaum, a former Boston University student, for 30 charges of illegal downloading….

Two more acts sue for digital royalty boost
Artists , Copyright , Record Labels / October 2012

COPYRIGHT Record labels, artists   Boz Scaggs and REO Speedwagon have joined the ever growing list of artistes, many well established, who have filed digital royalty lawsuits against the  major bales for a bigger cut of digital revenue. The defendant in both suits is Sony.  FBT Productions have already won a court case against Universal to get a bigger share of digital royalties from ‘Eminen’ recordings they worked on, and Cheap Trick, the Allman Brothers and a number of other artistes have settled a case with Sony. Cases from Rob Zombie, Whitesnake, Toto, Weird Al janKovic, Dixie Chicks, Chuck D, George Clinton, Peter Frampton, Sister Sledge, Rick James’s estate, Kenny Rogers and James Taylor are pending. More on royalties and these claims at http://www.musiclawupdates.com/?p=4941

Innocence of the act is no defence
Copyright , Internet / October 2012

COPYRIGHT Internet   It seems that a 40-year-old Frenchman who was summoned to court in France under the French anti piracy ‘HADOPI’ three strikes legislation for illegally downloading pirated music, has found himself on the receiving end of a conviction – even though it was his wife who illegally downloaded the two Rihanna songs in question. PC World report that Alain Prevost was fined for failing to secure his Wi-Fi network after Prevost self-incriminated himself by admitting he knew his wife illegally downloaded the songs. Under French law the “three strikes” are as follows: first, an email message is sent to the alleged offender: Secondly if the alleged offender illegally downloads copyrighted material again within the next six months, a certified letter is sent to the alleged offender: Thirdly if the alleged offender does not stop downloading illegally within one year from the receipt of that letter, the offender’s Internet Service Provider (ISP) is required to suspend their Internet access. According to TorrentFreak, content owners have identified a total of three million French IP addresses associated with piracy since October 2010. Of these three million IP addresses identified, 1.15 million were eligible for a first strike, 102,854 eligible for a…

Piracy cost the UK music industry £340 million in the first six months of 2012
Copyright , Internet / October 2012

COPYRIGHT Internet   New research has shown that more than £340million worth of songs were illegally downloaded in the UK in the first half of 2012, and the data from the Digital Music Index produced by analysts Musicmetric shows that moves to make ISPs block The Pirate Bay has had little impact, with downloaders moving to other illegal platforms. Manchester topped the list of most illegal downloads per capita, with 1.3m in six months, closely followed by Nottingham and Southampton, while London came 20th. The most popular downloads were albums by Ed Sheeran, Rizzle Kicks and Rihanna, although in retiree hotspot Bournemouth the most popular record was The Discography of the Eagles. More than twice as many albums are downloaded illegally in the UK as are bought via legitimate digital services like iTunes, With over 33 million albums were downloaded from unlicensed sources via BitTorrent file-sharing in the first six months of the year, during which time 14.8 million digital albums were sold. http://www.thecmuwebsite.com (17 September 2012)

One Direction reach out to find new Uncharted Shores
Artists , Trade Mark / October 2012

TRADE MARK Artistes   British-Irish boy band One Direction has settled its dispute with a US punk band of the same name. The dispute arose from applications for various stylised versions of trade mark ONE DIRECTION with the US Patent and Trademark Office resulting in the US One Direction commencing proceedings in the California Central District Court seeking an injunction against the UK One Direction that would stop it using the same name, plus $1m in damages. The two bands have now reached an agreement and their trade mark dispute has been ‘resolved amicably’. The UK One Direction will retain the name and the US band is to change its name to Uncharted Shores, the title of one of its two albums. The other terms of the settlement have not been released. http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsbeat/19473197

