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MEGAUPLOAD SUES UNIVERSAL OVER YOUTUBE TAKEDOWN
As previously reported, the bit of content at the heart of this dispute is a rather cheesey all-star song featuring Kanye West, Diddy, Snoop Dogg, Will.i.am, Alicia Keys, Lil Jon, Chris Brown and Jamie Foxx, among others, all advocating the use of MegaUpload as a tool for distributing large digital files over the internet. That so many stars would agree to feature in the song was interesting given that the big music and movie companies see sites like MegaUpload, and its rival RapidShare, as a new kind of file-sharing platform that aid rampant online piracy.
The all-star song appeared with an accompanying video on YouTube late last week, but then disappeared, being replaced with a notice saying that Universal had ordered the video be removed on copyright grounds. YouTube, of course, operates a takedown system based on US copyright law, removing content quickly if a third party claims an uploaded video infringes their rights.
MegaUpload founder Kim Schmitz - aka Kim Dotcom - reacted angrily to Universal's copyright action, insisting to Torrentfreak that his company owned all the copyrights in the video and song, and that all participating artists had signed contracts giving his firm permission to use their contribution. He told Torrentfreak: "Those UMG criminals. They are sending illegitimate takedown notices for content they don't own. [It's] dirty tricks in an effort to stop our massively successful viral campaign".
Yesterday it emerged that MegaUpload planned to sue Universal for misuse of the DMCA takedown system. Such a case would not be unprecedented, though would provide a high profile legal action of particular interest to those in both the tech and creative communities who believe big rights owners are routinely abusing the content takedown system provided by US law and operated by sites like YouTube.
Critics claim that the big record companies and movie studios increasingly issue wide-ranging takedown notices, sometimes including content they don't actually own, or against user-uploaded videos where fair use arguably applies, knowing that those user-upload sites that have licensing deals with the big content owners - like YouTube - will err on the side of caution and remove disputed content no questions asked.
However, Universal Music yesterday told Billboard that it issued the takedown request over the MegaUpload song not because of a straight copyright claim, but because one of the company's artists who appears in the video, Island Records-signed Gin Wigmore, says she did not give permission for her contribution to be used. The major added that it was aware other artists who feature in the video had raised similar concerns, and Billboard subsequently reported that lawyers representing Will.i.am had issued their own takedown request relating to the MegaUpload promo.
Any artist currently working under a conventional record contract will be barred from making sound recordings for third parties without their label's consent, and doing so would put them in breach of contract. Such artists would usually therefore be very careful about signing any other agreements regarding participation in a recording project without consulting their label, or at least their lawyers.
Some of the artists who appear in the MegaUpload video do so only briefly providing voxpop style testimonials for the website. It is possible that those artists did not realise their contributions would then be mixed into a cheesy song, making a simple stand alone product endorsement a line in a sound recording, and putting them in breach of their record contracts. Who is in the wrong their would depend on the wording of the written agreements MegaUpload insists it has from all participating artists.
Though a legal rep for MegaUpload insists that all participating acts knew how their contributions would be used. Attorney Ira Rothken told Billboard: "UMG didn't do proper due diligence before sending the takedown notice ... and each of the other artists, including Will.I.Am, signed a broad written agreement allowing the use of their likeness and their statements in the context of the video".
Of course even with such disputes occuring, there's an argument that Universal should not have used copyright law to have the video removed from YouTube, though we don't know the exact wording of the company's submission to the video site, and how much it relied on DMCA rules and how much on YouTube terms. Certainly if this case was to go to court, it would not be a straight forward action regarding to blatant misuse of the DMCA takedown system, and would therefore likely deliver little clarity of what constitutes more general misuse, and the obligations on rights owners to ensure misuse does not occur.
FORMER MUSIC EXEC DIES FROM SHOOTING WOUNDS
As previously reported, Atterberry was shot three times in the face and neck when one Tyler Brehm began randomly shooting into traffic in Hollywood on Friday. Brehm was subsequently killed at the scene, seemingly after taunting police to end the carnage by shooting him. It's thought Brehm had been suffering depression since the end of a four and half year relationship with a former girlfriend. Said girlfriend told reporters that Brehm's actions last week were totally out of character.
Atterberry was a former Death Row Records Vice President, who also set up and ran his own music ventures, including the music publishing business Infusion Music, which collaborated with the likes of Jessica Simpson, Brandy and the Spice Girls. In more recent years he had been involved in event and real estate companies, and had reportedly worked on some film projects too.
