TODAY'S TOP STORY: Lawyers working for musician Maria Schneider have claimed that YouTube's policies for dealing with repeat infringers on its platform are insufficient for the Google video site to enjoy safe harbour protection. That claim has been made in Schneider's ongoing legal action over who has access to YouTube's Content ID rights management tools... [READ MORE]

TOP STORIES Maria Schneider criticises YouTube's repeat infringer policies in ongoing Content ID litigation
LEGAL Ultra Music Festival sued again over postponement claims and refund policies
LABELS & PUBLISHERS Young Turks rebrands as Young
Republic Records launches Universal Arabic Music

MEDIA New podcast looking at music's response to the climate emergency launches
ARTIST NEWS Dave Grohl to publish memoir, The Storyteller
ONE LINERS Bluedot, Red Light, MegaUpload, more
AND FINALLY... Lordi to release seven albums (all at once) in 2021
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Markets like China, India, Russia, South Korea and Brazil have played a key role in the revival of the record industry's fortunes, while markets in Africa are set to become increasingly important in the years ahead. Which services and what models dominate in these countries?
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The music industry went to war with YouTube over safe harbour and the value gap. What does that even mean? And who is winning the battle? We look at 2019's controversial European Copyright Directive and what impact it will - or will not - have, and whether those reforms can - or will - be adopted by the US. Plot twist: maybe YouTube wasn't even the real problem.
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Maria Schneider criticises YouTube's repeat infringer policies in ongoing Content ID litigation
Lawyers working for musician Maria Schneider have claimed that YouTube's policies for dealing with repeat infringers on its platform are insufficient for the Google video site to enjoy safe harbour protection. That claim has been made in Schneider's ongoing legal action over who has access to YouTube's Content ID rights management tools.

Schneider teamed up with Pirate Monitor - an anti-piracy firm which, it turned out, was basically a front for film director Gábor Csupó - to sue YouTube last year. The lawsuit argued that, while YouTube's Content ID system is pretty good at helping rights-owners find and deal with any videos on the site that contain their content without permission, too few creators and rights-owners have access to it.

Anyone who doesn't qualify for access – which includes most independent creators – must manually monitor the video site for unlicensed uses of their content and then manually issue takedown requests. And whereas Content ID is a sophisticated takedown system, the lawsuit claimed, YouTube's processes for dealing with manual takedowns are not fit for purpose.

Websites like YouTube are obliged to operate takedown systems of course, if they want to benefit from the copyright safe harbour and avoid liability for the infringing content swimming around their servers. By only offering Content ID access to the major players and operating a shoddy takedown system for everyone else, the argument went, YouTube should be deprived that all important safe harbour protection.

Another thing that safe harbour dwelling websites need in order to benefit from the safe harbour provisions in the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act is a decent repeat infringer policy, whereby they sanction users who repeatedly upload infringing content. It was a failure to meet that requirement that led to US internet service provider Cox Communications losing its safe harbour protection and being ordered to pay the major labels $1 billion in damages for infringement undertaken by its customers.

In a new letter to the court, Schneider's lawyers argue that - as well as failing to provide a decent takedown system for those creators denied access to Content ID - YouTube's systems for dealing with repeat infringers aren't up to much either.

"YouTube publicly touts Content ID as handling the vast majority of its copyright enforcement issues; but infringing uploads identified by Content ID are never counted as 'copyright strikes' that YouTube tracks when identifying repeat infringers for termination", it states. "Instead, the only way YouTube issues a copyright strike toward termination is on the basis of the vastly smaller number of takedown notices submitted after a copyright holder manually finds infringement. Infringement caught by Content ID is excluded entirely".

What does that mean? Well, Schneider's lawyers argue, "Defendants' failure to assess penalties, including copyright strikes and termination for these repeat infringers: (i) fails to satisfy the reasonableness requirement to track and terminate repeat infringers as required for the safe harbours; (ii) encourages and incentivises users to continue posting infringing content; and (iii) creates the constructive (if not actual) knowledge of infringement that is an independent basis to deny access to the DMCA safe harbours".

