Following Its EMI Music Publishing Acquisition, Sony/ATV Extends Its Deal With SOLAR

Last Friday, European regulators confirmed indie music organizations’ worst nightmare.

The European Commission approved Sony’s $2.4 billion acquisition of EMI Music Publishing without conditions.  The move has made Sony/ATV the world’s largest music publisher.

Now, with the acquisition confirmed, Sony is quickly taking care of post-acquisition business.

Read more: https://www.digitalmusicnews.com/2018/10/30/latest-sony-solar-paneuropean-deal-extension/

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    SOURCE: Digital Music News

    Date: October 30, 2018

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  • The Supreme Court Refuses a Case Challenging the Notorious DMCA ‘Safe Harbor’

    The U.S. Supreme Court declines a lot of cases and challenges, often with little explanation.  The reject list now includes a test of the hotly-contested Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), which media industries have long decried as a loophole exploited by tech companies.

    Read more: https://www.digitalmusicnews.com/2018/10/30/supreme-court-dmca/

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    SOURCE: Digital Music News

    Date: October 30, 2018

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  • Big Tech, Don’t Keep Your Hollywood Talent in the Dark (Guest Column)

    As Amazon, Apple and Facebook bulk up on streaming video and Netflix nears escape velocity fueled by $10 billion in debt, there’s a growing awareness that Hollywood is caught in the tractor beam of big tech. These companies have been a boon for the creative industry so far, catalyzing a content arms race resulting in a bubble for original content.

    Read more: https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/big-tech-dont-keep-your-hollywood-talent-dark-guest-column-1156084

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    SOURCE: Hollywood Reporter

    Date: October 30, 2018

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  • What can be the main events in the life of a copyright work in Europe? Here’s another map

    A few weeks ago, I published a map – that I created for my students – detailing the main potential events in the life of an EU/national trade mark.
    Today I have prepared a new student map, this time devoted to the main potential events in the life of a copyright work in Europe.
    Read more: http://ipkitten.blogspot.com/2018/10/what-can-be-main-events-in-life-of.html
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    SOURCE: The IPKat

    Date: October 30, 2018

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  • SoundCloud amends its Premier contract following criticism

    SoundCloud has rewritten the contract that accompanies the monetisation programme it offers DIY artists. Or, officially speaking, it has “clarified [and] removed elements” of the contract it had previously written. This follows criticism of the terms it was offering under its SoundCloud Premier scheme.

    Read more: http://www.completemusicupdate.com/article/soundcloud-amends-its-premier-contract-following-criticism/

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    SOURCE: CMU

    Date: October 30, 2018

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  • Italian competition regulator makes demands of collecting society SIAE

    Italian song rights collecting SIAE has been ordered to deal with monopoly concerns by Italy’s Competition Authority. The regulator has told SIAE to end what it calls proven market distortion tactics and to ensure such tactics are not employed in the future.

    Read more: http://www.completemusicupdate.com/article/italian-competition-regulator-makes-demands-of-collecting-society-siae/

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    SOURCE: CMU

    Date: October 29, 2018

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  • Indies and songwriters hit out as European Commission approves Sony’s EMI deal

    Songwriters and independent music companies have hit out at the decision of competition regulators in Europe to approve Sony’s deals to take complete ownership of EMI Music Publishing. The European Commission announced it was green lighting the deals on Friday, despite Sony making no concessions to address the concerns of those who opposed them.

    Read more: http://www.completemusicupdate.com/article/indies-and-songwriters-hit-out-as-european-commission-approves-sonys-emi-deal/

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    SOURCE: CMU

    Date: October 29, 2018

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  • SPOTIFY ‘DOING A NETFLIX’: IS DANIEL EK’S PLATFORM ALREADY TOO BIG FOR THE LABELS TO STOP IT?

    Spotify’s Daniel Ek is betting big on developing a ‘two-sided marketplace’ for music.

    With the company’s market cap on a downward trend despite strong growth metrics, Ek might find himself having to play up the disruption narrative more boldly and more quickly than he’d planned.

    Read more: https://www.musicbusinessworldwide.com/spotify-doing-a-netflix-is-daniel-eks-service-too-big-for-the-labels-to-stop-it/

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    SOURCE: MUSIC BUSINESS WORLDWIDE

    Date: October 28, 2018

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  • A Path Opens in New Zealand to the Restoration of Collective Bargaining for Film Workers

    FIA members remember with great clarity the furore that surrounded the 2010 ‘Hobbit Law’ in New Zealand, passed in haste to address producer concerns around potential unpredictability of labour conditions. It designated all film industry workers as ‘independent contractors’, effectively depriving them of their collective labour rights, with a direct impact on working time, holiday and rest periods, as well as conditions for termination.

