Cross party support to make US radio ‘pay to play’
Competition , Copyright / May 2017

COPYRIGHT / COMPETITION Broadcasting, recorded music   A bipartisan group of legislators led by Representatives Jerry Nadler and Marsha Blackburn have reintroduced the Fair Play Fair Pay Act, a bill that would establish a public performance right for sound recordings on terrestrial radio, forcing stations to pay labels and artists for using their material, and correct the unusual position in the USA where there is no performance right for sound recordings on AM/FM stations (although there is for satellite and internet radio, and those royalties are collected by the collection society SoundExchange).  If the bill passes, and is signed into law by President Trump, it would put webcasters like Pandora and iHeartRadio, which pay statutory royalties for their online radio platforms, on an equal footing with AM/FM radio, who would have to reimburse the owners of sound recordings for using their copyrights.  Members of Congress say the bill will not be used to lower royalties that radio stations now pay to publishers and songwriters, which stations have always paid for the use of their songs.  The legislators also say the bill will “make a clear statement that pre-1972 recordings have value and those who are profiting from them must pay appropriate…

Italian ticketers hit with €1.7m in fines
Competition , Live Events / May 2017

COMPETITION Live events sector   The Italian Competition Authority (AGCM) has levied fines totalling €1.7 million on five ticket agencies for breaching consumer rights legislation AGCM’s investigation dates back to October, when consumer group Altroconsumo asked the quango to look into allegations primary seller TicketOne was passing tickets directly to the secondary market. It found that while TicketOne, owned by Germany’s CTS Eventim, is “contractually bound to adopt anti-touting measures, [it] did not take appropriate steps to prevent bulk buying through specialist software, nor has it tried to limit multiple purchases or set up a system of ex-post controls to cancel them”.   For violating article 20(2) of the Italian Consumer Code, TicketOne has been fined €1m. Additionally, four secondary ticketing sites – Viagogo, MyWayTicket, Live Nation’s Seatwave and eBay/StubHub’s Ticketbis – have been hit with a collective €700,000 fine for their failure to provide complete ticket information to customers “concerning several essential elements which potential buyers need to make their transactional decisions”. “In particular, the traders would not provide adequate information concerning the ticket features, including their face value, the row and the seat, as well as consumer rights in case of the event’s cancellation,” reads a statement from AGCM….

Isle of Wight festival sale in the spotlight
Competition , Live Events / May 2017

COMPETITION Live events sector   The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority is to investigate the recently announced acquisition of  the Isle of Wight Festival by Live Nation. The CMA said  it was: “considering, pursuant to section 22 of the [2002 Enterprise] Act”, whether the merger of Isle of Wight Festival Ltd and Live Nation/Denis Desmond’s LN-Gaiety Holdings Ltd “has resulted or may be expected to result in a substantial lessening of competition in any market or markets in the United Kingdom”. The live music major has expanded its UK festivals portfolio considerably in recent years, mainly via LN-Gaiety, its joint venture with Irish music industry veteran Denis Desmond, who now heads up Live Nation’s UK operation. LNE owns festivals including Creamfields, Dowlnload and Wireless in the UK and subsidiary Festival Republic runs the Reading, Leeds and Lattitude festivals and over 85 festivas worldwide.    LNE describes itself as “the largest live entertainment company, operates concert promotions, venue operations, sponsorship, ticketing solutions The CMA says the two companies are currently prohibited from taking any actions which may “lead to the integration of the Isle of Wight Festival business with the Live Nation business” or “transfer the ownership or control of the Live Nation…

Lords move to strengthen ticket re-sale transparency
Consumers , Live Events / May 2017

