|FRIDAY 27 AUGUST 2021||COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM|
|TODAY'S TOP STORY: Canadian internet service provider TekSavvy is taking its battle against web-blocking in Canada to the country's Supreme Court. The net firm argues that the case raises important questions regarding free speech and net neutrality... [READ MORE]|
Canadian ISP takes web-blocking debate to the country's Supreme Court
TekSavvy has been busy in recent years trying to stop the Canadian courts following the lead of their English counterparts in issuing web-block injunctions against websites that copyright owners claim mainly existing to facilitate copyright infringement.
Web-blocking, where ISPs are forced to stop their customers from accessing specific copyright infringing websites, has become a favoured anti-piracy tactic of the music and movie industries in those countries where such injunctions are available.
In some countries, copyright law has been specifically amended to allow web-blocks, while in others - like the UK - the courts just decided they already had the power to issue injunctions of this kind.
In Canada, it's actually other internet companies that have been trying to get web-blocking going, albeit internet companies that are also cable TV providers. Having failed to persuade the country's tel-co regulator the CRTC to take the lead on web-blocking, the net firms went to court seeking a big old web-block against GoldTV, an unlicensed video service.
It's quite common for ISPs - especially those that are not also TV or media companies - to initially oppose web-blocking when it is first proposed in any one country. Although, quite often, once the courts start issuing injunctions, most ISPs just fall in line. But sometimes you will get an internet company - like TekSavvy in Canada - that takes the battle on through the appeal courts.
TekSavvy did just that after the Canadian Federal Court issued a web-block injunction against GoldTV in 2019. But in May this year, the Federal Court Of Appeal in Canada upheld the lower court's decision, rejecting TekSavvy's arguments that web-blocking violates Canadian laws that protect free speech and net neutrality.
Requesting that the Canadian Supreme Court now intervene in the case earlier this week, TekSavvy mainly presented the same arguments already heard in the lower courts, in particular that the country's copyright laws don't specifically allow for web-blocking and that web-blocks don't really work, plus those aforementioned concerns regarding free speech and net neutrality.
"This case concerns the first-ever order by a Canadian court to block access to a website", the ISP's legal filing states. "This site-blocking order was made without a statutory basis and without any meaningful consideration of the expressive freedoms of internet users".
The lower courts, it adds, "added a new arrow to copyright owners' quiver that disrupts the balance Parliament struck between the interests of copyright stakeholders. Since a site-blocking order is effectively a final remedy, judicial recognition of site-blocking risks displacing and overtaking Parliament's carefully-crafted statutory regime for copyright remedies".
With that in mind, it goes on, the Supreme Court's guidance is now required "to clarify the proper roles for courts and Parliament in determining what means are available for copyright enforcement".
Restating its concerns regarding web-blocking, the legal filing goes on: "The approach taken by the courts below, which gives scant recognition to the order's impact on expressive rights, has the potential to profoundly reshape how copyright owners fight infringement online".
"Further, a site-blocking order is incompatible with the statutorily mandated neutrality of ISPs as common carriers, requiring as it does that ISPs police traffic on their networks rather than being the conduits of internet traffic, as required by legislation".
It remains to be seen whether the Supreme Court takes on the case. If it does, the Canadian music and movie industries, and the wider tech sector, all of which made submissions during the earlier stages of this dispute, will follow any proceedings in the top court very closely.
Jury in R Kelly trial hear from third accuser
Referred to in court simply as Stephanie, this latest witness revealed that she had a months long relationship with Kelly in 1999 when she was seventeen. Her account of that relationship echoed many of the claims made by the two previous alleged victims of the musician who have already testified during the trial.
Stephanie told the court that her first encounter with Kelly happened when she was just sixteen in a McDonalds in Chicago. The musician was in the fast food restaurant at the time and had an employee approach her with his phone number. But Stephanie discarded the number and didn't make contact.
However, a year later, it was the witness who made the first approach when the musician took part in an event at a Nike store in the city. She had a friend who was an aspiring singer, and she thought that Kelly might offer some support that could help that friend's career. Kelly again gave Stephanie his phone number during that encounter, and this time they began a relationship.
The witness quickly learned, she told jurors, that Kelly had two sides to his personality. One, she said, was "nice, charming and jovial", while the other was "controlling and intimidating".
She then described various incidents that occurred while she was in a relationship with the star, including how she was pressured and coerced into sexual acts, including in front of others. Like other witnesses, she said that Kelly often videoed their sexual encounters. At one point she asked the musician to destroy the videos, but he refused.
Both the previous accusers who have testified during the trial admitted that they initially told Kelly they were eighteen or older, although, they added, the musician knew they were actually younger than that before their respective relationships turned sexual. Stephanie, meanwhile, told the court she was honest about her age from the start, and that Kelly wasn't bothered at all that she was just seventeen.
She also recalled a conversation she overheard in which Kelly asked two associates why it was such a "big deal" that he "liked young girls". He then compared himself to Jerry Lee Lewis - who famously married his thirteen year old cousin, of course - remarking "he's a genius, I'm a genius... we should be allowed to do what we want - look at what we give to the world".