    Read more: https://fia-actors.com/no_cache/media/news/news-detail/article/a-path-opens-in-new-zealand-to-the-restoration-of-collective-bargaining-for-film-workers/

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    SOURCE: FIA

    Date: October 26, 2018

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  • SOUNDCLOUD’S NEW ARTIST CONTRACT IS A RAW DEAL FOR MUSICIANS

    SoundCloud has been trying to reposition itself as a creator-first community ever since new CEO Kerry Trainor was brought on last year. The past month in particular has seen a rash of announcements tailored specifically to DJs and indie artists: the platform integrated in popular DJ software, partnered with rights clearance startup Dubset, and finally made SoundCloud Premier public after four years.

    Read more: https://www.theverge.com/2018/10/26/17968694/soundcloud-new-artist-contract-indie-musicians-label

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    SOURCE: The Verge

    Date: October 26, 2018

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  • Tokyo: MPA Urges Japan to Adopt Site Blocking in Piracy Battle

    On Thursday at the Tokyo International Film Festival, the Motion Picture Association pushed for an anti-piracy site blocking policy in Japan, where concerns about the constitutionality of such measures have so far prevented its adoption.

    Read more: https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/tokyo-mpa-urges-japan-adopt-site-blocking-piracy-battle-1155290

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    SOURCE: Hollywood Reporter

    Date: October 26, 2018

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  • IMPALA slams EU’s approval of Sony’s EMI Publishing deal

    EU regulators will not launch a full investigation into Sony Corp’s acquisition of EMI Music Publishing. It means the deal can go ahead without any conditions, despite strong representations made by trade bodies during the consultation process.

    Read more: http://www.musicweek.com/publishing/read/impala-slams-eu-s-approval-of-sony-s-emi-publishing-deal/074247

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    SOURCE: Music Week

    Date: October 26, 2018

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  • Judge Won’t Rule Out Reputational Damage From Kendrick Lamar’s ‘All the Stars’ Video

    A New York federal judge has rejected a motion for partial summary judgment in a copyright lawsuit brought by the artist Lina Iris Viktor over the video to the song, “All the Stars,” from the Black Panther soundtrack.

    Read more: https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/thr-esq/judge-wont-rule-reputational-damage-kendrick-lamars-all-my-stars-video-1154960

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    SOURCE: Hollywood Reporter

    Date: October 25, 2018

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  • Facebook Unveils Music on Stories, Expands Lip Sync Live, and Will Soon Launch Songs on Profile

    Admittedly, Facebook hasn’t had a great 2018.

    During its Q2 2018 earnings call, company executives revealed what investors have long feared – the social media platform may have peaked.  Facebook had experienced its slowest growth ever.  The European Union’s GDPR privacy implementation, as well as the Cambridge Analytica scandal, may have impacted users’ confidence, after all.

    Read more: https://www.digitalmusicnews.com/2018/10/24/facebook-music-stories-lip-sync-live/

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    SOURCE: Digital Music News

    Date: October 24, 2018

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  • Writing for Free? Hollywood Guild Wants That to Stop

    The Writer Guild agreement prohibits uncompensated writing but in the screenwriting world, a slippery process has emerged, says WGA West: studio executives and producers often expect or request “leave behinds” — short written summaries that writers leave behind after a pitch.

    Read more: https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/writing-free-hollywood-guild-wants-stop-1154637

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    SOURCE: Hollywood Reporter

    Date: October 24, 2018

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  • PRESS RELEASE – 21,000 petition signatories in support of Europe’s screenwriters and directors handed over to EU Commissioner Gabriel

    Today, Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society, received a delegation handing over a  signed by more than 21,000 supporters of Europe’s screenwriters and directors and their right to fair and proportionate remuneration. 

    Read more: http://www.filmdirectors.eu/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/23.10.2018-FERA-FSE-SAA-PR-Petition-hand-over-to-Commissioner.pdf

     

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    SOURCE: FERA

    Date: October 23, 2018

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  • Does YouTube Underpay Artists 13 Billion a Year? Understanding YouTube’s Article 13 Freakout

    Desperate times for YouTube. CEO Susan Wojcicki is currently organizing a Childrens Crusadeagainst EU MEPs by urging YouTubers (mostly US teens) to “take action” to protect her $772 billion dollar company’s swollen profits. You see the EU just proposed guidelines (article 13) requiring platforms like YouTube to stop hiding behind its users and pay musicians fairly.  She thinks that is an outrage and is spreading wild disinformation.

