|THURSDAY 7 JULY 2022||COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM|
|TODAY'S TOP STORY: UK Music has hit out at a proposed new copyright exception that would cover all and any text and data mining, which the government is planning to introduce as part of reforms to support all things artificial intelligence. The proposed new exception is "dangerous and damaging" and would simply allow AI companies to "launder" music in order to generate new content, reckons the cross-sector music industry trade group... [READ MORE]|
UK Music calls proposed data mining copyright exception "dangerous and damaging"
The proposed new copyright exception follows a review of how intellectual property laws in the UK deal with AI. Among other things the review considered the copyright status of AI-created works, and also whether copyright law should better facilitate the data mining that many AI firms undertake in order to train their technologies.
Whether or not content created by an AI technology should enjoy copyright protection has been a big debate in recent years as such technologies have become more common. In many countries the debate is whether or not copyright law should be revised so to specifically provide protection to such works.
However, UK copyright law already provides protection for what it calls 'computer-generated' works. So this review was considering whether or not that protection should be removed, with some people arguing that copyright protection should only apply to human-created works, and/or that copyright law should be written so to protect human creativity from the competition posed by creative AI technologies.
But the conclusion of the government's review was that, in this domain, UK copyright law should remain unchanged. "For computer-generated works, we plan no changes to the law", a new report said last week.
"There is no evidence at present that protection for computer-generated works is harmful, and the use of AI is still in its early stages", it added. "As such, a proper evaluation of the options is not possible, and any changes could have unintended consequences. We will keep the law under review and could amend, replace or remove protection in future if the evidence supports it".
However, when it comes to data mining, a change to the law is now on the agenda. AI technologies usually learn by crunching lots of data. And while the facts and trends being crunched in that process are not protected by copyright, the files or databases being accessed usually are, meaning that the maker of the AI technology needs to get permission from whoever owns the copyright in that content.
The government's review noted that "some rightsholders license their works to allow text and data mining, but others do not". And even where licences are available, "this has financial costs for people using data mining software".
"The consultation sought views on how to make it easier for people to data mine copyright materials", last week's report explained. "It did this with a view to supporting AI and wider innovation in the UK, in line with government priorities on AI, data and innovation".
One proposal is to introduce a copyright exception, so that people can crunch and scrutinise data contained in copyright protected materials without licence. Such an exception already exists in the UK for non-commercial research, and a wider data mining exception is already available elsewhere in the world.
The government's report specifically referenced such exceptions in the European Union, Japan and Singapore, and also added that data mining might be covered by the related principle of fair use under US copyright law.
And, it then said, the UK government now thinks such a wider exception for data mining should be available here too. "Introducing an exception which applies to commercial text and data mining will bring benefits to a wide range of stakeholders in the UK", the report stated. "These include researchers, AI developers, small businesses, cultural heritage institutions, journalists, and engaged citizens".
That exception will mean that people and companies developing music-based AI technologies will likely be able to mine databases of music content without needing a licence from whoever owns the copyright in that music. Which - the music industry would like everyone to know - is a really bad idea.
Responding to last week's proposal regarding the data mining exception, UK Music CEO Jamie Njoku-Goodwin has sent a letter to Culture Secretary (for now) Nadine Dorries stating: "We are greatly concerned about plans to allow third parties to use creative works, including music, for data mining purposes, without the need for creators and rightsholders to provide permission".
"This would significantly undermine the basic principles that the creative industries are based on and runs contrary to the welcome ambition you have set out to protect our world-leading creative industries and build on their success", the letter goes on. "We seek your urgent intervention to reject the current plan ahead of any decision to take forward legislation'.
"Pre-pandemic the music industry was worth £5.8 billion to the economy, generated exports of £2.9 billion and employed almost 200,000 people", it continues. "It forms a key part of the UK's globally celebrated creative industries that are worth in excess of £100 billion to the UK - and a huge part of that success has been down to our robust copyright laws. However, the proposals on data mining risk undermining that framework and causing significant damage to a whole range of sectors".
"UK Music supports attempts to grow the UK's AI sector", the letter stresses, but, it adds: "This cannot be achieved by taking away vital tools that enable the music industry, and other IP reliant sectors, to innovate".
"These proposals are dangerous to the future prospects of our globally successful sector", the letter concludes, before asking the culture minister directly: "As someone who has always championed our world leading creative industries and knows from personal experience just how important robust copyright protections are, we ask for your support to help to guarantee this proceeds no further".
Commenting on the letter, Njoku-Goodwin states: "These proposals would give the green light to music laundering - if the government truly wants the UK creative industries to be world leading, they must urgently rethink these plans".
Judge declines to ban Republic investment site from offering music NFTs
Universal took offence at the investment site's move last year into the music NFT space - allowing investors and fans to buy into new tracks in return for a future royalty share - because it owns the label Republic Records. And, it reckoned, having another Republic branded company doing music NFT nonsense would be confusing, it having its own plans to jump on the NFT bandwagon.
It possibly didn't help that the Republic investment site's big move into music - via a partnership with music NFT start-up Opulous - was accompanied by some bullish copy that basically dissed traditional record labels like those operated by Universal.
