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CANADIAN INDUSTRY RESPONDS AS SUPREME COURT RULES ON VARIOUS COPYRIGHT CASES
As previously reported, Canada's Supreme Court chose to review a number of outstanding copyright cases in one go, and held oral hearings on all of them last December. The legal wranglings ran concurrent to ongoing efforts to reform Canadian copyright law - efforts that resulted in C-11, a new bit of copyright legislation passed by the country's parliament last month.
However, many of the issues being considered by the Supreme Court were not dealt with by that copyright reform act - and some rights owners might argue that last week's judicial rulings show that further legislative reform is now needed. Though consumer rights groups and tech companies might argue last week's judicial decisions show Canada's copyright system is now operating just fine.
Various kinds of copyrights were involved in the cases being considered by the top court last week, though three disputes focused specifically on music right issues: 30 second preview clips on download stores, the song performance right in progressive downloads, and the recording performance right in TV programmes and films.
Canada's publishing rights collecting society SOCAN has long argued that a performance right should be paid to song publishers whenever a 30 second preview clip is played via a download store like iTunes. Digital music operators argue that when consumers listen to such a clip, they are doing research to inform a purchase, and such personal research is exempt from copyright under the country's fair dealing provisions.
SOCAN did not concur. According to the Toronto Star, it told the court that "since the evidence showed that each user, on average, listened to ten previews before purchasing a musical work for download, the overall amount of time spent listening to previews was so large that the dealing was unfair". It added that there were plenty of other ways that consumers could research music before making a purchase, including advertising, blurbs, reviews.
And when consumer rights groups argued that adding a performance royalty to such clips would increase the price of downloads in Canada, SOCAN countered that there was little difference in MP3 pricing in countries where such a performing royalty is due versus those where it is not. Nevertheless, the court said that no royalty was due to songwriters and music publishers on 30 second clips provided by download stores.
SOCAN also claimed that a performance royalty was due on the download itself, when one of its members' songs was sold via an iTunes-style platform, and indeed it has been collecting on this basis in Canada for sometime. However, again the Supreme Court judges sided with the digital firms, saying that while a mechanical royalty is due on downloads, a separate performing royalty is not (in Canada, unlike the UK, performing and mechanical royalties due to songwriters and publishers are not collected by the same organisation). Though the court did confirm performance royalties are due on streaming-based digital services.
Responding, SOCAN CEO Eric Baptiste told CMU: "The Supreme Court Of Canada has reconfirmed the online rights of music creators and publishers, and we believe that the right final decision has been made in the case of internet streaming. We are, however, disappointed that the court chose not to uphold the rights of our members in all of its decisions. We will continue to fight for the legal rights of our members to be compensated fairly for their work".
Elsewhere in the pile of Supreme Court rulings was one involving Canada's recording rights society, the Re:Sound Music Licensing Company, which was trying to convince the court to reward the owners and creators of sound recording copyrights (as opposed to the song rights SOCAN represents) with a performance right when their work is used in TV programmes or films - a right that exists in many other territories, including the UK, but not in Canada.
But, alas, Re:Sound did not prevail, leading the society to call for a legislative change on this issue, noting what was agreed at that previously reported recent meeting of the World Intellectual Property Organisation in Beijing regards performer rights.
Re:Sound President Ian MacKay told CMU: "I cannot say we are not disappointed by today's ruling. It seems incongruous that songwriters should be compensated when their work is broadcast on TV and in motion pictures, while the actual performers of the recordings are not. That being said it is the Supreme Court's role to interpret the law as it exists, not as it should be. Unfortunately, Canada's copyright law has today been found to put Canadian recording artists and record companies at a disadvantage in the international marketplace".
SPRINGSTEEN CUT SHORT IN THE PARK
Many took to Twitter to complain when The Boss's headline set at Hard Rock Calling this weekend was silenced as the singer, who had just dueted with Paul McCartney, exceeded his curfew. Though few were as angry as E Street Band guitarist Steven Van Zandt, who took to the net to rant big time after the power was cut to the Hyde Park stage's sound system, on Saturday night, even though Springsteen wanted to sing one more song, or at least bid his audience good night.
Van Zandt wrote: "One of the greatest gigs ever in my opinion. But seriously, when did England become a police state? We break curfews in every country but only English cops needs to 'punish us' by not letting us leave until the entire crowd goes. Is there just too much fun in the world? We would have been off by eleven if we'd done one more. On a Saturday night! Who were we disturbing?"
