NEW FAST-TRACK COURT FOR COPYRIGHT DISPUTES LAUNCHED
Previously the County Courts were not equipped to consider such litigation, but under the new system they will be where damages claims do not exceed £5000, meaning copyright claims can be dealt with in a quicker, less formal and cheaper way.
Given that when rights owners target individual file-sharers, they only generally expect to get damages of a few thousand (despite the two high profile cases in the US where mega-damages have been awarded), the new system could be a popular route for any content firms wanting to tackle file-sharing this way.
Whether the cheaper fast track system will therefore result in an uplift in the number of such lawsuits being persuaded remains to be seen. In the main, the big music companies in the UK have resisted such litigation, and only a small number of smaller rights owners have gone that route too.
That said, if and when the three-strikes system put in place by the 2010 Digital Economy Act goes into action, rights owners might want to use the new fast-track system when warning letters, to be sent by internet service providers if the DEA system ever goes live, are ignored. The UK version of three-strikes doesn't currently have a strike three in place, meaning such litigation would be the only sanction available until parliament revisits the legislation.
So, perhaps the new system will result in an increase in the number of file-sharers being sued, eventually if not immediately. Though, even if it does, the new system should benefit accused file-sharers also. Anyone who believes they have been falsely accused of copyright infringement will find it cheaper to defend themselves, and will therefore be less likely to just reluctantly settle out of court to avoid any further action (a tendency which some law firms were accused of exploiting, by sending threatening letters to file-sharers they never intended to sue, assuming a fair number would just pay up).
Which is possibly why those groups who have spoken out about against new legal measures to help rights owners crack down on file-sharing in the past have welcomed this latest development. Peter Bradwell of the Open Rights Group told ISP Review: "A less costly and complex route to justice is another important step towards intellectual property laws that are fit for the digital age. A small claims track will mean creators can access justice more easily when their rights are infringed. And it should help consumers defend themselves against lower value infringement claims".
Meanwhile, the government's Business Minister Michael Fallon confirmed the launch of the new fast-track system by telling reporters: "Small firms whose intellectual property has been infringed will have today a simpler and easier way to take their cases forward, by writing direct to the judge and setting out the issues. Lower legal costs will make it easier for entrepreneurs to protect their creative ideas where they had previously struggled to access justice in what could often be an expensive progress. A smarter and cheaper process is good for business, and helping businesses make the most of their intellectual property is good for the economy".
FESTIVAL AWARDS DATES AND VOTING ANNOUNCED
The UK Festival Awards will take place this year on 3 Dec at London's Roundhouse, hosted by that Phill Jupitus chap. As usual, the awards will be preceded by the Festival Conference, also taking place in the Roundhouse, which brings together players from across the festival sector for debate and chatter. Voting for those categories decided by the public is already open, and will remain so until the end of the month. To vote or buy tickets go to www.festivalawards.com
Commenting on this year's awards, and alluding to the tricky year the festival sector has just had, Festival Awards co-founder Steve Jenner told CMU: "The overwhelming interest we have received from festivals of all shapes and sizes wanting to be involved in the Awards and Conference this year is an encouraging sign that the market is rallying; what was just a few years ago a fragmented industry is now very much a community. It all makes for exciting progress and a brilliant party, both of which are very important when the going gets tough and it's rained a lot".
The European Festival Awards will once again take place during the Eurosonic Noorderslag conference and festival in the Dutch city of Groningen, this time on 9 Jan. Public voting for the European prizes opens on Friday via eu.festivalawards.com.
On the European gong presenting fest, Jenner added: "It's an honour and a privilege to once again be hosting these celebrations for the great European festival producers; many of which have had a tough time this year in their commitment to entertaining the many millions of festival-goers around the continent. We look forward to giving these people a party worthy of the super-heroes they undoubtedly are".
Meanwhile Eurosonic Creative Director Peter Smidt added: "With the European Border Breakers Awards and the European Festival Awards in a row, it is a perfect opening evening for Eurosonic Noorderslag".
MARR'S MANAGER DENIES SMITHS REUNION
Let's say no more about it.
FOO FIGHTERS TO "GO AWAY FOR A WHILE", SAYS GROHL
Closing the Foos' set with a speech comparable to the one Captain Von Trapp makes at the end of 'The Sound Of Music', Grohl said this weekend: "This is it, man. We don't have any shows after this. This is the show where we come out and we play as many songs as we can in a short period of time, because honestly, I don't know when we're going to do it again".