The letter to the court is actually urging the judge to force YouTube to hand over an assortment of documents in relation to its copyright takedown procedures.

"Plaintiff respectfully requests", the letter begins, "that the court compel defendants to produce: (1) takedown notices that copyright holders have submitted requesting defendants remove infringing videos and documents related to such notices; (2) documents and data concerning defendants' knowledge of uploaders who are repeat infringers as evidenced by multiple instances of infringing uploads identified by YouTube's Content ID system even though YouTube did not penalise or ban them; and (3) document and data retention policies".

Most attention to date in this legal battle has fallen on Pirate Monitor and Csupó. YouTube accused the director of employing sneaky tactics in an effort gain access to Content ID. Aiming to demonstrate that his anti-piracy agency was a big enough operation to get that access, he allegedly uploaded his own content to anonymous YouTube channels and then manually filed takedowns against those videos.

Such conduct, YouTube argued, proved why it was right to be careful about who it gives Content ID access to, given that once a rights-owner has that access they have the ability to block or monetise other people's videos.

As the allegations built about Pirate Monitor's conduct, it ultimately bailed on the litigation, leaving Schneider as the only named plaintiff. Lawyers working on the case are now obviously keen to put the claims against Pirate Monitor behind them and proceed with their core arguments.

Regarding Schneider, to date YouTube has argued that independent music-makers can in fact get access to Content ID via a distributor. And, what's more, Schneider herself has done that. This means she, like other independent artists, can block and monetise videos containing their music via the automated system, albeit only when working with a business partner.

It now remains to be seen how the Google firm responds to the specific claims about its repeat infringer policies.


Ultra Music Festival sued again over postponement claims and refund policies
The promoter of the flagship edition of the Ultra Music Festival in Miami is facing another lawsuit over its refund policies in relation to the events it has cancelled as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ultra was one of the first major festivals to cancel as the COVID-19 pandemic gained momentum in early 2020. The event's promoter was subsequently criticised, and then sued, over its official line that the 2020 festival was actually being postponed into 2021.

This position meant that cash refunds were not being offered to ticketholders, who instead could opt to transfer their tickets to either the 2021 or 2022 editions of the event.

Of course, as it turns out, the 2021 edition wasn't able to go ahead either, meaning ticketholders are now being offered the option to transfer their tickets to either the 2022 or 2023 editions.

The latest lawsuit, like earlier litigation, takes issue with Ultra's claim that it postponed rather than cancelled its 2020 edition, and its resulting refusal to offer cash refunds. The new legal filing also notes that promoter Event Entertainment Group is itself suing a production company in a bid to reclaim monies it had already paid for equipment hire and services relating to its 2020 festival, on the basis that the festival was cancelled.

Elsewhere in the new lawsuit, lawyers criticise terms that ticketholders were obliged to sign up to when transferring their tickets to future events.

These, it says, were "radically different from the already illusory ones attached to the original ticket purchase and ... among other things, required the ticketholders to release any and all legal claims against Ultra, waive their rights to initiate credit card chargebacks, and agree to pay significant costs in the event of any arbitration (in volition of American Arbitration Association's consumer arbitration rules)".

The new lawsuit - which names Ultra ticketholder Gabriella Petroka as plaintiff but seeks class action status - also names the City Of Miami as a defendant. Lawyer Marcus Corwin told the Miami Herald: "It is totally unconscionable for the promoters to withhold refunds for two plus years, and for the City Of Miami to allow it, with no guarantees that this event will be able to take place in 2022 or 2023".

He added: "The goal is to convince the City Of Miami ... to no longer participate with [Ultra] and take some action, whether it be in their licence agreement or business agreements with them, to get [ticketholders] relief".


Young Turks rebrands as Young
The Young Turks record label and management firm has rebranded as simply Young. Founder Caius Pawson says that he decided a rebrand was necessary after learning more about the early 20th century political movement from which his company ultimately took its name.

In an Instagram post, Pawson writes: "From today, Young Turks will become Young. The name change follows a long period of reflection and I wanted to explain the origins of the Young Turks name and the reasons for the change".