In cross-examination, defence lawyer Nicole Blank Becker continued with the line that all of Kelly's accusers were free to end their relationships with the star at anytime, but they chose not to.
Like the other witnesses, Stephanie countered that - while in theory that was true - at the time it felt like she didn't have any choice but to continue complying with Kelly's requests.
The relationship occurred during a difficult time in her life, she explained. She had experienced sexual trauma and abuse from family members and other men prior to meeting Kelly and, it's basically alleged, the musician exploited that in order to control the witness.
"That was the lowest time of my life," she added. "I have never been treated like that before or since".
The trial continues.
Tomorrowland allies with Universal on new label
Tomorrowland founder Michiel Beers says that launching a label has been on the festival's to do list for years and that they finally found time to make it a reality when COVID impacted on the live events side of the business.
"I'm very proud of how resilient our team was to find new ways of bringing Tomorrowland into the reality of the last period", he explains. "We have taken the extra time to focus on projects that were on our list for a long time and one of them was definitely launching our own Tomorrowland Music label".
Head Of A&R at Virgin Records Germany, Magnus Textor, adds: "Joining forces with Tomorrowland Music feels like love at first sight. It's great to see that we share the same passion for electronic music and artists. Everyone who has ever been to Tomorrowland, or even just seen one of their event films, has experienced their dedication. Therefore, I'm confident the new label is going to be a special place and a great home for artists".
The deal will also see Tomorrowland collaborating with other labels within the Universal Music empire, although that will be done on a release by release basis. That said, Astralwerks is already set to help expand the new label's presence in the US market.
Dave Harper from Frankie & The Heartstrings dies
In a statement yesterday, the band said: "We are desperately sad to announce that our dearest friend and drummer Dave Harper passed away in hospital last night. Where do we even start to describe what kind of person he was and what he meant to so many? This legend was unforgettable and we're heartbroken over this loss".
The band subsequently announced a Crowdfunder campaign to raise money for Harper's family. On the Crowdfunder site they wrote: "Following an unexpected decline in health, Dave passed away on Wednesday 25th of August 2021 at the age of 43, leaving behind his devoted wife Ruth and little boy Sonny. No one saw this coming, not least his family, so lets chuck some coffers in the pot and make them feel loved as we loved Dave".
Harper joined with Frankie Francis and Michael McKnight to form Frankie & The Heartstrings in 2008, with the band releasing a debut EP the following year on their own label Pop Sex Ltd. That label then allied with Wichita Recordings on three subsequent albums, most recently 2015's 'Decency'. Harper and the band also set up their own record shop, Pop Recs Ltd, in home town Sunderland.
Among the other artists paying tribute to Harper yesterday were The Cribs, who said on Facebook: "We are all deeply saddened to hear about the passing of Dave Harper. The Cribs and Frankie & The Heartstrings shared many nights on the road together, as label mates and spiritual brothers. Dave was a dynamo on and off stage, and a true champion of independent, grassroots music. He will be remembered for his deep commitment to his home town, his irrepressible spirit, and of course the sense of community he built with Pop Recs - the absolute definition of DIY culture".
Lil Nas X has announced that his album 'Montero' will be released on 17 Sep. And if you don't believe me, here's a little promo video saying so.
Sepultura are releasing a big old box-set on 22 Oct featuring remastered versions of their albums 'Against', 'Nation', 'Roorback', 'Dante XXI' and 'A-Lex'. It also includes the 'Revolusongs' EP that came with some versions of 'Roorback' and which features a bunch of covers, including this one of Public Enemy's 'Black Steel In The Hour Of Chaos'. 'Sepulnation - The Studio Albums 1998 - 2009' will be released on 22 Oct.
With Peter Jackson's documentary about The Beatles recording their 'Let It Be' album in 1969 - 'The Beatles: Get Back' - due to be aired this November, a load of 'Let It Be' special editions are being released in October. Because, well, of course they are. Full details about 'The Beatles: Cash In' here.
Griff has released new single 'One Night'.
Tom Morello this week released a new single from his upcoming album 'The Atlas Underground Fire', which is out on 15 Oct. The new track is called 'Driving To Texas' and features Phantogram.
There's a new Foy Vance track too called 'Roman Attack', from the upcoming album 'Signs Of Life'.
Django Django are releasing a deluxe version of their 'Glowing In The Dark' album featuring five new tracks - like this one, 'Under Fire'.
Sleigh Bells have a new song out called 'Justine Go Genesis', which is from their upcoming album 'Texis', set for release on 10 Sep.
Yungblud posted the video for his new single 'Fleabag' on Wednesday. Did you watch it? It's here if you didn't.
New Abba music expected next week
It's thought that this all relates to the long-awaited Abba hologram show that has been in the pipeline for some time. That project will also come with some brand new Abba songs - originally two but, as of last year, five.
According to The Sun, 'Abba Voyage' will actually properly launch next May, with - wait for it - digital 'Abba-tars' performing the group's hits as part a show in a purpose built theatre in East London.
But fans should get to hear some of the new music from as soon as next week, presumably as tickets go on sale for the hologram thing.
"Abba are finally making their comeback and plan to release their first new music in 39 years next Friday", a source told the tabloid, adding "it's huge".