Quincy Jones wins $9.4 million in Jackson claim
Contract , Music Publishing / August 2017

CONTRACT Recorded music   Quincy Jones has won a jury decision in the case he brought in the Los Angeles Superio Court against the Michael Jackson Estate, winning $9.4 million in what he alleged were underpaid or unpaid royalties. Jones had accused Sony Music and MJJ Productions (one of Michael Jackson’s companies, now controlled by the Jackson Estate) or depriving him of some $30 million in royalties, almost all from the period following Jackson’s death in 2009 and the utilisation of recordings which Jones had produced for Off the Wall, Thriller and Bad in projects such as the This Is It film and two Cirque du Soleil shows. At the trial Jones admitted he had not focussed on the contracts he signed in 1978 and 1985, but said the recordings had been re-edited and re-mixed to deprive him of an equitable share of income and that he had a contractual right to be offered and undertake at any re-edit or remix. MJJ had countered that Jones was incorrectly interpreting contracts he signed with Jackson on which the royalty claims were based and the Estate argued that the unpaid sums came to less than $400,000.  After the decision Jones commented: “As an artist, maintaining the vision and integrity of one’s…

Arcade under Fire
Contract , Live Events / August 2017

CONTRACT Live events sector   The Canadian indie rock group, Arcade Fire, has come under fire for requesting attendees to its Everything Now release show at Brooklyn’s Grand Prospect Hall to wear ‘hip and trendy’ clothes. Apple has plans to live-stream the event on Apple Music and it has been reported that they were the ones to send the notice to ticket holders.   The notice that was emailed to the ticket holders for the intimate gig asked that they refrain from wearing “shorts, large logos, flip flops, tank tops, crop tops, baseball hats, solid white or red clothing,” the notice went on to say “We reserve the right to deny entry to anyone dressed inappropriately.”   The notice did not stop there, ticket holders were asked to make the show a “phone-free experience”. The notice explained that “all phones and smart watches will be secured in Yondr pouches that will be unlocked at the end of the show”.   Now this is Music Law Updates, so naturally the question arises as to the legal standing of the notice. Disclaimer: for the purposes of this article I will pretend that the Arcade Fire gig is to be held in England, and therefore English law…

Travis Scott takes action against former management
Artists , Contract , Employment Law / August 2017

CONTRACT / EMPLOYMENT LAW Artistes   Travis Scott (Jacques Webster), the US rapper, singer, songwriter and record producer, has accused the artist management company owned by music industry veteran Lyor Cohen (now  top music man at YouTube) of violating California’s Talent Agencies Act. It’s a two way battle: LCAR Management sued Scott earlier this year claiming that the rapper, who had been a client, owed the firm $2 million. Now, according to Billboard, Scott has responded by accusing LCAR of Talent Agencies Act violations by allegedly booking shows for him without the approval of his actual talent agent, and therefore acting as if a talent agency in itself – without a licence from the California state Labor Commissioner. Scott is seeking to void his contract with LCAR on the basis of the alleged violations. There are further allegations including that LCAR allegedly used Scott to promote Cohen’s other business venture, even though he had no affiliation with that business. LCAR is yet to respond to Scott’s claims. http://www.completemusicupdate.com/article/travis-scott-accuses-former-management-of-violating-californias-talent-agencies-act/

Lil Wayne adds Universal to his ‘Cash Money’ litigation
Contract , Music Publishing / August 2017

CONTRACT Recorded music   Lil Wayne has added Universal to his ‘Cash Money’ litigation in a New Orleans law suit that accuses the Cash Money record company and its major label partner of colluding to deny Lil Wyane royalties that are properly payable to him.  Cash Money co-owners Bryan “Birdman” Williams and Ronald “Slim” Williams are also added to the pending suit that asserts a conspiracy and seeks more than $40 million in actual damages.  Cash Money are Lil Wayne’s long-time label and the dispute includes both a complaint over the delayed release of his long awaited ‘Tha Carter V’ album, and the royalties Wayne claims are due from records released by his joint venture imprint Young Money, which includes albums from Drake. Last year Wayne sued Universal Music directly. In that case, the rapper argued that Universal, which distributes Cash Money and Young Money releases, was withholding monies generated by the latter label’s records in order to recoup advances previously paid to the former. Wayne argued that his share of Young Money income should not be applied be used to recoup Cash Money’s debts. That law suit, which also lists US collecting society SoundExchange as a defendant, was subsequently put on hold, because…

The European Copyright Directive, safe harbour and the value gap found in the middle of it
Copyright , Internet / August 2017

