|THURSDAY 17 OCTOBER 2019||COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM|
|TODAY'S TOP STORY: An organisation called the Internet Infrastructure Coalition - or the i2Coalition - has asked the US Trade Representative to clarify what it means by a "notorious piracy market". The trade group argues that the USTR's annual report on intellectual property matters is too vague on this point and, as a result, risks endangering the internet by allowing copyright owners to include legitimate digital businesses alongside obvious rogue operators... [READ MORE]|
US net sector criticises inclusion of internet intermediaries in piracy report
The USTR's notorious markets report is compiled annually with the aim of informing the American government on piracy issues for whenever it's in discussions with foreign governments on IP matters. America's copyright industries, including the music business, each make submissions outlining their main piracy concerns of the moment and listing the websites and companies that they believe are negatively impacting on their IP rights.
While those lists are usually dominated by platforms like The Pirate Bay and all the popular stream-ripping sites, the copyright owners will often also gripe about otherwise legitimate internet companies who sometimes provide services to piracy outfits. One such company that has been on the receiving end of plenty of griping from the record labels in recent years is Cloudflare, which the music industry argues helps piracy sites mask their location.
However, the notorious markets report isn't the right place for that kind of griping, reckons the i2Coalition, which counts Cloudflare as a member.
In a document outlining its concerns, published by Torrentfreak, the i2Coalition states: "Internet infrastructure providers are not publishers, content creators, nor users of generated content. These companies are intermediaries or 'interactive computer services' within the meaning of US law. As interactive computer services, these companies process millions of transactions a day, all at the direction of their users".
"They are not", it adds, "in any sense 'markets' or 'marketplaces'. Notorious markets should not be confused with neutral intermediaries such as internet infrastructure providers".
The USTR should be clearer on what is meant by notorious markets - the i2Coalition then goes on - so that any focus on increasing IP protections in law is on full-on piracy sites, rather than the infrastructure providers those piracy sites may seek to utilise.
It says: "We believe that many of the current submissions [to the notorious markets report] vilify specific technologies, not the marketplaces themselves. We believe that the spirit and letter of the relevant IP laws are better upheld by going after true notorious markets, not throwing the baby out with the bathwater by going after internet infrastructure providers".
"As the voice of the those providing foundational internet technologies", it concludes, "we have stood up for the internet infrastructure industry on this issue through written submissions and advocacy before the USTR".
With the Recording Industry Association Of America's latest notorious markets submission including Cloudflare once again, it will be interesting to see if the i2Coalition's intervention results in companies of that kind being excluding from the USTR's final document.
Though, even if it does, if the copyright industries manage to get safe harbour reform onto the political agenda in the US - seeking to mirror reforms in Europe - expect plenty more debate about the responsibilities, or not, of those platforms passively involved in the distribution of unlicensed content.
Ben Cook steps down from Atlantic over "offensive" fancy dress costume
Admitting that he wore the costume, Cook said in a statement: "Seven years ago, at a birthday party where guests were asked to come dressed as their favourite musical icon, I came as a member of Run DMC. Late last year rumours began to circulate about my appearance at that event, many of which are simply untrue. While my intention was to honour a musical hero, I recognise my appearance was offensive and I made a terrible mistake".
He went on to confirm that last year he was subject to "disciplinary actions" by his employer in relation to that event. Since them, it seems, further allegations have been made against him. "Moreover, they have been used against a wonderful company and the label I love", he said. "I have therefore come to the conclusion that I should make this statement and step down, with immediate effect".
"I am devastated that this mistake has caused upset and has called into question my commitment to diversity, equality and inclusion, values which I have championed throughout my career", he added. "I have learned a great deal from this event and will resolutely continue to champion these values moving forward".
Working first at Universal's Island Records, Cook found success at Ministry Of Sound, before moving to Warner Music to head up a revived Asylum label. Later he was put in charge of Atlantic and on his watch the division signed artists including Ed Sheeran, Rudimental and Stormzy, as well as putting out the massively successful 'Greatest Showman' soundtrack.
Until a permanent replacement can be found, Cook's position will be overseen by Parlophone co-President Mark Mitchell.
Hipgnosis raises a further £231 million
The new funds have been raised by offering 231,000,000 shares to new and existing investors at £1 each. With applications made for all of them, they are expected to be added to the London Stock Exchange on 22 Oct.
"I am delighted by the strong response to this issue both from our existing shareholders and new investors", says Hipgnosis founder Merck Mercuriadis. "Having raised £231 million today and over £625 million since our IPO a little over a year ago, Hipgnosis has been one of the biggest fund launches on the London market in recent times, with more capital raised over the last six months than any other London listed fund".
He goes on: "This is a demonstration of the financial community recognising the true value of music and proven songs. They are the currency that makes the world go round. They are predictable and reliable and they are better than gold or oil. We have lined up the finest available song catalogues and will be deploying immediately".
Hipgnosis aims to persuade investors to put their money into song rights, rather than more traditional investment portfolios. The company reckons that it can provide reliable and significant returns, while bringing in a new source of revenue to the music industry. Catalogues it currently owns include those of The-Dream, Benny Blanco, The Chainsmokers, Dave Stewart and Bernard Edwards.
