CMU Daily - on the inside Tuesday 24th July
yesterday's Daily - Daily archive

In today's CMU Daily:
- Government backs Gowers review
- Beggars buy Sanctuary's stake in Rough Trade
- C4 buys into EMAP's TV business
- Ja Rule and Lil Wayne arrested on firearm charges
- Prosecution rests their case: Spector trial update
- Banton signs up to anti-homophobia 'Compassionate Act'
- Diesel U-Music UK winners announced
- GnR reunion? Maybe, without Axl
- Hives on slow-going new album
- Chow Chow album release will go ahead
- Perry Farrell on Muse and Lollapalooza
- Robert Smith on Ashlee collaboration
- Santana happy that Turner collaboration is on hits album
- Rihanna flogs actual umbrellas
- Rare Jam photos to be exhibited to promote new book
- UK IP Trust launches anti-piracy website
- Amp'd closes down
- New chart rule to allow former a-side remixes as b-sides
- Canadian copyright body back iPod tax proposals
- Virgin Radio to launch in France
- GMG appoint new digital chief
- Doherty rehab update
- May to finish PhD
- Enemy and talent show's Potts in war of words

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TOP BIT >>
The Top Bit and MSOTD go on a break from next week to make way for our Edinburgh Festival coverage, which will appear here in the Daily each day during August, so I want to give this one last plug before the TB summer break kicks in.

Following the huge success of the first ever CMU Recommended Remix All-nighter earlier this summer, the second ever Remix All-nighter will take place at the seOne Club in London on 14 Sep. As previously mentioned, the all night affair will be split into three rooms, each with a different theme.

Room one will be electro house with Benny Benassi, Horse Meat Disco, Alex Metric and Audio Vegas. In room 2 it's electro breaks with Remix chief Eddy TM in charge, plus the very buzzy Kissy Sellout, Noisia, Atomic Hooligan and Mr Piper. Room three is electro punk hosted by the fab Kitsune posse.

As I say, it all takes place on Friday 14 Sep from 9.30pm to 6am. Tickets are £12 on the door, or £9 in advance/NUS. Press info, as always, from Leyline.

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MYSPACE OF THE DAY: TOM MIDDLETON

If I remember rightly the week the first edition of the Tom Middleton compiled 'Crazy Covers' album arrived in the CMU office I was on holiday. Me and Caro then bickered over who should actually own it for months (Caro, you see, had claimed it when it arrived; I can't quite remember the grounds for me having the better claim to ownership, but I'm sure they were good grounds) until, by happy coincidence, my sister decided to give me a copy for a Christmas present, completely unaware of the mini-dispute her kind gesture was solving. Caro's essentially on maternity leave at the moment (in that she's working from home, but still writing half your CMU Daily, ladies and gentlemen) which hopefully means it will be me who gets first dibs on the second edition, which is out next month and should, therefore, arrive on the mat at CMU HQ any day now. Hurrah. I don't know what's on the new edition, though on his blog about it Mr Middleton promises great Mexican, Italian, Hindu, Turkish, Suomi and Thai versions of your pop favourites - I can't wait. Actually, Tom's MySpace is more dedicated to another also exciting release - that of his debut solo album 'Lifetracks' which is coming out via Big Chill Recordings in September. Two brilliantly chilled out tracks from it are previewing here, plus there are lots of pictures, bloggy updates and gig listings. Middleton has been one of my favourite DJs and remixers for ages now, and not just because of his love of the occasional wacky cover. With so much activity coming from the Middleton camp in the coming months, you really should bookmark his MySpace, just so you're in the loop.

http://www.myspace.com/tommiddleton

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JOBS N STUFF>>

COOKING VINYL ARE LOOKING FOR AN OFFICE MANAGER / PA TO MD.
The ideal candidate is organised, works well under pressure and has an impeccable phone manner. You will also have to be familiar with Word, Excel and Outlook. The role includes full reception responsibilities, and also assisting the marketing, international and production departments when needed, as well as ensuring the office is running smoothly. Cooking Vinyl's office is in Acton, West London. Send CV to: info@cookingvinyl.com, and put Office Manager in the subject line. Closed by: August 6th 2007.

