TUESDAY 7 JUNE 2022 COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM
TODAY'S TOP STORY: DIY distributor Ditto Music and its co-founder Lee Parsons have called for a lawsuit filed against them in the Californian courts by Lil Yachty to be dismissed on jurisdiction grounds. The litigation relates to the promotion of Opulous, the music NFT start-up also founded by Parsons... [READ MORE]

TOP STORIES Ditto Music seeks dismissal of Lil Yachty NFT lawsuit on jurisdiction grounds
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LEGAL Movie companies who got a US web-block order have asked for it to be stayed
Yout owner declines deal proposed by Brazilian prosecutors
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DEALS The Strokes' Julian Casablancas sells music rights to Primary Wave
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INDUSTRY PEOPLE Music Leaders Network announces autumn 2022 programme
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RELEASES Tim Burgess announces new solo album
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ONE LINERS Swae Lee & Diplo, The O2, Doja Cat, more
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AND FINALLY... Kate Bush just keeps on chatting about Stranger Things
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Ditto Music seeks dismissal of Lil Yachty NFT lawsuit on jurisdiction grounds
DIY distributor Ditto Music and its co-founder Lee Parsons have called for a lawsuit filed against them in the Californian courts by Lil Yachty to be dismissed on jurisdiction grounds. The litigation relates to the promotion of Opulous, the music NFT start-up also founded by Parsons.

The rapper - real name Miles McCollum - went legal in January claiming that Opulous had used his name and brand as part of launch communications, even though he had never agreed to get involved in the new venture. Ditto and Parsons were also defendants on that lawsuit on the basis that - as a sister company to and founder of Opulous respectively - they had posted about those launch communications on their social media channels.

Opulous is a platform that encourages fans and investors to buy non-fungible tokens linked to new music being created by participating artists. Those NFTs provide fans and investors with a royalty right, so that they share in any future income generated by a track. Ditto Music then distributes the recordings and ensures everyone gets any money they are due.

McCollum claims that he and his management team met with Parsons and Opulous marketing chief Fernando Cruz in May last year to discuss the new NFT business. However, the rapper insists, they only ever had "a general introductory meeting wherein defendants … generally pitched … the Opulous platform".

And then, according to McCollum, the following month a press and social media campaign launched by Opulous "falsely representing that plaintiff, Lil Yachty, was affiliated, connected and associated with the Opulous platform, and further falsely representing that plaintiff's copyrighted works would be offered for sale through the Opulous platform".

"In these publications, defendants prominently displayed plaintiff's name, trademark, and photograph, all without plaintiff's permission or consent", the lawsuit added. "At no time did defendants have authorisation or consent to utilise plaintiff's name, trademark, or image".

Shortly after the filing of that lawsuit, Opulous said in a statement that "contrary to the assertions in the complaint filed by Lil Yachty, Opulous's uses of Lil Yachty's name and likeness were all authorised by Lil Yachty and his representatives. We intend to vigorously defend ourselves against these meritless claims".

It was actually Ditto and Parsons, not the Opulous company, that filed a formal response with the court last week - noting that "a third defendant, Opulous, an entity alleged to have been formed in Singapore, has not yet been served with the summons and complaint".

Now, it remains to be seen if a future filing by Opulous presents in more detail the argument that all mentions of McCollum in the NFT start-up's communications had been approved.

However, in last week's legal filing, Ditto and Parsons instead argue that the Californian courts do not have jurisdiction in relation to this dispute. Because, while the social media posts being criticised were of course accessible in the US state, McCollum lives in a different state, Georgia, while Ditto and Parsons are based in the UK.

"The court should dismiss the complaint because plaintiff does not come close to proving this court has personal jurisdiction over defendants", the legal filing begins. "Plaintiff, a resident of Georgia, sued defendants, a United Kingdom corporation and citizen, for claims arising out of four social media posts allegedly made by defendants, and a press release allegedly issued by a third party".

"Plaintiff does not allege how the posts or press release have any connection at all to California", it goes on, "does not allege that defendants have had any contact with California beyond bare legal conclusions, and does not claim that he suffered any damage in California".

"Plaintiff's likely argument that the social media posts were accessible in California and that is sufficient to invoke jurisdiction here is incorrect", it then argues, "particularly where there is no allegation, let alone any evidence, of any connection to California. In sum, plaintiff falls well short of satisfying his burden to prove that this court has personal jurisdiction over these defendants".

The legal filing then goes into some detail about how Ditto is very much a British company operating out of the UK and signing contracts subject to English law, while Parsons is a British citizen based in Lancashire and managing his social media accounts from the UK. Yes, he does also spend time in and therefore post to social media from Brazil, but that's also thousands of miles away from California and its courts.

