TODAY'S TOP STORY: So, a summary judgement has been granted in the big 'Happy Birthday' lawsuit and in something of a bombshell ruling for Warner Music's publishing division Warner/Chappell, a judge has decided that the major does not control the copyright in the world famous song, even though it's been collecting royalties from it since 1988. As previously reported, the spotlight was... [READ MORE]
TODAY'S APPROVED: Ridiculously-named Texan shoegaze types Ringo Deathstarr have announced that they will release their fifth studio album, 'Pure Mood', through Club AC30 on 20 Nov. "We have never spent as much time on any album before, but it was only a few hours a day maybe three times a week... sometimes less", say the band. "Waiting for the album to be released is the hardest... [READ MORE]
CMU PODCAST: CMU's Andy Malt and Chris Cooke review the week in music and the music business, including what the long-running dancing baby case tells us about takedowns and fair use, Aretha Franklin’s film woes, what Nielsen's latest stats tell us about the streaming music sector, and Elton John not chatting to the Russian president. The CMU Podcast is sponsored by 7digital... [LISTEN HERE]
TOP STORIES Judge rules Warner/Chappell does not control Happy Birthday
DEALS Future Classic partners with Caroline International
Imagem and Fintage House launch new neighbouring rights joint venture
LIVE BUSINESS DHP Family looks to expand
MANAGEMENT & FUNDING Adrian Karvinen joins Three Six Zero
DIGITAL & D2F SERVICES Deezer plans IPO on Paris stock exchange by the end of the year
ARTIST NEWS Emika crowdfunds her first symphony
RELEASES One Direction announce new album Made In The AM
ONE LINERS AIM, Music Business Association, Kurt Cobain, more
AND FINALLY... Father John Misty deletes Taylor Swift covers at request of Lou Reed
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Judge rules Warner/Chappell does not control Happy Birthday
So, a summary judgement has been granted in the big 'Happy Birthday' lawsuit and in something of a bombshell ruling for Warner Music's publishing division Warner/Chappell, a judge has decided that the major does not control the copyright in the world famous song, even though it's been collecting royalties from it since 1988.

As previously reported, the spotlight was put on the copyright status of 'Happy Birthday' when a film company sued Warner/Chappell in 2013, claiming that it should not have to get a licence from the publisher to use the song because it was, in fact, in the public domain, and no longer protected by copyright. In the legal wranglings that have followed, various arguments have been bounced around and put forward.

Among the issues debated were if and when 'Happy Birthday' - and especially the song's lyrics - were registered with the US Copyright Office; what various publications carrying the song before that registration meant; and which version of early 20th century US copyright law we were meant to be looking at, because that could impact on when the copyright was due to expire (while in Europe the copyright term is simply 70 years after the death of the writer, in America early 20th century works are still on fixed terms from publication).

In the end three distinct arguments were presented in court. All related to the lyrics of 'Happy Birthday', because even Warner/Chappell agreed that the basic melody of the song - originally written in the late nineteenth century by sisters Patty and Mildred Hill, with different lyrics under the name 'Good Morning To You' - was out of copyright in the US.

A specific arrangement of that melody, registered by music publisher Summy Co in the 1930s, is still in copyright. The big question is whether that registration included the 'Happy Birthday' version of the lyrics, which Patty Hill claimed she had written in the years after composing the original song with her sister. There remains much debate on this point.

Plaintiffs in the case ultimately presented three arguments as to why those lyrics were not, in fact, in copyright. Firstly, they questioned whether Patty had actually written the specific 'Happy Birthday' lyrics, because they surfaced in a number of places uncredited before the Mill sister claimed they were her lyrics during a deposition as part of a 1935 lawsuit.

Secondly, even if the Hills were responsible for the lyrics, the plaintiffs argued that the sisters had abandoned the copyright in them before Summy Co registered the new arrangement of the song - which may or may not have included the lyrics - in the mid-1930s. This argument is based on various technicalities in American copyright law of the time regarding how creators claimed protection in their work.

