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COPYRIGHT CONSULTATION DEADLINE APPROACHES
Google was among those to put their name to a letter in The Times earlier this week urging the government to make Hargreaves' recommendations law, especially those on format shifting (or private copying) and other areas of so called 'fair dealing' (or 'fair use' to use the American expression).
The letter, signed by Google's UK Marketing Director Dan Cobley as well as British Library CEO Lynne Brindley and comedy writer Graham Linehan, amongst others, said the British copyright system as it currently stands is "flawed", and that it "limits growth, puts our cultural heritage at risk, holds back scientific discovery, and stifles our country's great comedic tradition of parody".
The letter particularly focused on the private copy right, or lack thereof under UK law, which means technically to rip tracks from CD to PC or iPod for personal listening is illegal. The Google-sanctioned letter continued: "As the law stands, transferring music from a CD to an MP3 player for your own use is illegal. Based on a real case, the inventor of a British iPod would attract legal threats instead of investment. By making everyday private copying of the music, films and e-books consumers have paid for legal, copyright law will regain relevance in the eyes of consumers and allow today's technology start-ups to compete with their European and US rivals".
The lack of a private copy right in the UK, especially in the iPod age, is accepted as bad law by pretty much everyone, including most rights owners, though the big copyright owning companies are likely to push for some sort of levy - charged on digital music devices - as part of any move to give British citizens the private copy right, similar to the private copy levies that exist elsewhere in Europe.
While there is a case for the UK music industry having parity with its counterparts elsewhere in the European Union, as much previously commented, the pay off from such a levy - which is mainly linked to music ripped from CDs - is nominal in the wider scheme of things, and the PR advantage that could be gained by the record industry by being seen to fix this bit of bad law without financial gain would be priceless in the wider copyright debate, where big copyright owners are always seen by the masses as the bad guys.
Of course some do point out that the emerging digital locker services exploit the private copy right, and that therefore giving up any right to compensation for private copies allows such services to operate without a licence from content owners, and indeed that may well explain why Google - with its digital locker service - is so keen for this bit of copyright law to change. But the commercial potential of basic digital locker services has always been exaggerated, and any cleverer cloud storage systems - like Apple's iCloud - are not covered by the private copy right exemption alone, so still require having the big content owners separately on board.
But while most agree that something needs to be done about private copying, even if there are differing opinions as to how that should be achieved, does that mean that the wider British copyright system is "flawed", as the Google et al letter claims?
In a joint statement published yesterday by various copyright collecting societies, including the music industry's PRS and PPL, the defenders of the current system said that - while there is always room for improvement - the idea that copyright is killing innovation dead just isn't true.
You sense the societies feel that the Hargreaves Review - while not advocating changes quite as radical as some copyright owners originally feared - nevertheless fails to acknowledge the achievements of rights owners and their representatives in developing new licensing models in the last decade. True, copyright owners initially struggled to keep up with the rapid shifts in content distribution that occurred ten to fifteen years ago, but in more recent years said content owners have introduced radical new licensing models to facilitate new distribution methods at an equally rapid pace.
Although supporting some of Hargreaves proposals - on orphan works, the digital rights exchange, and on voluntary codes of conduct for rights owners backed up by independent review - the collecting societies say that they feel the Intellectual Property Office isn't properly balancing the interests of the three parties involved here - consumers, businesses and, especially, creators.
They write: "Creators should not be forced to give away their work for free in order to subsidise other businesses through more exceptions. Consumers should not be directed to illegal services. Businesses should not be held back by unnecessary red tape. Yet, the Intellectual Property Office's proposals fail to grasp the new opportunities available and deny a sustainable future for creators".
The societies also take issue with some of the assumptions made in the IPO's proposals, in particular the predicted economic growth that some have claimed could be achieved if the proposed changes to private copying and fair dealing rules are made. As previously reported, the collecting societies are not alone here, with various music industry bodies arguing that the suggestion these changes could deliver £7.9 billion in economic growth for the UK just isn't credible, or to quote one time rocker and now MP Pete Wishart, that figure is "bonkers".
The societies write: "The IPO numbers don't add up. Some proposals lack any financial analysis. In others, the assumptions are flawed. More worryingly, the negative effects on creative industries have been ignored completely".
It remains to be seen how the government now precedes on these issues, though expect the serious lobbying to begin if and when legislation begins to be drawn up to instigate any changes.
