TODAY'S TOP STORY: Ed Sheeran being sued for allegedly ripping off a Marvin Gaye song might sound like a re-run of the famous 'Blurred Lines' song-theft case. But both sides in the legal dispute over Sheeran's hit 'Thinking Out Loud' have been spending more time considering another recent plagiarism dispute. Which is to say, both sides have written to the court explaining why last month's appeals court judgement in the 'Stairway To Heaven' case backs up their arguments in the lawsuit that accuses 'Thinking Out Loud' of ripping off Gaye's 'Let's Get It On'... [READ MORE]
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This three part CMU Trends guide provides a beginner's guide to music copyright and the music rights business. In it, we cover ownership, controls and licensing, and review key trends in streaming, physical, sync and public performance. [READ MORE]
TOP STORIES Lawyers in Ed Sheeran song-theft case debate impact of Stairway To Heaven appeals court judgement
LABELS & PUBLISHERS The music industry is losing $2.65 billion as businesses fail to stream properly, study finds
ARTIST NEWS Filming to begin on Amy Winehouse biopic in 2019
Moby announces second autobiography
RELEASES Little (L) Mix (M) announce fifth (5) album
Killers' Dave Keuning announces solo album
ONE LINERS Sia, Paul McCartney, Kylie Minogue, more
AND FINALLY... Tom Delonge hits back at article on UFO research agency's finances
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The Columbo Group is seeking a Festival Promotions Manager and content creator to work on a series of London festivals for summer 2019 and beyond. You will be responsible for the promotion and marketing of five exciting new London festivals, working alongside a team of very passionate people.

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LME is looking for a dynamic full time PR Manager to join their team based in London. The role requires a well organised, enthusiastic publicist with two+ years of PR experience in the entertainment / media industry working and leading publicity campaigns across print and online including social media.

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You will the lead person responsible for all elements of ad trafficking and reporting whilst supporting the business through effective implementation of social media and Google campaigns for a variety of clients across the entertainment market.

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Warp Records has an exciting opportunity for a UK Promotions Co-ordinator, to be based in their London office. The full-time role is part of the UK team, supporting creative and effective campaigns for the label’s roster of ground-breaking artists.

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Secretly Distribution seeks a full time Digital Marketing Co-ordinator based in our London office. This individual will work closely with our international and digital teams in a wide reaching role that will focus on sales and marketing in multiple territories outside of the US.

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Lawyers in Ed Sheeran song-theft case debate impact of Stairway To Heaven appeals court judgement
Ed Sheeran being sued for allegedly ripping off a Marvin Gaye song might sound like a re-run of the famous 'Blurred Lines' song-theft case. But both sides in the legal dispute over Sheeran's hit 'Thinking Out Loud' have been spending more time considering another recent plagiarism dispute. Which is to say, both sides have written to the court explaining why last month's appeals court judgement in the 'Stairway To Heaven' case backs up their arguments in the lawsuit that accuses 'Thinking Out Loud' of ripping off Gaye's 'Let's Get It On'.

Whereas in the 'Blurred Lines' case it was the Gaye family who went legal, it was the heirs of 'Let's Get It On' co-writer Ed Townsend who sued Sheeran in the US back in 2016. They alleged that 'Thinking Out Loud', released in 2014, lifted "melody, harmony and rhythm compositions" from the song Townsend co-wrote with Gaye back in the early 1970s. The legal dispute between Sheeran and the Townsend family has been rumbling on ever since.

A few months before the Townsend family went legal, Led Zeppelin successfully defeated another US-based song-theft lawsuit that alleged that 'Stairway To Heaven' ripped off an earlier work. Led Zep's success in that case likely gave the Sheeran side reasons to be optimistic they could fight off the new litigation over 'Thinking Out Loud'.

