Competition Commission clears AEG Wembley Arena deal
Competition , Live Events / October 2013

COMPETITION Live events sector   The Competition Commission (CC) has formally cleared the completed acquisition by AEG Facilities UK (AEG) of the contract to manage Wembley Arena. In its final decision,  the CC has concluded that the merger would not result in a substantial lessening of competition in the markets for the provision of venue space to promoters, provision of sponsorship opportunities or the provision of other event-related services such as catering, confirming the Commission’s preliminary ruling, published in July. Wembley Arena was previously operated by Live Nation Entertainment. AEG is the current operator of three indoor live entertainment venues in London: The O2 Arena, the Hammersmith Apollo, and IndigO2, and has been recently awarded a five-year contract to deliver summer concerts at Hyde Park. Following the merger, AEG will operate the two largest London indoor venues: The O2 Arena and Wembley Arena. AEG is also a promoter, AEG Live (UK) Limited, and owns a ticketing service, Martin Cave, CC Deputy Chairman and Chairman of the AEG/Wembley Inquiry Group, commented: ‘AEG’s opportunity to increase venue hire prices would be limited because factors such as capacity, availability, brand, reputation and personal preference are more important to acts booking the venue….

Roller boys lose on appeal
Artists , Contract , Music Publishing / October 2013

CONTRACT Artistes, recorded music   The CMU Daily tells us that three former members of the Bay City Rollers have failed, for a second time, to have themselves added to a lawsuit being pursued by other former Rollers against Arista Records, now part of Sony Music’s RCA. The band’s original vocalist, Gordon Clark, along with two other ex-Rollers, Ian Mitchell and Pat McGlynn, sued six other members of the band in a bid to be included in their separate case against Arista over unpaid royalties. The original lawsuit launched by Eric Faulkner, Duncan Faure, Alan Longmuir, Derek Longmuir, Leslie McKeown and Stuart Wood against the major label is still working its way through the courts. Clark, Mitchell and McGlynn were not included in that lawsuit, but feel they should have been. And so, they sued both the other band members and Arista, claiming anticipatory breach of contract and unjust enrichment. At first instance they lost on both counts. But the claimants felt that first time round the judge hearing the case made an error regards the unjust enrichment claim, and took that element of the case to the Second US Circuit Court of Appeals. But last week the appeals court…

Strong speaks out about Money – and the lack of it
Copyright , Music Publishing / October 2013

COPYRIGHT Music publishing   A row is brewing over authorship of the classic Tamala Motown song “Money (That’s What I Want)” – first recorded in 1959. Barrett Strong was credited as both the recording artist and the author of the song but his song writing credit was removed, seemingly by Motown Records executives, three years later. He was restored in 1987 when the copyright was renewed, but his name was then removed again the following year. Wikipedia credit the song to Tamla founder (and Strong’s personal manager)  Berry Gordy Jr and lyricist Janie Bradford. Strong, now 72, Strong says he’s been duped adding “For 50 years, I had no idea about any of this” and in a criticism of the US copyright registration system said  “It was hidden from me. So how do they expect me to have acted to protect myself? It’s crazy and unfair”.

Vimeo open to liability claims from record labels
Copyright , Internet , Music Publishing / October 2013

COPYRIGHT Music publishing, recorded music, internet   A federal judge in New York has said that there is a ‘triable issue’ at the heart of the claim brought by the major record labels against user-generated video website Vimeo, owned by Barry Diller’s IAC, over claims that Vimeo  had knowledge or awareness of copyrighted music in some of the videos being shared. Vimeo, which is now one of the top 130 most trafficked websites, responded by asserting that it was free of liability thanks to the safe harbor provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. The claim centres on whether the company took enough preventative actions to avoid liability.  Judge Ronnie Abrams denied safe harbour defence for 55 of the 199 videos brought up in the suit, in particular the now very popular ‘lip synch’ videos. Reportedly, these 55 presented situations where Vimeo employee either knowingly uploaded videos that used copyrighted music themselves, or had documented interactions with users that did (comments, likes, etc.) and still failed to take the video down. In the 56-page ruling Judge Abrams released, he called the site’s alleged knowledge of these incidents a “triable issue.”  Noting that the site had12.3 million registered users uploading 43,000…