"We originally named Young Turks after the Rod Stewart song of the same name. When I first heard the song, it took a week of 2005-era internet searches to find out what it was and even longer to understand its meaning. The name intrigued me, evoking the solidarity of youth. In 2005, it seemed to perfectly sum up what we were: teenagers, wanting and waiting to do something, anything".

"However", he went on, "we were unaware of the deeper history of the term and, specifically, that the Young Turks were a group who carried out the Armenian Genocide from 1915 onwards. Through ongoing conversations and messages that have developed our own knowledge around the subject, it's become apparent that the name is a source of hurt and confusion for people".

"We loved the name for what it meant to us, but in retrospect should have listened more carefully to other voices and acted more quickly. We have always tried to affect positive change and knowing what we do now, it's only right that we change our name".

He concluded: "24 Apr is the day of commemoration of the 1915 Armenian Genocide. In memory of those who were killed and those who survived, we have made a donation to the Armenian Institute, London, a cultural charity that explores contemporary Armenian diasporan life in all its global diversity through research and the arts".

The Beggars-allied Young label's roster currently includes the likes of FKA Twigs, John Talabot, Sampha and The xx, while management clients include Ethan P Flynn, Romy and The Haxan Cloak, and the firm's publishing unit works with Arlo Parks, Fred MacPherson and Kwes Darko.


Republic Records launches Universal Arabic Music
Universal Music has announced the launch of Universal Arabic Music, a new US based set-up with the aim of promoting Arabic music globally. Run as a division of the major's Republic Records label, it will be headed up by XO Records founder Wassim 'Sal' Slaiby.

"In today's global music marketplace, we've demonstrated time and again that worldwide hits come from anywhere", says Universal boss Lucian Grainge. "There is so much talent in this part of the world that - with Sal's incredible experience and intimate knowledge of the MENA [Middle East & North Africa] region, alongside his track record for helping to break global artists - he will bring a unique vision, strategy and power to Universal Arabic Music".

Republic Records CEO Monte Lipman adds: "Sal's clear vision and blueprint for Universal Arabic Music will become a catalyst for Arabic music in the marketplace. His ability to identify, curate and deliver talent globally remains a force of nature. The cultural importance of music from the MENA region crossing boundaries and reaching all corners of the world is long overdue".

Slaiby himself says: "It's been my dream to highlight the talent and culture of Arabic music on a global level with partners that I trust and admire".

With its first signing confirmed as singer-songwriter Issam Alnajjar, Universal Arabic Music will work with other labels within the Universal group in the US, UK, Brazil, France, Germany, Australia and Mexico - as well as existing labels in the MENA region - to sign and promote other artists of Middle Eastern and North African descent.


New podcast looking at music's response to the climate emergency launches
A new podcast has launched looking at efforts to make the music industry more environmentally sustainable. 'Sounds Like A Plan' is hosted by Savages drummer Fay Milton and music journalist Greg Cochrane.

Episode one sees Milton discuss the Music Declares Emergency project that she co-founded. Upcoming interviewees including Radiohead's Ed O'Brien, Festival Republic's Melvin Benn, and manager of The 1975 Jamie Oborne. All will discuss their efforts to improve their respective businesses' climate credentials.

"The action taking place across the music universe is inspiring, energising and, above all, urgently needed right now", says Cochrane. "We know about Billie Eilish and Coldplay, but it's not just those in front of the microphone creating positive change. 'Sounds Like A Plan' is a place for people throughout the music community to share their passion for climate action and how they're harnessing the transformative power of music culture".

Milton adds: "The world is aware and anxious about the climate and the ecological destruction that we are experiencing. There are so many great initiatives going on throughout music that are bringing positive change in this space. Now it's time to get the conversation going and get together to tell those in power that we need urgent action. Anything I can do to add my voice to that I will. It's been so inspiring to connect with our amazing guests and hear about all of the initiatives that are taking place".

Episode one is available now through all good podcast providers.