With all that in mind, the judge overseeing McCollum's lawsuit should dismiss it - certainly in regards to Ditto and Parsons - or at least that's what they reckon.

Responding, a legal rep for the rapper told Law360: "The motion filed by the defendants in this case fails to address the real issue - that the evidence shows beyond all doubt that they blatantly violated Lil Yachty's rights by using his name and image for their own financial gain. We look forward to addressing these claims in court and have no further comment at this time".

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Movie companies who got a US web-block order have asked for it to be stayed
The group of Israeli movie and media companies that recently secured some web-blocking injunctions in the US courts against piracy sites Israel-tv.com, Israel.tv and Sdarot.tv have now told the judge hearing the case that they probably don't need them. Which is odd. Especially as web-blocking has generally not been a tactic available to copyright owners in the US in the past.

Web-blocking, of course, is where copyright owners get injunctions forcing internet service providers to block their customers from accessing piracy sites. In some countries, like the UK, getting such injunctions has become a preferred anti-piracy tactic for the music and movie industries.

However, when attempts were made ten years ago to formally introduce a web-blocks system into US copyright law, the whole thing proved so controversial that no one has ever dared to make similar proposals again, even as web-blocking has become pretty standard in other parts of the world.

But then, in the recent copyright lawsuits against Israel-tv.com, Israel.tv and Sdarot.tv in the New York courts, as well as ruling against the defendants, the judge also ordered internet service providers to block access to those sites, and other internet companies to stop providing services to them as well. It seemed like a big win for the plaintiffs that possibly set a new precedent providing all copyright owners with more legal tools for fighting piracy within the US.

But now, according to Torrentfreak, the plaintiffs in the case have gone back to court to ask that the web-blocking order against the ISPs be paused. That's on the basis that the concurrent order against other kinds of internet companies - in particular domain registrars and registries - might be sufficient for curtailing the current and future operations of the three piracy sites, in the US and beyond.

They told the judge: "Plaintiffs are engaging diligently in efforts to enforce the orders against the non-party registrars and registries and the service providers in each of the order. Plaintiffs hope that because of such efforts, defendants' streaming of pirated content that infringes upon plaintiffs' copyrights will be limited. As such, it might not be necessary to enforce the orders against the ISPs".

With that in mind, the judge ruled: "The court hereby stays enforcement of the obligations imposed upon the internet service providers by the default judgment and permanent injunction orders entered into in the above-captioned cases, pending further order of the court".

Seizing the domains of copyright infringing sites is another common anti-piracy tactic, of course, and one that can have an impact in multiple countries rather than just one. However, many piracy sites have demonstrated how easy it can be to simply secure alternative domains, with search engines and message boards helping users find the new URLs for their favourite piracy operations. So, for most copyright owners, if it's possible, you'd want to web-block as well as domain seize.

Of course, the movie and media companies in this case could still go back to court and get the ISP web-block order unstayed. However - as Torrentfreak notes - the fact they've asked for it to be paused at all makes you wonder what conversations might be going on behind the scenes with the internet companies, and whether the recent request is an attempt to stop the ISPs going into full-on battle mode in a bid to get the web-blocking orders cancelled entirely.

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Yout owner declines deal proposed by Brazilian prosecutors
The operator of Yout has knocked back a deal made by prosecutors in Brazil who have filed a criminal complaint in relation to the stream-ripping site. Under the deal Johnathan Nader would have had to block access to his site to Brazilian users, log attempts to access the site from within the country and pay about $400,000.

Whereas many stream-ripping sites, when targeted with legal action from copyright owners, either go offline or just ignore the legal letters and litigation, Nader has generally fought back, insisting that his website does not in itself infringe copyright. Indeed, in the US, it was Yout that sued the record industry, not the other way round.

Meanwhile, in Brazil, Nader has been battling action taken by the country's Public Prosecutor's Office, which started investigating various stream-ripping operations following a complaint by music industry trade group APDIF. A 180 day web-block order went into effect at the start of that investigation. Yout initially managed to get the web-blocks lifted once those 180 days were up, but then the PPO filed its criminal complaint against the site, and a new web-block went into effect.

According to Torrentfreak, the PPO has since been negotiating with Nader to see if he would agree to various conditions in order to address that complaint. If he was found guilty of criminal copyright infringement, he could face jail time in Brazil. Although, of course, enforcing a jail term would involve getting Nader to Brazil, which would be a tricky process, which is presumably why the PPO would prefer a settlement.

However, it seems, Nader is not so keen on shutting down his website in Brazil, monitoring and reporting on those who then still try to access it from within the country, and handing over $400,000 in cash. Torrentfreak reports that the proposed deal was discussed and then formally declined by the Yout side at a hearing last week.

It remains to be seen how the PPO's investigation now proceeds.

