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PIRATE BAY FOUNDER TAKES CASE TO EUROPEAN COURT OF HUMAN RIGHTS
According to Torrentfreak, legal reps for Fredrik Neij are ready to fight the Swedish legal system by taking his case to the European Court Of Human Rights. They will argue that, under the European Convention Of Human Rights, Neij has the right to "receive and impart information", and that via operating The Pirate Bay he was merely exercising that right.
Neij's lawyers will again stress that The Pirate Bay itself did not host or copy any infringing music or movie files, and will argue that while the information TPB distributed may have primarily directed users to copyright infringing content, the imparting of that information in itself is not illegal, and, moreover, the right to impart such things is protected under European human rights legislation.
It's a timely argument, given the increased tendency of the pro-file-sharing community to equate copyright enforcement with censorship, and the convention article Neij will rely on - should his case be accepted by the Human Rights courts in Strasbourg - is the freedom of expression provision.
The article in question does allow the freedom of expression right to be restricted for the "prevention of disorder or crime", which is presumably how Sweden will fight the case if it reaches court - arguing that by setting up an online operation that enables and indeed encourages others to infringe copyright law, TPB was guilty of copyright crimes and therefore the convention right does not apply. Though quite when copyright infringement, and especially so called contributory infringement (where you help others to infringe), should be dealt with under criminal rather than civil law is very debatable.
It will be interesting to see how this one turns out. And if the European Court Of Human Rights were to rule that the convention right to freedom of expression was being breached via various forms of copyright enforcement, that could have a big impact on the copyright systems of countries bound by the convention, including the UK.
And given that, arguably, under European Union law (which is separate to European human rights law), EU countries have a duty to protect copyright, such a ruling could have the potential to put Europe's two judicial systems (the human rights courts and the EU's European Courts Of Justice) in conflict for the first time, which could cause all sorts of constitutional quandaries. I'll say this, The Pirate Bay story is one that just keeps on giving.
Elsewhere, Neij's fellow TPB founder Peter Sunde has opted for a very different route to avoid prison, pleading with the Swedish authorities rather than taking them to the European Courts Of Human Rights. Sunde's lawyers have said that their client being forced into jail for eight months now would be damaging for his new business Flattr, as well as offering albeit undisclosed health reasons as to why the former Pirate Bay spokesman should be given clemency.
Sunde's legal reps have also said that, if their client's prison time can't be revoked, it would be helpful if it could at least be postponed (presumably to the 29th Century). The Swedish courts are yet to respond to that application for clemency, though Sunde, who was due to start his prison sentence last week, remains free for the time being.
As much previously reported, the so called Pirate Bay Four - founders Neij, Sunde and Gottfrid Svartholm plus funder Carl Lundström - were handed jail sentences after a joint civil and criminal trial over their involvement in running The Pirate Bay in 2009. The sentences were postponed pending appeal hearings though. They lost their first appeal in 2010, although the jail terms were reduced, and earlier this year Sweden's Supreme Court refused to accept a second appeal hearing.
Lundström has reached a deal to serve his sentence under house arrest rather than actually going to jail, while Svartholm has been AWOL for sometime, so much so he didn't even take part in the first appeal hearing, meaning the one year jail term handed to him at the original trial is binding.
LIL WAYNE STARTS TO SETTLE THA CARTER III DISPUTES
First up, TMZ is reporting that Wayne's legal reps have just settled with producer and songwriter David Kirkwood, who sued last June claiming he was owed $1.5 million for royalties and "production services" in relation to the track 'Love Me Or Hate Me'.
The gossip site also reckons that last month a similar out of court agreement was reached with Darius 'Deezle' Harrison, who also sued claiming he was still owed money for work on the same album.
Terms of both deals are not known.
SONY AWARDS PRESENTED
Thinking about it, having handed the Best Sports Show prize to self-satisfied misogynists-for-hire Richard Keys and Andy Grey, perhaps the Sony judges just felt they should have a woman winning the Best Music Programme gong, and however much you may have all been rooting for Michael Buble to take that particular prize, even you will have to admit Buble is no woman.
Anyway, it was the UK radio industry's Sony Awards last night. Some shit people won, but 6music got Best Station, which is something worth getting on your desk and dancing about (unless you're Huey Morgan, if his tweets last night were anything to go by). But don't get so involved dancing to 6music that you then forget to tune into the Best [sic] Music Programme on British radio at 10am, will you?