Meanwhile, you can read the collecting societies' statement here: prsformusic.com/aboutus/press/eventsandcampaigns/Pages/Copyright30.aspx
SNOOP DOGG AND PEREZ HILTON SUED OVER ALLEGED SXSW ALTERCATION
This incident is alleged to have occurred at the 2010 edition of South By. Claimant Kim McGee says she was hired by concert promoters C3 Presents to drive Snoop Dogg and his entourage from his hotel to a party being thrown by Hilton during the Austin music festival that year.
On the way to the party McGee says Snoop's tour manager Frank Palomino was verbally abusive, to the extent that she decided she would not drive the rapper or his people back to their hotel at the end of the night. She says that when she informed a C3 rep of this fact, he told her to tell Palomino directly. But when she did so, she claims, the tour manager assaulted her, lifting her off the ground, pulling her hair, dragging her to another room, and then throwing her onto a concrete floor.
McGee is suing Palomino, but also Snoop and C3, claiming that the former and the latter's representative witnessed the assault and did nothing to stop it, or to help her once the ordeal was over. She is also suing Hilton and two other companies, arguing that the organisers of the party and owners of the venue had a duty to protect her.
According to the Courthouse News Service, her claim says: "Even after Palomino assaulted the plaintiff and left the area, [C3's representative] refused to assist the plaintiff in obtaining medical assistance or even transportation to a medical facility. [He] also refused to provide the plaintiff with the name of her assailant. Further, none of the venue's security personnel attempted to stop the assault or, after it was over, detain Palomino. Nor did they call police or assist the plaintiff in obtaining transportation to the hospital".
None of the various defendants have as yet responded to McGee's claims.
MURRAY DROPS 30 POUNDS BECAUSE OF JAIL FOOD AND WATER SUPPLY
Dr Murray, of course, was found guilty of causing Michael Jackson's death through negligence last year, and is currently serving a four year jail term. According to TMZ, Murray has claimed the water in the jail where he is incarcerated smells and tastes bad, and has given him a bad case of dysentery.
Meanwhile he says the jail food is inedible, so he survives by eating canned fish bought from the inmate's shop, mainly tuna, mackerel and salmon flakes, a diet only he and cats must tolerate, he has apparently told friends who have visited him inside.
But a spokesman for the LA County Sheriff told TMZ that Murray was being kept in acceptable conditions, telling the gossip site: "All inmates receive the proper nutrition and medical care that is required by law, and the Sheriff's Department goes above and beyond what is required".
Murray, of course, is desperately trying to appeal both his conviction and sentence, but was denied a request to serve his time under house arrest while he goes through the appeal process.
In related news, the LA Deputy District Attorney who led the case against Murray in connection to Jackson's untimely demise, David Walgren, has apparently applied to become a judge.
Walgren is generally thought to have presented a very good case for the prosecution in Murray's trial, though that wasn't the first celebrity action he was involved in. He previously worked on LA's 2009 efforts to stop Roman Polanski from having his 1970s unlawful sex with a minor case dismissed, and on the case against the photographer who blackmailed Cameron Diaz with topless photos taken before she was famous.
ONE DIRECTION BECOME FIRST BRITISH GROUP TO DEBUT AT TOP OF BILLBOARD ALBUMS CHART
Yes, that puts Simon Cowell's 'X-Factor' creation ahead of Coldplay, Radiohead, Spice Girls, Depeche Mode, Queen, The Rolling Stones and The Beatles. That's right, the Americans reckon One Direction are better than Coldplay, Radiohead, Spice Girls, Depeche Mode, Queen, The Rolling Stones and The Beatles. Feel free to stand on your chair and dance a little jig, or to be sick in a bag, either are understandable reactions.
Despite members of rival British boy band The Wanted gloating that they were getting more radio play Stateside, and therefore performing better in the Billboard Hot 100 chart (where airplay counts), it seems Sony/Syco's strategy of having the 1D boys tour every TV studio in America, while pledging allegiance with kids TV network Nickelodeon, including touring with that station's own boy band creation Big Time Rush, not to mention performing with dogs, all paid off.
1D and dogs: www.youtube.com/watch?v=OEZe8oF2GZg
Of course it possibly helped that American teen fans nurtured on Disney acts and Justin Bieber were desperately seeking some new pop boys who openly drink, smoke and shag 30-somethings, and 1D happened to arrive at exactly the right time. Anyway, let's celebrate the chart achievement with some quotes, and then you can go and clean your bag.
Harry Styles: "We simply cannot believe that we are number one in America. We want to thank each and every one of our fans in the US who bought our album and we would also like to thank the American public for being so supportive of us".
