|WHAT IS THIS? The CMU Daily - to which you are subscribed. Unsubscribe information is at the end.
NOTE: Make sure you 'enable images' to see this e-bulletin properly. CLICK HERE to read this online.
EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT VOTES AGAINST ACTA
As previously reported, ACTA was mildly controversial from the start, mainly because of the secrecy that surrounded most of the negotiations that led to the drafting of the agreement. Though opposition to the treaty really grew after most participating countries had already signed it, in the wake of the SOPA/PIPA protests in the US at the start of the year, and amidst claims that ACTA would force SOPA-style anti-piracy rules on countries that signed the new agreement. Those claims weren't true, but helped rally public opposition, especially in those European countries that planned to opt in, but had yet to do so.
Although the European Commission played a key role in negotiating ACTA, and many EU member states signed it in January, the European Parliament hadn't voted on it until yesterday. With an increasing number of protests staged against ACTA across Europe, and with no less than five European Parliament committees opposing the agreement, including the crucial International Trade Committee, it came as no surprise that MEPs voted to block the treaty (despite the Parliament previously smiling on it in 2010). And they did so by a huge majority, with only 39 people voting for the agreement. 165 abstained and 478 were against.
Opposition to ACTA in the European Parliament is split between those who have genuine concerns about the intellectual property obligations it puts onto member states (even though supporters of the treaty insist all ACTA obligations already exist in EU law), and those who simply object to the secrecy that surrounded the negotiating of the treaty.
What this vote means for ACTA, in the UK, Europe and beyond, is not yet clear, though some of the agreement's opponents yesterday declared the treaty dead in the water.
In Europe, the European Commission could have a second try at getting the agreement through its parliament. As for those member states that have already signed the treaty, it's not entirely clear what leeway national governments may have, given arguments by ACTA supporters that the agreement does not actually conflict with existing European IP laws, so the UK could ratify and fulfil the obligations of the treaty without changing any current intellectual property systems.
But it seems certain that nothing will now happen before the European Court Of Justice rules on whether the treaty would conflict with any fundamental rights under European law. That ruling will be key, because if the ECJ rules that there is conflict, then there would be no point the European Commission or any member state proceeding to push to get ACTA ratified. But if, as expected, the court says there is no conflict, that might give the battered pro-ACTA lobby - both within and outside political circles - ammunition to resume the push.
A spokesman for the UK's Intellectual Property Office told CMU yesterday: "In light of the European Parliament's decision not to give consent to ACTA, we will be considering our position on ratification of ACTA in the UK. We have supported the aims of the treaty which are to provide a coordinated international framework to improve the global enforcement of intellectual property rights and we remain committed to supporting these aims".
Beyond Europe, it remains to be seen if this vote stops other ACTA signatories from having the treaty integrated into their national laws. Six signatory countries have to fully ratify the agreement - ie get it approved by their respective legislatures - before the treaty becomes binding on anyone. That could be achieved without any EU state being involved.
It was originally assumed that most governments involved in the treaty would find it easy to get the measures rubber stamped by their legislatures, though rallied by yesterday's European vote, ACTA opponents in other countries might be able to put new pressure on lawmakers to block the agreement elsewhere.
ACTA VOTES: THE RESPONSES
Meanwhile, Loz Kaye of the UK Pirate Party said: "The European Parliament vote is a triumph of democracy over special interests and shady back-room deals. This is a significant victory for digital rights, and it's thanks to the tireless work of activists and grass roots organisations, including the Pirate Party worldwide. Without this opposition, our representatives would have waved this agreement through. It is now clear that it is becoming increasingly politically poisonous to be 'anti-internet'".
Speaking for the other side of the debate, Anne Bergman-Tahon of the Federation Of European Publishers told reporters: "ACTA is an important tool for promoting European jobs and intellectual property. Unfortunately the treaty got off on the wrong foot in the Parliament, and the real and significant merits of the treaty did not prevail".
Dara MacGreevy, Anti-Piracy Director at the games industry's Interactive Software Federation Of Europe said: "Contrary to many of the statements made, the individual's fundamental rights are fully respected by ACTA, and we look forward to the Court Of Justice assessment in this regard".