Further to that message, Grohl has since shared a statement via the Foo Fighters Facebook page, writing: "Yes... I was serious. I'm not sure when the Foo Fighters are going to play again. It feels strange to say that, but it's a good thing for all of us to go away for a while. It's one of the reasons we're still here. Make sense? I never want to NOT be in this band. So, sometimes it's good to just... put it back in the garage for a while".
But lest we all misinterpret any of the above, MTV says it has had official assurance from Foo HQ that the band are, once again, "definitely not breaking up". Repeat: they are just going on a break. So, that's nice. And in the meantime, Dave's new doc 'Sound City', which he's billing as the "biggest, most important project I've ever worked on", is edging its way to completion.
REM'S PETER BUCK TO RELEASE SOLO ALBUM
Buck wrote: "I know I said for years that I would never make a solo record. It was never a plan or a desire, but it just kind of happened. When REM called it a day, I'd spent the last three months on my back with a semi-crippling injury unable to play guitar. With my band gone and unable to use the fingers on my right hand, I started writing lyrics just to have something creative to do. The lyrics turned into songs and the songs turned into what felt like a possible album, so I called some of my favorite musicians, Scott [McCaughey], Mike [Mills], Bill [Berry], Lenny Kaye, Corin Tucker, Jenny Conlee, and booked studio time".
He continued: "Not being really confident in my singing, I asked Corin to sing one and she was gracious enough to do so, Scott sang a few, mostly the ones he wrote melodies to. So why is it a solo record? I wrote 95% of the lyrics and most of the music, it is the first thing I have ever been involved in where I was actually in charge, and the record turned out to be kind of like a trip through my mind, all of the kinds of music I love, played with some of my favorite musicians, in a completely one take spontaneous atmosphere. It was either call it a Peter Buck record or Richard M Nixon - Lenny Kaye convinced me that it should be called a Peter Buck solo record because it does represent me or at least me right then".
The album will be released by Mississippi Records on 5 Oct and initially limited to 2000 copies on vinyl.
GODSPEED YOU! BLACK EMPEROR ANNOUNCE NEW ALBUM
GYBE went on hiatus in 2003, reforming in 2010 for a long run of live shows. The new album features just four tracks, described by the label as "two 20 minute slabs of epic instrumental rock music and two six-and-a-half minute drones".
The band will also perform two nights at The Forum in London on 4 and 5 Nov, the first of which is already sold out.
Here's the tracklist for the album:
SUFJAN STEVENS' CHRISTMAS COMPILATION CONFIRMED
As is hinted at in the 'Vols 6-10' part of that title, it actually comprises five EPs recorded between 2006 and 2010. It will feature guests like The National's Aaron and Bryce Dessner, Arcade Fire's Richard Reed Parry and Stevens' 'Age Of Adz' collaborator Cat Martino. There's no mention of Stevens' rumoured Kitty Pryde duet on the tracklisting though, which is a shame, but mention or no mention I still want to believe it's real, like Santa.
Anyway. Digital and physical copies of 'Silver & Gold' will be available via Asthmatic Kitty from 13 Nov. Themed temporary tattoos, stickers, a "paper ornament", a Christmas songbook and "hallucinogenic photographs and psychedelic graphic design (by Sufjan Stevens, drug-free since 1975)" will also appear in a limited edition vinyl box set, priced at a credible $120. Those haven't been given a release date yet, mind. Before Christmas, though, one would hope.
Much less expensive is this extra info and/or a play of token LP track 'Christmas Unicorn'.
DANNY BROWN SELLS PILL-SHAPED XXX EP
GALLOPS SHARE DEBUT LP DETAILS
If you like what you see in this 'Yours Sincerely' teaser trailer, why not see the band play live in advance of headliners Caspian at London's Cargo on 13 Oct? I mean really, why the hell not?
EXAMPLE CANCELS TOUR DATES
He tweeted: "With huge regret I've had to cancel/reschedule all my Oct shows. My achilles tendinitis has got worse and I need time to recover", adding: "[I'm] hoping to be back to full fitness asap and in time to play my November/December shows".
Details of the rescheduled dates will be announced soon. Example is also due to release his new album 'The Evolution Of Man' on 18 Nov.
JA JA JA ANNOUNCES OCTOBER LINE-UP
This month's show will take place on 25 Oct, with live sets from Norway's Mikhael Paskalev, Iceland's Ólöf Arnalds and Finland's The New Tigers. Tickets are available here and you can check out each of the artists below.
