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TUESDAY 20 DECEMBER 2011
ARTISTS OF THE YEAR 2011: PJ HARVEY
It was apparent from the first listen of PJ Harvey's eighth album, 'Let England Shake', that it was going to be one of the year's best, and one that would dominate end of year lists. Released in February, it has since swept up numerous accolades, including Harvey's second Mercury Prize win, recognised for its brilliant songwriting and the sheer amount of work that went into making it more>>
BEST OF APPROVED: BLEEDING HEART NARRATIVE
Throughout December, we will be revisiting some of our favourite artists to have appeared in the CMU Approved column this year. One of the very first artists we featured in the Approved column in 2011, classical-influenced pop experimentalists Bleeding Heart Narrative, cemented their place in our affections a few weeks earlier with a beautiful performance at Union Chapel more>>
TOP STORIES
- Universal has no special takedown privileges says YouTube
IN THE POP COURTS
- State of Indiana settles with stage collapse victims
- Spanish court says no infringement case against P2P software maker
- Kan-Z lawyers respond to Johnson lawsuit
- Michael Jackson estate executors renegotiate fees
AWARDS & CONTESTS
- Blur to perform at 2012 BRITs
- Michael Eavis to receive lifetime achievement award
- Russell Simmons named PETA's person of the year
CHARTS, STATS & POLLS
- Little Mix top chart with second worst performing X winner single
ARTIST DEALS
- Cher Lloyd signs Epic deal with LA Reid
RELEASE NEWS
- Azealia Banks blogs new track
GIGS & TOURS NEWS
- Giana Factory to headline first 2012 Ja Ja Ja showcase
- Horrors duo announce one-off collaboration
- King Charles announces tour
FESTIVAL NEWS
- Festival line-up update
BRANDS & STUFF
- Justin Bieber sells scent as solution to "lame holiday swag"
THE MUSIC BUSINESS
- Irish three-strikes halted, but web-blocking now on the agenda
THE DIGITAL BUSINESS
- MySpace launches new music player
THE MEDIA BUSINESS
- Welsh artists call off strike, for now
AND FINALLY...
- Tupac's former manager comments on sex tape
EVENTIM, AFFILIATE MANAGER
Eventim UK is part of CTS Eventim AG, the leading ticketing company in Europe with operations in 20 countries selling more than 100 million tickets to over 140,000 rock & pop, sports, classical music and other events every year.

We are looking for an Affiliate Manager to join our team in London and run our in-house affiliate programme. You should be capable of establishing and developing strong partnerships within the live entertainment industry and across brands that drive traffic to the websites of Eventim and our partners, help secure presales, deliver promotions and generate ticket sales.

A passion for live entertainment is essential.

To apply please send a cover letter including salary expectations together with your CV to: jobs@eventim.co.uk. Closing date: 13 January 2012
   
STUDIO MANAGER/GENERAL ASSISTANT
Enthusiastic individual required to manage a small private recording studio and generally assist a team of established dance music producers.

Must be organised and willing to deal with the day to day running of a recording studio, web/social media savvy, be familiar with Pro-Tools, Logic, Ableton etc. and have a genuine interest in cutting edge dance music of all genres.

Location: London (Kings Cross area)

Looking to interview pre-Christmas for possible mid-January start. Please e-mail CV to studiojob2012@gmail.com
 
   
KILIMANJARO LIVE, TICKETING MANAGER
Kilimanjaro Live are promoters of live music and other events including Sonisphere and Wakestock festivals and are looking for a Ticketing Manager to join our team. We work on hundreds of events a year with a wide variety of artists and at capacities from small rooms to arenas to stadiums and green field sites so ideally you would have a good level of experience in the ticketing requirements of some if not all of these event types.

An interest in music and willingness to work within a pressured environment as part of a team is essential. The role is based in London but involves some travel, particularly in festival season.

Please send your CV and a covering note to info@kililive.com

UNIVERSAL HAS NO SPECIAL TAKEDOWN PRIVILEGES SAYS YOUTUBE
The war of words is ongoing over the 'Mega Song' and its initial removal from YouTube, though the sparring this week is between Universal Music and YouTube itself, with MegaUpload watching from the sidelines for the time being.