Niall Horan: "As you can imagine, we are over the moon. When we got put together as a group, we couldn't imagine ourselves coming to America, let alone releasing our album here, so for us to be sitting at the top of the US album charts is unbelievable".
Simon Cowell: "I couldn't be happier for One Direction, it is an incredible achievement. They deserve it. They have the best fans in the world".
WILL YOUNG TO GET MORE SOULFUL ON SIXTH ALBUM
In an interview with Digital Spy, Young said: "I want to start writing again. I actually met up with Kish Mauve the other day and we got really excited about writing the record. I feel like it's just the beginning really. Maybe it'll be a bit more soul-ey next time. I wouldn't mind going a bit more soul... cut to me in a tunic doing a classical sixth century Bard album".
The classical thing isn't totally a joke, because it seems Young does want to do a classical project, though at the moment that's very much a side venture. He continued: "That's a different thing - that's more like a project. That wouldn't be like the big main album. I'm trying to get my head around that at the moment. I know what will happen, I'll start it and it'll probably end up being the next friggin album".
Back to 'Echoes', and a third single has just been released, 'Losing Myself', the video for which is here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=c19BbGGJU5E
FLORENCE, THE CURE DONATE TO CHARITY VINYL SALE
But there's more to this than just limited edition record releases. Organisers of the scheme have also invited a host of international artists - not least David Shrigley - to each design a sleeve around one of the featured tracks. There are 700 odd designs in total, so each physical record has its own sleeve, which will then be exhibited at the Idea Generation Gallery in Shoreditch, east London between 18-22 Apr, before each unique record - sleeve and vinyl - is sold on Record Store Day (21 Apr).
The 'secret' part is that the designers of and music inside each sleeve won't be specified, leaving it to the customer to guess which tracks may have inspired which artworks. Brilliant. Further details at www.secret-7.com
JOHNNY FLYNN TO RELEASE FILM SOUNDTRACK
Consisting of twelve tracks entirely written and recorded by Flynn and his Sussex Wit bandmate Adam Beach in an east London basement, the album is out via Transgressive Records on 21 Apr.
Now preparing a new studio LP, his first since 2010's 'Been Listening', for release next year, Flynn will co-star with Stephen Fry and Mark Rylance in a forthcoming production of Shakespeare's 'Twelfth Night', as premieres at the Globe Theatre on 22 Sep.
BON IVER, KE$HA, CHRIS MARTIN FEATURE ON FLAMING LIPS RSD ALBUM
Bon Iver, Yoko Ono, Chris Martin, Eryka Badu, Nick Cave and... yes, 'Tik Tok' provocateur Ke$ha all feature as guest collaborators on 'The Flaming Lips And Heady Fwends'. The tracklisting of the vinyl release is as follows...
RUMER TO RELEASE ALL-MALE COVERS ALBUM
Comprising covers of 70s-era singles from various musical men, the LP sees Rumer revisit the less prominent works of Bob Marley, Todd Rundgren, Neil Young, Isaac Hayes and Townes Van Zandt.
Says Rumer: "This project is about passion, and paying respect to other people's work. I went on a journey and the music tells that story".
DEMS ANNOUNCE NEW SINGLE
The video for 'Inner O' went online earlier this month and features a 'lenticulation' effect, giving it a weird jerky quality as its story plays out. Check it out for yourself below:
STRANGERS ANNOUNCE SINGLE LAUNCH PARTY
Tickets for the show are free but limited, claim yours here: popularcompany.ticketabc.com/events/strangers-launch/ And listen to 'Shine On You' here: soundcloud.com/bornstrangers/shine-on-you-radio-mix
FESTIVAL LINE-UP UPDATE
DOWNLOAD FESTIVAL, Donington Park, 8-10 Jun: Acts including Halestorm, Firewind, Turbonegro, Theory Of A Deadman and Anti-Nowhere League slot into Download's well-stocked 2012 roster, as was already set to feature The Prodigy, Black Sabbath, Megadeth, Metallica, Soundgarden and main stage wildcards, Chase & Status. www.downloadfestival.co.uk
FOCUS WALES, various venues, Wrexham Town Centre, 19-21: Set on highlighting the best of the Welsh music scene, this four-day festival and conference will house Gallops, Jodie Marie, Race Horses, Bastions, The Whip and Masters In France on the performance portion of its patriotic programme. www.focuswales.com
LIVE AT LEEDS, various venues, Leeds, 4-7 May: Alkaline Trio, Gabirelle Aplin, Lulu James, Cashier No 9 and Fun Adults form the final additions to a now complete Live At Leeds line-up, as also hosts Example, Marina & The Diamonds, Ladyhawke, Wretch 32, Dog Is Dead, Friends, Stooshe, Lianne La Havas and Howler. www.liveatleeds.com
LIVERPOOL SOUND CITY, various venues, Liverpool, 17-19 May: Team Sound City name The Temper Trap, Tim Hecker, The Wedding Present, Django Django, James Vincent McMorrow and Kids In Glass Houses amongst the latest additions to the annual festival and conference's crowded live line-up. They join the afore announced likes of Mystery Jets, Professor Green, Michael Kiwanuka, Bear In Heaven, White Denim, Niki And The Dove, Charli XCX and Ghostpoet. www.liverpoolsoundcity.co.uk
GAME SUSPENDS SHARES
As previously reported, management at the entertainment retailer admitted last week that it was on the brink and desperately seeking a buyer to rescue its 1300 store business. Some games publishers have refused to supply big new releases to the retailer, fearing stock might get caught up in any liquidation, which, of course, has further hindered Game's ability to operate.
