TODAY'S TOP STORY: The music industry is in the midst of a final big push to try and win the backing of the European Parliament for the safe harbour reform that is included in the draft new European Copyright Directive. Hell, even Paul McCartney's joining in! [READ MORE]
TOP STORIES Paul McCartney joins music industry in last big push ahead of copyright vote
LEGAL Ghost Ship managers plead guilty over deadly fire
Two Fyre Festival ticket-buyers win $5 million in damages
Ozzy Osbourne hits back at AEG over venue bookings lawsuit
Eminem publishers say NZ$600,000 damages over New Zealand political ad should be higher
ARTIST NEWS Black Key's collaborator Richard Swift dies
ONE LINERS Peermusic, MMF, Diplo, Justin Timberlake, more
AND FINALLY... Facial recognition tech can't indentify Insane Clown Posse fans
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Paul McCartney joins music industry in last big push ahead of copyright vote
The music industry is in the midst of a final big push to try and win the backing of the European Parliament for the safe harbour reform that is included in the draft new European Copyright Directive. Hell, even Paul McCartney's joining in!

That safe harbour reform has been a long time coming, of course, but some in the music community fear that a late-in-the-day panic campaign being orchestrated by the tech sector could scupper plans to increase the liabilities of user-upload sites.

Lobbyists for the music business have been working hard to secure safe harbour reform for years now, putting it at the top of their priority list when the European Commission announced a new copyright review.

The music industry argues that websites like YouTube exploit protections intended for internet service providers and server hosting companies in order to secure preferential rates when negotiating licensing deals with copyright owners. Which means YouTube et al pay much lower royalties to music owners and creators than their competitors like Spotify and Apple, resulting in the much talked about 'value gap'.

Article thirteen of the copyright directive seeks to increase the liabilities of user-upload sites. Critics argue that the move will alter the social media experience, prevent the sharing of memes and basically "break the internet". The music industry counters that those critics, led by the tech lobby, are simply misrepresenting the proposed new laws in a bid to scare MEPs into voting against them.

A reworked version of article thirteen was passed by the European Parliament's JURI committee last month. The reworking basically involved taking an already pretty waffley article and ramping up the waffle to the max. Though the current draft has been welcomed by the music industry and highly criticised by the tech lobby, which suggests that most people reckon the new rules will be of some use to copyright owners if passed.

The European Parliament at large will vote on the proposals tomorrow, hence the flurry of statements, blog posts and open letters from artists, rights owners, music industry trade groups and collecting societies. Together those statements, blog posts and open letters are seeking support from MEPs for article thirteen, while trying to counter the tech sector arguments that have been filling techy sites, social feeds and MEP inboxes for the last few weeks.

What kind of open letters, you shriek? Well, For starters, there's this letter published in The Guardian on Monday signed by the bosses of BPI, AIM, BASCA, PRS and UK Music.

What kind of blog posts, you demand? Well, there's this one from pan-European indie label trade group IMPALA which summarises its position on the debate.

What kind of statements, you tetchily murmur through clenched teeth? Well, loads of statements. Here's a few for you to enjoy reading out loud...

Geoff Taylor, CEO of UK record label trade body BPI: "Billions of views of music videos are clocked up each year on services like YouTube, but video still contributes only 3.2% of the income generated by UK recorded music. This is because tech giants hide behind 'safe harbours' from liability to avoid paying fair royalties to the artists concerned. This antiquated EU rule has undermined creators' incomes and investment in new talent, distorting the market for digital services by creating a 'value gap' with licensed services that pay fairly".

"MEPs vote on Thursday to address this problem, and the tech-lobby has been using its deep pockets to disingenuously claim the copyright directive will 'break the internet'. These baseless scare tactics deserve to fail. The status quo is holding back both creativity and innovation. MEPs should ensure music and technology flourish together, through freely-negotiated licence deals. For the sake of the next Dua Lipa or Stormzy and the next Spotify, let's hope they pass this measure".

Robert Ashcroft, CEO of UK song rights collecting society PRS For Music: "After three years of debate, one of the most controversial pieces of legislation ever to come before the European Parliament is about to go to the vote. This is about copyright and specifically about the rights of creators versus those of the internet giants; it is about the way the internet functions as a fair and efficient marketplace. It is a debate we must win if we want to secure our creative community into the next decade".

David El Sayegh, Secretary General of French collecting society SACEM: "Online content sharing platforms have become an integral part of the musical ecosystem, acting as the main access point to enjoy and share music. However, these platforms currently benefit from the uploading and sharing of creative works but do not remunerate artists for the value of their work. As a matter of fact, these platforms are acting as 'free riders'. The value gap this generates is a real threat to the longer term viability of the creative industries worldwide".

