FRIDAY 13 FEBRUARY 2015
TODAY'S TOP STORY: Just in case there was any doubt whatsoever (there wasn't), next time a major entertainment retailer goes bust, try your best to be one of the accountants dealing with the resulting mess, rather that someone working there or, even worse, one of the firm's creditors. According to The Times, two years on from the collapse of HMV, the latest update on the administration... [READ MORE]
 
TODAY'S APPROVED: Friday night at Fabric usually floats my boat but this week there are some particularly good names on the more techno leaning Saturday night line-up. In Room One, resident Craig Richards has Steve Bug and Detroit Swindle playing live. My ones to watch, Detroit Swindle is Lars Dales and Maarten Smeets. With a string of releases on Dirt Crew, Freerange and Tsuba... [READ MORE]
   
BEEF OF THE WEEK: So, you were thinking this week's Beef Of The Week would be Kanye v Beck, weren't you? You probably told all your friends and tweeted it on Facebook. Well fuck you, dear readers. Fuck all of you. You can't tell me what to do, just because something's basically the only thing anyone's talked about all week. If you wanted to know about Kanye and Beck you should have read about it... [READ MORE]
TOP STORIES Advisors in HMV plc administration earn millions while creditors will receive little
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LABELS & PUBLISHERS IMPALA chief explains Europe's Digital Single Market initiative, and why it's important to the future of music
Father John Misty vinyl packaging warps records within
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MANAGEMENT & FUNDING Three Six Zero branch into movies and TV
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MEDIA More print sale slips in latest music mag ABCs
New Editor In Chief and Global Head of Content at Vice
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ARTIST NEWS Steve Strange dies
Black Tongue frontman falls out of tour bus looking for toilet
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AWARDS Caribou's Our Love named European Independent Album Of The Year
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ONE LINERS Drake drops surprise new album, Pink gets naked for PETA, David Byrne puts clothes on for Meltdown (I assume), and still more
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AND FINALLY... CMU Beef Of The Week #242: Katy Perry v (a) Left Shark (statue)
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BIBLIOTHEQUE MUSIC - MUSIC SUPERVISOR (LONDON)
We are looking for an enthusiastic motivated Music Supervisor to help increase our capacity and develop new opportunities. The role will focus on marketing the catalogues to all relevant sectors of media and corporate industries, establishing and developing solid relationships, conducting searches, and taking the lead with all client-facing activity. The position has excellent career prospects going forward with scope for autonomy, innovation and growth.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
   
ROCKET PR - NATIONAL PLUGGER (LONDON)
Rocket PR is looking for a national radio plugger to join its team working closely with some of the finest independent labels and exciting new artists.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
   
MAMA NEW MUSIC - PROMOTER/VENUE BOOKER (LONDON)
MAMA New Music is looking for an established concert booker / promoter to work in the small, but highly efficient team of live concert and event organisers at the MAMA Group head office in London.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
   
MAMA & COMPANY - MARKETING ASSISTANT (LONDON)
MAMA & Company are looking for a Marketing Assistant to join their venue marketing team. You’ll be a great copy writer with excellent attention to detail, responsible for updating and maintaining venue websites, social media channels, with the ability to juggle and prioritise a number of projects at the same time.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
   
THE BORDERLINE - ASSISTANT BARS MANAGER (LONDON)
MAMA & Company is looking for an Assistant Bars Manager for The Borderline to start ASAP.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
   
HOXTON SQUARE BAR & KITCHEN - ASSISTANT GENERAL MANAGER (LONDON)
Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen is looking for a dynamic, experienced Assistant General Manager with a proven track record within a live music operation. This is a fantastic opportunity to work and grow with an exciting company that owns some of London's most established venues.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
   
THE JAZZ CAFE - BARS MANAGER (LONDON)
The Jazz Cafe is looking for an experienced, highly motivated Bars Manager, with a proven track record of maximising bar, cloakroom and other revenues while minimising all relevant costs.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
   
KEY PRODUCTION - ACCOUNT MANAGER (LONDON)
Key Production, celebrating 25 years of independence is looking to recruit an account manager to work from their busy London offices at the creative hub of Tileyard Studios. The job will entail controlling all aspects of manufacture of high end packaging and promotional items for both music and other industries from initial concept to delivery of finished product.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
   
NUCLEAR BLAST - PRESS OFFICER (LONDON)
London office for well-established rock/metal label is looking for a young, dynamic and creative Press Officer to handle PR for its rapidly diversifying roster.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
   
