CMU Daily - on the inside Wednesday 31st October
yesterday's Daily - Daily archive

In today's CMU Daily:
- SonyBMG merger questioned in European Parliament
- Elvis top dead earner again
- Lawrence cleared of wrongdoing in DJ poll
- Rock not charged over Lee altercation
- Britney update
- Ammonia leak at The O2
- Lost Highway co-founder dies
- Prominent music publisher dies
- U2 hotel faces legal threats
- Kylie presented with MIT award
- More awards
- Pavarotti widow responds to media rumours
- Donald on the mend
- Wentz breaks foot
- Universal sign army band
- Krautrock super duo appear at Oxford festival
- Gallon Drunk tour
- Reel Big Fish tour
- Dirty disaster for Hallowe'en
- The Who launch subscription service
- Starbucks sign first development artist
- Large filesharer fines after raids in Italy
- Morpheus told to toughen up filters
- Two arrested over bootleg CD operation
- EMI sign up to Imeem
- Media giants pilot YouTube competitor
- Now play it on DVD
- This is how to play
- Sky offers to put some ITV shares in trust
- Radio Advertising Bureau restructures
- Skinner not following Radiohead's payment policy
- Morrissey support axed over onstage remark

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TOP BIT
Happy Hallowe'en everybody. When did Hallowe'en become such a big event in this country? Anyway, I have nothing Hallowe'en related to discuss in the Top Bit today, so instead let's dwell on the 'Happy' bit of the opening line there.

Good news this morning for the record industry in that last week was the biggest ever week for download sales ever - with a busy busy week on the single release schedule sending Leona Lewis, Take That and McFly fans onto the download platforms of their choice in their 10,000s. 1.7 million downloads were sold overall, which is a lot.

But all that digital madness didn't mean it was a quiet week in CD world. Record shops also had a busy week - with half of Leona Lewis' 218,000 sales being on CD, and two thirds of the McFly units being shifted being in CD form.

So a happy day in record sales all round.

I'd make some kind of insightful comment about all this if I could think of one. But if I did I'd probably manage to find the grey lining in this silver cloud so I won't. Instead here is what record industry types have to say.

BPI Chief Executive Geoff Taylor: "Just three years ago, sceptics forecast the death of the single but instead singles have gone from strength to strength. New digital music services have combined with existing music stores to give music fans unprecedented choice as to how they discover, sample and buy new music. British pop fans still love to buy physical singles, which speaks volumes for the quality of the music and the important role British retailers play in supporting home-grown talent".

Entertainment Retailers Association Chairman Paul Quirk: "Music retailers are committed to providing music fans with the music they want in whatever format they choose. Some music fans clearly want downloads, but given a choice between digital and physical, many music fans prefer the reliability and pride of ownership in a physical product. This week's chart is a reminder to all of us that we shouldn't write off physical formats just yet. After all, around 90% of recorded music sales is still on physical formats".

Official Charts Company MD Martin Talbot: "After growing steadily for five years, the digital market now appears truly maturing, with singles reaping the most significant benefit. And this continuing digital growth is combining with sterling sales of physical pop singles to make the singles chart more vibrant and exciting than it has been for years."

Groovy. And have a treat filled Hallowe'en.

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SONYBMG MERGER QUESTIONED IN EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT
Will the SonyBMG merger ever be completely resolved? The rights and wrongs of Sony Corp and Bertelsmann merging their recorded music operations back in 2004 was being discussed in European circles again this week after a member of the European Parliament asked if the decision by the European Commission to approve the merger for a second time earlier this month was "coherent" with its policy of supporting small and medium sized enterprises (those SMEs) across the cultural industries.

As you might remember, the European Commission was forced to reconsider the merger that created SonyBMG after pan-European indie labels body IMPALA successfully appealed the original Commission ruling, that gave the deal the go ahead, through the European Courts. The Court ruled that in their original investigation EC competition officials had not reviewed the ramifications of the merger in sufficient detail. Said officials subsequently re-reviewed the ramifications, this time in lots of detail, and at the start of this month again reached the decision that the SonyBMG merger was not bad news for the overall music business.

But in a written question in the European Parliament this week, French socialist Guy Bono questioned that second ruling. He's not entirely un-influential in this domain, because he sits on the EP's Culture Committee and is currently leading that Committee's report on the cultural industries.

