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FIVE UK ISPS FORCED TO BLOCK ACCESS TO THE PIRATE BAY
As previously reported, while web-blocking injunctions have been issued on copyright grounds before in various places around the world, it wasn't until last year such court orders were granted in the UK. When lobbying hard for new anti-piracy measures in the 2010 Digital Economy Act, the record industry proposed a system that would enable such injunctions but, while an outline of how such a system might work was included in the bill, the introduction of a three-strikes system to send warning letters to actual file-sharers was prioritised.
But the movie industry suspected that web-block injunctions, which force ISPs to block access to copyright infringing websites that are based outside the jurisdiction of the UK courts, were possible under existing copyright rules (if requiring a slightly more time consuming process), and proved that last year when they forced BT to block access to file-sharing site Newzbin. The BPI quickly followed by targeting The Pirate Bay. Ironically, of course, the three-strikes system that was prioritised by the DEA is yet to go live, and now looks unlikely to do so until 2014.
Sky, Everything Everywhere, TalkTalk, O2 and Virgin Media will now have to stop their customers from accessing The Pirate Bay in the next few weeks. BT was included in the BPI's injunction application, though it has asked for a little more time to consider its response, so that particular net firm won't be forced to act on the Bay for a little while longer.
Of course web-blocks are always circumventable if you know what you are doing, and in the Netherlands, where an anti-piracy group secured web-block injunctions against two ISPs in relation to The Pirate Bay, said group then had to get another injunction to stop The Pirate Party from telling people how to dodge the blockade. But many rights owners reckon that more casual file-sharers won't go to the effort of trying to access blocked sites, and that will be enough to have an impact in the fight against online piracy.
Welcoming yesterday's web-block orders, the boss of record label trade body the BPI, Geoff Taylor, told CMU: "The High Court has confirmed that The Pirate Bay infringes copyright on a massive scale. Its operators line their pockets by commercially exploiting music and other creative works without paying a penny to the people who created them. This is wrong - musicians, sound engineers and video editors deserve to be paid for their work just like everyone else".
He continued: "Sites like The Pirate Bay destroy jobs in the UK and undermine investment in new British artists. We urge anyone using The Pirate Bay to explore the many digital music services operating ethically and legally in the UK - especially those carrying the Music Matters trustmark".
Web-blocking on copyright grounds is not without its critics, of course, and indeed such measures were at the heart of the SOPA and PIPA proposals that caused so much outrage in the US at the start of the year. Criticising the British Pirate Bay blocks yesterday, Jim Killock for the Open Rights Group told reporters: "Blocking The Pirate Bay is pointless and dangerous. It will fuel calls for further, wider and even more drastic internet censorship of many kinds, from pornography to extremism. Internet censorship is growing in scope and becoming easier. Yet it never has the effect desired. It simply turns criminals into heroes".
Meanwhile Loz Kaye from The Pirate Party added: "Site blocking isn't the solution to anything - it's just censorship, and ineffective censorship at that. It's laughably easy to circumvent; we've been running a Pirate Bay proxy for ages and there are many others out there. In the meantime, the public interest suffers, the big ISPs suffer because they have to censor the internet while their smaller rivals don't, and artists suffer because they've lost a new and innovative platform".
Back to the Digital Economy Act, and BPI boss Taylor has also been hitting out at the slow progress being made by the government in introducing the aforementioned three-strikes system. As previously reported, a rep for the Department Of Culture Media & Sport last week admitted at a Creative Coalition conference that the first round of warning letters are unlikely to be sent to suspected file-sharers until 2014, four years after the legislation that enabled such action was passed by parliament.
According to Music Week, speaking at the same conference last week, Taylor said: "It's been two years now since the Digital Economy Act was passed and we've still not had a code published. We're [now] waiting for the Communications Act green paper. What we need in there is measures that will require search engines, payment providers and all the other players in the internet ecosystem to play a responsible role in trying to make sure that people go to legal sites and not pirate sites".
BOBBY BROWN SAYS HE DIDN'T GET HOUSTON INTO DRUGS
In an interview with NBC's 'Today' show, Brown discusses both his and Hoston's drug problems, insisting he has been off the drugs for seven years now, and that he believed his ex-wife had likewise ceased to be dependent on narcotics. But, as previously reported, a coroner concluded that the late singer died of accidental drowning due to the effects of cocaine and heart disease.
Brown says: "I was hurt ... because, you know, me being off of narcotics for the last seven years - I felt that she was [too], I didn't know she was struggling with it still. But at the same time, you know - listen, it's a hard fight".