As previously reported, the 'Mega Song' is a promotional video posted by MegaUpload ten days ago featuring various well known music types singing about how great the file-transfer platform is for moving large files around the internet. The appearance of the likes of Will.i.am and Kanye West in the video was a surprising, because the major record companies to which said artists are signed has accused MegaUpload of providing a platform for a new kind of illegal file-sharing.

Universal Music requested that YouTube remove the video, which the video sharing website promptly did, citing a copyright claim from the music major. But MegaUpload quickly pointed out that it owned the copyright in the 'Mega Song', and therefore Universal had misused the content takedown system set out in US copyright law, which isn't allowed under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. MegaUpload then sued Universal over the allegations seeking damages.

Initially there was talk of Universal acting on behalf of its artists, who said they hadn't given MegaUpload permission to use their contributions in this way. But the Mega company responded by saying that one such cited Universal artist didn't actually appear in the final edit of the 'Mega Song', while it had watertight signed agreements from all the other artists involved.

Universal then officially responded to MegaUpload's lawsuit by claiming that it had requested the 'Mega Song' be removed from YouTube for reasons other than copyright infringement, adding that its agreement with the video site allowed this. The company added that, because the takedown request had been issued under its contract with YouTube, rather than the statutory provisions of the DMCA, there wasn't a case for saying the music major had inappropriately used the US copyright system.

That led to much chatter about what exactly Universal's licensing agreement with YouTube said, given the music firm was seemingly claiming it had the contractual power to have anything removed from the YouTube website should it so wish. Of course Universal, as the market leader record company, is an important content provider to both YouTube and its sister Google Music service, as well as being a customer via the VEVO venture, but would Google really give the label a special veto to have any content uploaded to the YouTube site removed?

Well, Google has responded with a resolute "no". It seems that Universal's claims regarding its rights to request content be removed from YouTube possibly rely on its lawyers' interpretation of some pretty standard terms offered to content owners rather than any private additional agreement, and Google doesn't agree with that interpretation.

As a result, the MegaSong video has been reinstated on YouTube, and yesterday the video site issued this statement to Digital Music News: "Our partners do not have the right to take down videos from YouTube unless they own the rights to them or they are live performances controlled through exclusive agreements with their artists, which is why we reinstated [the 'Mega Song']".

Whether that statement will have any impact on Universal's efforts to have MegaUpload's lawsuit dismissed remains to be seen. Should it look likely that a court might rule Universal did indeed violate the DMCA's takedown rules, perhaps we'll see the world's biggest music company licensing YouTube rival and MegaUpload sister service MegaVideo in a bid to avoid a potentially embarrassing court case. Fun times.

Meanwhile, Digital Music News has also posted a copy of Will.i.am's one-page contract with MegaUpload in relation to the 'Mega Song', following claims by the Black Eyed Pea's lawyer that his client appeared in the video without permission. Will.i.am's attorney also reportedly filed a takedown request in relation to the promotional vid, though MegaUpload later said it had spoken to the Pea and he'd said he didn't know anything about the takedown request issued in his name.

Anyway, you can see the contract Will.i.am seemingly and somewhat strangely put his name to here: www.digitalmusicnews.com/permalink/2011/111216william

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STATE OF INDIANA SETTLES WITH STAGE COLLAPSE VICTIMS
The State Of Indiana has now reached settlements with 63 of the 65 claimants who came forward for damages after the stage collapse at the Indiana State Fair in August.

As previously reported, seven people died and over 40 more were injured when one of the stages at the State Fair collapsed when hit by freak winds just before a concert featuring country duo Sugarland was about to begin. Various legal disputes have come out of the tragedy, and as organisers of the Fair the State Of Indiana was among those liable, though State Law limited that liability to a total of $5 million.

Most of that damages fund has now been allocated to individuals affected by the stage collapse, with only two of 65 claimants still to agree terms. Fair officials have also distributed just short of $800,000 donated by the public after the incident.

As also previously reported, as well as the claims made against the State Of Indiana, 48 affected parties have also begun legal proceedings against Sugarland and their business associates, on the basis the band had a contractual right to cancel the show over weather concerns, and were therefore negligent not to exercise that right.

