TODAY'S TOP STORY: Harry Shearer has welcomed the latest development in the ongoing legal battle over the rights in and royalties generated by the 'This Is Spinal Tap' movie and soundtrack. A judge has given the all-clear for the core case against entertainment conglom Vivendi to proceed, although much of the case against its music subsidiary Universal Music will need to be re-filed... [READ MORE]
TOP STORIES Spinal Tap welcome latest ruling in Vivendi dispute
LEGAL Music industry campaigners hope lacklustre protests and talk of butterflies will help get safe harbour reform through
ARTIST NEWS Cliff Richard hopes for "revival" with new album
RELEASES Razorlight release four (FOUR) new singles
GIGS & FESTIVALS White Denim announce February UK tour
Bodega announce UK & Ireland tour
ONE LINERS The Stereotypes, Matador, John Grant, more
AND FINALLY... Trump's photo request gave Sia "crazy diarrhoea"
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Spinal Tap welcome latest ruling in Vivendi dispute
Harry Shearer has welcomed the latest development in the ongoing legal battle over the rights in and royalties generated by the 'This Is Spinal Tap' movie and soundtrack. A judge has given the all-clear for the core case against entertainment conglom Vivendi to proceed, although much of the case against its music subsidiary Universal Music will need to be re-filed.

The creators of the cult movie - Shearer, Christopher Guest, Michael McKean and Rob Reiner - all accuse Vivendi of misreporting financial information about the film and its spin offs in order to under-pay them royalties due from the franchise. The company controls the 'Spinal Tap' movie via its StudioCanal business and the soundtrack via Universal. The four creators had a profit-share arrangement with the original producer.

There are various elements to the case. These include allegations of both breach of contract and fraud on the part of the entertainment companies. Also, there is an attempt by Shearer et al to reclaim various rights in the 'Spinal Tap' franchise under the so called termination right in US copyright law. Vivendi has called the four men's claims of dodgy dealing "absurd", while also arguing that the termination right doesn't apply to the 'Spinal Tap' movie or its soundtrack because they were created on a 'work for hire' basis.

The case has already been through a lot of back and forth, with Universal Music being added as a defendant in its own right last October. In the latest court hearing, the major label sought to have itself removed from the litigation. In part it argued that neither it nor any of its predecessor companies were party to a specific 1982 contract that is at the heart of the case.

Judge Dolly M Gee was sympathetic to that argument, although also acknowledged that the plaintiffs had presented other theories in a bid to prove the music firm's liabilities. Nevertheless, Gee dismissed all but the copyright termination element of the case against Universal. However, she told Shearer et al that they could resubmit new legal papers setting out a refined case against the major record company.

More importantly for the Spinal Tap camp, Gee knocked back concurrent efforts by Vivendi and StudioCanal to have the case dismissed entirely. Which means the core litigation, including the allegations of fraud, can now proceed.

Welcoming that ruling, Shearer said: "We are pleased with the decision in our ongoing litigation involving the film 'This Is Spinal Tap,' which allows all of our claims against Vivendi, StudioCanal and [StudioCanal exec] Ron Halpern, including the fraud claim, to proceed. We are also confident that we will adequately amend our claims against the defendant Universal Music, as specified by Judge Gee's order, so we can move forward with those as well".

He went on: "The court's ruling makes clear that we can pursue damages both for breach of contract and fraud, including punitive damages, based on the defendants' failure to properly account to us for our profits in connection with 'This Is Spinal Tap.' It is equally important that we can pursue our right to recapture our copyright interests and other intellectual property rights in connection with the Spinal Tap film and music, so that we can control our own creative product and benefit from it, as we should have all along".

Speaking for all four of the Spinal Tap plaintiffs, Shearer concluded: "We look forward to finally getting our day in court, at a trial, with the evidence that to date Vivendi has tried to hide from us".


Music industry campaigners hope lacklustre protests and talk of butterflies will help get safe harbour reform through
As the music business prepares for the next big push to secure safe harbour reform in Europe, the industry's lobbyists are hoping that MEPs have seen the photographs of last weekend's protests against said reforms, which are somewhat light on protestors.

The music industry has been campaigning hard to reform the safe harbour that says internet companies cannot be held liable for their users' copyright infringement. Music companies argue that user-upload platforms like YouTube have exploited the safe harbour - originally intended for internet service providers and server hosting firms - in order to launch on-demand content platforms without paying market rate royalties to content owners.

Article thirteen of the new European Copyright Directive seeks to increase the liabilities of platforms like YouTube. But that proposal has proven to be among the most controversial of all the reforms in the new EU copyright legislation.

When the latest draft of the directive went before the European Parliament last month, prolific campaigning by the tech lobby and copyright critics, against article thirteen in particular, resulted in the proposals being voted down. The whole matter will now go back to Parliament on 12 Sep.

Since the big vote, some of the tactics employed by some of those opposed to article thirteen have been criticised by the music community. Particular focus has fallen on their use of tools provided by an organisation called OpenMedia, which counts YouTube owner Google as a platinum supporter.

