PRS for Music announces signing of a new two year deal with Spotify for Europe
Copyright , Music Publishing / September 2015

COPYRIGHT Music publishing, streaming     PRS for Music confirms it has agreed a new two year Europe wide multi-territory licensing deal with music streaming and subscription service, Spotify. Continuing the ongoing relationship between the pair, the recent deal allows the music streaming and subscription service to continue to offer its users a vast bundle of repertoire in the UK and Ireland (including repertoire from over 100 affiliated societies from around the globe), plus PRS for Music’s and Eire based IMRO’s direct members’ repertoire across Europe. The repertoire PRS for Music licenses to Spotify across Europe further includes musical works represented by a growing number of IMPEL publishers. IMPEL currently represents the rights of 40 leading independent publishers, a number that is anticipated to grow further before the end of the year.   Ben McEwen, PRS for Music’s Head of Online said: “We are excited to continue working with Spotify, a relationship that allows millions of users across the globe to enjoy our members’ repertoire. The prodigious growth of Spotify is helping to shape a strong future for dynamic, legitimate streaming services, and we support this thriving online market that recognises and remunerates the works of the creator.”   James…

Temporary increase in PRS TV admin rates to cover Copyright Tribunal reference by ITV
Copyright , Music Publishing / September 2015

COPYRIGHT Music publishing, broadcasting     UK collection society PRS for Music have written to members explaining an increase in administration rates for TV collections to cover the expected cost of a Copyright Tribunal referral by ITV, one of the UK’s leading broadcasters and home to X-Factor, Coronation Street, Midsomer Murders and UEFA Cup football. Rates range from 12.5% for BBC collections to 16% for Channel 5, MTV and other satellite and cable channels. A peak hour’s one minute play on BBC1 would currently generate £90.35 for the rights holder, whereas on Channel 5 it would generate £11.95.  The letter reads:   “After careful consideration by the Executive Board, it has been agreed that there will be a temporary rise to our TV admin rates by an additional one percent for one year. This will be implemented to cover the expected costs associated with defending the recent Copyright Tribunal reference brought against PRS by the broadcaster ITV.   Following prolonged negotiations, ITV referred the new deal (covering broadcasts from 1 January 2015), to the Copyright Tribunal. This was due to disagreements over the details of our licence renewal. We feel it is vital that we fully participate and vigorously defend this referral…

AFM launches legal action to force digital pension payments from the major labels
Artists , Contract , Copyright / September 2015

COPYRIGHT / CONTRACT Artistes, recorded music   The American Federation Of Musicians has launched a legal action against the three major record companies in the New York courts relating to an agreement between the majors and the AFM pension fund, in which the American branches of the record companies promised to pay 0.5% of all receipts from non-domestic digital transmissions of recordings into the fund. This agreement includes the ever growing monies from streaming, non-permanent downloads and ringbacks, and dates back to the 1990s – when such income was marginal. The AFM says that independent auditors have identified missing payments last year, but attempts to settle the matter directly have been unsuccessful. AFM International President Ray Hair says: “The record companies should stop playing games about their streaming revenue and pay musicians and their pension fund every dime that is owed. Fairness and transparency are severely lacking in this business. We are changing that”.

Warner’s will share SiriusXM settlement with artistes
Artists , Contract , Copyright / September 2015

COPYRIGHT / CONTRACT Recorded music, artistes     The Warner Music Group has pledged to share its portion of a recent $210m Sirius XM settlement with its artists, paid via SoundExchange. The money is due to be paid to major labels plus ABKCO – the owner of classic Rolling Stones copyrights – by the US satellite/digital radio giant, Warners has said that it will share its portion of the proceeds with artists on the same basis as it usually shares royalties from Sirius, which means the cash will be paid to artists via SoundExchange. However, both what Warner’s share of the settlement actually is, and the share of that paid to artistes remains to be seen   And take a look at MMF Board Member Andy Edward’s blog “On a day-to-day level, many of us in the management world like and respect the individual label executives with whom we work; but a substantial overhaul of business practices at a corporate level is essential and not just in labels; PROs and publishers also need to change.”

