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WHO WILL JOIN THE WEB BLOCK PARTY? IRELAND, SPAIN, USA?
The Irish government has been slow to introduce new laws to help copyright owners crack down on illegal file-sharing, though, as previously reported, the country's largest ISP, Eircom, has been operating a three-strikes system sending warning letters to suspected file-sharers, as the result of an out of court settlement. But with Eircom's rivals unwilling to introduce similar systems voluntarily, record labels have been calling on ministers to introduce some statutory measures for a while now.
As also previously reported, it's thought the proposed statutory instrument will put in place a web-blocking injunctions system, rather than a forced graduated response programme that orders ISPs to warn individuals about their file-sharing ways. A number of countries have prioritised web blocking over three-strikes in their efforts to crack down on illegal file-sharing, with Spain introducing such a system as we speak, and US political types discussing something similar in Congress.
Despite Irish ministers pledging to help content owners, according to the Irish Times, EMI chief Willie Kavanagh has expressed concerns about the measures they are developing, though that's possibly just because they won't share plans with him ahead of any public announcement. Confirming he'd asked government officials to see the proposals but that they had so far not been forthcoming, the EMI boss said he was starting to believe their measures are "unlikely to satisfy the music industry's requirement for injunctive relief". Ministers are yet to respond to Kavanagh's comments, though it is thought they will go public with their anti-piracy plans within the month.
Talking of anti-file-sharing measures in Spain and the US, such things are moving forward in the former, and still causing controversy in the latter. As previously reported, there were concerns a change in government in Spain could delay the so called Sinde Law, a high speed web blocking system, from getting off the ground, but the country's new executive quickly announced that it would fast track the introduction of the new measures, which were approved by Spain's parliament last year. The new injunctions process should be up and running by March.
Ironically, given Spain's last government was partly motivated to push through the Sinde Law because of pressure from US officials who were critical of Spanish court rulings that said existing copyright law was unable to stop file-sharing, American efforts to introduce similar web-blocking measures are still ongoing, and if US law was decided by public opinion online then the previously reported Stop Online Piracy Act would be thrown out of Congress with no further discussion.
With that in mind, American Universal Music exec Jim Urie, who has been particularly vocal over the years about the need for new laws to help content owners crack down on piracy, has called on the music community to lobby Congressmen in support of the proposed web-blocking measures, which he claims have been misrepresented online and in some media coverage.
In an open letter, Urie says: "Legislation is pending in Congress that would address foreign websites engaged in piracy and counterfeiting, but it has been wildly mischaracterised in the media and blogosphere. The hyperbole has caused a lot of people to contact Congress in opposition to bills that have, in reality, been carefully balanced to ensure that we help bring law and order to the internet without jeopardising the communications tool that is vital to all our lives and livelihoods".
He urges music types to counter the opposition by telling their political representatives they support the proposed legislation.
DUTCH COURTS APPROVE PIRATE BAY BLOCKADE
As previously reported, while one Dutch court ruled that The Pirate Bay's owners are liable for copyright infringement and that the site should be shut down, when BREIN sought an injunction to force internet service provider Ziggo to stop its customers from accessing the rogue BitTorrent site (because TPB is actually outside the Dutch court's jurisdiction, making the first ruling hard to enforce) another court ruled no such injunction could be issued.
In a hearing last July Dutch judges expressed concern that some people might use The Pirate Bay to access legitimate content (ie that which has been put online via BitTorrent by the content owner) and therefore it would be wrong for an ISP to block access to the site completely (even though that other Dutch court had ordered the site be taken offline altogether).
But on appeal, judges accepted arguments by BREIN that the amount of content legitimately shared via The Pirate Bay is minimal, and that that legitimate content is accessible anyway without The Pirate Bay being operational. As a result both Ziggo and another ISP called XS4ALL, who voluntarily joined the action to support its rival, have ten days to put a block in place.
Of course all web blocks can be circumvented if a user knows what they are doing (there have been many reports online of users successfully getting round BT's block of the Newzbin file-sharing site in the UK), but rights owners would argue the majority of web users will not know how to get round any blockade, or wouldn't be inclined to try, and that such moves are therefore valuable even if they are not 100% effective.
MURRAY LAWYERS REPRESENT SELF-ADMINISTRATION THEORY FOR RESTITUTION HEARING
As much previously reported, Murray was found guilty last year of causing Jackson's death by providing negligent treatment as the singer's personal doctor, in particular by administering the anaesthetic propofol as a cure for insomnia. Murray's defence claims that Jackson must have self-administered the fatal shot of the drug. Witnesses for the prosecution said that was very unlikely, but anyway, even if the singer had managed to inject the propofol that killed him, Murray would still have been negligent for allowing the drug to be accessible to a patient.