He continued: "The cops got nothing more important to do? How about they go catch some criminals instead of fucking with 80,000 people having a good time? English cops may be the only individuals left on Earth that wouldn't want to hear one more from Bruce Springsteen and Paul McCartney! If it's a public transport issue, I'm sorry but people are adult enough to go get a train if they need to without the cops pulling the plug!"
Of course, anyone who follows the licensing of the various major music events that happen in the London park will know there are quite a lot of local residents who say they are routinely disturbed by the big Hyde Park gigs, and they have been busy lobbying Westminster Council to cut back the number of shows that take place there. And with those local residents scoring some successes with their campaigning of late, Live Nation, which runs the Hyde Park stage, and which is staging even more events than normal there this year because of the Olympics, is understandably cautious of pushing the rules.
Indeed, a spokesman for Westminster Council insisted yesterday that it was a Live Nation decision to end the Springsteen show when it did, in order to comply with its licence. And it was, no doubt, a decision welcomed by local resident groups, and one that may help the next time the live music major is in front of licensing officials negotiating terms, even if it did piss off a lot of Springsteen fans on the night. Though even Vaz Zandt admitted he was pissed when writing his rant, and that the premature shut down "didn't ruin the great night", but "when I'm jamming with McCartney don't bug me!"
Overnight, audience members who attended the Sunday night edition of the same festival, headlined by Paul Simon, were complaining that the sound at the show was too quiet, presumably also because of licensing concerns on the part of the promoter. Given Live Nation has also just had to buy in most of the world's supply in wood chip to ensure the mud bath of a park is still usable throughout the Olympics, you can't help thinking that some at the live giant might start wondering whether operating the Hyde Park stage is really worth all the hassle.
C-NET FAILS TO HAVE ALKI DAVID'S INFRINGEMENT LAWSUIT DISMISSED
As previously reported, film producer Alki David, founder of FilmOn.com, began legal proceedings against C-Net just over a year ago, claiming that the tech website should be held liable for the copyright infringement enabled by file-sharing technologies like LimeWire, because it's sister website Download.com provided access to such software for millions of users.
Not only that, David's lawsuit claimed, but C-Net articles discussed the merits of different file-sharing systems and explained how they could be used, inducing its readers to infringe. But C-Net argued that it was exercising its freedom of speech, under the First Amendment, when writing and expressing opinions about file-sharing technologies, and that the exercising of that right could not be used to hold the company liable for inducement of copyright infringement.
However, last week Judge Dale Fischer did not concur. She conceded that writing about how to file-share in itself could not be deemed inducement, but said that when a website also distributes the technology being reviewed, then the First Amendment right does not necessarily apply. In Fischer's words: "It would not be difficult to avoid liability by either (1) only providing editorial content without distributing the software or (2) distributing the software without demonstrating or advocating its use for violating copyrights".
All of which means David's lawsuit can now continue to court (albeit minus further claims against C-Net of vicarious copyright infringement and material contribution to copyright infringement, which were dismissed by the judge). The FilmOn chief was jubilant at the news, telling reporters: "This is a huge win for us. This sets the precedent for other artists and copyright owners whose work has been illegally distributed by LimeWire, BitTorrent, FrostWire and the billions of copies of P2P software which CBS continues to induce people to download and steal".
As previously reported, CBS - a major copyright owner itself, of course - has previously accused David of pursuing his lawsuit against C-Net out of spite, after losing a copyright case launched by the media giant against the film producer in 2010. Though it's probable that there are executives elsewhere within CBS itself who are less than happy about C-Net helping web users find file-sharing technologies, whatever the legalities. And, ironically, at the time LimeWire was on the rise, aided by C-Net distribution, the tech site's CEO was also on the board of Warner Music.
Alki David is also the maverick American entertainment industry billionaire who last month offered Chris Brown and Drake $10 million between them if they signed up for a celebrity boxing match. David's offer followed the violent alteration between the entourages of the two music stars at a New York nightclub that left various bystanders injured, and has already resulted in a number of lawsuits.
MADONNA SUED OVER ALLEGED VOGUE SAMPLES, AND FRENCH POLITICAL IMAGERY
Before you ask, VMG says that the 'Love Break' samples have been so cleverly used in the Madonna track, that they are very hard to hear, but that new technology employed last year proved that they are there - and that's the reason it's taken 22 years to sue. And, VMG adds, it can prove that the producer and co-writer on the track, Richard 'Shep' Pettibone, had access to 'Love Break', because he had been involved in a remix of the 70s track before beginning work on 'Vogue'.
