|WEDNESDAY 20 APRIL 2022||COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM|
|TODAY'S TOP STORY: Three US organisations that campaign for women's rights and gender equality have filed an amicus brief in support of Kesha as part of her ongoing defamation battle with producer Dr Luke. They argue that recent changes to free speech laws in New York state should be applied to the Dr Luke v Kesha litigation, even though it pre-dates the passing of those new rules... [READ MORE]|
New anti-SLAPP laws should apply to Dr Luke v Kesha litigation, say campaign groups
Luke's defamation claim against Kesha is all that remains of a wider legal battle between the two former collaborators, which began when Kesha accused Luke of rape. He denies those allegations and - arguing that Kesha's claims have negatively impacted on his career - sued for defamation.
In 2020, as that legal case slowly worked its way through the system, the judge overseeing the proceedings ruled that Luke - as someone who mainly works behind the scenes in the music industry - was not a 'public figure'. That was important because, under New York law, that decision has an impact on what needs to be proven in Luke's defamation case.
If the producer is deemed a public figure, not only does he need to prove that Kesha's rape claims are untrue, but also that they were made "with actual malice". But, as he is not a public figure, he only need prove the former.
However, also in 2020, New York state passed some new anti-SLAPP laws. These are laws designed to protect free speech by targeting what are known as 'strategic lawsuits against public participation', basically frivolous litigation that mainly aims to shut people up, rather than actually right any alleged wrong in court.
Under the new anti-SLAPP laws, in defamation cases in New York the "actual malice" requirement can also apply when it's a non-public figure pursuing the litigation if the allegedly defamatory statement relates to issues of public concern. Those new rules would also mean that Kesha could seek damages from Luke if her allegations were proven in court.
Once Kesha's legal team brought up the new anti-SLAPP laws the big question was whether or not they should be applied retroactively so that they impact on a case that was originally filed long before the new rules were in force. Some have argued that it's not fair to put new obligations onto a plaintiff already in the middle of pursuing a case, because that person couldn't have foreseen such additional obligations when they first made their decision to go legal.
However, the judge overseeing the case decided that, despite those concerns, the new anti-SLAPP laws should nevertheless apply to the Dr Luke v Kesha dispute, increasing Luke's burden of proof and opening him up to a possible damages claim.
The Luke side appealed that particular decision, and in March the New York appeals court ruled that the new anti-SLAPP rules should not, in fact, be applied to here, concluding that the new anti-SLAPP laws "did not specify that the new legislation was to be applied retroactively", and therefore it shouldn't be.
In their submission to the New York courts, campaigning groups Legal Momentum, Equal Rights Advocates and the National Women's Law Center all argue that the lower court judge got in right on this point, and that Kesha should be able to rely on the new anti-SLAPP rules.
Law-makers in New York were responding to a real need with the new laws, the three groups say, in particular an increasing trend of alleged abusers hiring lawyers in a bid to silence those who accuse them of abuse. "When the abusers have money to hire lawyers, that retaliation often comes in the form of turning the law that is supposed to protect survivors into the instrument to torment and threaten", they write in their new filing.
"Retaliatory litigation by abusers has grown drastically, motivating the legislature to amend the anti-SLAPP law", they go on. "Sexual assault is already drastically underreported, as survivors fear disbelief or punishment for speaking up - an often-founded result".
As for the New York appeals court's decision to not apply the new laws retrospectively, they add that that decision "holds that the [New York] legislature meant to fix this 'broken system' only for those who happened to be sued after the amendments' effective date - and did not intend to help the very people whose plight it cited as the reason for amending the law, since they had already been sued".
In making this decision, they also state, the appeals court "departed from a substantial consensus in trial courts across the state and federal courts applying New York law that the statute was intended to apply at least to pending cases continued after its effective date".
It remains to be seen if support like this has any impact on the ongoing Dr Luke v Kesha battle. In another recent development in the case, the Kesha side was told earlier this month that they can't utilise what has been described as key evidence when the litigation gets properly to court.
That evidence consists of handwritten notes made by a lawyer in 2006 that record comments made by Kesha at the time to the effect that, in 2005, immediately before the alleged rape took place, Luke had given her a pill to help her "feel better" but which, in fact, caused her to black out.
Kesha's legal team want to use the notes in court because, they say, they dispute a claim made by the Luke side that it was only in 2013 - years after the alleged assault - that Kesha started claiming that Luke had drugged her back in 2005.
Those notes only came to light very late in the day as the Dr Luke v Kesha case went through the motions, after an already extensive discovery period. To that end the court considering the case last year said they can't be relied upon at trial, and earlier this month an appeals court upheld that decision.