PLAY IT AGAIN SAM - PROJECT MANAGER (LONDON)
The Play It Again Sam label requires a Project Manager. The role, based in London, is a fantastic opportunity to work with artists such as Ghostpoet, Melanie De Biasio, Mew, Champs, Enter Shikari, Roisin Murphy and more.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
   
KOBALT LABEL SERVICES - PRODUCT MANAGER (LONDON)
Kobalt Label Services (KLS) is looking for an experienced Product/Project Manager to be based in the Kobalt office in London, and to work with the Label Services team to provide services to KLS' artist and label clients.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
   
CLEAR SOUND & VISION - PRODUCTION PLANNER (LONDON)
Clear Sound & Vision (CSV), part of the Once Upon A Time Group, has recently moved to new premises in the heart of London Soho and is looking to add to its production team. CSV predominately operates within the music industry, providing print and packaging solutions and vinyl pressings and CD replication manufacturing services.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
   
WARP - FINANCE ASSISTANT (LONDON)
Warp is looking for a finance assistant to join a growing team. The ideal candidate will have a healthy interest in music and will be looking to further a career in the industry. They will have been exposed to a varied range of tasks within an accounting environment and should have previous involvement in taking accounts to trial balance.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
   
DHP FAMILY - ARTIST MANAGEMENT ASSISTANT (LONDON)
We are looking for a Management Assistant. Candidates must have a minimum of one year's proven artist management or label product management experience. The role will include providing support to artist managers for global release campaigns, promotion and touring, co-ordinating day-to-day activities for artists, including personal assistant and general administrative duties.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
   
LISTEN UP - OPERATIONS MANAGER (LONDON)
We are currently seeking an Operations Manager to join our team. This is a broad role, which incorporates Operations, Office Management, HR and business support to the Directors. The Operations Manager is responsible for ensuring the day-to-day operations of the business run smoothly and that effective methods are put into place so that the company runs to its maximum productivity.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
   
LISTEN UP - PERSONAL ASSISTANT TO DIRECTOR (LONDON)
We are currently seeking an extremely organised, positive and proactive Personal Assistant to join our team. The Personal Assistant is responsible for providing full business and personal support to the Director. The ideal candidate will have at least two years experience supporting to Director level, ideally within a music or media environment.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
 
CMU Jobs is a proven way to recruit the best music business talent for roles across the industry at all levels, from graduate to senior management. To book an ad contact Sam on 020 7099 9060 or email ads@unlimitedmedia.co.uk
 

Advisors in HMV plc administration earn millions while creditors will receive little
Just in case there was any doubt whatsoever (there wasn't), next time a major entertainment retailer goes bust, try your best to be one of the accountants dealing with the resulting mess, rather that someone working there or, even worse, one of the firm's creditors.

According to The Times, two years on from the collapse of HMV, the latest update on the administration of the now defunct publicly listed company that ran the entertainment retailer sets out the fees run up by the accountants and lawyers who worked on debacle.

Bean counters Deloitte, who were appointed administrators of HMV, will invoice for a total of £11.7 million, though the accountancy firm says it is likely to only see about £8 million of that sum being paid. Meanwhile two legal companies who advised on the administration, particularly on employment law matters, will receive more than £3 million between them, Linklaters getting £2.3 million and Simmons & Simmons £1.1 million.

Though perhaps most interesting is the £2.7 million invoiced by Retail Agents 260, a retail industry consultancy that provided advice to the accountants. It's interesting because Retail Agents 260 is a wholly owned subsidiary of Hilco, which, of course, then bought the HMV business and took a streamlined version of the company out of administration.

It's worth noting that none of this is particularly out of the ordinary when it comes to winding up big companies. And of the decision to hire a Hilco subsidiary to advise, an insolvency expert told The Times: "It is not unusual for an administrator to hire expert retail consultants on a large retail administration as it is cheaper than using its own staff".

But the size of all these fees will be depressing to HMV's unpaid creditors, who are likely to see nominal payments, if anything at all. Amongst creditors owed about £230 million are the tax man, one-time HMV owner EMI (now a Universal subsidiary of course), and the HMV pension scheme, which may have to rely on the government-backed Pension Protection Fund to plug the gap.

