TODAY'S TOP STORY: The Ninth Circuit appeals court in the US has knocked back attempts by the family of an Egyptian film composer to sue Jay-Z over a sample in his 2000 track 'Big Pimpin'. Judges confirmed that the plaintiffs can't enforce their moral rights under Egyptian copyright law in an American courtroom... [READ MORE]
TOP STORIES Moral rights case against Jay-Z thrown out once again
LIVE BUSINESS Ticketfly website is down following data hack
INDUSTRY PEOPLE Neil Portnow confirms he will stand down as Grammy boss next year
ARTIST NEWS NOFX apologise for Las Vegas shooting comments
GIGS & FESTIVALS Belle & Sebastian to mark Bowlie Weekender 20th anniversary by getting on a boat
AWARDS The Ivor Novello Awards happened
Mixcloud's Online radio Awards dished out
ONE LINERS Gorillaz, The Internet, Clean Bandit, more
AND FINALLY... Beef Of The Week #406: Pusha T v Drake
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Moral rights case against Jay-Z thrown out once again
The Ninth Circuit appeals court in the US has knocked back attempts by the family of an Egyptian film composer to sue Jay-Z over a sample in his 2000 track 'Big Pimpin'. Judges confirmed that the plaintiffs can't enforce their moral rights under Egyptian copyright law in an American courtroom.

The moral rights dispute between the family of late Egyptian film composer Baligh Hamdi and Jay-Z has been rumbling on for years. The rapper and his collaborator on 'Big Pimpin' - producer Timbaland - were accused of infringing Hamdi's rights by sampling a piece of his music in their 2000 release. But Timbaland's people had licensed the sample from an EMI subsidiary, which had a relationship with an Egyptian company, which in turn had a relationship with Hamdi.

However, the composer's family argued that neither EMI nor its Egyptian partner were empowered to license the sample, and even if they were, doing so for a track of this nature infringed Hamdi's moral rights under Egyptian law. The moral rights claim centred on the content of the Jay-Z track, which Hamdi's family said his music shouldn't be associated with.

Moral rights give songwriters and composers certain rights over their work even if the actual copyright has been assigned to another party. This element of copyright law varies considerably from country to country, though the two most common moral rights for songwriters are the right to attribution and the right to block derogatory treatments of their work. It was the latter that the Hamdi family said had been infringed here.

The concept of moral rights is, however, somewhat alien to US copyright law, especially with regard to music. With that in mind, Jay-Z's people immediately argued that the Hamdi family's case was entirely about moral rights under Egyptian law and therefore couldn't be pursued in an American court.

The judge hearing the original case nevertheless allowed the action to proceed, despite those arguments from the Jay-Z side, but then subsequently changed her mind after hearing testimony from Egyptian law experts. Which resulted in the case being dismissed in 2015.

The Hamdi family decided to appeal, stating in a new court filing last year: "Setting aside semantics and dicta (and accusations and invective), this case boils down to a rather unremarkable proposition: Plaintiff owns, under the law of the country of origin of his copyright (Egypt), the right to protect his copyright from fundamental changes, and the US Copyright Act recognises the right owned by plaintiff and expressly prohibits Americans from violating plaintiff's right".

Based on that argument, the Hamdi family said it should be allowed to pursue its infringement case in "the only court that would have the power to stop defendants' extensive, continuing, unauthorised, and (yes) vulgar and unfortunate distortion of plaintiff's work in America".

The American appeals judges have basically concurred with the judge in the original case. They disagreed with the Hamdi family's argument that moral rights in Egypt basically meant that the 'adaptation control' of the copyright couldn't be assigned. On Hamdi's separate moral right to block derogatory treatment, the appeal judges concluded that that couldn't be enforced in their courtroom.

