TUESDAY 23 JUN 2015
TODAY'S TOP STORY: Hey Australia, worry not, we've had web-blocking for ages now, and it's not resulted in the entire internet being censored offline by the sinister rights lobby. Partly because the point is to block websites where people nick other people's movies and music, not to censor or hinder creativity or shut down each and every digital locker. And partly because it's really easy to circumvent... [READ MORE]
 
TODAY'S APPROVED: The two tracks previously released from the new Chemical Brothers album - 'Sometimes I Feel So Deserted' and 'Go' - have suggested that it will be good. The third, 'Under Neon Lights', cements it. Posted yesterday, the track features Annie Clark, aka St Vincent, and sees the normally guitar-led singer adapt quite happily to the Chems' massive electronic sound... [READ MORE]
TOP STORIES Australia passes web-blocking laws
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LEGAL Deadmau5 reaches settlement with Disney over trademark dispute
Sean 'Diddy' Combs charged with assault
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DEALS BMG signs Dave Stewart
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LABELS & PUBLISHERS Manners McDade signs publishing deal with Fabric's Houndstooth label
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LIVE BUSINESS MU lobbies for agent of change principle
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ARTIST NEWS Concert photographer criticises Taylor Swift's rights demands
Ed Sheeran's 'Thinking Out Loud' spends a full year in the Top 40
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ONE LINERS New Janet Jackson, Zun Zun Egui split, Annie Nightingale compilation, and more
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AND FINALLY... People stream David Guetta tracks quite a lot, shocker
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Australia passes web-blocking laws
Hey Australia, worry not, we've had web-blocking for ages now, and it's not resulted in the entire internet being censored offline by the sinister rights lobby.

Partly because the point is to block websites where people nick other people's movies and music, not to censor or hinder creativity or shut down each and every digital locker. And partly because it's really easy to circumvent the blockades. Look, I just downloaded you all the series finale of 'Game Of Thrones' via Kickass Torrents to prove it. Everyone dies, by the way.

So yes, as expected, Australia's Senate has just passed the Copyright Amendment (Online Infringement) Bill 2015 which brings a web-blocking system into effect in the country. Which means that rights owners can request that copyright infringing websites based beyond the jurisdiction of the Australian courts be blocked by ISPs, so that consumers can no longer access sites like the aforementioned Kickass and the always contentious Pirate Bay.

Web-blocking, of course, has become a preferred anti-piracy tactic in a number of European countries where the courts can already issue injunctions ordering ISPs to block offending sites. In the UK, Parliament actually rejected web-blocks (pretty much) when the Digital Economy Act was on the table in 2010, but the movie industry proved they were possible under existing copyright laws, and since then the music business has secured a plethora of blockades. And a number of other European countries have followed suit.

Nevertheless, web-blocking remains controversial, especially in those countries still considering such measures (you'll remember all the hoo and the haa that occurred when a similar system was proposed in the US back in 2012).

Critics worry that websites that are primarily legitimate concerns, but which might inadvertently infringe or enable infringement, including search engines, digital lockers and user-generated content platforms, could get caught up in blocking crusade. Though in the main the sites content owners request be blocked are usually pretty conventional file-sharing sites clearly set up to provide access to copyright infringing music and movies.

People also argue that the web-blocks don't work (former Pirate Bay spokesman Peter Sunde argued just that when asked about the new Aussie rules earlier this week). It's true that it's pretty easy to circumvent the blockades, but right owners say that the blocks still send out an important message. And if only Google would play ball and remove from its search results the proxies that make getting round the blocks so easy, the whole system would be a damn site more effective.

In the Australian Senate, the Greens led the opposition to the web-blocking plans, also proposing a number of amendments. In addition to the usual concerns about web-blocks, critics raised some other issues too, including the lack of clarity on who will pay for the blocking. But in the end the new measures passed 37 in favour to thirteen against.

Simon Bush of the Australian Home Entertainment Distributors Association predictably welcomed the new laws, telling the Sydney Morning Herald: "This is a watershed moment. It's a fantastic day and a really positive sign for the creative content industry, who can invest more as a result".

But Scott Ludlam of the Australian Greens reaffirmed his opposition to the plans, saying: "There is increasing evidence to suggest that site-blocking is not the most effective means of stopping piracy. The only effective way to deal with copyright infringement on the kind of scale that the government is concerned about is to just make content available: conveniently, affordably and in a timely way".

Australia is relatively late to the anti-piracy party, but the government there is now being particularly proactive on the issue, also pressuring ISPs to send out warning letters to suspected file-sharers. The web-blocking legislation will now be sent to the Governor-General for royal assent and then become law. Unless, of course, there is a last minute intervention from Taylor Swift. Because as you know, nothing is certain these days until Taylor Swift has spoken.

