MONDAY 28 SEPTEMBER 2020 COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM
TODAY'S TOP STORY: A US judge yesterday issued a temporary injunction putting Donald Trump's big TikTok ban on hold while the app's owner, China-based Bytedance, both fights the ban in the American courts while also trying to placate Trump et al with its big Oracle alliance... [READ MORE]
TOP STORIES US judge pauses Donald Trump's TikTok ban as Oracle plan continues to be scrutinised
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LEGAL Music industry calls on UK trade minister to put pressure on US over visa fees increase
Spotify asks judge to trim down Sosa Entertainment lawsuit

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DEALS Decca signs Marisha Wallace
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LIVE BUSINESS That new venue in Manchester to be called Co-op Live
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MEDIA BBC launches new classical music discovery service
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GIGS & FESTIVALS Teenage Cancer Trust to publish unseen footage from past Royal Albert Hall shows to raise much-needed funds
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AND FINALLY... Bill Murray responds to Doobie Brothers' copyright infringement claim
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US judge pauses Donald Trump's TikTok ban as Oracle plan continues to be scrutinised
A US judge yesterday issued a temporary injunction putting Donald Trump's big TikTok ban on hold while the app's owner, China-based Bytedance, both fights the ban in the American courts while also trying to placate Trump et al with its big Oracle alliance.

Trump, of course, issued an executive order last month banning Americans from transacting with TikTok and Bytedance. That order was meant to come into effect earlier this month, but Trump's commerce department voluntarily postponed the ban until yesterday.

Officially the ban is related to concerns that the Chinese government has access to the global TikTok audience and user-data. For its part, TikTok denies those allegations, says Trump really instigated the ban to seem tough on China in the run-up to the US Presidential election, and that in doing so he acted illegally and unconstitutionally.

Using all those arguments, TikTok and Bytedance are trying to get the executive order permanently overturned through the courts.

However, at the same time, TikTok has been trying to get Trump's government to voluntarily call off the ban by restructuring its global business to further prove Chinese officials don't have sneaky access to its servers. The current plan in that regard is to set up a standalone TikTik Global company, 20% owned by US firms like Oracle and Walmart, which will soon IPO on a US stock exchange.

Oracle, meanwhile, will become a technology partner of the app and seek to reassure politicians in Washington - and other countries - that TikTok user data really is kept in a safe place and that the app complies with each country's data protection laws.

Although Trump initially said that plan had his blessing, some confusion remains over just how much control Bytedance and Oracle will respectively have over the new TikTok Global business.

If Bytedance is really still in control, Trump has said he will block the deal and go ahead with the ban. But if Bytedance gives up too much control, politicians back in China might likewise seek to scupper the Oracle alliance.

With all that uncertainty still remaining, last week lawyers for Bytedance went to court in the US seeking a temporary injunction to pause Trump's ban.

Without such an injunction - or another postponement from the US Commerce Department - the Apple and Google app stores would have been forced to stop listing TikTok within the US as of yesterday. The app would have still worked on any devices it was already installed on, but subsequent updates to that app would not have been available.

TikTok had some very recent precedent in its favour when asking for that injunction. Last week another of Trump's executive orders banning the use of a China-owned app - that being Tencent's WeChat - was also paused, that time at the request of a group of the app's users.

Just in time, yesterday evening, a judge in the US District Court for the District Of Columbia, Carl Nichols, handed TikTok its injunction, pausing the ban. His judgement was sealed, meaning we don't know the specific reason why he decided a temporary injunction was justified.

However, a spokesperson for TikTok said: "We're pleased that the court agreed with our legal arguments and issued an injunction preventing the implementation of the TikTok app ban. We will continue defending our rights for the benefit of our community and employees. At the same time, we will also maintain our ongoing dialogue with the government to turn our proposal, which the President gave his preliminary approval to last weekend, into an agreement".

