Third Man Records faces copyright dispute over Paramount Records Box Set
Copyright , Music Publishing / March 2014

COPYRIGHT Recorded music   In 2013 Jack White’s Third Man Records and Revenant Records teamed up to release the massive Rise & Fall of Paramount Records, Volume One (1917-1932) box set. However, it now seems that a non-profit organisation has claimed that it owns rights to nearly 800 songs on the compilation: Lars Edegran, a jazz musician from the George H. Buck, Jr. (GHB) Jazz Foundation, claims that GHB, who owned several jazz labels, bought the rights to the Paramount catalog in 1970 – and  there are documents proving ownership. Paramount Records began as a subsidiary of a chair manufacturer and was, at first, merely devoted to producing records in bulk, on the cheap. As Third Man paints the picture, they more or less stumbled upon their incredible roster, which featured “early jazz titans (Louis Armstrong, King Oliver, Jelly Roll Morton, Fats Waller), blues masters (Charley Patton, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Son House, Skip James), American divas (Ma Rainey, Alberta Hunter, Ethel Waters), gospel (Norfolk Jubilee Quartette), vaudeville (Papa Charlie Jackson), and the indefinable ‘other’ (Geeshie Wiley, Elvis Thomas).” Dean Blackwood, co-founder of Revenant, replied to Edegran’s allegations in a statement saying: “We informed the Foundation that we would gladly come…

Get harbour safe: Telecinco’s appeal v YouTube dismissed
Copyright , Internet / March 2014

COPYRIGHT Internet, all areas A new decision by the Madrid Court of Appeal in YouTube v Telecinco [Madrid Court of Appeal decision No 11/2014 is another leading case in the European Internet Service Providers (ISPs) liability saga, and this report comes from the IPKat. YouTube is the one of the most famous video-sharing platform that hosts user-generated contents (UGCs), namely videos, from all around the world.  It’s now owned by Google. Telecinco is a Spanish broadcaster owned by the Italian Mediaset. Some users uploaded on to YouTube video fragments apparently taken from Telecinco’s TV programmes. Telecinco did not appreciate this and in 2008 brought an action against YouTube Llc, alleging copyright infringement by the hosting provider. In its decision in 2010, the District Court of Madrid dismissed Telecinco’s claims, considering YouTube shielded from liability for UGCs on the basis of the Spanish Law 34/2002, which implemented the E-Commerce Directive 2000/31. Then, Telecinco appealed the first instance decision to the Madrid Court of Appeal on the basis of the three arguments that follow. First, Telecinco alleged that YouTube could not benefit from the safe harbour provided by the E-Commerce Directive because of its non-neutral approach towards UGCs. Among other things, Telecinco maintained that…

Collection Society reform gathers pace
Copyright , Music Publishing / March 2014

COPYRIGHT Music publishing, recorded music   CISAC, the International Confederation of Authors and Composers Societies have announced some of the key findings from its Global Royalty Collections report, based on 2012 figures: Gross royalty collections achieved a new record high of € 7.8 billion, an increase of 2% over 2011. 58,8% of global collections were generated in Europe (€4.6 billion)  87% of collections were accounted for by the musical repertoire 75% of collections were from public performance royalties 4% of collections coming from digital (€ 301 million) There was a 5.1% decline in mechanical reproduction royalties. The report itself is “Sustaining Creativity: Growth in Creators’ Royalties as Markets Go Digital”. MEPs have strongly backed a new bill that will allow music download sites to secure single music rights licences from collective management organisations that are valid across the EU, voting 640-18 in favour of adopting the Collective Rights Management Directive. Organisations managing authors’ works will be required to prove that they can process data from service providers showing when music is downloaded or streamed online, and that they can match this data to the music by their clients. MEPs say the law should stimulate the development of EU-wide online music services and that lower…

Owl City sum not a settlement for Good Time
Copyright , Music Publishing / March 2014

