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MEGA CHIEF COULD REGAIN ASSETS AFTER COURT ORDER ERROR
New Zealand prosecutors arrested Schmitz and seized $200 million of his assets at the request of the US authorities, who are trying to extradite the Mega boss and six of his colleagues to face charges in the States of copyright infringement, money laundering and racketeering in relation to the Mega enterprise. The firm's servers, based at two facilities in Florida, were also switched off as part of the same multi-national raid.
Schmitz's arrest, and the swoop on the $30 million mansion where he was living, was dramatic, and it took the Mega chief a month to secure bail. But it apparently emerged in mid-February, probably before said bail was granted, that prosecutors had applied for the wrong kind of court order before seizing Schmitz's property and cash reserves.
Reports suggest mistakes were made as the country's Crown Law Office tried to work out how to secure a warrant without giving Schmitz the opportunity to appeal, which would have prevented the coordinated and sudden raid on his property in New Zealand and servers in the US.
According to the New Zealand Herald, legal reps for the prosecution formally admitted their mistakes to the country's courts last week, while simultaneously applying for the right court order in hindsight, which was granted on a temporary basis pending further discussions.
Schmitz's legal people will now argue that the "procedural error" meant that their client's belongings were seized illegally and should therefore be returned forthwith. The Mega legal team had already been arguing that Schmitz should be reconnected with some of his fortune, to help cover living costs for him and his family, and to cover ongoing legal fees in relation to America's extradition application.
It remains to be seen if Team Schmitz can now capitalise on this technicality to win their man back his fortune, in the short term at least. A legal expert told the Herald that New Zealand law does accommodate mistakes being made by officials, and the new court order could well be made permanent unless Schmitz's people can prove prosecutors acted in bad faith by initially applying for the wrong warrant.
But either way, bungling up like this on such a high profile case being conducted under the spotlight of the world's media is pretty embarrassing for New Zealand's Crown Law Office.
EMI SUES CASH MONEY RECORDS OVER UNPAID ROYALTIES
According to the Courthouse News Service, EMI's lawsuit reads: "Because [Cash Money Records] has ignored numerous communications from EMI regarding [Cash Money's] contractual obligations, EMI once more is being forced to commence a lawsuit against [Cash Money Records] to recover royalty payments. The sales of [Cash Money Records'] products have far exceeded the payments that EMI has received [and] it is clear from [Cash Money's] conduct that it has no intention of honoring [our] agreement".
Of course if Universal could just get on with the business of buying EMI, perhaps this could all be dealt with 'in the family', as it were. And then Cash Money could focus its attentions on those five previously reported song theft and royalty lawsuits filed against its president.
IFPI WELCOMES MEGA WEB-BLOCK RULING IN INDIA
Welcoming the judgement, IFPI boss lady Frances Moore, wearing the aforementioned hat with a certain kind of class, told reporters: "This decision is a victory for the rule of law online and a blow to those illegal businesses that want to build revenues by violating the rights of others. It highlights the importance the Indian courts place on the creative industries and their contribution to the economy. The court ruled that blocking is a proportionate and effective way to tackle website piracy. The Indian government should build on this progress by moving forward legislation to effectively tackle all forms of digital piracy to enable the country's digital music market to reach its full potential".
The Indian market has long been dogged by rampant piracy, of course, but many content owners hope that the digital era could open up new opportunities if unlicensed online content distribution can be curtailed, hence why the local music industry's trade body pursued the legal action that resulted in last week's landmark ruling.
ECJ RULES ON PUBLIC SPACE QUERIES REGARDS MUSIC LICENSING
Of course when music is played in a public space, under most copyright systems the owners of the copyrights in that music are due a royalty (and in most cases that applies to both the publishing and sound recording rights). That's simple enough, except when you try to define what constitutes a public space. What about hotel rooms? What about a dentist's surgery?
Two examples not exactly picked at random, given those were the two spaces being considered by the ECJ last week, in two separate cases, one stemming from Italy, the other from Ireland.
In the case of a dentist's surgery, the Italian case, the ECJ said that a room where teeth are examined is not necessarily a public space, so no licence is required if music is played (even though places of work are usually treated as public places).
But Irish hotel rooms, which had been exempted from public performance licences by the Irish government, are public places in the eyes of European law, the ECJ said, meaning the Dublin government is not allowed to exempt hoteliers from the public performance licensing system.
So there you go. It's not clear whether this has any impact on the UK system, though what we do know for sure is that if Irish hotel owners don't want to pay for licences from Ireland's collecting societies, they'll have to install a dentist in each of their rooms.