MARKETING AND PROMOTION OPPORTUNITY
Well-established London-based alternative marketing and promotions company, currently working with all major and many indie labels is seeking a new team member, ideally with 1-2 years previous music industry experience. For full job description and other information, please e-mail musicprjobenquiry@yahoo.co.uk indicating your current position and role.

Advertise your vacancies in the CMU Daily for just £80 for five days. To book your space email ads@unlimitedmedia.co.uk.

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GOVERNMENT BACKS GOWERS REVIEW
As expected, the government has said it will adopt the findings of the Gowers Review regarding its policy on the recording copyright term - ie it will keep it at the current fifty years, rather than extending it as the record industry wanted. We'll have more on that tomorrow, but meanwhile, here's what BPI chief Geoff Taylor says: "This was a test of Government support for British music which it has failed. Ministers appear to have selective hearing on this issue - they have ignored the views of artists and their union, managers, record labels and now even a Parliamentary Select Committee. Opposition MPs and many Labour backbenchers understand the value of fair copyright and support term extension. We will continue to put forward the strong case for fair copyright in Europe. It is profoundly disappointing that we are forced to do so without the backing of the British Government".

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BEGGARS BUY SANCTUARY'S STAKE IN ROUGH TRADE
Rough Trade, the record label, is now part of the Beggars Group of indie labels following Beggars' acquisition of Sanctuary's stake in it. Beggars' interest in Rough Trade had been common knowledge for sometime, and negotiations between Beggars and Sanctuary were ongoing, even as the board of the latter agreed to back the sale of the rest of its company to Universal Music. There had been rumours that Rough Trade founder Geoff Travis had been trying to regain complete control of the label himself, but in the end the Beggars deal seems to have had the backing of both Travis and his co-founder Jeannette Lee.

In a statement, Travis said this morning: "It has been a long and fitful journey from the time we were selling Lurkers singles in the Rough Trade shop on Kensington Park Road to this brand new partnership with Martin Mills and his Beggars Group. It has been a road littered with bumps and crashes but nevertheless we have had many world class artists gracing our label. Jeannette Lee and myself feel that history has bought us full circle and we know that this liaison will finally give the label the kind of stability, dynamism and expertise that will allow us to grow on a worldwide basis. We share a culture that is about our artists and their work. To continue to be a wholly independent label, with the support of the Beggars Group, is the best of all possible worlds to our way of thinking. We are genuinely excited about the future and the opportunity to bring new records and new artists to the world's attention".

Beggars chief Martin Mills added: "In our early days, I used to drive our new records over to the Rough Trade shop in Notting Hill. They've clearly been a crucial part of the UK independent scene since then, from the days of the Cartel and The Smiths, to The Strokes and Sufjan Stevens. It was impossible to resist the appeal of combining their amazing musical heritage with ours. Adding them to
everything that's going on here for our existing group of record labels is a very exciting proposition".

The Rough Trade shops are now, of course, a separate company to the label. On an aside, they too have been in the news this last week with the opening of their new store in East London's Brick Lane. The expansion of an indie record shop chain is even more newsworthy at the moment, of course, given that much of the other big news in the music retail domain has been store closures, not openings.

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C4 BUYS INTO EMAP'S TV BUSINESS
EMAP yesterday announced it was selling half of its TV business, Box Television Limited, to Channel Four in a bid to create a "powerhouse in British music television". Actually that looks like that's what they said, and actually I just said it. But it's a good line, they should use it.

EMAP TV operates all those jukebox TV channels, many of which utilise brands originally established elsewhere in the media group's operations, including Q, Kerrang!, Smash Hits and Kiss. It all began, of course, with The Box, hence the TV division's company name, and in more recent times sister station The Hits has become higher profile because it airs on the Freeview terrestrial digital TV system as well as cable and satellite networks.