Beach Boys out of harmony
Artists , Trade Mark / October 2012

TRADE MARK Artistes   Founding members of The Beach Boys Al Jardine and Brian Wilson have expressed they annoyance tat fellow founder member Mike Love plans to continue touring using the band’s name, but without the other originals. Love can do this as he solely owns the rights to the band’s name although this year, to mark the band’s 50th anniversary, he has toured once again with Jardine and Wilson, both of whom have had rocky relationships with Love over the years. Love told reporters  “The 50th anniversary tour was designed to go for a year and then end. You’ve got to be careful not to get overexposed … There are promoters who are interested but they’ve said, ‘Give it a rest for a year’”. Jardine is now asking fans to sign a petition to try to force Love to tour with him and Wilson saying Love’s other Beach Boys is a “money-saving, stripped-down version”. Wilson told CNN  “I’m disappointed and can’t understand why Mike doesn’t want to tour with Al and me. After all, we are the real Beach Boys”. http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2012/sep/25/beach-boys-al-jardine

US Smartphones past tipping point with teens
Consumers / October 2012

TECHNOLOGY All areas   The majority of U.S. teenagers with a mobile device now own a smartphone, according to Nielsen’s latest mobile phone survey, with teens showing the most dramatic growth of any demographic.  58% of Americans between 13 and 17 years old are now smartphone owners, a sharp increase from the 36% of smartphone owning teens in July 2011. In all age groups more than half – 55.5% – of all mobile subscribers in the U.S. own smartphone, a significant increase over the 41% who did in July 2011. Young adults remain the most enthusiastic adopters, however, with 74% of 25-34 year-old Americans now owning smartphones, up from 59% a year ago. Android handsets continue to lead the U.S. smartphone market, followed closely by Apple’s iPhone, among both first-time and repeat smartphone buyers. Android has a 52% market share which grows to 58% with new buyers (in the last three months) and BlackBerry continued its decline,  dipping to 8% share of the U.S. smartphone market and only 3% of recent acquirers. Apple’s iPhone has fairly level 34% market share. http://www.bizreport.com/2012/09/smartphone-adoption-in-us-led-by-teens.html

UK’s Live Music Act primed to go
Licensing , Live Events / October 2012

LICENSING Live events sector   In October, Lord Clement Jones’ Live Music Act 2012 comes into force in England and Wales, which will hopefully deregulate smaller live music events and free them from the bureaucracy of the Licensing Act 2003. For the Act to apply: The premises must be open for the sale of alcohol for consumption on the premises while the live music is being performed. If the music is amplified, the audience must be fewer than 200 (not including staff and performers) and the music cannot extend outside the hours of 8am to 11pm Monday to Sunday. If the music is unamplified, whether or not it is performed on licenced premises, then there is no limit to the audience numbers, and it no longer requires any sort of licencing permission, provided the music finishes at 11pm. The Act has been widely applauded by the live industry in the UK and is seen as a good tool for promoting grass root events, but to be clear the Act only applies to live music – it does NOT apply to DJ sets, discos or any other type of recorded music or other activities regulated by the Licensing Act. Where a show fits the…

Proud2 licence suspended
Licensing , Live Events / October 2012

LICENSING Live events sector   The Proud empire’s Proud2 venue at the O2 Dome, has had its licence temporarily suspended following an incident earlier this month. According to reports, a fight at the House Of Joy night hosted at the venue on the 2nd September resulted in two men being stabbed and a bouncer being hit with a bucket. The venue was subjected to a 28 day suspension of its licence pending an investigation by Greenwich Council, which will result in a full licence review on the 4th October. http://www.eventmagazine.co.uk/Venues/article/1151391/proud2-ceo-says-venue-damaged-closure/

AEG withdraw Jackson insurance claim
Live Events / October 2012

INSURANCE Live events sector Following on from a rather embarrassing leak of emails which could have been interpreted as showing that AEG executives had hidden concerns about Michael Jackson’s mental and physical health prior to the planned ‘This Is It’ residency in London’s O2 in 2009, AEG Live has dropped its $17.5 million insurance claim against Lloyds Of London resulting from Jackson’s untimely death that year. AEG had tried to claim compensation from Lloyds, which had insured part of the planned 50 night O2 extravaganza. Insurers had claimed that the live firm had misrepresented the state of Jackson’s health when taking out its insurance policy. CNN have reported that AEG has now agreed with Lloyds to withdraw it’s insurance claim, and as a result the insurer will have the promoter removed from its lawsuit in the USA, which seeks to void the policy. The Michael Jackson estate, which controls Michael Jackson LLC, is still pursuing the insurance payout, its lawyer said and is still a defendant in the case brought by Lloyds. The Anschutz Company subsequently revealed plans to sell the Anschutz Entertainment Group, which includes the world’s second biggest live music promoter AEG Live, as well as various interests in the sports…