Music Copyright Explained Panel: Making Use Of Music
This week CMU is presenting three online panel discussions to mark the recent launch of the 'Music Copyright Explained' guide with the UK's Intellectual Property Office. The second is today at 5pm.

If you are a content creator, a cultural company using music in your productions or an entrepreneur with a music-based start-up, what do you need to know about music copyright? And what is the easiest way to access and utilise great music? Music rights experts provide practical tips and also consider how the music industry could and is making the music licensing process simpler.

Joining the conversation will be Sophie Goossens from law firm Reed Smith; Raffaella De Santis from law firm Harbottle & Lewis; and music licensing expert Becky Brook.

Sign up for a free place here

Dave Grohl to publish memoir, The Storyteller
Dave Grohl has announced that he will publish an autobiography of sorts later this year. Titled 'The Storyteller', the book will be a collection of short stories drawn from Grohl's life.

If this all sounds slightly familiar, there is a reason for that. One of the big positives of early lockdown last year was the launch of Dave Grohl's Instagram account, via which he said he would begin publishing short stories from his life. Then, because everything was disappointing in 2020, he published a grand total of five over the course of three months, before the whole thing ground to a halt.

Anyway, he didn't stop writing those stories, he just stopped posting them. But come October you'll be able to read them all in 'The Storyteller'.

"There is a common thread that runs throughout everything that I do: storytelling", says Grohl. "Whether in song, documentary film or on the page, I have always felt compelled to share moments from my life. This inclination is a huge part of what excites me creatively but also as a human being".

"In March 2020, realising that my day job with the Foo Fighters was going to go on hold, I started an Instagram account and decided to focus all of my creative energy on writing some of my stories down, something I love doing but I've never really had the time for", he says.

"I soon found that the reward I felt every time I posted a story was the same as the feeling I get when playing a song to an audience, so I kept on writing. The response from readers was as soul-filling as any applause in an arena".

Instagram likes don't pay the bills though, which is presumably why the remainder of those stories were funnelled into the less immediate book form. It will, promises Grohl, feature "a collection of memories of a life lived loud".

Publisher Simon & Schuster's Ian Marshall comments: "I don't think I have ever seen such universal excitement in a company, with so many of my colleagues sharing their very personal memories of Dave and his music. But, in the end, what really sets this book apart is the sheer brilliance of the writing: this is a rock memoir that will set the standard for a generation to come, as he truly is THE storyteller".

If waiting until October for all this seems unbearable and what you'd really like now is some more free internet-based content, don't worry, here's an eleven and a half minute audio trailer.



Organisers of the Bluedot festival have announced that their 2021 edition in July will not go ahead because of continued uncertainties regarding COVID restrictions. The festival will return in July 2022. Like promoters of the Belladrum festival in Scotland, Bluedot organisers noted that the UK government's refusal to set up a state-backed cancellation insurance scheme for large-scale events meant "the overwhelming risk and high upfront costs for us to hold Bluedot this year are sadly just too high".



Warner/Chappell has extended its publishing deal with Saweetie. "The whole Warner Chappell team have become family over the years", she says. "It's amazing to look back at everything we've accomplished together, and I'm excited for this next chapter".

TikTok has signed a multi-year licensing agreement with South Africa-based collecting societies SAMRO and CAPASSO, which respectively represent the performing rights and mechanical rights in their members' songs. The deal actually covers 58 territories across Africa as a result of CAPASSO's existing partnerships with 21 other collecting societies. "This is an exciting region for us with a huge pool of incredible talent, and we look forward to connecting them with our global audience", says TikTok's Jordan Lowy.



Management firm Red Light Management has appointed Ceri Dixon - who previously worked at Rubyworks and before that Universal Music and Sony Music - as its Head Of Digital Partnerships, UK. She will, the management firm says, work with the company's central services team in London alongside Lisa Ward and Laura Taylor, reporting into Red Light's UK MD James Sandom.