Speaking for the record industry, Frances Moore for the International Federation Of The Phonographic Industry said: "We now await the ruling of the Court Of Justice of the EU, and urge the European Parliament to make effective intellectual property rights enforcement a top priority in our external trade policy".
While Johannes Studinger from trade union grouping UNI MEI said: "Parliament says no to ACTA but stresses that 'global coordination of IP protection is vital'. We respect their position. Indeed, in the global digital economy, sustainable growth of creative industries requires effective enforcement of intellectual property rights. Enforcement policies without a strong international commitment remain ineffective. We call on EU institutions to work together instead of opposing each other and to translate this mutual commitment into effective policies".
STONE ROSES ISSUE APPEAL TO FIND MISSING FAN
Brahney was last seen by his friends after the concert at about 11.30pm on Friday night. He left the group he was with to return to the park after realising he had lost his mobile phone. Police think he may have then taken a park and ride bus to a car park at Bowlee Park.
Alongside photos of the missing fan, the band have posted on their website: "The Stone Roses are asking everyone who attended their show at Heaton Park on Friday June 29 to help in the search for Christopher Brahney, 22, who has gone missing after attending the show".
The post continues: "Please look at his photo and try to think - did you see him at the concert or afterwards? Do you know if he used the park and ride facility? Did you see him talking to anyone? The group urge everyone to help in the search for Christopher who was last seen by friends at about 11.30pm on Friday 29 Jun 2012".
Anyone with information is asked to call police on 0161 856 7652.
OTTAWA POLICE INVESTIGATE MAJOR FESTIVAL THEFT
According to the Ottawa Citizen, it is thought that the money, proceeds from ticket and alcohol sales, was taken from a safe at the festival's venue, the Ottawa Stadium, by one of the founders of the event's promoters DNA Presents, who has now gone AWOL.
DNA's other founding partner, Michael O'Farrell, says he and his accountant went to pick up the monies on Monday, the day after the successful dance music festival's conclusion, but found they had gone. He initially assumed there had been a miscommunication, and that another partner in DNA had already collecting the funds for banking, but subsequently found that three of the company's four other partners knew nothing about the money, while the fifth, Nick Vachon, had gone missing.
Quite why Vachon would have taken the money isn't clear, with one local club owner, who knows the two promoters, telling the Citizen that such an act seems out of character. Though quotes from O'Farrell seem to suggest that relations between the two men, who have been in business together for five years, were already strained. Certainly no one seems to be currently suspecting the involvement of third parties, or fearing for Vachon's safety.
O'Farrell: "I am heartbroken. This just crushed us, we can't believe it. We had such a great event and now this happened. I don't even know how to cope with it right now. I've known Nick for a very long time [but have lost my trust in him]. Any other partner we trust 100%. When you have a partner in a company there is no reason why you shouldn't trust the person. If you can't trust the person they shouldn't be your partner".
This was the third outing for the Escapade Music Festival, which increased in size and was headlined by Avicii and Eric Prydz this year. Police were expected to issue an arrest warrant for Vachon yesterday.
DOTCOM SAYS AMERICAN VP INSTIGATED MEGA SHUTDOWN
As much previously reported, American officials raided the US server facilities where much of the MegaUpload empire was hosted in January, taking the service offline. American prosecutors are now trying to extradite seven executives linked to the MegaUpload company, who are accused of copyright infringement, money laundering and racketeering.
It's in a new interview with TorrentFreak that Dotcom claims that Biden personally intervened with regards his company. Telling the tech site he's known this for sometime but has held off until know to go public, Dotcom said: "I do know from a credible source that it was Joe Biden, the best friend of former Senator and MPAA boss Chris Dodd, who ordered his former lawyer and now state attorney, Neil MacBride, to take Mega down".
The Mega man says a meeting took place in the US last June attended by Biden, Dodd and various studio heads, plus Mike Ellis of the Motion Picture Association Asia Pacific. Ellis previously worked for the Hong Kong Police Force, and is apparently an expert on extradition, both handy bits of knowledge since any American strike against MegaUpload was always going to require the extradition of non-US based Mega executive, and given that MegaUpload's corporate HQ is in Hong Kong. Ellis then met with New Zealand's Minister Of Justice Simon Power soon after, Dotcom says.
The Mega chief added: "At the appropriate time we will release what we know. The whole Mega case is quite the political thriller".