COPYRIGHT Music publishing   Owl City singer Adam Young has cleared up reports suggesting the band had lost a plagiarism lawsuit over his 2012 collaboration with Carly Rae Jepsen – “Good Time” – after TMZ reported that singer songwriter Ally Burnett had won a six-figure sum for copyright infringement claiming Good Time heavily sampled her 2010 tune, “Ah, It’s a Love Song”, taking the “unique vocal motif” and hook of her song. Burnett filed her lawsuit against Jepsen and Owl City in 2012, also naming the co-writers on the song Brian Lee and Matt Thiessen, plus publishers Universal Music, Songs Music Publishing, Schoolboy Records and all the US collecting societies, ASCAP, SESAC and BMI, as defendants.  It seems the sums in question – $804,156 – were pending royalties which were placed in escrow by Young’s collection society BMI until the case is resolved – enabling BMI to be removed as defendants in the action.

Tennessee moves to protect pre-1972 sound recordings
Copyright , Music Publishing / March 2014

COPYRIGHT Sound recordings Currently sound recordings in the USA created before February 15th 1972 fall outside of the federal Copyright Act. And now the owners of sound recordings CAN collect royalties for their use on satellite radio and Internet radio services like SiriusXM, this matters – and collection society Sound Exchange estimated that it could collect 15% or so more than the $590 million it collected in 2013 if the recordings were covered. In 2011, the U.S Copyright Office issued a report recommending Congress take action to change this, but so far, nothing’s happened. Except in Tennessee! State Senator Stacey Campfield decided to act, saying “The music industry—they came to me and said, ‘We’re not getting our royalties.’ They said it’s something that could have a big impact,” who has now introduced the “Legacy Sound Recording Protection Act” (SB/HB 2187) with Rep. G.A. Hardaway (D-Memphis) to close the federal loophole in Tennessee. Whilst on first reading “he bill seems quite reasonable” and it seems most of its language is copied directly from federal copyright law, there have been some comments on the narrowness of the bill. Attorney Brandon Butler told Metro Pulse “The bill is strikingly one-sided. It gives rights-holders…

Happy Birthday litigation moves on
Copyright , Music Publishing / March 2014

COPYRIGHT Music publishing   You will probably remember the fact that ‘Happy Birthday to You” is now the subject of a lawsuit brought against the publishing arm of Warner Music Group, which claims copyright ownership in the song, which was registered in 1935. The complaint, from a disgruntled film producer who had to cough up $1,500 to use the track, was filed in federal court in Manhattan and claims that “Happy Birthday to You” has been in the public domain since at least 1921. The suit seeks class action status on behalf of anyone who paid a royalty to use “Happy Birthday to You” in the past four years. The song allegedly generates at least $2 million a year in licensing fees for Warner/Chappell Music, Inc. In their last filing, the plaintiffs claimed that the words were published in a variety of formats pre-1935, going back to 1893.  Well, Warners have now filed a status update which offers the first glimpse of some of the defences Warner may use. In it’s brief statement, Warner’s lawyers explain it’s on the plaintiffs to prove that the 1935 copyright registration “was not intended to cover the lyrics to Happy Birthday to You” saying:…

Appeal court upholds publicity rights for Hendrix in Washington State
Artists , Image Rights / March 2014

IMAGE RIGHTS Artists   A long running legal spat in the US over the extent of the rights the Jimi Hendrix estate has to prevent others from selling goods using the late guitarist’s likeness has moved forward, with an appeals court overturning a contentious 2011 ruling on the matter. The difficulty for the Estate is that so called ‘publicity rights’, or mage rights, are complex as US protection comes from state law, and some states protect the name and image of dead stars and others do not. The dispute involves the Hendrix Estate,  and Hendrix’s brother Leon has an involvement in, while their adopted sister Janie manages the Estate. Although Hendrix was resident in New York at the time of his death – a state where posthumous publicity rights do not apply – the estate’s company Experience Hendrix has endeavoured to stop from selling goods in Washington, a state where such rights are on the statute book. In 2011, in what was a surprising decision, a Washington judge ruled that using the state’s publicity right laws in this way was unconstitutional, in that it violated some rules set out by the US Constitution. That ruling limited the…