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The Strokes' Julian Casablancas sells music rights to Primary Wave
Primary Wave Music has acquired a stake in the good old music rights of Strokes frontman Julian Casablancas. The deal sees the company take on an undisclosed portion of the musician's song rights in relation to all Strokes compositions, as well as his share of recording rights and royalties.

"Primary Wave is THRILLED to partner with Julian Casablancas for his works in The Strokes", says Primary Wave's David Weitzman. "Julian's extraordinary talents as a songwriter, singer, and leader infuse the magic that is The Strokes … one of the most important bands of this century [who] are beloved by a multi-generational audience who have made them a global festival headliner".

The Strokes released their sixth album - and first since 2013 - 'The New Abnormal' in 2020. Casablancas has also released a solo album and two LPs with his other band The Voidz, although his work outside The Strokes does not appear to be part of the Primary Wave deal.

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Music Leaders Network announces autumn 2022 programme
The Music Leaders Network - the leadership development initiative for mid-career women in music created by Remi Harris and Tamara Gal-On - has today opened applications for a new programme that will begin in September.

Open to women who have at least five years music industry experience, the programme provides small-group training and individual coaching, with the aim of helping participants to become "more confident, effective leaders who are realising their full potential in the music industry".

Harris and Gal-On have already run two previous editions of the scheme, which was originally commissioned by Manchester-based music organisation Brighter Sound, with the initial focus on supporting women in music based in the north of England.

The next edition of the programme is open to people working in all sorts of roles within the music industry across the UK, including both those who work for music companies and those who are self-employed.

Harris and Gal-On are particularly encouraging employers in the sector to invest in their employees by putting them forward for the initiative, while bursaries will also be available for self-employed participants to help with the costs of taking part.

Commenting on the initiative, Harris says: "Participating in this kind of leadership development was life-changing for me fifteen years ago, it significantly increased my impact and visibility in the industry and lifted me into senior leadership positions. Now, as a trainer and coach, I want to help other women fulfil their leadership potential".

Gal-On notes that a particular focus this time is encouraging more black women in music to apply. She adds: "Seeing the many successes of the participants of the last two editions of the programme which focused specifically on women in music in the north of England, we realised we'd like to proactively encourage black women to access the September 2022 network as a tangible contribution to supporting the industry in redressing inequity as brought clearly to light during the Blackout Tuesday event".

Applications for the programme open today, and there are online sessions where interested people can ask questions on 10 and 21 Jun. Info here.

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Approved: Taahliah
Rising producer Taahliah is back with new single 'Fall Into Place' - a collaboration with vocalist Tsatsamis - which sees her pull back somewhat from the hyperpop sound of earlier releases. It may be her most mainstream track to date, although still confounds the expectations of the sound she's channeling enough to leave you disorientated. In a good way.

"I wanted to make the perfect summer pop song", she says. "I use my music as a way of compartmentalising points in my life and 'Fall Into Place' encapsulates the joy of initial intimacy, investigating the space between potential love and lust".

With a nomination for BBC Introducing Scottish Artist Of The Year earlier this year, and various festival dates coming up over the summer, things are looking positive for Taahliah, and 'Fall Into Place' is the perfect place to ease yourself into her world.

Watch the video for 'Fall Into Place' here.

Stay up to date with all of the artists featured in the CMU Approved column by subscribing to our Spotify playlist.

Tim Burgess announces new solo album
Tim Burgess has announced that he will release a new solo album, 'Typical Music', on 23 Sep through Bella Union.

It's 22 tracks long. And before you say anything about that, here's Tim: "OK, we all know about double albums, right? Historically, they've been thought of as indulgent. But I came to the conclusion that what I was doing was the opposite of that. I wanted to give people everything that I'd done. Every idea was treated as if it was the best thing and had to be treated with extreme care. I wanted to give everything of myself. That was it".

"I fell in love with the world again", he goes on. "During COVID, I read a pile of books, got better on guitar. I had new perspective. I wanted to learn how to be Tim Burgess who makes solo records. People have a vision of me as the singer in The Charlatans. That's not going to change. Then there's me as the Twitter guy. But I just fell in love with the world again and wanted the world to take me with them".

I can't tell you what all 22 tracks of Tim Burgess's everything will be like, but the album's title track is out now.

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APPOINTMENTS

The O2 in London has hired Robbie Balfour as Marketing Director. "It's a big year for The O2 as we celebrate fifteen years of the venue, and we're THRILLED to welcome Robbie to the team to help drive our iconic brand forward into the next phase", says General Manager Steve Sayer.

Apple Music has hired Juan Paz as Global Head Of Latin Music Business. He joins from Warner's ADA label services business.