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SPANISH COURT SAYS NO INFRINGEMENT CASE AGAINST P2P SOFTWARE MAKER
An attempt by the record industry to sue the provider of file-sharing technologies in Spain has failed. All four majors joined with Promusica to sue Pablo Soto and his MP2P company, which distributes various file-sharing clients, including Blubster, Piolet and Manolito P2P.

Spanish law hasn't proved especially useful over the years in helping the record industry fight illegal file-sharing, with judges there generally ruling that individuals sharing copyright content online does not constitute infringement if the users are not profiting from their actions.

With that precedent set, it's harder to go after the providers of P2P software for so called contributory infringement (the kind of infringement P2P software makers have been successfully sued over in the US, and which The Pirate Bay was found liable for in Sweden), because if the software's users are not infringing to start with, there's nothing for the software makers to contribute too.

As previously reported, the Spanish music industry hoped that if they could prove MP2P was profiting from activities that were detrimental to their business that might be a strong enough case in itself (similar arguments have had some success in the Italian courts) but it wasn't to be. According to El Mundo, a Spanish court has now ruled that Soto and his companies provide a neutral technical function, and that there is no liability for any sort of infringement.

Needless to say, Soto welcomed the ruling, telling reporters: "We are extremely grateful to the court for finding not only in our favour, but in favour of justice, innovation and in equal access to digital distribution".

The music industry, meanwhile, will not be impressed. Of course in parallel to this case, music companies in Spain and certain governments from elsewhere, particularly the US, have been calling on Spanish regulators to overhaul the country's copyright laws so rights owners can better fight online piracy. The so called Sinde Law, which will provide a system through which rights owners can have copyright infringing websites blocked, has been approved by the country's parliament, though implementation of that system has been delayed by an election and now change of government.

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KAN-Z LAWYERS RESPOND TO JOHNSON LAWSUIT
Lawyers for Kanye West and Jay-Z have responded to that previously reported lawsuit filed by soul man Syl Johnson over a track on their collaborative album 'Watch The Throne'.

As previously reported, Johnson says the duo's track 'The Joy' samples his song 'Different Strokes' without permission. Johnson's lawsuit says West's people approached his representatives about using the sample on his 'My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy' album but no agreement was reached. The sample then showed up on 'Watch The Throne' without a request even being made.

As expected, the West-Z legal team are fighting the legal claim primarily on technicalities relating to US copyright law. 'Different Strokes' dates from 1967, five years short of the key year of 1972, when federal copyright protection kicks in. Although Johnson's lawsuit specifically claims copyright protection under Illinois State Law, the West-Z rebuttal disputes that any such protection exists.

It's a complicated area of American copyright law, and Johnson lost a previous legal action over an unapproved sample against Cypress Hill because of the same technicalities. It remains to be seen how things turn out this time.

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MICHAEL JACKSON ESTATE EXECUTORS RENEGOTIATE FEES
The executors for the Michael Jackson estate have successfully negotiated what amounts to a pay rise for their work managing what has become a very lucrative entertainment business. Both John Branca and John McClain claimed that their work managing the late king of pop's legacy was much more demanding than either had expected, hence their request for higher recompense.

The pay rise has been achieved by allowing companies associated with Branca and McClain to be paid directly for work they undertake for the estate, rather than their fees coming out of the two men's respective shares of the loot.

Under a previous agreement, the two men get 10% of revenues generated by the estate, not including dividends from the estate's stake in the Sony/ATV music publishing business and profits from sales of Jackson's recordings catalogue and the 'This Is It' movie. But fees charged by Branca's law firm and McClain's studio are included in that 10%.

Under the new agreement, approved by the Jackson family and this week by a judge, a separate 3% share of revenues will go to the two men's respective companies, thus increasing the monies they personally get for their work.

Elsewhere in Jackson-related money news, the previously reported auction of some 500 items from the LA home where the singer died generated sales close to $1 million last weekend. As previously reported, the bed the pop star actually died in was removed from the sale at the request of the Jackson family.

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BLUR TO PERFORM AT 2012 BRITS
Alex James has been talking some more about the possibility of more Blur reunion shows, following confirmation the band will regroup next year to collect their Outstanding Contribution To Music gong at the BRIT Awards.

