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TODAY'S NEWS
Top Stories
Madonna gets Mercy
Downloads make music better, says Fleet Fox
In The Pop Courts
Pirate Bay judge not biased, court finds
Doherty pleads guilty to possession
Live Nation sued over monopoly allegations
Jammie P2P case goes back to court
NKOTB sue alleged impostors
Charts, Stats & Polls
Indie chart to be relaunched
Reunions & Splits
Eminem says D12 will reunite
Release News
Efterklang announce live album
Gigs N Tours News
Rinse FM announce 15th birthday party
Blur play comeback gig
Talks, Debates N Trade Fairs
MusicTank get all social (media)
Reviews
Single review: Basement Jaxx - Raindrops (Beggars/XL Recordings)
Brands N Stuff
New Alesha Dixon track released via chocolate
The Music Business
IFPI boss confident French government will still manage to make three-strikes happen
Birch is removed from BPI Council in piracy case dispute
Lib Dem lord to propose licensing changes to help grass roots music
Chart Of The Day
Chart update
And finally...
Usher is divorcing
Mos Def questions Jay-Z's greatness
Boyle misses Talent date
Advertising info
Consulting info
CMU Credits + Contacts
 
MONDAY 15TH JUNE


ROGUE ELEMENT
The Rogue Element is award-winning producer and DJ Ben Medcalf, who you might also know as one half of Disco Of Doom. A collaboration with Tom Real, that project is dedicated to all kinds of disgusting house, techno, and general electronic depravity. And the Rogue Element sound isn't that far removed from that description either. His debut album, 'Rogue Rock', was released in 2005 and the follow-up finally makes its way to stores on 29 Jun via Exceptional Records. It was preceded earlier this year by a new single in the form of 'Escalation'. We spoke to Ben to find out a bit more.
 
Q1 How did you start out making music?
I was first 'encouraged' to start playing piano by my parents when I was around seven and moved on to guitar and drums as well. Although I wasn't that enthusiastic originally, when it became cool to be good at music a few years later I considered it a good move! In my late teens I got into dance music and then around my early twenties I started playing around with making music on computers. As I'd got OK at a few different instruments without really mastering any of them it gave me a good rounded base for making whole tracks.

Q2 What inspired your latest single?
The idea came from reading the word in a newspaper somewhere and I liked the idea of a track that continuously built and rose in intensity, and the idea of ascension and escalation is also embedded in the central riff. I always like to have a concept or basis in mind before I start a track, especially an instrumental one, to give me focus in the writing process and so that the track is expressing an idea.

Q3 What process do you go through in creating an album?
A laborious one... I think it's difficult to have a master plan and to stick to it throughout the course of an album, especially if you are the sole artist, so generally I find the best thing to do is just to keep writing tracks, trying to vary things as much as you can - to keep things interesting for yourself as much as anything else - and then when you have more material than you're going to need, pick out the strongest selection.

Q4 Which artists influence your work?
Too many to mention individually - anything you hear and pick up on influences you as an artist in some way, even if on a very subtle level. I suppose I would have to say that ultimately the most influential artists on me have been the ones I heard when I was first taking an active interest in music, when I was starting to analyse it and understand how to construct it rather than being a passive listener - in which case I would say the dance supergroups of the 90s like Leftfield, Fluke, Underworld and obviously Chems/Prodigy etc. Also a lot of the rock music that I heard in my early teens like Rage Against The Machine, Soundgarden and Alice In Chains fundamentally changed my relationship with music. I remember hearing 'Bombtrack' when RATM's debut came out and something definitely clicked in me, it had an instantaneous effect that I haven't experienced since.

Q5 What would you say to someone experiencing your music for the first time?
Nothing - I would keep my mouth shut so they could listen to it properly!

Q6 What are your ambitions for your latest album, and for the future?
This upcoming album is shaping up to be much more DJ/club orientated than initially intended; I definitely had planned to take things more in a live direction after 'Rogue Rock' but for a variety of reasons that hasn't panned out. I am definitely interested in slowly converting the TRE project into a more live-oriented one over the next few months - obviously I still intend to be DJing as well though!