So, there you go. The battle against Trump in relation to his TikTok ban will continue in the courts, while the schmoozing of Trump in relation to the Oracle deal will continue in political circles. Meanwhile, for the time being, Americans can continue to TikTok some TikToks on TikTok.

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Music industry calls on UK trade minister to put pressure on US over visa fees increase
Fifteen UK music industry organisations have signed a letter to the British government's international trade minister Liz Truss urging her to put pressure on her US counterparts regarding the recently confirmed significant increases in the costs associated with applying for visas to perform in America.

The letter, organised by the Music Industry Visa Taskforce and sent via UK Music, expresses "the deep concern that the recent imposing of increased filing fees for artist visas by the US government adds increased costs and diminishes cultural exchange".

Those increases come, of course, as the UK artist community continues to deal with the huge impact of COVID-19 on the live side of the business, and on top of concerns about what a no-deal Brexit could mean for touring across Europe when artists are finally able to get properly back on the road.

Plus, as many of the organisations signing the letter point out, the costs and administration associated with artist visas for playing in the US were already seen has being too onerous even before the recent fee increases.

The signatories of the letter say that they "call on the UK government to apply pressure on their US counterparts to review their bureaucratic procedures, work with US not-for-profit organisations such as Tamizdat and Artists From Abroad and bring about change that makes the visa process more accessible, while promoting cultural exchange for artists at all stages of their career".

On the fee increase, a spokesperson for the there mentioned Tamizdat, a New York-based organisation that seeks to facilitate international cultural exchange, said: "These fee increases create substantial new burdens for the performing arts, which are already in a state of collapse. However, we encourage the international cultural community to remember that this fee increase is a small part of a much bigger problem, in that since the early 1990s the average effective cost of securing a visa for a foreign artist has increased by more than 2000%".

Meanwhile, Dave Webster from the Musicians' Union, who also chairs the Music Industry Visa Taskforce, stated: "British musicians aiming to work in the US have - since the early 1990s when the [current visa] classifications were introduced - found performing in the US an increasingly expensive and precarious undertaking. This recent increase in the filing fee adds further to costs, which are already beyond the means of many musicians".

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Spotify asks judge to trim down Sosa Entertainment lawsuit
The back and forth between Spotify and American independent music firm Sosa Entertainment continues, with the former last week asking the judge to remove some of the claims included in the latter's lawsuit against the streaming firm on the basis they fail "as a matter of law".

Sosa sued Spotify last year. It accuses the streaming firm of "unfair and deceptive practices", mainly in relation to Spotify's decision to remove the Sosa catalogue from its platform. That move also lost Sosa its membership of indie label digital rights group Merlin.

Spotify then countersued in May, arguing that it dropped the Sosa catalogue because it suspected the label – and its founder Jake Noch – of fraudulently manipulating streams of that music in order to boost its share of the monthly royalties pot.

In a strongly worded legal filing, Spotify said there were "blatant signifiers of artificial streaming" linked to Sosa's recordings, concluding that "Jake Noch is a fraudster who has engaged in a multi-year campaign to generate artificial streams on Spotify's online music service".

Noch responded in similarly bold language, stating: "Spotify's claims are laughable and blatantly false. A company such as Spotify, that is built on the theft of intellectual property, puts every single one of its shareholders at risk. I foresee Spotify becoming the next Enron".

And, in case you wondered, the bold language continues in Spotify's latest filing with the courts last week: "This case arises from the efforts of plaintiff and counterclaim defendant Sosa to escape the consequences of its own wrongdoing by asserting baseless claims against Spotify".

"It is apparent that - while none of Sosa's claims have any merit - three of them so plainly fail as a matter of law to warrant judgment on the pleadings", Spotify's latest filing continued, before setting out the three specific elements of Sosa's lawsuit that Spotify thinks should be chucked out by the court with immediate effect.

That includes claims Sosa makes under the US Lanham Act, which sets out laws regarding trademarks and false advertising.

