CMU Digest

CMU Digest 28.09.20: COVID-19, TikTok, YouTube, CISAC, OfCom

By | Published on Monday 28 September 2020

Masks

The key stories from the last week in the music business…

The music industry said that the UK government’s latest COVID support schemes would be disastrous for the live entertainment sector. The new schemes – replacing the previous programmes that provided financial support to those unable to work as a result of the COVID shutdown – assume that companies and freelancers are slowly getting back to normal, but might not be back to full capacity yet, so need some government subsidy. But ongoing and this week increased restrictions to stop the spread of the virus mean many live music businesses are still in full-on shutdown – or operating at a fraction of their normal capacity – making the new schemes unviable. The industry now awaits news of how the ¬£1.57 billion of specific creative sector funding will be distributed to see whether that can help. [READ MORE]

It remained unclear if the American and Chinese governments would approve TikTok’s big plan for the app to continue operating in the US. TikTok’s Chinese owner Bytedance is trying to allay fears in Washington that the Chinese government has access to the app’s global audience and user-data – fears that resulted in Donald Trump’s incoming TikTok ban. The plan is to create a new TikTok Global company involving US firms Oracle and Walmart. Trump said the plan had his “blessing”, but only if Oracle was in control of the new company. Politicians in Washington and Beijing could as yet scupper the deal. In the short term, TikTok got an injunction pausing Trump’s ban, which was due to kick in yesterday. [READ MORE]

YouTube hit back in a US lawsuit over the availability of its Content ID rights management system. Musician Maria Schneider and anti-piracy agency Pirate Monitor argue that Content ID should be made available to a much wider range of rights owners and that – by failing to do that – YouTube is not complying with its obligations under US copyright law. YouTube countered that Content ID goes far beyond its legal obligations to rights owners; that Schneider does have access to and is using Content ID via a third party agent; and that Pirate Monitor had broken the rules trying to trick YouTube into giving it Content ID access, proving why the Google site has to be careful about not providing any old organisation with the powerful tools that Content ID includes. [READ MORE]

Global collecting society grouping CISAC launched an overhauled system for issuing ISWCs. Those are the unique codes attached to each new song as it is published. Being able to identify each new song (by its ISWC) and each new recording (by its ISRC) has become ever more important with the shift to streaming, where bad copyright data can stop artists and songwriters from getting paid. CISAC says that, under the new system, ISWCs will be issued much faster. Over 100 song right collecting societies have already transitioned to the new system, which will soon also be made available to music publishers and digital platforms. [READ MORE]

UK media regulator OfCom said that it would investigate current and future plans for the BBC Sounds app. The Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group For Commercial Radio, Andy Carter MP, urged the regulator to look into the new 24/7 Radio 1 Dance service that is being added to the app repurposing the Beeb’s dance music specialist shows and guest mixes from the archives. He said that the new service didn’t fulfil a public service remit and was an example of the BBC unfairly using its privileged position to compete with commercial radio stations. OfCom said that the new dance service was fine – because it doesn’t involve any new content being created – but that it would investigate whether the BBC was complying with its public service obligations as it evolves the Sounds app. [READ MORE]



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