MORE>> www.myspace.com/therogueelement

 
DON'T WAIT ANIMATE
Another addition to the tirelessly endless new genre list, 'strumstep' is plucked straight from the mind of a "quite inebriated" Don't Wait Animate fan to describe the London five piece's sound, which merges the pummeling bass and beats of dubstep with new wave style guitars - all without stepping into any Hadouken!-styled minefield. 'Atlas Moans', in fact, sounds closer to Bloc Party with its jerky rhythms and vocals slamming from left to right, while '6174' is a well formed Devo-style cut, though with a darker, gloomier pulse led by their dubstep influences. Playing exclusively in the South East for the near future, it seems, there are already 2 EPs up for sale online. Take a listen at the MySpace link below.

www.myspace.com/dontwaitanimate



 

 

 

MADONNA GETS MERCY
As you no doubt already know, Madonna has successfully appealed that previously reported court ruling that stopped her from adopting a second Malawian child.

As previously reported, in April a Malawian court ruled that, despite the fact the singer managed to adopt David Banda out of the country in 2006, she couldn't adopt a second child because she hadn't fulfilled all the requirements of the nation's adoption laws, in particular with regards residency in Malawi. But on Friday an appeal court ruled that the singer's charity work in the country was a sufficient alternative to actual residency in the country in order for the adoption to be approved. As a result, Chifundo "Mercy" James will now join Madonna and Banda in the US.

Most commentators in Malawai seemed to welcome the appeal court ruling, though the man who is claiming paternity of the girl, despite having never met her, says he is still opposed to the adoption. James Kambewa told reporters: "I wrote to the court challenging the adoption because I am ready and willing to take care of my child. How can they continue referring to her as an orphan when I told them I am there for her? I won't give up the fight".

Kambewa is not backed by the rest of Chifundo's family. Her uncle, Peter Baneti, told reporters: "We, as a family, have been anxiously awaiting this ruling - we are very happy for Chifundo". On Kambewa's claims, Baneti said the girl's alleged father could "jump into Lake Malawi" for all he cared, adding: "We don't know this James boy. He was not there when my sister was pregnant; he didn't attend her funeral. How can he just come out to claim the baby? Does he want to steal my niece?"

Madonna wasn't present for the hearing, but her lawyer told reporters that he had called her with the good news, adding: "My client was ecstatic; although it was still early in the States she was up to wait for the ruling".

Confirming the ecstasy, Madonna later said in a statement: "I am extremely grateful for the Supreme Court's ruling on my application to adopt Mercy James. I am ecstatic... my family and I look forward to sharing our lives with her".

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DOWNLOADS MAKE MUSIC BETTER, SAYS FLEET FOX
Fleet Foxes frontman Robin Pecknold has said that illegal downloading, far from having a negative impact on the music industry, actually makes music better, because it allows musicians to be influenced and inspired by a wider range of other artists. I think he's assuming all musicians of his generation spent a lot of their teenage years downloading copious amounts of free music via P2P - for inspiration and stuff.

Pecknold told the BBC: "The more music a musicians can hear, that will only make music richer as an art form. I think we're seeing that now, with tons of new bands that are amazing, and are doing way better music now than was being made pre-Napster. That was how I discovered almost everything when I was a teenager - my dad brought home a modem. That was how I was exposed to almost all of the music that I love to this day, and still that's the easiest way to find really obscure stuff. I've discovered so much music through that medium. That will be true of any artist my age, absolutely".

He added that anyone who complains about people obtaining their music illegally is just greedy: "I've downloaded hundreds and hundreds of records - why would I care if somebody downloads ours? That's such a petty thing to care about. I mean, how much money does one person need? I think it's disgusting when people complain about that, personally".

I bet all you people who paid to download 'Fleet Foxes' are feeling really silly now.

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PIRATE BAY JUDGE NOT BIASED, COURT FINDS
The Pirate Bay Four's attempt to have their high profile copyright infringement conviction set aside, on the basis judge Tomas Norstrom was biased, has failed.

As previously reported, Swedish media revealed back in April, just a few days after The Pirate Bay Four were given a year in jail and ordered to pay massive damages for their role in enabling mass copyright infringement via their search engine service, that Judge Tomas Norström was a member of The Swedish Association For Copyright and the Swedish Association For The Protection Of Industrial Property. One of which also counts various lawyers associated with the prosecution as members.

The implication was that Norstrom's association with pro-copyright bodies meant he was biased towards the record and film companies in the court case. Lawyers representing the Pirate Bay founders and funder, who had already announced their intent to appeal Norstrom's ruling, hoped to use the bias claims to have the original trial and judgement set aside.