DRAKE FILES RESPONSE TO MARVINS MONOLOGUE LAWSUIT
As previously reported, Ericka Lee, who claims to be a former girlfriend of the rapper, says she was promised a cut of the money created by the song in which she guested, and which was the first single taken from Drake's 2011 album 'Take Care', but has so far been given nothing. Although credited as a co-writer under the pseudonym Syren Lyric Muse, Lee wants the courts to give her a full co-writer credit, a stake in the copyright, and royalties from the record.
When Lee filed her lawsuit last month, a rep for Drake called the claim "frivolous" and "entirely without merit", adding that prior to the track's release the claimant agreed to allow her voice to be used in the record and asked only for a credit under the pseudonym Syren Lyric Muse and no compensation. It was only after she fell out with Drake and hired a lawyer, the rep added, that the royalty claims began.
In his formal response to the courts last week, Drake said pretty much the same, insisting Lee "consented to the use of her voice in the song 'Marvins Room' for no compensation". The rapper also seemingly denies that he ever had a romantic relationship with the plaintiff too.
ENGLEBERT'S EUROVISION SONG UNVEILED
Humperdinck will perform the song live at the Eurovision Song Contest on 26 May. When he was announced as the UK entrant earlier this month, he said: "It's an absolute honour to be representing my country for this year's Eurovision Song Contest. When the BBC approached me, it just felt right for me to be a part of an institution like Eurovision. I'm excited and raring to go and want the nation to get behind me!"
Watch the video for the song here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=pFNv9pjqZkk
2011 WAS A GOOD YEAR FOR BRIT ACTS IN THE US, BPI CONFIRMS
The Brit ladies led the way, with Florence And The Machine, Sade, Susan Boyle, Jessie J, Marsha Ambrosius, Amy Winehouse and, of course, Adele all selling shitloads of records. Adele had the biggest selling album of the year in both the US and Canada, outselling the previous year's American best seller, Eminem's 'Recovery', by 2.4 million units. But some men contributed to the success too - Coldplay, Mumford & Sons, Tinie Tempah, Taio Cruz, and now-a-music-star-too Hugh Laurie in particular.
Newcomers noted by the BPI for starting to make waves in the American market last year include Two Door Cinema Club and The Joy Formidable, while catalogue from some classic artists also helped with the overall impressive sales stats, including The Beatles, Pink Floyd, Eric Clapton, Elton John and Led Zeppelin.
Commenting on all these lovely achievements, BPI boss Geoff Taylor told CMU: "British music has resonated strongly in North America since the 1960s, but right now British artists are on the crest of a new wave. Led by Adele, Mumford & Sons and Coldplay, British artists are again storming the US and Canadian charts. In 2011 they took taken their highest share this century of the North American albums market".
He continued: "The strong Stateside performance of British boybands, The Wanted and One Direction, signals more success to come. These results prove that the risks UK labels take investing in British talent - spending more than 20% of the revenues annually on A&R - together with their digital and marketing expertise, help British artists break internationally and generate important exports that boost the UK economy".
MADONNA PREVIEWS MDNA SONGS
To listen, press play here: www.youtube.com/playlist?list=UU81VD6eeuLLSfyY_D-N8sVw&feature=plcp
KATE BUSH PREPARES RECORD STORE DAY RELEASE, AS DOES NOEL GALLAGHER
Noel Gallagher and his flock of High Flying Birds are also issuing a special RSD release, a special twelve-inch EP called 'Song From The Great North', which includes four tracks hitherto released as B-sides.
2000 individually numbered copies of the two releases - that's Kate and Noel's both - will be available on Record Store Day, which, once again, falls on 21 Apr.
BOY GEORGE, WALE FOR MARK RONSON BALLET
The contemporary ballet, entitled 'Carbon Life', will comprise nine love songs co-composed by Ronson and Miike Snow's Andrew Wyatt, with orchestration courtesy of Rufus Wainwright.
Boy George and Pierce - who wrote two tracks for Ronson's 2010 LP 'Record Collection' - will perform as part of an on-stage cast that also includes The Kills' Alison Mosshart, alt-pop soloist Hero Fisher and American MC Black Cobain.
Mark Ronson and Royal Ballet choreographer Wayne McGregor will discuss the production, which premieres on 5 Apr at The Royal Opera House, during a live-streamed broadcast taking place on Friday: www.roh.org.uk/news/royal-ballet-live-online-streaming-day-announced
TIM BURGESS TO RELEASE AMAZEBALLS MEMOIR
Set for publication via Penguin on 26 Apr, the book is said to "describe the mad life of a rock star: the dynamics of the band, the creativity, the sex and the drugs but also the rock n roll".