Breakbeats – time to judge the beat that’s on the street
Copyright / September 2015

COPYRIGHT Recorded music     Producer Dr Luke is facing court over the use of a breakbeat in Jessie J’s ‘Price Tag’. If successful, the case could have serious implications for thousands of other artists and producers says The Hollywood Reporter. A breakbeat “is a portion of a percussion track played solo without other instruments. These have long been popular with producers because they can be sampled and looped to create new drum parts and “a staple in hip hop, electronic, funk, jazz and other musical genres”. Dr Luke is being sued over the alleged use of a popular breakbeat, taken from ‘Zimba Ku’ by Blackheat. New Old Music Group, which is owned by the writer of the 1975 track, Lenny Lee Goldsmith, sued the producer earlier this year claiming similarities between the Zimba Ku break and the drum part in ‘Price Tag’. In a ruling last week, a New York judge refused to dismiss New Old Music’s claim and proposed that the case should be put before a jury. Similarly to arguments raised in ongoing the “Blurred Lines” litigation, the producer’s lawyers have said that the drum part merely contains elements representative of a particular style. Judge Ronnie Abrams disagreed…

Mega lawyers argue that US Authorities should preserve and pay to keep blocked data
Copyright , Internet / September 2015

COPYRIGHT Internet   Lawyers for MegaUpload are asking the courts to ensure that the American government pays to preserve the servers that contain files once uploaded to the defunct file-transfer platform, so that the data stored on them can be kept as evidence, and be ultimately returned to the people who uploaded the content in the first place.   US authorities took controversial file-transfer set-up MegaUpload offline in 2012, at the same time charging its management with various crimes. Users of the service lost access to files they were storing on the company’s servers without warning and whilst it is alleged much of the material was infringing – much was also quite legitimate. MegaUpload server space was rented from other companies, and one server company in Europe, Leaseweb, then deleted the MegaUpload data it had stored. However, the biggest server firm, US-based Carpathia, is still storing its former MegaUpload files, not least because the American authorities said they might need access to them as part of the criminal investigation into the former file-transfer service and its management. Understandably, Carpathia, which was recently acquired by another company called QTS, is not keen on carrying on  covering the costs of storage. The server company…

PRS for Music begins legal action against SoundCloud
Copyright , Internet , Music Publishing / September 2015

COPYRIGHT Internet, music publishing   PRS for Music has written to it’s members saying it is beginning legal action against online music streaming platform SoundCloud after “five years of unsuccessful negotiations”. The PRS says: “SoundCloud actively promotes and shares music. Launched in 2008, the service now has more than 175m unique listeners per month. Unfortunately, the organisation continues to deny it needs a PRS for Music licence for its existing service available in the UK and Europe, meaning it is not remunerating our members when their music is streamed by the SoundCloud platform.”. The PRS letter goes on to say: “We have asked SoundCloud numerous times to recognise their responsibilities to take a licence to stop the infringement of our members’ copyrights but so far our requests have not been met. Therefore we now have no choice but to pursue the issue through the courts.” The letter explains that whilst SoundCloud has taken down some of PRS repertoire, a recent list of some 4,500 musical works which the PRS say were being made available on the service which they were asking SoundCloud to licence or remove resulted in this: “SoundCloud decided to respond to our claim by informing us that…

New South Korean licensing law puts venues at risk, and Prohibition era state laws ban alcohol at US event
Licensing , Live Events / September 2015

LICENSING Live events sector     The South Korean Ministry of Food and Drug Safety was warned that venues risk being shut of they don’t apply for the correct licence. One high profile example is the Night & Music club in Hongdae and many other venues in that neighbourhood have an uncertain future due to a revised law that takes effect on February 19th, 2016. The new regulations include a clause on establishments which are registered as “ordinary restaurants”and which will ban customers from singing and dancing as well as the venue using a sound system. Previously, the law stated that restaurants can cook and sell food along with alcohol, but did not specifically state that singing or dancing was prohibited. To host singing and dancing, such establishments will have to register as “bars” under the new law, which is a more lengthy process with more restrictions on location,  and attracts a 30% uplift in tax. “The existing law did not include details on how to penalize those who violate business license regulations,” a ministry official said. “With the revision, local authorities will be able to better carry out the law and crack down on violators.” Under the revised law, a first-time violator will…

ICCMSS Board restructures as ICE, the Institute of Crowd Education
Health & Safety / September 2015