"Since creators are integral to the business model of these platforms, it is only fair that the works of creators should be properly recognised. Article thirteen will ensure creators are fairly remunerated for the use of their work, and will make online content sharing platforms comply with the appropriate copyright rules. The vote this Thursday is crucial for musicians and music lovers across the world. SACEM strongly urges MEPs to vote in favour of the mandate of the copyright directive on Thursday, to ensure a viable and sustainable future for the music industry for generations to come".

Dr Harald Heker, CEO of German collecting society GEMA: "The European Parliament cannot allow itself to be hijacked by pirates. Since the adoption in front of the European Parliament's legal affairs committee [last month], critics have been running a massive disinformation campaign".

"A differentiation appears no longer possible. Deliberate misleading misstatements are being purposely spread in order to cause uncertainty amongst MEPs and to influence the debate negatively in parliament. GEMA fiercely criticises the undue blurring of the debate with incorrect terms such as 'upload filters' and 'censorship machines'. A vote against the legal affairs committee's report would be a slap in the face of all culture creators and artists".

So there you go, some statements. That was fun, wasn't it? "But fuck you CMU! You said I was gonna hear from Paul McCartney. You promised me Paul McCartney. Where the fuck is Paul McCartney?"

Woah, there, reader, how about a bit patience, yeah? I mean, we've been talking about bloody safe harbour reform for what seems like about 4000 years now, you can wait a little bit longer for Paul McCartney's intervention, can't you? No? OK, click here to read Paul McCartney's intervention. Enjoy it why don't you?

The big vote's tomorrow, remember. And if it all goes through, then we get to march on to – yeah, that's right – the next big vote. Maybe next time John Lennon will chip in from beyond the grave.


Ghost Ship managers plead guilty over deadly fire
The two men accused of involuntary manslaughter in relation to the deadly fire that occurred at the Ghost Ship warehouse space in Oakland, California in 2016 have pleaded guilty after reaching a plea deal with prosecutors.

36 people died after a fire broke out during a party at the converted warehouse, which was being used as a shared space for artists to live and work in. Seven musical acts were due to perform that night, members of which were among the dead.

Derick Almena and Max Harris were subsequently charged for involuntary manslaughter. At a court session last year, a judge ruled that the two men had a "substantial" role in managing the multi-purpose venue. In that role that they had failed to put in place even basic safety measures, meaning the warehouse was, in the judge's words, a "death trap".

Having pleaded guilty to the charges, Almena and Harris will now be sentenced on 8 Aug. According to the local District Attorney's office, Almena will likely be sentenced to nine years in custody and three more under 'mandatory supervision', while Harris will likely face six years in jail and four under supervision.


Two Fyre Festival ticket-buyers win $5 million in damages
Two men who attended the disastrous Fyre Festival have been awarded a neat $5 million in damages after suing the event's co-founder Billy McFarland.

The Fyre Festival, of course, was meant to be a luxurious music experience in the Bahamas organised by McFarland and his celebrity best bud Ja Rule. But the event collapsed just as it was starting when it became clear organisers hadn't put in place the infrastructure required for even a basic festival, let alone the luxury extravaganza ticket-buyers had been promised.

A flurry of litigation followed as punters, investors and suppliers all sued the Fyre Festival company – which then fell into bankruptcy – and McFarland and Ja Rule individually. McFarland also had to contend with criminal charges of fraud, for which he should have been sentenced already, except new fraud allegations have delayed things a little.

All of which means a lot of legal papers are presumably piled up on McFarland's desk. Which is possibly why he failed to respond to the lawsuit filed in North Carolina by ticket-buyers Seth Crossno and Mark Thompson. But his failure to respond resulted in a default judgement in their favour last week.

Each plaintiff was granted $1.5 million in compensatory damages and an additional $1 million in punitive damages. The compensatory damages were in part to cover the financial losses Crossno and Thompson incurred when attending the festival, but also as compensation for the emotional distress the experience caused.

Ja Rule was also originally named as a defendant on the lawsuit, but a deal was reached to remove him from the legal claim. Which possibly means Crossno and Thompson will ultimately end up banging on the doors of whichever jail McFarland ends up in demanding their cash. Though the two plaintiffs reckon that, despite McFarland previously claiming to be broke, there may be some assets they can go after.

Meanwhile Crossno, a blogger who garnered some fame by live tweeting his Fyre festival experiences, hopes that, with legal matters now at an end, he'll be able to write and talk more about the disastrous event. Indeed, according to Vice, he has a new podcast called Dumpster Fyre in the works and he recently applied to take ownership of the Fyre trademark. So maybe there'll still be financial rewards from all this even if it turns out McFarland's pockets are definitely empty.


