CMU Digest

CMU Digest 31.10.16: MP3tunes, Eric Clapton, Dr Luke, PRS, Maria Pallante, Spotify

By | Published on Monday 31 October 2016


The key stories from the last seven days in the music business…

An appeal court ruling on the long-running EMI v MP3tunes case possibly increased the obligations of tech firms relying on US safe harbours. Neither EMI nor MP3tunes exist anymore, but the former’s infringement case against the latter’s digital locker and link sharing service continues. An appeals judge said MP3tunes probably should have defined ‘repeat infringer’ more widely, and should have been more proactive in stopping infringement as a result of ‘red flags’ relating to how its service was being used. [READ MORE]

Eric Clapton was sued for $5 million for allegedly mis-crediting a track on his ‘Unplugged’ album. The step-grandson of blues man Bo Carter says that Clapton incorrectly credited his peformance of ‘Alberta’ to Lead Belly, when it was in fact a rework of his step-grandfather’s song ‘Corrine Corrina’. Though one legal expert reckons that although Carter registered ‘Corrine Corrina’ in 1929, it was his version of a public domain folk song, weakening copyright claims over other adaptations. [READ MORE]

Lawyers for Dr Luke hit out at a New York Times piece on Kesha, and in particular allegations that it was the producer and his Sony label Kemosabe that were preventing the singer from releasing new material. Luke’s attorney said that – despite the ongoing legal battle between her client and Kesha – Kemosabe and another Sony label, RCA, had been liaising with the singer on her new material, and that any ongoing delays are now on her side. [READ MORE]

The Music Venue Trust called on PRS members to drop the minimum charge on the performing right licences for gigs that the collecting society administers. The live industry group says that the £38 minimum applied to a licence that otherwise charges 3% of ticket income means grass roots venues are unfairly penalised. The society’s main gig licence is already under review by PRS management, but the MVT says small venues can’t afford to wait for the outcome of that review and urged songwriters to call on the organisation to act on this one issue sooner. [READ MORE]

The boss of the US Copyright Office was basically sacked in a surprise move that has concerned many in the creative community and American IP sector. The so called Register Of Copyrights, Maria Pallante, was transferred to another job within the Library Of Congress under which the Copyright Office sits, though she later confirmed she wouldn’t accept that role. Although the Register Of Copyrights doesn’t have much actual power over intellectual property policy, it is nevertheless an influential role, with Congress often looking to whoever is in that job for guidance on copyright issues. [READ MORE]

It emerged that Spotify had let a number of its deals with video-content providers like Vice and Comedy Central lapse. The streaming service had previously announced deals with the media firms when it launched its new video offer. Although Vice said it thought Spotify was bailing on video entirely, the streaming music firm denied that was so, saying it was just rejigging its video line-up. It seems Spotify’s priority now is probably its own original video content. [READ MORE]

The big deals from the last seven days in the music business…
• Abba confirmed they were working with Simon Fuller on a VR venture [INFO]
• Sony Music bought into live music platform Gigmit [INFO]
• Time Out bought ticketing service YPlan [INFO]
• Roc Nation signed Gavin Rossdale [INFO]
• BMG signed German DJ and producer Robin Schulz [INFO]
• Sony/ATV signed ABC’s Martin Fry [INFO]

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