|MONDAY 2 AUGUST 2021||COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM|
|TODAY'S TOP STORY: A judge in New York has sided with Bob Dylan in his legal dispute with the estate of a former collaborator which sought a cut of the $300 million the musician reportedly secured by selling his songs catalogue to Universal Music last year... [READ MORE]|
Bob Dylan wins in legal battle with former collaborator's estate over his $300 million catalogue sale
The court confirmed that Jacques Levy's deal with Dylan back in the 1970s was a work-for-hire agreement which paid the songwriter royalties but which did not make him a co-owner of any copyrights, or grant him a cut of any profits from the sale of those copyrights.
It argued that, while Levy did have what was officially a work-for-hire agreement with Dylan when he collaborated on songs that appeared on the 1976 album 'Desire', the terms of that deal went beyond industry standards. Which meant that the estate had a rightful claim to a cut of the monies Universal paid to acquire Dylan's catalogue, the lawsuit reckoned.
Under US law, work-for-hire agreements allow an employer to become the default owner of any copyrights created by an employee under the deal, even if the employer/employee relationship is pretty informal. That means that Dylan owned the copyright outright in his collaborations with Levy, although the agreement nevertheless provided his collaborator with some of the controls and benefits that usually come with being the copyright owner.
In fact, the Levy estate argued, the agreement provided so many controls and benefits that it's misleading to even call it a work-for-hire deal.
"The agreement's terms make clear that the agreement is highly atypical of a work-for-hire agreement", the Levy estate’s lawsuit added, "bestowing on plaintiffs considerable significant material rights and material benefits that are not customarily granted to employees-for-hire". So much so, it added, "the label 'work-for-hire' is, in this instance, a misnomer".
To that end, the Levy estate lawsuit went on, the 35% revenue share element of that 1970s agreement should also apply to the monies Dylan received from Universal last year.
The lawyers then did some basic maths, reckoning that the Universal deal paid Dylan $500,000 per song, and that the estate should receive 35% of the half a million dollars paid for each of the songs on which Levy was a co-writer.
However, when they formally responded in March, lawyers for Dylan and Universal argued that, while Levy's work-for-hire agreement may have been unusually generous, that didn't stop it from being a work-for-hire agreement. And that, therefore, made all of the Levy estate's claims really easy to disprove. The estate's lawsuit, Dylan's attorneys then stated, "is an opportunistic attempt to rewrite a 45-year-old contract to obtain a windfall payment that the contract does not allow".
They also stressed that the change in ownership of the Dylan copyrights didn't change any of the royalty agreements he had entered into with collaborators in the past, including Levy. So the estate would continued to receive its 35% cut of any monies generated by the 'Desire' songs, just now from Universal.
New York judge Barry Ostrager last week concurred with Team Dylan. He ruled that the 1970s agreement between Dylan and Levy was "clear and unambiguous", and that Levy was very much working on a work-for-hire employee basis during the 'Desire' collaborations. Indeed, the judge noted, the word 'employee' was used to describe Levy more than 80 times in the contract.
The judge wrote: "The court determines that the plain meaning of the 1975 agreement is that the Dylan defendants owned all copyrights to the compositions, as well as the absolute right to sell the compositions and all associated rights, subject only to plaintiffs' right to receive the compensation specified in the 1975 agreement, which does not include any portion of the proceeds from Dylan’s sale of his own rights to the Universal defendants".
Needless to say, legal reps for Dylan welcomed the judgement. Attorney Orin Snyder told reporters on Friday: "We're pleased with today's decision. As we said when the case was filed, this lawsuit was a sad attempt to profit off the recent catalogue sale. We're glad it's now over".
Dutch anti-piracy group steps up pressure on file-sharers and is preparing criminal cases
That confirmation came in a new annual report from BREIN which reviews the group's anti-piracy activities and achievements in 2020. In the report the organisation says that it completed 479 investigations last year resulting in 466 illegal websites and services going offline.
2020 also saw the end of BREIN's decade-long legal action to get The Pirate Bay permanently web-blocked in the country, a move that was opposed by ISPs Ziggo and XS4ALL. The report notes that both TPB and 180 proxies for the piracy site are now being dynamically blocked within the Netherlands.
