|TUESDAY 25 AUGUST 2020||COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM|
|TODAY'S TOP STORY: Donald Trump's bid to ban TikTok in the US is unconstitutional, an overreach of the President's legal powers and a blatant abuse of laws designed to stop terrorism and the illegal arms trade in order to score some political points as part of an election campaign. Or at least that's what TikTok reckons... [READ MORE]|
Donald Trump's TikTok ban is unconstitutional, says TikTok
As expected, TikTok owner Bytedance began legal proceedings yesterday against Donald Trump and the US federal government over the executive orders issued earlier this month that forbid Americans from using the video-sharing app from 15 Sep and order the China-based company to sell all of its American assets by 12 Nov.
The lawsuit, filed with the federal courts in California, disputes the allegations made by Trump, and others, that the Chinese government has access to TikTok's global audience and user-data. It argues that Bytedance has gone out of its way to ensure that the global TikTok platform is separate to its Chinese counterpart Douyin, with all user-data stored on servers in the US and Singapore.
However, the key arguments in the lawsuit relate not to TikTok data. Instead they focus on the Trump government's conduct - in relation to both the executive orders and its alleged interference in efforts to sell the TikTok US business to American companies - which, Bytedance argues, are illegal and unconstitutional.
The US government was well aware of all the measures Bytedance has taken to protect user data, the lawsuit argues, because of a recent national security review of TikTok's acquisition of another China-based company with a popular video-sharing app. That being Musical.ly, of course. It was the merger of TikTok and Musical.ly that made the combined app such a global phenomenon.
"As part of that review", the lawsuit states, "plaintiffs provided voluminous documentation to the US government documenting TikTok's security practices and made commitments that were more than sufficient to address any conceivable US government privacy or national security concerns - even going so far as to be prepared to spin-out the US TikTok business to trusted American investors".
"Ignoring these demonstrable facts and commitments", the lawsuit goes on, "President Trump's executive order authorises the Secretary Of Commerce to prohibit 'any transaction' with ByteDance and its subsidiaries, including banning TikTok from operating in the United States".
That order ignored the aforementioned security review, it adds. "Instead, the order was issued abruptly after the President had proclaimed in a campaign-style news conference that TikTok Inc had 'no rights' and that he would ban TikTok if plaintiffs did not pay money to the US Treasury to secure the US government's approval for any sale".
Trump's executive order uses powers granted to the US President under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act. But, Bytedance's lawsuit argues, that Act doesn't actually provide the President with the power to ban something like TikTok.
"IEEPA vests the President with significant power to prohibit certain transactions to protect US national security", it notes. "Past presidents have used this power responsibly to protect the country from genuine threats from abroad, including terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction".
But, "through this executive order ... President Trump seeks to use IEEPA against TikTok Inc, a US company - headquartered in Los Angeles with hundreds of employees across the United States - to destroy an online community where millions of Americans have come together to express themselves, share video content, and make connections with each other".
"The order imposes these restrictions despite express limitations in the IEEPA barring executive actions from restricting personal communications or the transmission of informational materials", the lawsuit then states.
As well as mis-using the IEEPA, Trump's conduct has also violates the first and fifth amendments of the US constitution, Bytedance argues. And, with all that in mind, the company asks the court to issue "a declaratory judgment and order invalidating and enjoining the executive order and any implementing regulations issued by the Department Of Commerce".
So that's all kinds of fun. We await to see how the Don responds. Maybe via a Triller video.
Judge unlikely to force Fortnite back into App Store while Epic v Apple battle continues
Epic, of course, has gone to war over Apple's App Store policies, in particular the rules relating to in-app payments. It doesn't like being forced to use Apple's own payment system where the tech giant gets to grab a 15-30% commission. Epic's grievances are shared by Spotify, with both companies arguing that Apple's policies are anti-competitive.
Spotify opted to just stop taking in-app payments to avoid Apple's fees. It then helped instigate an investigation by the European Commission's competition law regulator into the App Store rules, while launching a consumer-facing website setting out why it thinks Apple's conduct in this domain is anti-competitive, and therefore ultimately bad for the consumer.