Murray has said he can't afford to rehire his defence team for a planned appeal, but they are still working on the issue of restitution relating to the guilty verdict, ie what Murray should pay Jackson's children for their loss caused by his negligence. The prosecution are pushing for $100 million, based on what the singer would have earned from the 'This Is It' residency he was booked to play when he died. The defence are proposing something much more modest, not least because Murray could never afford to pay $100 million.
Given the guilty verdict, Murray's defence team can't dispute their client's liability for Jackson's death, but they are reportedly hoping that the evidence to support their theory the singer might have personally contributed to his own death might convince the judge to award the late king of pop's family less money. Though given that, at one point during Murray's actual trial, judge Michael Pastor seemed to be actually angered by Murray's suggestion Jackson was to blame for his own demise, I'm not sure it will.
KIEDIS FOOT INJURY POSTPONES CHILIS TOUR
An official statement confirms that the 49 year old needs time to recuperate from recent surgery "to removed a crushed sesamoid bone and correct a detached flexor tendon", though it doesn't specify what caused the injuries in the first place.
Kiedis is expected to be performance-ready by late March, when the first of the revised dates is scheduled to take place.
FESTIVAL AWARDS PRESENTED
Best Major European Festival: Sziget Festival (Hungary)
Best Newcomer: James Blake
And now a quote from Festival Awards chief James Drury: "The further growth of the European Festival Awards and another record-breaking event highlights just how important festivals are to people across the continent. It's testament to the hard work and passion of everyone involved with festivals that they continue to be so popular. With Glastonbury being the inspiration for so many festivals, I was especially delighted to welcome Michael Eavis to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award. He has been seminal in the success of the festival scene around the world".
BORDER BREAKERS GONGS DISHED OUT
As a reminder, here's the full list of Border Breakers winners this year:
Elektro Guzzi (Austria)
Anna Calvi said to CMU of her win: "I am really honoured to have won this award. My father is Italian, my mother grew up in Switzerland. I don't just feel English, I feel very European and it's been really important for me that the record has done well in Europe as a whole".
And for you Irish readers out there, we even got a quote from your border breaking man James Vincent McMorrow who performed two songs at the Border Breakers Awards event: "This is fantastic. I was here at Eurosonic last year and it was here where it all began. From then on it led to incredible things and this award means a lot to me".
CHOICE MUSIC PRIZE SHORTLIST ANNOUNCEMENT
And So I Watch You From Afar - Gangs (Richter Collective)
Commenting on the shortlist, Meadhbh Quinn of the award's mobile firm sponsor Meteor told CMU: "Today's shortlist is representative of the vast wealth of musical talent we have in Ireland today. Meteor has a longstanding association with music, it resonates with our customers and we are passionate about supporting and celebrating Irish musical talent within the country. Our work with the Choice Music Prize gives us the opportunity to share the best of Irish music with Meteor customers".
KATY B WORKING WITH GUY CHAMBERS
MEAT LOAF RECRUITS RAPPERS FOR WORLD-WEARY NEW LP
Speaking in praise of Chuck D's contribution to the record, a cover of Tom Cochrane's 'Mad Mad World', the rocker says: "Chuck D is the rapper's rapper. He is the original, and every rapper that has come after him wants to be like him. For us to have him on this record is a major coup and I am so impressed with what he wrote!"
And as self-explanatory as his motivation for making the album may seem, Meat is nonetheless keen to explain it. "'Hell In A Handbasket' is the most personal record I've ever made", he says. "It's about how I feel the world's gone to hell in a handbasket. It's really the first record that I've ever put out about how I feel about life and how I feel about what's going on at the moment".
MADONNA ANNOUNCES ALBUM TITLE
As previously reported, the album will be Madonna's first under her new deal with Universal/Interscope and will be released in March.
THREE TRAPPED TIGERS ANNOUNCE REMASTERED EPS BUNDLE
The record is available for pre-order via the band's label Blood & Biscuits now: bloodandbiscuits.bigcartel.com/product/three-trapped-tigers-numbers-1-13-cd
DIPLO'S NEW BOOK AND CRUISE LINER HELL
It's entitled '128 Beats Per Minute: Diplo's Visual Guide To Music, Culture, And Everything In Between' (so a sort of 'world according to Diplo', then), and will comprise a collage of photographs, playlists and commentary arranged into chapters according to country. Featuring a foreword by fashion designer Alexander Wang, the book will be available via Universe Publishing in April.