Post Malone's Circles authorship legal battle to go to trial
Malone is being sued by Tyler Armes - a songwriter, producer, multi-instrumentalist and member of Canadian rap-rock outfit Down With Webster - who joined the rapper and producer Frank Dukes for an all-night jamming session in August 2018. He claims that during that session he contributed to the song that become 'Circles'.
Although - according to Armes - Malone's manager initially offered him a 5% split of the copyright in the song after conceding that the musician had indeed co-written the hit, when Armes pushed for a better deal Malone's team backtracked. With no credit on or share in the song, Armes then went legal through the US courts.
As the litigation has gone through the motions, Malone hasn't denied that the 2018 jamming session happened, but has sought to play down the role Armes played at that session and subsequently in the creation of 'Circles'.
Seeking to get the case dismissed entirely, his legal team argued that Armes mainly contributed a generic chord pattern which is not protected by copyright in isolation, and that he didn't have any 'superintendence' or 'control' over the creation of 'Circle', so couldn't be considered a co-author of the song.
The judge overseeing the case has declined to dismiss Armes' lawsuit outright, but did conclude on summary judgement that Armes was not a co-author of the final work that is 'Circles'. However, the judge added, he might be a co-author of a separate composition that was creating during the 2018 jamming session, and of which 'Circles' might be a derivative work.
If both those things can be proven at trial, Armes would have a case for sharing in the monies generated by Malone's hit.
A similar debate occurred in the dispute over the creation and ownership of Lizzo track 'Truth Hurts', in which three former collaborators were seeking a cut of the copyright in that hit on the basis it borrowed elements from an earlier unreleased song they had worked on.
That resulted in a debate on whether the former collaborators had a claim over 'Truth Hurts' because it was a derivative work of the earlier song they had been involved in - or whether work on the early song could be considered part of the creative process involved in writing 'Truth Hurts'.
In court, Lizzo was keen to play down the involvement of those collaborators in the key element of the earlier song that popped up in 'Truth Hurts', and in the main her team won most of the legal arguments in court. However, the dispute was then settled out of court last month.
Family In Music adds royalty advance tool
The new tool provides a way for DIY artists and songwriters to seek upfront finance to fund their music projects, which is then paid back from royalties generated by those projects.
Family In Music says that the cash flow service is available to any artist in control of their rights who has at least 15,000 monthly listeners on the streaming platforms. How much cash can be accessed and the precise terms for each artist is based on the requirements and data identified and supplied during the application process.
Commenting on the latest tool being added to his platform, Family In Music COO Kevin Bacon says: "Getting the right financial backing for your music career is always very difficult but even more so for a generation of DIY creators who increasingly work outside of the traditional music business. With our Advance tool songwriters can get funded in a way that leaves them in control of their career but with the necessary cash to keep moving forward creatively as well as commercially".
New report calls on government to recognise the "power of music" in healthcare
Called 'The Power Of Music', the report calls on the UK government to do more to support healthcare providers, businesses and individuals in using music to improve the lives of people living with dementia, depression and other debilitating conditions.
The report makes four key recommendations, calling on the UK government to:
• Appoint a Power Of Music Commissioner to oversee work in the area of music and health, including setting up a new government taskforce.
• Launch a major public awareness campaign on how music can improve health.
• Provide better training for frontline workers on the role of music in healthcare.
• Provide funding to make music more available to all.
"The pandemic has shown us how we urgently need to reimagine health and social care in the UK", says Music For Dementia Campaign Director Grace Meadows. "Music has a critical role to play in this and while we're committed to making this happen, we can't do this alone. We need leadership, public engagement and funding at the very least, including the appointment of a Power Of Music Commissioner who will turn our recommendations into action".
"One of our biggest challenges is that many people still don't fully appreciate the power of music, but we could begin to change that within a year", she goes on. "We're calling upon the government and leaders in the fields of health, care, music, charity and philanthropy to work together to ensure the greater use of music in social prescribing and make it a key tool in public health strategies".
"As a country we can change the lived experience of millions living with dementia and wider health issues", she concludes. "We can do it quickly, simply and we can do it now for a relatively small investment. It just needs commitment and a determination to work together. Let's do it".
UK Music Chief Executive Jamie Njoku-Goodwin adds: "Every day, more and more evidence emerges about the extraordinary health benefits of music and its potency as a non-pharmacological intervention. Whether it is in improving wellbeing and quality of life, boosting mental health or supporting dementia care, music has an incredible power to improve people's lives".
"When used correctly, music can be a miracle medicine - and while there are thousands of people across the country who have seen this first-hand, there are millions more who have yet to enjoy its benefits", he goes on. "With bold leadership, cross-sector collaborations and a joined-up approach, we can harness the extraordinary power of music and ensure that everyone in our country can have access to the huge benefits music can bring".