Sex, drugs, rock n roll... and cereal? What of the cereal, that's what I'd like to ask. Fortunately, Tim will be addressing such queries - not to mention playing material from his forthcoming solo LP - at a 'Totes Amazeballs' book launch on 25 Apr at St James Church in London.
DJ KENTARO HEADING FOR LONDON
Now let's all watch Kentaro being brilliant: www.youtube.com/watch?v=NL0J9VydcAo
CBGB TO RETURN AS FESTIVAL
The festival will take place in New York from 4-8 Jul, and will feature film and conference strands as well as music. No line-up has yet been announced, and the festival is still calling on bands to apply to play, though it does claim to expect between 500,000 and a million people to attend.
More information at www.cbgb.com
FESTIVAL LINE-UP UPDATE
GLOBAL GATHERING, Long Marston Airfield, Stratford Upon Avon, Warwickshire, 27-28 Jul: Tinie Tempah, Chase & Status, Armin Van Buuren, Friendly Fires, Magnetic Man, Maverick Sabre, Sub Focus, Nero and Modestep form but a fragment of the mass of acts just added to the Global Gathering roster, which hitherto only hosted lone headliner Skrillex. www.globalgathering.com
GUILFEST, Stoke Park, Guilford, Surrey, 13-15 Jul: Musi-comic and 'Matilda' maestro Tim Minchin proves an apt supplement to GuilFest's tenth anniversary billing, as also boasts the family-suitable presence of Olly Murs, Jools Holland and Jimmy Cliff. www.guilfest.co.uk
HEVY, Port Lympne Wild Animal Park, Kent, 3-6 Aug: Announcing acts with such wild abandon as is only apt for a festival staged in the grounds of a zoo, Hevy staff declare brand new bookings including Sunday headliners Descendents, Cancer Bats, Rolo Tomassi, Shai Halud, Rise And Fall, Municipal Waste, Listener and This Is Hell, all of whom align with the already billed Converge, Will Haven, Deaf Havana, Protest The Hero and Set Your Goals. www.hevy.co.uk
ISLE OF WIGHT, Seaclose Park, Newport, Isle of Wight, 22-24 Jun: Melanie C, James Walsh, Matt Cardle, Gretchen Peters and EnglanE represent the latest consignments to IOW's Garden Stage. This lot supplement an existing line up featuring tri-headliners Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers, Pearl Jam and Bruce Springsteen, plus Elbow, Biffy Clyro, Noel Gallagher, Primal Scream, Example, The Darkness, Jessie J, Feeder and Professor Green also playing. www.isleofwightfestival.com
KAYA, Vaynol Estate, Gwynedd, North Wales, 1-3 Jun: This worldly arts and crafts three-dayer enlists Tinchy Stryder, Drymbago, Banda Bacana and EFA Supertramp to a bill also including the previously announced Lee 'Scratch' Perry, Tony Allen, Dub Pistols, Kanda Bongo Man, Ska Cubano and The Craig Charles Funk N Soul Club. www.kayafestival.co.uk
LEMONFEST, Newton Abbot Racecourse, South Devon, 30 Jun: Headlining act Hard Fi are joined by the lesser-billed likes of Cosmo Jarvis, These Reigning Days, Ryan Keen and lunar mod ensemble The Moons on Lemonfest's fresh and only 2012 line-up. www.lemonfest.co.uk
MEADOWLANDS, Glynde Place, Glyne, East Sussex, 1-3 Jun: Speech Debelle, Lamb, LTJ Bukem and Fink lead the acts confirmed for this year's Meadowlands, with Skinny Lister, The River Boys, Absent Elk, Maker and Caramel Jack not far behind. www.meadowlandsfestival.com
MEADOWS IN THE MOUNTAINS, Rhodopian Mountains, Bulgaria, 8-10 Jun: Crazy P, Will Saul, Bicep, Riot Jazz, Reggae Roast and Somethink Sounds will all be present at MITM's inaugural dawning, with Mirko Hector, Dead Echo, Just Jack DJs and Lo*Kee also braced to grace the scenic fest's twin main stages. www.meadowsinthemountains.com
OUTLOOK, Fort Punta Christo, Pula, Croatia, 30 Aug - 3 Sep: Croatia's foremost bass fest confirms Skream, Zinc, Andy C, Disclosure and Roska & Jamie George as the latest acts to impact its capacious 2012 line-up list, as also features Phife of A Tribe Called Quest, Gold Panda, Joker, Goldie, Phaeleh and Fat Freddy's Drop. www.outlookfestival.com
PRIMAVERA SOUND, Par Del Forum, Barcelona, Spain, 31 May - 2 Jun: Suede are fairly late additions to a near-capacity Primavera programme also starring Björk, The Cure, Franz Ferdinand, Laura Marling, The Weeknd, The Rapture, The War On Drugs, A$AP Rocky, Girls and Sharon Van Etten. www.primaverasound.com
RADIO 1'S HACKNEY WEEKEND, Hackney Marshes, East London, 23-24 Jun: Example, Lostprophets, Enter Shikari, Lethal Bizzle, Santigold and US rapper BOB further enrich the running at Radio 1's Olympic free-for-all, as will also co-star Jay-Z, Deadmau5, Tinie Tempah, Taio Cruz, Florence And The Machine, Professor Green and a host of popular pop types. www.guilfest.co.uk