BRIEN also continues to go after individual file-sharers, mainly uploaders who make large amounts of unlicensed content available via various file-sharing networks. In fact, the group has expanded that work, not only going directly after the most prolific uploaders, but also sending warning notices via ISPs to others who - while not the most prolific - still routinely and regularly illegally share unlicensed content over the net.
Most of this activity involves civil litigation, either against individuals, companies or ISPs, although copyright infringement can become a criminal matter in certain circumstances.
BREIN notes in its report that "the policy of the Dutch government is that right-holders are primarily responsible for the enforcement of their intellectual property rights and criminal investigation and prosecution is the last resort". However, criminal action can be an option if a piracy operation has an annual turnover in excess of 100,000 euros.
It then adds that the country's Fiscal Information And Investigation Service, which investigates financial crimes, is "currently processing a file submitted by BREIN in early 2020" and that "other files are in preparation".
Nightshift magazine secures future with £17,000 online fundraiser
Like many independent music magazines, the COVID pandemic was incredibly challenging for Nightshift, which has covered the Oxford music scene since the 1990s. Most music media saw their ad income slide during the COVID shutdown, with venues and promoters often key advertisers for such titles. As a result the usually monthly Nightshift only had five editions in 2020.
As COVID regulations started to relax and the full return of live music was imminent, Nightshift's publisher explained last month that "the COVID pandemic has meant that a significant proportion of [our ad] revenue has been eroded", and as a result "a magazine that has so often sailed close to the wind financially faces an incredibly difficult task if it is to relaunch and continue to support Oxford’s music scene".
Bands including Radiohead, Supergrass, Foals, Glass Animals and Young Knives donated prizes for the draw element of the fundraiser, which passed its initial target of £12,000 in just four days. When the crowdfunding campaign reached its conclusion last week, £17,430 had been pledged.
Confirming that, editor Ronan Munro said: "Well, the Save Nightshift Crowdfunder campaign is over and fair to say, in footballing parlance, we went beyond our wildest dreams. The initial target of £12,000 was passed within four days and the final total exceeded £17,000, which secures Nightshift's future for a fair while - we can pay our printing bills, phone bills, petrol, postage, web hosting and loads more".
"So first and foremost - a massive - MASSIVE - thank you to everyone who contributed - whether through prize draws or donations", he added. "You can't imagine how appreciated it is".
Looking forward he said that, beyond getting that prize draw drawn, all efforts are now focused on supporting Oxford's live music scene which, like all live music scenes, faces many challenges ahead as venues and promoters get properly back to business following nearly eighteen months in shutdown.
"Then it's back to writing about Oxford's brilliant but beleaguered live music scene", he noted. "An online-only issue will appear end of August to cover September, followed by a return to the full print edition for October. You made this happen, so thanks again. You're all just bloody wonderful".
DaBaby cut from Lollapalooza line-up hours before scheduled performance
In a statement hours before the rapper's scheduled performance, organisers said: "Lollapalooza was founded on diversity, inclusivity, respect and love. With that in mind, DaBaby will no longer be performing at Grant Park tonight".
This followed a week of controversy for DaBaby, which began with comments he made during a performance at another festival, Rolling Loud Miami, where he declared: "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. 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!"
Having initially further fuelled the controversy with comments on social media last Monday, the rapper kind of half apologised on Tuesday, saying on Twitter: "Anybody who done ever been effected by AIDS/HIV, y'all got the right to be upset. 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".
However, he then made things worse again as the week progressed with a long waffly post on Instagram, and a new video on YouTube which ended with the caption "Don't Fight Hate With Hate" in rainbow colours, and then, "my apologies for being me, the same way you want the freedom to be you".
The rapper's comments were condemned by other artists, including Elton John, Demi Lovato, Madonna and Dua Lipa. It also saw him dropped from a brand partnership with UK-based fashion firm Boohoo.
DaBaby has as yet offered no comment on being canned by either Boohoo or Lollapalooza.
