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EMI FAILS TO SECURE SUMMARY JUDGEMENT IN REDIGI DISPUTE
As previously reported, ReDigi emerged on the scene this time last year, allowing users to resell their MP3 collections. It's not the first time such a service has been proposed, though past efforts - most notably Bopaboo - didn't stick around for long.
The problem with ReDigi, as far as copyright owners are concerned, is what's to stop a seller selling the same MP3 again and again. And, if you want to be technical about it, even if the seller did delete his or her version of an MP3 once they'd sold a copy to one person, that doesn't alter the fact that a mechanical copy of the file has been made without licence, which is different to reselling a CD (allowed in the US under the so called 'first sale doctrine'), where no new copy is made.
For its part ReDigi insist that its technology both checks the authenticity of the original file (so, in theory, a user can't download half a file-sharing network for free and then re-sell it) and ensures the seller deletes their copy after sale. The company also says its lawyers have given their business model the all clear. Though legal reps for labels doubt ReDigi's technology would be capable of ensuring authenticity or file deletion, and as such interpret US copyright law on this issue very differently.
The Recording Industry Association Of America issued a cease and desist last year, but it was EMI which was first to file legal proceedings last month, asking the US courts to force ReDigi to remove any of its content from the resale platform, and to award damages. The major asked for a summary judgement, something that - as also previously reported - bothered Google somewhat, which feels that the ReDigi case raises some copyright questions relevant to the wider digital locker market.
They made a so called an amicus curiae filing with the court last week requesting the judge ensure this case went to a full trial. Judge Richard Sullivan declined to accept Google's input on the case, but yesterday pretty much concurred with the web giant when he decided that it would be inappropriate to find in EMI's favour without giving its claim full consideration, mainly because he didn't feel the major had proven "irreparable harm" in its initial legal papers.
ReDigi told the court that an immediate ruling in EMI's favour would put the company out of business, and therefore welcomed yesterday's decision, even though Sullivan also rejected its call for the case to be dismissed without delay.
According to the digital company's statement on the hearing, Judge Sullivan said that this case centred on a "fascinating issue" that "raises a lot of technological and statutory issues". The judge added that he expected the case, when it is fully considered in court, to cover various topics. Whether the aforementioned first sale doctrine applies on the net for starters, obviously, but also what the word 'copy' actually means in the context of US copyright law in the digital age, whether there is a 'public performance' when digital files are moved across the net, and what liabilities fall on the provider of file-transfer platforms and cloud-lockers if customers use them to infringe. If this case really does get to the bottom of all or any of those extra issues, it will be fascinating indeed.
Though an in-depth court-based discussion about the very nature of copyright on the internet sounds expensive, and presumably the digital start-up doesn't want to spend all of the half a million dollars of funding it reportedly raised last summer on legal fees. Some in the digital start-up community may, therefore, wonder whether ReDigi will last the distance to truly test the principles at the heart of its business model.
Dmitry Shapiro, founder of now defunct YouTube competitor Veoh, might reluctantly caution against taking on a well-funded major content owner on grey areas of American copyright law, his much previously reported legal fight with Universal Music putting him out of business, even though Veoh eventually won the court battle. Shapiro recently wrote about his experiences, as copyright issues occupied the front pages in America amid Wikipedia's SOPA protest, and it makes for interesting reading: minglewing.com/w/sopa-pipa/4f15f882e2c68903d2000004/uncensored-a-personal-experience-with-dmca-umg
Though, while the exact obligations of content-sharing platforms, when it comes to the takedown systems it operates to ensure protection under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, are a very grey area indeed (or at least they were prior to the Veoh and subsequent Viacom v YouTube rulings), EMI might argue that the basic copyright issues in the ReDigi case are more straightforward, and that it won't take too much legal debate to find the start-up is enabling copyright infringement. Though, of course, a quick resolution to that effect is no use to ReDigi, even if speed would cut legal costs.
PIRATE PARTY SUPPORTS DAY OF PROTEST OVER ACTA
ACTA has been a long time in development, and has come in for criticism in some circles throughout its creation, mainly for the secrecy that seemed to be attached to negotiations on the treaty. The closed door nature of said negotiations was criticised in itself, with allegations that negotiators were trying to stifle public debate, while the confidential nature of talks led to wild allegations about what anti-piracy measures the treaty may contain, most of which turned out not to be true.
In fact, supporters of the treaty insist the final agreement - signed by various countries last October, and the EU and most of its member nations last month - is nowhere near as radical as opponents claim, with European officials saying that everything in the treaty is already law in the EU, and simply obligates other participating countries to bring their IP systems in line.
