TODAY'S TOP STORY: Representatives of the big secondary ticketing sites felt the heat in Parliament yesterday as the Culture, Media & Sport Select Committee put the spotlight on online ticket touting. The hearing also saw artist manager Ian McAndrew, the Music Managers Forum's Annabella Coldrick and Josh Franceschi of off You Me At Six call for tighter regulation of the secondary market... [READ MORE]
TODAY'S APPROVED: Techno producer Nathan Fake has announced his first twelve-inch for Ninja Tune, 'Degreelessness', a collaboration with noise producer Dominick Fernow, aka Prurient. The track sees their very different sounds brought together perfectly, resulting in a powerful eight minutes of electronic music. "Although our music probably seems pretty different from each others... [READ MORE]
CMU PODCAST: CMU's Andy Malt and Chris Cooke review key events in music and the music business from the last week, including the latest developments in the legal case against the alleged owner of KickassTorrents, responses to a change in management at the US Copyright Office, and efforts to make the BRITs more diverse. The CMU Podcast is sponsored by 7digital. [READ MORE]
CMU TRENDS: A very long running piece of litigation involving a YouTube video that featured a snippet of a Prince track could reach the US Supreme Court next year. But what is the so called 'dancing baby' case all about, and what exactly are 'fair use' and 'takedowns'? We explain the law and debates behind this famous ongoing American case. CMU Trends articles are available to premium subscribers... [READ MORE]
TOP STORIES MPs grill tout site chiefs
LEGAL US Internet Association gets its copyright demands in quick to President-Elect Trump
Tech groups submit filings in support of Cox as it appeals BMG ruling
Judge recommends summary judgement in favour of Justin Bieber in $10 million song-theft case
LABELS & PUBLISHERS BMG expands deal with Alibaba
LIVE BUSINESS Gigantic makes Twickets its official resale partner
ARTIST NEWS Lady Gaga writes essay on womanhood in 2016
AWARDS Bono calls on Donald Trump to "make equality a priority" of his presidency
ONE LINERS Nicki Minaj, Noah Cyrus, Spring King, more
AND FINALLY... Frank Ocean kept albums out of Grammys in protest at awards' poor diversity
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MPs grill tout site chiefs
Representatives of the big secondary ticketing sites felt the heat in Parliament yesterday as the Culture, Media & Sport Select Committee put the spotlight on online ticket touting.

The hearing also saw artist manager Ian McAndrew, the Music Managers Forum's Annabella Coldrick and Josh Franceschi of off You Me At Six call for tighter regulation of the secondary market, while criticising resale sites for publicly distancing themselves from the industrial level touts who use their platforms while behind the scenes offering the very same re-sellers preferential treatment.

Arguing that the continued growth of secondary ticketing was having a negative impact on the live music business, and on the artists who rely on it as their key revenue stream, Franceschi told the committee, according to the Telegraph: "There are a lot of derelict large music venues being shut down regularly because the business isn't going through those halls".

Plus, of course, it's the fans who lose out most, he noted, adding: "If you get up in the morning and other people beat you and the shows are sold out ... that's one thing, but the idea of being ripped off, that doesn't leave a nice taste in the mouth".

He concluded: "There needs to be legislation. I'd like to see tickets only being sold through primary websites".

In terms of regulation, while something nearing an outright ban of online touting is now being considered in Italy, that's not currently on the table in the UK. Professor Waterson, who conducted the government's recent review of secondary ticketing and also spoke yesterday, said a complete ban would likely be unworkable, reckoning that online touting continues in France despite a ban on industrial level secondary ticketing there being introduced a few years ago.

What the anti-tout FanFair Alliance has called for is enforcement of existing regulations, most of which stem from last year's Consumer Rights Act, as well as the outlawing of so called bots that some touts use to buy up large quantities of tickets as they go on sale. Efforts to introduce a bot-ban through the in-development Digital Economy Bill were put on hold after the government said it wanted to investigate whether such technology was already illegal under the Computer Misuse Act.

In terms of enforcing existing secondary ticketing rules, a big part of the debate is whether the resale sites like Viagogo, eBay's StubHub and Ticketmaster's Seatwave and Get Me In! have a responsibility to ensure that sellers using their platforms are complying with the law. It was on that issue that reps from StubHub and Ticketmaster felt the most heat yesterday.

