|TUESDAY 19 FEBRUARY 2019||COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM|
|TODAY'S TOP STORY: The high court in New Zealand has refused to grant the country's Commerce Commission an interim injunction against Viagogo because of some tricky jurisdiction issues. Responding, the Commission said that its failure to secure a court order forcing the always controversial secondary ticketing website to changes its practices meant it was "even more important that consumers take steps to protect themselves" by always seeking official ticket sellers... [READ MORE]|
New Zealand declines to issue interim injunction against consumer confusing Viagogo
The New Zealand government agency followed its counterparts in the UK and Australia in launching legal action against Viagogo last year. Its court filing contained the usual list of complaints about how the company presents its ticket resale service to the public.
That included its use of the word "official", the misleading information it published about ticket availability, and the fact Viagogo continues to insist all the tickets on its platform are valid, when in fact the terms of the ticket being resold may prohibit resale. The Commission argued that these things all breached New Zealand's Fair Trading Act.
Those actual arguments are yet to be considered in court. The Commission's bid to get an interim injunction demanding Viagogo make certain changes to its site was knocked back because of jurisdiction issues. Like all the best evil masterminds, Viagogo is based under a mountain in Switzerland. Well, in Switzerland anyway. And, the court said, the Commission had failed to formally serve notice against the resale business in its home country.
Explaining the judge's ruling, the Commission stated: "The high court at Auckland held that it had no jurisdiction to determine the injunction application at this time, because Viagogo has not been formally served. Viagogo is based in Switzerland and has declined to accept service of the court proceedings in New Zealand. Service by diplomatic channels will take some months". But, the government agency insisted, "there was no finding made on the substantive merits of the Commission's case, which will be heard at a later hearing".
Of course, by exploiting jurisdiction issues rather than responding to the Commission's actual complaints, Viagogo was basically telling all of its customers in New Zealand that if they have any issues with its service, they must travel 11,650 miles and shout at a mountain. Nevertheless, the company said the ruling in Auckland was "a significant legal victory".
It added in a statement: "For over a decade, millions of customers have been successfully using Viagogo, which is why we remain committed to providing a secure platform for people to sell as well as buy sport, music and entertainment tickets to events in New Zealand and all over the world".
Though, presumably, if those millions of customers ever have a problem with the touting platform but can't afford to fly over to Switzerland to complain in person, well, they can just fuck off.
Meanwhile, back at the Commerce Commission, officials are hoping that media attention around their legal action will, at least, educate more consumers about the difference between primary and secondary ticketing services, and the risk of buying off touts, and especially touts who sell via Viagogo.
Its Chairman Dr Mark Berry said: "The fact the court did not make orders limiting Viagogo's website claims makes it even more important that consumers take steps to protect themselves. We urge ticket buyers to purchase from official ticket websites. Avoid clicking on the first internet search result you see for an event. Scroll down the page and find the official ticket outlet or if you aren't sure visit the artist's website to find out who the official ticket seller is".
Although the court declined to issue an interim injunction, the Commission's case against Viagogo continues. A date for a full hearing is still to be set.
Settlement agreed in Rhapsody mechanicals class action
As you may remember, most of the streaming services were sued in recent years over their failure to pay all the mechanical royalties that were due on the songs they were streaming.
In most other countries there are collecting societies that can help streaming services pay the royalties that are owed to songwriters, so that where a digital music firm doesn't have a direct deal with a music publisher, it just pays the money to the relevant society instead. The society then takes responsibility for handing that onto writers and/or publishers.
This is an important service, because digital platforms don't actually know what specific songs are contained in the recordings they are streaming, let alone who wrote them, published them, owns them and is due payment whenever they are played.
But in the US - while there are four collecting societies representing the performing rights in songs - there is no society for mechanical rights. Copyright law sets the rate that must be paid, but the service must work out what song has been streamed and who owns it, and then send that person or company paperwork and payment.
Most streaming services have outsourced this work to agencies, some of which did a better job than others in finding the rights owners and sending the paperwork. But in many cases the paperwork was not sent to at least some publishers and writers, which technically means the streaming services have infringed copyright.
All of which resulted in a load of copyright infringement litigation. Most of the services were sued, though the Spotify cases tended to get the most press. The lawsuit against Rhapsody, filed in 2016, included activist musician David Lowery as a claimant, who was also a lead player in one of the big lawsuits against Spotify.
