Jay Z wins single word sampling claim
Copyright , Music Publishing / January 2015

COPYRIGHT Sound recordings. Music publishing   An interesting case from the world of music sampling: A US Judge has thrown out a case against rapper Jay Z over the use of just one word ‘oh’ – from a recording and song by Eddie Bo called The Hook & Slings in Jay Z’s track and video Run This Town with the court saying “Run This Town bears very little and perhaps no similarity at all to Hook & Sling Part I. The melody and lyrics are entirely different. The lyrics do not contain the word “oh.” .. [It appears] only in the background and in such a way as to be audible and aurally intelligible only to the most attentive and capable listener.” This does though seem to sidestep the ruling made in Westbound Records and Bridgeport Music v No Limit Films (September 2004) by the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals: here the court posed the question “If you cannot pirate the whole sound recording, can you ‘lift’ or ‘sample’ something less than the whole?” The Court’s answer to this was in the negative” and the court added “Get a license or do not sample – we do not see this…

Cannibal Corpse face Russian ban
Censorship , Live Events / January 2015

CENSORSHIP Live events sector   After a number of shows on Cannibal Corpse’s recent Russian tour were cancelled by local authorities, shortly before or, in one case, during their performance, one of the cities that took against the US death metal band has now banned all of their album artwork and translations of their lyrics. A district court in the city of Ufa last week ruled in favour of a complaint brought by the Prosecutor’s Office of Bashkortostan on the grounds that (according to news agency Rapsi) “Lyrics by the band Cannibal Corpse could damage the mental health of children because they contain descriptions of violence, the physical and mental abuse of people and animals, murder and suicide – all accompanied by illustrations”. Several shows on the band’s tour of Russia earlier this year were pulled by the authorities, though none on the grounds cited in the lawsuit. In a statement at the time, the band said: “In Ufa the power was turned off shortly before the show (we were told because the venue was late on rent), and in Moscow and St Petersburg we were told that we did not have the correct visas and that if we attempted…

Apple removes white-supremacist music from iTunes
Censorship , Internet , Music Publishing / January 2015

CENSORSHIP Recorded music, internet   Apple has started removing music with white-supremacist themes and messages from iTunes following a non-profit organisation’s look into the funding of racist movements. An investigation by the Southern Poverty Law Center discovered that 54 racist bands and their music were catalogued on iTunes. Many of those bands’ music was available for purchase or streaming through iTunes’ radio application. The music store also offered recommendations for other bands similar to those racist groups, a feature common for all music on the app that allowed users to find even more music with similar themes. Apple quickly responded to the SPLC’s article by removing 30 of those bands, including music from Skrewdriver, Max Resist and the Bully Boys, according to Noisey. The tracks remain available on other services including streaming platforms.   http://www.mysanantonio.com/entertainment/article/Apple-removes-white-supremacist-music-from-iTunes-5958396.php

Apple triumphs against claim that iTunes software updates were to shut out competitors
Competition , Internet , Record Labels / January 2015

COMPETITION Internet, recorded music   It took the jury in the Apple anti-trust case less than three hours to rule that the IT giant had not been anti-competitive with the software updates it made to the iPod back in the big bad days of digital rights management (DRM) protection on downloads. At the beginning of the case an Apple security expert defended a series of iTunes updates as protection from hackers rather than moves to shut out competitors, in a class action antitrust lawsuit in an Oakland federal court. At issue was the claim that Apple maintained a music player monopoly from 2006 to 2009 by releasing updates to its music store that made it impossible for iPods to play songs from competing stores such as Real Network’s Harmony. The Plaintiffs (and more on who they were later!) said this harmed consumers by making it costly to switch to other devices, and allowed Apple to charge high prices. The plaintiff’s argued that during synchronization with an iPod, iTunes software would generate an error message when it spotted music not purchased from Apple residing in the user’s iTunes library. The message would instruct users to reset their iPod to its factory…

Rosemont mayor gets shy over Garth Brooks concert finances
Competition , Live Events / January 2015

COMPETITION LAW Live events sector   Rosemont Mayor Brad Stephenshas been in the firing line after trying to hide details of a Garth Brooks concert from prying eyes. The village recently passed an ordinance to keep secret the financial details related to Brooks’ record-breaking concert run — an unusual move that came out after the Chicago Tribune filed a Freedom of Information Act request for documents related to his September shows at Allstate Arena. However, the new ordinance gives the Mayor and other officials the power to withhold documents if they believe the release would put the village-owned entertainment venues at a competitive disadvantage. In addition to the arena, the town owns and operates the Rosemont Theatre and the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center. The Tribune requested the records on Sept. 11, while Brooks was in the middle of his 11-concert run at Allstate Arena. Brooks, who had not toured in 16 years, sold 183,535 tickets for his Rosemont shows and broke the North American ticket sales record for a single city with an estimated gross of $12 million. Village officials have released some documents connected to the concerts, but they repeatedly have declined to provide unredacted financial information. Village…