    Read more: https://thetrichordist.com/2018/10/23/does-youtube-underpay-artists-13-billion-a-year-understanding-youtubes-article-13-freakout/

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    SOURCE: The Trichordist

    Date: October 23, 2018

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  • SOCAN launches new services business Dataclef

    A recent trend in the not-always-necessarily-dull world of collective licensing has been certain collecting societies launching new divisions or businesses that provide an assortment of rights management and royalty processing services to other collecting societies. And also directly to music publishers, songwriters and other rights owners, beyond the usual licensing and royalties gubbins societies do for their members, and often beyond the confines of each society’s home territory, where their focus would traditionally have been.

    Read more: http://www.completemusicupdate.com/article/socan-launches-new-services-business-dataclef/

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    SOURCE: CMU

    Date: October 23, 2018

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  • YouTube boss urges YouTubers to instigate one last push against article thirteen

    The boss of Google’s safe harbour dwelling YouTube has been talking copyright directive. Because, as you all surely vividly remember, the European Parliament voted through the latest draft of the new European Copyright Directive last month – including the controversial safe harbour reform contained in what is called ‘article thirteen’.

    Read more: http://www.completemusicupdate.com/article/youtube-boss-urges-youtubers-to-instigate-one-last-push-against-article-thirteen/

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    SOURCE: CMU

    Date: October 23, 2018

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  • GREECE’S MUSIC RIGHTS SECTOR IN TURMOIL AS HEAD OF COPYRIGHT OFFICE STEPS DOWN

    The country’s major CMO, AEPI (the Hellenic Society for Protection of Intellectual Property), was investigated by the country’s Public Prosecutor in March 2017 after widespread allegations of corruption.

    Read more: https://www.musicbusinessworldwide.com/greeces-music-rights-sector-in-turmoil-as-head-of-copyright-office-steps-down/

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    SOURCE: Music Business Worldwide

    Date: October 22, 2018

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  • Teddy Bautista, Ousted President of Spanish Rights Group SGAE, Plots Return

    Eduardo “Teddy” Bautista was the powerful president of Spanish authors rights society SGAE until he was arrested seven years ago in a federal sting operation and charged with misappropriation of funds. He is still awaiting trial in the case, which authorities say cost the organization 20 million euros (almost $26 million), and could be sentenced to seven years in prison.

    Read more: https://www.billboard.com/biz/articles/news/legal-and-management/8480785/teddy-bautista-ousted-president-of-spanish-rights

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    SOURCE: Billboard

    Date: October 19, 2018

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  • Study: Indians Prefer Free Digital Content Over Paid Services Like Netflix, Amazon (Exclusive)

    Since entering the Indian market, streaming giants Netflix and Amazon have made aggressive moves to capture subscribers in the world’s second most populous country. A new study, however, reveals that Indians prefer to stream free content offered by the likes of YouTube over paid services.

    Read more: https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/indians-prefer-youtube-netflix-amazon-study-says-1152609

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    SOURCE: Hollywood Reporter

    Date: October 18, 2018

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  • Salon Staff, NBC Promo Writers Ratify Contracts With Writers Guild East

    Two contracts in two days; three contracts in a week: The Writers Guild of America East has been having a busy time, and the month is just half over.

    On Wednesday, the guild announced that writers at Salon had unanimously ratified their first collective bargaining agreement, marking the union’s seventh contract in digital media. The day before, the union said that promo writers for WNBC and NBC News had also unanimously ratified a collective bargaining agreement. The announcements came a week after a similar announcement regarding writers at Thrillist.

    Read more: https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/salon-staff-nbc-promo-writers-ratify-contracts-writers-guild-east-1153320

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    SOURCE: Hollywood Reporter

    Date: October 18, 2018

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  • IMPALA Claims Sony + EMI Would Control 70% of the Song Charts in Europe

    It’s no secret European music organizations are staunchly opposed to Sony’s proposed acquisition of EMI Music Publishing.

    According to Helen Smith, chief executive of IMPALA, the Japanese conglomerate would pose a serious threat to local artists and industry.

    Read more: https://www.digitalmusicnews.com/2018/10/16/latest-impala-sony-emi-music-charts-control/

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    SOURCE: Digital Music News

    Date: October 16, 2018

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  • The music industry is losing $2.65 billion as businesses fail to stream properly, study finds

    New research commissioned by the leading provider of B2B streaming – the Spotify-backed Soundtrack Your Brand – reckons that the music community is missing out on $2.65 billion per year because of businesses using personal streaming services in commercial spaces.