The US's application to have Dotcom extradited from New Zealand to the States is ongoing, despite a ruling in the New Zealand courts last week that a police raid on the MegaUpload founder's home there in January was illegal, and despite efforts by Dotcom's lawyers in America to have the whole case against him dismissed.
GROOVESHARK REDUCES DATA DEMANDS ON DIGITAL MUSIC NEWS
Universal, Sony and Warner are all suing Grooveshark over allegations that the streaming service, which allows users to upload music to its libraries, also directly uploads unlicensed music files to its servers. Grooveshark claims that, while it may routinely provide access to large amounts of unlicensed music, because that content is uploaded by users, and because the company operates a takedown system as described in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, its operations are legal, in the US at least.
While Universal et al would not agree, that area of US copyright law is sufficiently vague that should the major label sue, a court win would not be assured (indeed precedent would suggest they'd more likely lose). Therefore Universal has decided to sue over allegations that, as well as users uploading unlicensed content, Grooveshark staff members are routinely instructed to do the same. If true, the digital firm would not be able to claim protection under the DMCA.
Grooveshark denies those particular allegations, but an anonymous poster on DMN claimed that they worked for the digital company and were, indeed, routinely told to upload music that had not been licensed by the relevant rights owners. And it was that comment Universal cited in its lawsuit against the streaming firm.
While it's doubtful an anonymous comment on a website would stand up as evidence in court anyway, Grooveshark has been trying to force DMN to hand over logs from its servers to try to identify where the accusatory remark came from. DMN insists that, by the time Grooveshark made its demands, no useful information would be available, but nevertheless a court told the digital news company that it must ensure that all data on its server, at that point, was protected pending future discussions.
DMN's Paul Reskinoff writes: "That included servers that contained vast numbers of unused, unallocated data blocks, with the idea that somehow, identifying information from an anonymous comment posted in October was recoverable. [That] created a number of immediate operational limitations and hazards for Digital Music News. Simply stated, it's hard to do business when you can't use your stuff. The reason is that freezing large blocks of data effectively freezes a number of active projects, simply because routine activity often overwrites earlier, unused and unallocated blocks and would violate the court's ruling".
Following protests by DMN's lawyer Paul Alan Levy, the judge hearing the case, Richard Stone, has accepted that the disruption caused to the digital music news site is inappropriate, given Digital Music News is in essence an innocent third party in the bigger Universal v Grooveshark case. To that end, Stone said that Grooveshark should cover the costs of holding on to all the data it had demanded access to.
After being told that would cost in the region of $15,000, Grooveshark's legal reps altered their demands, saying that they would make do with 'virtual machine images' saved on 15 May, which are much easier for DMN to store. The streaming company's legal rep told Stone: "My client is a start-up as well. Its resources are tight and it is under attack".
FAZER UNVEILS DEBUT SOLO SINGLE
Of the track, Fazer says: "It's a bit strange for me, of course. After so many years of being us three, now it's just me one! But it's so exciting, a whole different feeling to before. I'm really proud of the video - they took the storyboard I came up with and executed it even better than I imagined. And there were some very lovely ladies to make the shoot even more enjoyable... that was a good day! The support so far has been overwhelming, honestly. I really hope everyone continues to enjoy what I'm working so hard on. It means the world".
back to top
MATTHEW HERBERT REVIVES WISHMOUNTAIN WITH SUPERMARKET ALBUM
Explains Herbert: "After all the questioning, controversy, head scratching, mud, straw and blood of the 'One Pig' record [which saw Herbert create an album using samples of a pig across the course of its life], I felt like making some old-fashioned dance music. I ended up making this record in four days, a spontaneous crunch around the modern supermarket - a place of fantasy, trickery, wonder and horror".
The album will be released by Accidental Records on 16 Aug. Here's the tracklist (which doubles up as the list of the most popular items sold by Tesco):
MEURSAULT TO RELEASE THIRD ALBUM, LAUNCH PARTY THIS WEEKEND
Listen to the first single from the album, 'Flittin', and its lovely accompanying piano version, here.
KISS ANNOUNCE RIDICULOUS BOOK
Entitled 'Kiss Monster', costing $4295 (although deliver, the website for the book proudly proclaims, is free) and featuring rare photos of the band from across their career, just 1000 copies of the book will be produced, with each one individually numbered and signed by the band. Fans will also be able to select one of ten flags to be printed on the cover, for some reason.