Parklife’s ‘from Mum’ text backfires big time
Live Events , Privacy / January 2015

PRIVACY Live events sector, telecoms   The Warehouse Project, organisers of Manchester’s Parklife Festival in Heaton Park have been fined £70,000 after they sent out a promotional text message ahead of this year’s event which was set to appear on the recipient’s phone as if it had come from the recipients’ ‘Mum’. Promoting a series of post-festival club nights, the text read: “Some of the Parklife after parties have already sold out. If your going, make sure you’re home for breakfast! xxx” There was then a link to a web-page listing the after parties. After a substantial number of complaints (not least from those whose mothers were ill or had passed away)  Parklife organisers initially responded in a flippant matter, tweeting – according to the BBC – “so this is what it feels like to be a jar of Marmite #LoveItOrHateIt” but then amended this and admitted that their text campaign may have caused “unnecessary personal distress” to some recipients and adding that they would like to “apologise to them directly”. They later added: “The communication was intended as a fun way of engaging festival-goers. However, the festival acknowledges that this was not an appropriate theme for everyone”. The promotion…

Bereaved mother welcomes Magistrates ruling that legal highs are unsafe
Criminal Law , Live Events / January 2015

CRIMINAL Live events sector   The mother of a young man who died after taking a legal high has welcomed a decision by Canterbury Magistrates Court which declared that ‘legal highs’ seized in raids across Kent were unsafe. The decision means that local authorities across England and Wales can now use existing trading standards laws to tackle the sale of legal highs in so called ‘head shops’ and possibly at other locations – such as festivals – where the drugs might be sold . Karen Audino, whose son Jimmy Guichard died in October last year after taking a herbal substance that resulted in a heart attack and brain damage told the Times (04.12.14) “I’m absolutely thrilled this has happened. The shops aren’t going to be able to display what is in them because they don’t know”. Jimmy died aged just 20 in hospital in October 2013. A bag containing a herbal substance, said at the time to be synthetic cannabis from the UK Skunkworks shop based in Chatham in Kent, was found next to Jimmy where he had collapsed. Back in June 2014 widespread raids were carried out across Kent at shops suspected of selling legal highs. Officers from Kent County…

Viagogo argues against secondary ticketing regulation
Contract , Live Events / January 2015

CONTRACT Live events sector   In an interesting response which impacts on the sports and events industry as much as live music, Secondary ticketing company Viagogo  has commented on efforts to regulate the resale of tickets online in the new consumer rights legislation that’s currently working it’s way through Parliament. The House of Lords voted to amend the Consumer Rights Bill so to include some secondary ticketing regulation, mainly stemming from a report by the All-Party Parliamentary Group On Ticket Abuse. The proposed rules would oblige ticket sellers online to reveal their identity, to provide any specific information about the tickets being sold, to state the mark-up that has been added, and to draw a buyer’s attention to any terms and conditions on the ticket that could mean challenge any re-sale Viagogo notes that forcing sellers to reveal their identity and information such as seat numbers would do more than just show up the prolific touting operations (and promoters and artists who tout their own tickets). It would possibly make it easier for anti-touting promoters to cancel tickets that a buyer attempts to resell. Whilst tghere has been an ongoing debate about what a ticket actually is, with the secondary…

Dr Luke sues Kesha’s lawyer for defamation over Lady Gaga rape claims
Artists , Defamation / January 2015

DEFAMATION Artistes   Dr Luke has filed a defamation lawsuit against Mark Geragos, the lawyer representing Kesha in her lawsuit against him. Kesha has made a number of serious allegations against pop producer Dr Luke, (real name Lukasz Gottwald) whose label and music publishing company she signed to aged eighteen. The singer says Gottwald forced her to “take drugs and alcohol in order to take advantage of her sexually while she was intoxicated”. The claims appear in a lawsuit filed by Kesha against Gottwald in the LA courts, which also accuses the producer of rape, and of creating an environment that led to the singer suffering from bulimia. Gottwald denies the allegations and has counter-sued. Meanwhile, earlier this month Lady Gaga told Howard Stern in an interview that she had been raped when she was nineteen, though did not identify the perpetrator. Geragos later tweeted a link to an E! Online report on the interview with the question, “Guess who the rapist was?” When one fan replied “Lukasz”, Geragos responded in a since deleted tweet, “#Bingo”. Gaga has denied that the accusation is true and had previously said: “This ridiculous, manufactured link between Lady Gaga and the Kesha/Dr Luke lawsuit…

YouTube allows users to see how using third party music will affect videos before uploading
Copyright , Internet , Music Publishing / January 2015