The third and, as it turns out, most important argument is that while it is clear that the Hill sisters assigned the copyrights in 'Good Morning To You' and the 1930s rearrangements of the melody to Summy Co, evidence is lacking of any deal regarding the 'Happy Birthday' lyrics. So even if Patty Hill did write the lyrics, and even if she never abandoned the copyright in them, that copyright never transferred to Summy Co. And Warner/Chappell's claim to the song stems from its acquisition of that company in the 1980s.

With both sides in the dispute seeking summary judgements in their favour, judge George H King ruled that the first two claims would require full court hearings for the various arguments and evidence to be properly considered.

However, on the final claim - whether or not the copyright in the lyrics to 'Happy Birthday' ever transferred to Summy Co - the judge was happy to rule in the plaintiff's favour. So whatever the copyright status of the lyrics, they never belonged to Summy Co, and therefore never belonged to Warner/Chappell.

The major says that it is now reviewing the ruling, and it will probably appeal. But if the ruling stands, it could be costly for the publisher. Even by Warner/Chappell's maths, the copyright in 'Happy Birthday' is due to expire in Europe at the end of next year, but the company reckons it has exclusive rights to the song in the US until 2030.

There is also the matter of damages for those artists, labels, film companies and so on who have had to pay the publisher for the rights to exploit the song in the past, because the plaintiffs in the case were pursuing a class action meaning the ruling is relevant to others who have previously licensed 'Happy Birthday'.

A statement from the legal reps representing one of the plaintiffs in the case, Rupa Marya, issued overnight says: "The next step in the case is to determine how much of the millions of dollars in licensing revenue Warner/Chappell Music must refund to the thousands of people who have licensed the song".

Meanwhile Marya herself told reporters: "I hope we can start reimagining copyright law to do what it's supposed to do - protect the creations of people who make stuff so that we can continue to make more stuff. This ruling has forever changed the current perversion of copyright which protects corporations' ability to exploit content and copyright law for their own interest".

With appeals and damages hearings pending there is still plenty to come in this case, but this initial ruling is nevertheless big news.

Future Classic partners with Caroline International
Australian indie label Future Classic has hired Universal Music's Caroline International to handle its distribution in the US and various European territories, including the UK.

Caroline Joint MD Michael Roe confirmed the deal, saying: "Future Classic is one of Australia's premiere labels that has established a tradition of taking fantastic homegrown talent to international audiences. We're delighted that Nathan and his brilliant team have chosen Caroline as their international partner".

Meanwhile the label's founder Nathan McLay added: "We're excited to be working with Michael and his team at Caroline to further increase the reach of our artists internationally".

Currently celebrating its tenth anniversary, Future Classic is the Australian home to artists like Chet Faker, Jagwar Ma, Flight Facilities, Cashmere Cat and Classixx.


Imagem and Fintage House launch new neighbouring rights joint venture
Independent publisher Imagem has announced a new neighbouring rights joint venture with Fintage House, a long-term specialist in the so called neighbouring rights in sound recordings. The new company, called FIM, will be headed up by Imagem's current Neighbouring Rights Manager Heide Avent.

Says Fintage House CEO Niels Teves: "We are very happy to be working with Imagem on the collection of neighbouring rights for their artists across the board from pop to classical stars. The fit between our two companies is all about our personal approach with clients and attention to detail".

He added: "Despite some suggestions that collecting neighbouring rights is a simple process that can be run purely by technology, it remains in fact a highly complicated and detailed business requiring close personal attention. Understanding each client's needs and set-up on an individual basis is a key part of this. Imagem has very strong relationships with artists and writers and adopts a similar approach to Fintage House".

Imagem CEO André de Raaff adds: 'We are delighted to embark on this partnership with Fintage House who have been involved in the collection of neighbouring rights for fifteen years and are a market leader in the sector. Under the leadership of Niels Teves, they will help us to optimise the income of this specialized IP right from all sources worldwide and we are delighted that our Heide Avent will be part of FIM for the future".