James told The Sun's Gordon Smart on his Xfm show that the band have met up to discuss the accolade, saying: "We're all very pleased. I saw the guys this week, we had a Christmas cuppa".

He continued: "We all remembered how much we loved being a band. I had always said in interviews I didn't miss being in a band, but that reminded me that I did".

Asked if Blur would schedule any more performances beyond the BRITs appearance, he said: "I wish I could tell you more. I'm sure it will happen one day but I don't know when. It's quite nice to keep it special".

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MICHAEL EAVIS TO RECEIVE LIFETIME ACHEIVEMENT AWARD
Glastonbury supremo Michael Eavis will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award at next year's European Festival Awards. The ceremony will be held at the Eurosonic Noorderslag festival on 11 Jan.

Commenting on the announcement, Eavis said: "After 41 years, to win something of this magnitude is something to be incredibly proud of. To still be doing this after that amount of time is no mean feat".

Festival Awards Ltd MD James Drury added: "Since founding one of the most famous and long lasting festivals in the world, Michael has dedicated his life to Glastonbury and the millions of festival goers which have attended the event over its 41 year history. Glastonbury is the grandfather of the incredible festival market which Europe enjoys, and Michael is cited as an inspiration by almost every festival organiser I speak to across the world. This is why he is so deserving of this honour".

Talking of all things Festival Awards, read our interview with Drury, conducted ahead of this year's UK Festival Awards last month, here: www.thecmuwebsite.com/article/qa-james-drury-festival-awards/

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RUSSELL SIMMONS NAMED PETA'S PERSON OF THE YEAR
Def Jam co-founder Russell Simmons has been named PETA's Person Of The Year for his work in animal welfare and promoting the vegan lifestyle throughout his personal and professional life. The hip hop mogul also recently appeared on a line of US postage stamps featuring famous vegetarians.

Accepting the award, Simmons said: "The horrible abuse of animals is the worst karmic disaster in the history of human kind. The work that PETA does to combat this catastrophe is amazing. I'm truly humbled to be chosen as this year's Person Of The Year, but the praise should go to the hundreds of thousands of volunteers that are on the ground doing the work. I accept this honour on their behalf".

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LITTLE MIX TOP CHART WITH SECOND WORST PERFORMING X WINNER SINGLE
'X-Factor' winners Little Mix may have had the best selling single last week by quite some margin, and with 210,000 units sold their cover of 'Cannonball' was the fastest selling single of the year, but it's still the worst performing 'X-Factor' winner's single release since Steve Brookstein's cover of 'Against All Odds' back in 2004.

Last year's 'X-Factor' winner Matt Cardle sold 439,007 copies of his winning single 'When We Collide' in the week after his victory on the ITV show, while in 2005 Shayne Ward shifted 742,180 copies of 'That's My Goal'. All previous 'X-Factor' winners have outperformed Little Mix on first week sales except first ever winner Brookstein.

The slip in record sales follows the slide in viewing figures for this series of 'X-Factor', which has been blamed on various things, including unpopular judges, disappointing contestants and a general fatigue for the format. Though it is still one of the biggest shows on British TV, and certainly the biggest music show on UK television. And, of course, the success of that first single immediately following an 'X' win has never guaranteed a long pop career, and by the same token, lower than expected sales won't necessarily mean the winners' debut album will bomb when it's released next year.

Fortunately for 'X' bosses, by basically bailing on the Christmas number one race this year by bringing out the winners' single a week early, they aren't having to openly compete with the charity single from the Military Wives Choir, which is likely to be Christmas number one this Sunday, and which would very possibly have beaten Little Mix to that spot even if the two singles had been released in the same week. The output of another TV programme, a documentary for the BBC, the Military Wives single has been getting huge coverage across the Beeb's TV and radio networks.

If the Military Wives are number one on Sunday, they will be the first act to receive a new award that will subsequently be given to every artist who tops the singles chart. Dished out by the Official Charts Company, and set to be formally handed over by Radio 1 chart show host Reggie Yates, the new awards will provide a useful photo opportunity to promote the singles chart each week.

