BPI SET TO SUE PIRATE PARTY OVER PIRATE BAY PROXY
As much previously reported, earlier this year the BPI secured injunctions forcing all of the major internet service providers to block access to their customers to The Pirate Bay, after a judge ruled that the controversial file-sharing service was liable for authorising infringement. However, web-users who know what they are doing can circumvent the block. And one of the easiest ways to that is to click on the proxy button on the Pirate Party's website.
Last month the BPI asked the political group to stop operating the proxy link. Pirate Party chief Loz Kaye initially said he was taking legal advice on the matter, but it now seems that he and his supporters are preparing for a fight on this. A spokesman for the BPI has told the BBC: "Despite our efforts to resolve the matter amicably, it is clear that the Pirate Party are determined to continue providing access to the illegal Pirate Bay site. Our solicitors will now be formally writing to members of the Pirate Party's national executive committee".
For Kaye and the Pirate Party, the blocking of websites like The Pirate Bay is a freedom of expression issue, with their supporters claiming that courts 'censor' the internet when they stop people accessing certain websites on copyright grounds alone. It's not a minority viewpoint by any means, and was much cited in the US at the start of the year when Congress was considering two separate proposals for legislation to introduce web-blocking of copyright infringing websites in the States. A loud cry of "censorship" by the mainstream tech community, led by Wikipedia's Jimmy Wales, knocked those (albeit not especially well constructed) bits of proposed legislation very much into the long grass.
In a statement on its website, the Pirate Party wrote yesterday: "Censorship is never the right answer. Censorship, in any form, interferes with crucial freedoms and rarely delivers on its aims. Censorship's only effect is to hide underlying problems or pretend they do not exist, rather than dealing with them directly. In the meantime, legitimate expression is curtailed".
Of course any system that has the power to block mainstream access to websites does need to be operated carefully, though realistically the internet was always going to be censored to a point, and already is, for example in a bid to stop fraud and the distribution of footage of sexual abuse.
Given how easy it is for sites to inadvertently infringe copyright, the extension of web-blocks to target those web services guilty of infringement does need to be even more carefully managed, though rights owners would argue that even the most cautious system shouldn't protect a site as deliberately created to encourage and enable others to infringe copyright as The Pirate Bay.
And the censorship of The Pirate Bay isn't, really, an attack on freedom of expression at large, given creators who may have used the site to distribute their works have access to a plethora of other free online distribution platforms that operate a better system for protecting copyright. And realistically, most Pirate Bay supporters aren't creators with a message to express anyway, but content consumers who just want free access to the latest Lady Gaga album or an episode of 'Glee'.
Nevertheless, the Pirate Party reckons that web-blocking is fundamentally wrong, and seems hopeful that if the BPI goes ahead and sues over its TPB proxy, the party can have its day in court to present those arguments.
Though it seems unlikely any judge will want to discuss the principles of web-blocking itself in any such litigation, with any case instead likely to focus on whether injunctions can be sought to stop individuals or organisations from helping others to circumvent web-blocks put in place by previous injunctions. Such a debate has already begun in the Netherlands where anti-piracy body BREIN has also pursued legal action against the local Pirate Party over a TPB proxy, after earlier forcing ISPs to block access to the Bay.
The Pirate Party has now put out a plea to its supporters to come forward with donations should it face a legal battle with the BPI, noting on its website: "If we face a legal challenge, and it seems likely that we will, we will need money. We will need to assemble a legal team that is capable of putting together a case that will not only keep the proxy in place, but also settle the issues surrounding the arbitrary censorship of the web".
Perhaps they could record a fundraising single. They'd have to let their members 'express' themselves by giving the song away for free, of course, but think how much they could make out of touring.
The BPI's pending battle with the Pirate Party over the TPB proxy follows news last week that the major labels in Ireland are also going to court to try and force various net firms there, namely UPC, Imagine, Vodafone, Digiweb and Hutchison 3G, to block access to the file-sharing site. Irish ISP Eircom already blocks access to the Bay as part of its previous agreement with the record industry that also saw the net company introduce a slightly controversial three-strikes system for combating piracy.