Ozzy Osbourne hits back at AEG over venue bookings lawsuit
Lawyers for Ozzy Osbourne have hit back at AEG in the ongoing dispute over major venue operators linking bookings at their different spaces, mainly in a bid to secure big acts for their LA arenas. Attorneys say that AEG has deliberately misled the court in its bid to have Osbourne's lawsuit over the venue booking squabbles dismissed.

A quick recap. Last summer it emerged that AEG had started linking bookings at venues it operates in London and LA, namely The O2 and the Staples Center. It was alleged that artists who wanted to play the former were being pressured to also play the latter when in LA, as opposed to rival Los Angeles venue the Forum, which is run by MSG.

When criticised over this linking of venue bookings, AEG countered that MSG had started it by linking bookings at its flagship New York venue Madison Square Garden with the Forum. Live Nation then chipped in to moan about AEG's venue linking practices, prompting AEG to question why it hadn't likewise criticised MSG, before noting that maybe it was because the MSG venues use Live Nation's Ticketmaster.

All that squabbling led to talk about venue operators being in breach of certain competition laws, which in turn led to Ozzy Osbourne filing an antitrust action against AEG in the US in March. The lawsuit relates to a Live Nation promoted tour and efforts by AEG to link bookings at The O2 and the Staples Center.

That linking was a "tying agreement" banned under American law, said Osbourne's lawsuit. But – AEG subsequently argued last month – the document outlining that venue linking was an agreement between it and Live Nation. Therefore said document didn't limit Osbourne himself, who could perform anywhere in LA, just not with Live Nation.

AEG requested that the entire case be dismissed on that basis, while also criticising other elements of Osbourne's lawsuit. But now Osbourne's lawyers are fighting back, arguing that the agreement between AEG and Live Nation very much bound the musician too.

Legal man Dan Wall writes in a submission to the court: "Factually, AEG misrepresents its own practices with respect to the tying requirement it enforces. The formal venue hire agreement for the O2 referenced in the Staples Center commitment unambiguously requires the promoter to ensure that the artist plays Staples when in Los Angeles".

The submission adds: "An artist's promoter is his business representative, so agreements that a promoter signs bind the artist. The resulting contract requires Live Nation to direct Ozzy's tour routing in a variety of significant respects, imposing an obligation on Ozzy to play or not play shows at various venues subject to the conditions established by the agreement".

And so the squabble continues.


Eminem publishers say NZ$600,000 damages over New Zealand political ad should be higher
Eminem's publishers reckon that New Zealand's National Party should pay more than NZ$600,000 in damages for using the rapper's 'Lose Yourself' composition in a campaign advert without permission. The political party reckons that $600,000 is way too much already and wants the damages cut.

Eminem's publishing company went legal, of course, after the National Party used music that sounded really rather like 'Lose Yourself' in a 2014 election campaign commercial. The political types insisted that they had licensed the track they used from a library music company so everything was above board.

But the library music track was called 'Eminem-esque' and - when the matter got to court last year - the judge hearing the case ruled that it was sufficiently Eminem-esque to constitute copyright infringement. Therefore the National Party's deal with a library music firm was irrelevant, it had still used copyright infringing music in its ad.

Since that ruling last October, the National Party has been fighting to get the NZ$600,000 damages cut down to size. Its legal reps argue that the party acted in good faith when licensing the library music track. Plus, had it known it also needed a licence from Eminem's companies, there is no way it would have gone ahead with using the music in its ad if the cost of that licence had been anywhere near the NZ$600,000 figure.

But legal reps from the Eminem side argue that that's all irrelevant, not least because there's no way they would have licensed 'Lose Yourself' to the National Party for a political ad whatever fee had been offered.

As proof, they reference how they once refused to do a deal when approached about licensing the track for another political ad. Had the National Party likewise approached them for a licence, they say, they'd have immediately knocked them back. With that in mind, says Team Eminem, the damages should be higher.

All these arguments were presented in New Zealand's court of appeal yesterday. Judges in that court will now consider whether the NZ$600,000 damages figure is appropriate.


Approved: LibraLibra
LibraLibra released their debut single, 'Animali', earlier this year, unleashing an immense musical force that continues on the follow-up 'Tongues'. Musically, both songs are tight and punchy, with a deft mix of electronic and live sounds. It's worth mentioning that up front, because it's easy to focus all praise on Beth Cannon's outstanding voice.

Also a member of Simon Raymonde's Lost Horizons, Cannon's vocal range is vast and she uses it uninhibitedly to great effect – it seems appropriate, and possibly not coincidental, that the concept of wildness arises in the lyrics of both singles.

"'Tongues' is an amalgamation of frustration, anger and suffering", she says of the band's latest release. "I can only hope that this song speaks to those who have been outcast and turned into a pariah, abused - having their sense of pride and being stripped completely bare, then left shamed within society".

