E-petition calls for a review of noise abatement laws in the UK
Licensing , Live Events / September 2014

LICENSING Live events   After a spate of venues have been closed or threatened by closure by often just one complainant or by those who have moved into residence beside existing venues – often in new developments,  a new e-petition has been sent up to challenge noise laws in the UK – “Urgent Review of Noise Abatement legislation” calling upon the Secretary of State to: “conduct an urgent review of all applicable Noise Legislation so that the collective right of local communities to be able to enjoy well-run and managed music venues is properly balanced within the law against the individual rights of owners and occupiers of adjoining properties to limit environmental noise.” We request that this review specifically addresses the possibility of new owner/occupiers or developers misusing existing legislation to demand a lowering of environmental noise in a zone in which it has traditionally existed, resulting in the potential closure of highly valued community spaces including music venues, church halls and arts centres.” As this e-petition received more than 10 000 signatures, the relevant Government department (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs – DEFRA) then provided the following response: “Legislation relating to noise is very wide ranging. It…

Complaint made to Police after busker moved on under Vagrancy Act
Licensing , Live Events / September 2014

LICENSING Live events   In the UK a classical musician is suing Greater Manchester Police for loss of earnings after a PCSO (Police Community Support Officer) used laws that tackle ‘aggressive begging’ to stop him busking in Sale town centre. Professional flautist and singer Barry Jackson, 48, was singing Luciano Pavarotti arias and playing music in a shopping precinct when the female PCSO ordered him to move on saying he was a ‘beggar and a vagrant’ and was causing an obstruction. The intervention under the Vagrancy Act 1824. forced Mr Jackson to abandon his planned five-hour stint after just 45 minutes. He later consulted a solicitor and has now filed complaints to Greater Manchester Police and the Independent Police Complaints Commission. The incident occurred last month after a complaint was made to the police. Mr Jackson told Mancunian Matters “Busking is a great British tradition but it seems someone in authority wants to restrict street culture and that is bad for all for all performers who perform in the street like me” adding ”I always try to be a responsible performer, never obstructing and definitely never asking for money. I simply play so people hear my work and it’s a…

Arrest in Fisherman’s Friend tragedy
Health & Safety , Live Events / September 2014

HEALTH & SAFETY Live events sector   A man has been arrested over the deaths of Fisherman’s Friends singer Trevor Grills and the group’s tour manager Paul McMullen. Both were killed last year after a metal door fell on them while the group waited to perform a show in Guildford. The 55 year old man, from Bridgenorth, Shropshire, is being questioned by Surrey Police on suspicion of manslaughter by gross negligence. McMullen died on-site at Guildford’s 1,700 capacity G Live venue in February 2013, having been trapped and critically injured by the collapsed door in a loading bay at the site, which is owned by Guildford Borough Council.  Grills died two days later of head injuries. http://www.getsurrey.co.uk/news/surrey-news/fishermans-friends-deaths—man-7561653

AIM and A2IM tell members to be wary of SoundCloud user licence
Artists , Contract , Copyright , Internet / September 2014

COPYRIGHT / CONTRACT Artistes, internet   UK and US indie label trade bodies AIM and A2IM have warned their members to be aware of a number of clauses in SoundCloud’s terms and conditions for content-uploaders, and what rights those clauses ask rightsholders to give up when uploading music to the service. The warning appeared on the A2IM blog  and states: “When putting tracks up on SoundCloud, you should strongly consider turning API access off. If you do not do this, you are granting not only SoundCloud a royalty free licence to use your recordings, but also anyone else who uses their API and/or links to your recordings (eg internet radio stations, remix services or other music apps)”. It adds: “As a SoundCloud user, you have already warranted to SoundCloud that you control all rights when using the service. This means that publishing, which you may not control, is also included in this royalty free license for onward usage. User uploads are also covered by this, so if third parties are uploading your recordings, they are also passing on a free license to other sites and services beyond SoundCloud, which effectively creates an ecosystem of royalty free usage for your music”. SoundCloud…

Middle finger MIA settles with NFL
Artists , Contract , Live Events / September 2014

CONTRACT Artistes, live events   The ill-judged case brought by the NFL against MIA, after the singer raised a middle finger in her Super Bowl performance with Madonna – allegedly breaching her contractual commitment  to ensure her performance didn’t negatively impact on the “tremendous public respect and reputation” enjoyed by American football – has been settled. At one point the NFL was looking for $16.6 million in damages even though MIA’s actions only prompted a smattering of complaints and not action by the FCC. As MIA’s lawyer Howard King told the Hollywood Reporter at the time: “The NFL’s claimed reputation for wholesomeness is hilarious in light of the weekly felonies committed by its stars, the bounties placed by coaches on opposing players, the homophobic and racist comments uttered by its players, the complete disregard for the health of players and the premature deaths that have resulted from same”. MIA herself had previously said the lawsuit “was “a massive waste of time, a massive waste of money, it’s a massive display of powerful corporation dick-shaking. They want me on my knees and say[ing] sorry so they can slap me on my wrist.” The case has now been settled and the terms…

Clinton default means copyright can be transferred
Artists , Copyright / September 2014

COPYRIGHT Artistes, songwriters   Addressing the issue of whether a lower court abused its discretion by appointing a receiver and authorizing the sale of master sound recordings to satisfy monetary judgments, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has affirmed the lower court’s decision, finding that the Copyright Act did not protect the defendant from the involuntary transfer of his copyrighted works because the defendant was not the original author of the works (Hendricks & Lewis PLLC v. Clinton, Case No. 13-35010 (9th Cir., June 23, 2014) (Christen, J)).  The plaintiffs, Hendricks & Lewis, are a law firm who performed legal services for George Clinton.   Clinton failed to pay Hendricks for certain legal fees incurred and after securing an arbitration award, Hendricks petitioned for and received judgment from the lower court, which has now been confirmed on appeal. http://www.mondaq.com/unitedstates/x/334730/Copyright/Funkadelic+Master+Sound+Recordings+Can+Be+Involuntarily+Transferred+To+A+CourtAppointed+Receiver+To+Satisfy+Judgment