Epic, meanwhile, decided to go nuclear in its big Apple beef, introducing an alternative payment system into its 'Fortnite' app, knowing that doing so would result in the game being kicked out of the App Store. It then sued Apple for anti-competitive conduct in the Californian courts, while launching a bombastic communications campaign seeking to rally the 'Fortnite' faithful in some united Apple dissing.
After filing its lawsuit against Apple, Epic went back to court last week seeking an injunction that would put on hold any sanctions instigated by its rival in response to the 'Fortnite' app changes pending the outcome of the wider competition law litigation.
Those sanctions go beyond 'Fortnite' being banned from the App Store. Apple is cutting off Epic's access to its developer tools, which will impact all Epic products, including the Unreal Engine. The latter is used by a plethora of other third party developers, meaning the impact of Apple's sanctions will be felt way beyond Epic HQ.
In the rapidly developing dispute, Apple then filed its own legal papers last weekend, defending its sanctions against Epic and arguing against the issuing of any injunction.
Apple's key argument was that the harm Epic is now experiencing by being cut off from its App Store and developer tools was entirely self-inflicted. It could have pursued its competition law action without first amending its 'Fortnite' app in a way that breaks Apple's rules.
And, indeed, it could re-amend the app at any time, so that the sanctions Apple has instigated would end, even while the lawsuit proceeded.
In a court hearing yesterday, judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers basically agreed with Apple. She said that Epic did not come to the court with "clean hands" because it had deliberately broken Apple's rules in a "calculated move" to create a PR storm.
Therefore she didn't see it as the court's role to stop a harm that had basically been caused by the actions of the harmed. Plus, as Apple had stated, Epic could stop that harm at the "flip of a switch", by removing the alternate payment options from its iOS 'Fortnite' app.
However, Rogers added that, while she didn't see it as the court's role to intervene regarding the 'Fortnite' app itself, Apple's decision to instigate sanctions against the wider Epic business, including the Unreal Engine, did seem like "overreach".
According to Law360, the judge stated: "What Apple has done has reached beyond its one contract with Epic Games and is using its hard leverage and has slammed Epic Games with this additional penalty. It does to me look retaliatory".
Addressing Apple's legal reps, she said that she didn't see how it would cause Apple any harm if she restrained the tech giant regarding the wider sanctions against Epic and the Unreal Engine.
At the end of the hearing, Rogers said that she would issue an order on the temporary injunction quickly. As for the full legal battle over Apple's App Store rules, that is unlikely to get properly to court until early 2021.
Britney Spears' conservatorship without father extended to 2021
Jamie Spears stepped down from his long-term conservator role overseeing his daughter's affairs last year, due to health problems. He is now seeking to return to the position, also reinstating his co-conservator, Andrew M Wallet, who resigned when Spears Snr stepped down. But Britney wants Jodi Montgomery, who took on the role on a temporary basis last year, to remain in place long term.
At a closed hearing last week, the judge overseeing the case extended the arrangement in its present form until 1 Feb 2021. A deadline for Britney's legal team to file a petition was set for 18 Sep, ahead of the next case hearing in October.
Britney's life was placed in her father's control in 2008, following well-publicised mental health issues. Although she is not seeking to bring an end to the entire arrangement, her attorney said she had not ruled out doing so in the future.
Kendrick Lamar accused of song-theft over Loyalty
Hayes' 2011 song was also called 'Loyalty'. But, it's worth noting, he reckons the similarity between the two tracks goes somewhat further than just the title.
Lamar's song "copied substantial qualitative and quantitative portions" of the earlier work, Hayes' lawsuit claims, with "substantially similar note combinations and structures, melodies, themes, rhythm, and kick and snare patterns".
Not only that, the lawsuit goes on, but Lamar and his creative team slowed down Hayes' original composition "through a synthesiser" and then "combined it with another sample to disguise the copying". Sneaky.
Beyond the alleged similarities between the tracks, Hayes does also have a loose link to the Lamar record. He previously collaborated with producer Josef Leimberg, who in turn collaborated with musician and producer Terrace Martin during recording sessions for Lamar's 2015 album 'To Pimp A Butterfly'. And Martin was then also involved in the production of Lamar's 'Loyalty'.
Hayes met Martin at Leimberg's recording studio, the lawsuit claims, meaning he was aware of the plaintiff's work. Much of which, including his song 'Loyalty', was stored on Leimberg's studio computer.