Jackson fans get one euro each from Murray for King of Pop’s death
Artists / March 2014

MEDICAL NEGLIGENCE Artists   A court in Orléans, France, has ruled that five Michael Jackson fans should receive damages of one euro each from Conrad Murray for the “emotional damage” they suffered following the late king of pop’s death. Murray was found guilty in 2011 of causing Jackson’s demise by providing negligence treatment while working as the singer’s personal doctor. A total of 34 members of the Michael Jackson Community fan club, which is based in France, sued the doctor. The Orléans court ruled that just five of them – two from France, two from Belgium and one from and Switzerland – had proven that they had legitimate claims against the former doctor. Each was awarded symbolic damages of one euro. The lawyer acting on behalf of the fans, Emmanuel Ludot, told AFP: “As far as I know, this is the first time in the world that the notion of emotional damage in connection with a pop star has been recognised”. Ludot added that none of the five fans intend to seek their payout from Murray, but instead hoped that their legal status as victims of Jackson’s death would gain them access to his burial site. A Californian court has…

Valuing Michael Jackson – a taxing issue
Artists , Taxation / March 2014

TAXATION Artistes   More on Michael Jackson and this time it’s a claim brought by the Inland Revenue service (IRS) in the UD against the Estate of Michael Jackson for a gross underpayment of tax – the IRS claim the Jackson estate was significantly undervalued – in particular his image rights and the value of the Beatles songs catalogue Jackson owned and which are administered by music publisher Sony ATV. Neil Wilkof on the IPKat explains: Based on filings with the U.S. Tax Court, the Jackson Estate claimed a value of a little more than $7 million, while the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) gave a valuation of $1.125 billion. The discrepancy between the two valuations is not a typographical error. Indeed, the IRS sought to apply a seldom-used provision, known as the “gross valuation misstatement penalty”, to assess twice the usual amount of the penalty for underpayment (50%). Drilling down further, it appears that the dispute centres on two main assets. The first is the value of Jackson’s image, which the estate valued at only $2,105, while the IRS assigned a value of slightly more than $434 million. In addition, there is a dispute over the value of certain Jackson…

Money, money, money – Abba admit to fashion choices for tax
Artists , Taxation / March 2014

TAXATION Artists   Abba’s Bjorn Ulvaeus has admitted that the glittering hot pants, sequined jump suits and platform shoes the band wore were as much to save tax as they were to stand out from the crowd. Writing in a new book, Abba The Official Photo Book, Ulvaeus said “In my honest opinion we looked like nuts in those days. Nobody can have been as badly dressed on stage as we were” but explains that the Swedish Tax Code allowed costumes to be deducted against tax – provided they were so outrageous that they could not be worn on the street – worn as ‘daily wear’. The UK tax code has similar provisions: The case of Mallalieu v Drummond [1983] 57 TC 330 established that no deduction is available from trading profits for the costs of clothing which forms part of an ‘everyday’ wardrobe. This remains so even where the taxpayer can show that they only wear such clothing in the course of their profession. It is irrelevant that the person chooses not to wear the clothing in question on non-business occasions, the only question is whether the clothing might suitably be worn as part of a hypothetical person’s ‘everyday’ wardrobe. The…

