|WEDNESDAY 28 JULY 2021||COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM|
|TODAY'S TOP STORY: John Lydon's legal rep yesterday told the High Court in London that the Sex Pistols have always worked on the assumption that licensing deals will only be done with unanimous approval of the band's members, and therefore an old band agreement that says only majority approval is required should be set aside... [READ MORE]|
John Lydon's lawyer calls on court to block the use of long forgotten "nuclear button" in Sex Pistols dispute
Mark Cunningham presented his closing arguments at the end of a lively court dispute between Lydon and his former bandmates Paul Cook and Steve Jones. They want to license the band's music to a new TV programme called 'Pistol' based on Jones's memoir 'Lonely Boy: Tales Of A Sex Pistol', but Lydon is currently seeking to veto the deal.
Cook and Jones argue that - while they have never previously enforced the old band agreement that denies Lydon a veto providing the rest of the band agree on a deal - that doesn't mean they ever accepted that that contract was no longer in force. They just didn't want the hassle of a major falling out with Lydon by forcing a deal through based on that old agreement. Until now.
According to Law360, Cunningham said in his closing arguments that, while every band member had indeed signed that agreement, it was long forgotten about, and band members instead operated according to a unanimous-consent-only model.
Cook and Jones should not now be allowed to employ the forgotten "nuclear button", the lawyer stated. "The catastrophic deployment of the [agreement] with the aim of achieving the licensing of 'Pistol' goes against the grain of what has been achieved" in the past, he added, noting that, since the agreement was signed, "every licence [has been] granted by unanimous approval".
Needless to say, legal reps for Cook and Jones counter that an agreement is an agreement, even if it is rarely relied upon. "The [agreement] permits decisions regarding licensing requests to be made on a majority-rules basis", they noted in a closing submission to the court.
"The [agreement] requires that the parties must exercise their rights of approval under any pre-existing agreements with third parties consistently with the provisions and intent of the agreement ... and the [agreement] obliges the parties to provide all such consents and execute all such documents as may be necessary to give effect to a majority decision".
We now await the court's decision with some interest. Though, presumably, not quite as much interest as the producers of 'Pistol', whose show will probably be a bit rubbish without any Sex Pistols music.
European Commission ramps up pressure on EU states to implement the copyright directive
Not my words, but the words of the European Commission. Well, technically my words. But the Commission's sentiment. It has written to all those countries asking them for an update on the implementation of the 2019 copyright directive which - of course - includes the reform to the copyright safe harbour that the music industry lobbied so hard to secure.
With EU directives, each member state is meant to amend their national laws to bring them in line with changes in European law. The deadline for doing that with the copyright directive was 7 Jun. But there have been some delays in many countries. What with some of those copyright reforms being rather complicated and somewhat controversial. And the small matter of a slightly distracting global pandemic. And, of course, all round laziness in the law-making chambers of Europe.
"The Commission has requested Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Greece, Spain, Finland, France, Croatia, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Latvia, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Sweden, Slovenia and Slovakia to communicate information about how the rules included in the Directive On Copyright In The Digital Single Market are being enacted into their national law", the EC stated earlier this week.
"As the member states above have not communicated national transposition measures or have done it only partially, the Commission decided today to open infringement procedures by sending letters of formal notice", it went on, adding that the reforms in the copyright directive "modernise EU copyright rules" and "enable consumers and creators to make the most of the digital world".
"They reinforce the position of creative industries", it added, and also "allow for more digital uses in core areas of society. It then concluded: "These member states now have two months to respond to the letters and take the necessary measures. In the absence of a satisfactory response, the Commission may decide to issue reasoned opinions".
Blimey, not reasoned opinions! Anyway, governments and parliaments of Europe, hurry up and implement the copyright directive, will you? We'd do it here in the UK too if we could, but, you know, Brexit, we hate Brussels, fuck the foreigners, you all smell, we don't care if our copyright regime is flawed, at least it's British!
Russian stream-ripper opts to just ignore the record industry's lawsuit against him
Stream-ripping sites – which turn temporary streams, often YouTube streams, into permanent downloads – have been the music industry's top piracy gripe for years now, of course. The argument being that such sites are involved in the infringement of copyright. Which is why the majors decided to sue Kurbanov as the operator of FLVTO and 2conv.
While most stream-ripping sites targeted by litigation in this way just ignore the legal action and/or quietly go offline, Kurbanov decided to fight back. His initial argument was that as a Russian citizen running a Russian internet business from Russia, the US courts had no jurisdiction.
