MEGAUPLOAD SAYS RAID WARRANTS DISHONESTLY SECURED
This relates to previously made allegations that a chunk of the unlicensed movie content stored on the Mega platform, that has been listed in the criminal case against Dotcom and his former company, wasn't deleted by the file-transfer firm because it was evidence in a separate DoJ investigation into alleged copyright infringements committed by a MegaUpload customer.
One of the core allegations in the infringement case against Dotcom et al is that MegaUpload operated a deliberately shoddy takedown system, so that it could appear to comply with American copyright law (that says web operators must remove unlicensed material if made aware of it by a copyright owner), but at the same time have the steady supply of movies, TV shows and music videos that generated lucrative traffic.
Dotcom, however, denies that charge, and argues that a chunk of the unlicensed movie content not removed from the Mega platform for over a year, identified as incriminating evidence in the case against the Mega founder, was only there because it was linked to another DoJ investigation, and Team Mega didn't want to hinder that case by deleting the files.
He first made these claims last year, saying he'd been advised he could possibly sue the US government and/or the Hollywood studios for closing down his business on the back of evidence which, Team Mega would allege, had been dishonestly presented.
But it seems that lawyer Ira Rothken reckons these allegations could also be used to hinder the criminal case against Dotcom and the Mega business, because he says that the US authorities secured the warrants that allowed the raids on MegaUpload's American server facilities just under a year ago by withholding information about their key evidence against the file-transfer company.
In court papers filed last week, Rothken alleges that the American government secured said warrants based on affidavits that referenced the movie files from the investigation in which Mega had assisted, but without mentioning the circumstances of that earlier investigation.
Arguing that the DoJ deliberately withheld that crucial information to help their case against Mega, Rothken wrote last week: "[These affidavits] purport to offer as proof that MegaUpload had requisite knowledge [and] suggest that MegaUpload was warned of its potentially criminal complicity yet persisted in hosting the files without concern for their illegal content. In short, [they] paint MegaUpload as a brazen scofflaw".
"[But this] isn't the case", he continued, "because MegaUpload purposely left those files in place in order to cooperate with the Justice Department. MegaUpload had every reason to retain those files in good faith because the government had sought and obtained MegaUpload's cooperation in retrieving the files and warned that alerting users to the existence of the warrant and the government's interest in the files could compromise the investigation".
He concluded: "The government's affidavits underpinning the warrants omitted critical, exculpatory information regarding whether, why and how MegaUpload knew it was hosting criminally infringing files". It remains to be seen how the US courts respond to Rothken's latest arguments.
As previously reported, efforts to extradite Dotcom from New Zealand are ongoing, but are unlikely to now reach court until early summer. Meanwhile, Dotcom will launch a new Mega file-transfer service, based outside the US, later this month.
DAPPY PETROL STATION TRIAL BEGINS
The rapper was appearing at Guildford Crown Court in relation to his previously reported arrest following a fight at a petrol station in the town last year. As previously reported, Dappy and three other men are accused of being involved in the incident, which took place in the early hours of 28 Feb.
Dappy is also charged with affray, and denies all charges. Two other defendants denied affray, while a fourth pleaded guilty to that charge and will be sentenced at the conclusion of the trial, which continues this morning.
Arriving at court yesterday Dappy tweeted a picture of himself looking sad. Make of that what you will.
CASSETTE SINGLE SALES TREBLE IN 2012
The highest selling cassette single of 2012, accounting for much of the overall sales of the format, was of 'Borders' by Feeder. Meanwhile, the top selling cassette album was 'She: The Best Of Charles Aznavour'.
The OCC also reports that 270 albums were sold on MiniDisc last year. It's still early to be calling that a resurgence, but we can hope.
IHEARTRADIO USERS MORE OFFENDED BY GRAMMYS SNUBBING COLDPLAY THAN BIEBER
iHeartRadio surveyed users in December about what they considered to be this year's biggest 'Grammy snub', and here are the five most deserving non-Grammy nominees according to that poll...
1. Coldplay (not nominated for Album Of The Year for 'Mylo Xyloto') - 21.9%
DAVID BOWIE ANNOUNCES NEW ALBUM, FIRST SINGLE ALREADY ONLINE
That single is called 'Where Are We Now?', and surfaced on the Apple download store in 119 countries in the early hours of the morning. It appears alongside no less than sixteen other tracks on the new album. 'The Next Day', which can be pre-ordered on iTunes already, and which has a provisional release date of 12 Mar.