In one report, The Times noted that "Google is helping to fund a website that encourages people to spam politicians and newspapers with automated messages backing its policy goals". The allegation is that tools like OpenMedia - in part employed by people outside the European Union - helped make opposition to article thirteen seem much more widespread than it really is.

One of article thirteen's biggest critics within the Parliament itself, The Pirate Party's Julia Reda, has, perhaps unsurprisingly, hit back at those claims. She wrote in a recent blog post that article thirteen supporters "have come up with a convenient narrative to downplay the massive public opposition they faced. They're claiming the protest was all fake, generated by bots and orchestrated by big internet companies".

To that end, she added, on-the-street protests would be staged on 26 Aug to show that anger about the proposed copyright reform was real. Though the turnout for those protests, staged in various European cities, was somewhat lacklustre. Writing on social media, record industry trade group IFPI reckoned "fifteen showed in Stockholm, Paris, Munich, Vienna and Helsinki. 30 in Warsaw. 80 in Berlin. No shows in other cities". And while IFPI is obviously biased, photo evidence was posted to show the small turnouts.

Of course, just because people aren't willing to show up in person and shout about a petition they signed up to online doesn't mean they aren't concerned about the issues raised by that petition. And it's no secret that there are plenty of opponents to safe harbour reform. However, the music industry's lobbyists will be hoping that the lacklustre protests will convince MEPs that opposition to article thirteen isn't quite as widespread as the flood of phone calls and emails they received before last month's vote suggested.

Elsewhere, the UK music industry has launched a new campaign trying to rally its supporters ahead of the next copyright debate in the European Parliament next month. There's a website and a video and everything. Some nonsense about butterflies and bulldozers. I think you guys are meant to the butterflies. Even though it'd be much more fun to be a bulldozer.

Basically, campaigners want artists and music fans to flutter on over to the clumsily named MakeInternetFair website run by pan-European collecting society group GESAC and sign a petition. Meanwhile tech giants and their bloody bots can presumably just bulldoze off.


Approved: Yuri Urano
Having released music as Yullippe for several years, producer Yuri Urano has now decided to start working under her own name. Although she apparently plans to release music under both monikers moving forward, it seems that it's under her real name that she will primarily work from this point on.

Her debut release as Yuri Urano will be an EP titled 'Autline' for Sheffield-based electronic label Central Processing Unit. Out on 28 Sep, it sees her adopt a harder, more focussed techno sound. From it, 'Pec' is possibly her hardest release to date, while the title track goes darker with industrial sounds underpinning a ping-ponging vocal sample.

Listen to 'Autline' here.

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Cliff Richard hopes for "revival" with new album
Cliff Richard has announced that he will release his first album of original material for fourteen years this November, titled 'Rise Up'. The singer said at a press conference at Abbey Road Studios this morning that the album was a reaction to the "bad period" he has been through in recent years.

The star, of course, recently won a court case against the BBC over its coverage of a police raid on his Berkshire home in 2014. Police were investigating accusations of historical sexual abuse, for which Richard was never charged. A court ruled last month that his privacy had been infringed and ordered the broadcaster to pay damages.

Richard says that he hopes the new album will revive his career, now that the court case is over. Its first single and title track was, somewhat ironically, premiered on BBC Radio 2 this morning. Written by 'Devil Woman' co-writer Terry Britten and Graham Lyle, the song sees Richard sing about redemption in the face of adversity.

"I chose 'Rise Up' as the title track because, after the bad period I went through in my life, I've managed to rise up out of what seemed like a quagmire", he said, according to the BBC. "I love the lyric 'They're never gonna break me down, they're never gonna take me down, they know I'm gonna rise up feeling stronger'. It is always great to sing lyrics you can feel and I really felt those words".

He added, reports The Guardian, that he hoped new audiences might be open to his music, saying: "It has been put to me that a new audience might give me a 'listen to', and that is an exciting thought, and if they do and don't like it they can buy something else. Give me a chance, that is all we can ask. My longevity should be considered a plus, not a drawback".

Set for release on 23 Nov, 'Rise Up' the album also features a duet with Oliver Newton-John, as well as reworked versions of some of his classic songs with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.


Razorlight release four (FOUR) new singles
Razorlight are back. Or at least Johnny Borrell and some people he knows have resurrected the Razorlight name. Who is to say what is or is not a Razorlight? They're certainly saying they're Razorlight. And that they're releasing a new Razorlight album later this year. Is there a new Razorlight single out though? No. There are four of the fuckers.

New album 'Olympus Seething' will be the first Razorlight album for ten whole years; a fallow period only lightly troubled by Borrell's debut solo album and that hat.

Making up the rest of the current line-up for the record are guitarist David Ellis and Pretenders drummer Martin Chambers - although on tour Borrell and Ellis will be joined by another drummer, David Sullivan Kaplan (a member of the group since pre-hat days), and bassist João Mello.