Spotify says that, even if you accept Sosa's allegations that the streaming firm misleadingly suggested that the music company had violated its fraudulent stream rules - which it doesn't, but even if you did - such bad conduct would not be covered by any provisions of the Lanham Act, as Sosa has claimed.

It also states that "because Sosa cannot state a claim under the Lanham Act, Spotify is entitled to judgment on the pleadings on Sosa's unfair competition claim [too]", and that "Sosa's unjust enrichment claim is improperly pleaded and pre-empted by the Copyright Act".

With that in mind, Spotify wants the judge to cut the Lanham Act, unfair competition and unjust enrichment claims from the Sosa lawsuit now, while the rest of the legal battle between the two companies proceeds.

We await Sosa's response with interest.

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Decca signs Marisha Wallace
Universal's Decca has signed musical theatre performer Marish Wallace to a new global record deal. This follows the success of her independently released cover of 'Tomorrow' from the musical 'Annie', put out in aid of the Broadway Cares and Make A Difference Trust charities.

"I am so THRILLED to be a part of the legacy of Decca Records", says Wallace. "I keep pinching myself because this is just a dream come true. My first album coming out during this turbulent time in history is a symbol of hope for all of us".

"At the beginning of lockdown the theatres were closed and I thought it was the end, but now I know it was just the beginning of something wonderful", she goes on. "To share a label with icons like Shirley Bassey and Ella Fitzgerald I truly feel right at home. I can't wait to help bring some healing and hope to our world. Because the sun will come out tomorrow!"

Decca MD Tom Lewis adds: "Marisha is a born star. Her voice has the most extraordinary power. She is a brilliantly charismatic woman on a soul mission and whenever she sings, she makes your heart race. You feel every word. We can't wait for the world to hear".

Wallace recently recorded her debut album with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

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That new venue in Manchester to be called Co-op Live
No sooner had plans been approved for that new arena in Manchester, it's gone and changed its name. Now, instead of 'that new arena in Manchester', the still-to-be-built venue will be called Co-op Live. I suppose that distinguishes it from the sponsor's funerals business.

Originally announced in March by American live entertainment firm the Oak View Group, plans for that new arena in Manchester were approved by the city's council last week. Initially, there were claims that it would be the largest arena in the UK, although that was scuppered earlier this month when the nearby Manchester Arena announced a refit that would make it slightly bigger.

Oak View Group does still make other bold claims about what will now be known as Co-op Live though, including the number of jobs it will bring to the area, the economic boost it will give Manchester at large, its super environmental credentials, and now that it will donate £1 million a year to good causes - with that money to be distributed by the Co-op Foundation.

"Co-op is set up with a clear goal to serve the interests of its members and invest for the long-term", says Co-op Group CEO Steve Murrells. "The entertainment arena brings to life the co-operative difference and our vision to co-operate for a fairer world, from its sustainable construction, support for communities, zero food waste and member-only exclusive benefits".

"It will not only enthral audiences", he reckons, "but every time people watch a live act they'll be doing good in local communities across the UK".

Oak View CEO Tim Leiweke adds: "We're delighted with this partnership and join together with the Co-op team to build the new world-class arena that Manchester deserves. Our shared vision with Co-op is what makes this partnership so special".

"Our partnership goes way beyond a normal naming rights agreement", he insists. "The shared values will help define the ethos of the venue, including bold commitments on sustainability and community".

"I've said from the beginning of this project that this arena will be of Manchester, for Manchester and by Manchester", he adds, "and this partnership with one of the city's most iconic brands is a critical part of that. We can't wait to work together to bring amazing live event experiences, in one of the world's best arenas, to Manchester".

Co-op has signed a deal to have naming rights on the new venue for fifteen years.

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BBC launches new classical music discovery service
The BBC has launched a new archive of more than 600 recordings of classical music performances, under the name Experience Classical.

A collaboration between BBC Radio 3 and BBC Archive, the project is being fronted by BBC Young Musician winner Sheku Kanneh-Mason, his sister Isata, and composer Hannah Peel. It aims to provide tools for people - particularly newcomers - to discover classical music. Users can browse music by composer, instrument, mood and the age of pieces.