Here's your full list of Sony winners.
Breakfast Show Of The Year (under 10 million): Real Radio Breakfast with Gary and Lisa
Best Speech Programme: Stephen Nolan, BBC News for BBC Radio 5 live
Best Live Event Coverage: The Royal Wedding, BBC World Service
Best Competition: 2 Strangers And A Wedding, 106 JACKfm Oxfordshire & glide FM 107.9 Oxfordshire
Music Radio Personality Of The Year: Chris Evans, BBC Radio 2
Station Of The Year (under 300,000): KL.FM
The Special Award: Classic FM
The Gold Award: Nicholas Parsons
AC/DC ALBUM UPDATE: THERE IS NO ALBUM
Speaking to Classic Rock, guitarist Malcolm Young said: "You know what Brian's like. He just says things and then walks away. It'll be a little while - a year or two anyway. I've been doing some jamming on some song ideas but I do that all the time, as do the rest of the band. We are still working. But we had a long rest between 'Stiff Upper Lip' and 'Black Ice', so I think we need a couple of years to recuperate and work on [the new record] a bit more".
SIGUR RÓS TO STREAM ALBUM ONE TIME ZONE AT A TIME AHEAD OF RELEASE
When your time comes, you'll be able to hear 'Valtari here: sigur-ros.co.uk/valtari/hour/
GOLD PANDA SHARES NEW SINGLE
A concept piece of sorts, Schlecker says the two tracks are a "short story" of the "modern hip hop" genre.
He also says: "The 808 snares on 'Mountain' are a nod to Noah '40' Shebib and some-time Drake collaborators Boi-1da. 'Financial District,' at 125bpm, though actually feels slower than that because the drum machine pattern on it has a completely different feel. It's in the rhythms that I depart from that initial hip hop idea".
Listen to both featured tracks below, and/or download each individually for 79p (or both for the bargain price of £1.29). A digital steal, if ever there was one.
JULIA HOLTER, ARIEL PINK FEATURE ON HUMAN EAR COMPILATION
Comprising a set of eighteen live recordings made between 2006-2010, the collection hasn't yet been given a release date. You can nonetheless sample the whole lot via this SoundCloud player: soundcloud.com/human_ear/linda-perhacs-chimacum-rain
SKINNY LISTER PLAYING POP-UP STORE SHOWS
The band, who signed to Rob da Bank's Sunday Best Recordings for the forthcoming release of their debut LP 'Forge & Flagon', will first visit the Brick Lane branch of Beyond Retro at 2pm. From there on they'll visit Hunky Dory, Blitz and the Curtain Road-based Paper Dress within the space of two hours. Then they'll probably have a nice nap.
Further details here: www.facebook.com/events/263299007101116/
FESTIVAL LINE-UP UPDATE
BINGLEY MUSIC LIVE, Myrtle Park, Bingley, 31 Aug - 2 Sep: Citizens!, Ellen & The Escapades and The Chevin are new to the Bingley bill, and align with existing bookings including The Charlatans, Nero, Hard-Fi, The Pigeon Detectives, Stooshe and Maverick Sabre. www.bingleymusiclive.com
BLISSFIELDS, Woodmancott, Hampshire, 29 Jun - 1 Jul: Now billed under the banner 'Game For It', this year's sports-themed Blissfields has on-side the just confirmed Bastille, Tropics, Me, Jake Bugg and King Charles, who will play alongside such already mentioned attractions as Patrick Wolf, The Noisettes, Spector, Toddla T, Guillemots, Clock Opera, Theme Park, Eugene McGuinness, Toy and Charli XCX. www.blissfields.co.uk
CAMBRIDGE FOLK FESTIVAL, Cherry Hinton Hall, Cambridge, 26-29 Jul: Karima Francis, Liz Green and King Charles front a list of fledgling folk hopes just added to the Cambridge Fest proceedings, and thus share space with the more established and previously announced likes of Clannad, Joan Armatrading, The Proclaimers, June Tabor & Oysterband, Billy Bragg and Seth Lakeman. www.cambridgefolkfestival.co.uk
INDIETRACKS, Butterley Station, Derbyshire, 6-8 Jul: Darren Hayman and Belle & Sebastian's Stevie Jackson join established Indietracks fixtures including The Vaselines, Summer Camp, Girls Names, The Proper Ornaments and Veronica Falls. www.indietracks.co.uk
WICKHAM FESTIVAL, Wickham, Hampshire, 2-5 Aug: As well as an apt live set by the just added Wurzels, this rural familial fest will also host KT Tunstall, The Proclaimers, Jools Holland, Levellers and Bellowhead. www.wickhamfestival.co.uk
FREE SOCIAL MEDIA TIPS FROM CMU TRAINING AHEAD OF NEW COURSE
It will look at the key social media platforms available and other useful digital tools, the importance of interaction and content, how to manage an artist's social media presence on a day-to-day basis, advertising on social media platforms, how to measure social activity, and how social media fits in to a wider marketing and communication strategy. The first edition takes place next Wednesday, 23 May, in Shoreditch, East London, and places are just £95 plus VAT.