In theory all these mechanical royalty lawsuits should be a thing of the past, because last year's Music Modernization Act will set up a mechanical royalties collecting society Stateside for the first time. Which means, like in other countries, where services do not have a direct deal with a publisher, they will pay that new society, which will then be charged with the task of working out who the hell to pass the cash onto.
But any cases filed pre-MMA still need to be settled. Now the law firm that led on the Rhapsody case, Michelman & Robinson, says it has agreed a settlement with the digital firm. It was a class-action, which means other songwriters not paid royalties can also benefit. Though that also means that class members have an opportunity to object to or exclude themselves from the proposed settlement before it is formally approved.
According to Billboard, under the deal, any self-published songwriter with music that has been played on the Rhapsody (now Napster) service but who has not been paid their mechanical royalties will be able to claim $35 per song, providing the work is registered with the US Copyright Office. A dollar a song will be paid for unregistered works.
However, the total sum of compensation Rhapsody will pay is capped at $10 million (or possibly $20 million depending on future performance), so per-song payments could change depending on how many eligible songwriters take advantage of the deal.
The total pay-out is significantly less than that committed to by Spotify when it settled its class action. Technically, under US copyright law, damages in infringement cases are often set at a rate per infringement rather than being based on actual monies lost or gained as a result of the infringement, so the size and success of the streaming service is technically irrelevant. Though, of course, a service's ability to pay has to be taken into consideration.
As well the cash element of the deal, Rhapsody has also agreed to set up an artist advisory board with an annual budget of at least $30,000 to try and keep artists and songwriters sweet moving forward.
European Commission deletes blog post that laid into copyright directive critics
The post was made shortly after the Commission agreed a final draft of the European copyright reforms with reps from the European Parliament and the EU Council. It focused in particular on the most controversial elements of the directive - including the music industry supported article thirteen - and hit out at how the tech sector had gone about lobbying against those particular reforms in recent years and especially recent months.
The post was titled 'The Copyright Directive: How the mob was told to save the dragon and slay the knight'. It mused: "We know from recent elections and referendums that simple memorable slogans - ?however untrue or unobtainable? - can go a long way to winning over hearts, minds and voters. Never let the truth get in the way of a catchy slogan".
Accusing the tech lobby of misleading the public and employing dubious campaigning tactics, the post went on: "It appears as if the largest search and video platforms in the world are afraid of regulation - despite having overwhelming dominance on the internet. Furthermore, there is ample evidence that 'big technology' has even 'created' grassroots campaigns against the copyright directive in order to make it look and sound as if the EU is acting against the 'will of the people'".
The piece mainly summarised points previously raised by trade groups and lobbyists in the music community, but it was interesting to see the Commission itself hit out at those who campaigned against the more controversial elements of the directive. Especially as the full European Parliament and EU Council are yet to approve the final draft, meaning campaigning on all sides of the debate continues.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, many of those who continue to campaign against or object to things like the safe harbour reform in article thirteen took issue with the Commission's piece and how it portrayed their campaigning efforts. And/or the suggestion they'd been naive and misled when forming their opinions on the more controversial elements of the directive.
Which may be why the Commission decided to remove the piece. Its full statement in place of the post now reads: "This article published by the Commission services was intended to reply to concerns, but also to misinterpretations that often surround the copyright directive proposal. We acknowledge that its language and title were not appropriate and we apologise for the fact that it has been seen as offending".
Music Venue Trust recruiting 'venue champions' for data gathering exercise
Says the Trust: "[We work] closely with the venues that make up our 490+ strong Music Venues Alliance ... For MVT to represent these venues we need to collect up-to-date information about them. This can be challenging because most of these venues are run by tiny teams who already have too much to do, so [completing] surveys and give us lots of stats is not high up their list of priorities".
Hence the idea that music fans who regularly attend shows at these venues might like to help with this data gathering task. "We are looking for a network of volunteers", it goes on, "to communicate with the management, staff and audiences in their favourite venue during one week in April/May 2019 to help us complete the MVT Annual Survey. This survey is an incredibly important piece of work; it supports and underpins everything we do. We are looking to appoint one champion per venue".
