TODAY'S TOP STORY: Shortly after it emerged that claims against Warner/Chappell in relation to 'Happy Birthday' could go back all the way to 1949, yesterday the publishing major announced it had reached a settlement in the long running legal battle over the copyright status of the popular song. As previously reported, there were various strands to the legal battle instigated... [READ MORE]
TODAY'S APPROVED: It's been quite a year for Scottish pop singer-songwriter Kloe. After the release of two songs, 'Grip' and 'Feel', which gained much support online and Radio 1 airplay from then Radio 1 man Zane Lowe, she was whisked off to LA to work with various writers and producers, also signing to the IAMSOUND label. Now she's back with new single 'Touch' with an... [READ MORE]
CMU PODCAST: CMU's Andy Malt and Chris Cooke review the week in music and the music business, including Peter Hook’s lawsuit against his former New Order bandmates, the latest development’s in web-blocks, the social media hijack at Elastic Artists, and all those ones to watch lists. The CMU Podcast is sponsored by 7digital... [LISTEN HERE]
TOP STORIES Warner/Chappell settles over Happy Birthday
LEGAL European Commission announces copyright reform agenda
Short-lived streaming app Aurous settles with US record industry
LABELS & PUBLISHERS Competition Authority publishes 'issues statement' for PRS review
CDs still popular among those modern streaming types, says BPI
ARTIST NEWS Scott Weiland's ex-wife writes open letter, asks fans not to "glorify" death
Robert Plant and Tinariwen join Red Cross album project
GIGS & FESTIVALS Joanna Newsom announces 2016 shows
Kygo announces UK live shows
AND FINALLY... AIDS drug 'price gouger' revealed to be single-copy Wu-Tang album buyer
Click JUMP to skip direct to a section of this email or ONLINE to read and share stories on the CMU website (JUMP option may not work in all email readers). For regular updates from Team CMU follow us on Twitter, Facebook or Tumblr.
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Warner/Chappell settles over Happy Birthday
Shortly after it emerged that claims against Warner/Chappell in relation to 'Happy Birthday' could go back all the way to 1949, yesterday the publishing major announced it had reached a settlement in the long running legal battle over the copyright status of the popular song.

As previously reported, there were various strands to the legal battle instigated when a film company sued Warner/Chappell claiming that 'Happy Birthday' was 'public domain' in the US, which would mean the copyright in the song had expired and the major publisher had no right to collect royalties when it was performed or recorded, even though it had done so for decades.

The case centred on the lyrics of the song, with the plaintiffs arguing that: the Hill sisters, who wrote the melody and the song's original words, which went "good morning to you", didn't pen the more famous lyrics; or if they did they at some point abandoned the copyright in them; or if they didn't, they never transferred ownership of those specific words to their publisher, Summy & Co, a company that was ultimately acquired by Warner in the 1980s.

In September the judge overseeing the case said that the first two arguments would need to be heard in court, but he ruled on the latter point in summary judgement, siding with the plaintiffs and ruling that Warner/Chappell was not the owner of the 'Happy Birthday' lyrics, because there was no evidence that the Hill sisters ever assigned the copyright to Summy back in the early decades of the 20th century.

While Warner/Chappell got busy preparing to appeal that ruling, the plaintiffs in the case began a push to have the judge actually declare 'Happy Birthday' public domain. The copyright status of the song was left ambiguous by the summary judgement, in that the judge simply said that, if the song was still in copyright, Warner/Chappell did not own it.

A charity that receives a cut of the royalties generated by 'Happy Birthday', the Association For Childhood Education, subsequently came forward and said that - if Warner/Chappell wasn't the copyright owner - it probably was. The charity was seemingly founded by Patty Hill and is the beneficiary of her estate.

Yesterday's announcement that a settlement had now been reached was brief. It confirmed that a planned court hearing next week to deal with outstanding matters and damages would now not take place, and that parties on both sides of the dispute had ten days to provide more detailed information about their settlement. Warner/Chappell, meanwhile, told reporters: "While we respectfully disagreed with the court's decision we are pleased to have now resolved this matter".

It's still not clear what all this means for the copyright status of the 'Happy Birthday' lyrics in the US, though sources say the outcome will be that the song is now completely public domain (the melody already is). The song's copyright status is ambiguous because of the slightly complicated rules in US law regarding the copyright terms of works that were created in the early decades of the last century.