But now a Swedish court which has been considering the allegations against Norström has ruled that there was no bias in his judgement. They say that while the judge was indeed a member of two intellectual property organisations, he had in fact only joined them in order to stay abreast of matters relating to the trial, meaning his membership meant he was better informed rather than biased. Presumably that means Norstrom also signed up to The Pirate Bay and downloaded a few albums, you'd need to wouldn't you, to understand the case and everything.

Presumably The Pirate Bay Four will now proceed with their more conventional appeal against their convictions. Certainly none of them have started any jail time or paid any damages yet.

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DOHERTY PLEADS GUILTY TO POSSESSION
Pete Doherty pleaded guilty to charges of heroin possession and driving without a licence or insurance, at Stroud Magistrates Court on Friday, following his previously reported arrest in Gloucester after he played a solo gig in the town last week. The singer was released on £50,000 bail and given a curfew order.

His lawyer, Peter Radcliff, told the court: "My client would firstly like to express his disappointment in himself and disappointment that he has let his fans down. He has been out of trouble for over a year and a break of 14 months represents a real achievement for someone with a drug dependency. This offence represents an aberration. There has been a very real and very significant change in his behaviour".

Doherty will appear in court again on 11 Aug.

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LIVE NATION SUED OVER MONOPOLY ALLEGATIONS
Yet another development in the ongoing efforts of Live Nation and Ticketmaster to merge. Now an independent American concert promoter has launched legal proceedings against the former alleging the live music conglom has abused its near monopoly in the live music market in a bid to make it impossible for him to compete.

The timing of Seth Hurwitz's litigation is surely no coincidence - the last thing Live Nation will want as its merger proposals are investigated by US competition officials is a lawsuit claiming the firm is already too dominant in the live music sector without even merging with the world's biggest ticketing agency and one of the US's most powerful artist management companies.

Hurwitz owns two Maryland-based live music firms, It's My Party and It's My Amphitheatre, or IMP and IMA, and alleges that Live Nation has abused its market dominance to force artists to only appear at venues they manage or own. That, Hurwitz argues, is anti-competitive behaviour.

He claims Live Nation's "abuse of its monopoly power" has forced artists who had previously worked with him, and performed at venues he operates, to cut ties with his companies. Or, I think, to insist tours he promotes for them visit only Live Nation owned facilities, which puts him in a weak position when negotiating venue hire rates with the live music major.

Confirming his lawsuit, Hurwitz told reporters: "At this point I am going to let the suit, which we have been preparing for more than a year, speak for itself. It says it all and I would prefer people read it and fully understand the claims we are making. But, basically, we contend that the essence of the tour deal is to use monopoly power to force artists to play only for Live Nation venues and where they wouldn't otherwise, to the detriment of concertgoers, independent promoters and the artists".

He added: "There is a huge difference between enticing artists to play your venues by doing a better job, versus forcing them to play your venues by controlling the market and the acts. Live Nation has attempted to portray this as evolution into a better business model, but we contend that it is intended to prevent fair legitimate competition, which is illegal. All I want is the opportunity to compete fairly, and we are asking the court to give us that opportunity".

As previously reported, the Live Nation/Ticketmaster merger is to be investigated by UK competition officials after a complaint submitted by one of Ticketmaster's European rivals to the Office Of Fair Trading.

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JAMMIE P2P CASE GOES BACK TO COURT
While we all await what could be the final chapter of the Recording Industry Association Of America's futile bid to combat piracy by suing its customers - the previously reported Tenenbaum case - a previous chapter is set to be revived this week. One of the record industry trade body's toughest adversaries during the whole self-harming litigation spree is set to fight the P2P infringement charges against her for a second time.

Mum of two Jammie Thomas got a lot of often positive press coverage as one of the few people accused of P2P-based copyright infringement by the RIAA to chose to defend herself rather than settle out of court. Her case was the only RIAA lawsuit, to date, to go before a jury in a US court, and they found her guilty of copyright infringement in October 2007. She was ordered to pay $222,000 in damages.

However, the jury's decision was based on judicial advice that simply making music available via a P2P client like Kazaa amounted to infringement in itself. This has proved to be a sticking point in most of the albeit few RIAA P2P lawsuits that have gone to court.

