New Zealand collection societies offer combined licence

COPYRIGHT Recorded music, music publishing   The two music collection societies in New Zealand – APRA on the publishing side and PPNZ on the sound recordings side – have announced the creation of OneMusic, a new joint venture that will offer a wide-ranging combined public performance licence for businesses and organisations that play recorded music in public spaces, administered by APRA. PPNZ boss Damian Vaughan says the new venture, which will surely be watched with interest by rights bodies around the world, came in response to public demand and that customers were telling the collection that the international norm – the two-licence model – “was frustrating and confusing”. The initiative has been welcomed by various trade bodies representing music users and licensees, with the CEO of New Zealand’s Restaurant Association, Marisa Bidois, saying: “We support anything that means compliance issues don’t get in the way of business. This new process means our members can get a music licence quickly and easily and we’re very happy APRA and PPNZ have heard us on this issue” and CEO of the New Zealand Retailers Association, John Albertson, says OneMusic will mean fewer businesses accidentally operating outside of the law.

Walhberg, Usher, Public Enemy and RUN-DMC all face sampling claims
Copyright , Record Labels / November 2013

COPYRIGHT Record labels   Now successful actor Mark Wahlberg (then Marky Mark), Usher and RUN-DMC are amongst a list of recording artists being sued for copyright violation in the US District Court in Illinois. The artists are being sued by Twilight Records and Syl-Zel Music in a wide reaching lawsuit which claims that the defendants sampled the 1967 track Different Strokes without permission. The original track was sung and recorded by Sylvester Thompson, a/k/a Syl Johnson. The claimants allege that Wahlberg, as part of Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch, sampled the track in the 1991 release The Last Song on Side B, and that Usher infringed copyright in his 1993 song Call Me a Mack. Run-DMC allegedly sampled the song in its single Naughty as well as Beats to the Rhyme. The lawsuit also claims that Public Enemy – another defendant in the case – sampled the song in a number of its singles including Fight The Power and Fear of a Black Planet. Sony Music Entertainment and Universal Music are also named as defendants, The claimants are seeking accounting compensation, a permanent restraint against further sampling and unspecified damages. The lawsuit comes just two years after the record…

Isohunt shuts after 10 year run
Copyright , Internet / November 2013

COPYRIGHT Internet   The operator of the popular file-sharing service isoHunt, is shutting down to settle a long-running lawsuit from the Motion Picture Association of America, according to court records. Gary Fung, the site’s Canadian operator, also agreed to pay $110 million in damages as part of the deal to end the long-running legal battle – although quite where he will get that sort of sum remains unclear. Programmer Bram Cohen released the BitTorrent file-sharing protocol in 2001, and its efficient way of transferring files has become the method of choice for illicit, peer-to-peer sharing of copyright.  The isoHunt litigation began in a Los Angeles federal court in 2006. In March of this year, a three-judge panel of the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the DCMA would not apply to Fung  because Fung’s business model, the court said, was designed for the primary purpose of copyright infringement. Speaking to TorrentFreak Fung said: “It’s sad to see my baby go. But I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful. 10.5 years of isoHunt has been a long journey by any business definition, and forever in internet start-up time. I think one worry I…

CCI costs unearthed
Copyright , Internet , Record Labels / November 2013

COPYRIGHT Internet, recording industry   TorrentFreak has managed to unearth some financial details for The Center for Copyright Information (CCI), the not for profit organisation set up to administer the US’s ‘six strikes’ regime. When the scheme stated  the founding content owner members (primarily the MPAA and the RIAA) agreed to share the costs with ISPs. The company’s first eight month tax filing shows that  ISPs and copyright holders paid a total of $1,377,633 in membership dues, putting the yearly budget around $2 million per year. So where is all the money going? Well here’s a breakdown, via TorrentFreak: (i) – The CCI pays Executive Director Jill Lesser – the only key employee working there – a modest $43,750 during the first eight months of 2012 BUT (ii) Lesser indirectly earns a bit more from CCI from her consulting firm JAL, which the CCI paid $193,750 during the same eight-month period. (iii) – Around $144,093 was paid to PR firm Glover Park Group and (iv)- Resource Global was paid $125,691 for its consulting services, as well as $102,928 in legal fees. The costs do not cover the cost of copyright actions by copyright holders and the costs ISPs incur when tracking down infringers and processing the notices…

