|MONDAY 11 NOVEMBER 2019||COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM|
|TODAY'S TOP STORY: Trade organisations for America's tech sector have had a good old moan about the new European Copyright Directive, and other similar copyright reforms elsewhere in the world, in new submissions to the US Trade Representative... [READ MORE]|
Big tech urges US government to push back on safe harbour reform abroad
While the copyright industries have been busy calling on the US government to urge other countries to crackdown on an assortment of piracy sites - via the USTR's annual notorious markets report - groups representing the likes of Google, Facebook and Twitter want the opposite. The tech lobby outfits would much prefer it if the US government put pressure on foreign governments to ensure that new copyright laws don't put too many new obligations onto their members.
Submissions by both the Computer & Communications Industry Association and the Internet Association as part of the USTR's review of barriers to US exports are particularly critical of the new European Copyright Directive. That, of course, increases the liabilities of user-upload platforms which host copyright infringing material as a result of the much talked about safe harbour reform, lobbied for by the music industry and contained in article seventeen of the final directive.
"The recent EU Copyright Directive", the CCIA reckons, "poses an immediate threat to internet services and the obligations set out in the final text depart significantly from global norms. Laws made pursuant to the directive will deter internet service exports into the EU market due to significant costs of compliance".
In its submission, the Internet Association argues that EU safe harbour reform puts European copyright law out of kilter with US copyright law.
"The EU's Copyright Directive directly conflicts with US law", it argues, "and requires a broad range of US consumer and enterprise firms to install filtering technologies, pay European organisations for activities that are entirely lawful under the US copyright framework, and face direct liability for third party content".
Beyond the US, the tech giant repping groups also criticise copyright rules or reforms in other countries like Australia, Brazil, India and Ukraine. The copyright safe harbour in Australia has always been narrower than the US and Europe, and plans to expand it were put on hold pending the outcome of the then in development European directive.
The Internet Association adds: "If the US does not stand up for the US copyright framework abroad, then US innovators and exporters will suffer, and other countries will increasingly misuse copyright to limit market entry".
The European directive is, of course, still be being implemented across the EU. It remains to be seen quite what impact it has on user-upload platforms. Throughout the lobbying process the music industry accused the tech sector of hyperbole and, sometimes, outright lying when it argued that the new liabilities would force platforms offline.
Meanwhile, the music industry is hoping to export the EU safe harbour reforms to other countries, not least the US. We always knew that efforts to reform the American safe harbour would result in an even fiercer push back from big tech, and these new submissions confirm that is still definitely the case.
Adult Mom accuses indie label Tiny Engines of "stealing" artist royalties
In a series of tweets, Knipe explained that - after becoming concerned that their "work was not in safe or responsible hands" - they made moves to gain control of their master recordings. After negotiations proved unfruitful, Knipe filed a breach of contract notice claiming their label agreement to be void. However, Knipe says, despite a 30 day deadline expiring, the label has still not responded to that notice.
Knipe released their first album for Tiny Engines, 'Momentary Lapse Of Happily', in 2015, followed by 'Soft Spots' in 2017.
"I signed a two LP contract with [Tiny Engines] in 2015", Knipe writes in a series of tweets. "The contract details that they must supply royalty statements twice a year and subsequent payment. From the year 2015 to May 2018 we had received [no] statements or royalty payments".
"After asking multiple times for statements over the years", the tweets go on, "[the label] finally sent one at the pressure and request of my manager. The statement detailed that they had owed us over $7000 (closer to $8k). It took them until December of 2018 to pay out that royalty statement".
When initially attempting to negotiate a transfer of the album masters, Knipe says that label co-owner Chuck Daley "laughed in my face after I asked for my masters back".
"He said that I was being ungrateful for everything the label had done for me", Knipe goes on. "He also said that losing Adult Mom would have a lot of consequences, and that he had his mortgage and children to think about ... I told him that he was being unprofessional and manipulative by attempting to guilt me by using his home and children. He also stated that it would affect the 'smaller bands' on the label".
The legal demand to relinquish the masters was subsequently sent, to which, Knipe says, the label has failed to respond.