In Europe the simpler life-of-creator-plus-70-years rule applies, meaning that the song (lyrics and melody) is in copyright here until next year. Though, while there may not be the debate around copyright status over here, the question of ownership remains, given the September ruling that Warner/Chappell was never the owner of the lyrics.

Which would mean that, whereas in the US, if the song has long been public domain, it would be past licensees who could claim money back from the Warner publisher, in Europe it would be whoever is deemed the owner of the words, which might be Association For Childhood Education.

All in all, we await more information about this settlement with much interest.

European Commission announces copyright reform agenda
The European Commission yesterday set out its agenda regarding the reform of copyright rules across Europe as part of its grand and previously reported Digital Single Market strategy.

There were few surprises among the list of priorities, though the EC provided a little more clarification on what it was trying to achieve, and some information on next steps. There were four key areas: content portability, the harmonisation of some copyright exceptions, ramping up enforcement mainly via 'follow the money', and the clarification of 'making available'.

For most of the entertainment industry - including movies, TV, books and sport - the content portability issue, or 'geo-blocking' as it's usually referred to, is the big issue in the current review of copyright in Europe.

Basically the EC wants to ensure that a Netflix customer in the UK, say, can continue to access content as they travel around the European Union, whereas currently access to some or all content may be cut off as you move from one country to another, depending on the service's licensing deals in the local market.

Many entertainment companies have issues with the demands being made on geoblocking, though the EC says it wants cross-border portability to be a reality by 2017. But such portability would only be available to those 'temporarily resident' in a country other than their own, which is a suitably vague statement to give the big rights owners wiggle room.

The copyright exceptions the EC wants to harmonise relate mainly to education and research, while the main anti-piracy priority is the expansion of the 'follow the money' approach - which is already used in the UK - across the rest of the EU. This aims to cut off the revenue streams of online pirates by ensuring they lose access to ad networks and payment systems. The EC is planning a Europe-wide code of conduct on such activity and could legislate if voluntary codes aren't effective.

For the music community - and especially the artist community - the brief mention of 'making available' in yesterday's document is perhaps most important. 'Making available' is one of the controls that comes with a copyright, and covers the 'digital communication' of a copyright work.

Although introduced in the 1990s, the exploitation of the 'making available' right by digital music services has become a talking point in the artist community in more recent years, because many in that community believe this new element of copyright has been interpreted and implemented in a way that favours record companies over recording artists.

The EC says it will examine whether clarification is needed at an EU level on when making available applies, how it should it be implemented, and how it relates to the traditional 'communication' control that has long been an element of copyright, and which covers traditional broadcast.

Corporate music rights owners, of course, are still hoping that the current review of the European copyright regime could also result in a rethink of the so called 'safe harbours' that protect technology companies whose customers store, distribute or share unlicensed content via their networks or servers. In particular, they want the laws changed so that services like YouTube cannot use these safe harbours to operate an opt-out rather than opt-in streaming service, something that, the labels say, results in a 'value gap' in the digital music market.

A review of safe harbours is not seemingly a key priority for the EC, according to the agenda published yesterday. Although, as part of the focus on enforcing copyright, beyond the aforementioned 'follow the money' programme, the Commission does plan to review the way takedown systems - whereby rights owners can demand infringing content be removed - are working, or not working as the case may be.

This includes "whether to require intermediaries to exercise greater responsibility and make more efforts in the way they manage their networks and systems". Which is basically safe harbours. So, perhaps the labels could get their wish, while artists lobby on making available and getting more transparency around digital revenues.

Certainly indie label repping IMPALA still hopes to ensure the 'value gap' is considered as the copyright review goes through the motions. It's boss Helen Smith said yesterday: "It's time to get rid of friction in the licensing market, and particularly the so-called 'value gap'. Some of the biggest online distributors of music are under-licensed or not licensed at all. We welcome the EU's ambition to fix this and level the playing field. This will benefit all actors across the value chain and help grow the pie".


Short-lived streaming app Aurous settles with US record industry
The man behind the briefly controversial digital music player Aurous has settled with the Recording Industry Association Of America. It was only "briefly" controversial because the record industry went legal within days of the service launching in alpha, stopping distribution of the app before it had really begun.