Sony/ATV sued over Beatles documentary
Competition , Copyright , Music Publishing / November 2013

COPYRIGHT / COMPETITION Music publishing, film & TV   CMU Daily reports that a US company has sued Sony/ATV and The Beatles’ company Apple Corps in a dispute over a new documentary covering the fab four’s first ever US concert in Washington back in 1964. The lawsuit, filed in the New York courts last week, is actually a rework of an earlier lawsuit the same company pursued but later withdrew in the Californian jurisdiction. Ace Arts LLC acquired footage of the Washington gig and used it as the core of a documentary about The Beatles’ first trip to the US. According to the firm’s lawsuit, it met with Apple Corps who confirmed that, while it controlled the legendary band’s trademarks and (under US law) publicity rights, it did not own the copyright in the live recording. The copyrights in many of the songs performed at the gig, meanwhile, are controlled by the Sony/ATV music publishing firm, which controls much of the Lennon/McCartney catalogue. To that end Ace Arts LLC reached a licensing deal with Sony/ATV, and on the back of that invested a substantial million dollar plus sum completing its documentary and later reached a distribution deal for the film…

Shukran Allah: when it pays to get there first
Copyright , Music Publishing / November 2013

COPYRIGHT Music Publishing, film industry   B4U Network (Europe) Ltd v Performing Right Society Ltd is a decision last week from the Court of Appeal (Civil Division) for England and Wales. You can find it at [2013] EWCA Civ 1236. This was an appeal by B4U against the decision  of Mr Justice Vos at [2012] EWHC 3010 (Ch) to grant summary judgment in favour of the PRS in its copyright infringement claim which was noted on the 1709 Blog. This update is from the 1709 blog and is by Jeremy Philips. In 2004 the PRS, being a society formed to protect the copyright in musical works, had entered into a written agreement with two composers of songs for Bollywood films, Salim and Suleiman Merchant. By this agreement, copyright that the Merchants “may acquire or own” while remaining members of the society was assigned to it. In 2008 the Merchants were commissioned by Indian producers Dharma Productions to compose the music and lyrics for the film Kurbaan. Under that agreement, the rights in relation to musical works composed for the film vested in the film’s producer and included all present and future works arising out of the contract and covered all…

Jury in Jackson case find in favour of AEG
Artists , Live Events / November 2013

MEDICAL NEGLIGENCE Artists, live events sector   The jury in the $1,5 damages claim brought by Michael Jackson’s family against AEG, promoters of his This Is It tour, have found that whilst AEG did employ Dr Conrad Murray, the company was not liable for his subsequent negligence finding that a licensed doctor Murray was not “unfit” or “incompetent” for the job he was hired to do, even if he proved to be unethical in the treatment he then provided to the late king of pop. The jury found that AEG didn’t have a responsibility to go digging into Murray’s personal life – to discover his acute financial problems, which possibly made him more prone to provide the prescription drugs Jackson craved in order to keep his job and it was reasonable for AEG to therefore assume he would perform the tasks he was hired to do in a responsible way.   It was the King of Pop’s own actions that kept his use of the surgery-strength anesthetic propofol a secret from AEG Live and his own choices that led to his untimely death at the age of 50. The jurors found the company had no reason to suspect a licensed doctor with no malpractice…

Van Halen not impressed with ex-wife name
Artists , Trade Mark / November 2013

TRADE MARK Artists   ELVH Inc, the company that manages the trademarks of the legendary rock band Van Halen, has begun legal action against Kelly Van Halen, the ex-wife of the band’s drummer Alex Van Halen, over her use of her surname in her own commercial enterprises. Married to one of two Van Halen brothers, Kelly Carter took when she married in 1984, and continued to use even after they divorced twelve years later. She now runs an interior design business, which is also involved in some fashion products and construction services and she recently filed a trademark application for exclusive use of the Kelly Van Halen mark in her areas of business. That filing resulted in the legal action from ELVH Inc, which is trying to block the mark applications, arguing that her use of the Kelly Van Halen brand violates the band’s Van Halen trademarks, is diluting the value of those marks, and also constitutes passing off and unfair competition.