POLICE RAID EAST LONDON VENUE 93 FEET EAST
Involving 175 police officers, a helicopter and several police dogs, the raid on 93 Feet East was the biggest of the operation, taking place just after 10pm on Friday night. Police arrested five people on suspicion of possessing Class A drugs, two people were arrested on suspicion of being concerned in the supply of drugs, one for being drunk and disorderly and one on suspicion of being an illegal immigrant. An additional arrest was made against another individual for "being the owner/occupier of premises being concerned in the supply drugs".
Met Police Commander Mak Chishty, who led the operation, said: "Yet again we have seen Operation Condor bring in excellent results from our concerted efforts involving thousands of officers being deployed all over London over the past two days. Licensing impacts upon everyday community life - in our shops and supermarkets this means people do not sell knives, harmful substances or alcohol to young people; in our pubs and clubs it means that alcohol is sold and consumed in a responsible way, on our roads it means that vehicles, such as taxis, are properly licensed and safe".
He added: "These are just some examples of how licensing affects all of our daily activities, and we will continue to commit resources to this and work extremely hard with our partners to tackle these areas in the future".
Although shut down on Friday evening, 93 Feet East was seemingly back up and running again on Saturday, and continues to operate as normal.
Watch footage of the raid here.
SIGUR RÓS TO RELEASE MYSTERY VALTARI DVD
The band gave a number of film-makers the same modest budget and asked them to create "whatever came into their head" when they listened to songs on the recent Sigur Ros album 'Valtari'. Said the group: "The idea was to bypass the usual artistic approval process and allow people utmost creative freedom".
XL Recordings promise we'll all be able to buy the resulting DVD digitally on 5 Feb 2013, or in physical format from 5 Mar 2013.
The last sixteenth of the collection is Italian-Canadian filmmaker Floria Sigismondi's visual spin on 'Valtari' tracks 'Dauðalogn' and 'Varúð', so look at that now.
BLOOD RED SHOES NAME NEW EP
Comments BRS' Steven Ansell: "The songs themselves are some of the most out-and-out rock riffs we've ever written, inspired a lot by driving around the USA and pure badass rock n roll immediacy - they're much looser, faster, and less considered than 'In Time To Voices' and we wanted to capture that feeling and not make it too perfect".
Play the EP in its entirety now via SoundCloud.
DAVE GROHL WON'T TOUR WITH QOTSA, SORRY
Talking to US radio station 101.1 WCBS-FM about his latest collaboration with the band, the moonlighting Foo Fighter denied he'd be touring with Josh Homme et al, despite having played drums on their upcoming sixth LP.
As was mentioned last month, QOTSA's untitled new record will also feature ex-bassist Nick Oliveri.
FESTIVAL LINE-UP ADDITIONS
Meanwhile, elsewhere in festival line-up news, Essex-based reggae fete One Love has added far in excess of one new artist; Dutch rock revel Pinkpop has unveiled Queens Of The Stone Age, The Script and Triggerfinger, all of whom will be playing in advance of headliners Green Day on the festival's Sunday itinerary; and Standon Calling hails American hip hop all-stars De La Soul as its very first live confirmation. Extra details on all that to follow:
LEEDS FESTIVAL, Bramham Park, Leeds, 23-25 Aug 2013: Eminem. www.leedsfestival.com
READING FESTIVAL, Richfield Avenue, Reading, 23-25 Aug 2013: Eminem. www.readingfestival.com
ONE LOVE, Damyns Hall Aerodrome, Upminster, Essex, 16-18 Aug 2013: I Jahman Levi, David Rodigan, Sister Nancy, Congo Natty aka Rebel MC, General Levy, Talisman, Renegade Live feat Ray Keith, Joshua Moses, Buckey Ranks, Lord Gelly's Sound System, DJ Glamour, Andrew Fresh, Digitaldubs, Mixmaster Morris, Kenni Wenna, Direct Impact, Skamanians, Digikal Roots, Sniffa Ranks, Arfur B, Mostec, Dubforce, Patrick IOJ, Sammy Dread, Gregory Fabulous, Daddy Morse, David Judah, Naffi I, Bag-E, Arkital Sound feat Ruben Da Silva, Chris Cultire, Defcon One, DJ Arcane, DJ As-If, King Spinner, East Court, Inasound, Junglettes Jungle Rollerz feat Rumble, J-Project, Kotch, Lady Jane, Lionsound, Lotskee, Ma Quest, Mr Horsewell, Platinum Sound, Voytek, Xnation feat Kernal MC. www.onelovefestival.co.uk