Says the VMG lawsuit: "The portions of 'Love Break' which have been copied into 'Vogue' and all its various 'mixes', 'remixes', videos, YouTube versions, etc are numerous but intentionally hidden. The unauthorised sampling was deliberately hidden by [Madonna and Pettibone] within 'Vogue' so as to avoid detection. It was only when VMG specifically looked for the sample, with the technology available to it in 2011, that the sampling could be confirmed".
VMG wants damages and a cut of all the money generated by 'Vogue' over the years. Which would presumably be rather a lot. Madonna's people are yet to comment, though her lawyers already have another project to be working on too.
A spokesman for the French far right National Front political group has said it will sue the singer for "insult" after she showed an image of the organisation's leader Marine Le Pen with a swastika superimposed on her face. The image appeared at a concert as part of a video sequence in which Madonna's face morphs into those of various controversial world figures. After Le Pen's face appeared, complete with Nazi symbol, it morphed into a face resembling that of Adolf Hitler
After Madonna screened the video at a show in Paris this weekend, Florian Philippot, VP of the French National Front, said the images were an "unacceptable" provocation, and told Reuters: "A private plaintiff's case for insult will be presented next week. It is our duty to bring a complaint to defend our voters and our supporters".
Since taking over as leader of the political party from her father Jean-Marie, Le Pen has been trying to widen support for her group by expelling extremists in its ranks, and cracking down on racist and anti-Semitic talk amongst its members. Nevertheless, she remains a controversial figure, though did win 18% of the vote in April's first-round presidential election in France.
Madonna's people are yet to respond to the National Front's lawsuit threats.
NEW KIDS AND BACKSTREET BOYS SUED BY STAGEHAND
William Wesley Styron says he suffered a fractured skull and "traumatic brain injury" after falling through an unmarked trap door while working on the stage ahead of the NKOTBSB show at the city's Fedex Forum in June 2011. Styron adds that he fell thirteen feet and suffered a "loss of consciousness, seizures, and convulsions".
Styron's lawsuit says that the two bands and the show's promoters should accept liability for his injuries because no signs or cones were used to warn him of the hazardous conditions on the stage, and he's reportedly seeking $5 million in damages. Reps for the show are expected to argue that the accident was Styron's own fault, and that he should have exercised more care by default when working in the stage area.
TAYLOR SWIFT RICHEST CELEB UNDER 30, ADELE RICHEST BRIT
The complete list is as follows:
1 Taylor Swift ($57m)
MUSE REVEAL MORE ALBUM DETAILS
Speaking to NME about the dubstep-infused trailer for the album released back in June, frontman Matt Bellamy said: "We've tried a bunch of new things, which the trailer gives a glimpse of. There's only one song that's like that [though]. We've basically tried to do what Rage Against The Machine did with hip hop in the 1990s, and take a bit of the electronic world and dubstep and play it with real instruments. There's only one track like that, the rest of it is very very diverse".
Here's the full tracklist:
FACTORY FLOOR ANNOUNCE DEBUT ALBUM AND REMIX EP
If you're keen to get your hands on a new release from the band sooner than that, they'll be putting out an EP featuring three remixes of their debut DFA single, 'Two Different Ways', which came out last November, on 27 Aug.
The remix EP will feature two reworkings by Perc, plus a third by Richard H Kirk. Check out the video for the original version here.
WINEHOUSE FAMILY WOULDN'T OBJECT TO HOLOGRAPHIC AMY SHOW
As previously reported, there has been much speculation as to which dead artists might be 'revived' by the newish sort-of-hologram effect ever since it was used to enable a long dead Tupac Shakur to rap alongside Snoop Dogg at the Coachella Festival earlier this year. Though the estates of some legendary dead rock and pop stars have ruled out using the technology for a new live show.
But Mitch Winehouse says that if fans liked the idea of a holographic Amy singing on stage, he would not object. He told The Sun: "The most important thing to Amy was the music and I'm sure a lot of people would like to hear her sing again. It depends on what Amy's fans want as a way to keep her memory alive. If it's a book, an album or a hologram, then so be it".
Though he added he would be unlikely to attend any such show himself, explaining: "I can't watch Amy on TV or listen to her songs, it's really difficult".
KID KOALA ANNOUNCES NEW ALBUM AND TOUR
Following the release, Kid Koala will be over in the UK with what he is billing as the 'Vinyl Vaudeville Tour'. At the shows he promises music, puppets, dancing girls, robots, a giant cardboard turntable and parlour games. So, fun for all the family.
Here are the dates:
11 Oct: London, Islington Academy
JACK BEATS ANNOUNCE MINI-ALBUM AND TOUR
The duo have also put together a mixtape, which features tracks from 'Careless', including collaborations with Example and Diplo, as well as remixes and tracks form other producers. You can stream and download that here.