Atterberry was in a serious condition in the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center throughout the weekend and died yesterday at 5pm local time. Numerous friends and former colleagues have paid tribute via Atterberry's Facebook page.
MC HAMMER SUED OVER UNPAID TAXES
According to TMZ, court documents show that the government is demanding that any revenue the rapper earns from live appearances is directed straight over to the IRS bank account. Well, at least it'll stop him investing it all in that silly search engine idea of his.
SARAH HARDING SPEAKS ABOUT REHAB STAY
Speaking to Hello!, the singer said: "The day I left for rehab, I was in such a mess. I've been told by those close to me that was when I hit my worst. I was crying hysterically. I felt ashamed, embarrassed, terrified - my emotions were all over the place. I was so down but I just tried to keep busy and, to numb myself, I was drinking more. It was my way of escaping".
BARRY MANILOW UNDERGOES HIP SURGERY
The surgery came a day after Manilow completed a seven year run of shows in Las Vegas. He is expected to take a six week break to recover from the operation, before returning to the stage in Chicago in February.
Confirming the surgery, Manilow said in a statement: "That's what you get when you jump around to 'Copacabana' for 30 years!"
MPG AWARD NOMS ANNOUNCED
Says MPG boss Steve Levine: "An MPG Award is highly coveted by recording professionals because it represents an endorsement by your peers. Whilst anyone can nominate, only full members of the MPG are allowed to vote for the shortlist and therefore the results are relevant to the creative value of our industry. To win an MPG Award shows that you recognised to be at the top of your game as a recording professional".
And here's the noms in full. Meanwhile, why not check out our recent interview with Levine who discussed the art of the record producer, and the impact changes in the industry are having on the profession: www.thecmuwebsite.com/article/qa-steve-levine/
Producer Of The Year: Paul Epworth, Flood, Ethan Johns
Recording Engineer Of The Year: Dan Austin, Haydn Bendall, Geoff Foster
Breakthrough Engineer Of The Year: George Apsion, Tom Morris, Lee Slater
Live Production Of The Year: Later With Jools Holland, Radiohead Live In Praha, The Who Live At Leeds/Hull
More information at www.mpgawards.co.uk
BEST COAST ADDRESS EX-DRUMMER RUMOURS
Having joined Best Coast last year following a flit from her one-time outfit Vivian Girls, Koehler has since toured extensively with Consetino and multi-instrumentalist Bobb Bruno, also featuring in promo shots and interviews as a third member. Though, Consetino now says, that doesn't mean Beat Coast were ever more than a duo, officially speaking. And, despite a series of tweets from Koehler seeming to intimate that her exit from Best Coast was far from voluntary, Consetino insists it was an amicable affair.
Taking to the Beast Coast Facebook wall, she writes: "Best Coast has and always will be Bobb and I. No matter who has joined the band on tour, whatever line-up ensues, the band is simply the two of us. That said, these past two years have been full of nothing but the greatest of memorable adventures and I am so grateful that my friend Ali was a part of them when we were on tour".
She later adds: "One last thing: For those of you who are assuming things, Ali was informed two months ago that our live line-up was changing. There is no bad blood between any of us". Brrr... that's cold.
RADIOHEAD TO RELEASE NEW SINGLE
SINEAD O'CONNOR ANNOUNCES NEW ALBUM
Entitled 'How About I Be Me (And You Be You)?' it will be released through One Little Indian on 21 Feb. Following various one-off performances throughout this year, O'Connor is due to announce a full tour for 2012 shortly.
Listen to two tracks from the new album here: soundcloud.com/sineadoconnor/sets/2-new-songs
MITCH WINEHOUSE WOULD BLOCK BIOPIC SOUNDTRACK
There have been various rumours that such a biopic might be in the works, and the singer's former boyfriend, filmmaker Reg Traviss, recently revealed that he had turned down the opportunity to direct a film abouther life.
Winehouse Senior told The Mail: "It would hardly be a biopic without the music and we'd never allow the songs to be released".
BLANCK MASS TO PLAY DEBUT SHOW
UNIVERSAL EXEC JOINS HOLLYOAKS PRODUCER
Douglas was the popular boss of Radio 2 at the time of the whole Sachsgate debacle, and resigned because of the scandal. She quickly popped back up at Universal where she led the music major's TV division Globe Productions (that's to say the division that actually makes TV programmes, as opposed to Universal Music TV, which we reported on yesterday, which releases compilation albums).