Former HMV landlords are also on the list of significant creditors, and yesterday Melanie Leech, chief exec of the British Property Federation, which represents many of them, criticised the fees charged by the accountants. "Without a proper system of checks and balances in place it is impossible to know if fees could have been priced more competitively", she told The Times. "At present the fees charged seem to be entirely unconstrained".

HMV, of course, lives on as a new company owned by Hilco and is, by all accounts, doing pretty well in its streamlined form, regaining market share in music and DVD, and benefiting from the fact that CDs sales, while still in decline, are actually holding up pretty well in the UK at the moment.

IMPALA chief explains Europe's Digital Single Market initiative, and why it's important to the future of music
In the latest issue of the CMU Trends Report, published last Friday, the boss of pan-European indie labels trade body IMPALA, Helen Smith, explains more about the Digital Single Market initiative that is currently in vogue in Brussels.

It's the discussion taking place within the European Commission and Parliament that motivated IMPALA to publish its previously reported Digital Action Plan because, while music rights owners will likely be criticised by some of those inputting into this debate, the indie labels see it as a chance to put some of their bug-bears under the spotlight, especially the challenges they - and the wider music community - face when negotiating with tech giants that some argue have exploited loopholes in copyright law.

Explaining the background to the Digital Single Market, Smith told CMU: "Few will have escaped hearing about Europe's 'single market' or the 'internal market' in the past, or even the 'common market' if you go way back. The 'digital single market' - or DSM if you like acronyms - is the digital version".

"It's about making sure European businesses and citizens benefit from a borderless, fully connected online marketplace with Europe as one territory. That means getting rid of national or other rules or restrictions that create barriers to reaching across borders, and to do that you need the best digital infrastructure with rules to match. The EU is due to finalise proposals for how to achieve all this by May 2015".

As for the impact all this will have on the music industry, Smith explained: "It will shape the environment we trade in, so it is crucial to get it right. The digital single market initiative reaches across various areas - from data protection to telecoms to copyright and online commerce - it presents the opportunity for decision-makers to create a healthier licensing environment across all EU member states. If the EU doesn't take a strong stance we risk seeing further transfer of value away from the music business and other creative sectors".

And as for her own organisation's role in all this, she went on: "For IMPALA, this project can only work if the EU understands and fosters the sectors which are key to the digital environment. Music and other cultural industries are leading digitally. Looking at how to build on this must be a priority, so that the digital single market delivers benefits to artists and other creators and, of course, European citizens".

You can read the full interview in the latest CMU Trends Report. You can buy the report for £9.99 in the CMU Shop, or sign up for CMU Premium today and get a copy straight away. Multi-user subscriptions are also available for music companies here.

IMPALA's full Digital Action Plan is online here.

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Father John Misty vinyl packaging warps records within
Sub Pop has joined the great vinyl packaging mis-step hall of fame (a listicle I'm sure will be available to you on several other websites by the time you've read this) with its "ambitious" artwork for the new Father John Misty album, 'I Love You, Honeybear'.

The carefully designed sleeve for the double-vinyl release folds to reveal a pop-up scene featuring various characters in a bar that's on fire. That's 'pop-up' in the sense we understood the term when we were children, rather than a shop in East London with limited consumer appeal selling socks made out of vegetables or something.

The label explains: "In our efforts to replicate the 'wow factor' of such legendary album packages as the Rolling Stones' 'Sticky Fingers' zipper cover by Andy Warhol, we wound up accidentally replicating the 'defect factor' of the same. In short, the extra, bulging thickness of the pop-up art in the Father John Misty jacket creates a lump that, when the LPs are sealed and packed, pushes into the LPs, causing the vinyl to warp and making that handsome, painstakingly and expensively produced jacket an elaborate record-destroying device. This oversight, and any attendant suffering, is our fault, and we are very sorry. We promise to be less ambitious in the future".

So that's good news about being less ambitious. As the local businessman who was selected to give a speech at my university graduation said: "Only ever do things you're certain you can succeed at. Don't aim too high".

Those who received bent albums will have them replaced in due course.

Three Six Zero branch into movies and TV
Jay-Z's Live Nation joint venture Roc Nation, and it's London-headquartered business partner Three Six Zero Group, have announced the launch of a new business called Three Six Zero Entertainment, which will move beyond music to manage actors, directors and writers in the film, television and digital industries.

The new business will led by Three Six Zero's Mark Gillespie and new recruit David Unger, previously with the Resolution talent agency. Confirming the new business and Unger's recruitment, Gillespie said: "The phenomenal growth and cross-over from international territories and ancillary businesses has transformed the way we service our clients globally. It is a natural fit for us to partner with David".