Referring to the family's representative in the case - Hadmi's nephew Osama Ahmed Fahmy - the judges concluded that "since our federal law does not accord protection of moral rights to American [music] copyright holders ... neither does it recognise Fahmy's claim to moral rights. That Fahmy retains moral rights in Egypt does him no good here".

A legal rep for Jay-Z unsurprisingly welcomed the latest ruling in this dispute, reckoning it set an important precedent regarding the moral rights of foreign creators in America.

Attorney Christine Lepera told Law360: "This is a seminal decision from this circuit on moral rights, and provides an important road map regarding the distinction between moral rights which are not actionable in the United States, and the economic right in a copyright, which is".


Ticketfly website is down following data hack
The website of US ticketing company Ticketfly - formerly a division of Pandora and now owned by Eventbrite - is currently offline after its systems were hacked.

A statement on the company's home page says that "following a series of recent issues with Ticketfly properties, we've determined that Ticketfly has been the target of a cyber incident. Out of an abundance of caution, we have taken all Ticketfly systems temporarily offline as we continue to look into the issue. We are working to bring our systems back online as soon as possible. Please check back later".

For those seeking tickets to events where ticketing is handled by the firm, the company added: "For information on specific events please check the social media accounts of the presenting venues/promoters to learn more about availability/status of upcoming shows. In many cases, shows are still happening and tickets may be available at the door".

An FAQ page that has subsequently been published by the company confirms that "we are currently investigating a cybersecurity incident targeting that has resulted in the compromise of some client and customer information". Addressing said clients and customers whose personal information may have been compromised, it adds: "We're putting all of our resources to confirm the extent of the unauthorised access. We're committed to communicating with all customers once we have more information about the scope of the issue".

As for how long it will take before the Ticketfly platform can be switched back on, the company says: "We don't have a specific timeline to share right now. We deeply regret the inconvenience caused by this incident and are working around the clock to resolve the issue and get all Ticketfly systems back up and running".

The hack seems to have been instigated by a hacker who goes by the name of IsHaKdZ. Vice's tech site Motherboard says that it has been in email correspondence with the hacker, who states that he warned the ticketing company of a vulnerability that gave him access to the firm's entire database and website. He apparently offered to explain what that vulnerability was in return for one bitcoin, but received no reply to that offer.

Ticketfly is yet to respond to those specific allegations.


Neil Portnow confirms he will stand down as Grammy boss next year
The boss of the US Recording Academy - the body best known globally as the producer of the Grammys - has announced that he will stand down when his current contract with the organisation expires next summer. Neil Portnow says he is confirming his intent to stand down next year now to allow a smooth transition over to the new leadership.

The Recording Academy and Portnow himself have faced much criticism in recent months following the lack of gender diversity at this year's Grammy Awards and Portnow's clumsy comments in response to that fact. Criticism of the lack of gender diversity at the Grammys this year followed criticism in recent years about the lack of ethnic and genre diversity at America's big awards bash, and led to various accusations that the Recording Academy at large is out of touch with the wider music community and the modern music business.

Since this year's Grammys debacle, Portnow has backtracked on some of the remarks he made in response to the gender diversity criticism. The Academy has also set up a diversity and inclusion taskforce to try to address "barriers and biases affecting women and other underrepresented voices in the music industry and, specifically, the Recording Academy".

Confirming he planned to step down as CEO of the Academy next year, Portnow said in a statement yesterday: "The evolution of industries, institutions and organisations is ultimately the key to their relevance, longevity and success. Having been a member of the Recording Academy for four decades, serving as an elected leader and our President/CEO, I have not only witnessed our evolution, but proudly contributed significantly to the Academy's growth and stature in the world".

He went on: "When I had the honour of being selected to lead this great organisation in 2002, I vowed that on my watch, for the first time in our history, we would have a thoughtful, well-planned and collegial transition. With a little more than a year remaining on my current contract, I've decided that this is an appropriate time to deliver on that promise".