Often the only evidence the record companies have against those they sue is that the defendant made tracks available to others via a P2P network by dragging music files into the relevant 'P2P folder' on their PC. There is no actual evidence that anyone else on the P2P network actually went into that folder and downloaded any of the files. The legal question is: does that matter? Does a copy of the unlicensed track have to actually have been made by another web user for the defendant in the lawsuit to be guilty of infringement? And if so, what happens in the label has no evidence that that happened?

In the original Thomas case the judge told the jury that simply putting tracks into a P2P folder was enough to find a defendant guilty of infringement - so if they believed Thomas had transferred music files into a Kazaa folder, as the RIAA claimed, then they should find her guilty, even though the record industry had not shown that any illegal copies were actually made.

However, judges in subsequent similar US cases have been of a different opinion, leading to the judge from the Jammie case to question his instructions to the original jury and order a retrial.

Jammie has a new lawyer this time, Kiwi Camara, who seems not only confident his client will win, but hopes to give the RIAA a bloody nose over its whole sue-the-fans campaign in the process. According to the Associated Press, he told reporters last week: "What you'll see in Minneapolis will be the first battle in what we think will be a successful campaign against the recording industry".

A spokesman for the RIAA, meanwhile, told reporters they expect to win this case second time round too. Mr RIAA: "The facts in evidence have not changed in this case. We're confident that a new jury will see it no differently from the first time around".

As previously reported, the RIAA has now dropped its policy of suing the world into oblivion in a bid to stop P2P file-sharing, having basically admitted thousands of costly lawsuits have done nothing to stop the growth of online piracy. Like their European counterparts they are now looking to the ISPs to take on a more proactive role in combating illegal file-sharing. Though, also like their European counterparts, they haven't had much success in persuading the ISPs that's something they might want to do.

Although P2P lawsuits are no longer on the RIAA's agenda, they plan to see any outstanding litigation through to conclusion. Which seems mad to me - are any potential damages really worth the near certain PR damage to the record industry that the aforementioned Tenenbaum case and Jammie V.2 are going to result in?

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NKOTB SUE ALLEGED IMPOSTORS
Those New Kids On The Block are suing a production company who, they allege, were planning on creating a fake boyband that would use their name and pass off new recordings as theirs, or something like that. Nineties popsters NKOTB, who reformed last year, of course, are suing SM Productions over various passing off, trademark and copyright infringement claims. It's not clear how far the defendants got in their bid to make and/or sell imitation New Kids recordings or products, though the lawsuit reportedly claims the company tried to register trademarks and copyrights that belong to the group.

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INDIE CHART TO BE RELAUNCHED
They're relaunching the independent music chart, which is exciting, I reckon. The relaunch will see the way the chart is compiled changed.

Whether a record id allowed to appear in the indie chart has traditionally been based on distribution criteria rather than the status of the actual label which released it. So any record distributed by an independent distributor is eligible, any distributed by a major label owned distributor is not. Which was all well and good when the majors had their own distribution divisions, and indie labels always used a Pinnacle or Cargo or PIAS to distribute their records and CDs, but less so now that some of the majors outsource their distribution to what are technically speaking independent companies, and some indies use the distribution services of the majors.

So, instead of all that, moving forward, whether or not records can appear in the independent chart will be based on label rather than distributor, using the Association Of Independent Music's definition of whether or not a label is indie - that it is not more than 50% owned by a major music company.

It's hoped the revamp will give the indie label chart a new lease of life. There will also be a new 'indie breakers' chart, which will only feature indie label artists who have not previously appeared in the main singles or album chart, providing a platform for new talent.

Confirming the new look independent music chart, Official Charts Company boss Martin Talbot told CMU: "The independent record sector has changed beyond recognition since these charts were initially borne out of the punk/new wave surge of the late Seventies and early Eighties. This new set of rules is designed to address those changes".

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EMINEM SAYS D12 WILL REUNITE
Eminem has said that hip hop group D12 will be back together in the near future. The rap star was speaking about the loss of his friend and D12 colleague Proof back in 2006 when the subject came up.

In a bit of a ramble, he told Rap City: "Right now, my music would probably be the same if Proof was still alive. I think this is what Proof always wanted, was for me to go crazy again. My life would be different because I would still have him. Me and the guys, we got a bond, it's special. It's like, as far as the future of D12, we're gonna be back in the studio soon".