COPYRIGHT Recorded music, internet   YouTube has added new features to allow content creators to see what effect using other people’s music in their videos will have prior to uploading them to the platform. Google‘s  Content ID system allows music right owners to identify when their music being used by third parties on the site – giving them the choice of blocking or monetising the content – this leaves video creators in the dark about a content owners approach so YouTube will now show uploaders what restrictions may be placed on their videos as a result of their music choices, and whether adverts will appear to compensate the music copyright owners. In a blog post, YouTube Product Manager Tim Grow explained: “Until now there was no way to know what would happen if you used a specific track until after you hit upload. Starting today, you can search the YouTube Audio Library to determine how using a particular track in your video will affect it on YouTube, specifically if it will stay live on YouTube or if any restrictions apply. You can uncross those uploading fingers now!” Users can also access music and sound effects pre-cleared for use in the…

Sony face another Interview headache
Copyright / January 2015

COPYRIGHT Film production   What started with the leak of embarrassing emails and private data from Sony Pictures – ended with the claim by the FBI that North Korea was behind the cyber attack when the film The Interview depicting the fictional plot to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong-un was pulled from cinemas by the major cinemas – although North Korea denied any link to hackers, the so called ‘Guardians of Peace’ and asked for a joint investigation into the threats with the U.S. authorities. But that’s not the end of Sony’s woes: according to TorrentFreak, the film may have used a 30-second portion of the song “Pay Day” without reaching a final deal with K-Pop artist Yoon Mi-rae. Torrent Freak describes Yoon Mi-rae as a “US-born hip hop and R&B singer who currently releases music on the Feel Ghood Music label.” In the past, her music has reached the top spot on the Korean Music Charts and Billboard’s K-Pop Hot 100. The artist was apparently in negotiations with Sony to have “Pay Day” appear in The Interview, but no agreement was reached: “There were initial discussions for using ‘Pay Day‘ in the movie, but at some point, the discussions ceased and we assumed that it would not follow through,” Feel Ghood Music…

Judge not happy with ancient precedent in SiriusXM case
Copyright / January 2015

COPYRIGHT Broadcasting, sound recordings   O’Melveny & Myers, the attorneys representing Sirius XM Radio Inc. in the potentially industry-shaking copyright litigation about pre-1972 sound recordings, have been rapped by District Judge Colleen McMahon in Manhattan who has now ruled that she hadn’t erred when she failed to apply the 1940 case of RCA Manufacturing v. Whiteman in concluding last month that Sirius must pay royalties to broadcast pre-1972 records – telling the lawyers that their newly-cited precedent had been overruled 60 years ago.  “The only clear error in this case is O’Melveny’s” Judge McMahon wrote -telling the firm that they had “deliberately missing the point” and “doing nothing but raise red herrings” since making its initial appearance in the case in November. The ruling stems from a lawsuit in which the two founding members of the 1960s rock band The Turtles allege that Sirius infringed on the group’s rights under state law by playing its tracks without permission. Federal copyright law doesn’t govern sound recordings made prior to 1972, and Sirius has argued in its defence that New York law also doesn’t cover performance rights for pre-1972 sound recordings.   http://the1709blog.blogspot.co.uk/2014/09/1972-and-all-that-but-does-turtles-win.html

Swedish raid knocks The Pirate Bay offline
Copyright , Internet / January 2015

COPYRIGHT Internet     Swedish police have seized servers, computers and other equipment used by The Pirate Bay, effectively (for the time being) taking the controversial file-sharing platform offline. The takedown directly affected the service’s thepiratebay.se domain, and had a knock on effect on other domains and proxies cused to access the site. CMU Daily reported that the service’s homepage” did reappear at a new domain registered in Costa Rica, though at the time of writing [09.12.14] that version of the site isn’t actually working – the homepage and community feed appear, but any attempt to access links to content via the site result in an internal server error.” Other file-sharing sites such as EZTV, Zoink, and Torrage were also offline, as was Pirate Bay’s forum Suprbay.org. The National Coordinator of IP Crime at Stockholm County Police Paul Pinter told Reuters: “We had a crackdown on a server room in Greater Stockholm because of a copyright infringement, and yes it was Pirate Bay”. Interestingly, one of the orginal founders Peter Sunde, who is no longer involved with TPB, posted a blog admitting that he was happy that the website was offline saying “News just reached me that The Pirate Bay has been raided, again. That happened over 8 years…

Use post bankruptcy results in damages
Copyright , Music Publishing / January 2015