The tout site bosses mainly adopted a "not my fucking problem" stance, with StubHub legal man Paul Peak saying his company was "under no legal obligation to police users of our site", while Chris Edmonds from Live Nation's Ticketmaster said he considered his resale sites to be "fully compliant" with the law. He then presented the secondary ticketing industry's classic defence, that if touts were not allowed to sell tickets without providing all the information campaigners want listed, "we will just drive those guys to offshore sites where they can resell those tickets elsewhere. And that will be in nobody's interests".

To which Conservative MP Damian Collins seemed to vocalise the mood of the room when he responded: "I think you're being extraordinarily complacent in your attitude towards that and I find your answer on this point extremely unsatisfactory".

Attention was also given to the live music industry's own participation in the secondary market, a scandal around which kickstarted the latest assault against touting in Italy. Final speaker Reg Walker of Iridium Consultancy outlined how some venues and promoters provide tickets to the secondary market, possibly without the knowledge of their artists.

Meanwhile McAndrew confirmed that he had been approached about providing tickets for his act's shows direct to the secondary market. According to IQ, he said: "That's a proposal I've refused on a number of occasions, but I can understand how that might be a temptation for [those] who want to maximise revenue".

He added: "That's why I think we need to look at transfer of tickets from the primary to the secondary market".

As previously reported, Culture Minister Matt Hancock has committed to call a meeting of stakeholders to consider the bot issue this side of Christmas, after which the government will announce how it intends to respond to the aforementioned Waterson report. Certainly there seems to be plenty of support now in Parliament for at least doing more to enforce existing rules, including obliging the secondary sites to ensure that happens.

US Internet Association gets its copyright demands in quick to President-Elect Trump
We don't yet know the final line-up of Donald Trump's incoming American government. Presumably hopefuls like Rudy Giuliani and Chris Christie have now been split into two teams and are currently participating in a series of pretend business ventures in a bid to win the President Elect's favour.

Some unconventional appointments are expected though, meaning that lobbying organisations Stateside could soon find themselves schmoozing up to a whole bunch of people they've never even heard of before, who have limited knowledge of government and lobbying processes, and with a boss who is officially anti the lobbying machine. So that will be fun.

The Internet Association, a lobbying group representing the big web firms like Amazon, Google, Facebook, Spotify and Pandora, is trying to get in early by penning an open letter to the incoming president, and needless to say ongoing copyright debates feature prominently in the list of issues it proposes that the new Commander In Chief might want to meddle with.

The pesky safe harbours come top, of course, after the music industry in particular ramped up its efforts in the US earlier this year to call for a reform of the protections provided to tech firms by American copyright law. The music business wants the safe harbours reformed so that services like YouTube no longer benefit from protection against liability for copyright infringement when their users upload copyright material without permission.

But, says the IA in its letter to Trump, "The safe harbours are a system of legal certainty that remains the gold standard worldwide for fostering innovative online ecosystems beneficial to creators and service providers alike. Under the shared responsibilities of the notice and takedown system, both rights holders and digital platforms have flourished as consumers increasingly rely on the internet for access to legal content. Efforts to weaken the safe harbours would create legal uncertainty, force internet companies to police the web, chill innovation and free expression online, and undermine the collaborative framework of the law".

Later focusing on music in particular, the web group bigs up the compulsory licences and consent decrees that many in the music community want reformed or removed. Meanwhile, on copyright policy, it calls for simpler licensing and better data, something that most in the music industry would agree with, though not necessarily on the Internet Association's terms. And many in the music community will worry about what exactly is meant by the IA's call for "fairness in law that encourages, rather than stifles, new and innovative services that lower barriers to entry for artists".

Finally, the internet trade group calls for reform at the US Copyright Office that sits within the Library Of Congress, and which web firms often reckon too often prioritises the interests of copyright owners over those of copyright users. Of course, that reform is already arguably underway after President Obama's appointment to the job of Librarian Of Congress, Carla Hayden, sacked Copyright Office boss Maria Pallante; a development many in the music community are already worried about.