Elsewhere in stuff involving Diplo, a party cruise liner bearing the dancehall DJ ran aground last week after striking some sand dunes. The likes of Skrillex, Tommy Lee and Korn (yes, really) were also aboard the 'Holy Ship', which was stranded for a day in Grand Bahama having run into (and damaged) a good-sized slab of underwater reef.
Mixmag reports that some of the boat's 2500 revellers were heard screaming "We're all going to die!", though that may have actually been caused by Skrillex starting up his afternoon set in the tikki lounge. No passengers were harmed, though the same can't necessarily be said for the rare corals and the livelihoods of local fishermen.
Here's a very conscientious video of the incident: www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ZQKpFHbZ04
GRAHAM COXON ANNOUNCES ALBUM, SUMMONS LOCAL BANDS AS TOUR SUPPORT
Having worked with producer Ben Hillier (Elbow, Doves, Blur's 'Think Tank') on his eighth studio long player, which is due out via EMI/Parlophone on 2 Apr, Coxon defines the LP as: "Improvisations, experiments in beats, rhythms. A chance to uninhibitedly make some sort of perversely sad, danceable and funny and despondent songs".
He has also put out a call for local bands in possession of "punk rock spirit" to compete to provide regional support on his forthcoming tour, inviting aspiring acts to submit their videos to toursupport.grahamcoxon.co.uk. Fans are then asked to nominate their favourites, from which Graham will choose an opening act for each venue.
Speaking about the venture, which is held in partnership with NME, he says: "We'll just see what we find, I'm quite interested in having a variety of different types of music really. It doesn't have to be guitar-y drums punk-y stuff, it doesn't have to be in any way sounding like up-to-the-minute, all the rage. I'm quite open minded".
13 Apr: Oxford, Academy,
ENTER SHIKARI TOUR
Spokesman Rou Reynolds says this of his band's honourable intentions with their latest release: "We want to make people feel unified, empowered and positive, acting as a balance to all the negativity around us. It's time for us to stand up. It's time for us to shout loud. Because the clock is ticking for every one of us..."
Well in that case, you'd better have a look at these tour dates, and be quick about it:
16 Jan: London, Borderline
NEW YORK SOUND CITY ANNOUNCES INITIAL LINE UP
Set to appear at the convention are a trio of indie label founders from both sides of the Atlantic, Wall Of Sound's Mark Jones, Ultra Records' Patrick Moxey and Gee Street's Jon Baker, plus Michael Cohen from New York booking agency AM Only. Panels will cover the access v ownership debate, New York hip hop, and relations between the UK and US music industries.
New York's Hudson Hotel will host the convention on 12 Mar, with gigs set to take place at Webster Hall. CMU approved act Outfit are among the new bands to play, while - as previously reported - Scouse old timers The La's will also sing some songs.
More here: www.newyorksoundcity.com
OL' DIRTY BASTARD'S FBI FILE APPEARS ONLINE
Amongst the nuggets of information in the 93 page file, it is revealed that the FBI began monitoring The Wu-Tang Clan's activities in 1999, believing that its members were "heavily involved in the sale of drugs, illegal guns, weapons possession, murder, carjacking and other types of violent crime". It adds that "once individuals have proved themselves as good and loyal members" of the group, they would be "offered record contracts to record rap type music".
As for ODB, who died of a drugs overdose in 2004, the report details the rappers numerous arrests and criminal convictions dating as far back as 1987, from the "unlawful wearing of a body vest" to attempted murder.
See the full report here: gun.io/blog/i-got-ol-dirty-bastards-fbi-file/
1D STYLES DENIES NAKED PHOTO IS HIM
Fans online, possibly with too much times on their hands, have since undertaken forensic investigations to convince themselves the cock shot is genuine: it's his hair, he's wearing the silver dog tag chain thing he wore on 'X-Factor', the bathroom where the picture is taken looks like the one in the house where 'X' contestants stay, boxer short shots clearly show the pop teen is well endowed, that Styles liked to get naked was a running gag on the talent show etc etc etc. There was also a rumour that One Direction's management tried to have the tweet that originally linked to the photo taken down, which, if true, might suggest it's the real deal.
You're not interested in seeing the photo at the centre of the debate of course, so there's no need to check this blog here. And you've not got time to examine the "proof" it's the real deal, though fans on a gay chat room called FM Forums seem to have gone to the most lengths to convince you it is, here.
But take note, Styles insists that the half-naked guy in the photo is some other mop-topped dude who likes exposing his genitals for the camera - and to be fair, if the internet has taught us anything, it's that lots of mop-topped dudes who like exposing their genitals for the camera exist.