Ahead of that, CMU Training's social media expert Sam Taylor has thrown the spotlight on Facebook's timeline, that recent innovation that most artists and labels are still grappling with. The new default landing page for anyone's Facebook presence has a lot of potential if used correctly, and today we provide a introduction to the feature, and on Thursday will provide ten tips to getting the most out of it.
THE GREAT ESCAPE 2012: WHERE NEXT FOR THE MUSIC PRESS?
"Currently, there's a lot of hype about the demise of print but not that much evidence it's actually happening", she mused. "Print is still relatively healthy. Websites have huge reach but haven't yet found an effective revenue generating mechanism. Digital sales currently account for less than 1% of total ABCs. So print and digital formats are likely to continue to co-exist for at least the next ten years".
She continued: "Tablet publishing is the new great white hope and the blueprint is there for this to become the dominant platform, offering an integrated, enhanced reader experience with room for longer format articles. Plus, the ability to have all your magazines stored on one device means you're likely to read more, which is a positive for the industry. But the price of devices such as the iPad is currently preventing them from being ubiquitous. This is one area where the evolution over the next ten years is key but I think it's still too early to make a definitive statement".
Focusing in particular of the music press, Kutchinsky added: "In terms of titles, I think we all suspect that the NME will be digital only. Its print circulation is down to 27,650, yet its publishers claim an audience of over one million thanks to their digital platforms. If they can pour their energy into improving their digital offering and focusing on spin-off, brand enhancements such as NME Extra and NME Radio then there might be a future for what is still a strong brand. On the flip side to that, established online-only publications such as Drowned In Sound, Pitchfork and Resident Advisor might see revenue opportunities in physical products down the line, whether they be printed annuals, compendiums of best content presented in a box set, or other limited edition formats".
Joining Kutchinsky on the new music press panel was Dan Miller from VICE, who likewise observed that while the future will obviously be dominated by digital, print still had its place. Similarly optimistic about the future, despite the many challenges faced by the magazine publishing sector just now, Miller also reckoned that those titles which properly engage their audience will be able to find revenue streams beyond somewhat lacklustre banner advertising - whether that be branded content, an area where VICE has led, or the subscription route, the option where Kutchinsky's employers are the pioneers.
THE GREAT ESCAPE 2012: BAND BRAND PARTNERSHIPS
Richard Kirstein from Resilient Music, Tim Dellow from Love Live, Jemma Downey from Live Nation and Jasmine Skee from O2 debated when and why brands work with new acts over global rock stars, what brands might offer such acts in return, and how artists should go about pursuing brand partnership opportunities. After the event Richard took to his own blog to round up some of the points raised by both himself and his fellow panellists.
In terms of how band brand partnerships are formed, a lot was said about the importance of 'fit'. Richard writes: "Clearly authenticity and credibility are important objectives in any artist partnership - and on Saturday we examined the idea of 'fit'; though it's certainly a subjective term, there were some strong views on partnerships that worked and those that didn't".
Richard shares some of those case studies on his blog, before advising artists considering approaching brands that they too consider the 'fit' thing: "Identify brands who work with artists in a similar genre to you, examine the types of campaign that target brands have previously activated, and examine brands' campaign cycles [ie when are they likely to be planning new activity] and time your approach accordingly".
He adds: "Consider brands that you or your artist already uses in daily life, and consider brands whose services or products you need to support your career eg transport, clothing, footwear, equipment".