DHP Family looks to expand
Live music firm DHP Family has announced plans to expand its portfolio of venues in London and university towns around the UK. And the company is calling on anyone who might have a venue going spare to get in touch.

The firm's Club Development Director Bart Easter says: "All of our current iconic establishments have their own personality, driven by their own individual audience. We are currently operating seven venues nationally combined with both ticketing and promotional businesses, and are on the lookout for new opportunities in this area".

"Last year alone we promoted 1000 shows across the UK, serving over a million customers at our venues and events", he continued. "We aim to build upon this success year after year and urge anyone who may have a suitable property to get in touch".

Based in Nottingham - where it runs Rock City, Rescue Rooms, Stealth and Bodega - DHP opened its first London view, Oslo in Hackney, last year.

Adrian Karvinen joins Three Six Zero
Management firm Three Six Zero Group yesterday announced that recently London-based artist manager Adrian Karvinen has joined its LA operation, bringing with him his current roster of artists Say Lou Lou, Miamigo, Crystal Fighter's singer Kyiki and young Australian producer James Malone.

Confirming the new recruit, Three Six Zero CEO Mark Gillespie told reporters: "We've always had the utmost respect for Adrian. Myself and Dean [Wilson] are very proud for him to join the Three Six Zero team".

Meanwhile Karvinen himself added: "I'm thrilled to be joining what I consider to be not only one of the best management companies, but best entertainment companies in the business right now. Dean, Mark and the rest of the team are true leaders when it comes to breaking artists worldwide. I'm excited to be working alongside such visionaries and contributing my knowledge and skills that I've learnt over the past ten years in the industry".

Deezer plans IPO on Paris stock exchange by the end of the year
So, Deezer is going to get to the IPO starting line before Spotify.

As previously reported, Bloomberg noted that the French streaming music firm was seeking new finance last month, adding that an initial public offering on one or another stock exchange was one of the options being considered. And yesterday the company confirmed plans to float on the Paris stock exchange Euronext before the end of the year.

For tech start-up businesses, the IPO is often the big pay-day for founders and early backers, though for Deezer it seems to be more about raising much needed new finance to fuel further expansion in an increasingly competitive marketplace rather than current investors seeking their return.

While it has the biggest global reach in the subscription streaming space, Deezer is some way behind Spotify in signing up both freemium and premium users, and is now in competition with Apple too, of course. It's thought that a bulk of the service's paying users remain in its home country France where it has had a long alliance with tel co Orange, a shareholder in the company.

The company's valuation will depend on investor demand but is currently being touted at around one billion euros, or about $1.1 billion, compared to Spotify's most recent valuation of $8.5 billion. According to Reuters, Deezer says its revenues grew by 53% last year to 142 million euros and that it hopes to hit a positive monthly operating profit by the end of 2018.

CEO Hans-Holger Albrecht said in a statement yesterday: "Our contemplated IPO represents a key step in the continued development of our business. It will help us expand our offering through innovative marketing campaigns, drive deeper distribution through our telecom and manufacturer partnerships, and further improve our product and content to deliver an even better service for our listeners".

Aside from Orange, Warner Music owner Access Industries is an existing shareholder in Deezer, as are, of course, the three major record companies, which insist on equity from digital start-ups as part of their initial licensing deals.

The record companies' equity position in the streaming services has proven controversial in the artist community, with much speculation as to what the labels will do with the money they make when those shares are sold.

The majors at least are expected to argue that because the profits of any share sale cannot be linked to the exploitation of specific tracks they are not obliged to share the income with artists under the terms of a classic record contact. That is probably correct, though artists argue that without the combined value of their recordings the record companies could never have leveraged an equity deal.

We've been waiting for a big streaming music firm transaction to occur to bring that argument to the fore, and the Deezer IPO could be it. Though Albrecht added that current shareholders would not sell their stakes in the IPO, and if that includes the labels, then the music community's big streaming equity row may be pushed back for now.