DJ Moyles ‘used car salesman’ tax ploy fails
Artists , Taxation / March 2014

TAXATION Artists   The former Radio 1 DJ Chris Moyles had claimed to be a second-hand car dealer in a bid to save £400,000 tax, a British Tax Tribunal has found. The court named Moyles and two other men as having taking part in a scheme called “Working Wheels” which counted “450 fund managers, celebrities and other high earners between 2006 and 2008” as members and allowed members to assert  they had incurred large losses while working in the second-hand car trade . A published judgment from Judge Colin Bishopp, President of the Tax Chamber of the First-tier Tribunal, said Moyles’s self-assessment tax return for the financial year ending on April 5, 2008, when he was presenting Radio One’s Breakfast Show, said he “had engaged in self-employment as a used car trader”. The scheme was set up by NT Advisers, whose initials stand for “no tax”, in 2007. The DJ had appealed against an earlier HMRC ruling and claimed that Moyles had made a loss of £1 million selling £3,731 worth of used cars. Moyles paid £95,000 to enter the scheme Moyles did not give evidence directly to the tribunal but did submit “a brief witness statement”. Judge Bishopp, described…

Legal battle over US festival site could pitch SFX against AEG
Contract , Live Events / March 2014

CONTRACT Live events sector   CMU Daily report that a a brewing legal squabble in the US could pitch acquisitive EDM firm SFX against live industry major AEG Live, and could impact on the 2014 edition of American music festival Electric Forest, which has already sold 21,000 tickets. According to EDM website Dancing Astronaut, the owners of the venue in Michigan where Electric Forest is staged, Progressive Resorts, have told the event’s promoters Madison House Presents that they can no longer use the property, even though said promoter seemingly had a 20 year lease to host a festival there. It’s reported that Progressive Resorts recently ran into financial problems and has restructured its finances as a result resulting in ownership of the site being transferred to two new companies, Antler Bar Amusements and Double JJ PropCo, which now claim that the change in ownership renders the two decade lease with Madison House Presents void, even though a $60,000 deposit was reportedly paid last October for this June’s festival. The matter is now with the Michigan courts. But it gets more interesting because Dancing Astronaut also reports that, according to legal papers it has seen, SFX has taken an interest in…

German Promoters Force Resale Take Down
Contract , Live Events / March 2014

CONTRACT Live events industry   Secondary ticketing giant Seatwave has removed all tickets for the six upcoming Robbie Williams concerts in Germany after a successful legal challenge by the German Federal Association of Concert Organisers (BDV). BDV is vociferously fighting a battle against ticket resale platforms in Germany and has already obtained mandatory injunctions against other online exchanges, including the popular website Viagogo. The tickets that were removed were all personalised with the holders name and the concert was promoted by MCT, a staunch opponent of ticket abuse, who had previously taken action in 2011 after personalised tickets for three German Take That shows were offered for re-sale. Marek Lieberberg Konzertagentur have also brought actions: several years ago they obtained an injunction preventing ticket site Ventic re-selling large numbers of Depche Mode tickets and in another case took action to prevent SeatWave selling tickets for the Rock am Ring festival. Johannes Ulbricht, legal advisor for the BDV, insists the association will continue to take action against all unauthorised ticket trading in the country, to protect event visitors and ensure that the prohibition of resale is respected. ”We are moving closer, step by step, to our goal of returning control of…

19 take on Sony over alleged royalty underpayments
Artists , Contract , Music Publishing / March 2014

CONTRACT Recorded music, artists   According to The Tennessean Simon Fuller’s 19, the owner of the ‘American Idol’ franchise is going to battle with its original record industry partner Sony Music in a lawsuit that seeks at least $10 million. 19 Recordings alleges that the major has short-changed both it and those ‘Idol’ champions signed by the label by underpaying royalties and adding too many deductions. 19 claims that it discovered what it calls “systemically incorrect calculations” on royalty payments during two separate audits, though adds that it is yet to fully audit the income of all the recordings in which it has a stake because Sony has allegedly not given them access to the files. 19 says that it has tried to reach a deal with the major on these issues, but that the record company won’t negotiate. 19 Entertainment’s Worldwide Head Of Music Jason Morey says: “We did not want to have to file this lawsuit, but Sony left us no choice, so this became necessary to protect our artists. Our complaint lays out the claims in great detail. Everything we have to say about the case is set forth in it”. Artists including  Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood,…