Channel 4 doesn't currently operate a bespoke music station, though its digital channel E4 more or less operates as one during the day. What's more, Channel 4's late night 4Music strand has grown considerably in recent years, making the network the biggest terrestrial broadcaster of music programming in the UK. Channel 4's importance in the music space is also likely to increase when it launches its national digital radio network, the licence for which it won earlier this month, especially with the planned Pure4 music station.

Quite what Channel 4's acquisition of a stake in EMAP's TV business means regarding future output isn't clear, though presumably it will secure EMAP, whose consumer focused operations have been struggling a little of late, with a nice revenue boost. The two companies' announcement of their alliance talked a lot about "emerging platforms" and "video-on-demand", so presumably the two media firms hope to collaborate on new or relaunched digital services. Rumour also has it that The Hits might be replaced on Freeview by a new 4Music channel combining the jukebox TV forumula with reruns of C4's growing archive of music programmes and sessions.

Anyway, enough speculation, more quotes from EMAP Consumer Media CEOs on the deal. Here's what the man himself, Mr Paul Keenan, has to say: "This alliance will enable us to increase our music brands' presence on new and emerging platforms, including video-on-demand, opening up new opportunities outside of the traditional broadcast market for both audience and revenue growth. EMAP and Channel 4 are likeminded partners and together we make a formidable force in an otherwise fragmenting and challenging market".

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JA RULE AND LIL WAYNE ARRESTED ON FIREARM CHARGES
Rappers Ja Rule and Lil Wayne have both been arrested for carrying illegal firearms in New York though, despite the fact the two hip hoppers recently collaborated on the track 'Uh Oh', it seems the two arrests stemmed from separate incidents. Perhaps local police were going for the complete set.

Ja Rule, real name Jeff Atkins, was arrested after a weapon was found in his car after he was stopped for speeding. Lil Wayne, real name Dwayne Carter, was found in possession of a pistol when detained for smoking dope.

Neither rapper has yet commented on their respective charges. Though one assumes that when the cops discovered their allegedly illegal weapons the words 'Uh Oh' might have been uttered. Well, they might.

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PROSECUTION RESTS THEIR CASE: SPECTOR TRIAL UPDATE
So, the prosecution called their final witness in the ongoing Phil Spector murder trial yesterday - which, three weeks into the defence's case, is a bit confusing, but there you go.

LA detective Richard Tomlin was called at this late stage because his testimony only made sense in the context of that finally given by former Spector defence lawyer Sara Caplan ten days ago, in which she said that, shortly after the police left the crime scene back in 2003, she saw a forensics expert hired by the defence team - the prominent Dr Henry Lee - pick up a white fragment, possibly a bit of acrylic finger nail, and put it into a vial. The prosecution, of course, claim that that was a crucial bit of evidence that should have been handed over to the police. The defence, and Lee, deny any such white fragment ever existed.

Tomlin was called to the witness stand to confirm that the defence never handed over any item matching Caplan's description, which surely we all knew already, though presumably it's good form to have that fact on the record. Tomlin also confirmed that the prosecution had requested the alleged bit of evidence be handed over on numerous occasions, with the defence consistently denying it existed.

Caplan, of course, agonised over whether or not to tell the court about the white fragment. Well, she told a court hearing without the jury about the fragment, that's how we knew what she knew. But then she said that she couldn't repeat the evidence in front of the jury because of her attorney/client confidentiality commitment to Spector. Judge Larry Fidler disagreed and threatened to jail Caplan if she didn't testify which, eventually, she did. Lee, who hasn't actually been held in contempt for the allegations against him, even though Fidler seems to believe Caplan's version of events, maintains his innocence, while suggesting he no longer plans to testify for the defence in the case, such is his anger at the allegations made against him in this trial.