CONSUMER Live events sector   In the UK, the House of Lords has passed an amendment that anti-touting campaigners say will strengthen the position of consumers who use secondary ticketing sites. Whilst the UK government now supports the recommendations made in the Waterson report, an independent review which recommended no new legislation against secondary ticketing but did suggest proper enforcement of the existing Consumer Rights Act (CRA) 2015, the new amendment to the Digital Economy Bill is opposed by the government Despite the opposition, the Lords voted 180–157 in favour of the amendment, which would require sites such Seatwave, Get Me In!, StubHub and Viagogo to provide the ticket reference or booking number, as well as any specific condition attached to the resale of the ticket. Under the current legislation, secondary sites are already obliged to list the original face value, seat/row numbers and any usage restrictions.   Conservative peer Lord Moynihan, a former sports minister and Olympic rowing coxswain, said: “We do not want to ban the [secondary] market, although noble Lords did so for the Olympic Games in London 2012. Similarly, this is not about a cap on resale prices. It is perfectly within the conclusions [of], and the…

Lords push on with establishing the ‘agent of change’ principle into UK law
Licensing , Live Events / May 2017

LICENSING Live events sector   Cross-sector trade group UK Music has welcomed new recommendations made by a House Of Lords Select Committee a call to extend the the ‘agent of change’ principle to revisions of the Licensing Law. The Committee that has been reviewing the licensing rules that impact on concerts and venues and said that the 2012 Live Music Act, which aimed to simplify the licensing process for smaller gigs, was working well. They also said that the appointment of ‘night czars’ in cities to focus on the local night-time economy were a positive move.   Extending the agent of change principle was a key recommendation. The UK government already has proposals to boost ‘agent of change’ protections to safeguard music venues from new property developments under the National Planning Policy Framework.   The Lords’ Committee has also proposed that the ‘late night levy’  which can be imposed by local authorities on late night licensed premises  should be abolished on the basis that it is a burden on pubs and clubs, and was not  contributing to local policing costs as had been originally intended.   For UK Music Jo Dipple said: “UK Music asks government to take forward the Lords suggestion that a…

This is Spinal Tap, and this is going to be another copyright reversion case.
Copyright , Record Labels / May 2017

COPYRIGHT Film, recorded music   As we have previously reported, the original dispute arose in the actors behind This Is Spinal Tap and StudioCanal began when Harry Shearer, a co-creator of the cult movie, alleged that StudioCanal, Vivendi’s movie business had “wilfully manipulated certain accounting data…to deny [the] co-creators their rightful stake in the production’s profits”. If the co-creators are correct it wasn’t a small mistake either, $400 million is being claimed by the creators Harry Shearer, Christopher Guest, Michael McKrean and Rob Reiner.   Vivendi has been calling the lawsuit “absurd” for some time now. They have always insisted that the financial performance of the movie has been modest. However, things have taken a twist, a twist that seems all too common these days. Shearer is now attempting to reclaim the rights to all things “Spinal Tap” in the US. Shearer is attempting this by utilising the reversion right that is a part of US copyright law.   In a nut shell, US law states that a creator who has assigned his rights to a third party is able to reclaim the rights after 35 years. This law is around 35 years old now, and so the technicalities of the law are being tested…

Insane Clowns face infringement claim

COPYRIGHT Music publishing   An Ohio poet says Detroit rap-metal group the Insane Clown Posse and in particular member Joseph Bruce have used a poem he wrote without his consent. Stanley Gebhardt filed the copyright infringement suit in the federal court in Detroit. The action seeks monetary damages and asks the court to restrain Bruce and the group from using Gebhardt’s 1993 work “But You Didn’t” which the suit  is about a father-son relationship. The suit alleges that in 2015 a video of Bruce reciting the poem had been posted on YouTube. Bruce, who goes by the stage name Violent J, called it “Violent J’s Poem.”