Meanwhile Roc Nation boss Jay Brown said: "The Three Six Zero family have achieved tremendous success in music and now Three Six Zero Entertainment will expand their potential in film and television".

More print sale slips in latest music mag ABCs
So, another batch of music mag circulation figures came out yesterday, and what do you know, everyone is down (pretty much). In fact, you could just re-read our report on the last set of ABCs and you'd get the gist of these latest stats.

Most ABC chatter yesterday focused on NME's circulation dropping to 15,384, even when digital edition subs are taken into account, the print mag selling just 13,995 copies a week. The overall figure is 21.1% down year-on-year.

Of course, NME publisher Time Inc UK (née IPC) rarely discusses the brand's reach in terms of just its weekly magazine these days, and yesterday pushed out an lovely infographic stressing the title's online audience. Which, to be fair, isn't an unjustified stance, at large NME reaches way more people today than it ever did in the print mag's heyday. Though it's interesting that so much effort is still seemingly put into the print output, it now being the least read part of the operation.

Although the NME magazine saw the biggest decline in the latest ABCs, most of its rivals also saw sales slip compared to this time last year. Bauer Media's Kerrang! was down 13.7% to 30,300, Team Rock's Metal hammer fell 11.3% to 24,552, while Q was down 5% year-on-year (though up slightly on the last set of ABC stats) to 50,161. NME sister title Uncut was down 5.2% to 53,282, Mojo saw things slip 4.7% year-on-year to 70,693 and Classic Rock fell 6.2% to 53,935.

The only title going up year-on-year was Rock Sound, up 2.2% to 13,139. So much so, its publisher wins the 'quote at the end of the ABC story' prize.

Says Patrick Napier: "Rock Sound is aimed at the millennial age group that aren't supposed to buy magazines anymore. It's certainly not easy but this second annual ABC increase shows that with a strong editorial package combined with an active online presence it's possible to succeed. We've picked up increased supermarket listings on the back of our recent performance so we're optimistic that next year we'll be announcing yet another increase".

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New Editor In Chief and Global Head of Content at Vice
Vice magazine has a new Editor In Chief in the form of Ellis Jones, who joined the youth media firm as an intern in 2009, rising through the ranks to become Managing Editor in 2012. Meanwhile Alex Miller, previously Vice's UK Editor In Chief, becomes Global Head Of Content, which means responsibility for the firm's website and various YouTube channels. And now you want quotes, don't you? So demanding. Oh well, here goes.

Jones: "As Vice Media has matured, so has the magazine, and I'd like to capture the attention of readers who may have a preconceived notion of what a 'Vice story' is and surprise them by our candid stories. Under my leadership, the magazine will continue to do what it's always done best - publish cutting-edge cultural coverage, sharp humour, and hard-hitting news investigations - and also increase its seriousness and ambition by enlisting the best writers, photographers, and artists in the industry and sending them across the globe".

Miller: "Over my time here, Vice has grown dramatically, but our ambition remains thrillingly unhinged. I'm very proud of what I achieved with the UK team but I'm excited to move to the centre of the perpetual motion machine that is Vice".

  Vigsy's Club Tip: Saturday night at Fabric
Friday night at Fabric usually floats my boat but this week there are some particularly good names on the more techno leaning Saturday night line-up.

In Room One, resident Craig Richards has Steve Bug and Detroit Swindle playing live. My ones to watch, Detroit Swindle is Lars Dales and Maarten Smeets. With a string of releases on Dirt Crew, Freerange and Tsuba, this duo's take on party house grooves with a tech feel is going down well, as referenced in their highly rated 'Boxed Out' LP last year.

Techno promoter Machine hosts Room Two, with Ben Sims, Marcel Fengler and Kirk Degiorgio. It's a while since I last saw the latter on the decks, but he has had a production and DJ career spanning two decades with releases on R&S, Ubiquity and Far Out, and his offerings have spanned jazz to house and beyond. While his EP with Sims on Machine's own label last year took us back to the techno days of old with a tribal feel.

The third room houses the Just Jack ninth birthday party, with other Saturday resident Terry Francis on hand, plus John Barera, Will Martin, Tom Rio and Dan Wild.

A really tasty sonic treat at this bar-setting London clubbing venue.