It remains to be seen how the web lobby fairs in Washington in the Trump era, given that, for all their differences, both Silicon Valley and Hollywood were generally equally as scathing about the new President during his election campaign. Though the copyright industries face the same uncertainties as the tech lobby as they both wait to see what a Trump government will look like. However, the IA's letter is rather long, and Trump has a famously short attention span. So if the music industry gets Pharrell to write its demands in a couple of verses of rhyme, it could as yet have the edge.


Tech groups submit filings in support of Cox as it appeals BMG ruling
Talking of big tech stamping its collective feet over safe harbour reform, various organisations representing internet firms have submitted so called amicus briefs to the court considering the BMG v Cox Communications appeal, a case which potentially sets a legal precedent limiting the safe harbour protections web firms enjoy.

BMG successfully sued Cox arguing that the internet service provider did not do enough to tackle alleged repeat infringers among its userbase after being made aware of them by the music firm. BMG's lawsuit basically argued that Cox operated a deliberately shoddy system for dealing with repeat infringers because it didn't want to lose the business of its copyright infringing customers.

The net firm filed its appeal in the case last week. Amongst various arguments, it questioned its obligations to act against alleged repeat infringers based on merely the say so of a rights owner or its agent (rather than a court of law), while insisting that the ruling in the case sets a dangerous precedent for both American ISPs and their customers.

A plethora of organisations representing internet companies - and also libraries and universities - have now piled in, backing up Cox in its claims, and arguing the court interpreted the law wrong in this case and as a result set a dangerous precedent.

The Computer & Communications Industry Association, which submitted a joint brief with the Consumer Technology Association, said in a statement that "Cox was wrongly held liable for not policing internet content" and that "the lower court also erred in not giving Cox immunity under existing law".

Meanwhile the CEO of the CCIA, Ed Black, added: "It is critical in a democracy that juries and our legal system correctly follow existing copyright law on secondary liability. US copyright law is balanced with liability protections for companies to respond quickly to infringement without resorting to policing all online sharing and commentary for copyright infringement. We value free speech and what it represents and it would be unwise to abandon that principle and balance for extremist copyright enforcement measures".

It remains to be seen if representatives of the music and copyright industries now follow suit and submit a flurry of papers to the court supporting the Cox ruling, and the lower court's interpretation of the obligations and liabilities of safe harbour dwelling internet companies.


Judge recommends summary judgement in favour of Justin Bieber in $10 million song-theft case
A judge reviewing the ongoing song-theft lawsuit involving that Justin Bieber and his old mate Usher has recommended a summary judgement be made in the two popstars' favour, which would be a second victory for the duo in the same dispute.

As previously reported, Devin Copeland and Mareio Overton first claimed in 2013 that Bieber's 2010 track 'Somebody To Love' featured various lyrical and stylistic similarities to a song they wrote with the same title, which Copeland released under the name De Rico in 2008. Copeland also claimed that he gave a copy of his recording to Usher via the star's mum, giving him an opportunity to hear the original. The case was initially dismissed in 2014, but was then reinstated on appeal last year.

A key reason why judge Douglas Miller has now skewed against Copeland is that he is not convinced by the claimant's various explanations for how the defendants were exposed to his song, including the Usher's mum route. That's mainly because the core songwriting team behind the Bieber hit - Heather Bright and production trio The Stereotypes - finished the original version of the song in November 2009, and there's no real evidence that they could have heard Copeland's 'Somebody To Love' before that time.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, in his review of the case, Miller rejects the idea that "ambiguity in the factual record" means that the court could infer that Bright et al had indeed heard Copeland's track, while the judge points out that the claimant's proposed timeline of events is contradicted by the testimonies of six separate people.

In terms of the how similar the two songs are - bearing in mind they were deemed similar enough for the case to be reinstated by that court in 2015 - Miller acknowledges some common elements, though then favours a report by one of those musicologists filed by the defence that concludes that the elements in common are too generic to be protected by copyright. So, that old dilemma.

And while both songs have the title and lyric "somebody to love", well, yeah, the defence identified 130 different songs using that title, not least the Queen hit, of course.

Miller's recommendation will now go to a district judge who will make the final decision over whether or not to grant a summary judgement in favour of Bieber et al, though it seems unlikely he's going to reject his judicial colleague's conclusions.