During her time at the music firm she oversaw various projects, in particular a number of pop specials and the 'Popstar To Operastar' show for ITV, as well as spearheading Universal's commercial media partnerships.
In her new role at Lime Pictures, which also makes 'The Only Way Is Essex' and 'Geordie Shore', Douglas will work with the firm's Creative Director Tony Wood to "develop new outlets and commercial deals in the UK and around the world".
Douglas's arrival at Lime in the new year will also mark the beginning of a new strategic partnership between the media company and Universal, which will see the music firm become the telly producer's co-production partner for all music related projects, while Lime will become Universal's preferred partner for any future TV ventures.
Universal UK chief David Joseph told reporters: "This is an ambitious new partnership for us and I'm delighted that we will continue to benefit from Lesley's expertise and talent when she takes up her new role".
AUDIOLOCK SIGNS UP DEFECTED
Confirming the deal, Defected's Promotions Manger Anna Wall told CMU: "AudioLock.NET's watermarking, scanning and takedown platform makes it easy to manage all our promo campaigns securely and effectively allowing us to concentrate on promoting our music".
Meanwhile Audiolock.NET boss Ben Rush added: "We're thrilled that such an iconic label has adopted our forward thinking approach to anti-piracy and we look forward to helping protect their content and supporting their ongoing fight against the music pirates".
BBC LAUNCHES NEW IPLAYER APP FOR APPLE PHONES
New functions include 3G streaming (not previously available on all networks via the mobile site iPlayer), background listening allowing other apps and such like to be used with BBC audio in the background, and 'live channel hopping' to replicate the TV experience with live simulcasts. The Beeb says the new app also has a simpler and more intuitive design, and "greater resilience to network congestion".
The Beeb's Daniel Danker told reporters: "People love using BBC iPlayer on mobiles and tablets, and with 16.5 million programmes watched in October 2011, usage has more than doubled over the last year. With the new app audiences will enjoy catch up and live TV in a simple, easy-to-use mobile experience".
He added: "Today's announcement also means more licence fee payers can enjoy a better experience when using BBC iPlayer on the move, and reflects our ambition to take BBC iPlayer beyond the desktop. We have worked closely with mobile operators to ensure that their networks are ready for iPlayer, and introduced 3G streaming to offer licence fee payers a truly mobile experience".
Elsewhere in Beeb digital content news, BBC Radio yesterday announced that more than a billion podcasts have now been downloaded off the Corporation's platform since it moved into the podcasting space in 2007.
ALEX ZANE TO FRONT NEW INTERACTIVE POP SHOW
The programme is made by production company Silver Bullet Entertainment, whose CEO Neill Sullivan told CMU: "'AZPO' is a fresh, affectionate, fun filled celebration of the often funny and crazy world of music. Whether you're into rock, pop or grime, this show is about taking the music stories that we have shared socially and digitally and that have excited and engaged us this year and having a little bit of fun with them".
More at silver-bullet.tv/popsout/
PEACHES GELDOF ENGAGED TO SCUM SINGER
The Mirror reports that Peaches, speaking at a MAC make-up party in London last week, said: "Yes, I'm engaged! We don't want to get married for a couple of years yet though so don't expect me in a dress yet".
This won't be the first time the 22 year-old presenter/jobbing journalist has decided to get hitched, of course, having married American musician Max Drummey in 2008. I shouldn't really mention any of this, especially not their divorce six months later. Sorry.
COLDPLAY'S X-RATED X-FACTOR GLOWBANDS; THE TRUTH
WE'RE NOT REALLY QUEEN, SAYS BRIAN MAY
May told BBC 6music: "Are we Queen? In a sense we are but in another sense we never can be. We keep getting asked to do things which is great but it's that being Queen thing. I think we'll have to make a film [called] 'Being Queen, What Does It Mean?' The good thing about it is, we are a sort of open book, we can interact with people when it comes up".
Yeah, a film. They haven't done that yet, have they? There's just the tours, the stage show, the re-issues, and of course the never ending official tribute act venture Roger Taylor is working on. Pretty good going for a band whose existence is in question. And of course there's those previously reported planned releases from the Mercury-era archives (albeit limited to a few singles rather than a full album).
On that, May said: "We are not actually working on dredging loads and loads stuff up, we just find stuff now and again that is interesting. There is a couple of very interesting tapes with Freddie singing with Michael Jackson that we're looking at. Those kind of things we can work on together and it's nice that in a sense Freddie is still involved in it".