Saturday 14 Feb, Fabric, 77a Charterhouse Street, London, EC1M 6HJ, 10pm - 3am, £15-20, more info here.
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Steve Strange dies
Visage frontman Steve Strange has died after suffering a heart attack in Egypt, it has been confirmed. He was 55.

A statement from his record label, August Day Recordings, reads: "We are extremely saddened to announce that Steve Strange died at 11.15 local time on Thursday 12 Feb 2015 in Sharm El Sheik International Hospital, Egypt. Steve died in his sleep, of heart failure. Steve's family, band members and friends are all distraught at this sudden news of his untimely death. Steve's family request privacy at this extremely difficult time".

As well as being a popstar in his own right, Strange was at the forefront of the New Romantic scene in the late 70s and early 80s through his Blitz clubnights in Soho. The club was attended by many musicians who went on to be successful, many of whom paid tribute following the announcement of Strange's death.

Boy George wrote: "Heartbroken about the death of my friend Steve Strange. So bloody sad. Such a big part of my life!"

Duran Duran's Simon Le Bon said: "I'm very sad to announce that our friend Steve Strange has died in Egypt today. He was the leading edge of New Romantic. God Bless him".

And Gary Kemp of Spandau Ballet, who were preparing to perform at a festival in Italy as the news broke, added: "Spandau in tears tonight. We dedicated our performance to Steve Strange. Without him we would never have been here. A maverick to the end".

Visage's best known song was 'Fade To Grey', which went to number eight in the UK singles chart in 1980.

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Black Tongue frontman falls out of tour bus looking for toilet
Now, before we start this, I want you all to remember that this isn't funny and should not be laughed at. A man was hurt during what I am about to describe to you, and it could have been much worse. If I see one of you so much as snigger, I'm going to be very upset.

Right, earlier this week Alex Teyen, frontman of doom metal band Black Tongue, fell out of the band's moving tour bus and onto the motorway after he mistook the emergency exit for the toilet door.

As you can see, not funny. I'm glad none of you mistook this for a humorous incident. The band were in Poland at the time, on their way to their next show in Berlin. A passing motorist came to Teyen's aid, the frontman subsequently being taken to hospital with head and face injuries. He is apparently healing well and on his way back to the UK.

According to The Telegraph, local police spokesperson Piotr Kaciak said: "The victim told his colleagues he was going to the toilet. The toilet turned out to be engaged so he opened the bus's door instead and stepped out while the coach was still moving".

"Judging by the manner of the victim's behaviour, speech and smell we suspect he was under the influence of alcohol", added Kaciak, perhaps unnecessarily.

The band have since said that, while they have been forced to cancel the remainder of their European tour, they will still head to the US as planned next month.

Here's the video for their song 'Coma', which shows a pre-motorway exfoliated Teyen.

Caribou's Our Love named European Independent Album Of The Year
Caribou has been given an award for releasing the best independent album of 2014. No, he has. IMPALA gave it to him. European Independent Album Of The Year Award. He's Canadian, isn't he? Aside from everything else. Apparently the record only has to be released on a European label to be nominated though. I'm not sure that makes any sense.

Either way, IMPALA's Executive Chair Helen Smith said: "Caribou emerged a worthy winner in a vote which pitched 'Our Love' against Europe's very best releases of 2014. This year's award winner also underlines the work by European independent labels, not only with European artists but with acts from all over the world".

Meanwhile Christof Ellinghaus of City Slang, the label that released the album in Europe, added: "Wow, this is a huge honour for the artist and my label! Thanks. Caribou deserves this award for his outstanding talent and hard work. We're happy to support Caribou's career".

To be honest, I'd say if Caribou really respected artistry he'd give the award to Beyonce.

Drake drops surprise new album, Pink gets naked for PETA, David Byrne puts clothes on for Meltdown (I assume), and still more

Other notable announcements and developments today...

• Pink, real name P!nk, is the latest celeb to go naked in an advert for animal rights organisation PETA.

• Drake released a new album this morning. Just like that. Seriously, you could walk into your local branch of iTunes right now and just buy a copy. It was on his SoundCloud profile too, but it got taken down when I was halfway through listening to it.

• Therapy? got a new album coming out. Called 'Disquiet'. 23 Mar. Is release date.

• Indie types Man Made have a single coming out called 'Carsick Cars'. Imagine! Cars that were carsick! How would they manage? Listen here.