As well as that, they will be heading out on tour in October. Tour dates as follows:
11 Oct: Glasgow, Academy
CROWDSURGE SAYS MODIFICATIONS TO E-TICKET SYSTEM PRECEDED BLOC
ATP COMMENTS ON COMPANY CLOSURE
Though the open letter from founder and promoter Barry Hogan only really confirmed what we already knew, that ATP Concerts Ltd had been liquidated, that a new company called Willwal Ltd had been set up, and that all of the ATP gigs and festivals currently in the calendar will now be promoted by the new entity. Though Hogan did reveal that moving forward his firm's three main areas of business - festivals, gigs and recordings - would each be run through separate limited companies.
The statement reads: "We have now completed a restructuring of the business of ATP Concerts Ltd. This involved the voluntary liquidation of ATP Concerts Ltd and transfer of its assets (including the rights to the All Tomorrow's Parties festival, label, and shows) to a new company called Willwal Ltd. We will also be dividing the business into three different companies: ATP Festivals, ATP Recordings and ATP Shows. The team however, remain the same, having been transferred over to Willwal Ltd - and the festival is still called All Tomorrow's Parties. All future events will continue as scheduled on the dates advertised and all tickets for those events are still valid".
Hogan continued: "ATP remains unwaveringly committed to hosting world class events. Since our inception it has been our mission to provide quality concerts for discerning music lovers around the world - our number one priority has always been the bands and the fans and we work hard, sometimes under difficult circumstances, to achieve the highest standards possible. It is a tough climate out there, but this restructuring will ensure that ATP is around for many more years to come. We thank the fans who have stood by us over the years and especially during this recent time of reorganisation".
The statement also announced that a planned I'll Be Your Mirror event in the US in September was moving its venue, from Asbury Park in New Jersey into New York City, for "logistical reasons".
It's not clear how many creditors the now defunct ATP company had, and who, other than its owners, will be affected by its demise. Though, in the current economic climate, many will be pleased that this popular alternative festival franchise is able to continue.
VEVO REJIGS UK TEAM
Jones told CMU: "When we launched VEVO in the UK just over one year ago, we were very focused on the sales side of the business and growing VEVO's revenue through brand partnerships. While sales is a core focus, our business in this important market has expanded quickly in all areas - content & programming, business development, ad operations and finance & administration. As in the US, it's important that VEVO build a lasting scalable business whilst always responding to our customer's needs by creating UK specific repertoire and partnerships".
He continued: "To this end, we've created over 20 episodes of original music programming and live events featuring artists like Jessie J, Kasabian, Rita Ora, Labrinth and Usher to name a few. These innovative programs have helped create a powerful new music brand in the UK reaching roughly ten million viewers each month. As we forge ahead, we look to grow our business, and to build 360 music partnerships in the broadcast and cable arena as well as complementary consumer lifestyle outlets".
AMERICAN IDOL LOSES TWO JUDGES
Aerosmith man Tyler had been due to stay with the show for another season but says he needs to dedicate more time to his "first love", his band. Lopez, meanwhile, also cited her own career as well as her young family as reasons to step back from the talent show franchise.
Though, that said, various other reports claim that it was actually 'Idol' producers that dropped both judges, Tyler to clear space for a newer face, Lopez because she was demanding too big a pay rise. So who knows what's been going on?
What is certain, is that all this has fuelled speculation as to who might replace the two stars on the show as producers try to woo back the viewers. Mariah Carey is a favourite, while Kanye West, Mary J Blige, Lenny Kravitz and Katy Perry have all been mooted as possibles, and this morning Aretha Franklin is said to have expressed an interest.
And there have been rumours 'Idol' alumni Adam Lambert is being considered, though if he was a judge, contenders might be tempted to compare his worldwide profile with that of the singer who beat him on the show, Kris Allen, and start wondering whether winning is actually that important. Lambert said last week that he had not been approached by 'Idol' bosses about a judging role, but that he'd consider it if they did.
NEWTON FAULKNER LEFT SPEECHLESS BY PROCLAIMED FANS
Speaking to The Sun, folky bloke Faulkner confessed: "I was playing at the V Festival four years ago. It was a weird audience - like the whole cast of Hollyoaks, Paul Rudd and Matt Lucas. There was no one there I didn't know. [Then] I turned to go off and The Proclaimers - the two main guys - were standing there and saying they really enjoyed it. I couldn't talk. I was mesmerised. That's the only time I've ever been dumbstruck, ever!"