On the SonyBMG merger, he says: "The European Parliament is exercising democratic control over European institutions by interrogating the Commission on the SonyBMG merger. Like many cultural sectors, music suffers from chronic concentration. Artists and cultural SMEs need to be supported as they play a key role in fostering creativity and innovation as well as growth and employment in Europe. We must put cultural diversity at the heart of EU policy".

The European Commission will now have to respond to Bono's question within three weeks, again justifying its support for the merger.

Bono's questioning of the latest approval was welcomed by IMPALA, who themselves have lodged a complaint over the Commission's decision with the European Ombudsman. IMPALA President, Patrick Zelnik, told reporters yesterday: "I am pleased to see that the European Parliament is interrogating the Commission on the SonyBMG merger on behalf of thousands of entrepreneurs and artists across Europe. We rely on the Parliament to ensure the Commission is held to answer. The question posed by Guy Bono clearly highlights many of the key concerns voiced by IMPALA in the aftermath of the decision".

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ELVIS TOP DEAD EARNER AGAIN
Elvis is once again the highest earning dead celebrity. Well, unless you count Jesus I suppose. But we don't. As previously reported, Presley last year lost his crown as the dead celeb who generates the most money after that multi-million dollar publishing deal, in which Courtney Love sold 25% of her stake in the Nirvana catalogue to Primary Wave, meant that Kurt Cobain went straight in at the top of the dead celeb rich list. But with no similar deal done this year, the Nirvana frontman doesn't even appear in the Forbes.com compiled list this time. No, the ten dead celebs earning the most cash are the more usual suspects this year, with the chart looking like this...

Elvis Presley - $49m
John Lennon - $44m
Charles M Schulz - $35m
George Harrison - $22m
Albert Einstein - $18m
Andy Warhol - $15m
Theodor Geisel (Dr Seuss) - $13m
Tupac Shakur - $9m
Marilyn Monroe - $7m
Steve McQueen - $6m

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LAWRENCE CLEARED OF WRONGDOING IN DJ POLL
Trancey American DJ Christopher Lawrence has been cleared of any wrongdoing in the voting for this year's DJ Mag Top 100 poll. As previously reported, Lawrence was among the DJs accused of cheating in the online voting that creates the DJ poll, with allegations a marketing guy he employed developed a computer script that entered multiple votes for him. But DJ Mag has said that, having investigated the matter, it is confident that Lawrence was not involved in any cheating. Moreover, while the marketing guy in question says he used only legit street team and viral marketing techniques to boost the vote, Lawrence has said he will no longer use that guy's services, so there is no doubt that next year his vote in the Poll is sound.

DJ Mag publisher James Robertson told CMU: "DJ Mag has been in lengthy discussions
with Christopher Lawrence following our discovery of voting irregularities. We fully accept his explanation that he, personally, had no involvement in any cheating. DJmag has always believed, regardless of 2007's anomalies, that Christopher is an excellent DJ who stands shoulder-to-shoulder with the world's best. We look forward to him resuming his rightful place amongst the leading performers in the Top 100 DJs 2008 poll".

In an interview with clubbing website Skrufff, Lawrence himself said: "Apparently there were multiple votes from single IP addresses. DJ Mag felt it was suspicious and contacted my team to see if we knew anything about it. We didn't, so we arranged for the marketing manager who was handling my Top 100 campaign to speak to them. He explained that he promotes the vote to street teams of 100,000- 150,000 people, mainly students. My team hired him because he had done campaigns like People's Choice Awards in the US as well as work for major record labels and movie studios. He said he had never had problems before, but clearly DJ Mag had a problem with his methods and the multiple votes were irregular, so we had to ask him to step aside".

On the discovery that he was being barred from this year's Poll, he continued: "My wife was worried and considered signing me up with a wedding DJ agency, but fortunately there has been no impact whatsoever. No cancelled bookings. Nothing. So I guess I can put my Kool & the Gang records away. No weddings any time soon".

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ROCK NOT CHARGED OVER LEE ALTERCATION
Kid Rock will not face charges in relation to that previously reported altercation with former Motley Crue drummer Tommy Lee at the MTV Awards in Las Vegas last month. After the altercation it was Lee who was asked to leave the awards event, but then it was Rock who was accused of "misdemeanour battery" by police. However, Clark County district attorney David Roger confirmed yesterday no further action would be taken, adding: "It's worth noting that Tommy Lee requested no prosecution relating to the incident, and there were no injuries to either person".