PINKPOP, Landgraaf, The Netherlands, 14-16 Jun 2013: Queens Of The Stone Age, The Script, Triggerfinger. www.pinkpop.nl
STANDON CALLING, Standon Lordship Manor, Hertfordshire, 2-4 Aug 2013: De La Soul. www.standon-calling.com
BEYONCE ANNOUNCES NEW PEPSI PARTNERSHIP
As per conventional band-brand collaborations, Ms Carter nee Knowles - who has featured in various Pepsi ads since 2002 - will star in a new advert for the cola drink, the premiere of which will coincide, coincidentally, with her half-time appearance at the 2013 Super Bowl. Pepsi-preferring pop-lovers may also want to purchase special edition cans, decorated with an image of Beyonce's face, which will arrive in shops in the new year. Pepsi will also sponsor the singer's 2013 world tour.
These elements are all similar to recent Pepsi deals with the Michael Jackson estate and Katy Perry. However, in addition to that lot, the company has also announced the launch of a Creative Development Fund through which Beyonce can fund creative projects of her choosing.
Said Beyonce: "Pepsi embraces creativity and understands that artists evolve. As a businesswoman, this allows me to work with a lifestyle brand with no compromise and without sacrificing my creativity".
PepsiCo's Brad Jakeman added: "Consumers are seeking a much greater authenticity in marketing from the brands they love. It's caused a shift in the way we think about deals with artists, from a transactional deal to a mutually beneficial collaboration".
And, conveniently, all that has happened as artists (and the wider music industry) look to get more out of brands, Jakeman adds, meaning more extensive and creative deals are already on the table. Speaking to the New York Times, he continued: "We recognise that there have been massive disruptions in music industry: lower investment in artist development, fewer points of distribution, financial constraints. We look at those disruptions as opportunities for Pepsi".
ROB DA BANK NAMED AMBASSADOR FOR ELLEN MACARTHUR CANCER CHARITY
Apparently a keen sailor himself, Da Bank recently joined one of the charity's boats to take part in the Round The Island Race, a 50 mile race around the Isle Of Wight, of which he said: "It was great to be out on a boat, even better with these amazing kids. They've been through things that most of us will never imagine and it's just fantastic to see them out there vivacious and full of life. To get these young people out of hospital and out of their homes and actually teach them something new is such a special thing".
Of his appointment as an ambassador, he said: "I was really flattered to be invited in as an ambassador, I do a lot of work on and off the Island with young people and top of my agenda is to try and give hope to people, whether they're ill or can't get a job or whatever it is. The Trust helps young people all round the country, I love what they do and it just ticks all the boxes for me. I've done a lot with my life and career and I definitely think it's time to give things back and get stuck into other people's lives as well as my own, I want to spread the word of the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust".
CD BABY HAS PAID OUT $250 MILLION TO ITS RIGHTS OWNERS
One of the first distribution firms to specifically target bedroom labels and DIY artists, CD Baby initially helped its clients sell CDs (as its name suggests), but is now better known for helping smaller rights owners get their content into download stores and streaming platforms.
Despite operating in an increasingly competitive market place, CD Baby says it is now distributing over four million tracks on behalf of its clients. Commenting on the $250 million pay out landmark, CD Baby president Brian Felsen told reporters: "For years, we've been paying musicians every single Monday, but to have hit the 250 million mark for payouts, that's a big achievement for the artists who work with CD Baby, and I want to both congratulate and thank them".
MU PUBLISHES REPORT ON MUSICIANS' PAY
Commenting on his organisation's 'The Working Musician' report, MU General Secretary John Smith called on the government to do more to support music, both through arts subsidy, but also by doing more to tackle piracy, which he says affects grass roots musicians as well as big rights owners.