EC and FTC green light Universal’s EMI deal
Competition , Music Publishing / October 2012

COMPETITION Recorded music   UMG have been given outline approval by EC and US regulators to buy up EMI’s recorded music division – but the major will have to divest a number of key EMI catalogues to meet competition requirements in Europe. The same day the Federal Trade Commission approved the $1.9 billion deal without conditions, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and Canada had already approved the sale.  Among the EMI assets to be sold are the Chrysalis catalogue (Blondie, The Ramones, Spandau Ballet, Jethro Tull and Split Endz), Mute Records (home to Depeche Mode, Moby, Yeasayer and Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds) and Parlophone catalogues ( Coldplay, David Guetta, Lilly Allen, Tinie Tempah, Blur, Gorillaz, Kylie Minogue, Pink Floyd, Cliff Richard, David Bowie, Tina Turner and Duran Duran) but excluding the Beatles and  Robbie Williams. UMG will also have to sell the EMI Classics and Virgin Classics divisions and the divestment package also includes Coop, a label licensing business selling artists such as Mumford and Sons, Garbage and Two Door Cinema Club. In addition, Universal committed to selling EMI’s 50% stake in the popular Now! That’s What I Call Music compilation joint venture and to continue licensing its repertoire for…

Competition regulation in the news
Competition , Record Labels / October 2012

COMPETITION Broadcasting, record labels   Charlie Allen, Chairman of Global Radio, has hit out at media rules in the UK which means that his radio company is having to face a competition investigation to get the OK for its bid to buy the radio stations owned by GMG Radio. Speaking to the London Evening Standard, Allen said that UK media ownership rules were out of date, adding that: “Why do you need to go through all this compliance and plurality for 12 small radio stations? Rather than letting companies get on and grow, we have this level of regulatory involvement for such a small deal”. http://www.thecmuwebsite.com/article/global-chairman-hits-out-at-uk-media-rules/

Ferguson sued by management
Artists , Contract / October 2012

CONTRACT Artistes X-Factor runner up Rebecca Ferguson is being sued by her former managers for breach of contract. Modest Management and the soul singer were said to be experiencing differences this summer. There were tweets and emails fired off, one describing Modest as “vile” on Twitter, saying they had forced her to conduct interviews after she collapsed with exhaustion. The relationship came to an end. Modest Management has filed a High Court writ, asking for a declaration that Ferguson unlawfully ended her 5 year long contract which commenced on or about October 15th 2010, and asking for 20% of any future earnings. In June 2012 Ferguson wrote to Modest saying “I have lost all faith and trust in you as managers so I have no option but to terminate our working relationship with immediate effect.” Modest’s lawyers responded to Ferguson on 25 June 2011, saying it accepted her “renunciation and repudiation of the management agreement”. According to the court papers, Ferguson wrote back saying she “did not accept” this interpretation of events. Modest also represent One Direction and Leona Lewis. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-19558624

McGraw free of Curb
Artists , Contract , Record Labels / October 2012

CONTRACT Artistes, record labels   CMU Daily has reported that an appeals court in Nashville has upheld the 2011 court ruling that said that country star Tim McGraw had fulfilled his contractual obligations to his long-term label partners Curb Records, and was now free to work with other labels. At the centre of the litigation was whether McGraw’s album ‘Emotional Traffic’ fulfilled his contractual commitments to the label regards new recordings, whether he was due an advance on it, and whether he was now out of contract with the record company, with Curb saying that the songs on ‘Emotional Traffic’ were not sufficiently new and McGraw’s arguing that the new album was in line with his contract, and that he now considered himself to be a free agent label-wise after a twenty year relationship with Curb. A spokesperson for McGraw told Billboard that “the Court Of Appeals has affirmed the [original judge’s] ruling that Tim McGraw is now finished with being an artist on Curb Records. He’s now a Big Machine artist and he is no longer a Curb artist”. According to Billboard, Curb could still appeal to the Tennessee Supreme Court, though could not then proceed to the federal…