    Read more: http://www.completemusicupdate.com/article/the-music-industry-is-losing-2-65-billion-as-businesses-fail-to-stream-properly-study-finds/

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    SOURCE: CMU

    Date: October 16, 2018

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  • Lawyers in Ed Sheeran song-theft case debate impact of Stairway To Heaven appeals court judgement

    Ed Sheeran being sued for allegedly ripping off a Marvin Gaye song might sound like a re-run of the famous ‘Blurred Lines’ song-theft case. But both sides in the legal dispute over Sheeran’s hit ‘Thinking Out Loud’ have been spending more time considering another recent plagiarism dispute. Which is to say, both sides have written to the court explaining why last month’s appeals court judgement in the ‘Stairway To Heaven’ case backs up their arguments in the lawsuit that accuses ‘Thinking Out Loud’ of ripping off Gaye’s ‘Let’s Get It On’.

    Read more: http://www.completemusicupdate.com/article/lawyers-in-ed-sheeran-song-theft-case-debate-impact-of-stairway-to-heaven-appeals-court-judgement/

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    SOURCE: CMU

    Date: October 16, 2018

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  • Western Tennessee Judge Denies Spotify’s Motions to Dismiss Copyright Infringement Claims Brought by Bluewater Music

    U.S. District Judge Jon McCalla of the Western District of Tennessee recently issued an order denying motions made by interactive streaming music provider Spotify to dismiss a case including copyright infringement claims brought by independent music publisher and copyright administration company Bluewater Music Corporation. Judge McCalla’s order determined Bluewater has standing for all 2,142 music compositions it has asserted based on ownership or an exclusive license of the works. Given Bluewater is seeking the maximum statutory damages of $150,000 per infringed work, Judge McCalla’s order allows Bluewater to continue pursuing a maximum damages award of $321.3 million.

    Read more: https://www.ipwatchdog.com/2018/10/15/spotifys-motions-dismiss-copyright-infringement-claims-bluewater-music/id=102059/

  • Fairness Rocks news

    SOURCE: IP Watchdog

    Date: October 15, 2018

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  • Songwriters Around the World Are Fighting For the Same Thing

    Music copyright is shaping up to be a hot topic this year, despite being both historically overlooked and historically extremely confusing. While the actual workings of royalties and licensing policies are still as convoluted as ever, attention on them — and their dysfunctions — has ramped up thanks to the Music Modernization Act’s passage in the U.S. Congress and a controversial copyright policy overhaul in Europe that could dramatically change user-generated content platforms like YouTube.

    Read more: https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-features/songwriters-are-fighting-for-the-same-thing-735186/

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    SOURCE: Rolling Stone

    Date: October 15, 2018

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  • Open letter to EU Ministers: What the Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market could bring to audiovisual authors

    Dear Ministers,

    The Federation of European Film Directors (FERA), the Federation of Screenwriters in Europe (FSE) and the Society of Audiovisual Authors (SAA), representing the audiovisual authors’ community in Europe, would like to express their support for the European Parliament’s position on the Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market adopted on 12 September.

    Read more: https://www.saa-authors.eu/en/news/544-open-letter-to-eu-ministers-what-the-directive-on-copyright-in-the-digital-single-market-could-bring-to-audiovisual-authors#.W8XpVZNKjOR

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    SOURCE: SAA

    Date: October 12, 2018

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  • ‘Meme bans’ and ‘link taxes’: a copyright reform explainer

    The European Union’s recent, sweeping changes to its copyright legislation aims to stop the rampant piracy of content, such as movies and music, while finding ways for artists and creators to get fairly compensated for their work when it is used or shared online. It also aims to create a more sustainable environment for news outlets, whose works proliferate online for free through links on the internet.

    Read more: https://www.thestar.com/amp/business/technology/

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    SOURCE: The Star

    Date: October 12, 2018

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  • Journalist Hits Magnolia, CNN Films With Copyright Suit for Using Her Gilda Radner Interviews

    In a new lawsuit that is hardly typical, journalist Hillary Johnson is claiming to be the copyright co-owner of numerous taped interviews with Gilda Radner, the Saturday Night Live star who tragically died of cancer in 1989.

    Read more: https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/thr-esq/journalist-hits-magnolia-cnn-films-copyright-suit-using-her-gilda-radner-interviews-1151869

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    SOURCE: Hollywood Reporter

    Date: October 12, 2018

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  • MMA signed into law, and then Kanye West waffled

    After years of planning and months of careful negotiations in Congress, America’s Music Modernization Act yesterday landed on the desk of President Donald Trump to be signed into law. With his ink now very much on the page, this major round of copyright reform Stateside can actually begin.

