RAY CHARLES FOUNDATION CHANGES POSITION ON STATUS OF SOUL STAR'S SONGS
Under American copyright law, songwriters can reclaim ownership of copyrights they previously assigned to a music publisher 35 years after their original deal. That rule was passed in the late 1970s, and the 35 year term only applied to deals done after the new law was enacted (for existing copyrights the term was longer), so is only now really coming into effect. The Charles family, like a number of veteran songwriters, are now trying to exercise that right to reclaim control of their father's works.
But the Foundation doesn't want that to happen, because it would deprive it of the royalties it receives from the Warner publishing company. In trying to block the family's termination notice (which tells the publisher the family wants their father's copyrights back), the charity presented various arguments, including a deal between Charles and his children when he was alive regards their inheritance which, the Foundation says, stops the descendants from making new claims over their father's estate now, and a claim that a 1980 renegotiation of Charles's deal with Warner voided the termination right under US copyright law.
The Foundation also threw in the argument that some of Charles's songs were written on a 'work for hire' basis while he was signed to Warner/Chappell, which would mean the copyrights in those songs would automatically belong to the publisher, rather than the publisher getting the rights via a pre-existing 'assignment' agreement with the musician. It's an important distinction, because if works are created by an individual on a 'work for hire' basis, the employer is technically the creator, meaning the songwriter loses the right to reclaim their works after 35 years (because they were never their works to reclaim).
US copyright law is a bit vague as to what constitutes 'work for hire' in this context, and that question is likely to become a very big deal in the next few years, as more veteran artists exercise their 35 year opt-out right. Some publishers will likely claim (indeed a few already have) that some termination notices submitted by songwriters are not valid because works were created on a 'work for hire' basis.
Though, actually, this debate will be more significant in the record industry, because the record labels are convinced the 35 year opt-out provision has no relevance to them, because all sound recordings created under a traditional record contract are done so on a 'work for hire' basis, meaning recording artists have no claim under this bit of American copyright law. Some recording artists and their lawyers beg to differ though, and the whole "how do you define work for hire" debate could end up in court.
But back to the Charles case. While the Charles family will dispute any claims their father's work was created on a work for hire basis, they also hit back at the Foundation's lawsuit by saying, if the songs in question were indeed made work for hire, meaning Warner/Chappell was the creator, then only the publisher could try to block the family's termination notice, because the charity wouldn't have any official status to pursue such a claim, as a mere beneficiary of work created by the Warner entity.
It's another area where American copyright law is ambiguous, though the judge hearing the case last month basically agreed with the Charles family's viewpoint on that issue. Which means, according to Billboard, the Foundation has changed its mind, and is now saying the disputed songs were not made on a 'work for hire' basis, but were created by Charles and the copyrights assigned to the publisher. Whether such a fundamental change of position will damage the Foundation's wider claim remains to be seen, the Charles family seem to hope so.
It also remains to be seen where this dispute goes next. Some had expected the case to provide some interesting insight on the 'work for hire' issue, which could have ramifications for other publishers and especially labels trying to block 35 year termination notices. Though if both sides in this lawsuit now agree the Charles songs were not created as a work for hire, it may have less relevance on that wider issue moving forward.
CHURCH HITS BACK AT MURDOCH'S "CELEBRITY SCUMBAGS" TWEET
Hacked Off is busy putting pressure on the British government amidst fears ministers, still afraid of taking on the big newspaper groups despite the 'we got too close' rhetoric churned out during the peak of the NOTW scandal last year, will ignore any of Leveson's tougher proposals for regulating the press. It's also thought the government will support a new voluntary regulator for the newspaper industry to replace the Press Complaints Commission, which collapsed in the wake of Hack-gate, rather than creating an OfCom-style regulator with statutory powers.
To that end, a team of campaigners recently met with PM David Cameron to discuss their concerns, including Church, probably the highest profile music star to sue Murdoch's News International for the illegal hacking of her voicemail by the firm's journalists, and police officer and 'Crimewatch' contributor Jacqui Hames.
Murdoch, who had Church sing at his third wedding in 1999, and who was, in his own words during a guest spot at the Houses Of Parliament, "humbled" by the public outrage that followed the exposure of illegal phone hacking at one of his London papers, tweeted in response to that recent Hacked Off meeting: "Told UK's Cameron receiving scumbag celebrities pushing for even more privacy laws. Trust the toffs! Transparency under attack. Bad".
Which is somewhat hypocritical, given the real scandal of the phone hacking debacle was the total lack of transparency within the Murdoch empire, ie the cover-up instigated by his British lieutenants to try and hide the scale of his firm's illegal activity from the police, the public and the aforementioned PCC (whose credibility was fatally damaged by accepting News International's corporate lies).
Anyway, whatever, Church wasn't impressed and responded: "It would be decent to withdraw and apologise for calling me and Jacqui Hames 'scumbags'".
