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GOVERNMENT OPENS COPYRIGHT CONSULTATION
The consultation will mainly focus on expanding the so called fair use - or, technically in English law, 'fair dealing' - provisions in UK copyright law, which allow the use of copyright work without permission in certain circumstances. Some of the proposals would bring UK fair use rules more inline with similar provisions in American and/or European copyright systems.
Up for discussion are the introduction of a private copy right, a parody right, and the expansion of fair dealing for non-commercial research and other educational practices. Procedures for dealing with so called orphan works where copyright owners are unidentifiable will also be considered, as will the possibility of statutory provisions to encourage and enable more voluntary collective licensing, especially in the digital space.
Confirming the consultation, which will run through to next March, the Minister for Intellectual Property Judith Wilcox said: "The government is focused on boosting growth, and some freeing up of existing copyright legislation can deliver real value to the UK economy without risking our excellent creative industries. We are encouraging businesses to come forward with thoughts and evidence on our proposals to help us achieve this".
Although the music industry was generally relieved with the recommendations made by Professor Hargreaves, with some initially expecting more radical proposals to limit certain copyrights, the music rights sector is still likely to air some concerns during this new consultation, and will urge the government to adopt a conservative approach to any new fair use concessions.
Likely to cause most tension - both within and outside political circles - is the private copy right, which allows consumers to legally make back up copies of CDs, usually onto a PC, digital music device or CDR, for private use.
Although the music industry has, for a number of years, been basically supportive of the introduction of such a right, recognising the current rule - forbidding such private copies - is ridiculous because no one obeys it, labels and music publishers are likely to push for the introduction of some sort of levy on certain devices as compensation for the private copy right, as exists elsewhere in Europe. This will cause some controversy because Hargreaves proposed no such levy be provided. Therefore such a move will likely result in yet more bad PR for the "money grabbing" music business (as they will almost certainly be portrayed in the tech press), and for arguably modest returns in the long term.
Cross-sector trade body UK Music yesterday indicated that it would lobby for some compensation for rights owners as part of any new private copy right. They told reporters: "Clearly, there is a case for updating the UK's copyright framework in some areas. For instance, making it lawful for a person to copy their CDs to their iPod for private use is a long overdue reform - and one where the UK is at odds with the rest of Europe. UK Music believes that music fans in this country should enjoy the same clarity as those in France or Germany. Likewise, musicians, composers and music businesses in this country should enjoy parity with their European counterparts".
UK Music, which will respond for the music industry to the government's wide-ranging review (as may other trade bodies representing specific strands of the music business), also questioned some of the assumptions made by Hargreaves and the government regards the economic potential of expanding the fair use principle of British copyright law, fearing that over ambitious growth figures could cloud judgement if and when parliament is asked to weigh up the relative interests of copyright owners and users.
Says UK Music: "The ten recommendations made by the [Hargreaves] Review, it is asserted, will add between 0.3 and 0.6 percent to annual GDP growth - up to £7.9 billion per annum. From the evidence presented so far, UK Music believes that these growth projections are overstated and unrealistic, and are based upon underlying assumptions that are deeply flawed. Added to this is a very real danger that poorly targeted or ideologically driven changes to copyright law could instead undermine growth, both for the UK's creative sector and those digital businesses dependent upon our valuable content".
Expect plenty of copyright debate in the new year then. Which is something to look forward to, surely?
CONRAD MURRAY LAWYER CRITICISES JAIL CONDITIONS
Charles Peckham, who is working for Murray on the civil cases the doctor's faces, says it is "offensive" that his client is being kept in isolation and heavily shackled.
Likening Murray's incarceration to that dealt out to Anthony Hopkins' character in the Hannibal Lecter movies, Peckham told the Associated Press: "Treating him like Hannibal Lecter is offensive. This man who saved lives made a mistake, and they're going to make him pay like a mass-murderer".
Similar concerns have previously been noted by the lawyers who represented Murray in his criminal case. However, a spokesman for the LA Sheriff, who is overseeing Murray's jail time, insists the nature of the doctor's incarceration is for the medic's own safety, rather than punishment, citing earlier fears that the prisoner was suicidal, and also potential threats from other prisoners given the notoriety of his crime and the prominence of his victim.
A spokesman for the LA County Jail system told reporters: "[Murray] is a real target because of his notoriety and because of the Michael Jackson connection. We're just being extra cautious right now. This is because of his notoriety. It's not so much the crime itself".
Peckham is representing Murray in the wrongful death lawsuit being pursued by Joe Jackson. As previously reported, Murray plans to also appeal his criminal conviction and sentence, though this week asked for a public-funded attorney to oversee that case due to a lack of funds following the legal costs of his initial trial.
MC HAMMER RESPONDS TO TAX RUMOURS
Writing on Twitter, Hammer said: "700k... Don't get too excited. I paid them already and kept my receipt. Stamped by a US Federal Judge".
