At least 45 dead after nightclub fire in Bucharest
Health & Safety , Live Events / December 2015

HEALTH & SAFETY Live events sector   At least forty people – mostly teenagers and young people – have been killed after fire broke out at a nightclub in Bucharest, officials say. The blaze took hold at the Colectiv club on Friday night (30th October), where rock band Goodbye to Gravity were celebrating a new album with a free concert, causing a stampede for the two small exits – one of which was reportedly closed or blocked. Emergency response chief Raed Arafat said 155 people were being treated in hospitals in the Romanian capital. The fire is believed to have been caused by fireworks that were let off inside the club. The pyrotechnics were reportedly part of a show by the heavy metal band, and ignited polystyrene decor in the club. Arafat told the BBC that “the only information we have is that fireworks were used in the club and after that the tragedy happened. Of course, this is under investigation”.  Local media reports suggesting two of the band are among those seriously injured or dead. Officials say  that they fear the death toll could as yet double in number.  Arafat, said people were treated for burns, smoke inhalation and…

Radiohead stage collapse death hearing begins
Health & Safety , Live Events / December 2015

HEALTH AND SAFETY Live events sector     The hearing into the death of Radiohead’s drum technician, 33 year old Scott Johnson, who was killed when the stage collapsed before a concert three years ago, has begun in Canada. Three other crew members were injured in the incident, which took place in Toronto’s Downsview Park on June 16, 2012, reports Exclaim. Live Nation Canada, Live Nation Ontario and Optex Staging and Services each face four charges under Canada’s Occupational Health and Safety Act, while an engineer, Domenic Cugliari, faces one charge of endangering a worker by negligence. All have pleaded not guilty.  The concert, which was due to have been the final show on Radiohead’s 2012 North American tour, was cancelled following the tragedy.

Radiohead sue Parlophone over unauthorised deductions
Artists , Contract , Music Publishing / December 2015

CONTRACT Recorded Music, Artistes     Radiohead are suing their former record label, Parlophone, over a deduction of £744,000 from digital download royalties which had been paid to the band from 2008 and 2009 sales, and which they contend were unauthorised. Radiohead’s contract with Parlophone ended in 2003 with the album Hail to the Thief. At the time the deductions were made the band were signed to EMI – but that catalogue has now moved to Warners.   Explaining the case, lawyer Howard Ricklow from Collyer Bristow said: “Most recording contracts contain a provision that royalties for recordings on ‘future formats’ will be paid at a rate to be agreed. The band contends that no such rate was agreed with Parlophone for digital downloads and that the deductions made in 2008 and 2009 for costs apparently incurred in 1992 and 1998, long before the advent of digital downloads, were in breach of the contract”. Warner Music had tried to have the matter dismissed on the basis that there is a contractual time limit for the band to dispute deductions made against their royalties, and that deadline had passed. But Radiohead’s team argued that, as there was no specific agreement about the band’s digital…

Hook looks to former bandmates for a revised new order
Artists , Contract , Trade Mark / December 2015

CONTRACT Artistes, Trade Mark   The BBC reports that former New Order bassist Peter Hook is suing his ex-bandmates Bernard Sumner and Stephen and Gillian Morris for millions of pounds in a row over royalties. Hook claims he has lost out on more than £2.3m since the three other band members set up a company without him to handle the band’s income in 2011 and Hook has accused them of “pillaging” the group’s assets. The trio say they have treated Hook fairly and that the guitarist’s stake of the royalties is reasonable. At a High Court hearing, Judge David Cooke ruled that Hook was not acting out of “spite” and cleared the way for him to take his complaints to a full trial.   When record label Factory collapsed in 1992, the original bands members (including Hook) formed a company named Vitalturn to hold all of New Order’s rights. Hook leftr the band in 2007, but the other members carried on without him, and continued to use the New Order name. Hook still owns 25% of Vitalturn but was not involved when the other three – who own 75% – set up a new company, New Order Ltd, in 2011. They granted the new company worldwide…

Russia’s Culture Ministry proposes collection society reforms
Copyright , Music Publishing / December 2015