BMG expands deal with Alibaba
BMG and Chinese web giant Alibaba have extended their existing partnership, looking at ways to grow their digital music distribution agreement beyond digital music services. Key areas for potential new activity are films, TV, fan interactions, and e-commerce.

"We have been very satisfied with the rapid progress we have made in our relationship with Alibaba, surely one of the most innovative and customer-focused businesses in the world", says BMG CEO Hartwig Masuch. "By deepening our relationship with Alibaba we are not only helping to pioneer the new music business in China, we are delivering new revenue for our artists and songwriters".

CEO of Ali Music Weidong Yang adds: "Working with BMG, the top global music rights management company, will allow Alibaba Digital Media & Entertainment to access significant international content and perspectives. We believe the cooperation with BMG will be deepened, expanded and explored in the future".

A further announcement on developments enabled by the expanded deal is expected next year.

Gigantic makes Twickets its official resale partner
Ticket agency Gigantic has announced face value secondary ticketing platform Twickets as its official resale partner.

When tickets on the primary retailer's website sell out, it now automatically drives fans to search for available tickets on Twickets. It also encourages fans who can no longer attend events to use Twickets to resell their tickets, rather than going to a platform where tickets are routinely sold for profit.

"We're all about getting people into gigs they love and working with an ethical forward thinking company like Twickets means we can help more", says Gigantic founder Mark Gasson. "As an ethical primary ticket seller, we're delighted to be able to offer fans the chance to trade tickets securely, without the need to get ripped off by touts and the worst practices of the secondary ticketing market".

He adds: "Artists and managers can also be assured that we are directing their fans to a safe and secure platform to sell their tickets if required. Managers can be comforted in the fact that a ticket agent is involved in the entire process".

To that end, the two companies plan to develop further integration to make the resale process seamless.

  Approved: Nathan Fake & Prurient
Techno producer Nathan Fake has announced his first twelve-inch for Ninja Tune, 'Degreelessness', a collaboration with noise producer Dominick Fernow, aka Prurient. The track sees their very different sounds brought together perfectly, resulting in a powerful eight minutes of electronic music.

"Although our music probably seems pretty different from each others on the surface, I felt there was a strong link from a rhythmic and melodic standpoint", says Fake. "And I admired his vocal performances in his Prurient material which were both charismatic and masculine but not tiresomely so".

He continues: "'Degreelessness' started off as a sixteen bar loop jam which I'd adapted from an existing melodic composition, building rhythms around it with his voice in mind. Dominick delivered a spoken word vocal piece inspired by the track, the lyrical content of which is heavily obscured in the final piece, purposefully so, the whole piece becoming lost in its own echoes, with the human voice emanating from the gaps in between".

'Degreelessness' is released on 1 Dec, backed with new solo Nathan Fake track 'Now We Know'. Listen to Fake and Prurient's collaboration here.

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Lady Gaga writes essay on womanhood in 2016
Lady Gaga has written an essay for Harpers Bazaar on womanhood in 2016, saying that "being a lady today means being a fighter".

Written prior to the US presidential election, Gaga references the infamous "grab em by the pussy" tape that many thought would be the end of Trump's campaign. "Here we were, in 2016, and the fact that the sort of language that was being used to talk about women was everywhere - on TV, in politics - was eye-opening", she writes. "I felt depressed and hurt by it because that's what that kind of language does. Then I watched our incredible first lady, Michelle Obama, talk ... about how women are often afraid to say anything because we're worried that we will appear weak - that we'll be told we're being over-the-top, dramatic, emotional. But we're not. We're fighting for our lives".

"Being a lady today means being a fighter", she continues. "It means being a survivor. It means letting yourself be vulnerable and acknowledging your shame or that you're sad or you're angry. It takes great strength to do that ... I turned 30 this year, and I'm a fully formed woman. I have a clear perspective on what I want. That, for me, is success. I want to be somebody who is fighting for what's true - not for more attention, more fame, more accolades".

Read the essay in full here.

Bono calls on Donald Trump to "make equality a priority" of his presidency
Bono has called on US President-Elect Donald Trump to "make equality a priority" during his time in office, as he accepted his Woman Of The Year award from Glamour magazine.