In particular, the 'Stairway' case seemed to reaffirm a principle under US law that says that copyright only protects songs as they are submitted to America's Copyright Office. Which for older works like 'Let's Get It On' means the sheet music that would have been submitted when the copyright was registered. Which in turn means that any extra elements added to the song when it was recorded are not protected by the song copyright.

This copyright technicality came up in both the 'Blurred Lines' and 'Stairway' cases. It is useful for people accused of ripping off songs from the era when only sheet music could be logged with the Copyright Office, because it narrows the copyright protection of the earlier work. Where a later song is accused of borrowing elements of the most famous recording of that earlier work, infringement actions might fail if those elements aren't in the sheet music.

In the 'Blurred Lines' case, where Pharrell Williams and Robin Thicke were found liable for copyright infringement, the losing side argued that this principle wasn't enforced properly. In the 'Stairway' case, where Led Zep successfully defeated the action, the defeated side argued this principle had been too strongly enforced.

This technicality favours the Sheeran side in the 'Thinking Out Loud' case and therefore the judgement in the 'Stairway' litigation seemed useful for their defence. But then last month the Ninth Circuit appeals court overturned the ruling in the 'Stairway' action, arguing that the judge in the original case made various errors, especially in the way he instructed the jurors. Which means the 'Stairway' lawsuit will be heard again.

Responding to that development, the Sheeran side wrote to the court overseeing the 'Thinking Out Loud' lawsuit to insist that, while the 'Stairway' judgement may have been overturned, remarks made in the appeals court judgement still favour them in regards to the limitations of the copyright protection on 'Let's Get It On'.

They wrote in a recent court filing: "[The appeals court] ruled that 'the deposit copy of [the plaintiff's work], rather than a sound recording, defined the scope of the protectable copyright'. In doing so, the Ninth Circuit addressed and rejected several of the arguments that plaintiffs made in this case ... regarding the proper scope of copyright".

The Townsend side responded with their own legal filing last week. Before getting onto the copyright limitation point, they presented an argument that other elements of the Ninth Circuit ruling back up their argument that the 'Thinking Out Loud' lawsuit must go before a jury, and cannot be decided through summary judgement, as the Sheeran side would like.

The new legal filing from the Townsends' lawyers then states: "Defendants brought [this appeals judgement] to the courts attention for the sole purpose of bolstering their erroneous argument that the court cannot look beyond the sheet music comprising the deposit copy of ['Let's Get It On']. However, [the ruling] does not say that".

They then note how a common outcome, in cases like this, of the copyright limitation rule is that recordings of songs at the heart of any dispute cannot be played in court in the presence of the jury. But the Ninth Circuit criticised the fact that the judge in the 'Stairway' case didn't allow the jury to witness Led Zep's Jimmy Page listening to such recordings during that court battle.

The Townsend legal filing continues: "[The Ninth Circuit] assigned error to the District Court for its failure to allow the jury to hear the recorded copy of 'Stairway To heaven' while defendant James Page was on the stand".

Given the different interpretations of last month's Ninth Circuit judgement by the two sides in the 'Thinking Out Loud' case, it will be interesting to see how the judge now responds. As this issue about which elements of a song are protected by copyright now comes up quite frequently in US cases, it would be good to get some decent judicial clarity on the point.

So let's just hope that when the judge in this case does muse on this issue he remembers to think out loud. Ha ha! And yeah, I took you on this long journey through tedious copyright complexities just to get to that punchline. What of it?


The music industry is losing $2.65 billion as businesses fail to stream properly, study finds
New research commissioned by the leading provider of B2B streaming - the Spotify-backed Soundtrack Your Brand - reckons that the music community is missing out on $2.65 billion per year because of businesses using personal streaming services in commercial spaces.

As the streaming music business matures, some reckon that an extra significant revenue stream will be B2B streaming, where companies pay premium rates to stream music on commercial premises. Various start-ups have been dabbling in this space for a while, though getting the market properly established requires letting the owners of commercial premises know that they can't just stream music from a personal £10 a month Spotify account.