COPYRIGHT Music publishing, recorded music     Russia’s culture ministry has made a series of proposals aimed at improving the way collection societies operate in the country, although the societies say the proposals are unfeasible. According to the ministry’s proposals, collection societies would have to pay at least 75 percent of all collected money to rights holders, with the remaining 25 percent spent on operation costs and other uses. The proposals also stipulate that collecting societies must provide rights holders’ access to their records, including data on collected and paid royalties. The ministry’s proposals are apparently aimed at increasing the transparency of collecting societies’ operations, and stepping up payments to rights holders.  Artemy Karpychev, deputy general director of RAO, the state-approved authors’ rights collecting society, tells Billboard that whilst the proposals might seem ‘excellent’, there would be substantial obstacles in implementing them saying:  “The 75-percent figure is what we already have, on average,” he said. “But if it has to be applied to every type of authors’ rights separately, for some of them, collection will have to be stopped. Take, for instance, collecting public performance royalties from restaurants and cafes,” he explained. “Transaction expenses for that type of collection are very high.” And…

ICE announces new Nordic partners and new brand
Copyright , Music Publishing / December 2015

COPYRIGHT Music publishing     PRS for Music have announced that the Koda (Denmark), TONO (Norway) and Teosto (Finland) performing rights societies are integrating their copyright data and services with the ICE.  ICE’s mandate is to hold a single multi-territory, multi-rights entry for a copyright work.  The decision was taken by the societies to set up the ‘Polaris Nordic initiative’ to offer their members a more efficient and cost-effective service.  PRS for Music also tells us about its new branding for ICE and tells us in marketing babble: “The existing ICE branding refreshes with a new master logo and an additional set of service descriptor logos”.   In addition, ICE partners announced the first appointments to the new expanded ICE offering.  Ben McEwen will transfer from PRS for Music to take up post as Commercial Director of ICE Licensing to lead the licensing and front office rightsholder acquisition and management functions.  Neil Jones will be seconded from PRS for Music as the Services Director for ICE Services and will drive the setup of the operational and professional functions.   Robert Ashcroft was appointed as the CEO of the ICE Licensing and ICE Services arm of the hub earlier this summer,…

PRS set up “Extensive tariff review “
Copyright , Music Publishing / December 2015

COPYRIGHT Music publishing     Already reviewing the Tariff LP rate for concerts, live events and festivals, PRS for Music have announced an extensive review of more tariffs with the stated aim to “simplify, streamline and consolidate more than 40 public performance licensing tariffs as part of a Public Performance Tariff Simplification programme” although detractors will be looking to see if hidden rate increases are included in conclusions. The programme will involve a series of customer consultations across the public performance licensing tariffs PRS operate who say “responses will help inform and shape a set of tariffs that are simple to understand, operate and fit for purpose.” Rob Kirkham, PRS for Music Head of Business Development, said: “The purpose of the simplification programme is to create tariffs that are easy to understand and use. By reviewing public performance tariffs across a number of sectors, our aim is that customers can continue to utilise and enjoy PRS for Music’s repertoire in a simpler and more efficient way. The consultations will provide opportunities to engage with our customers offering them open lines of communication with us, as PRS seeks to ensure that we continue to operate modern and appropriate licensing schemes.” The…

New paper explores “Making Available” right and “Communication to the Public”
Copyright / December 2015

COPYRIGHT All areas   Music Tank have published a new paper by Westminster University LLM graduate Fiona McGugan. The free paper “Making Available, Communication To The Public & User Interactivity” considers the evolution of communication rights that overshadow conventional distribution and reproduction rights as music consumption increasingly shifts away from ownership, towards access models of streaming services. Understanding how this right is applied, territorial variations in the application of rights, and how licensing structures are determined according to the levels of user-interactivity of digital services lie-at the heart of possibly the single biggest issue facing the music industry in recent times – how much artists get paid. You can download the paper here: . Also see “It’s Just A Click Away: How Copyright Law Is Failing Musicians” (Webber & McGugan)