Expanding on that theme, he added: "Accordingly, I'll be working with our board to put the various elements in place that will ensure transparency, best practices, and the Academy's ability to find the very best, brightest, and qualified leadership to take us into our seventh decade of operation".

Also confirming Portnow's decision to stand down next year was John Poppo, Chair of the Academy's board, who said: "Since taking the helm in 2002, Neil has been instrumental in evolving the Recording Academy to address the needs of our creative community in a changing music landscape".

He continued: "From critically-important music advocacy initiatives and financial assistance for our music community, to the music education and preservation programmes of the Grammy Museum and Grammy Music Education Coalition, Neil has not only advanced the Academy's mission, he's extended its reach and impact".

Poppo then concluded: "The board and I are indebted to Neil for his years of heartful stewardship and visionary leadership. And, as we thank him for all he's done, we also look forward to finding the right person to build on our solid foundation as the Recording Academy continues its work to ensure that music and the recording arts remain a thriving part of our cultural heritage".


Vigsy's Club Tip: Metalheadz Boat Parties
This Saturday sees the Metalheadz label take to the high seas. Well, er, the Thames anyway.

Goldie returns after his rather good Biggest Weekend BBC set in Ulster for the first of two dnb sailings from Festival Pier this Saturday. On that first afternoon voyage, he'll be joined by Grooverider, Commix & DJ lee, Codebreaker and Visionobi.

The second boat will head out for an early evening session, offering a series of Metalheadz history lessons. DJ Lee will turn in a Blue Note set, Commix a classics set, and the Dom & Roland will go B2B with Klute and MC Blackeye. Should be awesome.

Saturday 2 Jun, Festival Pier, South Bank, London, SE1 8XZ, 1pm-9pm, £30 per voyage. More info here.

NOFX apologise for Las Vegas shooting comments
NOFX have apologised for making jokes about the mass shooting that occurred at last year's Route 91 Harvest festival in Las Vegas, in which 58 people were killed and hundreds more injured.

In a statement on Facebook, frontman Fat Mike said: "I can't sleep, no one in my band can. What we said in Vegas was shitty and insensitive and we are all embarrassed by our remarks. So we decided we will all get together to discuss and write an in depth, sincere, and honest apology because that's what the people we offended and hurt deserve".

The band had been performing at the Punk Rock Bowling & Music Festival, also in Vegas, last Sunday, when they joked that "you only get shot in Vegas if you're in a country band".

After a video of the comments was shared online, beer brand Stone Brewing, which has worked with the band on a number of projects, said that it was cutting its ties with them.

In a statement, the company said: "We respect punk rock, and the DIY ethos for which it stands. To us, it means standing up for things you believe in, and fearlessly committing to what's right. And it is for that reason that Stone Brewing is immediately disassociating ourselves from the band NOFX".


Belle & Sebastian to mark Bowlie Weekender 20th anniversary by getting on a boat
Belle & Sebastian have announced that they'll be going on a cruise in August. One of those weird cruises where they take their fans with them.

Dubbed the Boaty Weekender, the four day boat-based festival will sail around the Mediterranean from 8-12 Aug. The name is a sort of play on their former Bowlie Weekender festival, which morphed into ATP, and this event will take place on the 20th anniversary of that holiday camp-based event.

"We have got our hands on quite a large boat, and we're loading it up with some ace groups for a four day sail round The Med", say the band. "We want to do it right. Let's have yoga and cocktails and club nights and themed balls and crèches and quizzes and scrabble tournaments - and gigs".

"Gigs upon gigs from some of our good friends and favourite acts in rock n roll across five stages throughout the ship", they go on. "And instead of stumbling home to a damp tent in a dark field, saunter back to a plush bed in your own stateroom on a luxury liner".

Belle & Sebastian themselves will perform a number of times, and do some sort of Q&A thing, as well as getting involved in other activities. Plus the first 250 staterooms sold will get access to a performance of the band's 'Fold Your Hands Child, You Walk Like A Peasant' album.