Asked about the allegations it was he who introduced the singer to drugs after they first met in 1991, Brown denied that was the case. Asked if he was saying Houston had been taking drugs before they first met, he said: "Way, way before. Yeah ... It's just unexplainable how one could [say that I] got her addicted to drugs. I'm not the reason she's gone".
REDIGI INSISTS IT IS READY TO FIGHT EMI OVER MP3 RESALE LAWSUIT
As previously reported, ReDigi has been sued by the major label for providing a service that enables users to sell on their MP3s to third parties. ReDigi says that under US copyright law consumers should be able to resell MP3s in the same way they can resell CDs. EMI argues that the principle which applies to CDs does not apply to digital music. The judge who heard initial arguments on the case reckons it's complicated, but should make for a "fascinating" court hearing.
So, expect lots of debating about the intricacies of US copyright law, some of which could impact on the wider cloud storage sector - assuming the case gets to court.
There has been speculation that start-up ReDigi, which is believed to have raised about half a million in finance, might not be able to afford to fight such a complicated legal battle. Some have noted that it wouldn't be the first time a big company unhappy with a start-up's business model had successfully put that start-up out of business by landing it in the middle of messy and expensive litigation - Universal's legal fight against Veoh being an interesting case to study.
We reported yesterday that one of the lawyers working on the ReDigi case had told the courts he was stepping back from it, and Digital Music News noted that in his submission Ray Beckerman said he had a 'retaining lien' with his former client, which basically means the company owes him money. Some wondered whether this meant the predictions ReDigi might run out of cash before getting to court were coming true.
But the tech firm insists that is not the case, pointing out that it has hired the services of a new law firm as it prepares for its big court battle with EMI's Capitol division. Assuming the courts approve the switch in legal representation, Meister Seelig & Fein LLP will fight ReDigi's side in court. MSF, the tech firm says, has "resources, experience and expertise in copyright and music industry matters [that] make it especially well suited for its representation of ReDigi in this high-profile case".
Confirming the appointment of new legal reps, ReDigi founder and CEO John Ossenmacher told CMU: "ReDigi has made a decision to bring in additional expertise in its litigation with Capitol. We are very pleased to have Meister Seelig & Fein in place to take the lead in this very important matter for ReDigi and the future of consumers' digital rights. Meister Seelig brings the substantial resources of the firm's entertainment, IP and litigation practices to bear as the case gears up for the hearing to take place later this year".
Meanwhile the MSF lawyer who will lead the defence, Gary Adelman, added: "Our firm is excited to represent ReDigi in the Capitol Records litigation. ReDigi is a company that stands for the legal dissemination of music and they offer a proactive solution to piracy, which benefits the consumer, the artist and the record companies".
GIT AWARD AWARDED
Founder of the award, Liverpool Echo journalist Peter Guy said: "This is a special time for Liverpool - not just the music scene, but the city as a whole - we're leading the way as visionaries, creating some of the finest art, music and innovative happenings in the world - and the musicians gathered here tonight are at the forefront of what is a new, flourishing time for music within the city".
Listen to the release which won it for Loved One, their debut single 'Are You Hiding Out In Hell?', here: soundcloud.com/lovedones/hell-album-version
THIS JUST-IN: BIEBER RECORDING WITH KANYE WEST
Justin's bodyguard Kenny Hamilton (who is so famous as to merit his own officially verified Twitter account) posted this photo of West and a blurry-faced Biebs complete with caption: "Putting the finishing touches on the album and it's gonna be special!"
SARAH HARDING SOLO VENTURE IS DUB, NOT DUBSTEP
Smykle is not - as The Mirror has suggested - a dubstep aficionado, but a dub one; which would make it surprising if his collaboration with Harding resulted in anything other than a dub-informed something. Still, you never can tell.
A dubious-sounding source told the tabloid: "The pair met up at Kensington Park Studios last week and got stuck into working on a new sound for her. She really wants to make people sit up and take notice, with a single that would never have been expected from her... She's having fun experimenting".
As previously reported, Sarah may soon be doing other things too as part of Girls Aloud's unspecified but seemingly inevitable tenth anniversary reunion, as hinted at just last week by Cheryl 'Just Cheryl' Cole.
BONNIE 'PRINCE' BILLY TO RELEASE NEW EP, OLD ALBUMS
The six-track EP is out in tandem with 'Will Oldham On Bonnie 'Prince' Billy', a book consisting of various conversations held between Oldham and writer/musician Alan Licht. If you can stand to note another release date, that's available as of 4 Jun.