Amen for crowdfunding
Copyright , Music Publishing / December 2015

COPYRIGHT Music publishing, recorded music     One of the musicians behind the most-sampled pieces of music in history has finally been rewarded for the work. Not by the courts – but by a crowdfunding page. The Amen Break – a six-second drum solo in The Winstons’ 1969 track “Amen, Brother” – was performed in 1969 by drummer Gregory Cylvester “G. C.” Colem   The six second riff has been sampled by artists including The Prodigy, Oasis and NWA. It became very widely used as sampled drum loops in breakbeat, hip hop, breakbeat hardcore, hardcore techno and breakcore, drum and bass (including old school jungle and ragga jungle), and digital hardcore music. The Amen Break was used extensively in early hiphop and sample-based music, and became the basis for drum-and-bass and jungle music— “a six-second clip that spawned several entire subcultures.” It is one of the most sampled loops in contemporary electronic music and arguably the most sampled drum beat of all time.   But its writers never received any royalties from those recordings. In an effort to correct that, British DJs Martyn Webster and Steve Theobald set up a crowdfunding page (GoFundMe) and Spencer  urged musicians who had used…

Swift settles T-shirt claim, and walks away free from plagiarism claim
Copyright , Music Publishing / December 2015

COPYRIGHT Record music, music publishing, merchandising     Taylor Swift has settled out of court with a US clothing company that accused her of copyright infringement. Blue Sphere, a clothing company based in California, had alleged that the singer infringed on its ‘Lucky 13’ trademark for her own run of T-shirts. The company’s head, Robert Kloetzly, accused Swift of targeting a similar audience to that of Blue Sphere. Swift’s lawyers responded by alleging that Kloetzly attempted to bully their client into a settlement. The settlement means that Swift  will not have to face deposition. The full details of the settlement are confidential between the two parties.   And U.S. District Court Judge Gail Standish has dismissed a copyright lawsuit against Taylor Swift by using some lyrical terminology. Musician and songwriter Jessie Braham has accused Swift of stealing “Shake It Off” lyrics from his song “Haters Gonna Hate,” and attested that he had the song copyrighted back in February. Braham was suing Swift for $42 million in damages and a writing credit on her hit song. Standish wrote, “At present, the Court is not saying that Braham can never, ever, ever get his case back in court. But, for now, we…

Music Tank debate points out the reality of how the music industry uses the law to underpay performers
Contract , Copyright , Internet / December 2015

COPYRIGHT / CONTRACT Recorded music, streaming     Performers and songwriters – the actual creators of recorded music – have been making noises recently in the ongoing debate about reforms to copyright.  Indeed the Featured Artists Coalition and the globally-focused International Artists Organisation have issued an urgent call to the European Parliament demanding That the Parliament ensures that performer rights be included in the European Union’s current review of copyright law. The move comes as part of the campaign called Artists In Europe which is a bid to “ensure that protection for artists’ intellectual property sits at the heart of the new legislation”. Songwriters have already had a say. BASCA chairman Simon Darlow has used his speech at the 2015 Ivor Novello Awards to criticise current ‘safe harbour’ provisions in EU and US law, pointing out that the likes of YouTube undermine streaming services, and were exploiting safe harbour legislation saying this was “undermining the value of our music”. But even those who do pay songwriters and their publishers don’t pay much. Internet radio service Pandora is currently appealing the US Rate Court’s decision to order it to pay 2.5% of revenues to compensate BMI songwriters and publisher members. The rate of rival PRO ASCAP…

Copyright Royalty Board reference cheers indie labels
Copyright , Internet / December 2015