It's a bit convoluted, but that's how Hayes reckons that Lamar's creative team had access to his 'Loyalty' when making the other 'Loyalty'. We now await a response from Team Lamar.
MelodyVR buys Napster
But we're not talking about that Napster here. We're talking about the legal digital music service that was launched using the Napster brand after the original Napster file-sharing company went bankrupt. Because everyone knew Napster. The original Napster. So how clever would it be to acquire that brand through the bankruptcy process and use it for a licensed digital music service?
Not that clever as it turns out. After becoming the download service everyone forgot about during the iTunes era, Napster morphed itself into the streaming service everyone forgot about during the Spotify era. But everyone still remembers the original Napster, don't they?
Following a stint being owned by American retailer Best Buy, the legal Napster was acquired by Rhapsody International - a company that had spun off from Real Networks - and then merged with that firm's US-only streaming set up Rhapsody.
After that, the US-only Rhapsody brand was phased out, on the assumption that it would be cleverer to employ the globally known Napster brand in all markets. How clever! Or not. Because by that point, while everyone knew Napster, what they knew was that Napster, not this Napster.
But still, even though you forgot about this Napster, rather than that Napster, it still exists as a streaming service of the Spotify model. Meanwhile, behind the scenes, Rhapsody International started to increasingly reposition itself and Napster as business-to-business platform to be used by other media and tech companies who wanted to operate a subscription streaming service.
Which brings us to now, and the somewhat surprise news that UK-based music-centric virtual reality firm MelodyVR has bought the Rhapsody International company and its Napster streaming service and brand. Why? Fuck knows. Actually, I know. MelodyVR plans to bring Napster's music catalogue into its own app, thus expanding its consumer offering beyond live music VR experiences.
"The pairing of the two companies represents the pioneers of music streaming and live music VR coming together under one roof", MelodyVR said in a statement today. "It's incredibly exciting to be unifying complementary platforms and fantastic audiences, rooted in a love of music and a deep desire to offer the very best experience to artists, fans, the wider music community and brands".
On logistical matters, the company's statement went on: "For the time being, Napster and MelodyVR will continue to operate as independent businesses. But we're laying the groundwork for a one-of-a-kind, future platform of combined entertainment services, which is built on the understanding that live music and recorded music are equally as loved and important – and that we will be the destination for both".
MelodyVR CEO Anthony Matchett then stated: "MelodyVR's acquisition of Napster will result in the development of the first ever music entertainment platform which combines immersive visual content and music streaming".
"For music fans today", he continued, "live and recorded music are intrinsically linked. We are as keen to see our favourite artists perform live as we are to listen to their albums. Our purchase of Napster, one of the music industry's original disruptors, is born out of our wish to deliver the world's foremost music experience, available seamlessly across audio and visual media and in turn presenting a truly next-generation music service".
Yeah maybe. But hey, whatever, this acquisition means you now remember Napster. Not that Napster. We all remember that Napster. But the other Napster. What other Napster? You now, the one that got bought by MelodyVR. Oh yes, that Napster!
Wordless performances of Rule, Britannia and Land Of Hope And Glory to be included in Last Night Of The Proms
The two songs will also be moved up the programme slightly, so that they will not form part of the traditional grand finale to the event. 'Rule, Britannia', for example, will form the closing section of a medley of "British Sea Songs". A performance of 'You'll Never Walk Alone' will then play ahead of the closing pieces, 'Jerusalem' and the national anthem.
In a statement, the BBC said that the changes "will reinvent the Last Night in this extraordinary year so that it respects the traditions and spirit of the event whilst adapting to very different circumstances at this moment in time".
Obviously, playing the songs instrumentally doesn't stop people doing the traditional flag waving and singing along. Although they will have to do so in the privacy of their own homes this year, as the event - like the whole 2020 Proms programme - will take place without an audience for COVIDy reasons.
"With much reduced musical forces and no live audience, the Proms will curate a concert that includes familiar, patriotic elements such as 'Jerusalem' and the national anthem, and bring in new moments capturing the mood of this unique time, including 'You'll Never Walk Alone', presenting a poignant and inclusive event for 2020", said the Beeb.