Don't Belong to Anyone
MICACHU & THE SHAPES ANNOUNCE NEW ALBUM
Minus her Shapes, a solo Mica Levi has also partnered with Kwes on volume two of their 'Kwesachu' mixtape series, the first edition of which dates back to 2008. You can exchange an email address (preferably your own) for a free download of the new mix, which features Speech Debelle, Dels, Elan Tamara and Ghostpoet, here: soundcloud.com/kwes/kwesachu-mixtape-vol-2
Mica will appear twice at the forthcoming Great Escape festival, both as a DJ and fronting The Shapes. The band are also booked at the Camden Crawl, which takes place across the upcoming Bank Holiday weekend.
RIHANNA CAST IN NEXT THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS SEQUEL
A source told the tabloid: "Rihanna impressed with her acting debut in 'Battleship'. [The] writers think she'll be perfect for the role. Her character has plenty of bite and doesn't take any prisoners - just like her in real life. It's a step up the ladder for her and could lead to bigger action roles".
Apparently due to begin filming next month, it is reported that the movie will be set in the UK and mostly filmed in London and Southend.
ROGER TAYLOR WON'T PERFORM WITH HOLOGRAM FREDDIE MERCURY
But Taylor says no. Though he's not opposed to other people performing Queen songs with a computer generated Freddie. And given the drummer is in the process of launching the officially-sanctioned Queen tribute show, which is set to tour the world with only very occasional guest spots from May and Taylor, that still means holograms could feature in official Queen ventures, if not when the remaining members of the band themselves play.
Asked about all the talk of a holographic Mercury joining him and guitarist May on stage, Taylor told reporters: "I would not like to perform with a hologram of Freddie. Were somebody [else] to use a hologram of Freddie I would have no objection, but [for me] it's the real one or nothing. It doesn't sit too well for me to appear with a hologram of my dear friend. But I think it is an amazing effect when used properly".
DIONNE WARWICK HEADLINING CHARITY GALA
Also appearing at the event, which will mark World Hunger Day, is a diverse cast covering the classic (Cliff Richard, Boy George, Tony Hadley), and the more contemporary (Alexandra Burke, Joe McElderry, Katie Melua), with special accompaniment coming from the Southbank Sinfonia orchestra and London Community Gospel Choir.
You can buy tickets for the concert, as will take place at the Royal Albert Hall on 28 May, here: www.royalalberthall.com/tickets/dionne-warwick-world-hunger-day/default.aspx
MARINA POSTPONES DIAMONDS TOUR
Communicating news of the changes via this official statement, Marina says: "It is with huge regret that I have had to postpone my UK tour dates due to medical advice. I have been experiencing vocal problems for three weeks now and consequently today the doctor has told me that I cannot sing performance length shows while I undergo treatment, or I could cause permanent damage to my vocal chords".
The amended dates are thus:
18 Jun: Norwich, Waterfront
SNOW PATROL TO PLAY HYDE PARK CONCERT FOR THE OLYMPICS
Anyway, if the congestion, tedious sports pundits talking nonsense and draconian sponsorship enforcers aren't doing it for you, let's not forget all the exciting music, and the line-up has been announced for the opening concert in Hyde Park as part of the BT-sponsored, Live Nation-organised, Royal Park-based, Olympics-celebrating live entertainment programme.
And with the oldies headlining the already announced closing show - Blur, The Specials and New Order - what fresh young happening talent will be taking to the stage at the start of the Olympics festivities? Why, Snow Patrol, Stereophonics, Duran Duran and Paolo Nutini. Well, probably a wise move, I mean it'll be August, the kids will be too busy rioting to be enjoying pop music in the park.
The opening show takes place on 27 Jul and look, Duran Duran's Simon Le Bon has said words: "Performing to so many people on the most exciting day in sport for Great Britain will be one of the highlights of the last decade for us. We have been invited to represent England for this Team GB show, and we couldn't be more proud. Seeing the torch being lit on the big screens before hitting the stage in this iconic location will be a great experience... we simply can't wait".