Live Nation has announced four new hires in its Latin music team. Daryivett Romo joins as Director Of Latin Tour Marketing; Katrina Rodriguez as Manager Of Latin Tour Marketing; Stephanie Rodriguez as Latin Tour Marketing Coordinator; and Nadia Hernandez as Director Of Latin Communications. "Live Nation is the largest promoter of Latin shows and as our artist roster as well as fan demand continues to grow, we are building a global team to serve artists and fan experiences better and at a bigger scale than ever before", says Hans Schafer, SVP Of Global Touring.

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LABELS & PUBLISHERS

CISAC - the global grouping of song right and other creator collecting societies - has elected a new board, comprising the CEOs of 20 of its member societies from around the world, they being: APRA (Australasia), ARTISJUS (Hungary), ASCAP (USA), BMDA (Morocco), BMI (USA), DAMA (Spain), GEMA (Germany), JASRAC (Japan), KOMCA (South Korea), PRS For Music (UK), SACD (France), SACEM (France), SACM (Mexico), SADAIC (Argentina), SAMRO (South Africa), SIAE (Italy), SOCAN (Canada), UBC (Brazil), VEGAP (Spain) and VG BILD-KUNST (Germany).

CISAC members have also voted to re-admit Turkish societies MESAM and MSG, a year after they were ejected, following an agreement to improve the collective licensing system in the country.

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RELEASES

Swae Lee and Diplo have released 'Tupelo Shuffle', also featuring Gary Clark Jr and Austin Butler, which is taken from the soundtrack of Baz Luhrman's upcoming film 'Elvis'.

Speaking of 'Elvis', Doja Cat has released the video for her track on the soundtrack, 'Vegas'.

James Bourne has released new single 'X-Man'. His new album, 'Sugar Beach', is out on 1 Jul.

Shygirl has released her new single 'Come For Me'. Her debut album, 'Nymph', will be out on 30 Sep.

Dagny has released new single 'Brightsider'. "One of my strengths and best qualities is precisely that I can see the positive instead of digging myself down", she says. "'Brightsider' became an outlet for this".

Ekkstacy has released new single 'I Gave You Everything'.

Before her debut album, 'Time Bend And Break The Bower', is out on Friday, Sinead O'Brien has released one last single from it, 'Culture'.

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GIGS & TOURS

Holly Humberstone has announced new UK tour dates in November and December, finishing up at Rock City in Nottingham on 4 Dec. Tickets go on sale on Friday.

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

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Kate Bush just keeps on chatting about Stranger Things
I don't want to start this story using the old cliche of waiting ages for something and then two of them coming along at once, but Kate Bush is making it really difficult.

I mean, she barely talks publicly at all, and then a new series of 'Stranger Things' goes live and and she's issuing statement after statement. Like buses. Like fucking buses! There, are you happy Kate Bush? Is this what you wanted?

Anyway, yeah, after writing on her website over the weekend about the return of her 1985 single 'Running Up That Hill' to the charts, thanks to a big 'Stranger Things' sync boost, she's back again. This time to stress that she really is a big fan of the show and not just in it for the cash.

"When the first series came out, friends kept asking us if we'd seen 'Stranger Things', so we checked it out and really loved it", she says. "We've watched every series since then, as a family".

"When they approached us to use 'Running Up That Hill', you could tell that a lot of care had gone into how it was used in the context of the story and I really liked the fact that the song was a positive totem for the character, Max", she goes on.

This chimes with comments made by the show's music supervisor Nora Felder, who told Yahoo that, knowing Bush's usual reluctance to agree to sync requests, she and her team had created "elaborate scene descriptions that provided as much context as possible so that Kate and her camp would have a full understanding of the uses".

Anyway, obviously that paid off, because Bush agreed and is thankfully very happy with the outcome. "I'm really impressed by this latest series", she goes on in her latest statement.

"It's an epic piece of work - the shows are extremely well put together with great characters and fantastic SFX", she continues. "It's very touching that the song has been so warmly received, especially as it's being driven by the young fans who love the shows. I'm really happy that [show creators] the Duffer Brothers are getting such positive feedback for their latest creation. They deserve it".

In the UK, 'Running Up That Hill' is currently at number eight in the Official Singles Chart and is challenging Harry Styles for the number one position this week. In the US, the song has also reached number eight in the Billboard Hot 100.

There may as yet be another boost for the song in July, depending on if and how it is used when the final two episodes of the series arrive on Netflix. Because, three years after the last series, the decision has been made for season four to arrive in two parts. A bit like… oh, for fuck's sake.

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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.
andy@unlimitedmedia.co.uk (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.
chris@unlimitedmedia.co.uk (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.
sam@unlimitedmedia.co.uk 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.
caro@unlimitedmedia.co.uk
 
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