Michael Jackson documentary goes legal over footage dispute
Copyright / August 2014

COPYRIGHT Television, broadcasting Another Michael Jackson project – another lawsuit. The production company making a new documentary about Michael Jackson is now facing a battle with the late king of pop’s Estate about who owns the footage that will form the core of the new film. The documentary, ‘Michael Jackson: The Last Photo Shoot’, focuses on what was probably Jackson’s last magazine photo shoot  which took place in 2007 (two years before he died) at the Brooklyn Museum Of Art for Ebony magazine, to accompany the Jackson’s first interview in a decade. The new film includes interviews with friends of the singer, as well as photographers and stylists who worked with him, and was set to include previously unseen video footage of the photo shoot as well as pictures taking during it. The Michael Jackson Estate had been offered the footage but declined to purchase it. The director of the documentary Craig Williams then seemingly acquired the rights to the content. However the Estate assert that they must own the rights in the archive footage, based on the argument that Jackson paid for the shoot to happen, and that everyone involved was appointed on a ‘work for hire’ basis –…

Suspended sentence for Italian file-sharing operator – and his mum and dad
Copyright , Internet , Record Labels / August 2014

COPYRIGHT Recorded music, internet   As Italy steps up its actions against illegal file-sharing, an Italian man behind a now defunct file-sharing operation that used the domains Scaricolibero.com and Filmgratis.tv has been handed a 22 month suspended jail sentence for this role in running the copyright infringing business. His parents also received suspended sentences because of their role in receiving the operation’s advertising  revenue into their bank account – in effect a charge of money laundering: at the time the sites were said to be making around $300 a day from advertising. Authorities in Italy seized the two domains back in 2012 under a court order, following complaints from copyright owners, and also ordered internet service providers to block the service’s IP addresses and took control of bank accounts receiving ad revenues from the file-sharing operation   http://torrentfreak.com/parents-pirate-site-admin-sentenced-money-laundering-140628/

Korean teen stars face new legislation
Artists , Employment Law , Live Events / August 2014

EMPLOYMENT LAW Live events sector, broadcasting, artistes   Teenage Korean ‘K-Pop’ stars are facing new legislation put in place to protect young people  from onerous work schedules. Two provisions of a new law will affect pop performers in particular: Firstly, performers under the age of 15 won’t be able to work more than 35 hours a week, and those between 15-18 won’t be able to work more than 40 hours. The devil is in the detail (as ever) – and the question remains what “work” is defined as, with Music Times asking: “Does doing publicity count?” and “Does being present at a concert venue prior to going onstage count?” The legislation does allow that “exceptions can be made for projects requiring long-distance travel.” Minors will also be barred from practicing their craft between the hours of 22.00 and 06,00 which may provide ;ogistical huredles for the live events sector and live T. That statute can be waived of parental permission is granted The second provision affecting young performers is the section preventing minors from wearing skimpy outfits or performing “suggestive” dance routines – but again critics say the provisions are ill defined. The strength or weaknesses of the law aside,…

The Department Of Justice’s digital licensing review underway – good news for publishers?
Copyright , Music Publishing / August 2014

COPYRIGHT Music publishing   CMU Daily reports that The US Department Of Justice has distributed a so called Civil Investigative Demand, or CID, to the two main performing rights societies in the US music publishing domain, ASCAP and BMI, as well as the two dominant music publishers Universal and Sony/ATV/EMI. The initial review of the publishers’ actions began with the rate trial against Pandora, one of several internet radio services that are grinding up against the majors in order to settle streaming rates. Pandora’s representatives alleged that the labels had been working together to change bylaws within ASCAP and BMI that would allow for partial withdrawals—in other words selling the rights to play all of your catalogue aside from the biggest draws, so that publishers can charge higher rates for a Rihanna than a Raekwon, for example. Judge Denise Cote agreed with Pandora in her decision. The document request notices are part of the DoJ’s review of the consent decrees that regulate the collective licensing of song performance rights in the US and are set against a backdrop of both Universal and Sony/ATV seeking to directly licence digital services such as Pandora. A court previously ruled that, under the current…

Massive illegal CD pressing plant shut down in Germany
Copyright , Music Publishing / August 2014