The defence's case, of course, continues, with the combined approach of alleging that Lana Clarkson, the woman Spector is accused of killing, was suicidal prior to the incident, and therefore quite likely to shoot herself, and that the forensic evidence shows Spector was not near the former actress when the gun went off, or, at least, that it can't be said beyond reasonable doubt that he was close to her (ie close enough to be holding the gun that was in her mouth).

It was on the latter area that the defence continued their case yesterday, calling another blood spatter expert to the stand - one Stuart James - who, like fellow expert James Pex last week, says that from the evidence it is impossible to say how close Spector was to Clarkson, even though his jacket was spattered with blood. As previously reported, the prosecution claim the blood spatter from Clarkson being shot would only go three feet, putting the producer close to the actress. Defence lawyer Linda Kenney Baden asked James yesterday: "Is there any agreement that it can only go three feet?" to which the witness replied "No. I went to every source I could find and talked to numerous people. There is simply a wide variation".

The case continues.

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BANTON SIGNS UP TO ANTI-HOMOPHOBIA 'COMPASSIONATE ACT'
Reggae star Buju Banton has agreed to sign up to the previously reported Reggae Compassionate Act, a recently launched 'pledge' drafted by gay rights activist Peter Tatchell in which artists commit to "respect and uphold the rights of all individuals to live without violence due to their religion, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity or gender".

As previously reported, the pledge follows a long running campaign led by gay rights groups around the world against various reggae and dancehall acts who have in the past released songs that incite violence against gay men. That campaign led to a string of concerts around the world featuring the likes of Banton being cancelled after many venues became nervous of the bad press that could be generated against them by groups who objected to those artists' public homophobia.

The gay rights groups called on artists like Banton to publicly renounce previous homophobic remarks. A commitment by key reggae record labels to not re-release any of the offending tracks, and to encourage their artists to no longer perform the offending lyrics, enabled a truce for a time, though some continued their campaign against the reggae stars arguing that the move by the labels was commercially motivated, and didn't involve the offending artists themselves.

Tatchell's 'pledge' is targeted at the offending artists directly, though is cleverly worded so that the reggae stars can publicly denounce homophobia in music, but without making any comment about their opinions on homosexuality in general. Beenie Man and Sizzla quickly signed up to the 'Act', and Banton followed suit this week.

That said, because of the careful wording of the pledge, some in the gay rights community may continue to object to stars like Banton, claiming his participation in the Act is again commercially motivated and does not represent any change in opinion. DJ Kemist of reggae label Xtremix Records admitted to the Guardian this week: "I can see why he's done it. He doesn't want to jeopardise his whole career over just a few songs. But it doesn't mean it's going to change any of his opinions".

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DIESEL U-MUSIC UK WINNERS ANNOUNCED
The UK winners of the good old Diesel-U-Music Awards 2007 have been announced - they each win £2000, get a load of support for their music, and will go forward to the global competition. And the winners are Stefan & The Artschool (urban), Get Shakes (electronic) and The Steers (indie/rock). Well done one and all. Here's what Diesel UK Head Of Comms Andy Griffiths has to say: "Diesel are committed to propelling these local winners to the next level by giving them invaluable ongoing support and career advice from some of the industry's most successful tastemakers".

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GNR REUNION? MAYBE, WITHOUT AXL
According to reports, the original line up of Guns n Roses are planning to 'reunite' for a celebration of the 20th anniversary of the release of the band's debut 'Appetite For Destruction' - but without frontman Axl Rose, of course. The event, set to take place at the Key Club in Los Angeles on 28 Jul, will feature appearances from drummer Steve Adler's band Adler's Appetite, LA Guns, and other special guests.

Adler says: "I'll be down there with my band and Slash, Izzy [Stradlin, guitarist] and Duff [McKagan, bass] will be there too. It's gonna be great".

Adler added that he thinks a proper GnR reunion isn't completely out of the question, saying: "Axl and I spoke to each other in Las Vegas recently, and I know there's a chance. It's just too big. Whatever the Stones make when they play, we'd triple it. It'd be ridiculous not to do it. He can't be that goofy".