Knipe goes on to claim: "The business model of Tiny Engines appears to be this: Use the money that the more successful bands make on funding small releases and signings. Never pay the successful band for as long as humanly possible. Take advantage of the non men on your label and attempt to manipulate them while stealing the money they make to keep your failing business afloat".
A number of other artists have subsequently suggested that they have had similar experiences with Tiny Engine, and Knipe says that "it has been confirmed that there are at least ten other bands on this label that have experienced this or something similar".
Tiny Engines has not yet commented on Knipe's accusations.
The Weeknd has move to dismiss song-theft lawsuit dismissed denied
Various claims made by the trio, including contributory and vicarious infringement, were thrown out by the judge overseeing the case in August, but they were given the opportunity to amend and resubmit their litigation.
They did so in September and, in his latest move, The Weeknd - real name Abel Tesfaye - was attempting to have part of that amended claim dismissed. However, the judge denied this, saying that the case met the "plausibility standard" to continue.
Clover, McCulloch and Smith accuse Tesfaye of ripping off their song 'I Need To Love' on his track 'A Lonely Night', which appears on the 2016 album 'Starboy'.
Around the time they wrote the song in 2005, they did a deal with the publishing wing of London management company Big Life, which then started pitching three of their works, including 'I Need To Love', to artists and labels. The original Big Life Music songs business was then bought by Universal Music Publishing in 2008. Eight years on, Universal told the trio that, as their songs hadn't been picked up by any artists, it was relinquishing its control of the three works.
Two weeks after they were dropped by the publishing business, the recordings side of Universal Music released 'Starboy', which enjoyed global success, topping the US album charts. 'A Lonely Night' was track twelve on that LP, credited to seven co-writers, none of who were Clover, McCulloch or Smith. This despite, they claim, the two songs being "substantially similar".
According to Law360, Judge Percy Anderson said on his latest ruling: "The court concludes that the [amended complaint] alleges sufficient well-pleaded allegations to plausibly allege the secondary infringement and state law claims as alternatives to the unchallenged claim for direct copyright infringement".
Although their claim has been limited from that which they originally submitted, a legal representative for the trio said that they are "encouraged" by the court's latest motion.
Madonna sued over late stage times
The fan says that recent changes to Madonna's stage times mean shows will now not end until around 1am, which is too late. Refunds have not been offered to those who no long wish to attend, and, says the new lawsuit, reselling is not possible because the late finish makes the shows unattractive to potential buyers.
Nate Hollander says that he purchased tickets to see Madonna's 17 Dec show in Miami Beach back in August, at which point the show time was advertised at 8.30pm. However, after a series of late starts at other shows on the tour, Live Nation recently pushed the start time back to 10.30pm, he says. Not wanting to be out that late on a Tuesday night, he requested but was denied a refund from Ticketmaster.
"Ticketholders had to work and go to school the next day, which prevented them from attending a concert that would end at around 1am", says the lawsuit. "Hollander attempted, without success, to obtain a refund for the three tickets purchased for the Madonna concert".
These three tickets set him back $1024.95, he says. So you can see why he might be keen to get his money back if he can't now attend. Having been denied a refund he turned to Ticketmaster's official resale channel. However, he claims, the delayed start time means that no one is willing to buy his tickets from him.
The "extreme loss of value" of the tickets mean that he and others have "suffered actual and consequential damages including, but not limited to, loss of consideration paid and the devaluation of the ticket".
Hollander is accusing Madonna and Live Nation of breach of contract and is seeking his money back, plus damages, through the courts. He has filed his lawsuit as a class action, inviting others who feel that they have been done out of money by Madonna's lateness to join in with the litigation.
Neither Live Nation nor Madonna has commented on the case. However, Madonna did post a video of herself on stage to Twitter last week in which she says: "There's something that you all need to understand, and that is that a queen is never late".
Madonna is not a monarch.
Qobuz ditches MP3 streaming as it simplifies subscriptions in the US
Launched in 2007, the French company arrived in the US earlier this year. To date it has offered three levels of quality to users - 320kbps MP3, 16-bit CD quality FLAC and studio quality 24-bit FLAC. It is now planning to do away with the MP3 option, offering only lossless audio.
At the same time it is consolidating its three subscription tiers into one, called Studio Premier. For $14.99 a month users in the US will get access to Qobuz's full streaming catalogue at both remaining quality levels. It will also continue to offer its Sublime+ subscription, which provides the same, plus discounted Hi-Res downloads, for an upfront payment of $249 per year.