CD Baby expands into India
"The entry of entities like CD Baby into the Indian music industry marks the coming of a truly exciting time", says Khimani. "The country's music space today boasts of a glittering range of music creators and artists - across genres - particularly in the independent music space. With organisations dedicated to ensuring that such creators successfully communicate their works and monetise them effectively, I look forward to everything that is in store!"
Nayan adds: "I have always been passionate about the independent music scene and music education has been my focus in the last few years. I feel CD Baby is one of the few companies that genuinely shares the same vision of empowering artists. CD Baby is for the artists and it helps artists take control of their music, not just through digital releases, but also through education. I feel truly blessed to be able to help the indie scene in India through CD Baby, this is exactly what our country needs right now".
CD Baby is now actively operating in 25 countries around the world, and reckons it's the first large distribution and artist services company of its kind to set up shop in India.
Dutch Uncles' Robin Richards announces debut solo EP
The first single from the EP, 'Toompea', was released this morning. Of the track, Richards says: "'Toompea' is set during the Estonian fight for independence, and is an exploration of the impact that Soviet oppression in the Baltics had on native artists in the 70s and 80s. It's written in three movements, and named after the ancient castle which houses the parliament of Estonia".
In the video for the single we see director Nick Middleton travelling to Orkney with a documentary film crew filming a stone circle. As the tension builds in the music, flashes from his imagination take over the imagery on screen.
Middleton explains: "I think stone circles show us how much we don't know about where we've come from. Experts talk about portals and extra-dimensional gates and, whilst I don't necessarily agree with them, I like the idea that our imaginations can take us to those places. I definitely feel an atmosphere around those places, maybe it is just that link with the past, the shadows of forgotten ancestors".
The EP is out on 6 Dec on PRAH Recordings. Watch the video for 'Toompea' here.
Q Awards presented to their chosen winners
Anyway, before I reveal all the other names, let's go to Q Editor Ted Kessler to let him attempt to justify the whole event.
"I always say that music is not a competition", he says. "But someone has to win these Q Awards. And, even though the shortlists in the voted-for categories were extremely tight, this year I think our readers have captured the eclectic current tastes of the most music-hungry in the nation, from Stormzy to The 1975, Lewis Capaldi to Foals".
Wait, I said I was going to reveal the names, Ted. Say something generic about awards and prizes and celebrating great music.
"It's also a great privilege to be able to honour the lifetime achievements of artists like Kim Gordon, Tricky, Madness and Kevin Rowland, those who've not just soundtracked our lives going back generations, but have also changed our wardrobes many times over between them. I'm glad, too, that Lana Del Rey's 'Video Games' answered the question that's been bugging us for months, too: what is the best song of the decade?"
Fuck's sake, Ted. I was really looking forward to surprising everyone with this list I've got here. Oh well, you might as well look at it all, even though bloody Ted's gone and spoiled most of it. Thanks a lot, Ted.
Best Breakthrough Act: Pale Waves
Best Festival/Event: All Points East
Innovation In Sound: Dizzie Rascal
Maverick: Edwyn Collins
After four months signed to booking agency UTA, the Spice Girls have decided that they actually liked it better at CAA and have gone back there for bookings. The company will represent the group in all areas worldwide. So that means they're definitely going to be doing something else somewhere sometime. Strike up the speculation machine!
I'm sure that you, like me, often lie awake worrying about the lack of songs about riding motorbikes around the 43rd state of America. Well, friends, it seems that Katy Perry is one of us. She's just released new single, 'Harleys In Hawaii'.
JFDR has released new track 'Taking A Part Of Me', taken from her second album, which will be released next year. You'll be able to catch her live in London at St Pancras Old Church on 31 Jan.
Pictish Trail has released another new track, 'Turning Back', taken from new album 'Thumb World', which is out on 21 Feb.
The Speedy Wunderground label has announced the release of its latest compilation, rounding up all of its limited edition singles put out this year. Among the artists on the record are Alex Kapranos, Black Midi and Squid. It's out on 6 Dec, here's a video thing.
Check out our weekly Spotify playlist of new music featured in the CMU Daily - updated every Friday.
Radio 4 presenter apologies after sweary interruption
With a mic apparently put live by accident in a studio other than that being used by 'You And Yours' itself, a voice is heard speaking over the programme saying, "Testing, testing, testing, testing, it's so fucking cold in here". Then, in a ropey accent that manages to wind its way through Spanish, Polish and Welsh in just a few words, the voice adds: "Jesus Christ, it's so cold".
For another minute and a half the voice is then heard practicing a script, before finally being cut off.
Later in the programme, 'You And Yours' presenter Winifred Robinson acknowledged the earlier technical issue, saying: "I'm told that there were some crossed lines at the start of the programme today and that you could hear someone swearing. I'm really, really sorry about that".
Quite how the interruption happened and how it was possible for it to go on for so long without anyone stopping it isn't clear. The BBC is yet to give an official comment.