Aurous was a streaming music app that pulled in content from a variety of sources, though, at launch, mainly from the file-sharing networks.

The service - and its founder Andrew Sampson - wheeled out the customary "we're not hosting the content, we have legit uses, we're just a search engine" excuses in a bid to fight off claims that his service was infringing copyright. But, despite a few days of being bullish about the RIAA's litigation, Sampson quickly threw in the towel, offering to shut his very new business down and give the labels its domains and social media accounts.

The labels, though, continued to push for damages, hitting out at the appearance of the Aurous source code on Github, after an injunction banning the distribution of the app, which basically allowed others to carry on its development. Sampson insisted the code was published by mistake and was old version anyway.

All then went quiet in what had been quite a public spat, but clearly talks were ongoing behind the scenes. And yesterday a legal filing in the Florida federal court confirmed a settlement had now been reached. Both parties agreed that Aurous was, indeed, a copyright infringing service, and the app's maker has agreed to pay $3 million in damages. Sampson and his business partner Danielle Astvatsaturova also agreed to never infringe again.

In addition to the formal agreement shared with the court, there was also an out-of-court settlement between the two parties, which - Torrentfreak points out - could actually lessen the financial liabilities of Sampson and Astvatsaturova. Given how little time Aurous was actually live, really the labels are looking to set a precedent here, ie that services of this kind infringe and the implications of that infringement can be significant. Financially, they may only really want their legal costs covered. Though we don't know that.

Either way, RIAA boss Cary Sherman said he was happy with the arrangement: "Aurous appropriately agreed to shut down. It was the right thing to do. We hope this sends a strong signal that unlicensed services cannot expect to build unlawful businesses on the backs of music creators".

Despite backing down quickly and fully, Sampson - while conceding services like Aurous might be damaging to rights owners and creators - did then tell Torrentfreak that he thinks US copyright law needs to be reformed. He said: "I implore Congress to amend the statute to reflect the realities of file-sharing. There is something wrong with a law that routinely threatens teenagers and students with astronomical penalties for an activity whose implications they may not have fully understood".

Positioning his short-lived run-in with the record industry as a David v Goliath type fight, he added: "The injury to the copyright holder may be real, and even substantial, but, under the statute, the record companies do not even have to prove actual damage. In the US courts it's not about who is right or wrong, people can judge this for themselves, its about how much money can you spend. My only fear is that this lawsuit opens up other websites and services to attack".

Competition Authority publishes 'issues statement' for PRS review
The Competition And Markets Authority has published an 'issues statement' in relation to its previously reported review of specific undertakings made by the music publishing sector's collecting society PRS all the way back in 1997.

The CMA recently considered whether or not to review an assortment of 'market and monopoly remedies' that had been agreed between the UK's competition authority and specific institutions or groups in years gone by. That included the 1997 remedies agreed with PRS, which, as a collecting society, is of interest to the CMA because any form of collective licensing - where a whole group of rights owners chooses to license as one - raises some monopoly concerns.

The PRS undertakings where among those the CMA decided should be fully reviewed, because of all the changes that have occurred in the music space in the last two decades. And, as the 'issues statement' was released yesterday, the collecting society welcomed the move.

PRS said in a statement: "Anyone involved in this industry will clearly recognise the extensive changes that have taken place over the last 20 years both in the external environment and within PRS - these changes have also been recognised by the CMA in their press release, which expressly refers to the online market and the implementation of [the EU's Collective Rights Management Directive]".

Noting that the CMA review only relates to the specific 1997 undertakings - and is not a wider review of the society's operations - PRS added: "We therefore agree with the CMA's decision to assess whether our undertakings are still fit for purpose in this day and age, or whether it would be preferable to amend or remove any undertakings which are no longer deemed to be relevant or necessary. We look forward to cooperating with and providing any assistance required to the CMA".

You can read the CMA's issues statement here.


CDs still popular among those modern streaming types, says BPI
People are still buying CDs, the BPI has just noticed. And it's got research to prove it.

As previously reported, although CD sales have dropped considerably over the last fifteen years, they still remain surprisingly buoyant in some territories, including the UK. The split between physical and digital revenues in 2014 still being nearly 50/50.