The civil lawsuits filed by the major labels and movie studios in the US against long-defunct file-transfer platform MegaUpload have again been paused. Originally filed in 2014, those lawsuits have been kept on hold multiple times, the logic being that the criminal action against MegaUpload founder Kim Dotcom and his former colleagues should go through the motions before the civil cases. That criminal action requires American prosecutors to extradite Dotcom et al from New Zealand to the US, and the MegaUpload side has employed every possible tactic in a bid to delay extradition. The MegaUpload lawsuits are now officially stayed until October.



St Vincent has released new single 'The Melting Of The Sun'.

Sufjan Stevens has announced a new album 'Covocations'. Set to be released in five volumes, the complete record features 49 tracks with a total duration of two and a half hours. The first volume, 'Meditations', is out tomorrow. From it, this is 'Meditation V'.

Tommy Cash has released new single 'Zuccenberg'. "This song is made in rage and frustration by the energy that has been boiling", he says. "You can hear in it all the cancelled tours, shows, and the waiting! Postponing! Things shaded by the dumb ass virus. All my friends whose clubs got closed, jobs taken away. It has all in it. It represents all that boxed in energy, but at the same time it welcomes the future". His new EP, 'Moneysutra', is out on Friday.

Texas have announced that they will release new album 'Hi' on 28 May. Here's new single 'Mr Haze'.

Murcof has released new single 'Dividing Space'. His new album, 'The Alias Sessions', is out on 21 May.

Portico Quartet have released new single 'Terrain II'. Their new album, 'Terrain', is out on 28 May.

Attawalpa has released new single 'Please Take Care'. The song, he says, is "about being kind to yourself. It touches upon the endless pursuit of stable mental health, along with the acceptance that our demons and crutches are immobilising assholes. Written from a place of frustration, it's about a few people / situations, including my own experiences during a period of reflection on feeling numb for most of my life".

Pianist Rose Reibl has released her debut single 'Over Salt Sea'. "When I first sat down to play the opening triplet motif, I was exploring that feeling of being able to breathe again", she says. "I love water and the ocean and the song is also about the sound and motion of the sea; the invitation of a horizon".



Ghetts has announced that he will play a livestream show this Sunday at 8pm UK time. The performance will be available for free on his YouTube channel.

Check out our weekly Spotify playlist of new music featured in the CMU Daily - updated every Friday.


Lordi to release seven albums (all at once) in 2021
Some artists used lockdown as a chance to knuckle down and record a new album. How very productive. Some artists even managed two new albums while touring was not an option. But now even they look a bit lazy, because Finnish hard rock band Lordi announced seven new records, all of which they plan to release in October.

However, after their 2020 'Killectour' was cancelled because of COVID, it's not that the 2006 Eurovision winners just kept knocking out tracks during lockdown until they suddenly realised they had recorded enough material for seven new albums. No, this is all part of a plan to expand on the concept of the band's 2020 album 'Killection' - a 'fictional compilation' imagining that the band had formed in the early 70s, rather than the early 90s.

Band leader Mr Lordi has provided a full explanation. An incredibly convoluted explanation. "Within a week when the 'Killectour' was cut short in March 2020, I realised we're gonna have to use the sudden extra time somehow", he says. "It was clear that it is the time to start planning the new album, even though 'Killection' was released not even two months before".

"I was thinking that the most boring thing we could do after 'Killection' is to do another basic Lordi album", he continues. "And I was very much enjoying the different styles of songwriting, recording and production on 'Killection', but another boring idea would have been to do a part two".

"Since 'Killection' is a fictional compilation album from a fictional back catalogue that doesn't exist, I got the idea that the only thing that could top that is to record and release that fictional back catalogue", he goes on. "And [on] Halloween 2021 the fictional back catalogue will be no longer fictional, it actually will exist... at least for the most part. My original idea was to release ten albums, but the label said that is insane. But seven is a number they felt that is somewhat sane".

So far Mr Lordi et al have completed recording on five of the new albums. Each is written in a different style, encapsulating a different, imagined era of the fictional version of the band.

It's quite the lockdown venture. And, with a respectable catalogue of ten albums already in their repertoire, by the end of the year Lordi will have seventeen. Definitely enough to put together a real compilation.


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. (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. (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. 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.
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