    Read more: http://www.completemusicupdate.com/article/mma-signed-into-law-and-then-kanye-west-waffled/

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    SOURCE: CMU

    Date: October 12, 2018

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  • Trump signs bill that ensures music streaming services pay artist royalties

    There were some “Good Vibrations” at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue on Thursday.

    Musicians including Mike Love from the Beach Boys, Kid Rock, John Rich of Big and Rich, and Sam Moore of Sam and Dave came to the White House for the signing of a bill that substantially changes the way musicians are compensated for their work played on digital streaming services such as Spotify and Pandora.

    Read more: https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/trump-signs-bill-ensures-music-streaming-services-pay/story?id=58440865

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    SOURCE: ABC News

    Date: October 11, 2018

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  • SCOTUS Will Decide What the Copyright Act Means by “Registered.”

    Any work that is entitled to copyright protection automatically receives protection when it is fixed in a tangible medium of expression. However, in order to benefit from the Copyright Act, the owner must “register” his or her work with the United States Copyright Office. Put another way, in order to protect against copyright infringement, the owner must register the work. So, for purposes of the Copyright Act, what does that mean?

    Read more: https://www.theiplawblog.com/2018/10/articles/ip/scotus-will-decide-what-the-copyright-act-means-by-registered/

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    SOURCE: The IP Law Blog

    Date: October 10, 2018

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  • CISAC meets with United Nations Secretary-General Guterres in New York, cements closer relations and offers collaboration

    Paris, October 9th, 2018 – CISAC President Jean-Michel Jarre, Board Chairperson Eric Baptiste and Director General Gadi Oron met with United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres in New York on October 8th.

    Read more: http://www.cisac.org/Newsroom/News-Releases/CISAC-meets-with-United-Nations-Secretary-General-Guterres-in-New-York-cements-closer-relations-and-offers-collaboration

  • Fairness Rocks news

    SOURCE: CISAC

    Date: October 9, 2018

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  • ‘I had a moral duty’: whistleblowers on why they spoke up

    In an age where information is tightly controlled by image-makers, spin doctors and gatekeepers, real scandal can often only be revealed with the help of whistleblowers.

    To mark the 25th anniversary of the whistleblowing charity Protect (formerly known as Public Concern at Work) – we focus on 12 people who have taken great personal risk to expose everything from warmongers to tax dodgers and sexual and physical abuse.

    Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/oct/09/i-had-a-moral-duty-whistleblowers-on-why-they-spoke-up

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    SOURCE: The Guardian

    Date: October 9, 2018

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  • U.K. Tax Benefits Provide Record $10.3B Boost to Economy, BFI Report Shows

    The U.K.’s package of tax incentives has helped spark a production boom that has seen much of Disney’s Star Wars and Marvel output, not to mention major TV shows such as The Crown and Black Mirror, flock to British shores over the past few years.

    Read more: https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/uk-tax-benefits-provide-record-103b-boost-economy-bfi-report-shows-1150481

  • Fairness Rocks news

    SOURCE: Hollywood Reporter

    Date: October 9, 2018

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  • Walmart partners with MGM to boost video-on-demand service Vudu

    NEW YORK, Oct 8 (Reuters) – Walmart Inc said on Monday it would partner with U.S. movie studio Metro Goldwyn Mayer to create content for its video-on-demand service, Vudu, which the retailer bought eight years ago.

    Read more: https://www.reuters.com/article/walmart-partnership-mgm/walmart-partners-with-mgm-to-boost-video-on-demand-service-vudu-idUSL2N1WN0BE

  • Fairness Rocks news

    SOURCE: Reuters

    Date: October 8, 2018

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  • Olivia de Havilland Is Bringing Her ‘Feud: Bette and Joan’ Lawsuit to the Supreme Court

    We’ll soon find out whether Brett Kavanaugh likes “Feud” as much as he likes beer and boofing. Olivia de Havilland, whose displeasure with the way she was depicted in “Bette and Joan” is evident in her year-long legal battle with Ryan Murphy and FX, is officially petitioning the Supreme Court to hear her case. A two-time Oscar winner, the 102-year-old actress claims the network never had (or even requested) her permission to use her name or likeness. She was played by Catherine Zeta-Jones in the award-winning miniseries.