CLIVE ROBBINS DIES
Birmingham-born Robbins began to work in music education after a serious injury while serving in the RAF brought to a premature end a promising career as a pianist. He became a teacher for Sunfield Children's Homes in the Midlands, which provided education based upon the educational philosophies of the Austrian philosopher Rudolf Steiner. He primarily worked with mentally disabled children, something he later described as "the first profoundly fulfilling experience of my life".
It was at Sunfield that he met American musician Paul Nordoff, who was fascinated by Steiner's philosophies. Nordoff spent some time at Sunfield in 1958, and was so impressed with what he saw that he returned a year later to explore his growing interest in the therapeutic potential of music. And so the ground breaking work that is now synonymous with the name Nordoff-Robbins began.
The two men spent much of the 60s touring curative homes and educational institutions, first across Europe, and then the US, advocating, promoting and teaching what they called therapy in music. They showed how some of the most disabled and unreachable children could be persuaded to participate, and to build social and self-awareness, discipline and concentration, by being encouraged and enabled to play simple musical compositions. Or, as the Nordoff-Robbins charity put it: "Placed in front of a snare drum and cymbal, these children revealed their sensitivities and their expressive, receptive and relational abilities in their musical responses".
It was a prolific period in which Robbins and Nordoff developed their approaches, and shared their work through lectures, publications and media exposure. Six years in Philadelphia allowed more formal research to be undertaken, funded by the US National Institute Of Mental Health, and later the two men spent seven years in Europe lecturing via the American-Scandinavian Foundation. Over the years individuals and organisations across the world became specialists in music therapy based on Robbins and Nordoff's work.
The two men's working partnership came to an end in 1974 for various reasons, but their work, ideas and names lived on, not least because the same year in the UK one Sybil Beresford-Peirse, who had set up a music therapy centre at Goldie Leigh Hospital in South London, established the first full-time Nordoff-Robbins training programme. With support from the UK music industry, this programme grew throughout the 70s, and morphed into the Nordoff-Robbins charity in 1980.
Robbins himself returned to the US in 1975 and remarried. With his new wife, also a music therapist, he took various roles at US institutions furthering the music therapy cause, while also continuing to lecture in Europe. In the 1980s they moved to Australia where they founded a Nordoff-Robbins Association, and then in 1989 they were involved in the creation of the Nordoff-Robbins Center for Music Therapy at New York University.
Robbins remained active throughout all of his life, with links to the various Nordoff-Robbins organisations. In more recent years he was particularly active in South East Asia, where his teachings and approaches not only saw an expansion of music therapy work, but were also applied to other medical disciplines.
Paying tribute earlier this week, the Nordoff-Robbins charity in the UK wrote: "Clive's gift was to help Paul Nordoff harness his musicianship, set a direction, documenting the work and finding a language for communicating their ideas. By the end of his life, beloved around the world across a variety of cultures, Clive had inspired thousands with his love, emotion and sensitivity, his embracing personality and humanistic values. His often rapturous descriptions of the power of music and its impact on the emotional states of human experience were profoundly moving to the many who heard and shared his passion for music and people".
Robbins died on 7 Dec, and is survived by his third wife, two children and various grand-children and great grand-children, and, as Nordoff-Robbins puts it, "the global community of Nordoff-Robbins music therapists - all heirs to his knowledge and life's work".
EMELI SANDÉ NAMED BRITS CRITICS' CHOICE
Although Sandé's profile as a performer has been rising fast over the course of this year, having had a number two hit with 'Heaven' in August, she has previously co-written songs for the likes of Cheryl Cole, Chipmunk, Susan Boyle and Tinie Tempah, as well as appearing on Wiley's 2010 top ten hit 'Never Be Your Woman' and Professor Green's number one 'Read All About It'.
She said of the win: "To win a BRIT Award so early in my career is beyond a dream come true. I am overwhelmed to be the recipient of such a prestigious award. Thank you so much".
MADONNA SIGNS INTERSCOPE DEAL
Madonna, of course, has an existing multi-layered partnership with Live Nation which includes her recording activity now that she is out of her previous recording contract with Warner Music. Though original plans by the live music conglom when it entered into so called 360 degree arrangements with four A-list artists back in 2007, to have a specific division handling that side of things never really got off the ground, so it's seemed likely for a while any future Madonna album releases would be in partnership with a major.
It's thought the deal with Interscope will be for three albums, the first of which will be released in January around about the singer's appearance at the Super Bowl. Universal and Live Nation, which are already collaborating elsewhere on a new artist partnerships business, will announce the Madonna deal later today.
DAVE GROHL PREPARING FOR NEXT FOO FIGHTERS ALBUM
In a blog post on the band's official website he said: "Thank you all for making 'Wasting Light' the most incredible album experience of our band's seventeen year history. For real ... And to all of you, we're not finished yet. There are still more shows to play, more songs to write, more albums to record, for years to come. I mean, if you would have told me seventeen years ago that in 2012 I would be writing songs for our eighth studio album... well..."
MUMFORD & SONS RECORDING "DOOM FOLK" ALBUM
Dwane told Rolling Stone: "[It's] certainly more mature, I'd say. The second record is just a reflection of our mindsets, where we're all at. It's doom folk, kind of like Black Sabbath meets Nick Drake".