Welsh royalty claim goes to Copyright Tribunal
Copyright , Music Publishing / October 2013

COPYRIGHT Music publishing, broadcasting   The dispute over royalty payments between the BBC and Eos, the agency representing some Welsh language music composers and publishers, is going to the Copyright Tribunal. At an interim hearing in April, the Tribunal ordered the BBC to continue paying Eos £120,000 a year to access its members’ repertoire of music. his sum was agreed by both parties in February. Eos wants the Tribunal to increase that amount to £1.5m a year – the BBC are suggesting an annual figure of £100,000. Eos was formed when its members became unhappy with royalty payments from PRS for Music, the UK’s principal royalties collection agency.

Unauthorised use of backstage photo costs promoter £20,000
Copyright , Live Events / October 2013

COPYRIGHT Photography, live events   CMU Daily reports that live music firm DHP Family has settled a dispute with photographer Jason Sheldon after it used a photo he took of Ke$ha and LMFAO without permission. Although DHP admitted it had used the photo, in error, a dispute then began as to how much the live firm should pay the photo man for past and future use of his picture. It seems DHP initially offered £150 for use of the photo, while Sheldon asked for £1,350. When agreement couldn’t be reached, the case went to court, where – given that the unauthorised use was never disputed – the debate centred on the value of a single photo of the kind DHP had used and Mr Justice Birss erred more towards Sheldon’s arguments, noting that the photo had been taken backstage, requiring the photographer to gain exclusive access and to photograph in a room with poor lighting. Birss J said that both the exclusivity of the moment photographed and the work involved in taking the picture should impact on its value. The court ruled that a fair price for licensing past and future use of the photo would be the rather precise…

Rihanna wins injunction against TopShop T-shirt
Artists , Trade Mark / October 2013

TRADE MARK Artistes   Rihanna has won a permanent ban against Topshop to prevent the retail chain selling T-shirts using an image taken at an official video shoot for We Found Love in 2011 by a freelance photographer. In an earlier hearing Mr Justice Birss had allowed a claim in passing off that because the photo used was very similar to imagery on her album ‘Talk That Talk‘, consumers would likely think it was an officially endorsed product, which it was not. Now the singer has secured an injunction stopping Topshop from selling clothing that uses her image. The singer also asked for the return of all unsold product bit was told the retailer had sold all but 5 of the 12,000 T-shirts produced – and thise were saved for the court case. Mr Justice Birss had stressed  that no “freestanding general right” for celebrities to control the use of their image existed in English law, but did grant Topshop permission to appeal the ruling to the Court Of Appeal: the singer’s damages will not be decided until after that hearing. Legal costs were submitted, with Rihanna’s team putting in a “rather optimistic” bill of £919,000, a figure Birrs said…

Sony fire losses were due to a riot
Liability , Music Publishing / October 2013

LIABILITY Recorded music   CMU Daily reports that The High Court on London has ruled that the London Mayor’s Office For Policing And Crime should be liable for the losses caused by the fire at the Sony DADC centre in North London, which was destroyed during the riots of August 2011. Amongst the materials lost in the fire was the physical stock of numerous independent labels, because distributor [PIAS] used the storage centre. The liability stems from the Riot Damages Act: Insurers for Sony had sought £49.5m for property, customer stock and business interruption while the insurers for the owners of the warehouse had wanted £9.35m for property damage and loss of rent. Counsel for the police argued that the attack on the warehouse was a “planned criminal enterprise” and a “planned raid” rather than a riot. He said the group “coordinated their activities by mobile phone or blackberry messaging” to break in to the building in a “quiet industrial area”. The Court noted that the Sony centre had been raided by “25 youths” who had earlier congregated on a nearby housing estate and that police had been warned by numerous people about a local gang causing problems the previous day,…