"MP3 is really bad for music, artists, and listeners - so Qobuz is saying 'no' to MP3 and now offers only real studio quality in one accessible plan", says the company US MD Dan Mackta. "Studio Premier is a special offer we've been dying to make".
He adds: "With the new plan, we will be pouring gasoline on the growth that has been kindled by our unique relationships in the premium audio hardware and retail industries. Our unequalled editorial and curation in specialist genres, and our focus on the culture around music and audio will continue to create value for listeners. Qobuz does all this because our users' passion for music is worth it!"
Noted hi-res audio fan Neil Young chips in for good measure: "Qobuz sounds great! Qobuz was one of the earliest hi-res streamers. Their new offer is another big step towards making hi-res streaming available at the same cost as MP3 streaming today".
Qobuz says that it hopes to make "hi-res and lossless the new standard" in music streaming. As yet, audio quality has not become the battle ground for the big streaming services that some thought it would - Spotify and Apple Music not offering higher quality options as yet, either to all users or at a higher price.
In the UK, Qobuz is still offering four tiers - MP3 at £9.99 per month, CD quality at £19.99 per month, 24-bit at £24.99 - as well as Sublime+ at £299 per year.
Neil Young's US citizenship application delayed due to marijuana use
"I want to be a dual citizen and vote", he wrote on his website this morning. "When I recently applied for American citizenship, I passed the test. It was a conversation where I was asked many questions. I answered them truthfully and passed. Recently however, I have been told that I must do another test, due to my use of marijuana and how some people who smoke it have exhibited a problem".
He highlights a recent addition to US immigration policy which states that someone who is "involved in certain marijuana related activities may lack GMC (Good Moral Character) if found to have violated federal law".
"I sincerely hope I have exhibited good moral character and will be able to vote my conscience on Donald J Trump and his fellow American candidates (as yet un-named)", he says. "I will keep you posted, but I don't think I will be able to remain parked here during the proceedings".
Young revealed that he was on the verge of becoming a US citizen in an interview with The LA Times last month, explaining he was expecting to take the oath of citizenship on 12 Nov.
"I'm still a Canadian; there's nothing that can take that away from me", he added. "But I live down here; I pay taxes down here; my beautiful family is all down here - they're all Americans, so I want to register my opinion [by voting in the US]".
Young has lived in the US for decades, of course. And has never felt the need to vote there before. He has, however, had various run-ins with Donald Trump during the current President's brief political career, and has particular concerns about the current Commander In Chief's climate change denying policies.
Billie Eilish releasing new single this week
Eilish announced earlier this month that a new single was on the way, revealing last night that 'Everything I Wanted' would be out on Wednesday this week.
Speaking to Zane Lowe on Beats 1 last month, Eilish's co-writer brother Finneas confirmed that they were working on new material, saying that they were "deep into the creative process on new material".
Last week, Eilish recorded an acoustic live performance direct to vinyl at Jack White's Third Man studios. That's due out next month.
Francis Rossi won't share I'm A Celebrity toilet
Rossi, you see, is not willing to a share a toilet. Not with you, not with anyone. And certainly not with a member of the boyband that apparently won 'X Factor' in 2017. Rossi hasn't shared a toilet for the best part of 50 years and he's not about to start now.
"They've asked me a few times, but if I can't have my own toilet then it's a case of 'thank you, goodbye'", he tells The Sun. "I've had my own bathroom since my 20s. Why would I want to share that with anyone?"
Rossi has been married twice and has eight children. I'm not saying he's a difficult man to live with, but I do now imagine that he counts sheets of toilet roll to make sure no one's been using his private toilet.
Everyone has a price though and Rossi is no different. "I'd probably do it for a million", he says. And that's without a private loo. So, your hopes of seeing him in the jungle are not entirely dashed. Be careful what you wish for.
"I'd get thrown out the first week because I wouldn't do anything", he goes on. "So I'm not the ideal candidate".
I'm not sure if he means he wouldn't take part or just wouldn't go to the toilet. After a week of holding it in, I think everyone would be relieved to see him go. From the show, not to the loo.