The new track has been produced by long-term collaborator Tony Visconti, and the video for it can be seen here.
INTERSCOPE DEEMS MIA LP "TOO POSITIVE", PUSHES BACK RELEASE
Interviewed by Australian site Gold Coast, MIA - real name Mathangi Arulpragasam - said: "I thought I'd finished it. I finished it and then I handed the record in, like a couple of months ago. At the moment, I've been told it's too positive. So we're having a bit of an issue at the label. They're like, 'You need to darken it up a bit'".
A pragmatic MIA, who's chosen to go with Interscope's instinct since "that's the point of being positive", adds: "I don't know what it is but as soon as I work that out... I'm taking my time to decide what they mean. It's an interesting one for me. It's like, 'We just built you up as the public enemy number one, and now you're coming out with all this positive stuff'".
SUEDE TALK NEW LP, GIVE AWAY TRACK
The band, who'll promote said LP via a standalone show at London's Alexandra Palace on 30 Mar, shared 'Barriers' as a free MP3 yesterday, attaching this note: "After a year of sweating and bleeding over the record, it's finally finished, so we wanted to get some music out there as soon as we could. 'Barriers' isn't the first single but we are proud of it enough just to chuck it out there and thought that its pulsing, romantic swell somehow summed up the feel of the album quite nicely".
Adding a paragraph or so about 'Bloodsports' at large, Brett Anderson says: "It's about lust, it's about the chase, it's about the endless carnal game of love. It was possibly the hardest [record] we've ever made, but certainly the most satisfying. Its ten furious songs, for me, have reclaimed from ourselves what Suede was always about; drama, melody and noise".
Download 'Barriers' via this link.
BRIAN MCFADDEN BACK WITH COVERS LP
'The Irish Connection' will feature Irish-only duets with Sinead O'Connor (who, strangely, isn't a named guest on Brian's rendition of 'Nothing Compares 2 U'), Aslan's Christy Dignam and Ronan Keating.
And this is its entirely Irish-themed tracklisting:
Black Is The Colour (feat Sinead O'Connor)
PERRY FARRELL WORKING ON "IMMERSIVE" JANE'S ADDICTION MUSICAL
Says Farrell: "My next project is that I'm working on a play, it's a musical, but it's going to be immersive theatre. It's not going to be in a theatre, I'm going to create an environment and the music will be within that environment, and Jane's Addiction will be within that environment".
PERE UBU TO TOUR
And the relevant dates are:
13 Apr: Brighton, Haunt
MØ SETS LONDON DATE
UNIVERSAL COMBINES CHRISTIAN MUSIC PUBLISHING INTERESTS INTO ONE UNIT
Universal, of course, bought the EMI record company last year, while EMI Music Publishing was acquired in a separate deal by a Sony-led consortium. However, for legacy reasons (well, God does move in mysterious ways), EMI's publishing interests in a catalogue of Christian music sat within its recorded music business, as part of the EMI Christian Music Group, and so those publishing copyrights were acquired by Universal rather than Sony/ATV.
The newly combined Christian publishing unit, which will operate under EMI's American brand Capitol, will be headed up by Eddie DeGarmo, previously of the EMI Christian Music Group. Brentwood Benson President Dale Mathews is leaving the major as part of the rejig. In his new role, DeGarmo will have two bosses, Bill Hearn within what will now be known as the Capitol Christian Music Group and Evan Lamberg within Universal Music Publishing.
SONY UK PROFITS UP IN 2011/12
According to the submitted accounts, in the financial year that ended during 2012, Sony's UK record company saw revenues fall 2.4% year-on-year to £191 million, but pre-tax profits nevertheless grew 128%, from £6.6 million to £15.2 million, suggesting some considerable savings in running costs.
Meanwhile, in the financial year ended 31 Mar 2012, Syco saw turnover nearly double, shifting from £28.1 million to £54.7 million, with profits up from £3.2 million to £22.9 million. Much of the boost came from the growth of Syco's US interests, in particular the launch of 'X-Factor' in America, meaning that American operations now account for nearly 42% of total turnover.
INVESTMENT FIRM ACQUIRES 75% OF SESAC
SESAC's existing owners had been toying with selling some or all of the company for a while, but reportedly engaged bankers just under a year ago to approach possible buyers. According to the Wall Street Journal, the Rizvi Traverse deal was worth $600 million, though it's not clear if that's what it has paid for its 75% stake, or whether that is a valuation of SESAC in its entirety, and the investment firm therefore has paid $450 million. $600 million for just three quarters of SESAC would seem a lot, given word had it the organisation was being valued in the region $500 million a year ago.