Deadmau5 reaches settlement with Disney over trademark dispute
Joel Zimmerman, aka Deadmau5, and Disney have "amicably resolved their dispute" over the producer's attempt to trademark his mouse head logo, a legal rep has confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter.

As previously reported, Disney lodged its opposition to Zimmerman's then over a year old trademark application in September last year. The company argued that the existence of two logos featuring mice with big ears in the world would confuse everyone. The producer and his legal team pointed out that he had been using the logo, based on his on-stage headgear, for almost a decade without issue.

The producer then responded with his own lawsuit against Disney, after noticing that the company had put a clip from one of its TV shows featuring his music on YouTube. While the music had been licensed for TV broadcast, it was not licensed for subsequent online use. "Let's test a theory. It takes em ten years to oppose a trademark, let's see how long it takes em to take down a video", Zimmerman tweeted at the time. Fairly quickly, it turned out.

Since then, behind the scenes negotiations have clearly continued, which has resulted in this amicable settlement. Exact details have not been revealed yet, but Disney will apparently remove its opposition of the application.

The news comes less than a week after Zimmerman went needlessly legal with a comedy musical playing at the Toronto Fringe next month, called 'Deadmouse: The Musical'.

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Sean 'Diddy' Combs charged with assault
Sean 'Diddy' Combs has been arrested in LA, after becoming involved in an argument with his son's American football coach at UCLA.

According to TMZ, Combs confronted an assistant coach who had been shouting at his son, who plays for the university's team. The two men then became involved in a physical fight, which resulted in Combs being arrested on charges of assault with a deadly weapon.

In a statement, UCLA later said: "Shortly after 12:30pm today, Sean Combs (also known as P Diddy) was arrested at UCLA's Acosta Athletic Training Complex on a charge of assault with a deadly weapon, which was a kettlebell. No one was seriously injured and UCPD is investigating. Combs is expected to be transported to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department Inmate Reception Center later this evening".

A kettlebell, should you be wondering, is an item of weightlifting equipment. Basically, it's a heavy ball with a handle and looks like it would hurt if you were hit with one.

Coach Jim Mora added: "I'm thankful that our staff showed the level of professionalism that they did in handling this situation. This is an unfortunate incident for all parties involved. While UCPD continues to review this matter, we will let the legal process run its course and refrain from further comment at this time".

According to the LA Times, Combs' charges were subsequently updated to be three counts of assault with a deadly weapon, one count of making terrorist threats and one count of battery. He has now been released on bail.

BMG signs Dave Stewart
Dave Stewart has signed a "wide-ranging agreement" with BMG, because why wouldn't you? See, you can't think of one reason can you? So that's why.

It's a "multi-faceted" deal, and amongst the facets of which there are multiple, BMG will administer Stewart's publishing rights past and future, look after the song rights that stem from a new talent show he's producing called 'Songland', work with him on his "creative social network" venture Talenthouse, and record a concert of his in Berlin.

BMG's sister company Penguin Random House will then publish his autobiography and Stewart will be a brand ambassador for BMG and the wider Bertelsmann business. Which, I think we can all agree, is definitely a lot of facets.

Says BMG boss Hartwig Masuch: "Dave Stewart's enormous range of accomplishments is a reminder that in our connected world, music no longer exists in its own self-contained bubble. With the backing of Bertelsmann, BMG is committed to helping artists and writers capitalise on the vast number of opportunities now open to them".

Says the man that is Dave Stewart: "BMG takes music publishing on to a new level. It's creative, transparent and fair and no other music company can offer a multi-platform deal like this. Many companies talk about synergy, but few have pulled it off. BMG is a new company with a new approach, but at heart it's a music company which really understands artists".

Remember when Dave Stewart launched a musical bank? No, me neither.

Manners McDade signs publishing deal with Fabric's Houndstooth label
Manners McDade has signed a deal to administer the publishing rights of artists signed to Fabric's Houndstooth label, on behalf of Fabric Publishing.

Fabric Worldwide MD Rob Butterworth said in a statement: "We're very excited to be working with Manners McDade, after meeting the team it was an easy decision for us to make. We're delighted to be joining such a strong roster of clients and benefit from their huge wealth of experience. We're looking forward to a long and fruitful relationship together".

Manners McDade's Cathering Manners added: "The Houndstooth catalogue sits very naturally alongside our own roster of writers and artists and we very much look forward to developing a long term relationship with Rob and his team".