Rock does, however, still face a misdemeanour battery charge in relation to that previously reported waffle house incident.

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BRITNEY UPDATE
Mariah Carey has offered some advice to troubled poptresses Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan. Recalling her own difficult times, she says the pop stars need to get their spiritual guidance sorted. Speaking to Glamour magazine, Carey says: "I would say you need to be very centered, and spiritually know where you're at, all the time. Don't read the tabloids. Don't be obsessed with what people are writing or saying. Live your life for you. My lifestyle has changed since making it. It's not a financial struggle, but I'm still struggling in a lot of ways... It took me a long time to acknowledge that my personal feelings mattered". So that's nice.

Talking of Spears, here's your Britney latest.

Following that custody hearing between her and ex Kevin Federline last Friday, court papers published on entertainment website TMZ.com show that a report by a parenting coach was pretty damning of Spears' parenting skills.

Spears, who has only limited access to her children at the moment, was ordered to undergo parenting training at an earlier custody hearing. The coach, Lisa Hacker, reportedly told the courts last week that while Spears clearly "loved her children and the children are bonded to [her]", that her "choices are dependent more upon what she wants to do at any given time rather than what would be more enjoyable for the children". Hacker described the Spears household as ranging from "chaotic to almost somber with no communication at all", adding that Spears "rarely engaged with the children in either conversation or play". The coach concluded: "The problem is that unless Ms Spears realizes the consequences of her behavior and the impact that it has [on] her children, nothing is going to be successful".

None of which is looking good for Britney's attempts to get 50/50 custody of Sean Preston and Jayden James with the Fed. In a ruling yesterday Judge Scott Gordon gave Britney access to her children two afternoons and one night a week, but only if various conditions are met - including child proofing her home and undergoing twice a week drug tests. The singer's legal people are expected to try and increase that access and reduce the frequency of the drug tests, though given Hacker's report commentators don't hold out much hope for her to succeed.

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AMMONIA LEAK AT THE O2
This just in for fans of ammonia. Get down to The O2 arena in London, where free helpings of the gas are available for all. No, not really, though 29 workers at the former Millennium Dome were taken to hospital on Monday night after ammonia leaked out of the venue's refrigeration room (which exists because under the floor of the main arena is an ice rink). Emergency services were then called to investigate the leak, though they quickly deemed the building safe. Meanwhile the aforementioned 29 workers were all released from hospital the same night. So, not that exciting a story at all really.

A spokeman for The O2 said yesterday morning: "Last night there was a minor ammonia leak at The O2. The building was immediately evacuated and some members of staff were taken to hospital as a precautionary measure. They are all out of hospital now and The O2 is open today as normal".

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LOST HIGHWAY CO-FOUNDER DIES
US based artist manager and Lost Highway co-founder Frank Callari died last week at the age of 55. Among the artists he worked with during his career were the Mavericks, Ryan Adams, Junior Brown and Lucinda Williams.

Callari got into the music business in the mid-seventies after taking a second degree at New York University in music technology. Through his course and his involvement in college radio station WNYU he began to DJ and remix, before moving into management in the late eighties after meeting The Mavericks in Miami.

He later moved to Nashville where he met Luke Lewis of Universal's Mercury Nashville division. The two of them created Lost Highway Records in 2001, with Callari initially working as the imprint's chief A&R man. Some of the other artists managed by Callari, including Adams and Williams, subsequently signed to the label.

A funeral is planned in Nashville for tomorrow.

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PROMINENT MUSIC PUBLISHER DIES
Prominent US music publishing man Arnold Broido died last week after a fighting a series of illnesses.

Broido had a long career in music publishing, working for the likes of Boosey, Century and Mercury Music, but most prominently as President of Theodore Presser Co, the oldest continually-operated music publisher in North America. Broido was also very involved in the US's National Music Publishers Association and collecting society ASCAP, sitting on the board of both organisations.

Paying tribute, current NMPA chairman Irwin Robinson said this week: "Arnold's dedication to the NMPA, ASCAP and the principles of copyright will be sorely missed. With over 30 years of service to these and other industry associations, the value of his contributions will be difficult to replace. It was a great pleasure serving on these boards with Arnold both as a colleague and a friend".