Recordings in the archive are all performed by BBC Orchestras, Choirs and New Generation Artists and span works by more than 150 different composers. A number of compositions are newly-commissioned works from former contestants in the BBC Young Composer competition.

As well as performances, there are also archived radio shows and podcasts on offer to listen to, with everything available through the BBC Sounds app.

Last week, of course, the announcement of a new 24/7 dance music channel in the BBC Sounds app led to media regulator OfCom launching an investigation into whether or not the Corporation is over-stretching its public service remit by expanding what that app offers.

A classical music service would seem less controversial, although there are classical commercial stations that could well be annoyed.

Check out the Experience Classical service here.

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Setlist: Commercial radio hits out at BBC Sounds
CMU's Andy Malt and Chris Cooke review key events in music and the music business from the last week, including OfCom's announcement that it intends to investigate whether the BBC Sounds app is unfairly competing with commercial media, and YouTube hitting back at a lawsuit arguing that it should not enjoy protection under the copyright safe harbour because it doesn't make its Content ID rights management system available to everyone.

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Teenage Cancer Trust to publish unseen footage from past Royal Albert Hall shows to raise much-needed funds
The Teenage Cancer Trust has announced that next month it will make never-before-seen footage from its regular series of fundraising shows at the Royal Albert Hall available to watch via YouTube.

Each day from 8-18 Oct highlights from a different show will appear, including along the way performances from Ed Sheeran, Muse, Paul McCartney, Pulp and The Cure. Plus, of course, The Who, whose Roger Daltrey has long been the driving force behind the Teenage Cancer Trust shows.

The streams will be available for free, but viewers will be encouraged to donate to the charity, which lost more than £1 million in proceeds when it had to call off its 2020 series of fundraising concerts because of COVID-19. The pandemic has also majorly hit a lot of the Trust's other fundraising initiatives too, likely resulting in a £6 million drop in total income in 2020.

There will also be a raffle in aid of the organisation, the top prize for which is the Schecter guitar The Cure's Robert Smith played during his band's 2014 Teenage Cancer Trust show. Everyone who buys a raffle ticket will also get to see a stream of The Cure's full performance for the charity on 31 Oct, in addition to the highlights package that will go live earlier in the month.

Commenting on the urgent need to raise extra funds for the Trust, the aforementioned Daltrey says: "So here we are, six months into one of the strangest times in living memory, where everyone has had some sense of what isolation, even for short periods, can do to the state of our mental health".

"Without the environment and services that Teenage Cancer Trust provide within our NHS, specifically for this age group, isolation throughout their lengthy treatments becomes a strong possibility", he goes on. "Through Teenage Cancer Trust, the UK has led the world in recognising the specific issues that this age group with cancer suffer. Please donate generously to make sure this vital work continues through these difficult times".

Thanking participating artists for allowing their past performances to be presented online, the Trust's CEO Kate Collins adds: "The music industry has always been one of Teenage Cancer Trust's strongest supporters. This year, our toughest yet, is no exception and we're immensely grateful for this incredible donation from some of the world's biggest icons. These amazing performances have been truly life changing".

"Without dedicated support, young people with cancer can find that their unique needs are unseen, invisible and unmet", she continues. "Fears about the future, as treatment takes its toll, are exacerbated by the isolation many face, and these have been heightened by the current pandemic. They need us now more than ever. I hope music fans enjoy the Unseen archive and donate to help Teenage Cancer Trust make sure no young person faces cancer alone".