    Read more: https://www.indiewire.com/2018/10/olivia-de-havilland-feud-better-and-joan-lawsuit-supreme-court-1202010092/

  • Fairness Rocks news

    SOURCE: Indie Wire

    Date: October 6, 2018

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  • PUTTING THE BAND BACK TOGETHER: Remastering the World of Music

    The music industry is in the midst of two profound changes. First, consumers are increasingly opting to rent — rather than buy — music. Second, the demise of physical music has prompted artists to tour more often, driving significant growth in concerts and festivals.

  • Fairness Rocks news

    SOURCE: Citi GPS

    Date: October 8, 2018

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  • Arithmetic on the Internet: The Ethical Pool Solution to Streaming Royalty Allocation

    Subscription services are one of the few secular trends in the current economy that is not yet reactive to trade wars or interest rates. Subscription services are found in many areas of the economy, but music drives some of the big ones like Spotify, Amazon and especially the razor-and-razorblades plays like Apple. But per-stream royalties do not come close to making up for the CD and download royalties they cannibalize. Not only do subscription retail rates need to increase, but it’s also time for a major change in the way artist’s streaming royalties are calculated from what is essentially a market share approach to one that is more fair.

    Read more: https://musictech.solutions/2018/10/02/arithmetic-on-the-internet-the-ethical-pool-solution-to-streaming-royalty-allocation/

  • Fairness Rocks news

    SOURCE: Music Tech Solutions

    Date: October 2, 2018

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  • Unfree Agents

    LAST MONTH, FAST COMPANY PUBLISHED an uncharacteristically long interview with Spotify’s thirty-five-year-old CEO Daniel Ek—he rarely does this sort of press. In the interview, Ek reflects on the year he attempted to tour with a band (“I realized that music wasn’t the thing I wanted to do six hours every day”), what the Spotify headquarters calls its “bets” board (listing new projects that get 40 to 50 percent of company resources), his initial feelings about Discover Weekly (he “never really saw the beauty of it” and thought it would be a “disaster”), and, well, many other things.

    Read more: https://thebaffler.com/downstream/unfree-agents-pelly

  • Fairness Rocks news

    SOURCE: The Baffler

    Date: October 1, 2018

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  • Rights and Revenues for Music Performers

    Rights and Revenues for Music Performers

     

    Since its inception in 1948, The International Federation of Musicians (FIM) has been working towards the recognition of intellectual property rights for music performers. FIM’s efforts have led or contributed to the adoption, at international level, of the Rome Convention (1961), the WPPT (1996) and the Beijing Treaty (2012). However, these rights are not a guarantee of remuneration for performers as contractual practices – from the design of to the interpretation of contracts – may simply annihilate any benefit expected from the exploitation of their recordings.

     

    Online music: 1990-2017

    The democratisation of Internet and the rapid evolution of information technologies since the ’90s have enabled consumers to access a new music offer so vast that was unimaginable only a few years back. Beginning with downloading and then streaming; music became available almost without restrictions.

    While enthusiastically entering the digital era, Internet users also discovered the existence of copyright, a concept which even today is still difficult to grasp for many of them. This legal construction is a principle set out in Art. 27 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights:

    Article 27 […] 2. Everyone has the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author.”

    The principle was fine-tuned as technologies developed (LPs in the middle of the 20th century then the Internet at the turn of the millennium). An international instrument – the 1961 Rome Convention – was dedicated to giving performers and phonogram producers legal protection of a similar nature as that for authors. Labels and performers are entitled to be paid a royalty (known as “equitable remuneration” and managed by collective licences) when their recordings and recorded performances are broadcast or performed.

    Sixty-five years after the adoption of the Rome Convention, the choice to protect investors (such as record labels) with a copyright remains a frustrating one for performers. And, the United States is still not a signatory to the Rome Convention which is most disadvantageous to American performers.

    Outstripped by the pace of development, to begin with the phonographic (record) industry took a hyper defensive stance by promoting Technological Protection Measures (TPMs – inappropriately termed DRMs or digital rights management) and a few resounding law suits in piracy (against both commercial music pirates and, unhelpfully, individual music fans), before finding new economic models which today enable it to renew profits. These policies have meant, however, that the record labels have had to pay the heavy price of a seriously dented image.

    Leading music streaming services such as Spotify, Deezer, Pandora, Apple Music, YouTube, Tidal, Rhapsody, Qobuz, or Google Play try to win over a maximum number of customers, whether these pay or not, as quickly as possible. What differentiates the various services is not so much the catalogue made available (despite the sensational withdrawal of some artists) as other aspects such as interface or sound quality (Tidal now offers MQA- master qualiy authenticated). Subscription prices remain at psychological thresholds (€9.90 a month for Deezer or Spotify).