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U2 HOTEL FACES LEGAL THREATS
Plans by U2 to build Ireland's first skyscraper could be scuppered after an Irish heritage organisation threatened to take legal action to stop the building going ahead - mainly because its construction will involve the demolition of several surrounding listed buildings.

The building project, which has been designed by Lord Foster, will incorporate and expand the Dublin hotel owned by U2's Bono and The Edge - The Clarence. The complex would also include all sorts of other things, with plans to put a recording studio on the top floor.

But Michael Smith, a representative of Irish heritage organisation An Taisce, has told Sky News that his organisation is against the building going ahead, and that he plans to launch legal action to stop it. U2 haven't commented on those threats.

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KYLIE PRESENTED WITH MIT AWARD
Hey, the Music Industry Trust Award got a lot of press coverage this week didn't it? I must remember to give a prize to Kylie Minogue if we ever stage a CMU awards - I don't remember there being this much coverage when Harvey Goldsmith was presented with the MIT honour last year.

Anyway, as previously reported, Ms Minogue was the guest of honour at this year's MIT event, with everyone present waxing lyrical about just how great Kylie really is. Needless to say, Ian Brown wasn't on the guest list. Among those providing messages for Kylie were sister Dannii, who said: "I am so proud of you. It's been an amazing journey and there's still so much more to come. It's been great to be there from the beginning". Kylie herself said: "It is an incredible honour to be the recipient of this year's Music Industry Trust's Award and I am truly thrilled to be recognised in this way".

In other Kylie news, word has it the singer will play the Tardis when she appears in the forthcoming Christmas special of Doctor Who. Yes, the Tardis. The blue box. As you are all surely aware, that Doctor chap has, in the past, referred to the Tardis as being more than just a machine - implying it is, in fact, a living organism. Certainly strange things happened when Billie Piper looked into to its 'core'.

Anyway, Kylie is due to play a character called Astrid in the special edition of the TV show and that, obviously, is an anagram of Tardis. Hence the thinking Kylie's character will be the living version of the time machine. A source told The Sun: "Viewers have often been told the Tardis is a living organism. But mystery has always surrounded what it is and what gives it its powers. The elements we know about Kylie's appearance all point towards her being the Tardis". It's an important development, obviously.

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MORE AWARDS
Talking of awards, which we were briefly, music website 3 Bar Fire is launching an end of year awards poll thingimy, and are asking you, or any music fans really, to vote. For details on how to, go to http://www.3barfire.com and click on the big awards banner.

More awards, and the UK Festival Awards will be presented at a bash at Koko in Camden next Tuesday, hosted by those Cuban Brothers and featuring a set from the wonderful Scouting For Girls. Sounds like my kind of night. For press info on that I'd contact jonny@radiatorpr.com

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PAVAROTTI WIDOW RESPONDS TO MEDIA RUMOURS
The widow of Luciano Pavarotti, Nicoletta Mantovani, last weekend criticised all that speculation in the Italian media regarding the state of the late opera star's financial affairs and the state of the couple's marriage in the months before his death - and also on rumours that she is in dispute with Pavarotti's older children by his first marriage over his final will.

She told Italy's RAI TV network that she felt she had to speak out for the sake of her late husband and their four year old daughter Alice, saying: "I'm here and can defend myself. But Luciano can't, and Alice is a four-year-old child. I owe it to the two people closest to me".

Denying all the rumours in the press, she continued: "Luciano was someone who took care of everything in every sense... meaning he left enough for everyone. Between me and his daughters, there is no disagreement. The press and television that is trying to incriminate that relationship is truly unseemly".

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DONALD ON THE MEND
Take That-er Howard Donald has now missed three shows on the group's European tour but is reportedly making a "speedy recovery" after suffering that previously reported chest injury ahead of a scheduled Vienna show last weekend. There has been no confirmation one way or the other whether he will make tonight's show in Hamburg, though some reckon he will.

Asked how soon Donald would be back on stage, a spokesman for the band told reporters: "The early indications are that it will be very soon. Mark, Gary and Jason all visited Howard after the show in Vienna on Friday night along with the dancers and musicians to help cheer him up. They're all looking forward to him joining them this week in Germany".

The former five piece have been carrying on with their European tour as a trio since Donald's injuries, and seem to be doing just fine. In fact two more minor injuries, and Gary Barlow could have another go at launching that solo career.