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HIVES ON SLOW-GOING NEW ALBUM
Speaking of things related to Guns n Roses, The Hives' Pelle Almquist has compared his band's new album with long, long, long awaited GnR long player 'Chinese Democracy' - but only because he feels it's all taking a bit too long.

"Sometimes it feels like we're making 'Chinese Democracy'", the singer told NME.com, while drummer Chris Dangerous added: "It was recorded in seven or eight studios, so it's going to sound different [to previous work]".

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CHOW CHOW ALBUM RELEASE WILL GO AHEAD
London based band Chow Chow are set to release their debut album next month, despite the previously reported death of their singer Thomas Iain Smith, back in June. The record, entitled 'Colours & Lines', will be released on 6 Aug via Fantastic Plastic.

Smith's friends and family reportedly support the move, whilst Fantastic Plastic say: "'Colours And Lines' is a fitting tribute, a snapshot of what the band were capable of, amazingly creative, the sound of a band uninhibited in what they did".

The band are scheduled to appear at a gig in Northampton later this month, but it's not known if that will also go ahead.

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PERRY FARRELL ON MUSE AND LOLLAPALOOZA
Perry Farrell has been talking about his upcoming Lollapalooza festival, and seems pretty clear on the fact that Brit export Muse will be a definite highlight. The former Jane's Addiction frontman says: "Muse are growing up and blowing up in the UK, and now they're coming to America. These musicians are amongst the greatest of their day and this should be a historical set Muse will perform for us at Lollapalooza this summer".

The festival takes place from 3 - 5 Aug in Grant's Park, Chicago.

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ROBERT SMITH ON ASHLEE COLLABORATION
Robert Smith has spoken about that previously reported rumour that he was set to collaborate with Ashlee Simpson - if you remember, Ashlee's boyf, Fall Out Boy Pete Wentz, was credited with bringing the two together but he denied it, saying "I doubt I had anything to do with it, 'cause they were friends since she was performing in Chicago'. But I definitely only have good things to say about Ash - I think the collaboration could be great".

The Cure frontman has now confirmed that such a collaboration would not be out of the question but is unlikely to happen very soon. He told MTV news: "I would be hugely surprised if I end up working with Ashlee this year, but I haven't ruled it out. I went to see her in 'Chicago'... I was impressed. The fact is, when she got onstage and sang she was really good".

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SANTANA HAPPY THAT TURNER COLLABORATION IS ON HITS ALBUM
Carlos Santana has said he is excited that a version of his hit song 'Game Of Love' featuring Tina Turner instead of Michelle Branch will appear on a Santana greatest hits album that is due out later this year. Turner apparently recorded the original vocals on the Grammy Award winning song, but Santana's label decided she wasn't the right artist for the release, leading to the rerecord with Branch. Both versions will now appear on the greatest hits album.

Santana told the Associated Press this week: "Queens come and go - there's only one Tina Turner. I love Michelle, and she did a great interpretation of it. It's just that, with all honour and respect to Michelle, there's the girl and there's the woman, and Michelle is unfolding into a woman... but it takes time to go from a girl to a woman. My heart was always set because I heard Tina first - no one can hit a note like Tina Turner".

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RIHANNA FLOGS ACTUAL UMBRELLAS
According to reports, Rihanna has launched a range of umbrellas following the huge success of the R&B star's 'Umbrella' single. Apparently UK partyers have been raising their brollies into the air when the song is played at clubs. God, they're like, crazy.

Anyway, the reports claim that the singer has got together with slightly grannyish brand Totes to bring out the collection of five brollies, ranging in price from $16 - $50, and available in a number of colours. There's even a limited edition umbrella - the Rihanna 2 Color Satin Stick - apparently originally designed for Rihanna's appearance at the 2007 MTV Movie Awards.