Many are probably unaware that doing so is in breach of the terms and conditions on a personal account. Those businesses also need additional licences for the public performance that takes place when those streams are played in a public space.

The study was carried out by Nielsen Music for Soundtrack Your Brand, which now provides B2B streaming options in multiple countries. The researchers spoke to just under 5000 small business owners in the UK, US, Sweden, Spain, Italy, Germany and France, and found that 83% of respondents were using personal streaming accounts to play music to staff and customers.

Based on this, Nielsen then did a bunch of maths. It estimated a global market of 29.4 million small businesses with a physical location, of which 21.3 million are potentially using personal rather than B2B streaming services. From there it extrapolates that $2.65 billion per year figure of lost income.

In the UK, the study found that 31% of small business owners did not have any licences to play music or were not sure if they did. In addition to that, 60% believed that it was legal to use a personal streaming account to play music publicly.

Of the businesses interviewed, 88% said that they played music 4-5 days per week, and just over 80% said that music was important or very important to their business. A total of 86% also said that they were willing to pay for a service through which they can play music on their premises - although many already believed they were legitimately doing so by paying for a personal streaming account.

"This study should be a wake-up call for the music industry", says Soundtrack Your Brand Co-Founder Andreas Liffgarden. "Music makers are being short-changed without knowing it. Consumer streaming companies have millions of customers who are actually businesses, who may be unknowingly misusing their services and not paying music makers the money they are entitled to, which is potentially in the billions of dollars".

While the standard monthly price for a personal streaming service is £10 per month in the UK, B2B services can cost two to three times more than this.

Read the full study here.


Approved: TSVI
Following on from his last EP, 'Rambo', released in January, producer TSVI will release his debut album, 'Inner Worlds', next month. The first single from it, 'Whirls', was released last month. Now comes the second, 'Hossam'.

Influenced by Middle Eastern percussion, as well as dancehall, each track on the album aims to present a different state of mind. As much as this sounds very spiritual and calming, his production style is fairly confrontational, fast-paced and drum heavy. It beats you more than guides you into introspection.

'Inner Worlds' is set for release on 9 Nov. Listen to 'Hossam' here.

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

Filming to begin on Amy Winehouse biopic in 2019
Still unhappy with Universal Music's Amy Winehouse documentary, 'Amy', which came out three whole years ago now, the singer's family have announced that shooting will begin on a biopic next year. The film is being written by Geoff Deane, who wrote the script for 'Kinky Boots', and the Winehouse family will act as executive producers.

In a statement, Winehouse's father Mitch said that the family had repeatedly been approached to make a biopic following her death in 2011, but that "the time was not right" back when those approaches were made.

"We now feel able to celebrate Amy's extraordinary life and talent", he went on. "And we know through the Amy Winehouse Foundation that the true story of her illness can help so many others who might be experiencing similar issues".

The Winehouse family was highly critical of the Asif Kapadia directed 'Amy' documentary prior to its release in 2015, calling it "misleading" and "unbalanced". Mitch Winehouse was particularly angry about his portrayal in the film, and also that the singer's ex-husband Blake Fielder-Civil was allowed to appear. Winehouse Senior vowed to make his own documentary at the time, although that has never come to light.

The Winehouse family also recently announced plans for an Amy Winehouse hologram tour, with initial shows planned for 2019. "We felt this would be a tremendous way for Amy both to revisit her fans through a hologram and also an incredible way to raise money for our foundation", Mitch Winehouse told Reuters.

Meanwhile, back over at Universal Music, its Eagle Rock division is set to release a new documentary next month, 'Amy Winehouse - Back To Black', accompanied by a full set from a private performance at Riverside Studios in London recorded in 2008.


Moby announces second autobiography
Moby has announced that he will publish his second autobiography next spring. Titled 'Then It Fell Apart', it follow's 2016's 'Porcelain'.