  Approved: Ringo Deathstarr - Guilty
Ridiculously-named Texan shoegaze types Ringo Deathstarr have announced that they will release their fifth studio album, 'Pure Mood', through Club AC30 on 20 Nov.

"We have never spent as much time on any album before, but it was only a few hours a day maybe three times a week... sometimes less", say the band. "Waiting for the album to be released is the hardest part because we are ready to get out there and show it to the world!"

Well, they'll have to wait a bit longer because, as I think I mentioned already, it's not out until November. But to calm everyone down a bit, Club AC30 has posted new single 'Guilty' up there on SoundCloud.

Featuring vocals from bassist Alex Gehring, the track is about as high energy as shoegaze gets, with Gehring also dropping bass riffs all over the place that make you want to throw your limbs around. A strong return then.

Listen to 'Guilty' here
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Emika crowdfunds her first symphony
Emika has announced a new crowdfunding campaign to raise money to record her first symphony.

The musician, whose work spans electronic and classical, plans to record with the Prague Metropolitan Orchestra and soprano Michaela Srumova next year. She will also release material documenting the whole creative process of the project, from initial writing to the project's completion.

"I've wanted to compose a big piece for a symphony orchestra since I was a kid studying at music school", says Emika. "It's something that scares and excites me in equal measure, and something which I've been working towards for a very long time. I met Michaela in Prague when I was recording a string piece for my track 'Dem Worlds', which featured on my second album 'DVA'. I fell in love with her voice and she became my first serious muse. I was so inspired by the experience that I promised myself I would compose something much bigger".

Of the actual composition, she adds: "I have attempted to create a fresh sound for the orchestra and a new context beyond the constraints of traditional classical music. With traditional scores and orchestras, you never know exactly how it is going to sound. It can be affected the mood of the performers, or the sound of the space it's being played in. It's a huge risk. That's why I'm so excited about it. I thrive on challenges".

If she reaches her 20,000 euro goal, she hopes to begin recording in early 2016, with the release of the record pencilled in for September next year.

Find out more about the project and donate here.

One Direction announce new album Made In The AM
Ahead of their performance at the Apple Music Festival last night, One Direction have announced that they will release their fifth and final (for now) album, titled 'Made In The AM', on 13 Nov. New Music Friday The Thirteenth.

In a heartfelt message to fans yesterday, Harry Styles said: "Hi. Our new album 'Made In The AM' is available for pre-order today".

I know I can't be the only person wiping away a little tear right now. He added that if you do pre-order the record, you'll get an instant grat download of album track 'Infinity'. Except he didn't say "instant grat", because Harry Styles is a better person than I will ever be.

What he didn't mention is that the song - "an epic and rousing slice of guitar pop written by John Ryan, Jamie Scott and Julian Bunetta, the team behind One Direction's massive hit 'Story Of My Life'", or so it says here - is also available right now on streaming services. I am literally listening to it as I type this. That is why everything I am writing now feels so epic and rousing. Infiniteeeeieieeieeiiey. Yeeeeiiaieieh.

AIM, Music Business Association, Kurt Cobain, more

Other notable announcements and developments today...

• The Association Of Independent Music got four new board members at its AGM yesterday: Cherry Red's Adam Velasco; Believe Digital's Ben Rimmer; Domino's Harry Martin; and Kobalt's Vincent Clery-Melin.

• The Music Business Association in the US has also announced three new board members: Sony Music's Bob Garbarini; Entertainment One's Michael Healy; and Big Machine's Kelly Rich. "Thrilled", said the association's president James Donio.

• The plundering of Kurt Cobain's archives continues, with his cover of The Beatles' 'And I Love Her' due for release on seven-inch vinyl on 20 Nov.

• Have we mentioned that Joanna Newsom has a new album called 'Drivers' coming out on 23 Oct? I don't think we have. Well, she does. A couple of tracks are already available on iTunes.

• Rudimental have released the title track from their upcoming second album, 'We The Generation', which is due out on 2 Oct. Watch the video for the track here.