That argument initially worked and the record industry's lawsuit was dismissed. But it was then reinstated on appeal and when Kurbanov tried to take his jurisdiction arguments to the US Supreme Court, judges there declined to hear the case.
That meant the matter returned to the district court in Virginia where it began. Most recently the labels have been trying to force Kurbanov to hand over his server logs so that they can see what content his users are ripping and where those users are based.
Kurbanov said he didn't have any such data. The majors countered that he should do, and that the court should force him to start storing and sharing the data they require. Kurbanov argued that doing so would be a major hassle, and also pose all sorts of privacy and data protection concerns.
Nevertheless, the court in Virginia concluded that asking Kurbanov to store and share some basic server data wasn't, in fact, that much of an ask, and therefore ordered him to do so. But Kurbanov really doesn't want to do that and - still believing the courts in Virgina actually have no jurisdiction over him or his business - he's decided to ignore that demand and the entire American legal case against him.
In a recent legal filing with the court, the American lawyers who had been working for Kurbanov stated: "Despite the efforts of counsel for defendant, Mr Kurbanov has made clear that he does not intend to cooperate further with the present litigation or counsel's attempts to mount an effective defence on his behalf. Mr Kurbanov has indicated that he will not provide counsel for defendant with any additional discovery and will not sit for his previously-noticed deposition".
They added that, despite the original ruling on jurisdiction being overturned on appeal, "Mr Kurbanov has never believed that he is properly subject to jurisdiction in Virginia or the United States. As a result of Mr Kurbanov's firm conviction that he is not subject to personal jurisdiction in this court, he has been reluctant to participate in the present proceedings and has, indeed, declined to provide discovery as requested by plaintiffs and as ordered by this court".
Because of this development, the lawyers have requested to be allowed to withdraw from the case. One of them, Evan Fray-Witzer, has told Torrentfreak that he is disappointed that he will not be able to continue working on Kurbanov's defence, reckoning his now ex-client had a decent case.
"We're obviously disappointed that this is how things are ending", he said. "We've always believed that the case was a strong one on the merits and that websites like Mr Kurbanov's simply provide a legitimate tool with numerous non-infringing uses".
On the jurisdiction point, Fray-Witzer added: "At the end of the day ... Mr Kurbanov is an individual who lives in Russia, who has operated the websites exclusively from Russia, and who has had almost no contact with the United States whatsoever. The whole issue of personal jurisdiction in such a context continues to cry out for guidance from the Supreme Court".
The labels will now likely win this case by default and may well be awarded sizeable damages which Kurbanov will presumably refuse to pay. Though, at that point, the labels could possibly seek to try and grab his domain names, or put pressure on other internet providers to stop working with him.
This case might also help the music industry argue that the web-blocking injunctions that are now easily available in other countries, like the UK, should be finally introduced in the US, given that they are mainly designed to deal with foreign copyright infringers who ignore legal action filed against them.
Women In CTRL puts the spotlight back on diversity at the top of the UK music industry's trade organisations
Women In CTRL says in a statement: "In July 2020, Women In CTRL conducted an analysis of the board make-up of twelve key UK music industry trade organisations, identifying the woeful levels of diversity within these organisations who are responsible for delivering an equitable, diverse and inclusive industry. A year on, Women In CTRL has repeated its analysis, auditing the gender make-up and representation of black women amongst the boards of directors, CEOs, and chairpersons of those same twelve organisations and identifying the progress made".
The organisations, by the way, are label-centric trade groups the BPI and Association Of Independent Music; the Music Publishers Association; the Music Producers Guild; the Music Venue Trust; the Music Managers Forum; songwriter organisation The Ivors Academy; artist and musician groups FAC and ISM; plus collecting societies PPL and PRS; and the trade body of trade bodies UK Music.
The new study concludes that "female representation has increased, but women are still underrepresented". Across all twelve organisations, 42% of board members are now women, up from 34% a year ago. Representation of black women has doubled, though the starting point was only 3%. It is now 6%, which equates to eleven board members.
As part of the new study, Women In CTRL has also asked 100 women across the music business to share what it means to them to see diverse boards leading the industry's trade bodies and collecting societies. You can access all the latest stats and read the input and insights of those 100 music business professionals on the Women In CTRL website here.
Commenting on the new study - and the improvements made over the last year - Women In CTRL founder Nadia Khan said: "I commend those organisations that have taken steps towards real change, and it’s promising to see. But our work is far from done, the stats are still stark, and a far way off true equality".