COPYRIGHT Recorded music sector   What is possibly the largest black market CD pressing plant in Europe has been raided in Germany, with investigators finding a large-scale CD, DVD and vinyl pressing operation in the main underground premises and “significant numbers” of pirated discs. Several properties were raided in both Aschaffenburg in Bavaria and Hessen after preliminary investigations led by anti-piracy organisation proMedia at the instigation of the German record industry trade group BVMI, with support from global trade body IFPI. A state prosecutor from the Economic Crime Department in the city of Würzburg is now investigating at least one individual in relation to the mass production of pirated CDs, DVDs and records. BVMI CEO Dr Florian Drücke said: “With a market share of about 70%, there is still a high demand for CDs in Germany – this is evident not only in the legitimate business, but unfortunately also on the illegal market”. He went on: “Thanks to the excellent preparatory work and above all the precise work of the prosecutor and police, this raid has enabled us to pull the plug on the largest-ever undercover pressing plant for music in Europe. The equipment found here demonstrates once again that this…

Italian court says that YouTube’s Content ID should be used to block allegedly infringing contents
Copyright , Internet / August 2014

COPYRIGHT Internet   A couple of months ago the IPKat reported that the Tribunale di Torino (Turin District Court) had rejected an application for an interim injunction brought by Delta TV in the context of proceedings between this and Google and YouTube. Delta TV produces and markets TV programs, and holds the economic rights to a number of South American soap operas for a number of territories (including Italy), where it licences the relevant rights to third parties. Delta TV became aware that a number of episodes of such soap operas dubbed in Italian had been unlawfully uploaded on YouTube. It also became aware that, by inserting their titles on Google Search, the first results displayed links to such YouTube videos. Delta TV sued [the case is still pending] Google and YouTube for secondary copyright infringement, seeking damages for over EUR 13m. It also sought an interim injunction to have the videos removed from YouTube. YouTube and Google opposed the application, claiming that, as soon as they became aware of such allegedly infringing contents, they removed them from YouTube, in compliance with the obligations set for hosting providers by the Ecommerce Directive and the piece of legislation (Legislative Decree 70/2003) that implemented it into the Italian legal system. The Tribunale di Torino dismissed the…

UK stakeholders set out Creative Content UK
Copyright , Internet / August 2014

COPYRIGHT Internet   The major UK internet service providers including BT, Virgin Media, Sky and Talk Talk, the representatives of various content industries including the film, television, books, sport rights and music sectors, and the UK government have come together to announce Creative Content UK, which has at its heart the voluntary copyright alert system, in some ways a ‘light’ version of the three-strikes element of the 2010 Digital Economy. Under the new system, participating net providers will send alerts to customers whose internet connections – according to the record companies, movie studios or TV firms – are being used to access unlicensed sources of content, such as file-sharing networks. Customers will be warned that accessing content from said sources is unlawful and will be given information on how they could access the same or similar content via legit services. Alongside the copyright alert system, Creative Content UK will stage a high profile copyright education programme. Vince Cable, Business Secretary said: “The creative industries in the UK are one of our brilliant global success stories. We have unrivalled creativity – from record breaking musicians to box office films – that excite and inspire people all over the world. Yet too often that…

Venue changes leads to Rock am Ring brand battle
Live Events , Trade Mark / August 2014

TRADE MARK Live events sector   One of the main impacts of the fall out between German promoters MLK and the new owners of Nurburgring circuit, Capricorn, is that neither has the right to use the name ‘Rock Am Ring’ without the permission of the other. As this year’s Rock am Ring dawned, news broke that new owners Capricorn, who brought the venue from administrators, had broken off talks with MLK for future events. MLK boss Marek Lieberberg had said that Capricorn were asking for a higher profit participation that he felt justified.  Subsequently entered into a new agreement with DEAG to promote a festival show at the legendary racing circuit to be called Grune Holle (Green Hell) Rockfestival am Nürburgring.  After Leiberberg made a number of comments regarding Rock am Ring and the fact he had invented the name and it was not bound to the Nurburgring, the Administrators had filed legal action seeking injunctive relief against any use of the name saying they co-owned it. The District Court in Koblenz agreed that the name was under ‘common ownership’ and that neither party could proceed with an event named Rock am Ring without the agreement of the other. It…

Indies try to explain the digital deal
Artists , Contract , Music Publishing / August 2014