Borrell released an "amazing" new solo single earlier this year, but he's keen to show that he can still turn in a half decent Razorlight track too, hence putting out four singles all at once.

"We've been away for a long time and wanted to give more to the fans than just one single", he says. "I'm really excited about the album and really excited about doing Razorlight again".

So, 'Olympus Seething' is out on 26 Oct, and you can listen to the title track, plus 'Got To Let The Good Times Back Into Your Life', 'Japanrock' and 'Sorry?' now. If that's not enough, there's an album trailer too.

I mentioned a tour somewhere back there too. That's another thing that's happening. Don't sit there thinking there won't be a tour, because there will. Why do you keep thinking lies? Look, here are the dates:

4 Dec: Glasgow, The Old Fruitmarket
5 Dec: Sheffield, Academy
6 Dec: Liverpool, Academy
8 Dec: Bristol, SWX
10 Dec: Birmingham, The Institute
11 Dec: Brighton, Concorde 2
13 Dec: Nottingham, Rock City
14 Dec: London, The Forum
16 Dec: Manchester, The Ritz
17 Dec: Newcastle, Academy
18 Dec: Leeds, Academy
19 Dec: Cambridge, The Junction


White Denim announce February UK tour
With two sold out performances at Hackney's Moth Club lined up this very evening, White Denim have gone and announced new UK tour dates for February. Gotta keep busy. Speaking of which, the pre-sale's on right now. Or you can wait until tickets go on general sale on Friday.

Here are those dates:

9 Feb: Belfast, Limelight
12 Feb: Bristol, Academy
13 Feb: Birmingham, Institute
15 Feb: Manchester, Albert Hall
16 Feb: Newcastle, Northumbria Institute
17 Feb: Glasgow, SWG3 TV Studio
19 Feb: Leeds, Academy
20 Feb: Liverpool, Academy
22 Feb: London, Roundhouse


Bodega announce UK & Ireland tour
Rapidly intensifying buzz magnets Bodega have announced that they will be touring the UK and Ireland yet again in February next year.

The run of shows, at which they will presumably perform one or two songs from their debut album 'Endless Scroll', will feature their biggest headline performance to date at The Scala in London.

Here are the dates:

14 Feb: Nottingham, Rescue Rooms
15 Feb: Glasgow, The Art School
16 Feb: Dublin, Whelan's
18 Feb: Manchester, Yes
19 Feb: Brudenell Social Club
20 Feb: London, The Scala


The Stereotypes, Matador, John Grant, more

Other notable announcements and developments today...

• Entertainment One has signed a new deal with The Stereotypes and their publishing company Beach Wave. The songwriting group are best known for their work on Bruno Mars's '24k Magic' album. The company has also signed a direct deal with the group's Ray Charles McCullough II, aka RaCharm. "We are excited", say The Stereotypes. "I am so excited", says eOne's Chris Taylor. "I'm super excited", says RaCharm.

• Matador Records has announced two new appointments, one in New York and one in London. Jake Whitener joins the staff as Director of A&R in the US and Alex Keague-Davies joins as UK General Manager. "I'm looking forward to not only continuing the legacy and success of Matador and their artists, but growing and building on that, both in the UK and internationally", says Keague-Davies.

• John Grant has shared two new tracks from his upcoming album, 'Love Is Magic' - 'He's Got His Mother's Hips' and 'Touch & Go'.

• Blood Orange has released the video for 'Saint', taken from his new album 'Negro Swan'.

• King Krule has released the video for 'Biscuit Town', from his Mercury-nominated album 'The Ooz'.

• Tess Roby has released the video for 'Given Signs', from her debut album 'Beacon'.

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


Trump's photo request gave Sia "crazy diarrhoea"
Donald Trump is bad for your health. It's official. He gave Sia "crazy diarrhoea", simply by talking to her. Do not talk to Donald Trump, he will give you the shits.

In a new interview with Rolling Stone, the musician explains that she met the then Presidential candidate when they both appeared on an episode of 'Saturday Night Live' in 2015.

"We've got to get a photo", she recalls him beaming, while daughter Ivanka stood behind him with a camera. Sia then found herself caught between a dislike of confrontation and fears of how the internet would react to a picture of her and Trump together.

She quickly weighed up the pros and cons of posing for the camera and declining the offer, and then replied: "Actually, do you mind if we don't? I have a lot of queer and Mexican fans, and I don't want them to think that I support your views".

"Oh, no problem", said Trump. "Then don't".

It's hard to know if the apparent breeziness of his response shows self-awareness or just the resignation of a man who hears that sort of thing a lot. I mean, obviously it's not self-awareness, but I needed two things for that sentence to work.

Sia has her own view on it: "It was as if he viewed me as protecting my brand. He respected that. I was like, 'Thank you so much', and then I went into my dressing room and had crazy diarrhoea".

It says quite a lot when someone would rather you imagine them rapidly and uncomfortably emptying their bowels than actually seeing them pictured with Donald Trump. Although they did appear on the show together, of course. That's when that whole covering up her face thing really came into its own.


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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