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EFTERKLANG ANNOUNCE LIVE ALBUM
CMU favourites Efterklang performed their 2007 album 'Parades' with the Danish national chamber orchestra in their hometown of Copenhagen last September, which we've always imagined was a very exciting event. Well now we're going to find out, because the band have announced that they are releasing a CD/DVD set featuring the performance.

Entitled 'Performaing Parades', the album will be released on 19 Oct. And to celebrate, the band will be, er, performing 'Parades' at the Barbican in London on 28 Oct.

The band's Casper Clausen told CMU: "In many ways this release marks the pinnacle of what we have been trying to achieve with our two albums, 'Tripper' and 'Parades'. It also closes a chapter as we work on taking our music in a new direction".

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RINSE FM ANNOUNCE 15TH BIRTHDAY PARTY
Rinse FM and dubstep and grime night FWD>> will be taking over Matter at the O2 Dome to celebrate the former's 15th birthday on 31 Jul. And they've got quite a line-up to come and soundtrack the party. Just take a look at this: Skream vs Benga, Ms Dynamite, Kode9, Geeneus, Magnetic Man, Caspa, Boy Better Know feat Skepta, JME, Frisco & Maximum (Live), Crazy Cousinz, Marcus Nasty, N-Type v Youngsta, Newham Generals (Live), Katy B (Live), Chef, Spiro vs Silencer vs Vectra, Zinc, Circle, and Slimzee. Awesome.

Tickets cost £15 in advance and are available from Ticketweb.

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BLUR PLAY COMEBACK GIG
Blur played the first of those previously reported intimate live dates on Saturday night in preparation for their bigger dates later this summer. The band's original line up played a set at the East Anglian Railway Museum, near Colchester, where the group performed their first ever gig twenty years ago. "It's a bit different to last time we played here," Damon Albarn told his audience, who consisted mainly of friends and family, and included producer Stephen Street.

According to reports, the band played all the old favourites, including 'Girls and Boys', 'Tracy Jacks', 'Coffee And TV', 'Country House', 'Popscene' and 'To The End'. During the course of the gig, Albarn added: "Thanks for coming to see us play. I don't know if it's been 10 years, but 10 years is an easy number!"

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MUSICTANK GET ALL SOCIAL (MEDIA)
The next MusicTank Think Tank event will take place on Tuesday 7 Jul at the PRS For Music HQ in London and will be very sociable. In a media sense you understand. Yes, the uses of social media for music rights holders will be the topic for discussion, with various experts giving their take on the ever changing world of social networking and the like, and how artists and rights owners can utilise the online phenomenon.

Among those to present will be folktronica type James Yuill and his manager Amul Batra, who will provide an update of the former's career since he received one-to-one coaching from Nettwerk Music chief Terry McBride on how to connect with fans through the net at another MusicTank event last year.

For more info go to www.musictank.co.uk/events

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SINGLE REVIEW: Basement Jaxx - Raindrops (Beggars/XL Recordings)
Basement Jaxx are literally kicking off the summer, almost single-handedly. Not only are they headlining a host of huge festivals but they've announced the arrival of all things sunny and joyous with 'Raindrops'. The first single from their forthcoming album, 'Scars', 'Raindrops' is an instantly immortal Basement Jaxx track. It's catchy, upbeat, and manages to perfectly fuse pop and dance without seeming even remotely mainstream. The single artwork matches the atmosphere and feel of the entire song; a celebration of the cleansing notion and ultimate power of raindrops. An incredible return to form for Basement Jaxx who have issued a warning to the many summer-anthem impostors that will be making the rounds this (hopefully) sunny season. If 'Raindrops' is anything to go by, Jaxx's new album will own this summer. GM
Release Date: 22 Jun
Press Contact: XL IH [all]

Buy from iTunes
Buy from Amazon

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NEW ALESHA DIXON TRACK RELEASED VIA CHOCOLATE
Fans of Alesha Dixon had better like their chocolate in triangles if they want to enjoy her new song 'Before The Sun Goes Down'. Because the new track will only be available to download via special codes on the inside of Toblerone wrappers. The song will be online from next month.

The chocolatey download is part of one of those brand partnerships, between Ms Dixon and the confectionery brand, owned by Kraft Foods. There will also be chances to win VIP tickets to see Dixon perform tracks of her now platinum selling album 'The Alesha Show', and some meet and greet nonsense.