FESTIVAL LINE-UP UPDATE
BRAINLOVE FESTIVAL, The Windmill, Brixton, London, 26 May: New additions AK/DK, Väljasõit Rohelisse and tipped producer Enjoyed update a stellar Brainlove line-up, as also features Crushed Beaks, Dad Rocks!, Female Band and Napoleon IIIrd. www.brainloverecords.com
FESTIFEEL, Queen Of Hoxton, London, 4 Jun: With Fearne Cotton appointed as its curator (no, really), Festifeel will host artists including Slow Club, The View, Newton Faulkner, The Milk, Jamie N Commons and Chew Lips across its all-day roster. All proceeds from ticket sales will go towards breast cancer charity CoppaFeel!, of which Cotton is a patron (see, now it makes sense). www.festifeel.com
POPTRONIK FESTIVAL, Sitges, Spain, 1-2 Sep: Kazaky, Monarchy and Martika (the actual Martika) share headline credits at Poptronik's first ever edition, with Bright Light Bright Light, Woman E, Adam Tyler, Nina and resident Scissor Sisters DJ, Sammy Jo, appearing lower down the festival's initial listings. www.poptronik.com
SECRET GARDEN PARTY, Mill Hill Field, Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, 19-22 Jul: Lianna La Havas, Daughter, I Blame Coco and Tashaki Miyaki are late additions to this year's now sold-out Secret Garden Garden Party, and accompany existing bookings Orbital, Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, KT Tunstall, Little Roy, Little Dragon, Alabama Shakes, Tim Minchin and Lamb. www.secretgardenparty.com
Y-NOT FESTIVAL, Matlock, Derbyshire, 3-5 Aug: The View are confirmed as main stage supremos of Y-Not's Friday roster, and thus align with co-headliners The Wombats and We Are Scientists and those previously announced, who include The Pigeon Detectives, Reverend And The Makers, Frightened Rabbit, The Subways, Summer Camp, Future Of The Left, Ghostpoet and British Sea Power. www.ynotfestivals.co.uk
HMV INCREASES ENTERTAINMENT RETAIL MARKET SHARE SLIGHTLY
As previously reported, the etailer overtook HMV as the biggest entertainment retailer in the UK for the first time just before Christmas, according to figures from Kantar Worldpanel. But in the latest set of the same figures, HMV has seen some growth in market share and Amazon has slipped slightly, so that the former has 19.2% of the market and the latter 19.9%. That said, year on year Amazon has still experienced the most market share growth.
The latest figures don't account for the dramatic downsizing of the Game shops network after the gaming retailer went to the brink in March, which will impact on the next set of figures. It will be interesting to see if HMV - which has partly blamed a slump in games sales for its recent slide in market share - has benefited from its competitor in the gaming sector's hardships.
FIRST PART OF JOHN PEEL'S RECORD COLLECTION TO GO ONLINE
As previously reported, the project is being overseen by The John Peel Centre For Creative Arts, an arts centre in Suffolk established in the late great Radio 1 DJ's memory. The plan is to scan in the artwork of the 25,000 vinyl LPs and 40,000 singles in Peel's record collection, and add the DJ's personal notes and other useful information to each record. Actual recordings won't be included for licensing reasons, though links to streaming services will be provided where possible and it's hoped that music from the Peel Session archives will also be made available via the online project, which is backed by Peel's widow Sheila Ravenscroft and funded by the Arts Council.
Ravenscroft told The Guardian: "There'll be information about the record sleeve, front and back, all the information about the record itself, as well as whether John rated the album or not. I think people are going to be very interested as to what's in the collection. They will be amused and intrigued by it".
You can find the archive at www.johnpeelcentreforcreativearts.co.uk
BSKYB PROMOTES SKY 1 BOSS
Confirming the rejig, Sky's MD Of Entertainment, News & Broadcast, Sophie Turner Laing, told reporters: "Over the past three years, under Stuart's leadership, we have seen Sky 1 become a true destination channel, offering our customers some of the finest drama, comedy and entertainment programmes on television at the moment. I have no doubt that in his new role, he'll bring the same vision and drive to the rest of the portfolio, working with the team to look at the next steps for the rest of our - already first class - entertainment channels".
GRAHAM COXON ESCAPES HOTEL FIRE
Coxon tweeted around lunchtime: "We have rooms at The Beach Hotel and had to leave when the smell of smoke [became] a little much". Shortly afterwards he posted a picture of the hotel very much ablaze.
The fire was attended by 100 firefighters but according to reports the building was completely gutted. No one was injured.
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THE NAME'S BOND, JONES THE BOND
Speaking to The Radio Times, Jones said: "The only thing I regret is that I'd like to have had a pop at acting when I was younger. My name was up for James Bond at one time, but [producer] Cubby Broccoli apparently said I was too well known for people to believe it ... [Also] I have a tendency to overact. It's a Welsh thing".
Now let's all watch Alan Partridge explaining what a Welsh James Bond might sound like: www.youtube.com/watch?v=flDuFzFxPJA