• Roots Manuva has released new single 'Don't Breath Out', from his new album 'Bleeds', which it out on 30 Oct. He'll play an album launch show at the Islington Assembly Rooms on 5 Nov. Listen to 'Don't Breath Out' here.

• The Shoes will release a new album, titled 'Chemicals', on 30 Oct. Watch the meme-tastic video for 'Drifted' here.

• Petite Meller has released new single 'Barbaric'. She'll play Heaven in London on 15 Oct. "'Barbaric' is about the wish to be uncivilised, to un-supersede your wild desires", says the singer. "We are all barbaric. Don't try to make us normal". Listen in an uncivilised manner on Spotify here.

• Låpsley has announced various headline shows in October and November, including at The Dome in Tufnell Park on 4 Nov. Full details on her website.

Father John Misty deletes Taylor Swift covers at request of Lou Reed
While Ryan Adams has been spreading his covers of the songs on Taylor Swift's '1989' album far and wide, Father John Misty has been acting more Swift-like by taking his down. Although it wasn't a financial or business model protest that led him to remove his versions of 'Welcome To New York' and 'Blank Space' from SoundCloud; Lou Reed told him to do it.

The former Fleet Foxes member, real name Joshua Tillman, released his Velvet Underground-inspired versions of the songs after Adams put out his re-recording of the Swift album in the style of Bruce Springsteen. He tweeted the 'Blank Space' cover, calling it his "interpretation from the classic Ryan Adams album '1989'".

He then removed both tracks on Tuesday, saying in a lengthy statement yesterday that Reed had come to him in a dream and told him: "Delete those tracks, don't summon the dead, I am not your plaything".

"I had a very strange dream that I abruptly woke up from around 3am early this morning", he wrote. "I was crab-walking around a neighborhood in New Orleans that, though it does not exist, is a recurring location in my dreams. My childhood friend Brian Kawamura was telling me I still owed the tennis rental place $7000, when the French psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan was suddenly standing over me, saying over and over, 'The only thing crazier than a peasant who believes he is King, is a King who believes he is a King'.

"He put one of those birthday Burger King crowns on my head and out of the clouds a sort of 'Switched On Bach' version of 'Ode To Joy' began to play. A crowd which had formed around me began to sing along, with tears streaming down their faces. The crowd was obviously hypnotized and I assumed if I crept away discreetly no one would notice. The earth became a sort of treadmill, and though the locations (The Great Wall Of China, a McDonald's where I had my third birthday, the town from Michael Haneke's 'The White Ribbon', Vignola's restaurant in Rockville, MD), 'Ode To Joy' and the crowd remained all around me".

"All of a sudden it was time to soundcheck, which I was late for, and Barack Obama offered to give me a ride on Air Force One. He told me he needed urgent advice regarding some important policy decisions, and we spent the day in Hawaii playing basketball, petting his dogs, golfing and the like when I, gripped with anxiety, told him I really needed to get to soundcheck so we needed to discuss the ruling of the free world".

"By this time he had turned into an obscene visage of my Father and said, 'I have one injunction for you, son: That you enjoy life. It is by this mandate that all is ruled. It is the true tyranny; the equalizing force that binds us all'. I jumped out of Air Force One and landed on top of this massive pink, sparkly, glowing blob that stretched for miles beyond miles, covering entire cities, and I had to keep gulping down chlorophyll because the thing was emitting insane levels of EMFs, so my mouth and hands were stained dark green".

"Down inside the blob I could see thousands of familiar faces and one of them was Lou Reed on a catwalk hand-cuffed to supermodels who had adopted babies handcuffed to them and Lou said, 'Delete those tracks, don't summon the dead, I am not your plaything. The collection of souls is an expensive pastime'. Then I woke up".

So, I think you can see the bind he found himself in. Though that is not to say that no one should cover his covers of those covers of Taylor Swift's originals in the style of someone less demanding. Or at least less dead.

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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