"True diversity goes beyond female representation to minority groups, disability, socio-economic status, sexual orientation and education", she added. "Let's try to fix the system and have real conversations. What is it about the system that doesn't allow underrepresented groups to reach the top? Why don't we see more women in chair or CEO positions? Let's identify the barriers and work together to break them down".
Ex-Slipknot drummer Joey Jordison dies
"We are heartbroken to share the news that Joey Jordison, prolific drummer, musician and artist, passed away peacefully in his sleep on 26 Jul 2021", reads a statement from the family. "Joey's death has left us with empty hearts and feelings of indescribable sorrow. Those that knew Joey, understood his quick wit, his gentle personality, giant heart and his love for all things family and music".
"The family of Joey have asked that friends, fans and media understandably respect our need for privacy and peace at this incredibly difficult time", it goes on. "The family will hold a private funeral service and asks the media and public to respect their wishes".
A founder member of Slipknot, Jordison played on the band's first four albums. He left the group in 2013, although there was some dispute over whether or not he departed by choice or not.
He later revealed that towards the end of his time with the band he had become ill with neurological condition transverse myelitis. The condition eventually led him to lose the use of both of his legs, which he later recovered through rehabilitation.
Speaking to Metal Hammer in 2016, he said: "Toward the end of my career in Slipknot I got really, really sick with a horrible disease called transverse myelitis. I lost my legs. I couldn't play any more. It was a form of multiple sclerosis, which I don't wish on my worst enemy".
"I got myself back up, and I got myself in the gym, and I got myself back in therapy to beat this fucking shit", he went on. "If I can do it, you can do it. To people with multiple sclerosis, transverse myelitis or anything like that, I'm living proof that you can beat that shit".
Alongside his career in Slipknot, Jordison also formed the band Murderdolls in 2002, serving as guitarist. The band split in 2011. Following his departure from Slipknot, he subsequently played in the bands Scar The Martyr, Vimic and Sinsaenum. He also worked in various capacities with other artists, including Otep, Three Inches Of Blood and Rob Zombie.
DaBaby admits that controversial comments at festival were "insensitive"
"If you didn't show up today with HIV, AIDS, or any of them deadly sexually transmitted diseases, that’ll make you die in two to three weeks, then put your cellphone lighter up", he said from the stage on Sunday. "Ladies, if your pussy smell like water, put your cellphone lighter up! Fellas, if you ain't sucking dick in the parking lot, put your cellphone lighter up!"
Following heavy criticism for these remarks, the rapper defended himself in his Instagram stories on Monday, saying that anything said on stage was meant only for those there in the audience. People on the internet had no business listening to those comments, let alone commenting on them.
He then added: "My gay fans don't got fucking AIDS, stupid ass niggas. They don't got AIDS. My gay fans, they take care of themselves. They ain't no nasty gay niggas. See what I'm saying? They ain't no junkies in the street".
Funnily enough, that didn't actually stop people from criticising him. It also saw many call on other artists to condemn the rapper. In particular, Dua Lipa was singled out, who released a reworked version of her track 'Levitating' featuring DaBaby last year.
Many fans demanded that version of the track to be removed from streaming services and download stores. Stopping short of that, Lipa said in a statement on her own Instagram stories yesterday: "I'm surprised and horrified at DaBaby's comments. I really don't recognise this as the person I worked with. I know my fans know where my heart lies and that I stand 100% with the LGTBQ community. We need to come together to fight the stigma and ignorance around HIV/AIDS".
Addressing the backlash to his comments again on Twitter last night, DaBaby wrote: "I tell fans to put a cellphone light in the air [and] y’all start a million man march. I told you y'all digested that wrong but I ain't gone lie, I'm impressed. Now show this same amount of support when a racist cop kill one of our black ass… YA NOT".
"Anybody who done ever been effected by AIDS/HIV, y’all got the right to be upset", he went on. "What I said was insensitive even though I have no intentions on offending anybody. So my apologies. But the LGBT community... I ain't trippin on y'all, do you. Y'all business is y'all business".
DaBaby has more live shows coming up in Texas and Chicago this weekend. No word yet on what offensive banter he has planned.
LABELS & PUBLISHERS
Warner Music's artist and label services division, ADA Worldwide, has launched new offices in Italy and Russia. "I'm THRILLED to continue ADA's global expansion with the launch of ADA Russia and Italy", says the division's President Cat Kreidich. "There is so much opportunity in this space; I'm confident that our services stand out and am excited to offer even more artists and labels all over the world the benefits of both a global network and local intelligence and networking".