Although not making any real commitments just yet, the UK government's Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries has nevertheless welcomed the report, saying: "Music can be a powerful tool. It is clear to me that more should be done to understand the social value of music, and the unique opportunities it presents to alleviate long-term and chronic conditions, including learning disabilities, depression and dementia. I look forward to working with the creative and health sectors to harness the power of music and boost its untapped potential to support health and wellbeing".
Universal Music UK has also welcomed the report and - as well as hosting its launch - is also backing a new online information platform about the use of music in health and care.
Hot Chip to release eighth album in August
Having been kept separate by the pandemic, once the group found themselves back together they began throwing down ideas "in a natural way, without too much discussion or a grand plan", says Joe Goddard. "We were living through a period where it was very easy to feel like people were losing control of their lives in different ways. There's a darkness that runs through a lot of those tracks".
'Down' was the track that kicked off the writing process, and is built around a sample of Universal Togetherness Band's 'More Than Enough'.
The album is out on 19 Aug, and the band will take up residency at Brixton Academy for four nights from 21-24 Sep. Tickets go on general sale on 22 Apr.
Metallica's Kirk Hammett releases solo single
The music on 'Portals' is intended to be "soundtracks to the movies in your mind", although - whatever might be screening in your mind right now - 'High Plains Drifter' takes its inspiration from the 1973 movie of the same name.
"[The song] was not meant to be specifically music for that film, but it was once it was written, I immediately thought it conveyed the same sentiment as the film, so the piece was christened accordingly", says Hammett.
"The music for 'High Plains Drifter' initially came from a Flamenco piece I had written", he goes on. "It was a two-and-a-half-minute piece, and I really liked it, but it was one of those riffs that would be hard to integrate into Metallica. I knew I wanted to do something with it, even though it came out spontaneously. I had been sitting outside messing around with a Flamenco acoustic guitar I'd just bought, and it flowed out in the moment. I was determined it would have a life. It would have its moment".
Warner Records has signed producer Pheelz. The announcement coincides with the release of the video for his new single, 'Finesse', featuring BNXN.
G-Eazy has released new single 'Angel', written and released to mark the birthday of his mother, who died last year. "Grief can be a difficult thing to navigate", he says. "It's definitely not a linear process and it comes at you in waves. There will never be enough words to describe the feeling of losing your best friend, or the desire to see them again. In a literal sense, I tried to capture that feeling of longing in the lyrics of the song".
Rico Nasty has released new track 'Vaderz', featuring Bktherula.
Mogwai's Stuart Braithwaite will publish a memoir, titled 'Spaceships Over Glasgow', on 1 Sep. "Stuart Braithwaite's memoir is a funny and righteous celebration of a life lived on the road and in the studio, dedicated to the pursuit of aural (and occasionally) psychic enlightenment and obliteration", says Lee Brackstone of publisher White Rabbit.
Mono have announced their first ever full-length film soundtrack. And about time too. They have scored new documentary 'My Story, The Buraku Story'. From it, this is 'Kioku'. The album is out on 27 May.
Japanese punk band Otoboke Beaver have released new single 'Yakitori'. "We are not popular in Japan, but we have been told by some Japanese people that we are flirting with foreigners", says frontwoman Accorinrin. "I was so pissed off by this that I decided to write songs with 'Japanese' and 'foreign flirtatious' titles, such as 'Sushi' and 'Yakitori'. It's a meaningless song, 'I'm the one who threw yakitori in your mailbox'. Not so flirtatious, right?" Their new album, 'Super Champon', is out on 6 May.
GIGS & TOURS
Graham Coxon and Rose Elinor Dougall will launch their new project The Weave with a live show at The Lexington in London on 4 May. Here's a brief taste of what they sound like. Their first full track will be out on 5 May.
Check out our weekly Spotify playlist of new music featured in the CMU Daily - updated every Friday.
Noel Gallagher's guitar broken the night Oasis split up to be auctioned
Noel Gallagher's red 1960 Gibson ES-355 was smashed during the altercation with his brother Liam backstage at the Rock En Seine festival in France in 2009. Noel's most used instrument, he once said that it was "the best guitar I ever had".
So loved was it that he had it restored in 2011 and then played it with his current band Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds. However, according to reports, he subsequently decided to get rid of the guitar because it was so closely associated with Oasis and brought back bad memories.
The auction is being held by the Artpèges gallery, alongside other rock memorabilia. The gallery's co-founder Jonathan Berg says: "Artpèges gallery seeks out objects that can stand the test of time. Each object or instrument that you will discover at this auction belongs to the history of music, past, present and future. This guitar crystallises a specific moment in the history of music".
The guitar has a starting price of 150,000 euros, and the gallery is hoping that it will reach as much as 500,000 euros. It goes up for sale on 17 May.