The rest of the line-up is yet to be announced, but I'm sure it'll be marvellous. If it turns out to be rubbish, you can always make a swim for it. More details, such as they are, here.


The Ivor Novello Awards happened
It was the Ivor Novello Awards yesterday. The big gong-giving bash for songwriting talent. Ed Sheeran was the big winner, being the only artist to take away more than one trophy. Although one of them was the Most Performed Work prize, which I'm not sure really counts. He did take Songwriter Of The Year though, which I guess is one of the big ones.

Other winners included Stormzy, for his 'Gang Signs And Prayer' album, and fellow rapper Dave, whose track 'Question Time' was named Best Contemporary Song. Meanwhile, Elbow's 'Magnificent (She Says)' was named Best Song Musically And Lyrically.

Commenting on the ceremony, Chair of awards organiser BASCA, Crispin Hunt, said: "The Ivors celebrate the best in British and Irish music writing. Our composers and songwriters prove, again and again, that they are some of the best in the world".

He mused on: "It is an immense privilege for BASCA to honour the extraordinary talent that exists in our sector, recognising creators across a vast range of contemporary music genres and awarding those who have created some of the most outstanding catalogues in music history. To every single winning composer, congratulations from all of us, you are spectacular and a credit to our amazing industry".

Here are all the winners:

Best Song Musically And Lyrically: Elbow - Magnificent (She Says) (Guy Garvey, Craig Potter, Mark Potter and Pete Turner)
Best Contemporary Song: Dave - Question time (Dave and Fraser T Smith)
Most Performed Work: Ed Sheeran - Shape Of You (Steve Mac, Johnny McDaid and Ed Sheeran)
Album Award: Stormzy - Gang Signs And Prayer (Michael 'Stormzy' Omari)

Best Original Film Score: Jackie (Mica Levi)
Best Television Soundtrack: The Miniaturist (Dan Jones)
Best Original Video Game Score: Horizon Zero Dawn (Joris de Man, Joe Henson and Alexis Smith)

Songwriter Of The Year: Ed Sheeran
Outstanding Song Collection: Cathy Dennis
Classical Music Award: Thea Musgrave
Inspiration Award: Shane MacGowan
International Achievement: Billy Ocean
Special International Award: Lionel Richie
Outstanding Contribution To Music: Billy Bragg


Mixcloud's Online radio Awards dished out
Mixcloud has unveiled the winners of this year's Online Radio Awards, celebrating music players and champion talkers who pump out radio-style programming online. With a new look this year, it spanned out to 29 prizes to recognise work in different genres and introduced a new Listeners Choice prize in each category, as well as the proper winner selected by the judges.

"We went into this year's Mixcloud Online Radio Awards with fresh ideas on how to showcase as much incredible and diverse online radio as possible, and the response was overwhelming", says Xanthe Fuller, Mixcloud's Head Of Community. "Tens of thousands of online radio lovers submitted nominations, and we're proud to highlight this great slew of winners. Online radio is thriving like never before, and Mixcloud is proud to be at the forefront of it".

Here are all the winners:

Best Online Music Show

Country/Folk/Blues: Dying For Bad Music
Rock/Alternative: Dynamite Hemorrhage
Latin/African/Asian: Tash LC, Worldwide FM
Reggae/Dancehall: Dancehall360 with Robbo Ranx
Hip-Hop/R&B/Afrobeats: Katbrownsugar, MCR Live
Ambient/Chillout: Stargazing with TerraHertz
Funk/Soul: Sound Spectrum with DJ Spinna
Jazz: The Blueprint with Chris Philips
Dance/Electronic: edible bEats by Eats Everything
EDM/Big Room: Martin Garrix
Bass/Dubstep/Drum N Bass: Noisia
Eclectic: Chulita Vinyl Club
Pop: Frankie Beats