COPYRIGHT Music publishing   The U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans has upheld a $2.1 million jury award in a copyright infringement case involving the 1993 hit rap song “Whoomp! (There It Is).” The song, which reached No. 2 on the Billboard charts, has been the subject of a copyright dispute spanning more than a decade between Alvertis Isbell, or Bell, the president of now-defunct music company Bellmark, and DM Records, which purchased its assets for $166,000 when it went bankrupt in 1997, according to court documents. The appeals court on Thursday affirmed a 2012 jury decision that awarded Bell’s affiliated designee publisher Alvert Music $2.1 million. DM Records had appealed the 2012 ruling, saying a district court judge erred in instructing the jury, which caused confusion about who owns the song’s royalties. Cecil Glenn and Steven James, known as “Tag Team,” wrote and produced the song and entered an exclusive producers agreement with Bellmark, according to court documents. Since then, the legal wrangling has mostly been played out in federal court in Texarkana, Texas. “After purchasing Bellmark’s assets, DM exploited the composition copyright of Whoomp!,” the three-judge panel from the Fifth Circuit wrote, citing the bankruptcy…

Offensive song prompts police reaction
Criminal Law / January 2015

CRIMINAL All areas   A Harvard graduate is fighting back against a Florida police officer who allegedly gave him three tickets for playing the N.W.A song “Fuck the Police” in his earshot. Cesar Baldelomar, 26, a Crimson alum and law student at Florida International University is not only disputing the ticket, he’s also consulted a lawyer and is asking the police department in Hialeah, Florida, near Miami, to investigate Harold Garzon, the officer in question. The incident occurred over Thanksgiving weekend, when Baldelomar was driving to his mother’s home in Hialeah. He says was stopped at a red light, listening to music, not far from where Garzon was filling out paperwork related to a separate traffic accident, when suddenly, the N.W.A song came on the radio. When Garzon,, heard the chorus —”F*ck the police!”— he allegedly wasn’t pleased and told Baldelomar to pull over. The Miami New Times reported that Garzon has 16 other internal affairs claims against him, though it’s not clear how many were legitimate.In this case it seems the officer claimed it was illegal to play music loudly within 25 feet of another citizen, but Baldelomar disputed this. Local press confirmed that  in 2012, the state Supreme…

Business rate demands for festival sites set to be challenged
Licensing , Live Events , Taxation / January 2015

LICENSING / TAXATION Live events sector   Festival magazine reports that festival organisers and landowners who host festivals have reacted angrily to recent demands from local authorities for business rates on lane formerly classified as agricultural – with some demands being back dated to 2010. In Valuation Office Agency has said that it was “reviewing unassessed festival sites to ensure that all are correctly rated. This treats all businesses equally and ensures they pay their fair share of the overall rates bill. Local authorities have a discretion to reduce the rate by up to 100% on events that benefit the local economy. The Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) and the Association of Festival Organisers (AFO) are set to challenge the new approach with festival organisers pointing out that land use is sometimes for just a few days a year, and services and amenities that a town centre music venue might receive as part of is business rates – such as refuse collection, street lighting and recyling services – are not available to festival sites,   Festival Magazine December 2014 (Audience) www.liveuk.com

Small venues look for greater government support
Licensing , Live Events / January 2015

LICENSING Live events sector   Some interesting ideas came out of the recent one day Music Venues Trust ‘Venues Day’ conference in London – neatly summarised by Jonathan Robinson in one of Music Tank’s excellent newsletters who pointed out “little appears to have changed in the ten years MusicTank has looked at issues afflicting live, from noise abatement, and Licensing Act reform to form 696 and secondary ticketing”  – points raised by representatives from small venues from across the UK included: lobbying Government for an extension of the tax status recently afforded theatre and orchestras (VAT is crippling small venue businesses); pooling of knowledge via a website (to help each other); booking agents ‘gifting’ back a successful band, to, say a venue that helped them on their way in the early years (supporting and acknowledging the importance of this sector); local authorities having to include cultural policy as part of planning policy; take a lead from Unesco and introduce its protective status to areas of music heritage and high cultural value; further highlight the economic value live music brings to cities, towns and neighbourhoods; make a case for state funding for UK bands to be able to do UK tours…

NCP politician asks for Goan festival tax
Licensing , Taxation / January 2015

LICENSING / TAXATION Live events sector   An Indian politician has questioned the “arbitrary fee” of 1 crore levied by the BJP-led government on the organizers of an electronic dance music (EDM) festivals in the state, of Goa. NCP leader Trajano D’Mello asked the government to propose a new law taxation for music festivals saying “If you are levying a fee, it should be permitted by law. There should be proper classification of taxation. ” Pointing out that if the government was not providing any correlated service, even though it was charging a fee, D’Mello said the license fee amounts to a tax. “If a tax is being levied, then there has to be authorization by law. Admittedly in this case there is no authorization by law, there is no legislation authorizing the government to permit hosting of music festivals in the state of Goa,” added Rohit Bras de Sa, an advocate, who was also at a December press conference staged as two EDM events got underway at Candolim and Vagator. De Sa and D’Mello also suggested that the government conduct random blood tests at the music festivals to see whether drugs are being consumed. They also suggested that the…