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SUMMARY JUDGEMENTS IN MP3TUNES CASE
As previously reported, MP3tunes, founded by original MP3.com creator Michael Robertson, was one of the early music-specific digital locker services. EMI claimed that Robertson's service required a licence from the record labels and music publishers to operate, and without such a licence MP3tunes infringed their copyrights. Robertson, however, claimed MP3tunes needed no such deals with the music companies.
It was originally thought any ruling in the MP3tunes case might add some clarity to the copyright situation with regards all digital lockers, a topic which has become more relevant this year as major players like Google and Amazon entered the music-specific locker market place.
While in most territories a very basic online storage service can safely operate without a licence from any music companies, because such a service is covered by a user's private back-up copy right (though no such right currently exists in the UK, of course), some rights owners argue that the minute a user is given a friendly web-based player through which they can stream their music collections to any net-connected device, a licence is needed. Google, Amazon, Robertson and MP3tunes do not concur.
However, in the end the MP3tunes case did not centre on the licensing requirements of such a service, because many of EMI's objections related to other elements of Robertson's platform, in particular the facility that allows users to organise and store links to music streams they have found online, whether or not said streams are legal. The summary judgements mainly focus on that links management facility.
The judge partly found in EMI's favour over MP3tunes' failure to operate an efficient takedown system with regards its link management service, so that links made by users to unlicensed streams stayed even after the major label had alerted the digital company of their presence. The judge also ruled against Robertson himself for personally posting links to illegal sources of content via his own website.
But there was some good news for MP3tunes, too. The court backed the digital firm's claims that its links management service was protected by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act's safe harbour clause, so it could not be liable for any users who used the service to link to illegal music providing the company operated a decent takedown system to remove said links when rights owners spotted them.
So, the safe harbour principle applies to link management services providing they operate an efficient takedown system, that much we know from this ruling. But as for the wider debate as to when digital locker services do or do not need licenses from music companies, that will continue.
EMI welcomed the bits of the ruling that went in its favour, telling reporters: "We are pleased that MP3tunes and Michael Robertson have been held liable for infringing hundreds of sound recordings and musical compositions through their websites. The court's decision confirms that businesses cannot simply pay lip service to the law while undermining the rights of the musicians, artists and writers that create popular music. The decision also proves that company executives that personally contribute to and commit copyright infringement will be held accountable for their actions".
However, the music major added: "At the same time, we're disappointed that the court found that MP3tunes was entitled to a safe harbour for some of its conduct under the DMCA. EMI believes that companies like MP3tunes, which knowingly build a business based on stolen music, should not be entitled to any DMCA safe harbour defence, and we're evaluating our options to seek review of those portions of the decision. We will continue to fight - in this case and in the future - for the rights of our artists and writers, and to ensure that they are always properly compensated every time their music is used in a commercial setting".
In a long statement, Robertson said the summary judgements were a "victory for cloud music" adding that "few companies have been able to stand up to the record labels attacks and get rulings from the court on key issues relevant to the future of internet music. In this case EMI alleged a long list of ways that MP3tunes infringed and nearly all of the arguments were rejected".
He concluded: "Overall this is an enormous victory for MP3tunes and digital music compatriots like Amazon, Google and Grooveshark. It wasn't a complete victory and it's not a final ruling, because there are outstanding issues and both sides can appeal, but we're prepared to continue battling".
AMY WINEHOUSE TOXICOLOGY RESULTS SHOW NO ILLEGAL DRUGS
RIAA APPEALS JAMMIE THOMAS RULING
Yes, even though it means spending even more money on a case that will never see any return, and only serves to make the general public think that record companies are evil, the RIAA is appealing the latest ruling in the long-running Jammie Thomas case.
OK, a quick (by which I mean slightly lengthy) recap: Back in 2005, Jammie Thomas was sent a letter offering her the chance to settle out of court, after it was found that she had shared 24 songs illegally using Kazaa. She refused and was sued by the Recording Industry Association Of America.
At first hearing, Thomas was ordered to pay $222,000 to the record industry in damages, but then the judge overseeing the case decided that hearing hadn't been done right, and ordered a second trial. At that, the jury hearing the case, for reasons best known to themselves, ordered Jammie, a single mother of limited means, to pay $1.92 million in damages. A judge subsequently ruled the jury had got it wrong, and slashed the damages figure to $54,000.
The RIAA, to be fair, was willing to accept that figure, but Jammie, perhaps sensing things were going in her favour, refused to pay even the lower sum. So the RIAA appealed the judge's amendment of the original jury decision, sending the case back into court for a third time, where the jury awarded the record industry $1.5 million in damages.
Then last month, the judge hearing the case ruled that the damages agreed by the jury in the latest trial were "outrageously high" and "appalling", and cut the figure back down to $54,000.
In new documents issued to the appeal court this week, and seen by CNET, the RIAA is asking for that latest ruling to be reconsidered, on the grounds that the judge may have incorrectly applied two sections of the US Copyright Act. And so the case, and the story, and the big fat headache that was the RIAA's sue-the-fans strategy last decade, rumbles on.