Shakira hit was an indirect but infringing copy of another
Artists , Copyright , Music Publishing / September 2014

COPYRIGHT Artistes, music publishing   This could be expensive: The BBC reports that one of Colombian pop star Shakira’s big hits has been found to be indirectly copied from another songwriter’s work. Judge Alvin Hellerstein in New York has found that Shakira’s 2010 Spanish-language version of Loca had infringed on a song by Dominican singer Ramon Arias Vazquez. The Spanish language version. Shakira’s missive, a collaboration with Dominican rapper Eduard Edwin Bello Pou, better known as El Cata – was widely released as a single around the world and borrowed from  Loca Con Su Tiguer – but that song was itself was based on the Arias Vazquez track of the same name.  Loca went on to sell more than five million copies and topped Billboard Magazine’s Latin charts. Her English language version of Loca – which featured Dizzee Rascal – was “not offered into evidence” at the trial. In his ruling Judge Hellerstein said that while the hit single had been based on an earlier version of a song recorded by Bello [El Cata], this itself was a copy of Arias Vazquez’s song saying “Accordingly, I find that, since Bello had copied Arias, whoever wrote Shakira’s version of the song…

UK confirms it will classify pop promos
Censorship , Internet / September 2014

CENSORSHIP Broadcasting, internet   A spate of recent sexually suggestive promotional videos from the likes of Rihanna, Robin Thicke, Mile Cyrus and Katy Perry has prompted the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) to suggest an age-rating system for online videos which it suggests should be introduced as soon as possible. Following the issuing of new classification guidance from the BBFC, the organisation’s assistant director, David Austin, said it was responding to pressure from parents who were concerned about the sexual imagery freely available to children who had access to the web, having already begun reviewing videos by artists such as Metallica, Robbie Williams and Beyoncé which had been submitted on a voluntary basis. Austin said the BBFC was working with the BPI, the body representing the UK music industry, and Google in a pilot project to see how classification might work, though there were questions about how videos created abroad could be rated. It is thought the classifications will be quite strict as sexual and other behaviour cannot be put in context in the three or four minutes a promo videos allows: the latest guidance states: “The classification of a music video will take account of any elements which…

Russia enacts law against profanity in the arts
Artists , Censorship / September 2014

CENSORSHIP Artistes, broadcasting, theatre   Russia has enacted new laws targeting publicly displayed profanity in media, films, literature, music and theatre prompting fears that the new provisions may be used to target free speech. The new law provides for fines of up $1,400, however for works which may include profanities and words deemed inappropriate. However some say the new law will promote culture: Moscow State University History Professor Anna Kuzmina reportedly said the law will help promote a better artistic culture, telling VOA “My personal opinion, and I support this law, is that profane language has almost become the norm and even has acquired a certain charm. Frequently, people do not take the trouble of finding the words, but speak emotionally expressing themselves with five or six, four-letter words”. The profanity law also bans the public showing of films with swear words and forces music and books to have warning labels. Many see the law as part of a conservative movement to shape Russia’s youth into a more nationalistic culture distinct from the liberal West. http://www.voanews.com/content/artists-shun-russia-profanity-law/2425474.html

s.u.n. trade mark row sets festival against festival in Hungary
Live Events , Trade Mark / September 2014

TRADE MARK Live events sector   News has reached Music Law Updates of what seems to be a name spat between the s.u.n psy-trance festival in Hungary, and an entity which appears to have captured their name – after lawyers in Hungary and Cyprus secured a trade mark for the mark s.u.n festival last year. The Hungarian s.u.n festival points out that the registration was filed just a week after their first edition in August 2013 and is in the name of Stapia Limited of Arch. Makariou III, 95 Charitini Court, 1st floor, Office 102, Nicosia, Cyprus, 1071, and for classes 35, 38 and 41. However, they are suspicious that another Hungarian psy-trance festival may be behind the move. The registration (registered on the 13th December 2013) had an important consequence – lawyers acting for the trade mark owner forced the shutdown of the Hungarian s.u.n. festival’s Facebook page with the organisers saying “and the admins were also personally banned from their fb activity. It happened without any prior notice, although the ‘likes’ were over 100.000(!). There was only a short message saying that a copyright violation issue had been going on with us, and they provided a name and…

Commercial radio group questions public service value of BBC Radio
Competition / September 2014

COMPETITION Broadcasting   The UK commercial radio trade group RadioCentre has again taken aim at the BBC’s biggest two music services, Radio 1 and Radio 2, questioning the ‘public service value’ of the two stations, saying the two national and licence fee funded stations compete head on with their own flagship services. The latest criticism from RadioCentre comes at the launch of a big review of the Corporation’s music radio operations by regulator the BBC Trust. The review will look at the output of Radios 1, 1Xtra, 2, 3, 6 Music and the Asian Network. The review, which will report early next year. considers how well each radio station meets the remit it has been given by the BBC Trust, as well as considering value for money, how much the services support live and new music, and how they are adapting for the digital age. The Guardian quotes new RadioCentre boss Siobhan Kenny as saying: “Ahead of [the BBC’s] charter renewal, we need to focus on the size, scope and remit of some of the BBC’s most popular services, and what roles they will have in a future digital environment. At RadioCentre, we are particularly interested in the positioning and…