Smith told CMU: "So many of the MU's members are SMEs battling against a tide of arts cuts and reduced income due to piracy. Small but significant investment by Government could make all the difference in the struggle to survive. What's also interesting is that of the musicians surveyed who receive royalty payments; over half said that they represented an important additional source of income for them. This finally puts paid to the argument that ordinary musicians do not benefit from copyright".
PANDORA LAUNCHES IN AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND
Pandora has only ever officially operated in the US, though in its early days the system for blocking out international users was somewhat slacker than it is today, so it did have many users elsewhere for a time. Founder Tim Westergren always indicated a wish to expand into Europe, though said that royalty demands from collecting societies over here made such a plan unfeasible.
Tracks have been licensed in Australia via the Australasian Performing Rights Association and the Australasian Mechanical Copyright Owners Society, and in New Zealand via PPNZ Music Licensing. It's not clear what kind of royalties will be paid, though in a filing with the US Securities And Exchange Commission announcing the Australasian launch, the publicly-listed digital firm said it would pay "less than 25% of revenue" to rights owners in New Zealand.
Pandora CEO Joe Kennedy told Billboard earlier this year that expansion of the service overseas was reliant on local rights owners offering what he considered realistic royalty rates. Though the extensive reach of the mobile internet in Australia and New Zealand would also have made those markets particularly attractive, given the number of US Pandora users who primarily stream music from the service via mobile.
Confirming the expansion of Pandora into its new markets, the aforementioned Westergren said yesterday: "After years of preparation and anticipation we are absolutely thrilled to fully launch Pandora internationally in Australia and New Zealand. Personalised radio is a wonderful medium for listeners to enjoy music they know and discover music they'll love. Now we begin the incredibly exciting process of connecting the 100,000-plus working musicians in the Pandora catalogue with millions of new listeners. What an amazing opportunity".
Pandora's Australia and New Zealand division will be led by Jane Huxley, former digital chief at Sydney based Fairfax Media. She told reporters: "I feel as though I've stumbled upon music's greatest secret and I can't wait for Australians and New Zealanders to enjoy music in the Pandora way. The service has certainly changed the way people have consumed and enjoyed music in America for the last twelve years, and I'm looking forward to seeing its adoption in Australia and New Zealand. This version of Pandora has been built specifically for Australians and New Zealanders and we are going to be all about bringing the best music experience of local and international artists as well as supporting local musicians. It's an honour for me to be able to introduce Australians and New Zealanders to Pandora. My focus for the coming year will be to grow the audience for this great new medium as fast as I can".
TRENT REZNOR WORKING ON NEW STREAMING SERVICE WITH BEATS
As previously reported, HTC-backed Beats Electronics bought existing US-based streaming service MOG in July this year, and it's now assumed that platform will provide the basic framework of Daisy, which might explain the recent departure of original MOG CEO David Hyman from the company.
But there are loads of streaming services out there, what exactly does Daisy do? Well, explains Reznor: "[It] uses mathematics to offer suggestions to the listener [and will also] present choices based partly on suggestions made by connoisseurs, making it a platform in which the machine and the human would collide more intimately. [In the case of Spotify, you have] sixteen million licensed pieces of music ... but you're not stumbling into anything. What's missing is a service that adds a layer of intelligent curation. That first wave of music presentation which felt magical, the one where the songs are chosen by algorithms that know who you listened to, has begun to feel synthetic".
Actually, that weakness is exactly what Spotify's recently announced update hopes to combat (and one that others are already working on), so it will be interesting to see how Daisy squares up to the same challenge when it is eventually launched.
7DIGITAL ANNOUNCES ACER ALLIANCE
Confirming the new alliance, 7Digital chief Ben Drury told CMU: "Our position as an open music technology platform, and our working closely with Acer, means we're well placed to provide open access to digital music for their users. Our music platform and technology can be tailored to a range of devices of various form factors, whether it's a PC or one of the many new tablet devices coming to market".
He added: "It's important for music fans to have access to their existing music collection on any device, and our mutual customers can [now] automatically download and sync their 7Digital music collection as soon as they buy or upgrade to a Windows 8 device".