BJÖRK AND LAURENCE BELL TO RECEIVE AIM AWARDS
Björk has, of course, built up a hugely successful career, and has remained signed to independent label One Little Indian throughout. She joined the company as a member of The Sugarcubes in 1987. Meanwhile, Bell launched the Domino label by taking advantage of a £40 a week enterprise allowance scheme in 1993, and has gone on to launch the careers of bands such as Franz Ferdinand and the Arctic Monkeys.
They will collect their awards at a ceremony hosted by Steve Lamacq and Huw Stephens at Floridita in Soho on 10 Nov. As well as that, several independent artists will perform live, and another twelve awards will be handed out to independent musicians, labels, entrepreneurs, and festivals.
More information from www.musicindie.com/awards.
MADNESS TO RECORD TENTH ALBUM
Suggs told Digital Spy: "It'll definitely come out next year - hopefully we'll finish it this year. We were hoping to get it done but then we decided to postpone the whole thing because we weren't completely satisfied with what we've done so far. We're working on it and I think it's that thing... when you're young you have all the time in the world. We don't spend 24 hours a day working on music like we used to when we were younger, so you have to do it in batches - sporadic, intense".
The album will be the follow-up to 2009's acclaimed 'The Liberty Of Norton Folgate'.
NEW FLORENCE AND THE MACHINE
The track is a little more restrained than those on her debut album, though some of that shoutyness does creep in. Watch the video below, if you like. The track is also now available from iTunes.
TOM WAITS ANNOUNCES ALBUM
SUMMER CAMP ANNOUNCE DEBUT ALBUM
London-based duo Elizabeth Sankey and Jeremy Warmsley are also offering lots of personalised perks and exclusives (not least homemade brownies, signed merchandise, production sessions, and chances to book the band for your house parties) in exchange for further pledges. More details here: www.pledgemusic.com/projects/summercamp
Better Off Without You
MODS AND ROCKERS UNITE TO CELEBRATE QUADROPHENIA REISSUE
MICHAEL JACKSON FANS CALL FOR CANCELLATION OF TRIBUTE CONCERT
As previously reported, the show is due to take place in Wales on 8 Oct, featuring artists such as Craig David. Earlier this month, there was outrage from fans when it was announced that Kiss had been booked to play. Concerns were raised over an interview Gene Simmons gave last year, in which he said he was certain that Jackson was guilty of child abuse. The band were subsequently dropped from the show. This week it was announced that Beyonce would perform via satellite link-up.
Although the show is endorsed by Jackson's mother and some of his siblings, other members of the Jackson clan have said that holding the concert at a point when Jackson's accused killer, Dr Conrad Murray, will likely still be on trial, is misjudged. Something the fans seem to agree with.
In the letter, they say: "From the timing of this tribute, to the ticketing prices, to the obscurity over what charities will be receiving the donation, to the no-guarantee policy of performers, the addition of Gene Simmons and dishonouring, thus tarnishing Michael Jackson's legacy, was simply the last straw. Please understand that this concert is doomed to fail now. Do the right thing for Michael Jackson and cancel this tribute. There has been one catastrophic mistake after another. We don't feel like it's the tribute he deserves".
You can read the full letter here.
NOEL GALLAGHER'S HIGH FLYING BIRDS ADD EXTRA TOUR DATES
And now, those extra tour dates:
26 Oct: Manchester, Apollo
BBC MUSIC VIDEO FESTIVAL TO KICK OFF NEXT MONTH
For more information check bbcmusicvideofestival.tumblr.com.
FESTIVAL LINE-UP UPDATE
I LOVE TECHNO, Flanders Expo, Ghent, Belgium, 12 Nov: This year's edition of Europe's premiere indoor dance fest is so far set to host the likes of Nero, Digitalism, Fake Blood, Skream vs Benga, Brodinski, Flux Pavilion and Crookers, with more names set to be announced very soon. www.ilovetechno.be
AEG LAUNCHES TICKETS WEBSITE
Called AXS ("access" see), the new service is a product of AEG's previously reported tie up with ticketing technology company Outbox Enterprises, which is led by a former Ticketmaster boss, Fredric D Rosen. AEG Live first started looking for an alternative to Ticketmaster for selling its tickets after the ticketing giant merged with its main competitor, Live Nation. The strategy of Outbox is to enable promoters to take more control of their own ticketing, rather than outsourcing it to agencies.
According to reports, AXS will immediately address some of the complaints consumers often make about Ticketmaster, for example showing ticket prices in the main part of the site that include any additional fees, and not charging any extra fee for people who print out their own tickets, rather than having them mailed to their home (that home-printed tickets also carried an additional booking fee has always been a grievance of Ticketmaster customers).
Although AXS.com will only sell tickets for two of AEG Live's venues at launch, it is clearly a pilot for a much more substantial roll out across the AEG group, which will presumably include, eventually, a launch in the UK, where the live music firm's venue bases include The O2 complex.
NOEL GALLAGHER BRANDS LIAM'S LAWSUIT "VERY SILLY"
In a webchat with fans earlier this week, Noel said: "For the record, it is a fact that Liam was diagnosed with laryngitis and it is fact he had a doctor's note to prove it. But I'd just like to say that if he gets offended by opinions on such things then I apologise. It's all getting very silly and a bit out of hand and it's not very cool".
Check out Noel, looking supremely unperturbed by his and Liam's latest fraternal fallout here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=GYaSJSPqtHw