"In summer 1999, Moby released the album that defined the millennium, 'Play'", the blurb reminds us. "Like generation-defining albums before it, 'Play' was ubiquitous, and catapulted Moby to superstardom".

"Suddenly he was hanging out with David Bowie and Lou Reed, Christina Ricci and Madonna", it goes on, "taking ecstasy for breakfast (most days), drinking litres of vodka (every day), and sleeping with super models (infrequently). It was a diet that couldn't last. And then it fell apart".

Sounds intriguing, huh? Well, you'll have to wait until 2 May next year to read it. Sorry.


Little (L) Mix (M) announce fifth (5) album
Little Mix have announced that their new album will be released next month, and it will be called 'LM5'. L for Little, M for Mix, and 5 because it's their fifth album. I'm glad to have cleared that up for you.

In addition to the recently released Nicki Minaj-featuring single 'Woman Like Me', the new album features tracks co-penned by the likes of Ed Sheeran, Jess Glynne, Camille Purcell, MNEK, Timberland and Raye.

The group say that it is "the album we always wanted to make". It's because they love it so much that they put all that thought into the title.

According to that Official Charts Company, 'Woman Like Me' is currently on track to be the group's fifth number one. And that would be nice wouldn't it? What with 'LM5' being their fifth album. However, it faces stiff competition from 'Promises' by Calvin Harris and Sam Smith, and current number one 'Funky Friday' by Dave and Fredo. Less than 2000 sales and equivalent streams separate them, so it's all to play for.

Here, if you please, is the lyric video for 'Woman Like Me'.


Killers' Dave Keuning announces solo album
Killers guitarist Dave Keuning has announced that he will release his debut solo album, 'Prismism', in January. Initial UK live shows are scheduled for December.

Keuning announced last year that he would not tour with The Killers in support of latest album 'Wonderful Wonderful', taking time away from the band in order to spend more time with his family. Although during that period, those pesky musical ideas kept coming to him, eventually forming into the new solo record.

The first single is 'Restless Legs', of which Keuning says: "The lyrics speak for themselves: 'Got restless legs/And a restless heart'. That's just what came pouring out of me. It was all I could think of. No other subjects came to mind. It was all I had. The beauty of the words is they're open-ended enough that you can relate them to your own situation".

The album is out on 25 Jan. Here's the video for 'Restless Legs'. And here are the upcoming live dates:

9 Dec: Manchester, Night & Day
10 Dec: London, Dingwalls


Sia, Paul McCartney, Kylie Minogue, more

Other notable announcements and developments today...

• BMG has acquired world music label World Circuit Records. "World Circuit has been a pioneer in recording and marketing outstanding artists and collaborations from around the world", says BMG's Peter Stack. "We are absolutely delighted to welcome World Circuit to BMG and excited to be working with Nick Gold, one of the most inspirational figures in world music".

• Universal Music's Polydor Records has, with no concern for its own safety, made Ollie Hodge its new Director Of A&R. "I'm THRILLED to be joining Polydor at this exciting time", says Hodge, who joins from Sony's Columbia Records where he was Senior A&R Manager. ‎"I've known Ollie a long time", adds Polydor Co-President Ben Mortimer.

• Music PR company Jukebox PR has launched Jukebox Management. The new division will add artist management, distribution, bookings, content creation, syncing and some other stuff to its menu of services.

• Sia is still here. She proves it with new single, 'I'm Still Here'.

• Paul McCartney has now released three videos for his single, 'Come On To Me'. Not a teaser video, a lyric video and an official video like everyone else, but three individual music videos. How embarrassing.

• Kylie Minogue has released the video for 'Music's Too Sad Without You', featuring Jack Savoretti.

• The Prodigy have released new single 'Fight Fire With Fire', featuring Ho99o9. "As far as doing a collaboration, the Ho99o9 guys were the main band I wanted to work with, and this tune has so much danger embedded in it", says Liam Howlett. "It's the best collaboration we have done".