As noted, the controversy around 'Rule, Britannia' and 'Land Of Hope And Glory' does relate to their respective lyrics, which are relics of the British Empire. Both talk up Britain's imperial power, while 'Rule, Britannia' refers to countries invaded by the British as "haughty tyrants" and makes reference to slavery.
Both songs were dropped entirely from the 2001 Last Night concert in the wake of the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in New York, which had happened just days earlier. 'Land Of Hope And Glory' was reinstated the following year, while 'Rule, Britannia' did not return to the programme until 2008.
This year's audience-free BBC Proms series began last month, with the Last Night Of The Proms show scheduled to take place at the Royal Albert Hall in London on 12 Sep.
Music-centric video-sharing set-up Triller has announced a "strategic partnership" with Indian streaming service JioSaavn, which will see the former integrated into the latter's app. It's an interesting tie-up that will possibly move the JioSaavn app in the direction of Resso, the music service set up by TikTok owner Bytedance. Triller, of course, is something of a TikTok rival, currently capitalising on the latter's various political woes in order to boost its userbase.
Downtown's Songtrust division has hired Darren Briggs to be its first Global Head Of Technology. Having previously worked in technology roles at Sony/ATV and collecting society BMI, Briggs was most recently President and Chief Product Officer at Songspace, the rights management platform acquired by FUGA last year. FUGA itself, of course, was acquired by Downtown earlier this year.
Beyonce has released the video for 'Brown Skin Girl' from her 'Black Is King' visual album.
Big Sean has announced that he will release his new album, 'Detroit 2', on 4 Sep. Here's new single 'Deep Reverence', posthumously featuring Nipsey Hussle.
Moonchild Sanelly will release her new EP, 'Nudes', on 11 Sep. This is new single 'Where De Dee Kat?'
Arlo Parks has released new single 'Hurt'.
Tiwa Savage has released new single 'Temptation', featuring Sam Smith.
Confidence Man are back with new single 'First Class Bitch'. "It all started in London, when I saw a pair of socks with the words 'first class bitch' embroidered on them, hanging in a shop front window", says the band's Janet Planet. "I suddenly realised, I too was a first class bitch. I rushed back to the penthouse and penned this hit. Ever wondered what you hear when you die? This is it".
William Basinski has announced new album 'Lamentations', which will be out on 13 Nov. From it, this is first single 'O My Daughter, O My Sorrow'.
Chai and Hinds have teamed up for new single 'United Rock N Roll Girls Club'. The track will be out on seven-inch on 18 Sep.
Lucrecia Dalt has released new single 'Seca'. Her new album, 'No Era Sólida', is out on 11 Sep.
Odd Future and The Jet Age Of Tomorrow affiliate Vritra will release his latest album, 'Sonar', on 4 Sep. Here's latest single 'Closer To God'.
Elohim has released new single 'I'm Lost'.
The Unguided will release new album 'Father Shadow' on 9 Oct. From it, this is 'Crown Prince Syndrome'.
Dimophodons has released new single 'The Factory'.
Check out our weekly Spotify playlist of new music featured in the CMU Daily - updated every Friday.
Iggy Pop's cockatoo Biggy Pop becomes founding patron of Australian wildlife hospital
In a statement, Biggy says: "I'm a bird, and a real wild one, and I have many cockatoo cousins in Australia. I was so distressed to hear that 180 million birds died in the catastrophic bushfire crisis that killed over three billion native animals in Australia. Being Byron Bay Wildlife Hospital's founding Patron means I can connect with and support my friends and relatives in the magical land of Oz".
Explaining how he came to share a home with Biggy, Iggy says: "About twelve years ago, a roadside vendor in a remote part of Florida stuffed Biggy, who was very young, into a tiny cafe alongside some chickens, by the side of the road. He seemed be in peril of a bad future. So we decided to take care of him, responsibly. And we have. He gets, and gives, a lot of love".
Byron Bay Wildlife Hospital founder Dr Stephen Van Mil says of the new partnership: "When we heard that Iggy cares as much about wildlife as we do, it made perfect sense for Biggy Pop to be our founding Patron. We are over the moon and truly honoured that he's the bird to help us spread the word. Together, with Biggy, we're doing this #forthewildlife".
Biggy is already using his platform on Instagram, where he has nearly 90,000 followers, to promote the wildlife hospital.