Apparently Olly Murs, Professor Green, Emeli Sande and The Wanted have all given the new award their official "backing", though I don't really know what that means. Presumably they were asked "if you get a number one, would you like a prize to take home and your photo in the paper?", to which Olly, Steve, Emili and The Wanted drones all said "oh, yes please". By which logic, presumably anybody even vaguely likely to ever have a number one single is backing the new gong also.

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CHER LLOYD SIGNS EPIC DEAL WITH LA REID
British 'X-Factor' pop person Cher Lloyd has signed a US album deal with Sony's Epic Records, having impressed the label's CEO and resident 'X-Factor USA' judge LA Reid, by seeming "fresh" and outspoken.

The 'Swagger Jagger' singer, whose debut album 'Sticks And Stones' had its UK release last month via Simon Cowell's Sony imprint Syco, told BBC Breakfast about her American breakthrough-to-be: "I'm not going to run before I can walk. It's quite a big thing to try and achieve, but you never know what's going to happen".

Recalling her meeting with Reid, she said: "He finds me quite funny. He said that I am very outgoing, and I say what I want, and sometimes it comes out before I get to think about what's going to come out of my mouth, and he likes that. He just said that I'm really fresh and he's very excited".

Meanwhile, tune into the below video to see Cher and guest MCs Mic Righteous, Dot Rotten and Ghetts performing her penultimate 'Sticks And Stones' number 'Dub On The Track'. Apparently she's the kind of girl to do just that.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=bG6RatujjW0

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AZEALIA BANKS BLOGS NEW TRACK
New York rapper Azealia Banks, her of hype-heaped NME Cool List fame, has posted a new track titled 'Liquorice' on her Tumblr blog - azealiabanks.tumblr.com.

The song finds the eclectic MC, who's known primarily for her viral hit '212' and cover of Interpol's 'Slow Hands', sampling Brit electro instrumentalist Lone's 'Pineapple Crush'. Banks, who remains unsigned having parted ways with her one-time label XL Recordings, is working with producer Paul Epworth on new material.

Pending a first listen to Azealia's Epworth sessions, why not stream 'Liqourice' below. She also encloses a lyrics sheet and glossary explaining the meanings behind certain slang terms, so there's no excuse not to join in.

soundcloud.com/azealia-banks/liquorice

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GIANA FACTORY TO HEADLINE FIRST 2012 JA JA JA SHOWCASE
Organisers of Nordic showcase night Ja Ja Ja are set to usher in 2012 with the live sounds of alt-blues songstress Mirel Wagner, electronic Oslo trio Philco Fiction, and CMU approved dark-pop troupe Giana Factory. All three acts will appear at London venue The Lexington on 26 Jan. Tickets available here: www.wegottickets.com/event/147997

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HORRORS DUO ANNOUNCE ONE-OFF COLLABORATION
The Horrors' Rhys 'Spider' Webb and 'Coffin' Joe Spurgeon have announced plans to form a band with SCUM guitarist (also Rhys' brother) Huw Webb for what Rhys terms a "one-off thing".

The trio, whose working moniker is Bang Bang Bang, will make their first and only appearance at North London's Buffalo Bar on 31 Dec.

Says Rhys: "Joe and I are gonna play with a new outfit, which we've as yet not written the music for. It'll be me on bass and singing, my brother on guitar and Joe on drums".

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KING CHARLES ANNOUNCES TOUR
Flamboyant folk bloke King Charles has heralded the tbc release of 'LoveBlood', the follow-up to his debut single 'Bam Bam', with news of a 2012 tour.

His last UK run sold out completely, but tickets are still available for the new one. Kicking off on 7 Feb with a show for HMV's Next Big Thing festival, dates are as follows:

7 Feb: The Garage, London
25Feb: Tunbridge Wells, The Forum
26 Feb: Cardiff, Clwb Ifor Bach
27 Feb: Oxford, O2 Academy 2
29 Feb: Wolverhampton, Slade Rooms
1 Mar: Stoke-on-Trent, Sugar Mill
2 Mar: Barrow, Sonic Zoo
3 Mar: Durham, Live Loung
4 Mar: Glasgow, King Tut's
5 Mar: York, Fibbers