More details announced about Bauer's new classical music radio station
Simon Mayo, Goldie and Mark Kermode have already been confirmed as DJs on the new station. The latest list of presenters confirmed for the new venture include composer Alexis Ffrench, comedian Faye Treacy, Luci Holland, Hannah Cox and that there Anthea Turner.
Launch week will also include a series of programmes putting the spotlight on the London Symphony Orchestra. Says the station: "Listeners can also immerse themselves in one of Britain's most prestigious orchestras as Jack Pepper curates four shows delving into the recording archive of London's finest instrumentalists".
It adds: "For the first show, Jack explores the history of the orchestra, and listeners can expect to hear music by Holst, Tiomkin, Elgar and Berlioz".
Commenting on the latest updates, Bauer's Steve Parkinson said: "Scala Radio is reflective of modern life and the place classical music has within it - we are excited for the station to launch [next month] and this varied line-up of presenters to bring it to life".
Mandy Moore discusses the "entirely unhealthy dynamic" of her marriage to Ryan Adams
In the NYT report six women - including Moore - accused Adams of abusive behaviour. That included offering to help them in their careers, before harassing them and becoming emotionally abusive. Other women have come forward with similar allegations since the article was published.
In the new interview, Moore explains: "I was living my life for him. It [was] an entirely unhealthy dynamic. I had no sense of self. I felt like I was drowning. It was so untenable and unsustainable and it was so lonely. I was so sad".
In last week's article, Moore claimed that Adams had halted her career at a pivotal time. Expanding on that theme, she told Maron: "I couldn't do my job because there was a constant stream of trying to pay attention to this person who needed me and wouldn't let me do anything else".
"I got married in 2009", she added, "and that's when things really quieted down for me ... I would do little jobs. It's not like I completely stopped working. I would do things here or there, but it would become abundantly clear while I was working, things would fall completely apart at home".
Adams denies the allegations made against him, arguing that the picture the NYT article "paints is upsettingly inaccurate. Some of its details are misrepresented; some are exaggerated; some are outright false". You can listen to the interview with Moore here.
Bring Me The Horizon forced to cancel shows after Oli Sykes ruptures vocal chord
Sykes said in a statement on Twitter this weekend: "I'm gutted to announce we have to cancel the remainder of our American tour. I've ruptured my right vocal cord and I've been told that if I don't rest it immediately, I'm in serious danger of doing permanent damage".
"I've been trying my best to fulfil our commitments", he went on, "as I really hate letting you guys down, not to mention these shows have literally been the most fun ever. But at this point, me singing in this state would be the equivalent of a footballer running on a broken leg".
The frontman concluded: "We are working on plans to come back to Phoenix and Las Vegas this year to make it up to everyone who missed out".
Fat White Family with Sleaford Mods on those "self-neutering middle class boobs" Idles
"I quite liked [Idles' debut album] 'Brutalism' when it came out", Williamson said during a Q&A session with The Guardian. "It wasn't my kind of music but I liked some of it - it was catchy. And they were nice lads, polite online and stuff".
"But I thought they were kind of a street band", he went on. "There were lines like 'Tarquin' [in 'Well Done'] that would insinuate that they were knocking the middle classes, but it turns out they're not working class. That offended me, because I then held the belief that they were appropriating, to a certain degree, a working class voice".
Not understanding the mechanics of a good old fashion pop beef, Idles are yet to respond. But don't worry, Fat White Family have inserted themselves into the debate instead.
"I'm 100% with Jason Williamson on that band Idles", declared a post from the band on Facebook. "The last thing our increasingly puritanical culture needs right now is a bunch of self-neutering middle class boobs telling us to be nice to immigrants; you might call that art, I call it sententious pedantry".
But don't worry, in the interests of balance the same post included a little dig against the Mods too. "That being said", said post went on, "how long are Sleaford Mods going to keep banging on about shit wages and kebabs? There's only two of them and they have NO BACKLINE!$$$$$$$$$$$$$££!!!!"
Too right! Maybe we have the makings of a three-way beef here. That'll help fill this 'and finally' slot for a few weeks. Come on Idles, join the party! I know you've got a tour to promote, but how better to do that than getting on the socials and telling Sleaford Mods and Fat White Family to go fuck themselves?