Best Online Talk Show

News/Politics: Pantsuit Politics (US)
Science/Technology: The Reality Check (CA)
Business: Mind Your Business with Nicolette Wilson-Clark (UK)
Lifestyle/Health - This Podcast Will Kill You (US)
Education: History Chicks (US)
Sports: The Right Time with Bomani Jones (US)
Comedy: GriefCast (UK)
Arts & Culture: Stance (UK/US)
Rising Star: Stance (UK/US)

Best Online Radio Station

Europe: Dublin Digital Radio
Asia Pacific/Middle East/Africa: Hong Kong Community Radio
Central/South America: Na Manteiga Radio
North America: Dublab
Rising Star: Netil Radio

Best Online Radio Personality: Glory (Glory Talks on Reprezent Radio)


Gorillaz, The Internet, Clean Bandit, more

Other notable announcements and developments today...

• Get a daily news summary, our latest job ads and more via our Messenger bot. Click here to get started.

• Following a premature announcement by Jamie Hewlett's wife earlier this week, Gorillaz have now confirmed that they will release new album, 'The Now Now', on 29 Jun. Here's first single, 'Humility'.

• The Internet have announced that they will release their new album, 'Hive Mind', on 20 Jul. Here's new track 'Come Over'.

• Clean Bandit have released the video for new single, 'Solo', featuring Demi Lovato.

• Charli XCX has released new track, 'Five In The Morning'. She headlines Village Underground in London on 19 Jun, after which she'll support Taylor Swift at Wembley Stadium on 22 and 23 Jun. Fancy!

• Coheed & Cambria have released new track, 'The Dark Sentencer'. They're expected to release a new album later this year.

• Grimes features on the new single by K-pop group Loona/yyxy, 'love4eva'.

• MNDR is back with a new Hudson Mohawke-produced single, 'Gravity'.

• Young Fathers have announced UK tour dates for November and December. The run of shows will conclude at Brixton Academy on 11 Dec.

• Check out our weekly Spotify playlist of new music featured in the CMU Daily - updated every Friday.


Beef Of The Week #406: Pusha T v Drake
There's nothing quite like a good hip hop beef, is there? A lot of the disputes we cover in this column are flashes in the pan, but a rap feud can run and run for years based on little more than a few cryptic lines and a similar marketing schedule.

The dispute between Drake and Pusha T dates back years, when Drake - despite being a teenage superfan of Pusha T's former outfit Clipse - decided to side with his label boss Lil Wayne in a disagreement about who was allowed to wear a specific brand of jacket. That's a much as I'm going to say about that whole thing.

Drake then properly entered the ring on 2011's 'Dreams Money Can Buy', rapping "my favourite rappers either lost it or ain't alive". No specific names were named regarding which of Drake's favourite rappers had "lost it", but his stated fandom of Clipse led people to make assumptions. Pusha T responded with his own freestyle, 'Don't Fuck With Me', also naming no names, but delivered over the 'Dreams Money Can Buy' beat and calling out "rappers on their sophomores actin like they boss lords". Drake released his second album that year. The beef was on.

Continuing to speak largely in code, Pusha T released 'Exodus 23:1' a few months later, in which he still listed no names but suggested that having a complicated record contract - by being signed to an imprint of an imprint of another record label - was "bad luck". Drake, at the time, was signed to Lil Wayne's Young Money, a subsidiary of Cash Money Records, which itself is an imprint of Universal Music.

A year later, Drake released 'Tuscan Leather' in which he expressed dismay at people speaking ill of his "mentor", being particularly exasperated at "bench players talkin like starters". This was seemingly a reference back to the concurrent beef between Lil Wayne and Pusha T.

And there it ended. No more was said. If, indeed, anything at all had been said already. It's hard to tell. But then in 2015, Meek Mill accused Drake of using ghostwriters. And on that allegation, Pusha T could not hold his tongue. I mean, he did, for over a year. But I guess he was just biding his time, or something.