COPYRIGHT Internet, recorded music     The U.S. Register of Copyrights has delivered her Memorandum Opinion in response to a “novel material question of law” referred to her on September 11, 2015 by the Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) who will be setting royalty rates for the period of 2016-2020. The question asked whether the Board would be prohibited by the governing statutes from setting rates and terms that may differ across different types of categories of licensors – in essence, whether they can set statutory webcasting royalty rates that vary depending on the identity or category of the record company that owns the recordings performed by a webcaster. The Register of Copyrights concluded that the question was not properly referred to the Copyright Office for consideration, and therefore she could not offer an opinion on the question of differentiated rates for licensors; BUT and its a big ‘but’, the Register further stated that because all participants in the Webcasting IV proceeding had assumed a non-differentiated rate structure for licensors, that is the only reasonable outcome in the Web IV proceeding, effectively dismissing calls from the major record labels, Sony and Universal, for a variable royalty rate for internet radio play in…

One Year on, the UK’s Private Copying Exception is now Dead
Copyright / December 2015

COPYRIGHT All areas     Following the CJEU’s decision in the Reprobel case, it is perhaps not surprising that the UK Intellectual Property Office has announced that it is to abandon the UK’s private-copying exception which was introduced in October 2014, and which was effectively declared illegal by the High Court in July of this year, and so had to be withdrawn. For the background to Mr Justice Green’s decision in July’s Judicial Review, please see this blog post. It now seems clear that the IPO were never going to find a workable scheme which met the criterion of ‘fair compensation’ for rights holders demanded by the EU InfoSoc Directive, while at the same time avoiding unpopular levies on consumables and hardware capable of being used to copy, in particular, music, computer games, ebooks and films, for personal use. The Reprobel decision, although not specifically concerned with copying for private use, highlights just how complicated the levy system can become. Each EU member state has found its own way of tackling the issue, with no overall EU-wide harmonisation in prospect. It seems that the IPO and those representing rights owners could not find an existing model to achieve ‘fair compensation’. So where does this leave ordinary…

South Australia removes ‘entertainment consent’ provisions from licensing requirements
Licensing , Live Events / December 2015

LICENSING Live events sector     One of the more ‘curious tenets’ of South Australia’s Liquor Licensing system was officially repealed this week with the passing of a welcome new amendment by South Australian Parliament. The new amendment, part of Attorney-General John Rau’s response to a review of the Late Night Code, will remove the need for licensed venues to apply for “entertainment consent” in order to host live music and other entertainment between 11am and midnight. “Entertainment consent” meant that venues had to specify not only the days and times live music would be played, but their genre as well. The law made South Australia the only state in the country where the Liquor Licensing Commissioner presides over the kind of music played in venues. Glenelg’s Dublin Hotel was taken to court after it was discovered hosting DJs mixing tunes on the premises. It was only being licensed to host traditional Irish music.

Booze ban at AC/DC concert in New Zealand
Licensing , Live Events / December 2015

LICENSING Live events sector     AC/DC fans will restricted from drinking alcohol before the legendary rock band’s concerts in Auckland, New Zealand, in December after Waitemata Local Board voted unanimously in support of a temporary liquor ban at their board meeting on November 10th.   Board chairman Shale Chambers said even though many of the concert-goers could well be in their 60s, the police are concerned about alcohol consumption before and after the ‘Rock or Bust’ concert. Senior Sergeant Antony Wilson wrote a letter to Stephen Town, chief executive of Auckland Council, requesting the dry zone around Western Springs Stadium.   He stated that temporary liquor bans have “significantly assisted in curbing alcohol-related harm and offending in public areas”.   Chambers said there was sufficient evidence of the potential alcohol-related harm to justify the dry street ban advanced by Inspector Gary Davey at the meeting with Chambers saying that Inspector Davey “went through the levels of intoxication and alcohol related harm that was likely at this type of event,”   The temporary alcohol ban will operate for 24 hours from 6am on December 15 in the surrounding area. Consumption or possession of alcohol is prohibited during the specified times…

Will boycotts of Israel mean a ban on Jewish festivals in Spain?
Censorship , Licensing , Live Events / December 2015