Other labels whose publishing rights are represented by Manners McDade include One Little Indian, Ghostly International and Morr Music.

MU lobbies for agent of change principle
Fresh from its success in the High Court over the private copy right, the Musicians' Union has been pursuing another of the issues high up its agenda, lobbying Parliament and government over the so called 'agent of change' principle.

One of the top issues raised during the #VoteForMusic campaign in the run up to the recent General Election - as revealed at The Great Escape last month - the agent of change principle is the idea that if property developers plonk new residential buildings next to existing live music venues, they should have a legal and financial responsibility to provide whatever sound proofing is necessary to ensure the venue and future residents can co-exist.

It's an attempt to overcome the increasing occurrence whereby people move in next to a music venue, possibly because the music venue has helped make a previously undesirable part of town attractive again, and then complain about the noise, often forcing said venues to cut back their music programmes or shut down entirely. Not least because grassroots music venues rarely have the budgets required to pay for costly sound proofing to be put in. A flurry of venues have faced this challenge in recent years, and several more are set to in the near future.

Commenting on the MU's bid to introduce the agent of change principle, which already exists in Australia, over here, the Union's General Secretary John Smith said yesterday: "Music venues across the country are vitally important - both for musicians and bands who rely on them for their livelihoods and for music fans and local communities".

He went on: "Venues must, of course, stick to the terms of their licence and residents must be able to complain if they do not comply or are causing a genuine nuisance. But a growing number of well-established venues have been forced to close or to undertake expensive noise reduction work as a result of noise complaints and abatement notices served by new developments. We would like the government to consider introducing the agent of change principle in order to help protect these important cultural spaces".

  Approved: The Chemical Brothers & St Vincent - Under Neon Lights
The two tracks previously released from the new Chemical Brothers album - 'Sometimes I Feel So Deserted' and 'Go' - have suggested that it will be good. The third, 'Under Neon Lights', cements it.

Posted yesterday, the track features Annie Clark, aka St Vincent, and sees the normally guitar-led singer adapt quite happily to the Chems' massive electronic sound.

"We're always looking to work with likeminded people who do something a bit different to us", says the duo's Tom Rowlands. "Annie is an amazing artist who was very up for experimenting".

The album, 'Born In The Echoes', is due out on 17 Jul. Check out 'Under Neon Lights' now.
CLICK HERE to read and share online
 

Concert photographer criticises Taylor Swift's rights demands
The world rejoiced this weekend of course, when Taylor Swift singlehandedly took on the might of Apple and won, the tech giant definitely not just doing something it was planning on doing anyway (ie capitulating on the royalty free summer) but grabbing extra PR points by pretending it was responding to one popstar rather than thousands of labels.

Oh, but look at me being all cynical. And either way, Swift's letter calling for fairer terms from Apple Music, regardless of what actual impact it had, was indeed a well-written, passionately delivered and much-needed show of support by a big name musician for grass roots artists, songwriters, labels and publishers.

There are numerous reasons why Swift was the only big pop name to do this, not least because, before you start calling out big companies on unfair practices, you need to be pretty sure your own business dealings are in fine order first. And for the most part, Swift's quite probably are. But there's always going to be a weak spot, and in this case it is the agreement she apparently asks photographers to sign before they document her live shows.

As Swift's open letter was being circulated over the weekend, freelance photographer Jason Sheldon wrote his own. "I have read your open letter to Apple where you give your reasons for refusing to allow your album '1989' to be included on their forthcoming Apple Music streaming service", he wrote. "I applaud it. It's great to have someone with a huge following standing up for the rights of creative people and making a stand against the corporate behemoths who have so much power they can make or break someone's career".

But after the compliments, he posted portions of the photographer agreement he had been asked to sign before attending one of the popstar's concerts. This stated that he could only licence photographs taken at the show once to the publication that commissioned him. After that, all rights in the pictures must be handed over to Swift for her own use forever more.

"You say in your letter to Apple that 'three months is a long time to go unpaid'", continued Sheldon. "But you seem happy to restrict us to being paid once, and never being able to earn from our work ever again, while granting you the rights to exploit our work for your benefit for all eternity".

Clarifying the problem in a later update, he added: "As a freelance photographer, I am asked to photograph concerts by publications. I get paid IF and when the photos are used, not for turning up to a show and shooting it. Therefore, if the newspaper has a bigger story to run and doesn't have enough room to use my photo, I don't get paid".

"When I'm not allowed to do anything else with the photos, that means I've incurred expenses to work, which I can't recover", he continued. "Therefore preventing me from licensing my photos to more than one publication, or even (as later versions of this contract stipulate) preventing me from using the images for my own self-promotion in a portfolio etc while they can use them without licensing the usage is highly unfair and unjustified".