The footage from past shows will appear on the Teenage Cancer Trust Unseen YouTube channel, with the following artists appearing on the following dates:

8 Oct: Ed Sheeran
9 Oct: Muse
10 Oct: Rudimental
11 Oct: Paul McCartney
12 Oct: Paul Weller
13 Oct: Stereophonics
14 Oct: Pulp
15 Oct: Noel Gallagher
16 Oct: Them Crooked Vultures
17 Oct: The Who
18 Oct: The Cure

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Bill Murray responds to Doobie Brothers' copyright infringement claim
Bill Murray's attorney has responded to a cease-and-desist letter sent to his client by a legal rep for the Doobie Brothers last week. Although, disappointingly, his response is far less amusing than the original correspondence, despite his best attempts. It's almost as if being funny isn't a lawyer's job.

The new letter - sent by Alexander Yoffe of Yoffe & Cooper LLP - also doesn't entirely address the key concerns of that sent by the Doobie Brothers' attorney Peter Paterno.

Joking aside, Paterno was accusing Murray's company William Murray Golf of using the Doobie Brothers song 'Listen To The Music' in adverts for golf shirts without permission. In his reply, Yoffe concentrates more on the fact that, as part of that complaint, Paterno called those shirts "ugly".

"Your negative comments about [the shirts'] fashionableness are especially disconcerting to all of us", Yoffe writes. "Especially considering 75% of my wardrobe consists of William Murray polos, shorts and pants. Colour me biased, but the consensus of this side of the table is that Bill and [his] brothers have some of the most clever and creative lifestyle wear available".

He concludes by suggesting that Paterno supply shirt sizes for himself and the members of the Doobie Brothers "along with which of our client's shirts you find least offensive and we will happily upgrade your wardrobes and hopefully win each of you over as new fans of the brand".

Whether or not they like the shirts isn't really the point though. Putting music in adverts without permission is copyright infringement regardless.

Yoffe does suggest that the two lawyers get together behind closed doors to "pour one up and unwind with a listen of the recently-released 'Quadio' box set and plan to cross paths at a Doobie Brothers 50th anniversary show in 2021 when some level of normalcy returns".

He also seems to cite the 'Blurred Lines' plagiarism case as proof that Murray's company has not infringed any copyright, even though that's not really relevant in any way at all. But, see, another partner at Paterno's law firm is Howard King, who worked for Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams on that famous song-theft legal battle.

"I am sure", Yoffe writes, "that Howard King of your firm, who argued that the song 'Blurred Lines' did not infringe on Marvin Gaye's composition 'Got To Give It Up', would agree that your client was not harmed in this case".

King did indeed argue that no copyright infringement had occurred in that case, of course. But the only way the comparison makes any sense is if Yoffe is arguing that the song in Murray's advert is not 'Listen To The Music', but another song that has the same "vibe". Which he isn't.

And even if he was, Paterno also claimed in his original letter that William Murray Golf was using other songs by clients of his firm without permission too.

Anyway, some lawyers wrote some letters trying to show off their comedy chops, and now they'll probably do some actual lawyering behind closed doors. Bill Murray hasn't commented on this publicly, but remains funny anyway.

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ANDY MALT | Editor
Andy heads up the team, overseeing the CMU Daily, website and Setlist podcast, managing social channels, reporting on artist and business stories, and writing the CMU Approved column.
andy@unlimitedmedia.co.uk (except press releases, see below)
   
CHRIS COOKE | Co-Founder & MD
Chris provides music business coverage, writing key business news and CMU Trends. He also leads the CMU Insights consultancy unit and the CMU:DIY future talent programme, as well as heading up CMU publisher 3CM UnLimited.
chris@unlimitedmedia.co.uk (except press releases, see below)
   
SAM TAYLOR | Commercial Manager
Sam oversees the commercial side of the CMU media, leading on sales and sponsorship, and also heads up business development at CMU Insights and CMU:DIY.
sam@unlimitedmedia.co.uk or call 020 7099 9060
   
CARO MOSES | Co-Publisher
Caro helps oversee the CMU media as a Director of 3CM UnLimited, as well as heading up the company's other two titles ThisWeek London and ThreeWeeks Edinburgh, and supporting other parts of the business.
caro@unlimitedmedia.co.uk
 
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