COPYRIGHT Internet, digital   The EU’s E-Commerce Directive created the ‘safe harbour’ to protect Information Society Service Provides (ISP) where, subject to certain requirements, they unknowingly provided copyright-infringing material.   Take the YouTube example; due to the scale and amount of content that is uploaded to YouTube on a daily basis, it is almost an impossible task to monitor all content for copyright-infringing material. Therefore, and providing YouTube is doing all that it can in actively monitoring for copyright infringing content, it is protected by the ‘safe harbour’ rules. These rules mean that YouTube cannot be found to be liable for the infringement. However, with all rules there is an exception, the general exception for the safe harbour rules mean that if a ISP is put on notice that it is hosting infringing material it must act efficiently and expeditiously to remove the content, if this does not happen the ISP may be found to be liable.   It has been argued by both the music publishing and recorded music sectors that sites such as YouTube exploit the safe harbour rules. It is said that YouTube uses the safe harbour rules to effectively pay (much) lower royalties to copyright holders and this…

US music publishers up the stakes with Spotify
Copyright , Music Publishing / August 2017

COPYRIGHT Music Publishing, collection societies   Tensions between Spotify and National Music Publishers Association are reportedly rising in the USA with the arguments now focussing on the so called ‘mechanical right’ which generates a mechanical royalties on Spotify streams – and which cannot be collected bu US collecting societies BMI and ASCAP which only represent the performing rights in songs. Spotify can benefit from the compulsory licence schemes for mechanical rights Stateside, and hired The Harry Fox Agency (previously owned by the NMPA) to manage the process, but a group of independent songwriters and music publishers  who were  not represented by HFA went unpaid, and this resulted in class action litigation led by musicians David Lowery and Melissa Ferrick – a battle where the NMPA intervened as a peace maker: as the legal battle began in early 2016, the NMPA announced a settlement deal with Spotify over previously unpaid mechanicals. Subsequently Lowery and Ferrick’s class actions were settled in May this year. But now reports say that the NMPA has been pushing for new commitments from Spotify (not least as the major recorded music groups have equity stakes in the soon to be listed streaming giant – unlike the major music publishers) and are challenging the streaming company’s…

Barry based security firm under investigation
Health & Safety , Live Events / August 2017

HEALTH & SAFETY Live events sector   A Welsh event security firm is under investigation by the Security Industry Authority (SIA) for allegedly supplying unlicensed stewards to several British music festivals. The Security Industry Authority (SIA) confirmed it was investigating LS Armour Security Ltd of Barry, South Wales, following a compliance check. The SIA It said it was “exceptional” for it to comment publicly and had taken “unprecedented action due to public safety.” The investigation is looking at wether the firm supplied cloned badges to unlicensed stewards at UK festivals. Reports say that Lee Szuchnik of LS Armour Security, had advertised for security staff for several festivals this summer, including Glastonbury Festival, Shindig Weekender in Bruton, Somerset, and Mutiny Festival in Portsmouth. The company has also been recruiting for stewards for Liverpool International Music Festival and Lewes Live Festival later this month.   In a statement, an SIA spokesman said: “This type of unlawful conduct remains rare due to responsible organisers and security providers conducting appropriate due diligence …. Nevertheless, the SIA understands that at this time of year, event organisers and primary contractors may not have sufficient SIA-licensed staff, which can lead to extensive sub-contracting” and “This provides opportunities to rogue providers…

Cross party support to protect pre-1972 sound recordings and a new music database in the USA
Copyright , Music Publishing / August 2017

COPYRIGHT Recorded music, broadcasting   US legislation has been introduced to close the long-standing anomaly in US copyright law which means that pre-1972 sound-recordings are nor protected by federal law, a position highlighted in the long running litigation between SiriusXM and Flo & Eddie, the California corporation with the rights to songs by the 1960s group The Turtles (“Happy Together,” “She’d Rather Be With Me”).   The Compensating Legacy Artists for their Songs, Service and Important Contributions to Society Act (CLASSICS) was introduced by a group of House Republicans and Democrats, including Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.). Issa is the chairman of a key House Judiciary subcommittee on intellectual property, and Nadler is the ranking member The legislation would make the owners of the pre-1972 recordings eligible for royalties for digital broadcast. The legislation also ensures that artists are entitled to the same share of royalties regardless of whether a label and a digital music platform reach an agreement on payment. “This an important and overdue fix to the law that will help settle years of litigation and restore some equity to this inexplicable gap in our copyright system,” Issa said. “For years, we have been working to ensure…

Will legalities rain down on the Purple Rain stage show?