As for what brands will offer artists in return, we asked the panel what was on the table for new artists, money, free product or audience? "Yes to all three", Richard says. "During the panel, on money, Tim felt that artists should always be paid, but Jasmine commented on how O2 rarely paid emerging artists. I believe that 'value exchange' is certainly a better strategy for both parties (rather than a straight financial transaction), especially where longevity of relationship is a key objective".
He continues: "Where brands pay fees, managers take commission and labels/publishers withhold artists' shares against unrecouped balances. In contrast, artists receive the full benefit directly for any goods or services provided by a brand within a "value exchange" deal. A manager can't take 20% of a van or jacket!"
You can read Richard's full post-TGE blog post here:
GROOVESHARK SAYS IT'S BACK ON FACEBOOK
As previously reported, when official links between Facebook and Grooveshark were terminated the often controversial streaming music service, which is currently fighting lawsuits from all four majors labels, said a mistake had occurred. But Facebook confirmed to Digital Music News at the weekend that it had actually been responding to a complaint by a copyright owner when switching off the Grooveshark page and app, and it now turns out that Grooveshark confirmed the same late last week via its own blog.
But Grooveshark has gone one step further by, on Sunday, claiming it had sufficiently reassured Facebook that the rights owner's complaint was without merit, and that as a result the two services would soon be fully linked again.
The company blogged: "As a fellow US-based DMCA-compliant service, Facebook's copyright notice and takedown process is very similar to Grooveshark's. [So we worked] with Facebook to reactivate the Grooveshark Page and App in accordance with their process. In fact, this incident has created an even stronger line of communication and cooperation between our two companies. We completed Facebook's notice, takedown and appeal process for our Facebook Page on Friday, and we're happy to share that the official Grooveshark Facebook Page has been reinstated".
Grooveshark previously had its mobile apps removed from both the Apple and Android stores because of complaints by rights owners, though has got around that by offering an HTML5 app that does not need the approval of any device or operating system manufacturers.
MUSIC INDUSTRY FAILED TO EMBRACE ZUNE, SAYS FORMER MICROSOFT MAN
Noting how the Zune failed while Microsoft's Xbox enjoyed big successes in the gaming space, Robbie Bach, who, when heading up Microsoft's entertainment division, oversaw both product lines, told the Northwest Entrepreneur Network event in Seattle: "It's not like we didn't try but - and I don't know how to say this politely - the music industry just didn't get it. They just didn't figure out that being dependent on Apple was bad for them. And they were so hooked on the drug of what Apple was supplying them, that they couldn't see past that to realise that they needed something else to actually drive their business. The label business, the music industry, has never recovered from that".
However, Bach did concede that the Zune was possibly also too little too late in the short-lived MP3 player market. He added, Tech Radar says, that the portable music market was "already leaving when we started", and that "we just weren't brave enough, honestly, and we ended up chasing Apple with a product that actually wasn't a bad product, but it was still a chasing product, and there wasn't a reason for somebody to say, oh, I have to go out and get that thing".
PETITION LAUNCHED TO GET AMAZING RADIO BACK ON DAB
FREDDIE MERCURY 'HOLOGRAM' ADDED TO WE WILL ROCK YOU CAST
Although Roger Taylor recently said that he'd not want to perform with a 3D animation of his band's late frontman himself, he added: "Were somebody [else] to use a hologram of Freddie I would have no objection". And that somebody else turned out to be, er, Brian May, who revealed last night, ahead of a special tenth anniversary performance of the band's West End show 'We Will Rock You', that Freddie would be making his debut appearance in the musical.
Speaking to the BBC, May said ahead of the special anniversary show: "People will come out saying, 'did we actually see Freddie?'"
Noting that comparisons with Tupac's recent onstage return were likely, May added that this had been planned for sometime, and used different technology to that used to resurrect the rapper. He continued: "It's a little unfortunate they did that thing with Tupac, as we've been trying to make Freddie appear on the stage for quite a while. [That particular technique] is something we've looked at ourselves, but I think probably for a show that runs eight shows a week it's not really quite practical".
People indeed did come out saying "did we actually see Freddie", though not due to amazement at the spectacle. It seems there's some dispute over whether the special effect happened or not. However, May and Taylor did definitely perform with the cast in front of an audience which included Kylie Minogue, Robert De Niro, Bill Oddie and Mercury's family.