Confirming the Dixon/Toblerone tie up, Warner Music's Chief Of Chocolate Paul Craig told reporters: "This deal is further evidence of our ability to partner with artists across all aspects of their careers, taking a more co-ordinated holistic view that helps develop an on-going dialogue with fans and long-term success".

Toblerone Marketing Manager Jane Furze (now, there's a job) added: "This promotion gives customers the chance to get their hands on a top track before anyone else. We're delighted to have Alesha on board - she's a great personality and the perfect fit with the brand".

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IFPI BOSS CONFIDENT FRENCH GOVERNMENT WILL STILL MANAGE TO MAKE THREE-STRIKES HAPPEN
The boss of globally focused record label trade body the International Federation Of The Phonographic Industry reckons that the French government will find away to get around last week's Constitutional Council ruling on its proposals for a three-strike system to combat online piracy.

As previously reported, the French government wants to introduce a system whereby web users who continue to access or share unlicensed content online, after receiving two warnings that what they are doing infringes copyrights, would have their net connections cut off. A special government agency would administer the system, and have the right to order ISPs to disconnect repeat offenders.

Although the country's parliament passed the three-strike system into law (on second hearing), the country's supreme judicial body, the aforementioned Council, last week ruled it was unconstitutional to give a government agency the power to cut off copyright infringers. Only a court, the Council argued, should be allowed to order such a penalty. Moves are also afoot at a European level to pass a similar directive that would insist that a paid up user's internet connection could only be cut off if a court says so - ie not as a matter of course at the insistence of a non-judicial agency.

Speaking to Billboard, IFPI boss John Kennedy says the French government are already looking into the Council's ruling, and expect to find a way around it to allow the three-strike system to become law - most likely having a special court that sits on a regular basis where a judge basically rubber stamps disconnection orders issued by the aforementioned government body.

Kennedy: "We believe there will be a solution to this. The French government is looking to appoint a special judge to process three-strikes cases, as that would satisfy the requirements of the Constitutional Council. It will take some time, but there is still the determination on the part of the French government to make sure that this happens".

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BIRCH IS REMOVED FROM BPI COUNCIL IN PIRACY CASE DISPUTE
The MD of indie record company Revolver Records has been forced off the ruling Council of record label trade body the BPI after a dispute over the organisation's role in a piracy court case.

BPI Council members voted to exclude Paul Birch, who has been on the Council for eighteen years, after he gave testimony in favour of a company accused by the trade body of assisting in the distribution of pirated CDs from the Czech Republic in the UK.

Birch says he had concerns about the BPI Anti-Piracy Unit's case against Hertfordshire-based SFH, and felt a deal had been done with the real pirates in order to get evidence against SFH owner Farhat Nissa who, he felt, was not the real criminal. He adds that he wasn't the only BPI member who was of this opinion, and even one other Council member backed SFH in the case.

In a long statement issued on Friday, Birch confirmed he had been removed from the BPI Council saying: "It's clear the BPI are upset with my giving testimony in a criminal case concerning SFH last year". On his decision to do so, he continued: "For me this was a matter of conscience, I believed there were inaccuracies in the BPI case that needed to be set straight. Several issues arose in the testimony given by [BPI Anti-Piracy Unit] officers that were misleading. The courts judgement sent the manufacturing agent to prison, but let off two of the pirates".

He added: "An industry that relies upon the law but cannot establish justice in its dealings has lost sight of its moral compass. BPI has lost sight of its objectives to represent its members, it's long been thought of as a club for the majors. Regrettably that has become a reality".

According to Music Week, Nissa and two of her associates, including her husband, were jailed for their role in the distribution of the Eastern European bootleg CDs. Their sentences were subsequently reduced on appeal, though the convictions stand.

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LIB DEM LORD TO PROPOSE LICENSING CHANGES TO HELP GRASS ROOTS MUSIC
The Liberal Democrats' Culture, Media And Sport Spokesperson, because they do have such a thing apparently, is expected to announce new proposals today to "save live music in England and Wales". The proposals will be in response to the government's much previously reported Licensing Act of 2003 which, Lib Dem Lord Clement-Jones (and others) reckons, has hindered the grass roots live music community. We'll let you know what he proposes tomorrow. You lucky people.

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CHART UPDATE
Hey! We have a new number one single this week. It's that Pixie Lott, who's gone straight to the top with her debut single, 'Mama Do'. Last week's number one, 'Boom Pow Pow' by The Black Eyed Peas, shifts down to two, and 'Bonkers' by Dizzie Rascal is down at number four. Meanwhile, Daniel Merriweather holds fast at number five, a position he's held for so long now that we really need to start wondering if he's got stuck there. Maybe one of you could go and give him a little nudge.