And since 'LoveBlood' doesn't seem to be streaming anywhere, here are Charles and his coiffure enacting the song live at a recent show in Southampton.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=zED-0Ad4Tps

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FESTIVAL LINE-UP UPDATE

BEARDED THEORY, Kedleston Hall, Derbyshire, 18-20 May: Lead by headliners The Levellers, The Damned and Dreadzone, first confirmations for this family-friendly fancy dress fest also include The Selecter, Show Of Hands and 'Tequila' hitmakers Terrorvision. www.beardedtheory.co.uk

PINKPOP, Landgraaf, The Netherlands, 26-28 May: Making their first non-US outing since 2007, venerable Seattle outfit Soundgarden are to join closing headliners Bruce Springsteen And The E Street Band on the Pinkpop bill as it stands so far. www.pinkpop.nl

ROCK AM RING, Nurburgring, Germany, 1-3 Jun: Linkin Park and Soundgarden lead a list of acts just announced for Germany's raucous Rock AM Ring, which shares the same line-up as its Nurnberg-based twin, Rock Im Park. Also booked for both festivals: MIA, Kasabian, Gossip, Marilyn Manson, Tenacious D, Skrillex, Motorhead and Enter Shikari. www.rock-am-ring.com/en/

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JUSTIN BIEBER SELLS SCENT AS SOLUTION TO "LAME HOLIDAY SWAG"
Justin Bieber has appeared in a new promotional video for his perfume brand Someday. In it, he lounges in a leather chair like a junior Bond villain, and rails a bit about made-up seasonal affliction 'LHS', or 'Lame Holiday Swag'. Or as we might say, 'Rubbish Christmas Presents'.

Addressing his message - as in his 'Dear Dad' missive - to fathers of his teengirl fans, Bieber claims: "Lame Holiday Swag can seriously affect your daughter this year. Symptoms can include a lame face, dry mouth, and hysteria caused from uncool swag. But there is hope, it's called Someday".

Since Justin seems to be exhibiting at least two of those symptoms in the LHS promo, I recommend he cure himself by buying up every bottle of Someday, thus also putting a stop to this dad-bothering once and for all. Perhaps he could fill his swimming pool with the perfume, and dive right in. He can swim, right?

Anyway, here's the clip in question: www.youtube.com/watch?v=eVVvswhK3hk

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IRISH THREE-STRIKES HALTED, BUT WEB-BLOCKING NOW ON THE AGENDA
Mixed fortunes for the Irish record industry today. The three-strike style anti-file-sharing system being operated by Eircom has been halted on privacy grounds, but word has it the Irish government will introduce some new anti-piracy measures in the new year, including good old fashioned web-blocking.

As much previously reported, Eircom, Ireland's biggest internet service provider, voluntarily agreed to instigate a so called 'graduated response' system for combating file-sharing as part of an out of court agreement between the net provider and the big record companies in Ireland. It means the ISP will send out warning letters to suspected file-sharers, with the threat of disabling their net connections if they continue to access unlicensed sources of content. The Irish labels pledged to try and persuade or pressure Eircom's competitors into introducing a similar system, but so far without success.

And now the Eircom scheme might close too after Ireland's Data Protection Commissioner ordered the whole thing be halted on the grounds it breaches people's online privacy rights. The DPC raised privacy concerns about three-strikes once before, though those were rejected in a court case between the record industry and another ISP called UPC.

However, the DPC then launched a full investigation into Eircom's three-strikes earlier this year after it was revealed that 300 warning letters had been sent by mistake to innocent web users. And it seems that as a result of that investigation the DPC has now called for a halt to three-strikes in Ireland.

But that news comes at the same time as reports that the Irish government will launch new legislative proposals in the new year to help rights owners combat online piracy, in particular introducing a system to enable content companies to force ISPs to block websites that exist primarily to infringe - yes, that old thing.

There have been various rumours during 2011 that the Irish government was about to publish proposals for anti-piracy measures, none of which came to much, though these latest reports seem more credible.

So, I suppose, you win some you lose some.