But, mainly in the wake of last month's SOPA/PIPA protests in the US, opposition to ACTA is mounting after the fact, even though none of the more controversial proposals in the American bills actually feature in the global agreement.
There were protests in Poland ahead of last months EU signing, and now the Czech Republic's government is reportedly having second thoughts about the agreement, while Slovakia - which hasn't yet actually signed ACTA in its own right - is saying a public debate is now required, and according to The Register the collapse of government in Romania (after opposition to austerity measures) might result in new ministers there also walking away from the IP treaty.
New opposition in Europe has a date to rally to because, while the EU and many of its members have already signed the treaty, the whole thing is still to go before the European Parliament in June. And a French MEP charged with the task of reviewing the agreement was pretty damning of the way it had been constructed in a statement last month. Saturday has been earmarked for a day of global protests against the agreement, with various rallies, mainly in Europe, but also in the US and Australia, having been announced so far.
That includes protests in London, Glasgow and Nottingham, which The Pirate Party threw its backing behind yesterday. Their leader Loz Kaye said: "We saw what the combination of protest and political pressure achieved with the dropping of SOPA. But the threats to digital rights and civil liberties aren't over. It's vital that we send a clear message that the people of Europe don't want ACTA".
BLACK SABBATH FORGE AHEAD WITHOUT BILL WARD
In a statement, the band said on Friday: "We were saddened to hear yesterday via Facebook that Bill declined publicly to participate in our current Black Sabbath plans. We have no choice but to continue recording without him although our door is always open. We are still in the UK with Tony, writing and recording the new album and on a roll".
Of course, if they'd read Ward's statement properly, they'd have seen that he didn't say he was declining to participate. He actually wrote that he was all ready to head over to the UK to get on with recording sessions for the new album, but that he felt the contract he had been asked to sign didn't properly represent his contribution to the band.
Whatever, Thrash Hits has put together a great analysis of this squabble here: www.thrashhits.com/2012/02/lets-read-between-the-lines-of-the-black-sabbathbill-ward-split-shall-we/
TULISA WORKING WITH CHERYL COLE PRODUCER ON SOLO LP
The pair first collaborated back in 2010, when Kouame was credited on N-Dubz's third and final album 'Love. Live. Life'. Def Jam's Max Gousse, also involved in the making of that N-Dubz LP, is said to be managing the A&R aspect of Tulisa's solo venture.
Despite rumours that progress on the unnamed LP had stalled due to Contostavlos' split with one-time N-Dubz affiliate, solo album collaborator and boyfriend Richard 'Fazer' Rawson, it remains slated for a May release.
COXON INVITES FANS TO APPEAR IN VIDEO
Stock movements, as specified by video director Ninian Doff, include a complicated swivel-spin thing, slow-motion arm wiggling, and hip gyrations at the top of some steps.
With the deadline for submissions set for 14 Feb, the final cut will feature thousands of clips, with Coxon's personal favourites winning signed copies of the new album 'A+E' (released 2 Apr) and gig tickets. Full details here: www.grahamcoxon.co.uk/whatllittake/
Oh and here's a demonstration of the movements required, courtesy of a very unselfconscious man:
LISSIE PREPS COVERS EP
Says Lissie of her version of Kid Cudi's 'Pursuit Of Happiness', a mainstay of her live set for several years now and one of the other tracks on the EP: "I love the defiance in it and I just love performing it because it helps towards getting out my aggression and makes me feel strong overall".
See Lissie perform that very song, as filmed at The Great Escape in 2010, here:
HERE WE GO MAGIC DETAIL LP
Here We Go Magic will release the long player via Secretly Canadian on 7 May. If you happen to own a tipi (or even if not) you can listen to 'Make Up Your Mind' via the widget below, or click here to download it for free: pitchfork.com/news/45332-here-we-go-magic-announce-new-album/
MADONNA CONFIRMS MDNA TOUR
And after the singer's proclamation last week that her fans should be pleased to hand over as much of their cash as possible in order to spend ninety minutes in her glorious vicinity, I'm sure you'll all be rushing to buy the £125 tickets for her Hyde Park show on 17 Jul, and not those £70 tickets. Presumably fans who opt for the latter option will be given a stern telling off on arriving at the concert, and then moved to St James Park and told to have a jolly good think about what they've done.
Scottish fans who go to see Madonna play Edinburgh's Murrayfield Stadium on 21 Jul can even opt for a £45 ticket. I'm not sure what Team Madge are trying to say about you Scots out there with those bargain basement prices, but once you've got your independence I suggest you appoint a new queen of pop for your fair nation, and banish Ms Ciccone forever. As for a replacement, I suggest you have Annie Lennox and Sharleen Spiteri arm wrestle for the honour, best of three. The Lennox/Spiteri Arm Wrestle Off, now there's something I'd pay £125 to see.