Daft Punk's Thomas Bangalter to score new ballet
A co-production between Opéra National de Bordeaux and Ballet Preljocal, the show will premiere in July next year at Bordeaux's Grand Théâtre. Bangalter's score will be performed by Orchestre National Bordeaux Aquitaine.
It will be Bangalter's first score for a stage show, although he has previously worked on a number of film projects - particularly with director Gasper Noé.
Daft Punk announced their split in February with an eight minute video of themselves walking off into the sunset, titled 'Epilogue'. No other comment as to why the project came to an end has been forthcoming, either from Bangalter or his former musical partner Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo.
Louis Tomlinson announces one-day free festival in London
"I've been sat on this idea for the last twelve months at least and now to see it come to life makes me very excited", says Tomlinson. "Personally, playing live shows is the best part of what I do and it's been far too long since I've seen my fans, so I wanted to put this festival on to say thank you for all the support and celebrate the return of live music. I've got a really good feeling it's going to be a really special night. We all deserve that!"
Everyone might deserve it, but there's only room for 8500 people at the show. Rather than making anyone who wants to go fight it out at the door, tickets will be given out via a prize draw. That will be open until 2pm UK time on 5 Aug. Winners of the 3750 pairs of tickets on offer will be notified by 12 Aug. If you fancy going along, you can put your name in the hat here.
Ahead of Tomlinson's event, a series of other concerts are happening at the Crystal Palace Bowl this month as part of the South Facing Festival.
Warner Music Italy has renewed its partnership with rapper Ghali. With a new three album commitment, the label says it plans to build his international profile. "I have a great relationship with everyone at Warner Music Italy, so I couldn't be happier that we’re continuing our partnership", he says. "I've been working on some great new music and, with the help of my team, look forward to getting it out to the world and to my fans".
Shabaka Hutchings has launched new label Native Rebel Recordings and announced his first signing as fellow saxophonist Chelsea Carmichael. Here's her first single for the label, 'Myriad'. "Native Rebel Recordings is giving a platform to artists who are creative, but who want that collaborative aspect to complete the circle of their creativity", says Hutchings. "We're building a community of artists and a communal approach to making an album, and we're making a structure that is beneficial on all sides".
Poppy has announced that she will release new album 'Flux' on 24 Sep, and also released its title track.
Upsahl has released new single 'Time Of My Life'. Her debut album is out this October. She's also celebrating a UK top 20 single, as co-writer of Anne-Marie and Little Mix's 'Kiss My (Uh Oh)'.
Au/Ra has released new single 'Screw Feelings'. Her new album, 'Soundtrack To An Existential Crisis', is out on 27 Aug.
X Ambassadors have released new single 'Okay'. Speaking about the track, vocalist Sam Nelson says: "Life is unpredictable. Things happen that are out of control all the time. We all are living in a constant state of uncertainty. And yet, I say it all the time, everything's gonna be okay".
Check out our weekly Spotify playlist of new music featured in the CMU Daily - updated every Friday.
Kanye books new stadium listening party for Thursday
Oh - or it could be that this all already happened two weeks ago. That might be it. That time, of course, when the release date for ‘Donda’ came around, the minor detail of actually releasing the album was forgotten. Other than that, it all went fine.
It turned out that, seemingly while listening to the album with 42,000 fans at Atlanta's Mercedes-Benz Stadium, West had realised that the new record wasn't quite as he wanted it. So, rather than putting out an album that was fine and then getting on with his life, he built a studio backstage at the stadium and refused to leave until it was all done to his liking.
Now, though, it's finished. For sure. And to prove it, he's going to play the whole album to 42,000 fans at Atlanta's Mercedes-Benz Stadium this Thursday. Tickets go on sale today.
If the album does come out this Friday, it'll no doubt delight fans - especially as it sees him reunite with Jay-Z on one track. Though I can't be alone in thinking it will be a bit disappointing if it does actually arrive this week. I reckon we could all cope with at least two or three more false starts.
Maybe it never comes out and Kanye just does listening parties for the next couple of years. Maybe the listening parties could tour. Come on, man! Keep the tension up. Don't blow it all now by actually following through on a release schedule. Two years, then destroy the masters. If people aren't willing to go to a stadium to listen to it, that's their loss.