COPYRIGHT Live events sector, music publishing   It has been announced that a ‘jukebox musical’ made up of Prince’s songs will tour the UK next year and the current plan is that it will open very shortly with a string of dates across the UK.     I say plan because Prince’s family or the Prince estate has not given permission for the musical. In fact, Troy Carter, entertainment advisor to the Prince estate has explained that “Neither Prince’s family nor the estate have given permission to use his name, likeness or music catalogue for this event”,   But do they need permission?  With the music, there are two licensing issues that must be taken into account.    Firstly, let’s take the boring option, if the Purple Rain musical is in essence just a band performing Prince’s catalogue of music, nothing more, nothing less, so in effect a tribute band playing Prince songs (albeit under the guise of a musical) it would be likely that permission of the Prince estate would not be needed. This is because it is possible to obtain, or play a venues where  a PRS ‘blanket licence’ will cover the public performance of the musical works.   Now, the more…

Stream-ripping tops music piracy chart
Copyright , Internet / August 2017

COPYRIGHT Internet, digital   A study carried out by PRS for Music and the Intellectual Property Office (IPO), has found that stream-ripping is now the most prevalent and fastest growing form of music piracy in the UK, with nearly 70% of music-specific infringement dominated by the illegal online activity.   Research revealed that the use of stream-ripping websites, which allow users to illegally create permanent offline copies of audio or video streams from sites such as YouTube, increased by 141.3% between 2014 and 2016, overwhelmingly overshadowing all other illegal music services.   In 2016, PRS for Music and the IPO jointly commissioned two separate studies by INCOPRO and Kantar Media to better understand stream-ripping and its impact on the UK market and online consumer behaviour. Over 9,100 consumers participated.    Stream-ripping can be carried out via apps, websites, plug-ins or specially developed software on any online audio and video content to create a permanent audio-only copy of the music, without the rightsholders’ permission. Once saved, the track/file can be listened to offline on any digital device such as smartphones and tablets.   YouTube was found to be the most popular source of content for these sites, used by 75 of…

France’s Highest Court Rules in Favor of Freedom of Expression of Director over Heirs’ Droit Moral
Copyright / August 2017

COPYRIGHT Theatre   This article was written by Marie-Andree Weiss   Readers of the 1709 blog may remember that the Paris Court of Appeals found in October 2015 that the staging of the opera Le Dialogue des Carmélites by Dmitry Chernyakov for the Munich Opera in 2010 violated the moral rights of composer and librettist Francis Poulenc, which adapted the eponymous theatrical play by Georges Bernanos.   Le Dialogue des Carmélites tells the story of French aristocrat Blanche de la Force who decides to enter the Carmelite Convent, possibly to be sheltered from life, as she is fearful and shy. The French Revolution upset her world and the Carmelites must leave the convent. Blanche leaves the congregation to return to her family. When the Carmelites are arrested and sentenced to death by the revolutionary tribunal, Blanche returns to them as they are each climbing the steps to the guillotine, and she is the last one to have her head cut off.   Dmitry Chernyakov had not modified the score or the dialogue. However, his interpretation did not take place during the French revolution, but in contemporary time. In the last scene, the Carmelites are locked up in a shed full of explosives. Blanche appears on the…

The Canadian Supreme Court brings music to the ears of the music industry
Copyright , Internet / August 2017

COPYRIGHT Internet, digital   The Canadian Supreme Court has brought music to the ears of the music industry, although it’s not a music case!  It’s no secret, Google regularly links to content that is an infringement of copyright. It is also no secret that Google de-lists specific web pages that link through to copyright infringing content, but does not actually de-list the whole website.  Now the Supreme Court has ruled that the internet giant Can be forced to remove results worldwide, although the decision criticised by civil liberties groups who argue the judgment sets a precedent for censorship on the internet. The landmark ruling from Canada’s Supreme Court, which will undoubtedly have a major impact in the music industry, comes in the case of Google v Equustek. The music industry has been complaining, for some time that whilst Google does remove individual web pages, it will not remove the whole website. And indeed it’s always a game of ‘whack a mole’ – as soon the infringing content is removed, it then just pops up again. And it should be noted, safe harbour obligations provide that Google should de-list the web page, but there is no obligation to de-list the whole website….

Connecting to free wifi at venues ? Make sure you read the small print!

DATA REGULATION / CONTRACT Live events sector Some 22,000 people have agreed to undertake 1,000 hours of community service – including cleaning festival toilets and scraping chewing gum from the pavement – in return for free wireless internet, reveals an experiment designed to illustrate a lack of awareness among consumers signing up for free in-venue wifi. Purple, who launched the experiment, said “We welcome the strengthening of data protection laws across Europe that GDPR [General Data Protection Regulation] will bring. Not only will it give wifi end users more control over how their personal data is being used by companies, it will also raise the level of trust in the digital economy”. During the experiment users were given the chance to flag the unreasonable condition in return for a prize. But only one person did. In separate news, Belgium newspaper De Standaard reports that the Belgian Privacy Commission is investigating the way the Tomorrowland festival shares ticket buyer data with the federal police to screen attendees for security reasons. 8 ticket-buyers have been excluded from the Belgian festival this year https://www.iq-mag.net/2017/07/connecting-wifi-venues-read-small-print-purple/#.WX7ec4TyuM- –    