     

    But Something is Not Right…..

    The figures are clearly impressive and steadily growing. YouTube: approx. 1 billion users, Spotify: 140 million users (thereof 60+ million subscribers), Deezer: 16 million. Dissenting voices are, however, being raised among artists. Taylor Swift opposes the freemium models: “Valuable things should be paid for” she says. “It’s my opinion that music should not be free.” On the 21 June 2015, she successfully upset the streaming applecart when she came out against Apple Music’s new offer not to remunerate writers, composers and performers for the 3-month trial period after their initial launch.

    In reality, these illustrious voices, whom the media are quick to take up and who are followed directly on Twitter by millions of fans, are the trees which prevent us from seeing the wood. Clearly they justly denounce the shortcomings of streaming models and in particular the pitiful remuneration the talent receives in comparison to an often colossal number of times they are heard. The immense majority of performers, however, do not even receive this feeble income. Quite simply, they receive nothing. How is this possible?

    The economy of recorded music has for decades been based on a simple principle: performers do have intellectual property rights – they are known as “neighbouring rights” as they are akin to but not the same as copyright. These rights constitute a potential source of income, but it generally remains theoretical on account of the unfair conditions of transfer of such rights to the record label (known as the “producer”.)

    This imbalance in contractual relationships is explicitly recognized in a European Parliamentary report issued in July 2012 (the Cavada report):

    “48. Calls for the bargaining position of authors and performers vis-à-vis producers to be rebalanced by providing authors and performers with an unwaivable right to remuneration for all forms of exploitation of their works, including ongoing remuneration where they have transferred their exclusive ‘making available’ right to a producer.

    The Reda report published in July 2015 (https://juliareda.eu/copyright-evaluation-report/full/ ) goes along the same lines:

    “27. […] calls for improvements to the contractual position of authors and performers in relation to other right holders and intermediaries, notably by considering a reasonable period for the use of rights transferred by authors to third parties, after which those rights would lapse, as contractual exchanges may be marked by an imbalance of power.”

    Such imbalance between producer and artist often means that the latter is forced by contract to accept a single, lump-sum payment which remunerates both the recording of the performance and all subsequent possible and imaginable uses thereafter.

    There is, however, an exception to this global transfer, first established by the Rome Convention, which concerns broadcasting and communication to the public of commercial phonograms (diffusion of music in public places, dance halls, shops, hotels…). This type of use is not covered by an “exclusive” right but by an unwaivable “right to remuneration”. As such, no prior authorisation from right holders is necessary, but instead the payment of equitable remuneration is required. This payment by the user (a broadcaster, or night club for example) is shared between performers and producers and is in principle shared equally between these two categories of right holders.

    In practice, therefore, performers have generally only one right from which they receive remuneration –that of broadcasting and communication to the public–, because of its non-transferable nature. Since all other so-called “exclusive” rights have been transferred to the producer in the label contract, it is the label that receives income from these other uses – sale, download and interactive online streaming.

    There are signs that record companies may unilaterally decide to exploit pre-digital era recordings on the internet by ways of streaming or download, claiming that under the old contracts they own the performer’s exclusive right of “making available” even though such uses and the rights attached to them did not exist at the time the contract was signed.

    (There are other compensatory mechanisms for private copying, which come under an exception to exclusive reproduction right and allow users to make copies for private use in exchange for a levy of which performers receive a percentage – but these monies take the form of lump sum payments which carry their own challenges in terms of accurate allocations.)

     

    Downloading, streaming: exclusive right or right to remuneration?

    The case of downloading is clear: this is what is referred to in treaties as the “right of making available to the public on demand”. Making available is a recent legislative addition. It is a sub-set of the communication right and was created by an international treaty from the World Intellectual Property Office. The WIPO Performers and Phonograms Treaty 1996, or WPPT, accommodates a right from the internet delivery of performers and audio recordings of their work. The USA has not embraced the “making available right, notwithstanding its membership of WIPO, as US law applies other exclusive rights (operating either separately or together) from their domestic copyright statute, although in 2016 a study of the right was published by the US Copyright Office.

    Making available is defined in WPPT as an exclusive right:

    Performers shall enjoy the exclusive right of authorizing the making availableto the public of their performances fixed in phonograms, by wire or wireless means, in such a way that members of the public may access them from a place and at a time individually chosen by them.

    This type of use presupposes a triple choice: that of the recording the person wishes to listen to, the time when he/she has access to it and the place of access.

    Downloading by a music lover fulfils these conditions. But as the music is retained, akin to acquiring the music by a sale, the labels consequently only remunerate artists for a possible contractual sales royalty, if provisions are made for such in the contract.