Physical sales slipped a further 6% in the first half of this year, but CD sales are still declining much more slowly today than a decade ago. Even though some in the industry, and many commentators, often seem to have written off CDs entirely, despite there still being decent monies to be made with the product.

Now research carried out by AudienceNet for the BPI and the Entertainment Retailers Association has shown that two thirds of music fans who use streaming services still buy their favourite stuff on physical formats too, something we are now calling "multi-channelling", apparently.

"The enduring appeal of CDs and vinyl has surprised many commentators who wrote them off years ago", said BPI CEO Geoff Taylor. "But these physical formats still represent over 40% of UK music consumption, after decades of success".

The true test of the CD market comes in the run up to Christmas of course, when people are looking for physical gifts to hand over. But over a third of those surveyed said that they spend the same or more on CDs across the board since starting to use streaming services, and almost half say the same of vinyl.

We will be putting the spotlight on all things CD at CMU Insights @ The Great Escape in May next year.

  Approved: Kloe
It's been quite a year for Scottish pop singer-songwriter Kloe. After the release of two songs, 'Grip' and 'Feel', which gained much support online and Radio 1 airplay from then Radio 1 man Zane Lowe, she was whisked off to LA to work with various writers and producers, also signing to the IAMSOUND label. Now she's back with new single 'Touch' with an eye on making 2016 all about her music.

'Touch' links thematically with her earlier releases, channelling the drama of teenage love and poking a little fun at how seriously you take it when you're right in the middle of it. Musically it doesn't stray too far from the slow, R&B-influenced pop she was already making, but there's an extra layer of slickness added, which thankfully isn't applied to the detriment of the style and voice she'd already developed back in Glasgow with Lewis Gardiner of Prides.

Watch the video for 'Touch' here.
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Scott Weiland's ex-wife writes open letter, asks fans not to "glorify" death
The recently deceased Scott Weiland's second wife Mary Forsberg has published an open letter in Rolling Stone, calling on people not to "glorify this tragedy with talk of rock and roll".

As previously reported, Weiland died last week while on tour, and yesterday it was confirmed a search of the tour bus where he died unearthed various drugs. The rocker had long struggled with addiction. Weiland and Forsberg divorced in 2007 and have two children, Noah and Lucy. In her letter, Forsberg says that "the truth is, like so many other kids, they lost their father years ago. What they truly lost on 3 Dec was hope".

"We don't want to downplay Scott's amazing talent, presence or his ability to light up any stage with brilliant electricity", she writes. "So many people have been gracious enough to praise his gift. The music is here to stay. But at some point, someone needs to step up and point out that yes, this will happen again - because as a society we almost encourage it. We read awful show reviews, watch videos of artists falling down, unable to recall their lyrics streaming on a teleprompter just a few feet away. And then we click 'add to cart' because what actually belongs in a hospital is now considered art".

She concludes: "Our hope for Scott has died, but there is still hope for others. Let's choose to make this the first time we don't glorify this tragedy with talk of rock and roll and the demons that, by the way, don't have to come with it. Skip the depressing t-shirt with 1967-2015 on it - use the money to take a kid to a ballgame or out for ice cream".

Read Forsberg's full letter here.


Robert Plant and Tinariwen join Red Cross album project
Robert Plant and Tinariwen have recorded exclusive tracks for the British Red Cross album project 'The Long Road', it has been announced.

As previously reported, Scroobius Pip, Kindness and Sierra Leone All Stars were announced as contributors to the record in June, all three teaming up with refugees to write songs about their experiences.

Plant has recorded a cover of Elbow's 'The Blanket Of Night', which tells the story of refugees attempting a treacherous journey to seek asylum in the UK. Tinariwen, whose founder Ibrahim Ag Alhabib fled Mali as a child, have recorded a new track called 'Silence'.

"We have a worldwide international catastrophe", says Plant of current refugee crises. "Talking about it is one thing, doing something about it is another. The position we are in, it's paramount we all do our best one way or another to help".

Alex Fraser of the British Red Cross adds: "We are very excited to have Robert Plant and Tinariwen on board for the album - inspirational artists who through the power of their music, can help to tell the story of the long and dangerous road that many refugees and asylum seekers have travelled. We hope that the album will help us to break through to new audiences and in turn raise funds to help people find protection and rebuild their lives".