Concluding the original letter, he echoed the closing sentiment of Swift's plea to Apple: "With all due respect to you Taylor, you can do the right thing and change your photo policy. Photographers don't ask for your music for free. Please don't ask us to provide you with your marketing material for free".

Such agreements over the rights in photographs taken at gigs are not something solely demanded by Swift, nor is it something particularly new. Jane's Addiction made such demands on their reunion tour in 2009 and in 2012, and The Stone Roses were heavily criticised by photographers for asking them to sign similar agreements that would turn over all rights in pictures taken of the band in return for a payment of £1.

And earlier this year, photographer Pat Pope publicly called out Garbage and their management for asking to print some of his early pictures of the band in a new book, on the grounds that he had already been paid for taking them in the first place.

Though as yet, Swift is yet to comment on the criticism of her photographer contracts.

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Ed Sheeran's 'Thinking Out Loud' spends a full year in the Top 40
Ed Sheeran has become the first ever artist to have a single in the UK Top 40 for a full year with 'Thinking Out Loud'. I know, I'd have thought that had happened before too, but apparently not. Pharrell's 'Happy' got close with 49 weeks, but 49 weeks is not enough.

The track also holds the record for the longest ever climb to the number one slot, according to the Official Charts Company. It entered the chart at number 26 in June last year, and took nineteen weeks to get to the top. Now, 52 weeks after its first appearance, it's at number 28.

More stats? OK, its lowest position in all that time was number 32 two weeks ago, and in total the track has had combined sales and streams of 1.65 million. That number might seem a bit strange, but it is of course the inclusion of streams along with sales in the chart that have allowed this to happen. The single's slow rise is also down to the fact that the album's popularity on streaming services meant the track charted months before it was officially released as a single.

So well done Ed, have a biscuit and a slice of cake. Maybe even a slice of biscuit cake. Is biscuit cake a thing? Well, if it's not, I'm sure Ed can change that. And if not, Taylor Swift definitely could.

New Janet Jackson, Zun Zun Egui split, Annie Nightingale compilation, and more

Other notable announcements and developments today...

Approved earlier this year, Zun Zun Egui have announced that they are splitting up. "After seven amazing years the stresses and strains of touring and working together have taken their toll and we feel it is time to go our separate ways and pursue other dreams and projects", the band said in a Facebook post.

• Janet Jackson has released the first music under that there new deal with BMG and it's a track called 'No Sleeep'.

• Kill J have released the video for new track 'Cold Stone'.

• Annie Nightingale recently confirmed that she is marking 50 years in broadcasting with a new compilation on Ministry Of Sound. Here's a video trailer.

• Former Pipette Gwenno will release her debut solo album, 'Y Dydd Olaf', on 24 Jul. She'll be heading out on a co-headline tour with H Hawkline in September.

• Purity Ring have announced another run of UK shows, including one at The Roundhouse in London on 29 Oct.

• Every Time I Die have announced a UK tour in November, which will conclude with three shows in different venues around London.

People stream David Guetta tracks quite a lot, shocker
David Guetta has just passed the all important two billion plays landmark on Spotify, only the third artist to ever do so. And it is "all important". It really is.

Just because you, me, my mum, your mum, that bloke I spoke to on the tube last night, Francis, Marc, Mildred, all the guys at my local Pret, the 47 people who were conveniently sitting on the number 47 bus this morning, the entire population of Malta, everyone in this office, everyone in your office, my old history teacher, Piers Morgan, Bill Maher, Jennifer Aniston, everyone taking a flag to Glastonbury this weekend, everyone performing at the Edinburgh Fringe this August, everyone whoever read a Harry Potter book, the entire House Of Lords, those currently on bail for minor thefts, climate change deniers, pigeon fanciers, deep sea divers, quilt makers, and pretty much everyone outside Guetta's marketing team and Spotify's PR office, including even the craziest of the French, couldn't give the slightest shit about it, that doesn't stop it being all important.

Though please note: this information is pending guidance from Taylor Swift. We'll keep an eye on her Tumblr. It may as yet turn out it isn't all that important after all.

 
ANDY MALT | Editor
Andy heads up the team, overseeing the CMU bulletin and website, coordinating features and interviews, reporting on artist and business stories, and contributing to the CMU Approved column.
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Chris provides music business coverage and analysis. Chris also leads the CMU Insights training and consultancy business and education programme CMU:DIY, and heads up CMU publisher 3CM UnLimited.
Email chris@unlimitedmedia.co.uk (except press releases, see below)
   
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