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MYSPACE LAUNCHES NEW MUSIC PLAYER
MySpace has debuted its first major new product since the flagging social media site was bought by Specific Media earlier this year, a new music player with enhanced recommendations and search flim flam. As previously reported, the site's newish owner is expected to totally reinvent MySpace as an entirely music-based service next year.

Perhaps more interestingly, MySpace has also announced it is making its streaming music offer available via Facebook, with integration with its one time rival similar to that instigated by Spotify, MOG and Rdio earlier this year. Specific Media's Chris Vanderhook told Billboard: "This is a natural partnership. Because of the users they have and the integrations with Spotify, Mog and Rdio, it makes sense to open up our catalogue to their users".

MySpace has operated an on-demand streaming service for some time, of course, initially operating under the separate MySpace Music brand, though after a lacklustre launch you got the impression the web firm - under its previous owners News Corp - chose to hide the service to an extent because of the costs of running a free to access on-demand streaming platform.

But Vanderhook seems convinced the MySpace streaming music service is the way to turn round the fortunes of the flagging website, frequently noting that MySpace has direct (if generally outdated) links to hundreds of thousands of self-releasing artists as well as deals with the big content owners.

Of course, given MySpace Music doesn't currently charge a subscription fee, and adverts are on screen rather than between songs, that does possibly give the company competitive advantage, especially among the family of content providers hooked into Facebook. And especially if this time the player actually works. Though whether Specific could afford to maintain that service if it was to become really popular remains to be seen, there is still some scepticism that a streaming platform totally funded by advertising could ever truly add up once licensing fees are paid.

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WELSH ARTISTS CALL OFF STRIKE, FOR NOW
Welsh language musicians have called off their three day strike one day in, saying that a change to the agenda of a meeting to discuss their dispute with the BBC and PRS in January has placated them for the time being.

As previously reported, Welsh language artists and labels have hit out at recent changes to the way royalties are paid for songs played on Welsh language radio station BBC Cymru, which they say have radically reduced the fees labels and artists get from airplay on the station, impacting on the viability of artists recording in the language.

In protest, the Welsh Music Publishers And Composers Alliance requested BBC Cymru refrain from playing its members' music from yesterday to tomorrow. The request had no legal basis because the Beeb is covered by a blanket licence from PRS, but station bosses said they'd try to comply for one of the three strike days.

As it was, the Alliance announced it was postponing its strike yesterday. Representatives will now meet with both the Beeb and PRS For Music on 12 Jan, with the "economic value" of payments made to Welsh language artists by the BBC via PRS on the agenda for discussion.

Arguably the Alliance's dispute is more with its collecting society, the PRS, than it is with the Beeb, though the agreement it is unhappy with is specifically between the collecting society and the broadcaster. It now remains to be seen if the matter can be resolved in the new year. Pob lwc.

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TUPAC'S FORMER MANAGER COMMENTS ON SEX TAPE
Tupac Shakur's former manager Leila Steinberg has commented on the late rapper's sex tape, which, as previously reported, was sold to a private collector last week.

Steinberg told XXL: "He taped a lot. He taped intimate moments that maybe were for himself that he never thought would be public. I'm sure that he documented and recorded way more than anyone will ever know. So that's why we'll continue to see things [like this] pop up. I don't think that 'Pac [had] an understanding that anything you tape can one day become public".

She added that although the Shakur estate had previously threatened legal action when it looked like the tape might be sold to a pornographer, she believed that the rapper's family had been involved in the final sale. "I'm sure that there would not be anything exploited that wasn't agreed upon by the estate", she said. "They're pretty powerful and in control of what gets released and approved, so I would think that they were involved".

But she was keen to stress that this brief private moment caught on tape was not what the rapper was all about. She concluded: "His number one priority over sex tapes, over personal gratification, more than anything else, was to bring light and attention to really transitioning the state of economics in this country. And that he'd be a vessel and a vehicle to change things and to see balance on the planet".

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CMU Editor Andy Malt and CMU Business Editor Chris Cooke are both available to comment on music and music business stories. Together they have provided comment and contributions to BBC News, BBC World, BBC Radios 4, 5, 6music and Scotland, Sky News, CNN, Wired and the Associated Press. Email andy@unlimitedmedia.co.uk or chris@unlimitedmedia.co.uk.

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