Survivor go legal over digital royalties
Artists , Contract , Music Publishing / March 2014

CONTRACT Artistes, recorded music   Survivor are the latest band to go legal over the payment of royalties for downloads, mainly in relation to their 1982 ‘Rocky III’ soundtrack epic hit ‘Eye Of The Tiger’. Founding Survivor members Jim Peterik and Frankie Sullivan, the latter still performing with the band, have sued Sony Music for a ‘licensing’ cut of the revenue generated by their recordings, which they say should be 50% of the income. The  lawsuit also claims that the major still owes the duo money stemming from settlements the American record industry reached with the big file-sharing platforms of old like Kazaa, and also alleges a number if other accounting irregularities including improper deductions. According to Billboard: “A Sony representative threatened that in the event Survivor persisted in its objection, Sony would exercise what it termed ‘the nuclear option’ – removal of the Survivor masters from the songs licensed to iTunes for download by consumers, thereby wiping out that revenue stream altogether. By threatening ‘the nuclear option’, Sony has conceded that its transaction with iTunes is a license subject to termination, and not a sale of the Survivor masters to iTunes. If it was a sale, Sony would have…

Ten charged over Love Parade tragedy
Health & Safety , Live Events / March 2014

HEALTH AND SAFETY Live events sector   Ten people have been charged under German law with negligent manslaughter in relation to the to the fatal stampede that occurred at Germany’s Love Parade festival in 2010 which left 21 people dead and over five hundred more injured. The Festival, which began in 1989 as a Berlin-based free event, began travelling to different German cities each year in 2007, and was taking place in Duisburg in 2010. The event was always well attended, and though turnouts had fallen in the years prior to 2010, it was estimated by investigators that almost half a million people had attended that year on the site on a former freight rail yard. The site’s capacity, however, was 250,000 and despite the large number of people attending, crowds entering were funnelled through a single underpass, which quickly became crowded on the Saturday morning of the event there was a surge in the crowd, which caused panic in the tunnel followed by a stampede. Six of the event’s organisers and four city workers have been charged with negligent manslaughter and bodily harm. If convicted, they face up to five years in prison each. All deny any wrongdoing. The…

Fishbone frontman faces $1.37 million damages claim over stagedive
Health & Safety , Live Events / March 2014

HEALTH & SAFETY Live events sector   The frontman of American rock band Fishbone is facing a damages claim in the region of $1.37 million after injuring an audience member in a mid-show leap from the stage in 2010. At the gig at the World Live Cafe in Philadelphia, Kimberly Myers was knocked to the ground after Fishbone vocalist Angelo Moore performed his customary stagedive. She suffering a skull fracture in the fall and sued the show’s promoter and the band’s management in 2010, reaching settlements with both, but began new legal proceedings against the band in 2012 for negligence. Moore failed to respond to the 2012 lawsuit but Judge Jan DuBois based his ruling on the matter on a deposition the Fishbone man gave as part of the 2010 legal action: In that deposition, Moore admitted that he routinely leapt into his audience during his gigs without warning, arguing that alerting audience members to his intent “gives away the whole theatrics or the spontaneity”. He also apparently admitted that audience injuries were not uncommon, but when asked about the risks of stagediving he cited the danger that he might hit the floor, and that lawsuit “predators” might come after…

Survey Request
General / March 2014

Francis Davey has informed us that his final LLM dissertation topic consists of a survey of people’s attitudes to copying etc (so-called “copynorms”) as part of the whole study of the interaction of social norms and law. Francis has already blogged about it here.  The survey “Copy, share and remix, what is okay?” can be accessed using the link below.  Do please participate — and pass the link on to your friends and colleagues so that the sample surveyed will be as large as possible. It doesn’t take long!