Outside the top 10, there's a wall of buzzy female-fronted pop building up, with La Roux at 12 and Little Boots at 15 sandwiching Lady GaGa, who has managed to grab number 13 and 14. I'd recommend taking out the filling and just eating the bread - even a double helping of Lady GaGa isn't particularly filling. Whatever that means.

Also making dents in the singles chart this week with new entries are Linkin Park, Jordin Sparks, Airi L, and Kasabian, the latter of whom, as well as having a single in the top ten, have also managed to creep in at 32.

Speaking of Kasabian, their new album, 'West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum', has crazily gone straight in a number one. In fact, the album chart top ten is a bit of a new entry-fest this week. As well as Kasabian at the top, there's also Black Eyed Peas at three, Little Boots at five, Bruce Springsteen & The E Street band with their new greatest hits compilation at seven, and Placebo at eight.

Other new entries outside the top ten this week are all best ofs, from Cat Stevens, Mike Oldfield, Meat Loaf, Don Henley and The Faces, plus Chickenfoot, whose album is sort of a best of in that it features Van Halen's Sammy Hagar and Michael Anthony, guitarist Joe Satriani and Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith. Well, it is if you consider the phrase 'best of' to be synonymous with 'supergroup'. Which for the purposes of this paragraph we will.

The charts are compiled shortly after Sunday lunch by The Official Charts Company.

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USHER IS DIVORCING
It doesn't seem that long since we reported that they were getting married. But Usher and his wife Tameka Foster are reportedly divorcing after about two years of marriage, one of which has seen them living apart. The couple have two children, Raymond V, who is eighteen months old, and Naviyd Ely, who is six months old. A source said: "They haven't lived together for nearly a year after almost two years of marriage. Usher's primary concern is for his children. He is a great father and just wants to do what is right for them".

All this said, the court in Atlanta where it's claimed the divorce was filed, says that no petition has been received. Fulton County Superior Court Clerk Tracey Vaughn told reporters: "No petition has been filed at this time. We've heard the rumors too but there's nothing in the system".

So, who knows? The singer publicly protested that he loved his wife back in 2008, and that all was fine, despite the rumours. But when Tameka suffered a cardiac arrest earlier this year (which, as previously reported, occurred whilst she was undergoing cosmetic surgery in Brazil), it was claimed Usher had no idea she was there, and wasn't aware that she was planning such a procedure, which doesn't make that relationship sound too healthy. Time will tell, I expect...

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MOS DEF QUESTIONS JAY-Z'S GREATNESS
Mos Def has said that he doesn't think Jay-Z is as great as everyone thinks he is.

Well, his beef seems to be that someone - possibly Jay himself - is trying to trademark the line 'Greatest Rapper Alive', seemingly for exclusive use with Mr Z's name. That, Mos Def says, is a 'trade claim', and just not justified. I can't actually find any evidence of Jay using this phrase in reference to himself, but whatever.

Here's what Mos Def said, in our second hip hop ramble of the day: "My response was to me seeing an article where [Jay-Z] was referred to, with trademarks following it, as the 'Greatest Rapper Alive'. Now that don't have nothin' to do with me, but if you saying that, that's a trade claim...If you saying that, you saying you better than Slick Rick, who's still very alive and well? You saying you better than Rakim? You saying you better than Black Thought? People making that claim have never been in a position to defend that in an open forum. I'm not talking about making a diss record or trying to go in on somebody's girl...When people start coming out and making claims they're gonna have to defend, like, who have you had to defend them against? It's certainly been with people not on your level".

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BOYLE MISSES TALENT DATE
Following much speculation about whether she would appear or not, Susan Boyle made successful appearances at the first two 'Britain's Got Talent' live shows this weekend, but, like God himself, was advised to rest on Sunday and so cancelled her appearance at two shows in Manchester, a matinee and an evening gig.

Though if reports are true about the showtune warbler's new earning power, presumably Boyle rested easily. According to the News Of The World, the singer has been booked to complete a number of corporate gigs this summer at a rate of £8k per minute. A source told the tabloid: "She's the biggest star to have come out of Britain's Got Talent, so her price to sing reflects that".

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