CONTRACT Recorded music, artistes   The independent label’s global trade body, the Worldwide Independent Network has launched a new “ “Fair Digital Deals Declaration” to make clear their digital deals to artistes – with over 700 indie labels signed up including XL, beggars and Domino. It’s all a bit vague, and there’s nothing binding and it, it doest set minimum remuneration levels even as a percentage – and it doesn’t even remotely approach a standard of good practice – but it’s a lot more open than the position taken by the major labels   Key points in the Fair Digital Deals Declaration include: 1. We will ensure that artists’ share of download and streaming revenues is clearly explained in recording agreements and royalty statements in reasonable summary form. 2. We will account to artists a good-faith pro-rata share of any revenues and other compensation from digital services that stem from the monetisation of recordings but are not attributed to specific recordings or performances. 3. We will encourage better standards of information from digital services on the usage and monetisation of music. 4. We will support artists who choose to oppose, including publicly, unauthorised uses of their music.   Announcing the…

Sony try NOT to explain the digital deal
Artists , Contract , Record Labels / August 2014

CONTRACT Record labels, artistes   The legal battle between 19 Entertainment and Sony Music in the US could result in some judicial consideration of the ongoing digital royalty debates in the music industry – although Sony seemingly would rather avoid this, after  it emerged that the major had filed a motion to have the case dismissed last month. 19 Entertainment is suing Sony on behalf of various ‘American Idol‘ winners who scored Sony Music record deals via the show, says it found “systemically incorrect calculations” on two separate audits of royalty payments made by the major, adding that the record company then failed to allow 19’s auditors to access all the data they required to do a full audit. The 19 litigation also includes disputes over the way digital royalties are calculated – and the question of  whether labels should be paying lower record sale royalties or higher licensing revenue splits on download and streaming income. The Hollywood Reporter also notes that 19 Entertainment is also asking if the major labels are obliged to share with their acts damages received from successful file-sharing litigation. In its motion to dismiss Sony argue that it isn’t obliged to share with artists the multi-million…

Disputed Hendrix recordings to be released
Artists , Contract , Music Publishing / August 2014

CONTRACT Recorded music, artists   Sony Music’s Legacy Recordings is set to release a number of early Jimi Hendrix tracks after the conclusion of a legal dispute that has lasted nearly five decades. The disputed recordings were made between 1965 and 1967, and many feature Hendrix playing on records made by Curtis Knight & The Squires. The recordings were made by a label called PPX International run by producer Ed Chalpin, who famously signed Hendrix and Knight to an infamous “one-pound-advance-one-percent-royalty deal.” The arrangement caused issues within a couple of years as Hendrix’s career started to take off, and PPX and its business partners started to put out versions of the recordings that heavily implied – through title or artwork – that the records were Hendrix, rather than his role as a session musician or ‘sideman’. In 2001 the Hendrix Estate won a legal battle in the London courts, enforcing a 1973 decree which limited PPX’s ownership of recordings featuring Hendrix to just 33 masters made in 1965, rather than the larger catalogue of tracks put down in the following couple of years. This decision was upheld in both K and US appellate courts and in 2007, Experience Hendrix secured…

Ultra Records sues YouTube star Michelle Phan
Copyright , Internet , Music Publishing / August 2014

COPYRIGHT Internet, recorded music   Sony-affiliated EDM label Ultra Records, home to deadmau5 and Calvin Harris, is suing YouTube star Michelle Phan for using tracks in her videos without permission although the producer of one of those tracks, Kaskade, however, has distanced himself from the legal action. According to Reuters, Ultra’s recordings and publishing divisions are jointly suing Phan, whose make up tips videos have clocked up over 150 million views. In the lawsuit, Ultra says that Phan had been warned that she was infringing copyright “and yet continues to wilfully infringe in blatant disregard of plaintiff’s rights of ownership”. The lawsuit identifies multiple alleged instances of copyright infringement, and seeks an injunction to force Phan to stop, and the maximum statutory damages for each infringement of $150,000.   http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-28418449

Ticketing fraudster faces additional six years in prison
Criminal Law , Live Events / August 2014

CRIMINAL LAW Live events   Terence Shepherd who was convicted of money laundering, fraudulent trading and acting as a director whilst disqualified for his part in the £3.7 million Xclusive ticket scam in 2011, had been handed an additional six year term on top of his current 8 year prison term havening paid over just £103,334 of a £1 million confiscation order. District Judge Tan Ikram said Shepherd had “culpably neglected or wilfully refused’ to pay the full sum saying he was not in a position to grant any further adjournments.   Audience  July 2014 Issue 174