Find out more about the project here, or watch this short intro video.

Joanna Newsom announces 2016 shows
Joanna Newsom has announced new live shows in the UK and Ireland for next year, off the back of her latest album 'Divers'.

Here she is performing 'Leaving The City' on 'The Late Show with Stephen Colbert' earlier this week:

And these are those dates:

1 Mar: Liverpool, Philharmonic Hall
2 Mar: Glasgow, Royal Concert Hall
3 Mar: Dublin, Olympia


Kygo announces UK live shows
Norwegian producer Kygo has announced his first world tour, which will include three shows in the UK. The dates should coincide thereabouts with the release of his debut album.

Tickets are due to go on sale this Friday.

Here are the dates:

20 Apr: Glasgow, Academy
21 Apr: Manchester Academy
23 Apr: London, Brixton Academy

Now, would you just listen to 'Stay', which feature's Maty Noyes.

AIDS drug 'price gouger' revealed to be single-copy Wu-Tang album buyer
It has emerged that AIDS drug 'price-gouger' Martin Shkreli is the previously anonymous buyer of Wu-Tang Clan's single-copy album 'Once Upon A Time In Shaolin'.

The hedge fund manager made headlines earlier this year after it was reported that he had bought the rights to Daraprim, a medication used in AIDS and cancer treatment, and increased the price by 5000%. After criticism, he announced that he would reduce the price, dropping the bulk purchase fee, though not that for individual pills.

And now, as I'm sure everyone will be pleased to know, he's used some of his fortune to buy a Wu-Tang Clan album for $2 million. The identity of the buyer had previously been kept a secret, though Shkreli was identified earlier this week in an article published by Bloomberg.

Shkreli has collected various pieces of music memorabilia, including Kurt Cobain's credit card through Paddle8, the same auction house that sold the Wu-Tang album. Putting himself forward as a potential bidder before the Daraprim story broke, he was given a private listening session of the new Wu Tang record, which had only previously been showcased during one gallery-based listening event. "Then I really became convinced that I should be the buyer", he told Bloomberg, leading to a lunch meeting with RZA. "We didn't have a ton in common. I can't say I got to know him that well, but I obviously like him".

The man who even Donald Trump has described as a "spoiled brat" became worried that the deal might fall through when he began to draw media attention for his drug price hike, but it all turned out fine. "I was a little worried that they were going to walk out of the deal", he said. "But by then we'd closed. The whole kind of thing since then has been just kind of 'Well, do we want to announce it's him? Do we not want to announce it's him?' I think they were trying to cover their butts a little bit".

RZA denied that he and the group were aware of Shkreli's business practices in a statement to Bloomberg, saying: "The sale of 'Once Upon A Time In Shaolin' was agreed upon in May, well before Martin Shkreli's business practices came to light. We decided to give a significant portion of the proceeds to charity".

It's not the first time this year that Shkreli has made it into the music press. Following the news of his price increase on Daraprim, it emerged that he was a key investor in punk and hardcore label Collect Records, the company founded by Thursday frontman Geoff Rickley. This led to various bands threatening to leave the company, resulting in Rickley severing ties with Shkreli and the financial backing that had allowed the company to grow in recent years.

Meanwhile, Shkreli has said that he is yet to actually get the Wu-Tang album out of its box and playing. "I could be convinced to listen to it earlier if Taylor Swift wants to hear it or something like that", he told Bloomberg. "But for now, I think I'm going to kind of save it for a rainy day".

There may yet be a happier end to this story though. According to the Sabotage Times, Wu-Tang had a clause written into their contract with Shkreli permitting the album to be taken back via a "heist or caper" by either the group themselves or the actor Bill Murray.

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 COOKE | MD & Business Editor
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.
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SAM TAYLOR | Commercial Manager & Insights Associate
Sam oversees the commercial side of the CMU media, leading on sales and sponsorship, plus helps manage and deliver the CMU Insights training courses and consultancy services.
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CARO MOSES | Co-Publisher
Caro helps oversee the CMU media, while as a Director of 3CM UnLimited she heads up the company's other two titles ThisWeek London and ThreeWeeks Edinburgh, and supports other parts of the business.
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