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WENTZ BREAKS FOOT
More pop injuries, and Fall Out Boy's Pete Wentz broke his foot while performing at the Voodoo Music Experience festival in New Orleans last weekend. He has written about the incident on his blog, as well as posting a picture of his swollen foot. He writes: "For anyone who was at the Voodoo Fest, you got to see me jump around. I ended up breaking the bone that connects my shin to my foot. No shows will be cancelled. I am currently trying to get a 'rocker' boot, so I can have a walking cast. Currently my foot is the size of a small car. If you see me at a show come sign my cast".

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UNIVERSAL SIGN ARMY BAND
An army piping band has signed a million pound deal with Universal. The Pipes And Drums of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards will release an album of traditional military tunes, classical numbers and modern pop songs and film themes via the major.

Pipe Major Derek Potter told reporters: "The pipes are an integral part of our regiment, and we take huge pride in our music. We've even had to impose a curfew on pipes practice, as the rehearsals disturb the non-pipers among us. We're very excited to be able to share our music with the world."

Dickon Stainer, MD of Universal Classics and Jazz, said: "This is a once in a lifetime album. It's an honour to work with our nation's soldiers - they're a credit to their country, and to the musical world, too".

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KRAUTROCK SUPER DUO APPEAR AT OXFORD FESTIVAL
One for fans of Krautrock. Michael Rother, formerly of Neu! and an early Kraftwerk member, plus Dieter Mobius of Cluster, will perform together at the Audioscope festival in Oxford next month.

The performance follows the recent reunion of the Krautrock supergroup Harmonia, the mid-seventies project involving Rother, Mobius and other Cluster member Hans-Joachim Roedelius.

Audioscope takes place at Oxford's Carling Academy on 10 Nov in aid of Shelter. The duo will also play at The Croft in Bristol on 12 Nov, while Harmonia will open the Worldtronics Festival in Berlin on 27 Nov.

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GALLON DRUNK TOUR
Rock, rock, rock (according to their MySpace) band Gallon Drunk have just released a new album - 'The Rotten Mile' - following the success of recent reissues of their earlier material. To plug all that the band will kick off a UK tour next week, dates as follows, press info from Fifth Avenue.

5 Nov: Norwich Arts Centre
6 Nov: Bristol Thekla
7 Nov: Doncaster The Leopard
8 Nov: Birmingham The Hare & Hounds
9 Nov: Nottingham Social
11 Nov: London Dingwalls

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REEL BIG FISH TOUR
Ah, Reel Big Fish are cool, and look, here's some tour dates just announced for next year. Better go buy a 2008 diary.

15 Feb: Newcastle Carling Academy 2
16 Feb: Peterbrough The Cresset
17 Feb: Manchester Academy 2
18 Feb: Liverpool Carling Academy 2
19 Feb: Leeds Metropolitan University
20 Feb: Norwich Waterfront
21 Feb: Birmingham Carling Academy 2
22 Feb: Sheffield The Corporation
23 Feb: Glasgow Carling Academy
24 Feb: Nottingham Rock City
25 Feb: Portsmouth Pyramids
26 Feb: Oxford Carling Academy
27 Feb: Exeter Great Hall
28 Feb: Yeovil Westlands
29 Feb: Bristol Bierkeller
1 Mar: Brighton Concorde 2
2 Mar: London Astoria 2

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DIRTY DISASTER FOR HALLOWE'EN
If you're lacking an invite to a Hallowe'en party tonight (and you're in London, I suppose) then may we suggest this rather fine looking gig over there at 229 next to Gt Portland Street - 80s Matchbox B-Line Disaster supported by The Dirty. Kicks off at 8pm. Tricks and treats guaranteed, I'm sure.

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THE WHO LAUNCH SUBSCRIPTION SERVICE
The Who have announced they are launching a new subscription service on their website http://www.thewho.com which will give fans willing to pay $50 a year access to new live recordings, special video streams, a message board, up front band news, a discount on merchandise plus, from next year, access to every The Who song ever recorded.

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STARBUCKS SIGN FIRST DEVELOPMENT ARTIST
The Starbucks record label, Hear Music, has signed its first development artist after all those high profile projects with Paul McCartney and Joni Mitchell. The signee (if there is such a word) is singer songwriter Hilary McRae, who will release her debut album via the coffee label next year. A first track will be available in the US via Starbucks Download Of The Day programme next month.