Night & Day faces noise abatement drive closure
Licensing , Live Events / August 2014

LICENSING Live events   Popular Manchester music venue Night & Day has been called to what the Manchester Evening News calls a “crunch licensing hearing” as it continues to tackle complaints from neighbours over noise levels. According to the MEN, the venue stands accused of repeatedly breaching a noise abatement notice issue by Manchester City Council. The venue said “The council have made an unprecedented move to review our licence before we have had the opportunity to appeal the Noise Abatement Notice in front of an independent judge in court”. Recently, and after a spate of threatened closures including the Fleece in Bristol, and the Boilerroom in Guildford , Mark Davyd, the founder of the Music Venue Trust, has warned of a ‘tsunami’ of noise abatement orders against venues and called for ‘common sense’ approach to resolve issues – often caused by new developments alongside pre-existing and often much loved music venues – wit Davyd adding ‘if you hate music – why move next to a music venue?’. The MVT has called for the reform of existing legislation, which it says is unfair to music venues and is liaising with Save Live Music Australia which has fought a successful campaign against opportunistic…

Adele’s son wins damages over papped photo
Artists , Privacy / August 2014

PRIVACY Artistes   The son of pop singer Adele has been awarded £10,000 in damages and legal costs after a privacy case brought by Adele and her partner Sumin Konecki against Corbis Images UK whose photographer had papped the 2 year old Angelo Adkins and his parents without their permission. In the Hugh Court the singer argued that the photographs infringed their child’s privacy. The legal action was launched after Corbis Images UK shopped a number of photographs featuring Angelo to the UK press. These, said Adele’s lawyer Jenny Afia of Schillings captured his “milestone moments, such as his first family outing and his first trip to playgroup, [and] were photographed and published worldwide expressly against his family’s wishes”. Afia added: “The parents’ view is that these images were of routine, everyday family occasions which the paparazzi has no right to intrude upon, profit from and file away in picture libraries for future reference and use”. The damages will be held in trust for Angelo, and legal costs, as well as agreeing not to use the photos again in future. The company also passed on the names of the freelance photographers who took the pictures, to whom Afia’s Schillings law…

Bose files suit against Beats for patent infringement
Patents / August 2014

PATENTS Hardware   Headphone and speaker maker Bose has filed suit a law suit against Beats, accusing Dr Dere’s company of infringing five patents related to noise-cancelling headphones. The accused products include the Beats Studio and Studio Wireless headphones, and Bose has asked for financial damages and an injunction to ban the sale of infringing Beats products. Bose said in its complaint, lodged with the US District Court in Delaware and with the US International Trade Commission, that it has “suffered and will continue to suffer damages, in an amount yet to be determined, including due to loss of sales, profits, and potential sales that Bose would have made but for Beats’ infringing acts” adding that for almost 50 years, it has “made significant investment in the research, development, engineering, and design of proprietary technologies” used in its products. Its current line of noise-cancelling headphones, for instance, uses inventions protected by at least 22 US patents and 14 pending patent applications.   http://www.cnet.com/uk/news/bose-accuses-beats-of-infringing-noise-canceling-headphone-patents/?tag=nl.e496&s_cid=e496&ttag=e496&ftag=CAD1c318f6  

Round 2 in Jay Z and Mahan’s ‘co-ownership’ battle
Contract , Copyright , Music Publishing / August 2014

CONTRACT, COPYRIGHT Recorded music, music publishing   This update by Leeza Panayiotou   Readers may recall that back in late April this year, the rumour mill was rife about a rather large spat between Jay Z (aka Sean Carter) and his ex music producer Chauncey Mahan. Mr Carter and his heavyweight Roc Nation collaborator, Live Nation, asserted that Mahan was illegally (via theft and extortion) in possession of several master recordings of Jay Z’s work, said to be at the least worth $15 million. The LAPD was swiftly informed and the master recordings were subsequently seized, whilst Mahan was taken in for questioning. And whilst he was (reportedly) never arrested, things did not look so good for Mr Mahan – to an outsider. Since then however, the criminal investigation into Mahan has been seemingly closed, and the tables turned with Mahan launching a lawsuit against Jay Z and his entertainment company Roc Nation. On the face of it, it may have appeared as though an embarrassed producer was attempting to save face with a game of litigation tag – however, Mahan’s suit has the potential to pack a serious punch on the whole music industry, way beyond any argument with…