According to Billboard, it's also not known whether the deal means that some of the collecting society's existing owners have been bought out of the company completely, or whether they have all equally diluted their shareholdings, and therefore share the remaining 25% between them. Songwriters represented by SESAC include Bob Dylan, Neil Diamond, Rush and Robert Johnson.
GRIM TWITTER FAD FOLLOWS BIEBER SMOKING PICS
As previously reported, the US gossip site reckons the photos of the Biebster holding a cigarette were actually pictures of the pop teen smoking marijuana. The pop star hasn't properly commented on the snaps, but told his Twitter followers shortly after the TMZ article was published that he would try harder in the future, because "I never want to let any of you down".
The related hashtag that began being posted yesterday was #cutforbieber, the premise being that some Beliebers were so shocked and outraged by their hero's rather modest drugs scandal, they were partaking in some self-harm to blackmail the popstar into staying away from the dope.
The whole thing began as a morbid joke within the 4chan community, with one poster suggesting: "Let's start a cut yourself for Bieber campaign. Tweet a bunch of pics of people cutting themselves and claim we did it because Bieber was smoking weed. See if we can get some little girls to cut themselves".
Many of the photos circulating alongside the #cutforbieber tag bought into the jokey nature of the whole thing (ketchup covered wrists, a female fan cutting a sheet of paper, a male fan holding pair of scissors next to testicles), though some of the photos looked much more realistic.
And while they too were very possible hoaxes (set ups or Google-nabbed existing photos of real self harm), the whole thing was in particularly poor taste, even by internet chatroom standards, given that the Belieber demographic are generally most at risk of self-harm-based disorders.
Elsewhere in Bieber photo news, word has it that the pop teen's minders are now posting signs at parties and events the singer attends stating that the copyright in any photos taken of the star will belong to him and not the photographer, so that any future pot head shots could be suppressed on copyright as well as privacy grounds.
Which may or may not stand up in court, though - if said signs really are being posted by Team Bieber - it's an interesting manifestation of the smart phone age where celebrities can be globally exposed the minute anyone works in the room.
PITCHFORK LAUNCHES PRE-RELEASE ALBUM STREAMING FEATURE
The site's founder Ryan Schreiber told Mashable: "In most cases, the artwork we publish will come from the album's actual packaging, but there will be some other material that's created exclusively for Pitchfork Advance. We can do a lot more with this platform than just reproduce static images and text. I've been surprised by the lack of innovation in digital album art over the last decade, especially because artists and labels are still designing elaborate packaging for physical releases. Pitchfork Advance allows you to have an experience with the music that's immersive in the way that engaging with a vinyl LP would be".
Head over to the Pitchfork Advance website here.
SMOOTH RADIO ANNOUNCES SCHEDULE REJIG
The main change is that Pat Sharp, who has previously presented a weekend show for the station, will get the daily afternoon slot, with that show's incumbent Carlos moving to evenings. Current evening show host, Andy Peebles, who has been with Smooth since 2004, will depart the station's daily schedules, though will continue to present his weekend soul show.
Lynn Parsons has recently taken over the morning show on Smooth from the now departed Mark Goodier. David Prever will replace Parsons in the weekend morning slot, while Daryl Denham, formerly of Real Radio in Yorkshire, will takeover weekend breakfast.
Both Real Radio and Smooth are in the process of being acquired by Global Radio, of course, and are currently in limbo while that takeover is investigated by the Competition Commission.
Whereas recent on air and behind the scenes changes at Real Radio were very much about streamlining the operation (to the extent that many expect Global to phase Real out, if and when its acquisition is approved, with Real frequencies being reallocated to the Heart and Capital networks), the changes at Smooth somehow seem less ominous.
THE WANTED + ONE DIRECTION = THE BEATLES
Anyway, Parker told Bang! Showbiz: "It's Beatlemania for both boybands, really. The whole boyband thing has really come back. Us and One Direction have gone over to America and are literally just tearing it apart. The whole boyband thing is really alive, and it's good that it's two British acts doing it. People in Britain liked the fact that we were very real... We were very 'say what we want' and we wanted to produce the music that we wanted to do. We took it to America and people really liked it. Every radio station was like, 'It's a breath of fresh air to us, we've not seen this realism for so long'".
Another thing The Beatles never managed to do was to "literally tear America apart", so well done to The Wanted and One Direction for that achievement. Of course, the environmental impact will be devastating, but if it sells a few more records, who cares?