PRS for Music and GEMA announce record results

COPYRIGHT Music publishing   The UK’s Performing Right Society (PRS) has announced it paid out more than half a billion pounds sterling in royalties to songwriters, composers and publishers ib 2016, in its strongest performance to date. The organisation, which represents the rights of over 125,500 music creators in the UK and two million worldwide, paid out £527.6m to its members last year, up 11.1% (£52.5m) on 2015.   It was also able to deliver more money to more creators than ever before, with 33% more members receiving a payment compared to 2015. The number of unique musical works and songs earning money also rose by 45% to 4.2 million. In turn, revenues collected by PRS increased by 10.1% (£57.2m) in 2016 to £621.5m.   Of the music licensing company’s four main revenue streams, international income generated from members’ music played abroad saw significant growth, with £233.7m received from equivalent societies overseas. This represents an increase of 5% (£11.2m) year-on-year. Revenue from music played via online platforms saw the largest uplift at 89.9% (£38.1m) to £80.5m, while public performance income grew 4.6% to £183.2m and broadcast revenues were stable at £124.1m(a decrease of 0.1% on 2015).   In 2016, over…

British DJ sentenced to prison after including the Muslim call to prayer in Tunisian show
Live Events / May 2017

BLASPHEMY Live events sector   A court in Tunisia has sentenced a British DJ Dax J to one  year in jail after he played a dance remix of the Muslim call to prayer during a set at the Orbit Festival  last weekend. The UK DJ and producer was found guilty of public indecency and offending public morality after footage of him playing the track in a Nabeul club emerged on social media. The club, El Guitone, was shut down and its owner taken into custody. However, charges against the owner and the promoter were dismissed (although they may be re-instated on apeal). The owners had been arrested for “violation against good morals and public outrage against modesty.”  Nabeul governor Mnaouar Ouertan said that the government would “not allow attacks against religious feelings and the sacred.”  London-born and Berlin-based Dax J had fled Tunisia before the matter went to court. He has already apologised for including the remix of the Adhan in his set, insisting that “it was never my intention to upset or cause offence to anybody”. The promoters of Orbit apologised over the inclusion of the Adhan in Dax J’s set earlier this week, adding that the DJ “did not realise…

Defamation case against Kesha’s former lawyer has been given the go ahead
Artists , Defamation / May 2017

DEFAMATION Artistes   Mark Geragos, the former lawyer for Kesha, who acted for the pop star in her legal battle against the producer Dr Luke, is now on the receiving end of legal action from the producer’s lawyers.    A New York judge has blocked efforts by Geragos to have the defamation case filed by Dr Luke (Lukasz Gottwald) dismissed. The case revolves around comments the ‘celebrity lawyer’ made on Twitter and the website TMZ. Set against a myriad of cross allegations, primarily made against producer Dr Luke where the singer says the producer manipulated her career and sexually abused her, in an unsuccessful attempt to free herself from record and publishing contracts with Dr Luke’s label and Sony, Geragos being the wise lawyer that he is, tweeted “Guess who the rapist was?” with a link to an article with Lady Gaga, who  explained in an interview that she had once been subject to a sexual assault. When subsequently asked on twitter if he meant Dr Luke, he tweeted “#bingo”. Later the lawyer told TMZ he said this “because it’s true”.    Geragos argued that neither his tweets nor the TMZ comments should be taken seriously and had sought to have…

Love Parade organisers will face criminal charges over 2010 deaths

HEALTH & SAFETY Live events sector   A German court has ruled that the organisers of the “Love Parade” techno-festival will stand trial in connection with the deaths of 21 people in a crowd crush ithat took place in in 2010. More than 500 others were injured in the crush. The disaster on the 24th July 2010 was the result of  a crush in a tunnel that served as the sole entrance to Love Parade. Over a million people attended the dance music festival, which was held at a former goods yard in Duisburg, with a capacity of around 250,000. The event, which began in 1989, was permanently cancelled by organisers. Ten people will now face criminal charges for the disaster in Duisburg after the court in Duesseldorf overturned the previous decision to drop the charges of negligent manslaughter, now holding that the case could be “proven with sufficient probability”, based on the available evidence. Four event organisers and six municipal employees will be tried. All had previously denied wrongdoing. In a statement, the regional appeals court said the results of an investigation suggested that “breaches of the duty of care with which the accused are charged were the cause of the deaths and injuries”…