BRANDS & MERCH
Smart TVs from Toshiba in the UK now have a Twitch app on them. To celebrate, the telly maker has teamed up with Defected Records to produce six Twitchy shows from the label's Defected Croatia festival. "I'm delighted that Defected are bringing a brand new, exclusive live show to Twitch on behalf of Toshiba, direct from our cherished Defected Croatia festival in Tisno", says Defected's Chief Business Officer James Kirkham. "The format will be super authentic and bring to life the incredible sun-drenched event for millions watching and interacting at home".
McDonald's has teamed up with AJ Tracey to launch a new spicy chicken burger, the McSpicy. As part of this deal, the burger will feature in the rapper's upcoming video for his track 'Summertime Shootout'. Steve Howells, Marketing & Media Director at McDonald's UK And Ireland. says: "This is our first ever collaboration of this kind in the UK and featuring in the summer's hottest music video seems perfect for our hottest ever burger". I mean, come on!
St Etienne will release new album 'I've Been Trying To Tell You' through Heavenly Recordings on 10 Sep. “To me it's about optimism, and the late 90s and how memory is an unreliable narrator", says the band's Bob Stanley of it. "I think it sounds gorgeous". Here's first single 'Pond House'.
Haiku Salut have released new single 'We Need These Beams', taken from their new album 'The Hill, The Light, The Ghost', which is out on 27 Aug. They've also announced UK live dates in September and October.
GIGS & TOURS
Johnny Marr has announced UK shows in September, including a headline show at London's Electric Ballroom on 23 Sep and a support slot with The Courtneeners at Manchester's Old Trafford Cricket Ground on 25 Sep.
The Ivors Academy has announced Allegra, Holly Humberstone, Kamal, Rachel Chinouriri and Willow Kayne as the nominees for its Rising Star Award this year. Each will receive mentoring and training, with the overall winner announced on 21 Sep.
Check out our weekly Spotify playlist of new music featured in the CMU Daily - updated every Friday.
US government sells Wu-Tang's single copy album
"Through the diligent and persistent efforts of this office and its law enforcement partners, Shkreli has been held accountable and paid the price for lying and stealing from investors to enrich himself", said Jacquelyn M Kasulis, Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, yesterday. "With today's sale of this one-of-a-kind album, his payment of the forfeiture is now complete".
Controversial hedge fund manager Shkreli, of course, purchased the only copy of the Wu-Tang album for $2 million in 2015. Anyone who expected it to quietly sit on a shelf after that was mistaken.
In subsequent years it became the centre of a weird feud between Shkreli and Wu-Tang rapper Raekwon, and also a copyright lawsuit. Parts of the record were aired by Shkreli to celebrate Donald Trump becoming US president, while an event to play the whole thing publicly was cancelled over security concerns. Then Shkreli (unsuccessfully) put it up for sale on eBay.
While he was doing all of this, he was also defrauding investors in his hedge fund. He was found guilty on three fraud charges in 2017 and sentenced to seven years in prison. And in addition to that jail time, he was also served the forfeiture money judgment, which ordered him to hand over $7.4 million.
Having pulled $5 million from Shkreli's bank accounts, the US government seized other assets in lieu of the rest of the money, including a Picasso painting, a copy of Lil Wayne's then unreleased 'Tha Carter V' album, and the Wu-Tang record.
Commenting on that turn of events in 2018, Wu-Tang's RZA said of the potential sale of the record to a new owner: "I would hope that the clauses that were given to Mr Shkreli [as part of the original sale are] upheld, because it was a legal, binding thing. I would just hope that whatever happens, that legally, all the things that we thought to protect what it was and what it is remains intact".
It seems that the government has honoured that contract, saying in a statement yesterday that "the album is subject to various restrictions, including those relating to the duplication of its sound recordings".
The identity of the new owner and how much they paid for the album isn't known, although we do know that the sale completes the obligations of Shkreli's court order.
If your guess is that RZA bought it back, well, probably not. Which isn't to say that he wouldn't want it, just that that contract attached to the original sale doesn't allow a buy-back. Also in 2018, he explained that he'd tried to buy it back when Shkreli launched his failed eBay auction in 2017.
"When [Shkreli] put it on eBay, the first thing I did was call my lawyer, and I was like, 'Yo, let's go'", he said. "And they said, 'Alright, check with your contract'. And it's no, you can't do it. Ain't that a bitch?"
It remains to be seen if the new owner now quietly puts the album away and never mentions it again, or if there are more adventures as yet to be had for this particular compact disc.