LICENSING / CENSORSHIP Live events sector   A left wing lawmaker from the Spanish city of Cordoba said that a local Jewish music festival would need to be rethought if a motion she had submitted in favour of boycotting the state of Israel passed.   Europa Press reported that Amparo Pernichi, Cordoba’s alderwoman for landscape and infrastructure, had linked Israel to the music festival during a news conference earlier this month and following controversy in local media over her statements, the draft motion was rejected by the Cordoba City Council on Nov. 10.   However, a similar motion passed the same day in the northern city of Santiago de Compostela. At the November 4th news conference Pernichi, who represents the United Left party, was asked whether her draft motion would spell the end of the International Sephardi Music Festival. The festival has been held since 2002 in Cordoba, a city in southern Spain that was a major cultural hub for Jews before their expulsion from Spain in the 15th century. Spanish Jews once constituted one of the largest and most prosperous Jewish communities in the world. This period ended definitively with the Alhambra decree of 1492, as a result of…

Wilma Theatre venue management contract ends up in Court
Competition , Contract , Live Events / December 2015

COMPETITION / ANTI-TRUST / CONTRACT Live events industry     The previous and current owners of the Wilma Theatre in Montana are being sued in U.S. District Court by concert promoter Knitting Factory Presents who claims they’ve engaged in “anti-competitive behavior” and the induced termination of  a nine year agreement in July 2014 to exclusively manage the theater and buy talent for it with Simba Entertainment, a company owned solely by then venue owner Rick Wishcamper. Simba Entertainment was to pay Bravo $85,000 each year, plus ticket fees and a percentage of concessions and sponsorship revenue Knitting Factory Presents (also known as Bravo Entertainment) says it lost at least $609,000, and is seeking to triple those damages to an estimated $2,210,255. The previous owner, Rick Wishcamper, counters that under Knitting Factory Presents’ management, the venue saw steeply increasing losses, a “fiasco” in a critical staff position after general manager after Marcus Duckwitz resigned and his replacement had “serious alcohol issues”, alienated other staff, upset other local companies and left after just four months, and other actions that breached the contract. The current owner, Nick Checota, says Knitting Factory is free to book concerts elsewhere in Missoula besides the Wilma and his Top Hat Lounge (a competing…

3 jailed for Kendal Calling drugs offences
Live Events / December 2015

CRIMINAL Live events sector   Three young men who committed drugs offences at the Kendal Calling music festival in Cumbria have been imprisoned after a trial at Carlisle Crown Court. Anthony McKibbin, 22, and Liam Dean, 21, were arrested the festival site near Penrith. Both were found in possession of illegal drugs, and further quantities of illicit substances were discovered in their car nearby. Fingerprints belonging to Joel Basnett, 19, were found on a plastic bag in the vehicle. He was detained several months later. The trio, all from Liverpool, admitted conspiracy to supply class A ecstasy along with ketamine and cannabis – both class B. In addition, McKibbin and Dean admitted a fourth count relating to class C drug BZP. Judge Peter Davies gave all three immediate custodial sentences. Basnett was sent to a young offenders’ institution for four years and eight months having also been caught trying to sell drugs at another festival. McKibbin and Dean were jailed for four and two years, respectively. Judge Davies told the three men: “Drugs spoil these festivals and ruin them for people whilst you make money out of it” adding “That is why these offences are serious.”   This year nine people were taken seriously ill after taking substances at…

Artists / December 2015

We remember members of the music family who lost their lives at the Bataclan, Paris, 13/11/15   Nick Alexander, the Eagles of Death Metal’s Merchandising Manager, has been killed in the Paris terror attacks at the Bataclan. His family said: “It is with huge sorrow that we can confirm that our beloved Nick lost his life at the Bataclan last night. Nick was not just our brother, son and uncle; he was everyone’s best friend – generous, funny and fiercely loyal” adding “Nick died doing the job he loved and we take great comfort in knowing how much he was cherished by his friends around the world. Thank you for your thoughts and respect for our family at this difficult time. Peace and light.” Africa Express’ Robin Aitken posted “Nick had worked with us on Africa Express. I remember a friendly, helpful guy who added his bit of joy to our musical events. I can only begin to imagine the tragedy that his family and close friends must be going through, and I just feel sad for his life being cut short by people who have so badly misunderstood the way to build a better world”. Nick’s girlfriend of three…