See if you can get any of that from Mumford keyboard player Ben Lovett's CMU playlist: www.thecmuwebsite.com/article/ben-lovett-from-mumford-sons-powers-of-ten-playlist/
METALLICA RELEASE DIGITAL EP
Announcing the release, the band said: "During the 'Death Magnetic' album sessions in 2007 and 2008, we originally recorded fourteen songs. When it came time to pick the songs for the final album, we decided on ten songs that you've all come to know over the last three years ... We kept [the other four] in the vault and decided to pull them just for this special celebration, so here are the four leftover tracks from the 'Death Magnetic' sessions. They are ROUGH mixes, unfinished to their original degree of mixing from March 2008. These four songs were released as gift to our closest fans, the members of our fan club, to enjoy. Now they're being made available to you".
There is also word that fans can expect an announcement of something extra special as part of the ongoing celebrations in mid-January.
The tracks on 'Beyond Magnetic' are named thus:
THE SHINS SET FOR NEW LP
APPARATJIK ANNOUNCE NEW ALBUM
The band will now be accepting collaborations, remixes and other ideas for the record via their Facebook page, and will release an updated version each week until the final release. You can join in at www.facebook.com/apparatjik and listen to the first draft of album track 'Time Police' here: soundcloud.com/apparatjik/time-police-draft-1
THOSE DARLINS TO RELEASE DEBUT ALBUM
Watch the video for the album's title track here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=0tzfzN0MyhU
And here's the album's full tracklist:
Screws Get Loose
WU LYF ANNOUNCE TOUR
CHILDISH GAMBINO BOOKS LONDON SHOWS
IMPALA CALLS FOR REVIEW OF VAT ON MUSIC
IMPALA argues that VAT systems in many European countries unfairly penalise both music and online businesses. They said in a statement yesterday: "Currently, some cultural goods are eligible for a reduced VAT rate, while others - such as recorded music - are not. Additionally, some cultural goods benefit from a reduced VAT rate offline, while the standard VAT rate is applied online. IMPALA believes a clearer VAT system would reduce business and consumer confusion, end the illogical discrimination between cultural products, reduce administrative burden on SMEs, boost access to culture and make Europe's online market more competitive internationally".
IMPALA Executive Chair Helen Smith added: "IMPALA renews its call to the European Commission and member states for equal VAT treatment of all cultural goods and services online and offline. The current situation, whereby cultural goods and services are not subject to the same VAT rate, is illogical, discriminatory and harmful to Europe's economy".
LIVE NATION BUYS BIGCHAMPAGNE
Live Nation will be interested in BigChampagne's abilities to profile online music and entertainment consumers, but are also looking for expertise to help then crunch and utilise the vast amounts of online data they themselves hold, especially via the Ticketmaster ticketing business.
Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino was quoted as saying: "We love the basics of what they've created, and love the idea of taking an incredible amount of fan data off and online and merging that into a relevant database of what artists are most popular and relevant to today's consumer".
As part of the acquisition, BigChampagne founder and CEO Eric Garland will become GM of livenation.com, while other founder Joe Fleischer will be Senior VP of Content & Product Strategy for Live Nation's online operations.
RADIO 1 ANNOUNCES PROMOTIONS
Meanwhile Nicola Di Tullio, currently Business Manager, will become Network Manager for the two stations. I think that promotion is related to the departure of Radio 1's Managing Editor Tarrant Steele, who is leaving the nation's favourite after fifteen years working there.
Look, some quotes.
Rhys Hughes: "I'm delighted to be taking on the role of Head of Programmes for Radio 1 and 1Xtra and leading the editorial direction of both stations and I'm excited about the challenges that we face to move both youth networks forward in the digital world".
Nicola Di Tullio: "It will be my pleasure to ensure that the business is run in the most effective and efficient way to ensure the best for our young listeners. Not only do I have the personal and professional passion for the stations, but I care enormously for the people who work here".
Ben Cooper: "Rhys is passionate about new music, and making great radio for young audiences. I believe his experience, energy and ideas will support me in driving both networks forward. In Nicola I have a first class leader and someone that can inspire and motivate our teams. In addition to the safe keeping of our budgets, she is skilled at managing large scale organisational change, like the smooth transition to Broadcasting House which will take place next year - this will be a really big moment in Radio 1's history".
R KELLY ANNOUNCES CRUISE
The special 'Love Letter Cruise', named after Kelly's 2010 album, will tour The Bahamas and feature a performance by the man himself. The first such cruise will take place next October, with tickets from $999 to $2999.
The jaunt will hopefully prove lucrative for Kelly, because he could do with the cash. The singer has reportedly put his Chicago home on the market to avoid having it repossessed, according to the Chicago Tribune.
It was reported that Kelly had defaulted on his mortgage with JPMorgan Chase Bank back in June and was facing foreclosure. The property is nowon the market for $1.6 million. He is also facing a tax bill of $837,000, so bring on the cruising I say.