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RARE JAM PHOTOS TO BE EXHIBITED TO PROMOTE NEW BOOK
A never-before-seen collection of limited edition photos of The Jam will be exhibited at the Movie Poster Gallery in London from 6-20 Oct as part of the promotion of a new photographic book called 'The Jam Unseen', which is published next month. The photos were taken by Neil 'Twink' Twinning, who followed the band as a sort of official photographer during their last two years together. The exhibition, timed to coincide with the thirtieth anniversary of the band signing to Polydor in 1977, will precede that previously reported tour that will reunite two thirds of the original band, Bruce Foxton and Rick Buckler, which kicks off in Plymouth on 24 Nov. Press info from Noble PR.

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UK IP TRUST LAUNCHES ANTI-PIRACY WEBSITE
The UK based Industry Trust For Intellectual Property Awareness, which represents the interests of various content owners including music and film companies, has launched a new website as part of its previously reported stepped up campaign that is attempting to stigmatise content piracy.

The new website, at http://www.copyrightaware.co.uk, aims to educate people about the impact of illegally downloading music and films, as well as providing what it hopes is "user-friendly" information on what copyright is and how it works. With the Industry Trust traditionally more proactive in the movie space, there is also some general interest film content, including details on upcoming releases and advice for budding film-makers, presumably in a bid to drive traffic to the service.

The website is part of the Trust's multi-million pound marketing campaign that hopes to combat content piracy, partly by portraying those who acquire content through illegal routes as being shady characters. As previously reported, the advertising part of the campaign featured a character called 'Knock-off Nigel', a deliberately unaspirational character who participates in content piracy.

Commenting on the Trust's ongoing campaign, the body's Director-General, Liz Bales, told reporters this week: "This element of the new campaign is designed to raise awareness of the role and value of copyright in protecting the creative industries and those who work in them. By demonstrating the positive role of copyright and its practical applications in protecting Intellectual Property, we hope that consumers will appreciate the negative impact of copyright theft, both on the industry and the wider UK economy".

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AMP'D CLOSES DOWN
US based mobile music service Amp'd, which filed for bankruptcy protection earlier this month, has closed down. The final straw was seemingly a bill from Verizon, the mobile network the service piggy backed on, for $56 million. Amp'd didn't have $56 million. Nor could they find a buyer to save the day. The service went off line last week.

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NEW CHART RULE TO ALLOW FORMER A-SIDE REMIXES AS B-SIDES
Now, pay attention, this is a bit confusing. The Official Charts Company have changed the chart rules so that a CD single containing a previous hit single as a b-side (well, a remix or different version of it) while that original hit single is still available as an a-side will be chart eligible. Previously it wouldn't have been.

Why the change? Well, this is where it gets a little bit complicated. Previously a record label who wanted to include a remix or rework of a former hit single as a b-side on a new single could sidestep the rule that disallowed two different but concurrent physical CD single releases carrying the same track by deleting the original CD single release from its catalogue. Doing so would disqualify the original single from chart eligibility, and allow the new release to count. In the olden days the fact the original track was also available via download stores didn't matter, because the digital sales of the original track didn't count for the chart unless there was a physical release in circulation, so by deleting the CD they were also stopping digital sales of the original track from counting, even though it was still available for download. That, of course, has now changed, because download sales now count even if there is no physical CD on sale, meaning that if a label wanted to release a new CD single featuring a new version of a former hit single they'd have to not only delete the former CD single but take the original track off all the download platforms too, which they would never want to do. You're all following this, right?

Anyway, it is with that new quandary in mind that the rule has been changed. I've no idea how many CD single releases this actually affects - probably two - but presumably you'll all sleep a bit better tonight knowing that labels who put a former hit as a b-side on a single release are no longer jeopardising their chart eligibility. I know I will.

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CANADIAN COPYRIGHT BODY BACK IPOD TAX PROPOSALS
The long running debate in Canada over the pros and cons of the so called iPod tax is back in the news this week after the country's Copyright Board formally announced its support for the system.