Startbucks Entertainment chief Ken Lombard says: "Hilary offers the rare mix of compelling songwriting with commercial hit potential. We are sure our customers will see the same wonderful potential we see in her".

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LARGE FILESHARER FINES AFTER RAIDS IN ITALY
Hurrah for cracking down on evil illegal file sharers. No? Whatever, four Italians who allegedly shared 120,000 illegal music files have been fined 12 million euros. Which sounds like an awful lot, though these guys were evil, let's not forget. The four, arrested in the town of Melegnano near Milan, also face criminal charges for making the illegal content available via the DCC++ P2P network. The fine is actually an "administrative fee" levied under Article 174 of the Italian Copyright Act.

Commenting on the raid, Enzo Mazza of Italian record industry trade body FIMI told reporters: "This operation sends a very clear signal that the Italian authorities will not tolerate the mass uploading of copyright infringing material onto the internet. People are wrong to think they are anonymous when they post material onto peer-to-peer networks. In fact they can be located and legal action brought against them. The administrative fines levied in this case show that abusing copyright on a grand scale can be an extremely costly business".

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MORPHEUS TOLD TO TOUGHEN UP FILTERS
More P2P nonsense, and a federal judge in the US has ordered that Morpheus introduce stronger filters to stop the file sharing tool being used to share illegal content.

The StreamCast owned Morpheus is one of the old school P2P clients which, unlike many of its early competitors, is still going despite the landmark US Supreme Court ruling in MGM V Grokster in which it was ruled the makers of P2P software could be liable for the copyright infringement they enable if they seem to support the use of their technology for the illegal distribution of content. StreamCast have endeavoured to avoid future liability for copyright infringement by introducing filters that in theory stop the software being used for illegal file sharing, but the music and movie companies have long argued the filters aren't good enough.

And US District Court Judge Stephen V Wilson agrees. He has said the Morpheus owners must use the latest most reliable filtering technology, saying that: "Streamcast will be required to use the most effective means available to reduce the infringing capabilities of the Morpheus System and Software, while preserving its noninfringing uses as feasible".

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TWO ARRESTED OVER BOOTLEG CD OPERATION
From online piracy to the real deal. Well, not eye-patch-wearing seafaring pirates. But those who trade in illegally produced CDs and DVDs, and police in County Durham have arrested two men after finding 30,000 bootlegged CDs, DVDs and computer games at their homes. Although the two men were reportedly already under suspicion by anti-piracy people at the BPI and FACT, they were arrested after being pulled over for driving an uninsured car. It was only when being interviewed about the vehicle and the lack of insurance that police became suspicious and instigated the raids that found all the bootlegged material. Formal charges will presumably follow.

Commenting on the arrests, BPI Anti-Piracy Manager David Wood told CMU: "Physical music piracy causes more than £165m in lost sales annually, which damages artists, local music stores and the record labels who invest in new music. More often than not counterfeiters are active in other areas of crime, and cross-agency cooperation is essential in bringing music thieves to justice. We thank the police for their work, and urge consumers not to fund crime - but to help fight it by avoiding the knock-offs".

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EMI SIGN UP TO IMEEM
Onto legal sources of online music, and music based social networking site Imeem has secured a licensing deal with EMI which means users of the service will be able to stream music by artists signed to the major via their pages.

EMI is the third major to sign up to Imeem. Warner Music were the first, after initially threatening legal action over Imeem's existing music services. SonyBMG followed shortly after.

Confirming their deal with Imeem, which will give them a cut of advertising revenues as well as other promotional and e-commerce benefits, EMI North America's SVP Digital, Lauren Berkowitz, told reporters: "We look forward to working with Imeem to develop innovative promotional opportunities and also to building new advertising and commerce revenue streams that will benefit EMI's artists".

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MEDIA GIANTS PILOT YOUTUBE COMPETITOR
More legit online content services, and NBC Universal and Fox have begun piloting their YouTube competitor, Hulu.com, which will provide online on demand access to a range of TV programmes owned by the two media giants and other partners. The aim is to compete with YouTube, which has been offering similar content, often illegitimately, for a while now. The service will be advertiser funded, and will enable users to post streaming content into their own blogs. It's actually quite exciting, assuming access to content isn't restricted like on other legit online on demand content services.