BAUER DJ DROPS PRANK CALLS IN RESPECT FOR MIDDLETON NURSE
As previously reported, Jacintha Saldanha, a nurse at the London hospital that last week cared for Kate Middleton, was found dead on Friday, just days after becoming involved in a global news story when she answered an early morning phone call from two Aussie radio presenters pretending to be the Queen and Prince Charles. Believing the call to be genuine, Saldanha put the DJs through to another nurse who discussed Middleton's condition. The call was then aired on Sydney's 2Day FM.
The exact circumstances of Saldanha's death are not yet known, and experts stress that suicide is never the result of a single incident. However, the tragedy has thrown into the spotlight the sort of prank call features that can be found on radio stations around the world, especially those where victims are picked at random, rather than being nominated by friends or family. While such prank calls are rarely problematic, random selection of victims means there is always a risk the person involved will not be able to cope with any unwanted attention, especially if a call is aired without the participant's prior knowledge or permission, as occurred with the 2Day FM piece.
Steve Penk, one of the best known prank callers in British radio, has said he is parking, for the time being at least, the joke call show that airs on the radio station he owns, The Revolution in Manchester. Now Robin Galloway, who airs prank calls on both the drivetime show he hosts for Glasgow station Clyde 1, and on a Sunday afternoon show networked across Bauer's Scottish stations, has said he won't be airing any such features for the foreseeable future. He's also stopped promoting a 'best of the prank calls' CD on his show.
Writing for Radio Today, Galloway says: "The way I feel right now, I may not resume them at all; which would be strange, having done literally thousands over the years with little or no complaint".
He goes on to admit that when the 2Day FM prank call first became a global news story he was a little jealous of the attention the Aussie DJs Mel Greig and Michael Christian were getting. But "then came the devastating news that a human being had taken her own life as a result of what was supposed to be a light hearted prank, albeit [one] in poor taste. The whole sorry affair has left me shattered".
EMMA BUNTON TO CO-HOST HEART BREAKFAST IN LONDON
The Spice Girl has presented a weekend show across the Heart network since 2009, and has filled in as co-host with Jamie Theakston on the London station's breakfast show during that time. She replaces Harriet Scott, who announced she was departing the prime time programme last month.
Confirming her new job, Bunton told reporters: "I am so excited to be joining Heart Breakfast! Jamie and I have known each other for years so it'll be great spending each morning with him chatting, laughing and playing great music. We are looking forward to sharing the fun with everyone!"
Meanwhile Global Radio's Director Of Broadcasting Richard Park said: "We are thrilled that Emma is bringing girl power to Heart Breakfast. Jamie and Emma have been friends for a long time and have a great natural chemistry that Londoners are going to love".
Bunton will also continue to present a weekend show that airs on Heart stations around the UK. Meanwhile, a replacement for London drive time on Heart is still to be announced, current host Neil Bentley announced plans to depart at the same time as Scott last month.
CAPITAL LONDON PROGRAMMING CHIEF STEPS DOWN
Brownlow's deputy, Robert D'Ovidio, will take over as PD in the interim while a full-time replacement is appointed. Confirming the departure, Global's Richard Park said: "We are disappointed to lose James, and wish him well for the future", while Brownlow himself added: "Global is a fantastic company and I wish all the team at Capital continued success".
MCCARTNEY BLAMES "BLOODY GREAT BELL" FOR POOR OLYMPICS PERFORMANCE
Explaining how he came to be out of sync with his backing track, McCartney told the NME: "I fucked up. I was supposed to wait for a cue. But I forgot. Why? Well, there's this bloody great bell that we didn't know about. It was deafening... We pre-recorded a playback in case all hell broke loose. We were live, everyone was there, the world was ready and this bloody great bell goes off. And I forget I've gotta wait for it, so I go, 'Hey Jude', and someone presses the playback. So there's me on the backing track, and actual me; two of us singing. The drummer wouldn't look at me because he was in hysterics and I was thinking, 'What have I done?' There was no stopping, it was the Olympics".
Make a note: No bells next time we hold the Olympics.