Murdoch bounced back by insisting he didn't mean Church or Hames when he said "scumbags". To be fair, I think it was probably Hugh Grant, perhaps the most famous celeb linked to Hacked Off, who was really being branded "scum" in that particular tweet, as a result of him being particularly critical of News International's newspapers at the same time as mainly working for movie studios that compete with those owned by Murdoch.
Linking the whole debate to the scandal-du-jour, the News Corp chief later mused that if the Hacked Off group get their way and press regulation is stepped up, then it will mean that the "likes of Savile further protected" from public scrutiny. Though that sort of ignores the fact that the relatively unregulated newspapers of the 20th century ignored the Savile rumours for decades, and it was a regulated television news organisation which finally blew the lid off the story earlier this month.
VIDEO AWARDS PEOPLE'S CHOICE SHORTLIST ANNOUNCED
Staged in association with VEVO, this category starts off with eighteen videos from nine artists (the nine most viewed artists on VEVO UK in the last year). Fans are first invited to vote for which of the two videos selected from each artist they prefer, before a vote to decide which of the nine artists had the best video of the year overall. It all happens on VEVO's Facebook page here.
And the short list:
JONAS BROTHERS DISCUSS NEW MATERIAL
Nick Jonas told MTV: "[We're] hoping to create an experience for our fans that is really personal, and shows a little bit deeper look into what our lives have been like, as far as lyrics. Musically we're trying to push ourselves and continue to grow and get better".
Joe added: "For us, the biggest moments we spoke about [before writing the album], it started with the music first. We wanted to sit in the studio and create new sounds that we were inspired by - getting in the studio and focusing on that".
PORTISHEAD SONGWRITER SCORES WOODLAND WALK
His original score - and those by Shackleton & Vengeance Tenfold, Goldfrapp's Will Gregory and Micachu, who have participated in past examples of the scheme - is available to download for free via www.sonicjourneys.co.uk, as is a hand-drawn-by-Utley map of the Croft Castle woodland.
And now, a relevant video created by Portishead filmmaker John Minton.
JUSTIN VERNON DIRECTS BON IVER VIDEO
Or at least, that's what I took from it. Justin favoured a more conventional angle, saying via a press release: "It's kind of about two people who are truly meant for each other and what happens to their essence. How they connect is some other thing that we don't know how to really talk about".
'Beth/Rest' is being released as a single via 4AD on 12 Nov. This is the vid.
STRIFE TO RELEASE FIRST ALBUM FOR ELEVEN YEARS
The album will be released on 12 Nov. Here's the tracklist:
GARY BARLOW TO TOUR
The Take That star, who is rumoured to be voicing Postman Pat in a new animated film, enthuses thus about the tour: "I'm really excited about these dates. Playing live is my favourite thing and I haven't played a solo show for over a year now. Last year playing two London shows was brilliant, we all had such a good time, so I thought right let's get out and see the rest of the country!"
Unrevelatory artist quote over, we can now look at the dates:
13 Nov: Bournemouth, International Centre
HYPE WILLIAMS PLAYING LONDON SHOW
The duo look to be appearing minus any opening acts at the show, additional details of which are minimal/don't exist. £10 tickets will seemingly only be available on the door, rather than in advance. So basically, just be at the Boston Arms at about 9pm if you want to go.
FESTIVAL LINE-UP ADDITIONS
THE END FESTIVAL, various venues, Crouch End, London, 16-17 Nov: Peggy Sue, Novella, Milk Maid, Gravenhurst, Eyes And No Eyes, Woodpecker Wooliams, One Eyed Wayne, Rachael Dadd, Dutch Barn, Ichi, Harry Oakwood Millionaire, Boxed In, Teleman, Anna Meredith, Soledad Velez, Jessica Sligter, We are Willow, Keepsakes, Orlando, Robert Rustad Amundsen, Adrian Roye, Chike, Kat May, Robert Rotifer. www.facebook.com/events/110743999079777/
JUSTIN BIEBER APPOINTED ADIDAS 'STYLE ICON'
Biebs self-publicises thus: "I found a real connection with NEO because it is about fashion, freedom and being true to who you are. With my new album, 'Believe', I am spreading the message of believing in yourself. The first step is showing who you are, and one of the great ways to showcase yourself is through fashion. For me style is an adventure, something to have fun with and NEO believes this too".
Adidas marketeer Hermann Deininger, unsurprisingly, concurs: "Justin makes his mark in his own bold and expressive way through fashion, music and style. Justin will help us spread the spirit of NEO worldwide and showcase the brand's sports and lifestyle inspired apparel and footwear silhouettes".
Footwear silhouettes! Ahem.
NEO is marking JB's fashionable new role with a 'Find My Golden Shoes' online contest, details of which are available via Facebook.