Anyway, it's possible I've got a little off topic here. Madonna's world tour kicks off in Tel Aviv on 29 May, and look, the boss of her business partners Live Nation's Global Touring unit, Arthur Fogel, has said some words and stuff: "Madonna's track record as a world class entertainer and touring artist speaks for itself. Her artistry, talent and creative productions get bigger and better with each tour and Madonna 2012 will be no exception. We are thrilled to have her back on the road and know her fans feel the same".
BBC 6MUSIC TO TAKE OVER SOUTHBANK CENTRE FOR TENTH ANNIVERSARY
Well so do the folks over at the BBC digital station. They've booked out London's Southbank Centre's three live music venues, Queen Elizabeth Hall, The Purcell Room and The Front Room, for a night of music and contemplative nodding (this is 6music, after all) on 16 Mar.
Amongst those so far confirmed to perform are Gruff Rhys, Laura Marling, Anna Calvi, Lianne La Havas and Beth Jeans Houghton And The Hooves of Destiny.
More information here: www.bbc.co.uk/6music/events/6music-celebrates-10-years/
A$AP ROCKY ANNOUNCES TOUR
5 Jun: London, Electric Ballroom
FRIENDS TO TOUR
6 May: Newcastle, Digital
PERFUME GENIUS PLOTS LIVE DATES
In addition to a couple of shows at London's St Pancras Old Church, the tour will also include a slot at Brighton's Unitarian Church as part of this year's Great Escape festival. Thank goodness for that.
The very affecting video for gossamer LP feature 'Hood' (free to download here) is screening below these dates:
7 May: Sheffield, Lantern Theatre
FESTIVAL LINE-UP UPDATE
ISLE OF WIGHT FESTIVAL, Seaclose Park, Newport, Isle of Wight, 22-24 Jun: Enter Shikari, Ash, Katy B, Pulled Apart By Horses and Christina Perri are the latest acts to supplement IOW's ever-expanding line-up. This lot accompany co-headliners Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, Pearl Jam and Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band on an overall bill also featuring Elbow, Example, Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds, Professor Green, Miles Kane, Crystal Castles and Tinie Tempah. www.isleofwightfestival.com
LONDON INTERNATIONAL SKA FESTIVAL, Islington Academy, London, 3-6 May: Organisers of the resurgent ska shebang announce an array of acts from the genre's many sub-shades, with island icons Dandy Livingstone, Dawn Penn and Rico Rodriquez sharing the roster with 2 Tone type Neol Davis, guest star DJs Don Letts, Andy Smith and Gaz Mayall, and perennial favourites The Dualers, Ska Cubano, and Fishbone. www.londoninternationalskafestival.co.uk
BTJUNKIE TAKES ITSELF OFFLINE
The fact people associated with both Mega and the Bay now face jail time (potential in the case of the former, actual - in theory at least - in the case of the TPB), seems to have made an impact with BTjunkie's operators.
One of the largest BitTorrent indexes on the net, BTjunkie was never directly targeted with civil copyright litigation by rightsholders, though it was listed as a "rogue site" by both music and movie industry trade bodies in the US, and was among the websites the content industries asked Google to remove from its recommended search function.
And, as the attack on file-sharing services stepped up a gear in recent weeks, it seems the people behind BTjunkie feared they could soon be targeted. The site's founder admitted to TorrentFreak yesterday that last week's announcement that the Supreme Court in Sweden had refused to hear The Pirate Bay founders' appeal, meaning their prison sentences and fines are now final, and the swoop on MegaUpload executives around the world were the main reasons for the voluntary shutdown.
A statement on the BTjunkie website reads: "This is the end of the line my friends. The decision does not come easy, but we've decided to voluntarily shut down. We've been fighting for years for your right to communicate, but it's time to move on. It's been an experience of a lifetime, we wish you all the best!"
Asked if there was any future for BitTorrent websites, the unnamed founder told TorrentFreak: "I really do hope so, the war is far from over for sure".
SONY TO MERGE PLAYSTATION AND ENTERTAINMENT NETWORKS
The PlayStation Network has been operational since 2006, while the Sony Entertainment Network - originally branded Qriocity - went live in 2010.
Both were targeted by last year's big Sony hack attack that resulted in the personal data of users being made public, and both services going offline for a time, though the embarrassing data spill has been more frequently associated with the PlayStation Network, mainly because of its larger user-base, and that may have been a motivating factor in phasing out the PSN brand.
Though Sony insists the combining of PSN with SEN is part of its bids to unify its digital content brands, and that would make sense too, given the size of the former's userbase, who may be better persuaded to try out Sony's music, video and ebook services once the two networks are integrated.