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NOW PLAY IT ON DVD
Now Play It, the music tutorial website launched earlier in the year, has announced it will release a DVD for the Christmas market.

The DVD will include video content made for Now Play It in which artists like KT Tunstall, Athlete, Graham Coxon, Kasabian, Stereophonics and Queen offer tips and advice to aspiring musicians by discussing the creative inspiration behind and the technical skills required to play some of their best known songs. The first DVD will be guitar music based, offering tutorials for the indie stars of the future. The DVD will be released via EMI on 26 Nov.

You can check out the site at http://www.nowplayit.com, press info from samb@nowplayit.com.

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THIS IS HOW TO PLAY
Also offering tips and advice for aspiring musicians is this other new online service, http://www.showmehowtoplay.com, which has been created by producer and sound engineer Mark Flannery.

This site also gives aspiring musicians access to their favourite artists playing and talking about their music and how to play it. A key part of this site is a 'multi-player' video tool which enables users to see a song being played from four angles. Musical scores are also provided, as is backing music that users can play along with.

The people behind SMHTP are currently looking for artists interested in promoting their new projects through the website while offering advice to new musicians. Artists or labels interested in getting involved should contact james@hudson-pr.com.

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SKY OFFERS TO PUT SOME ITV SHARES IN TRUST
BSkyB has proposed putting 3% of its stake in ITV into a trust in a bid to overcome concerns raised recently by the Competition Commission regarding its 17.9% stake in the third channel broadcaster.

As previously reported, the Commission, not to mention Sky rival Virgin Media, have expressed concern that Sky could use its share in ITV, which it bought last year, to influence decisions made by ITV management to BSkyB's commercial advantage. The Commission is currently considering remedies that would address its concerns, which could include forcing Sky to sell its ITV shares.

But the satellite broadcaster is hoping that putting 3% of its stake into trust, and thereby reducing its voting rights over the company, might be sufficient. A spokesman for Sky said this week that the company hoped to satisfy the Commission through "the simple and well-established structural mechanism of disposing of the voting rights which give rise to the provisional finding of material influence [by] placing them in a voting trust with a respected institutional trustee". The Commission are yet to respond to the proposal.

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RADIO ADVERTISING BUREAU RESTRUCTURES
The Radio Advertising Bureau is restructuring its team in a bid to ensure "greater customer focus". Its customers are advertisers, and under the new system each member of its team will be assigned a specific group of advertisers or agencies to deal with - enabling one to one relationships between individual agencies and the Bureau to develop.

Three new team members, or 'strategy consultants' have been appointed as part of the restructure - Natalie Scott formerly of CBS Outdoor, Mike Holt from Somethin' Else and Nicci Roffey from News International. They will join current employees Judith Spilsbury, Jo Coltman and Mark Williams who will also work as 'strategy consultants'.

Simon Redican, MD of the RAB, told reporters: "As the longest established media marketing body the RAB has always enjoyed great relationships with media agencies and advertisers and this will enable those relationships to go to the next stage. We want to ensure that agencies have that personal contact - all too often ignored these days".

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SKINNER NOT FOLLOWING RADIOHEAD'S PAYMENT POLICY
Mike Skinner isn't planning on following Radiohead's lead in letting fans decide what to pay for his wares. Commenting on merchandise he is releasing to support his online behind the scenes videoblog 'Beat Stevie', he says: "We will soon be selling 'Beat Stevie' T-shirts! I haven't gone all 1968 though, we won't be asking for people to decide what price they'd like to pay. They will be reassuringly expensive".

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MORRISSEY SUPPORT AXED OVER ONSTAGE REMARK
American singer Kristeen Young has been axed as support act on Morrissey's current US tour seemingly because of a throw away remark during one recent support slot in New York in which she said: "Morrissey gives good head, I mean, er, cunnilingus". It seems tour bosses felt Young was questioning Mozza's sexuality - a definite no no - so she's been told her services are no longer required.

In a message posted on her MySpace page, Young writes: "We have been asked to leave because of something I said on stage...unfortunately, the statement has been perceived as being profane (when, actually, one of the two words in question is a scientific term found in junior high, health class text books, and the other word, I feel most would agree, is lightweight slang) or defamatory. What I said was part of a thread of stage statements I made throughout our set. They were metaphorical and overstated to make an artistic point. The "offending" statement, in particular, was in no way a literal statement, and was very much in keeping with the tone of my writing in general".

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