    Streaming is slightly different. Users can either access a particular recording which they have selected, or listen to a curated or random playlist whose tracks are unknown beforehand, as is the order in which they are played.

    In the first case, this is making available on demand, whose three WPPT criteria are fulfilled, as with downloading. In the second case, however, this is a simple communication to the public for which payment should be made on the basis of equitable remuneration – as in a broadcast where the audience simply receives what is being chosen for them.

    But in this second case, despite their right unwaivable right of equitable remuneration, it is not, certain that artists will be paid. Some jurists claim that by just pressing a single key while listening (skip or pause for example), users introduce some level of interactivity which is sufficient to redefine this act as an exclusive right (passed to the label by contract), thereby eliminating equitable remuneration in favour of an exclusive right of making available on demand. This right is transferred contractually to producers and consequently, more often than not, only benefits the latter.

    For an artist with a record contract – a so-called “featured” or “contracted” artist – the label will apply the contractual sales royalty, either as a percentage of the actual price or a percentage of “wholesale” thereby reducing the royalty calculation base. Often a label will deduct packaging costs despite these not being incurred in online dissemination at all. One consequence for artists on old contracts with very low royalty rates is that as much as 90% or more of making available revenue will be retained by the label – even where any monies the artist was advanced has long ago been recouped from their record sales.

    For a session musician the situation is even more desperate. Their fees for recordings are part of the recording budget, and all their rights as performers (save for the unwaivable right of equitable remuneration) are acquired globally for a single fee. The result is that, of the revenue from the making available of recordings, nothing is paid to the session musicians – despite their important musical contributions to the recorded works.

     

    How to Remunerate Performers?

    As we have seen artists who do receive royalties are daily expressing their frustration over the pitiful amounts of money they receive

    When contracted or featured artists are both the performers and the authors of the songs they perform (a singer/songwriter), the average payment per stream they receive as indicated in April 2015 by the website http://www.informationisbeautiful.net/ is:

    YouTube: $ 0.0003

    Deezer: $ 0.001

    Spotify: $ 0.0011

    Apple Music : $ 0.0013

    GooglePlay: $ 0.0073

     

    As for the other artists –the majority– they receive nothing except for the lump sum payment at the moment of recording.

    It is clearly understandable that this situation is untenable and artists cannot be left by the wayside any longer as a result of economic models which deliberately ignore them. In order to try and put an end to this injustice, four organisations representing performers in Europe: AEPO-ARTIS (http://www.aepo-artis.org ), the International Federation of Actors (FIA), the International Federation of Musicians (FIM) and the International Artists’ Organisation (IAO) are carrying out a campaign to introduce into European legislation a right to remuneration for performers, collected from downloading and streaming platforms and managed by performers’ collective management organisations. Links to these organisations are found elsewhere on Fairness Rocks.

    This right to remuneration does not replace the exclusive right of making available but is an addition to it, thereby enabling all artists whose performances are exploited online to receive a fair share of the income generated.

    Promoted by the FAIR INTERNET campaign (http://www.fair-internet.eu ), this model is not new at European Union level as it already exists for the rental right (Directive 2006/115/EC, Article 5). Also, performers’ collecting societies already have a longstanding experience in this type of exercise. Consequently, the system proposed does not present any legal or technical problems.

    With the proposed European Directive reviewing copyright in the Digital Single Market, European performers have a once in a lifetime opportunity to be granted a fair share of the online income they help generate. This necessary advance is the key to the new equation that both artists and those who listen to them are waiting for, in Europe and on a global scale.

    The International Federation of Musicians (FIM) https://www.fim-musicians.org/

  • Fairness Rocks news

    SOURCE: FIM

    Date: October 2, 2018

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  • ‘Friday the 13th’ Screenwriter Wins Rights Battle Against Producer

  • Fairness Rocks news

    SOURCE: Hollywood Reporter

    Date: September 28, 2018

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  • Led Zeppelin to face new Stairway to Heaven trial

    Led Zeppelin face a new trial over claims the band stole a guitar riff for their 1971 song, Stairway to Heaven.

    A California appeals court overruled a 2016 case that said the band did not steal the opening of their hit from Taurus by the band Spirit.

    The court cited a series of errors by the previous case’s judge.

    Led Zeppelin band members Jimmy Page and Robert Plant, however, say the song is their masterpiece, which they wrote in a Welsh cottage.

    Read more: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-45685401

  • Fairness Rocks news

    SOURCE: BBC News

    Date: September 28, 2018

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