HEALTH & SAFETY Live events sector     The Board of the International Centre for Crowd Management & Security Studies (ICCMSS) will  re-launch the crowd safety centre this autumn as the Institute of Crowd Education (ICE). After two years of redevelopment ICE, will be launched to coincide with the Reeperbahn Festival in septeber and then Eurosonic/Noorderslag convention in early January. The Board has spent over two years redeveloping the brand, its strategy and focus. ICE is now ready to drive crowd education, research and training forward to a new level.   The Board, made up of the leading authorities on crowd safety and security in the UK and Europe, has carefully crafted the new institute to support those aspiring to make events safer. Many of those involved in the institute have been prime movers in the development of groundbreaking innovations across the crowded space environment. These include making safe major events hosting hundreds of thousands of people, solving complex problems at transport hubs across the world, the architectural development of new stadia and the delivery of safe public spaces.   The institute will be working with Universities across the world in the development of innovative practices to meet the increasingly…

Dr Dre and Ice Cube ask to removed from Suge Knight litigation
Liability / September 2015

LIABILITY All areas     Dr Dre and Ice Cube have requested to be removed from civil lawsuit hat stemmed from the incident when one time Deathrow Records boss Suge Knight drove a vehicle into two men, killing one of them in January. Knight is also facing criminal charges in relation to the incident. It’s claimed he deliberately drove his pickup truck into Cle Sloan and Terry Carter, killing the latter, after an altercation outside a burger bar in LA. In the civil action filed  by Carter’s widow, it is stated that the altercation –began on a nearby film set where a commercial for the new NWA biopic ‘Straight Outta Compton’ was being filmed. Carter’s filing says that Sloan had been hired to recruit local gang members to participate in the film shoot, as extras and security. Both Dre and Cube were present at the filming, which caused problems when Knight – (who has long feuded with Dre) also showed up, seemingly to berate those working on the movie over his portrayal in the biopic. Dre then seemingly requested that Sloan remove Knight from the site, which resulted in a fracas that then continued a few miles away outside that burger bar. It is thought Carter…

Hendrix feud ends
Artists , Trade Mark / September 2015

TRADE MARK Artistes   The family feud over the estate of guitar legend Jimi Hendrix has been settled – 45 years after it began. Hendrix’s adopted sister Janie Hendrix, and his brother Leon Hendrix, have reportedly reached an out of court agreement and according to The Seattle Times, the settlement includes past and futrure use of Hendrix’s name and image in merchandise such as posters and T-shirts. Experience Hendrix LLC owns the rights to the estate and is controlled by Janie Hendrix. Her company accused, operated by Leon Hendrix, of infringing their trademarks and other rights.

Stub-hub bring anti-trust suit against US basketball team
Competition , Live Events / September 2015

COMPETITION / ANTI-TRUST Live events sector     In what could prove to be a landmark case in the sports ticket marketplace, StubHub filed a lawsuit against the Golden State Warriors and Ticketmaster in the northern district of California accusing the two of conspiring to create an illegal resale market. The U.S. basketball team have an alliance with Live Nation’s Ticketmaster, which is both the primary ticket seller for the team, and operates the Warriors’ official season ticket resale platform. In a Californian law suit, secondary re-seller StubHub, owned by e-Bay, has argued that this violates competition law, because Warriors fans can only buy tickets – whether through primary channels or on the resale market – via the Live Nation subsidiary. StubHub maintains that the Warriors and Ticketmaster have cancelled or threatened to cancel season-ticket packages if fans resell their tickets over secondary exchanges that compete with Ticketmaster’s. In response the Golden State Warriors said that its ticketing partnership in no way violated anti-trust rules because if customers didn’t want to buy tickets via a Ticketmaster platform, they could always go watch another basketball team play. According to Law 360, the Warriors wrote in their recent submission “Even a seller of a highly…

Apple Music and labels cleared of streaming market abuse by EU
Competition / September 2015

COMPETITION / ANTI-TRUST Recorded music, streaming   Re-Code reports that the European Commission failed to find evidence of collusion among the major music labels and Apple to quash free music streaming services such as those offered by Spotify. Investigators examined whether the labels conspired with one another or with Apple on Apple’s new streaming Apple Music service in a way that would damage rival services. The EU had questioned the three major labels — Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment and Warner Music Group — seeking details about their licensing discussions with Apple. The probe examined whether the music industry executives and Apple were working to stifle free offerings from services like Spotify, which uses its ad-supported service to entice listeners to buy a subscription. Spotify was under pressure by the major labels to move more of its listeners to its paid tier, though the pressure appears to have receded amid the inquiries. The EU will continue to monitor the market and investigators’ files will remain open as licensing talks continue between Spotify and some of the major labels Separately, the EU has asked Spotify and other music streaming services for information pertaining to Apple’s mobile App Store. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission similarly is…