• How To Dress Well has released new single 'Body Fat'. "The song is about the intergenerational transmission of trauma - about the way rage persists in the flesh from way before you as an individual", says he. "When I first started writing it, I felt like, 'damn THIS is the song I've been trying to write for the last five years".

• DJ Yoda has released the video for new single 'London Fields', featuring Joel Culpepper.

• Piney Gir has released the video for new single 'Dreamcatcher'.

• The Internet are coming to the United Kingdom and Ireland in March, leaving just before the Brexit deadline when that sort of thing will no longer be possible. They'll start at Brixton Academy in London on 21 Mar.

• Loyle Carner has announced that he will tour the UK next spring. Which is nice of him. Said tour will culminate on 7 May at London's Roundhouse.

• The nominominominominominees for this year's Welsh Music Prize have been announced. And they are these: Alex Dingley - Beat the Babble, Astroid Boys - Broke, Boy Azooga - 1,2, Kung Fu, Bryde - Like An Island, Eugene Capper & Rhodri Brooks - Pontvane, Catrin Finch & Seckou Keita - Soar, Gwenno - Le Kov, Gruff Rhys - Babelsberg, Manic Street Preachers - Resistance Is Futile, Mellt - Mae'n Hawdd Pan Ti'n Ifanc, Seazoo - Trunks, Toby Hay - The Longest Day. The overall winner will be announced on 7 Nov.

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


Tom Delonge hits back at article on UFO research agency's finances
Former Blink 182 guitarist Tom Delonge has hit back at an Ars Technica report claiming that his To The Stars Academy Of Arts & Science has a $37.5 million deficit, it having based that claim on little more than an official financial report saying so. An initial version of the article did characterise the deficit as debt, but it has since been amended following Delonge's complaint to note that almost all of it relates to stock options.

UFO Researcher Of Year 2017 Delonge set up To The Stars last year to investigate the "outer edges of science". In a new statement, he accused Ars Technica of "trying to hurt an admirable effort to help humanity by using negative attacks and lies". Responding to the report, he told supporters: "BLATENT LIE - APPARENTLY, THIS WRITER CAN'T READ. BTW, TTSA never even raised $37m!!? So how in the hell did we spend it?! Lord".

The line in the financial report upon which Ars Technica based its claim reads: "The accompanying financial statements have been prepared on a going concern basis, which contemplates the realisation of assets and the satisfaction of liabilities in the normal course of business. The company has incurred losses from operations and has an accumulated deficit at 30 Jun 2018 of $37,432,000. These factors raise doubt about the company's ability to continue as a going concern".

However, almost the entirety of this deficit - $37,093,483 - is accounted for by stock options that have been granted. That being how much owners of those options would earn if they cashed them in today. Conditions associated with those options are not known.

Still, the company is still in deficit, even if you remove the stock options liability, and despite raising over $1 million in funding - largely from crowdfunding. The organisation says that it will overcome the report's "doubt about the company's ability to continue as a going concern", by selling more stock.

A letter from To The Stars to Ars Technica calls this error "inexcusable", and the website has amended its article accordingly. Although its critical tone remains. Ah well.


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.
Email andy@unlimitedmedia.co.uk (except press releases, see below)
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.
Email chris@unlimitedmedia.co.uk (except press releases, see below)
SAM TAYLOR | Commercial Manager & Insights Associate
Sam oversees the commercial side of the CMU media, leading on sales and sponsorship, and advising on CMU Insights training courses and events.
Email sam@unlimitedmedia.co.uk or call 020 7099 9060
CARO MOSES | Co-Publisher
Caro helps oversee the CMU media, while as a Director of 3CM UnLimited she heads up the company's other two titles ThisWeek London and ThreeWeeks Edinburgh, and supports other parts of the business.
Email caro@unlimitedmedia.co.uk
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