"I hope this helps us unite", she goes on, "and in turn I want this song to hit back hard, that it can give one the power and the urge to purge oneself of the shame forced upon us, that it can be embraced as a battle cry and help heal the soul".

Watch the video for 'Tongues' here.

Stay up to date with all of the artists featured in the CMU Approved column by subscribing to our Spotify playlist.

Black Key's collaborator Richard Swift dies
The Black Keys have led the tributes for Richard Swift, who has died aged 41. The duo said that the musician "was the funniest person we ever met and one of the most talented musicians we have ever worked with. We feel so honoured to have known him".

A singer, songwriter, record producer and multi-instrumentalist, Swift played bass with The Black Keys at their live shows and was also drummer with The Shins for five years. He was admitted to hospital last month with an undisclosed life-threatening condition.

Swift also worked as a songwriter and producer with a number of other artists, and founded a recording studio in Oregon. Meanwhile, as a solo act, he put out records with US independent Secretly Canadian. The label joined many members of the music community in also paying tribute to Swift yesterday.

In a post recalling their time working with him, Secretly Canadian's Chris Swanson and Eric Deines wrote: "From the moment he first came into our lives in the fall of 2004, it was clear he was a rarefied soul ... his wit, irreverence, talent, and most of all his understanding of true beauty was immeasurable".


Peermusic, MMF, Diplo, Justin Timberlake, 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.

• Music publisher Peermusic has acquired Accorder Music, a UK-based music publishing company focused on music for TV and films. It's an "extremely important acquisition" reckons Peermusic's Nigel Elderton. Which is pretty damn important.

• YouTube's new premium music service? Yeah what's that? Better keep on selling some ads I reckon. Warner Music, which controls advertising on its YouTube channels, has announced a new partnership with a company called Internet Media Services to flog ads around its YouTube videos in Russia, Poland, Spain, Portugal and most of Latin America.

• The Music Managers Forum in the UK has a new Chair in the form of Paul Craig of Nostromo Management. Craig was previously Vice-Chair, and takes over the top job from Diane Wagg, who confirmed she was standing down at the recent MMF AGM. Kwame Kwaten of Ferocious Talent has been elected as the new Vice-Chair.

• Tom Connaughton, previously off of the Vevos, has been promoted by his current employer Spotify to become MD for the UK. He only joined the company in April. I hope they didn't print up any business cards with his original job title on them. What a waste that would have been. Won't anyone think about the trees?

• Another soundtrack from the combined musical minds of Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross? Well that would be nice, wouldn't it? The duo are being linked to a new coming-of-age film from directed by Trey Edwards Shults called 'Waves'. Though word has it the deal is still being negotiating to have them compose an original score.

• A new book will be published in November to mark Joni Mitchell's 75th birthday collecting together a load of photos of her taken by photographer Norman Seeff. The book will be published by Insight Editions on 6 Nov.

• Like your documentaries short? Here is an eight minute doc tracking the career of Diplo, with cameos from MIA, MØ, Justin Bieber, Madonna and Snoop Dogg.

There's a surprise new track from Justin Timberlake called 'SoulMate'. "Summer starts now" it says. I'm pretty sure it's been summer for a few weeks already here in this Northern Hemisphere.

• Young Thug has unleashed a new 'Twin Peaks' style video for his song 'Up' from his April-released EP 'Hear No Evil'.

• Krept & Konan will replace J Hus on the bill at the Wireless festival in London this weekend following the latter's recent arrest on "suspicion of being in possession of a knife or bladed article". He is due in court on 20 Jul.

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


Facial recognition tech can't indentify Insane Clown Posse fans
Given how hard the Insane Clown Posse have been fighting to stop the feds from classifying their fans – aka the juggalos – as a criminal gang, lots of chatter about how said juggalos' famous face painting confuses facial recognition tech is probably not useful.

But hey, the juggalos' face painting confuses facial recognition tech, how cool is that? This is according to a tech blogger who goes by the name Tahkion, who recently tweeted: "It turns out juggalo make-up defeats facial recognition successfully. If you want to avoid surveillance, become a juggalo I guess".

Apparently the clever facial recognition software that is being used or piloted by various security firms, law enforcement outfits and tech giants in part works by identifying the different elements of the face – nose, jaw, eyes etc – and how they line-up.

The way juggalos often apply black and white face paint when attending ICP shows can confuse the machines in that process, for example by making it harder to locate the placement of the jaw.

Which, we should stress to any feds out there, isn't why the Insane Clown Posse and their fans apply their make-up in this way, they just think it looks kinda cool. But when the machines decide it's time to take over the earth, maybe it will be the juggalos who come to the rescue.


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
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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