• Singy person Soak will be touring the UK quite a lot this year, with headline dates specifically scheduled for June. She's got an album out on 1 Jun too. Here's a song from it.

• Axwell /\ Ingrosso are going to play a show at Alexandra Palace on 6 Jun.

• I saw Swim Deep live once and didn't really enjoy it. I probably shouldn't tell you things like that right before I say that they're touring in March and April. Better distract you. Look! Over there!

• David Byrne will curate this year's Meltdown Festival. It's a wonder he hasn't already, really.

CMU Beef Of The Week #242: Katy Perry v (a) Left Shark (statue)
So, you were thinking this week's Beef Of The Week would be Kanye v Beck, weren't you? You probably told all your friends and tweeted it on Facebook. Well fuck you, dear readers. Fuck all of you. You can't tell me what to do, just because something's basically the only thing anyone's talked about all week. If you wanted to know about Kanye and Beck you should have read about it here, and here and here. And on every other web page on the internet.

Because while you've all been busy consuming blanket news coverage about something stupid that happened last Sunday that has kept people talking about an awards ceremony for way longer than it deserves, sitting there like dicks wondering what the resulting Beef Of The Week summary might look like, something much better has been going on: an exchange of legal letters quibbling over the minutiae of copyright law.

I know. You feel pretty silly now, don't you? Had you known there were quibbling legal letters floating around, you wouldn't have made such rash assumptions about my editorial judgement. Because if there's one thing CMU loves more than Kanye West RIGHTLY telling someone to hand their newly received award over to Beyonce (sorry Beck, that album was nice, but OF THE YEAR? No), it's an increasingly petty exchange of letters between lawyers.

This all traces back to Katy Perry's Super Bowl half time performance earlier this month, where everyone lost their minds over a man dressed as a shark. Yeah, OK, it was the stupid thing that generated blanket news coverage and endless pointless debate the week before last, I know that. But since then it's all gotten rather petty, which is much more fun.

In preparation for writing this, I actually watched said performance, having not done so before. In fact, I don't think I'd ever previously watched a Super Bowl half time performance in my life. You might say that puts me out of step with pop culture, and thus slightly out of step with my job. But fucking hell, people, one of us has to maintain some fucking perspective. Seriously, for all the shouting you lot did about that Left Shark guy, you'd have thought he might have done something of note.

I had to watch all the way through to the end of the performance just in case it was in the final few seconds of the show that he appeared on stage doing some that warranted a mention. But no. Nothing. Not one thing.

This is why we can't have nice things. Because you all watch a really visually impressive live performance and the one thing you take away from it is the least interesting thing about it. I'm not even 100% sure what Left Shark did, other than appear on stage dressed as a shark. But you all think it's the most wonderful thing to ever happen. I hate you. And you deserve it.

But thankfully something good did come out of all of this: the previously mentioned (at least twice, please keep up) exchange of legal letters. Because a guy called Fernando Sosa, who generally creates 3D printed sculptures of political figures, decided to make one of Left Shark and put it for sale on 3D print-selling Shapeways for any of you fools with a few bob spare to buy.

A move that, in itself, deserves no more than 8% of a mention. But then Katy Perry's eagle-eyed lawyers spotted the 3D print design and immediately issued a cease-and-desist to the website through which the statue was being sold. Shapeways duly complied, taking down the page on its site selling the 3D shark and cancelling all orders. Perry's lawyers probably thought this act would pass by unnoticed. But lots of people noticed. For various reasons not limited to the inexplicable interest in Left Shark.

In response, Sosa posted the design for the statue on Thingiverse, and various other 3D printing sites, giving anyone with access to a 3D printer the opportunity to download it and print their own. And he also started selling a new character on Shapeways called Drunk Shark.

Writing on his blog, Sosa said: "I didn't make this 2.7 inches 3D printed figurine of a comical sea creature wanting to get into a legal battle. If anything I expected more controversy regarding my previous works, which included homophobic world leaders and local politicians. I certainly didn't expect this reaction from a comical dancing shark".

Meanwhile, amongst the many people debating on what grounds - intellectual property law-wise - Team Perry could issue a cease-and-desist against Sosa's shark was NYU law professor Christopher Sprigman, who tweeted that Perry certainly had no claim to any copyright in Left Shark.

He sounds like the kind of guy you'd want on your side in a battle like this. Luckily for Sosa, Sprigman subsequently agreed to act as his legal rep. And even more lucky for us, Sprigman is adept in the art of the humorous legal letter.