New regulatory powers for live music for Balearic Island councils
Licensing , Live Events / August 2017

LICENSING Live events sector   The Council of Ibiza will have the power to ban new open-air music venues under new provisions in the Balearic Islands’ tourism law which was passed in July 18th. When in effect, the new law will apply to Mallorca, Menorca, Formentera and Ibiza. An amendment has been made by the socialist PSOE party that grants the four local councils the power to “regulate, determine or prohibit, in a reasonable manner, tourist activities” related to entertainment, and that would include any venue hosting musical events, including clubs, café conciertos, beach clubs and ballrooms.  Vicent Torres, director of tourism for Ibiza council said “It was very clear that the tourism law needed to be modified … such a previously liberal law offered the opportunity for activities that are incompatible with the day-to-day life of an island that wants a sustainable kind of tourism.”  The amendment also states that the islands’ municipalities may apply more restrictive measures without the agreement of the  relevant council.    http://mixmag.net/read/a-new-law-will-give-the-ibiza-council-the-power-to-ban-open-air-venues-news

Ed Sheeran takes on the touts
Competition , Live Events / August 2017

COMPETITION Live events sector   The promoters of Ed Sheeran’s UK 2018 stadium tour have cancelled up to 10,000 touted tickets to put back into the primary market.  Kilimanjaro, DHP Family and AEG Presents confirmed in a statement  that they were cancelling any touted tickets to the sold out stadium shows. The promoters told fans to only buy tickets from primary sellers or their approved secondary site, resale platform Twickets which re-sells at face value.  Viagogo was targeted by Sheerhan’s team after eBay’s StubHub and Live Nation’s Seatwave and Get Me In! agreed to the musician’s request to block touted tickets.   The promoters statement reads:  “[We] and Ed Sheeran’s team worked closely together in advance of the on-sale date to put in place measures designed to protect fans from profiteering companies”. Noting that “most profiteering companies heeded the promoters’ warnings not to trade and resell tickets that would instantly be cancelled”, the statement adds: “This has resulted in 90% of tickets being delivered directly into fans’ hands at the face value” and “Despite these efforts, it has become clear that one company, Viagogo, have ignored the promoters’ requests, and there is an increasing number of customers who are realising they…

GMR and RMLC square up to each other in the US courts

COMPETITION / COPYRIGHT Broadcasting, music publishing   Irving Azoff’s performing rights organisation Global Music Rights has a small catalogue of songwriters when compared to the two US giants,  ASCAP and BMI, but it is certainly not insubstantial,  with songwriter clients including the Eagle’s Don Henley and Glenn Frey, Billy Idol, Jon Bon Jovi, Bruce Springsteen, Drake, Bruno Mars, Bryan Adams, Cathy Dennis, Drake, Don Henley, Ira Gershwin, John Lennon, Pharrell Williams, Boz Scaggs and Smokey Robinson, and music publisher clients including Prince, Imagen Global Music and Universal Television Global Music.    GMR is now squaring up to its latest battle with America’s Radio Music License Committee (RMLC): The radio industry’s RMLC, which has iHeart, CBS, Cox Media and Entercom amongst its members, is now seeking an injunction to force GMR to provide interim licences to radio stations in Pennsylvania.   BMI and ASCAP are regulated by the US Department Of Justice under the so called ‘consent decrees’ which are designed to mitigate competition concerns from ASCAP and BMI’s monopoly position, and provide a mechanism for settling disputes when the PROs cannot agree licence terms with licensees. The final of the four US PROs, SESAC, is not regulated by consent decree, but allows third party mediation on royalty…

Sid Bernstein’s Estate fails in its copyright claim over the Beatles’ Shea Stadium film
Contract , Copyright , Live Events / August 2017

CONTRACT / COPYRIGHT Live events sector, film, TV   A New York judge has dismissed a lawsuit brought the estate of promoter Sid Bernstein, who staged the Beatles’ legendary 1965 show at Shea Stadium. The Estate had argued that band’s Apple Corps had infringed on the copyright of Sid Bernstein Presents by including footage from the concert in ron Howard’s  documentary film Eight Days a Week – the Toruing Years which was released in September 2016.     The Estate’s action sought ownership (or joint ownership) of the master tapes and copyright by Bernstein’s company, Sid Bernstein Presents, arguing that, “[w]ithout Sid, the mastermind of the event, this film would never have been made”.   Copyright to the film, originally released in 1966 as The Beatles at Shea Stadium, was acquired by Apple Corps and the band’s Subafilms, from their management company, Nems Enterprises. In a ruling on the 26th July, Judge George B. Daniels, in the US District Court for Southern New York, said the company could not claim ownership of the footage as Bernstein did not himself film the concert, instead signing over the rights to do so to Nems. Judge Daniels held:  “The relevant legal question is not the extent to which Bernstein…