As much previously reported, the iPod tax is the system where a levy is charged on any digital music player sold, the monies from which are either passed onto to royalty collection bodies for the music industry or used to fund music education initiatives. The idea behind the system is that by paying the levy consumers are being given the right to make private copies of music on the player - ie transferring music from CDs they bought onto the player, something that is, in theory, not allowed by the licence that comes with the CD itself. The system is a digital extension of one adopted in a number of countries (though not the UK) where a similar levy is charged on cassettes and CDRs, for the same private copying reasons.

Although some in the music industry have lobbied for the iPod tax, especially in countries where a levy is already charged on cassettes and CDRs, it is not without controversy. Consumer rights groups argue that the system penalises consumers who only put music onto their digital music players that have been downloaded from legitimate digital music platforms like iTunes, music that is intended by the seller and content owners for use on such a player. The tax is even more controversial when, as some have proposed, it is applied to mobile phones that come with an inbuilt music player, with some consumer rights groups arguing many owners of those phones won't even use the music player component.

The Canada Private Copyright Collective first pushed for the introduction of an iPod tax in 2003, but were blocked by the courts who said current copyright laws didn't provide for such a system. But the CPCC continued its lobbying, arguing that digital music players are in essence 'recorded media', like CDRs and cassettes, and should therefore fall under existing levy rules that cover the sale of CDRs and cassettes. This week the Copyright Board Of Canada said in a statement: "We see no inherent problem with this scenario [the iPod tax]. A thing that is ordinarily used by individual consumers to make private copies should not be excluded from the private copying regime for the sole reason that it has other uses".

However, the electronics and retail lobby, who successfully stopped attempts to introduce the levy in 2003, will surely mount considerable opposition to any new attempts to introduce an iPod tax now.

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VIRGIN RADIO TO LAUNCH IN FRANCE
Richard Branson's Virgin Group has just got the regulatory go ahead to launch a radio station in France. It will be called Virgin Radio France. Genius. The Virgin Group are also planning a music TV channel there too, all part of an expansion plan for the Virgin Group's media brands, which has seen the launch of Virgin Radio stations in Italy, India and Thailand. The original Virgin Radio here in the UK, of course, is no longer part of the Virgin Group, it being owned by SMG, though they plan to sell the station, officially by flotation, though rumour had it that Branson was considering making a bid for his old station ahead of any public share sale.

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GMG APPOINT NEW DIGITAL CHIEF
The Guardian's radio division, GMG Radio, has appointed Sarah Bellamy, formerly of Endemol, to be its first Director Of Digital Media, to oversee the development of the group's websites and all that gubbins. GMG has, of course, been recently expanding its Smooth Radio outfit, mainly by acquiring and rebranding the four Saga radio stations.

Confirming the appointment, GMG Radio chief John Myers said Bellamy's recruitment "underlined the importance we are placing on our digital and interactive future".

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DOHERTY REHAB UPDATE
Word has it that Pete Doherty's lawyer has said that reports that the Babyshambler checked in and, 24 hours later, checked out of rehab last week are untrue, and that Doherty wasn't due to go into his latest stint in rehab until yesterday. Don't know if he's walked out of that yet.

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MAY TO FINISH PHD
Brian May is to finish off the PhD he abandoned in 1971 when he joined Queen - and is planning a sojourn in the Canary Islands to study the stars for it. The guitarist will work at the Roque de Los Muchachos observatory on La Palma for a few days to study dust clouds, as part of his thesis for the qualification from Imperial College London. May, now 60, recently published a book on astronomy, co-written with Sky At Night presenter Patrick Moore.

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ENEMY AND TALENT SHOW'S POTTS IN WAR OF WORDS
Well, seems that seemingly mild mannered Paul Potts that won ITV's 'Britain's Got Talent' has a little fire in his belly, actually. As you may be aware, the operatic tenor released his debut album this week, knocking The Enemy off the top spot, which provoked their frontman Tom Clarke to declare the situation "a fucking disgrace. Nobody will know who this bloke is this time next year".

But Potts isn't taking it lying down, oh no. He told The Mirror: "The best is yet to come. My tour starts in January and I'll be singing for the rest of my life".

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