"Mr Sosa is not especially eager to be fighting over copyright, but the legal merits of your claim seem very weak", he wrote. "We also wonder what Katy Perry could possibly stand to gain from declaring war on an internet meme, but that's her business".

He pointed out that costumes (of sharks or otherwise) have no copyright protection under US law, and then pondered as to why Perry felt that the (non-existent) copyright in the costume would automatically belong to her anyway, given she presumably didn't even design the outfit. He also included a quote from an interview the singer gave to Elle magazine, in which she bemoaned how much control she'd had to give up while putting together the Super Bowl show, specifically mentioning the "many committees I have to go through for my costumes".

"Just drop this thing", he finished. "My client just wants to get back to his business, and he (and I'd wager pretty much everyone else) would be grateful if you'd just back off. Going ahead with these very dubious copyright claims will not benefit Katy Perry".

Yeah, sure, but they could be good business for Katy Perry's lawyers, who I'm sure know when they're onto a good thing. And so, on Tuesday this week, they responded with a new letter, keeping the fire burning.

Katy Perry owns the copyright, they said, because her company owns the copyright. Duh. And her team created "multiple shark drawings" in the process of realising the now iconic shark costume. "All of these drawings are copyrightable", wrote Perry's lead legal dude Steve Plinio. "As are multiple elements of the drawings incorporated into the final shark costumes themselves".

He also claimed that Sosa's selling of his statue amounted to unfair competition, adding that "it is clear that any commercial value that your client's sculptures have derives solely from the public's association of them with Ms Perry". However, he concluded, Perry is "not interested in a dispute" and would be happy to sell Sosa a licence.

"Whoo! Plinio's got him there. He certainly showed Sprigman who's boss, and no mistake". Yes, I know that's what you're thinking, but that's why you're not a lawyer. As we've already established, you're someone who claps at dancing sharks. CJ Sprigman claps at nothing. He just sees holes in legal arguments and writes letters about them.

As such, he got right back on the typewriter (computers do not impress him either), and bashed out a detailed response. "The drawings are irrelevant", he spat. "Sketches of Left Shark may be copyrightable, but that doesn't make the Left Shark costume copyrightable".

Perry would have a claim if Sosa had included the drawings made by the singer's people in his sculpture design, Sprigman agreed. But as Sosa had never seen those drawings (or, indeed, known they existed), that would be difficult to achieve. Instead, he'd just had to knock something up based on the costume itself, which we've already established has no copyright protection.

As for those other "elements" that Plinio claimed made the design Perry's and Perry's alone, Springman asked what those might be. "I'm obliged to admit that, unlike any shark I've seen, the Left Shark costume has legs", he wrote. "But that doesn't make the Left Shark costume copyrightable. The Left Shark costume has legs because the person inside it has legs".

He added that the unfair competition claim was "meritless" because "there is nothing unfair about copying works that are not copyrighted". And furthermore, the insistence that the commercial value of the shark is intrinsically linked to Perry "misunderstands the source of whatever (probably scant) commercial value the Left Shark may possess".

I think there might have been a derogatory comment about Sosa's business decisions in those brackets there, but there's no time to think about that, because he quickly went on: "No one knew that one of the sharks dancing next to Katy Perry during the Super Bowl halftime show was Left Shark until the internet told us so. The internet decided that Left Shark's flubbed dance moves were hilarious. It gave Left Shark his name, and then it made him into a meme. Left Shark isn't really about Katy Perry. Unless you're telling me she planned this whole thing".

Whether or not anyone's making that claim is unclear, because as yet there has been no response. But there has been an interesting aside, in that during this whole process Perry applied for various trademarks on Left Shark. And one application (albeit one that was abandoned this week) was made on the appearance of the shark.

In order to illustrate what Left Shark looks like, Perry's team submitted, not a screengrab of the Super Bowl performance, but a photograph of Sosa's statue, taken from the Shapeways listing that her lawyers had forced offline.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, I think you'll all agree, was a lot more fun that examining Kanye West's claim that everyone at the Grammys - Taylor Swift included - was hoping he'd actually barge Beck out of the way and proclaim his love of all things Beyonce on stage. OK, some of you may beg to differ, but let's not forget that you're the same people who got so bloody interested in a stupid dancing shark just two weeks ago. Which means I win. And I didn't even need the legal counsel of one CJ Sprigman.

 
ANDY MALT | Editor
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