TW:GUIDE TO CITY SHOWCASE PUBLISHED
And to provide an overview of what's in store, CMU's sister website ThisWeek London yesterday published a TW:Guide to the festival. The 20 page magazine includes a full planner for the event and interviews with some of the new artists taking part, plus a guide for aspiring artists and music business players, with input from some of the industry experts appearing in the City Showcase workshops programme this year, including CMU's Chris Cooke, Zimbalam's Chris Dyer, Universal Music's Morna Cook and a certain Lemar. The tenth anniversary of City Showcase is also marked with a playlist of artists who have played at the festival in the last ten years, including Amy Winehouse, Razorlight, Keane, N-Dubz, Laura Marling, Newton Faulkner and Gallows.
The guide is being distributed at bars, shops, venues, colleges and stations around London throughout this week, plus you check it online at www.thisweekguides.com/cityshowcaseguide. ThisWeek is also offering free wristbands for the festival at www.thisweekguides.com/cityshowcase.
ThisWeek London is a new service from CMU's publishers UnLimited Publishing, created by the team behind ThreeWeeks Edinburgh, the longest established review magazine at the Edinburgh Festival. Launched in beta-mode this week, the TW team will provide a daily dose of cultural recommendations for the capital, available via www.ThisWeekLondon.com or www.Twitter.com/ThisWeekLondon.
--------------------------------------------------FESTIVAL LINE-UP ADDITIONS
BPM, Playa del Carmen, Riviera Maya, Mexico, 4-13 Jan 2013: Art Department, Behrouz, Benoit & Sergio, Boris, Carl Cox, Carlo Lio, Cassy, Chus & Ceballos, Damian Lazarus, Dan Ghenacia, Dixon, Doc Martin, Droog, Dubfire, Dyed Soundorom, Eats Everything, Guti, Guy Gerber, Hector, Henrik Schwarz, Jamie Jones, John Digweed, Justin Martin, Lauren Lane, Lee Burridge, Lee Foss, Loco Dice, Luciano, Maceo Plex, Marco Carola, Mark Knight, Martin Buttrich, Matt Tolfrey, My Favorite Robot, Nic Fanciulli, Nick Curly, Nicole Moudaber, Nitin, Paco Osuna, Richie Hawtin, Ryan Crosson, Saeed Younan, Sasha, Seth Troxler, Shaun Reeves, Shonky, Soul Clap, Stacey Pullen, Steve Angello, Steve Lawler, Sven Väth, Tale Of Us, The Junkies, The Martinez Brothers, Thugfucker, tINI, Victor Calderone, Wolf + Lamb. www.thebpmfestival.com
SONGS PUBLISHING PROMOTES A&R HEAD
Songs CEO Matt Pincus, to whom Perry will report, told CMU: "Songs Music Publishing is well positioned to be the best full service, global music publishing company for current writers in the changing market. Ron's unique combination of creative talent, business acumen, and top-notch management capabilities are unparalleled among executives of his generation. This enhanced role for Ron, who has built Songs with me since I started it, underscores the strength and uniqueness of the company. It's a great day for Songs".
Perry himself added: "I am thankful to Matt for this opportunity to expand my leadership role at Songs and to continue to work with him and our incredibly talented staff to further Songs Music Publishing's role as the best destination in the industry for contemporary writers".
BBC THOUGHT TO BE DEVELOPING MUSIC SERVICE
However, it seems unlikely that the Beeb would take on Spotify et al directly, rather the service would make music recordings from the BBC archives available on demand, probably via a platform akin to the Corporation's iPlayer.
And, indeed, the Telegraph reckons the Beeb could work with existing players in the digital music space, like Spotify and Deezer, to reduce the licensing costs of launching such a venture - ie make the content available via other digital music platforms, utilising said platforms' existing licenses with labels and music publishers.
The project is reportedly being spearheaded by the boss of BBC Audio & Music Tim Davie, who "regards it as the project that will be his biggest legacy at the corporation". Many expect Davie to be moved from his top job at BBC Radio to run the Corporation's commercial division BBC Worldwide, where he could negotiate the commercial partnerships that might be required to make this new venture happen.
The Telegraph reckons The Playlister could be launched within the year, or in early 2013.
SAMSUNG SERIOUS ABOUT MUSIC
As previously reported, back in May Samsung launched its own Music Hub, powered with content by London-based 7Digital, and the SVP of Samsung's Media Solution Center, Kang Tae-jin, has told Reuters he wants that to become one of the top four digital music services in the world. And the tech company's wider music offers are expected to expand too, possibly through the acquisition of existing digital and mobile music platforms (they already required one called mSpot earlier this year).