SLEEP PARTY PEOPLE ANNOUNCE MORE UK SHOWS
2 Sep: Newcastle, The Cluny
Watch the video for their latest album's closing track, 'The City Light Is Dead', here.
FESTIVAL LINE-UP UPDATE
STANDON CALLING, Standon, Hertfordshire, 3-5 Aug: Stately home-based party Standon Calling has announced a long list of new entries to its line-up. These names include Mary Epworth, Breton, Citizens!, Toy, Evi Vine, This Is The Kit, The Graveltones, Figures, Maddox, Lovepark, Handshake, Foxes, David Goo, The Folk, Interiors, Downtown Wolves, Annie Dale, Luke Unabomber, and Normski. www.standon-calling.com
UNDERAGE FESTIVAL, Shoreditch Park, London, 31 Aug: A trio of stragglers have been added to the line-up for this year's Underage Festival, and they are Friends, Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs and Dear Prudence. Go and join the others, you lot. Jessie Ware and Hadouken! will show you where to stand. www.underagefestivals.com
WAY OUT WEST, Slottsskogen, Gothenburg, Sweden, 9-11 Aug: Kraftwerk have been announced as a new addition to this year's Way Out West bill. Other recent additions include Odd Future, Miike Snow, Bobby Womack, The Afghan Whigs, Mark Lanegan, Best Coast, Ane Brun, Oberhofer, I Break Horses and Frida Hyvonen. www.wayoutwest.se
TROJAN RECORDS ANNOUNCES CLARKS TIE-UP
Says Toddla T: "I love Clarks Originals. I love the style, I love the heritage and the way the brand plays such a big part in music in general. I think what they're doing with international artists and cultures is amazing and it genuinely joins the dots between cultures even though it's a British brand. I go Jamaica... I see it there, I go America... I see it there. It's a thread between different types of people but they've all got the same love for it".
COACHELLA WOULD MOVE IF NEW CITY TAXES INTRODUCED
Torres reckons a tax on the Goldenvoice events would generate the city an extra $4 million in revenue (the promoters reckon it could cost them up to $6 million), which could be used to counter recent budget cuts. But Goldenvoice's President Paul Tollett says that the tax would be an unfair burden on his festivals' customers, especially given the contribution the Coachella and Stagecoach festivals already make to the Indio economy.
It was in a series text messages, published by The Desert Sun newspaper, that Goldenvoice VP Skip Paige first told an Indio official that the company would seriously consider moving its events to another city if the new tax was introduced. Subsequently Tollett had told reporters: "If the tax initiative of putting $4million to $6 million onto Coachella gets on the ballot we're going to take off 2014; 2015 we'll be at a new facility outside of Indio".
Earlier this year Goldenvoice, which has a long time lease on the Empire Polo Club, bought some neighbouring land so that it controls all of the area used by its festivals, enabling it to put in some permanent infrastructure. Torres might argue that this would make it unlikely for Tollett's company to really depart the city if the new tax was introduced, but Goldenvoice insists that option is seriously on the agenda.
Indio City Council declined to consider the proposals at a meeting last month, but Torres is now pushing for a vote on the matter in November.
JOHN LYDON TO APPEAR ON QUESTION TIME TONIGHT
RIHANNA'S FATHER HOPES SHE'LL GET BACK TOGETHER WITH CHRIS BROWN
Ronald Fenty, father of Rihanna, has told Grazia: "Chris has matured a lot. I think everybody has to put the past behind them. And they seem to have done that. Being a couple is all up to her. Every decision is her decision. I just wish her the best. I hope things will work out. Everyone is entitled to make a mistake. Her fans are hoping it will happen. They see them as a perfect couple".
"A perfect couple". Jesus Christ.
THIS JUST-IN: BIEBER ADMITS TO TUNING VOCALS ON RECORD
The singer told Q: "I don't use Auto-Tune. They tune my vocals - they use Melodyne. But every artist uses Melodyne. Not every artist, but 99% of artists. I like the sound, the perfectness of tuning in the record. No one has completely perfect pitch".
I'm not sure what research Justin has done, but I don't reckon usage of Melodyne is as high as 99% amongst all singers. Also, I have found evidence of him using Auto-Tune in the past.