MAIL EDITOR DEFENDS MOIR'S GATELY COLUMN
In amongst his staunch defence of his paper - the second most read in the UK remember, and with the most read website of any newspaper in the world - Dacre was asked about that infamous column he published about Stephen Gately's untimely demise, thrown together by one of the Mail's top outrageous-opinions-for-hire columnists, the fat fingered pie reviewer Jan Moir.
As you may recall, in a column published shortly after Gately's death and just before his funeral, Moir decreed that the gay singer's sudden passing was almost certainly as a result of his homosexuality, 'being gay' famously causing the deaths of thousands of boyband singers every year. The piece caused outrage, 25,000 complaints to the PCC and an online campaign against the paper's online advertisers.
Dacre conceded that the piece was badly timed, and should probably have been sub-edited so to be slightly more sensitive, adding that he probably would have requested such tweaks, but that he had left the office early the day before that particular edition was published and so hadn't seen the column.
But, he added, the unprecedented level of outrage the piece generated was simply symbolic of the way Twitter and Facebook had provided a new forum through which the paper's detractors could rally together, and, he noted, the Press Complaints Commission ultimately ruled the column did not breach its Editors' Code. Moreover, Moir's right to an opinion was sacrosanct, however much outrage it caused.
Dacre: "My view is that perhaps the timing was a little regrettable, [and] I think the column could have benefited from a little judicious sub-editing. But I would die in a ditch to defend a columnist's right to have her views. There isn't a homophobic bone in Jan Moir's body".
Of course Dacre is basically right, columnists should be allowed to speak their minds, even if some find their writing offensive - after all, calling Moir a "fat fingered pie reviewer" is a bit offensive. Though personally it's not Moir's opinions that offend me, it's that her pieces are frequently ill-informed, and almost always terribly written, and yet Dacre and his readers seemingly lap her work up.
Plus suggesting that Gately's sexuality was relevant to his death when all the evidence available at the time said otherwise is less of an opinion and more of a slur.
SUPER BOWL BROADCASTER DISTANCES ITSELF FROM MIA'S FINGER
And think about it. Janet's wardrobe malfunction at Super Bowl 2004 was just pop's first family's most famous daughter saying "look America, I've got a breast, that's nice isn't it?", whereas MIA was clearly trying to say "fuck you America, you war-mongering bible-bashing retards, watch your back, us Brits are coming to take back our colonies". You could clearly see it in her face.
Anyway, Super Bowl owner the NFL distanced itself from MIA's raised finger during her guest spot in Madonna's half time show, a spokesman telling reporters yesterday: "The obscene gesture in the performance was completely inappropriate, very disappointing and we apologise to our fans".
Meanwhile NBC, which broadcast the Super Bowl this year, was keen to stress that - unlike in 2004, when broadcaster CBS handed the production of the half time sing song to then sister company MTV - it weren't involved in booking Madonna. Its only crime was to not blur out MIA's offending finger moment fast enough.
NBC's Christopher McCloskey: "The NFL hired the talent and produced the halftime show. [But] our system was late to obscure the inappropriate gesture and we apologise to our viewers".
According to TMZ, if NBC is fined by US media regulator the FCC over MIA's finger (as CBS was over Nipple-gate) it will pass the fine onto the NFL which will, in turn, pass it on to MIA's people, for breaching a 'do not offend America' clause in her contract.
MIA, for her part, is seemingly very sorry, and blames nerves for flipping the bird during America's biggest TV event. A source told The Sun: "She wasn't thinking. She was caught in the moment and she's incredibly sorry".
I can sympathise, nerves have caused me to involuntarily and inappropriately raise my middle finger at people on numerous occasions. It's ruined many a job interview and got me banned from competing in the long jump at a national level. Oh, those Olympics. They're like a dagger to my heart.
NOEL GALLAGHER DISTANCES HIMSELF FROM MAIL HEADLINE
In a blog post on his official website, Gallagher said: "There is a headline that implies that I am of the opinion that the years spent under the rule of that soon to be dead granny, Maggie Thatcher, was good for the soul. I've read the story and I must say it's very misleading; any great working class art, fashion, youth culture etc came to be IN SPITE of that woman and her warped right wing views and NOT BECAUSE of them. Also for the record, on the day that she dies we will party like it's 1989. Just so you know".
Of course, that statement doesn't address everything Gallagher was quoted as saying in the interview, which caused Mail journo Simon Lewis to write that "it's starting to look like Noel Gallagher's one of us". Whatever his views on Margaret Thatcher, he still apparently claimed that there was no laziness or violence in Britain while she was Prime Minister, like that which now forces him to send his children to private school.