SPRING STATION SESSIONS, St Pancras International, London, 22 Mar - 4 May: Staged in the bustling midst of London's commuter/tourist rush hour, this year's free-to-view Station Sessions will feature sets by Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly, The Futureheads, The Wave Pictures and Alt-J across its assorted seven week programme. www.stpancras.com/station-sessions/festival
T IN THE PARK, Balado, Kinross-shire, Scotland, 6-8 Jul: Bombay Bicycle Club, J Cole, The Brian Jonestown Massacre, Feeder, Zulu Winter and Benjamin Francis Leftwich share roster room with a horde of aforementioned names, not least The Stone Roses, Kasabian, Snow Patrol, Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds, Florence And The Machine and Simian Mobile Disco. www.tinthepark.com
STUBHUB LAUNCHES IN UK
Yes, following reports last September that the US-based ticket resale website was planning a UK launch, eBay-owned StubHub went live last week, just as the whole online ticket touting thing has become a bit controversial again, following Channel 4's 'Dispatches' programme last month which showed how some big players in the market were buying up tickets themselves, or working with promoters to put tickets straight onto the secondary market, rather than just providing a platform for fans to sell tickets to other fans. The exposé has reignited the debate in UK political circles as to whether online touting should be regulated.
But StubHub - whose original founder Eric Baker went onto launch Viagogo, one of the subjects of the aforementioned 'Dispatches' - insists that it's not a dodgy evil set up that exists to screw over music fans for profit. Oh no.
The company's GM International Brigitte Ricou-Bellan told The Huffington Post: "We have a very different proposition which does not include buying and selling tickets on our own behalf, nor benefiting from direct allocations from promoters and venues. Now, excuse me, that's Gary Barlow on the phone, he's got four thousand Take That tickets for us to flog". Well, she said some of that.
The Labour MP who has been campaigning the most against unregulated ticketing touting, Sharon Hodgson, noted that Viagogo also denied being directly involved in the buying and selling of tickets prior to the Channel 4 exposé, adding that, despite StubHub's assurances it won't be doing that, she still wanted the government to investigate the sector at large.
Hodgson: "StubHub say they won't be buying and selling tickets themselves - but Viagogo were saying exactly the same thing until they were exposed. The government needs to look seriously at how we can rebalance the scales in favour of the event-going public instead of the small number of people who are creaming off big profits".
As previously reported, the government last week said that the Office Of Fair Trading was reviewing the secondary ticketing market anew, and that they would consider some sort of action if that review showed "market failure".
NICKELODEON CONFIRMS ONE DIRECTION TV SHOW
The news has proved unpopular with many of 1D's UK fans, who believe variously that the band should be making a show back home, or that Americans won't 'get' them, or are just annoyed that this hitherto credible underground music group will suddenly have loads more casual teen fans damaging that all important credibility.
AEROSMITH DOCUMENTARY REVEALS TENSIONS
Asked if these tensions had ever led to a full on fight, Perry said: "That would damage the relationship too much; besides he needs his jaw to sing".
When the filmmakers repeated this to Tyler in a separate interview, he responded: "It's a terrible message that sends. I always sleep with one eye open with him... He needs his jaw to sing? Does that mean that maybe there's a fight in the near future? I think he's still got a good, strong ego".
Following the broadcast though, Tyler told Access Hollywood that he and his bandmates regretted being so open about their relationships on the '60 Minutes' programme, saying: "We all realise we might have said a little too much. Being Italian, you know, there's some things you don't say. There was stuff we were going through".
Though with Aerosmith, there's always stuff they're going through.