As previously reported, Bono recently became the first man ever to appear on the US magazine's annual list of notable women, in recognition of his campaigning for gender equality. This week he appeared at a ceremony in LA to accept his prize.

The U2 frontman began his speech by noting how "ridiculous" it was that he had won the award. "If I didn't know how ridiculous it was, I did have the blessed internet to remind me", he added, before reading out a few disparaging tweets.

He continued: "I'll tell you that the real reason that I'm here is because [this was] one of the tiny few awards that caused real excitement in our house and actually stopped the usual dinner conversation and started what my daughters think of as the only conversation - about there being 130 million girls that are not going to school, a conversation where right here in the United States Of America, women make 80 cents to a man's dollar".

He said that he'd asked his wife Ali what he should say, and that she'd told him "Don't look down at me. But don't look up at me either. Look across to me. I'm here".

"So, I say to the President-Elect: Look across to women", he concluded. "Make equality a priority. It is the only way forward. The train is leaving the station. Be on it or be under it".

Read Bono's speech in full here.

Nicki Minaj, Noah Cyrus, Spring King, more

Other notable announcements and developments today...

• Nicki Minaj has delivered a great rework of Rae Sremmurd's 'Black Beatles', called 'Black Barbies'.

• Miley Cyrus's sister Noah has released her debut single, 'Make Me (Cry)'.

• Spring King have released the video for new single 'City'.

• Blawan is back with a new project, under the name Kilner. He'll release an EP, 'Walk Type', on 28 Nov. From it, this is 'Filk'.

• Peluché have shared new track 'Family', taken from their debut EP, 'Utopia Village', which it out on 25 Nov.

• Rapper 6lack has released the video for 'Prblms', taken from his forthcoming album 'Free 6lack'. Read more about the record from the man himself here.

• The xx have announced UK tour dates for March next year, which include two nights at The Apollo in Manchester and three at the Brixton Academy. Tickets on sale on 25 Nov.

• Bruno Mars has announced that he'll be touring the UK in April next year, including two nights at the O2 Arena.

• Anthrax have announced that they will tour the UK next February. "You'd better start getting in shape now for the epic wardance", says guitarist Scott Ian. You heard the man.

• Rinse FM has announced the line-up for its Boxing Day show at Ministry Of Sound. Check it out here.

Frank Ocean kept albums out of Grammys in protest at awards' poor diversity
Right, stop with the conspiracy theories, Frank Ocean didn't put his new albums forward for the Grammys on purpose.

As previously reported, Billboard noted last month that neither of Oceans' 2016 albums, 'Endless' and 'Blond(e)', had been submitted for consideration at the US industry's big awards ceremony. This prompted Kanye West to threaten to boycott the ceremony if Ocean received no nominations. Although that, it turns out, would ruin Ocean's own boycott.

Speaking to the New York Times in his first interview since 'Blond(e)' was released, Ocean said while the Grammys have "nostalgic importance", the ceremony "just doesn't seem to be representing very well for people who come from where I come from, and hold down what I hold down", noting that very few black people have ever won its Album Of The Year prize. "I think the infrastructure of the awarding system and the nomination system and screening system is dated".

"I'd rather this be my Colin Kaepernick moment for the Grammys than sit there in the audience", he added, likening himself to the San Francisco 49ers player who refused to stand for the US national anthem at an American Football game earlier this year in protest at the country's treatment of African-Americans and other minorities.

Besides, he reckons he's already a winner where 'Blond(e)' is concerned, saying: "With this record in particular, I wanted to feel like I won before the record came out, and I did, and so it took a lot pressure off of me about how the record even would perform after the fact. Once the goal is met, everything else is lagniappe".

Now he's interested in focussing on his next move, whether than be in music, or something else. "I believe that I'm one of the best in the world at what I do, and that's all I've ever wanted to be", he said. "It's more interesting for me to figure out how to be superior in areas where I'm naïve, where I'm a novice."

Read the full interview here.

ANDY MALT | Editor
Andy heads up the team, overseeing the CMU bulletins and website, coordinating features and interviews, reporting on artist and business stories, and contributing to the CMU Approved column.
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