Various possible buyers have been mooted, but some are only interested in Game's non-UK business, while it's thought others might wait before bidding, reckoning they could get a much better deal if they buy the company out of bankruptcy.
High street video game sales have gone the way of CDs in the last few years amidst competition from supermarkets, online mail order sites and digital distributors - even more so in fact, with less interest from casual consumers than albums and DVDs. That said, HMV, which has also seen its gaming revenues slide, could get an albeit short lived boost if Game does disappear.
Confirming they'd requested their shares be suspended this morning, a statement from the Game board reads: "The board now considers itself to be unable to assess the business's financial position, and is of the opinion that there is no equity value left in the group. Therefore the company has requested that the listing of its securities on the Main Market of London Stock Exchange plc be suspended from trading with effect from 7.30am today".
FORMER PRS MAN TO HEAD AUSSIE PUBLISHING BODY
Fabinyi, who left PRS in 2010, will join the Australian trade body in April. Fabinyi led AMPAL before in the 1990s before relocating to the UK, and before that worked as an artist manager and for Festival Mushroom Records in Australia.
Confirming the appointment, AMPAL Chairman Catherine Gerrard told reporters: "We have a strong plan to focus AMPAL as the leading body for publishers and publishing in our territory. There is a lot we want to achieve and we cannot think of anyone better than Jeremy to set our new strategic direction into motion. Jeremy is well known in Australia and around the world and he will be a great asset to our organisation".
BRITT AND HARRIS LAUNCH NEW CONSULTANCY
Britt and Harris, both individually and as a partnership, have worked in various marketing roles across the music industry in both label and agency posts, and on a consultancy basis working for both music companies and directly with artists.
Most recently Britt has been working for [PIAS] on its Global Project Management venture, and Harris has led marketing campaigns for Ministry Of Sound. Meanwhile recent projects working directly with artists have included campaigns for Faithless, McFly, Charlotte Church and Damien Hirst-affiliated project The Hours.
Providing marketing, management and brand partnership services, initial Plan A clients will include Ministry, Save The Children, Wichita Recordings, Faithless, Dionne Warwick and magic man Dynamo.
EAGLE ROCK'S PUBLISHING FIRM GETS NEW INVESTMENT
Confirming the investment, Beringea's Investment Director Karen McCormick is quoted by Music Week thus: "We are thrilled that Eagle Rock is moving to this exciting and profitable area, and Roberto Neri has already proven a very strong CEO for the business. We are investing for aggressive growth of Eagle-i and have already seen financial benefit arising from synergies across the core business and the new publishing business".
Meanwhile Neri said: "We have made considerable progress in such a short space of time. From the ground up, we truly are building a publishing company equipped for the 21st century. The investment from Beringea will allow us to further expand both in the UK and internationally".
THIS JUST-IN: A SECRET RELATIONSHIP IS NO RELATIONSHIP AT ALL
Speaking to Complex Magazine, Bieber said: "There's no way to hide the relationship completely, because then it would be unfair to us. It's like: 'You take this car, and I'll take this car, and then we'll meet up at the spot. Then, you go in this door, I'll go in this door. We'll end up crossing ways. You get back in this car. We'll cross over, do a James Bond. You go through the kitchen. I'll go through the back area. Then we'll meet in the dressing room and see each other'. At that point, it's not even a relationship. You're just hiding from everyone. That's unfair and unhealthy, man".
Stop looking for innuendo in that quote, you lot.