Says Tae-jin: "We want to grow the Music Hub to rank in the world's top four services within three years in both revenue and subscriber numbers. And to shorten the time, we're ready to do more acquisitions, if needed. Mobile business is what Samsung is doing really well, and as a result we have deep pockets. We are very serious about content business, as we showed with the acquisition of mSpot".
He continued: "The message we're getting from the top is to raise software capability, and buy rather than build, if needed. Our focus on software is primarily aimed at driving hardware sales, rather than making money. We have a full range of handsets in so many countries, and, to better market our products, we thought it's better to start our own software business".
Needless to say, Tae-jin wouldn't comment on the services his company may be interested in acquiring, though obviously speculators will speculate that both Spotify and the publicly listed Pandora might be possible takeover targets, even if neither are particularly interested in being bought just now.
BITTORRENT USE DOWN WHERE SPOTIFY HANGS OUT
But is that true? Well, Musicmetric, the London-based agency which tracks online music consumption, reckons there is evidence that the presence of services like Spotify in a market has a tangible impact on illegal file-sharing.
That is to say, in it's latest Digital Music Index report, Musicmetric says the number of music files downloaded using BitTorrent (which will likely be unlicensed music files) is growing fastest in countries where Spotify does not operate. Meanwhile five of the ten countries where BitTorrent activity is decreasing the fastest, Spotify is available.
Of course other factors are at play where BitTorrent use is declining, or rising less rapidly - including anti-file-sharing enforcement, the disappearance of some BitTorrent-assisting websites, and the growth of other forms of file-sharing. Though the trends identified by Musicmetric are, nevertheless, interesting.
According to the analytics company, the ten countries where BitTorrent file-sharing is growing fastest are: Brazil, Estonia, Russia, Argentina, France, Chile, Mexico, Ukraine, Pakistan and Columbia. Of these, only France has Spotify.
And the ten countries where BitTorrent use is shrinking fastest are: the UK, the US, Canada, Italy, Greece, Hungary, Indonesia, Sweden, Netherlands and Norway.
RDIO LAUNCHES ARTIST PROGRAMME
Via the Rdio Artist Program, acts are encouraged to share their own music and music recommendations via social media, encouraging said fans to listen to said music via the streaming platform. If any fans then sign up for a premium subscription, the artist will receive ten dollars. Good times. The programme will run in fourteen countries at launch, and Scissor Sisters, Snoop Lion, A-Trak, Chromeo and Brendan Benson are all already on board.
As noted when the rumours of such a programme were first flying back in May, the initiative is an interesting way for artists to profit directly from the growth of streaming music, given that the royalties most acts receive via their labels and publishers from musicplay on Rdio-type platforms are often currently nominal.
Meanwhile the digital firm's CEO Drew Larner added: "All sorts of talented and innovative artists have found an audience for their music online. But it's incredibly hard to make a living doing it. The Artist Program offers artists a way to supplement their existing revenue streams by doing what they do naturally - connecting with fans. We're aligning our focus on social music discovery with our fundamental belief that artists deserve to get paid for their work. We view it as a significant step forward for artists, fans and streaming music".
SIMON COWELL AND WILL.I.AM TO LAUNCH 'X-FACTOR FOR TECH'
Speaking via video link at the Royal Television Society Digital World conference in London, Wired reports that the producer said: "Singing and performance create a couple of jobs, but this will create lots. It's about getting in touch with youth and giving them a platform to express themselves - whether that's in science or mathematics".
CHARLOTTE CHURCH "HATED" CRAZY CHICK
Speaking to Digital Spy, the singer now says that her then label, SonyBMG, added the song to her 2005 'Tissues And Issues' album because she hadn't managed to write any strong singles herself. Presumably, given the long player was meant to be Church's big breakthrough into pop, the label wanted to some big radio hits on there.
Says Church: "I'm more stronger [now] in my conviction of what I want to do. When you're first trying to write, people tell you, 'That's no good, it's pretty shit really'. It knocks you for six, so you generally tend to go along with [them]. That was the case with 'Crazy Chick'. I presented an album that I had been writing with different people when I was sixteen/seventeen, to which the record company said, 'It's alright, it's not great, so we'll slap a couple of singles on it and get it out'".
She continued: "I was furious - and then it was 'Crazy Chick' and this, that and the other - so I hated that song from its conception. I understood it was a pop hit, but I hated it because it didn't mean anything - I don't think it helped anyone with their emotional problems - and it was just a bit of throwaway pop, which I wasn't about".