And since I'm on such a Bieber tip, I may as well pass on the faux-candid new video for Justin and guest MC Nicki Minaj's new duet, 'Beauty And The Beat'. It was promoted via one of the most questionable and bad-taste music PR campaigns ever, so that's nice.
TRENT REZNOR ANNOUNCES BEATS ALLIANCE
Reznor tweeted on Monday: "In the studio for a day of experimentation with a hero of mine", adding later that it wasn't David Byrne, despite the pair having been interviewed together on stage at the Library Foundation Of Los Angeles on Sunday: "David Byrne = hero of mine, but it's not him. I doubt you'll guess this one!"
Then yesterday on Facebook, the Nine Inch Nails frontman wrote: "Some of you may have read that I have begun working with Beats By Dre. For the past year I have indeed been involved with Dre, Jimmy Iovine, Luke Wood, and the rest of the team on a number of very interesting projects that will start to emerge next year. I have been wanting to experiment and focus my energy and creativity in some different directions, and Beats has afforded me that very opportunity".
He continued: "The process has been challenging and fascinating and as much as I'd like to tell you about the things we've dreamed up... I just can't. Not yet... I can tell you it's probably not what you're expecting!"
It's the second surprising deal for Reznor in recent weeks, given Iovine runs Reznor's former label Universal/Interscope, of which the NIN man has said quite a few critical words in the past. As previously reported, he also announced last month that, after a number of years of fierce independence, his new band How To Destroy Angels would release their debut album through Sony/Columbia.
Speaking at that LFLA event at the weekend, Reznor explained that the seeds of the decision to return to the major label system dated back to Nine Inch Nails' final tour in 2009. He explained: "We're playing that night in Prague, but I see flyers up for Radiohead, who's playing the same place we're playing, six months from then. Then I walk into the record shop, and there isn't a section that says Nine Inch Nails. [Going back to a major] was to have a team of people who are better at that [marketing] than I am, worldwide ... that felt like it was worth slicing the pie up monetarily. So far it's been pleasantly pleasant".
METROPOLIS STUDIOS TO OFFER REDUCED RATES FOR INDIE MUSICIANS
Artists who wish to take advantage of what is being call the Metropolis Indie Music Festival need to apply by 8 Nov. A team made up of Metropolis staff and experts from across the industry will then decide which bands will get the most benefit from the programme. Selected artists will then have access to the studios and engineering staff for £300-£400 per day between 7 and 27 Jan. In addition to this, they will receive a discount from The Vinyl Factory for CD and vinyl production.
Festival organiser Tamsin McLarty told CMU: "We have been an established studio for over 23 years and feel strongly that the time is right to support the extraordinary talent that exists across the country. This festival is part of a wide range of new services and opportunities offered by Metropolis as we continue to expand our reach in to all elements of the music business".
For more information and to apply go here.
WARNER TO MEET WITH MONEY LENDERS
MILLS COMMENTS ON ADELE PROFITS
As previously reported, XL co-founder and chief Richard Russell received a £8.5 million dividend payment from the label, while Mills too, as the other shareholder, will have received a similar pay out, though his stake is via the Beggars Group, and he said earlier this week that the profits passed over to the Beggars business would be used "to invest in our future".
On the Adele success, Mills told the New York Times: "We've sold 25 million copies of '21' around the world. And when you sell that many records everyone makes money. Not just Adele and the label, but distributors, retail, everyone".
According to the Times, the Beggars Group, which has a stake in various labels, most notably XL and 4AD, but also Matador, Rough Trade and others, reported $138 million (£85.5 million) in revenue for 2011 and $37 million (£23 million) in operating profit.
OFCOM REFUSES TO AMEND HEART CORNWALL'S LICENCE OBLIGATIONS
Global acquired what was Atlantic FM in March to expand its Heart network into Cornwall. However, Atlantic's licence included more local programming obligations than the other FM licences used by Heart stations elsewhere in the UK, making it harder for Global to just pump out content from the central Heart network and neighbouring Heart Devon on the frequency.
The radio major wanted the Atlantic licence amended to reduce local programming obligations, but OfCom has refused, after nine out of twelve responses to their investigation objected to the proposal. That there are only two local commercial stations in Cornwall was key to the decision. As a result, according to Radio Today, Global will have to make a four hour programme every day specifically for Heart Cornwall.
The regulator said in a statement: "Given that the proposal affected Heart Cornwall's core requirement to be a 'full service local station specifically for Cornwall, with speech an important part of the content', and would require a significant rewording of its Character Of Service, the executive determined that the request, if granted, would represent a significant change to the character of the station's existing service".
QUARTER OF FUNERAL HOMES HAVE SONGS BLACK LIST
The survey also reveals that, when it comes to music choices at funeral home services, pop music is now requested more than hymns, with Frank Sinatra's 'My Way' the most requested song. 'Abide With Me' is, unsurprisingly, the most requested hymn, while Elgar's 'Nimrod' is the most requested classical tune chosen to celebrate a deceased friend or family member.