On his 'HGTV' freestyle, he complained that "it's too far gone when the realest ain't real", suggesting that some (as ever unnamed) rappers were delivering their most biting lines "with a questionable pen so the feelin ain't real".

Less than two weeks later, Drake aired a new track from his then upcoming 'More Life' project, 'Two Birds, One Stone', which bemoaned rappers who reel off "drug dealer stories" but in fact only acted as "a middle man". The horror! Again, no names named, but everyone read between the lines. Because reading between the lines is fun, right?

Anyway, it's all just kicked off again. And definitely not just because both rappers have new albums to promote.

Out last week, Pusha T's 'Daytona' album features a track, 'Infrared', which lets rip on Drake, again calling into question the authorship of his raps. In an interview with Vulture, Pusha T said that he was forced to write the track because Drake had questioned his authenticity. I believe Pusha T actually started the authenticity questioning here, but whatever. He then promised that he would "deal in truths all summer long".

But Drake had his own truths to dish out, responding quickly with 'Duppy Freestyle', promising Pusha T a "cruel summer". He shrugged off the ghostwriting accusation, questioning what the problem was if he collaborated with people on his lyrics from time to time.

He then added that he would be invoicing Pusha T's label - Kanye West's GOOD Music - a subsidiary of Def Jam, which is a division of Universal Music, by the way - for all the hitherto free promotion the feud had given 'Daytona'. He duly followed this up (at Pusha T's request) by posting a $100,000 invoice for "promotional services and career reviving".

Did Pusha T back down? No, he did not. There's a whole summer of this to come, remember. He responded with 'The Story Of Adidon', in which he claims that Drake has a secret son he refuses to acknowledge because the mother is a porn star.

The artwork for the track is a controversial photo of Drake made up in blackface and wearing a Jim Crow t-shirt. "This is a REAL picture", tweeted Pusha T. "These are his truths, see for yourself".

Of course, a picture on its own doesn't really tell that many truths. Seemingly Pusha T wanted people to believe that Drake just goes around in blackface in his spare time to indulge a secret racist streak.

But both the photographer who took the shot, David Lewes, and clothing brand Too Black Guys, which made the Jim Crow t-shirt (but said that the photo was not taken to promote the range) - insisted that the picture was intended to make a statement.

Drake himself then clarified that, in a post on Instagram, saying: "I know everyone is enjoying the circus, but I want to clarify this image in question. This was not from a clothing brand shoot or my music career. This picture is from 2007, a time in my life where I was an actor and I was working on a project that was about young black actors struggling to get roles, being stereotyped and typecast. The photos represented how African-Americans were once wrongfully portrayed in entertainment".

"Me and my best friend at the time Mazin Elsadig, who is also an actor, from Sudan, were attempting to use our voice to bring awareness to the issues we dealt with all the time as black actors at auditions", he continued. "This was to highlight and raise our frustrations with not always getting a fair chance in the industry and to make a point that the struggle for black actors had not changed much".

All of which I think you could probably infer from the image itself, but clarity is fun too. Either way, all that clarity seems to suggest Pusha T was wrong to present the photo in a negative light. Nevertheless, people are still saying that Pusha T's is winning the latest round of this long-term beef. Although they're forgetting that Drake's new album, 'Scorpion', isn't out yet, and nor is the summer over. So I think it's safe to expect more.

Although, for the record, the best statement to come out of all this so far was not delivered by Pusha T or Drake, but A$AP Rocky. Responding to rumours that he was the one who told Pusha T about Drake's supposed lovechild, he tweeted: "Get off my dick, keep my name out dat gossip blog shit. Who's providing tips? Quidditch ass niggas, ridin Harry Potter stick to find da snitch". Well, exactly.

Despite the reference to a children's story there, I think it's important to note that everyone involved in this is an actual grown-up.


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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CHRIS COOKE | MD & Business Editor
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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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