It explained that, not only would investors get royalty rights and other perks linked to the tracks they supported, but they'd also allow more artists to secure investment without doing a traditional record deal and, in doing so, "fix [a record] industry that pays creators only 12% of the revenues they generate".
So, while the Republic investment site might not have been launching a conventional record label, by its own admission, it was seeking to create an alternative to labels of that kind. With all that in mind, Universal argued that Republic was infringing on its Republic Records trademark in a way that would cause consumer confusion. Indeed, the major argued, it was already confusing people.
As well as suing the investment site for trademark infringement, Universal also sought an injunction stopping Republic from doing music stuff under its current brand. It was on the request for an injunction that the judge ruled this week, concluding that there were not sufficient grounds for such an order to be granted.
According to Billboard, judge Analisa Torres stated: "The fact that both parties' products exist within the same industry is not enough. The products and services offered by the parties differ significantly".
"It is conceivable that there may ultimately be some overlap between the parties' consumers", she conceded, "for instance, fans of a popular artist may both purchase that artist's music through Republic Records, and make crowdfunded investments in recordings by that artist through the Republic platform". However, she added, "such scenarios remain hypothetical".
Universal's wider lawsuit against Republic continues, although the decision regarding the injunction suggests that action is unlikely to succeed. As a result, some sort of settlement may well now be negotiated.
Although there is still a music category on the Republic site, displaying both current and past investment opportunities involving music projects, including a royalty right NFT product from Lil Pump, the investment platform previously removed some content that presented Republic Music as a distinct service.
It's not clear if that content was removed because of the trademark dispute, nor whether it might return now that it looks like Universal's trademark action might fail.
Daniel Lanois signs to BMG
"Daniel Lanois is a sonic alchemist whose own work showcases the very best of his art, loved and admired by the artist community and fans around the world", says BMG's EVP Global Repertoire Fred Casimir. "We are delighted he has chosen BMG as his label home".
Set for release on 23 Sep, 'Player, Piano' sees Lanois creating the contemporary piano album that he would like to hear.
"There's a race to be louder and brighter in the piano world that makes the instrument feel harsh and brittle to my ear", he says. "I decided that if I was going to make a piano record, I wanted it to sound like recordings from the 40s and 50s, back when the piano was soft and beautiful".
Modern Recordings SVP Christian Kellersmann adds: "As in everything he does, Daniel makes the familiar new and the new familiar. It is an extraordinary work which is perfectly aligned with Modern Recording's mission to push the boundaries of music".
As well as being an artist in his own right, Lanois has produced other artists including U2, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Emmy Lou Harris, Peter Gabriel, The Killers and many more. He also worked on the soundtrack to video game 'Red Dead Redemption II'.
LimeWire NFT marketplace launches
"I have always been interested in Web3 and NFTs", says Barker, who was either a very prescient child or has a very short memory. "I am pretty stoked to release my first NFT collection and to do it on LimeWire. I hope that my NFT collection will inspire aspiring artists and fans who want to learn about my creative journey and how I make music. LimeWire has created a platform that makes exciting content like this accessible to all of my fans - even ones who are unfamiliar with Web3".
Because that's the whole point, see? LimeWire is going to make it easy to buy digital collectibles. No more trying to work out what the hell cryptocurrency is and how to get it, you can just pay for this shit in dollars. Good old fashioned American dollars. Just like your grandparents used.
Actually, you can also pay in a variety of cryptocurrencies if you want to. And, starting later this year, you will also be able to buy site-specific cryptocurrency LMWR Tokens, which will give you reduced trading fees and access to rewards. But you won't have to do any of that. You can pretend to own as many jpegs as you want using your standard everyday credit card right away.
"We see a huge demand in the entertainment space for platforms that recognise and appreciate artists for their talent and put them in the driver's seat", says LimeWire co-CEOs Paul and Julian Zehetmayr. "LimeWire presents a new commercial opportunity for artists of all sizes and genres to engage with their fans, gain more exposure in a unique way and retain more of their earnings".
Yes, indeed, LimeWire isn't just going for the big names, but is also pushing NFTs from emerging artists who reckon they have enough fans with money they just don't know what to do with knocking around.
And there are also NFTs on offer involving no artists at all. For example, there's LimeWire Originals, a collection of 10,000 digital avatars that feature the LimeWire logo in some way. I don't know why you'd want one, but people seem to be buying them.
Further collections are set to launch later today that do involve artists, the big one being a selection of AI-generated images of Kanye West from AEON7. More will arrive over the coming days and weeks.
It was announced in March that the Zehetmayr brothers had acquired the LimeWire brand to slap onto their NFT marketplace. Something original LimeWire founder Mark Gorton said he was "NOT THRILLED" about.
Radiocentre appoints new CEO
Payton has been with RadioCentre since 2009, becoming COO last year after previously holding leadership roles in policy and external affairs. The trade group says that he has "been instrumental in securing greater operational freedom for commercial radio, as well as formulating industry policy on the role of the BBC and securing new music licensing terms".
Confirming the appointment, Radiocentre Chair Howell James says: "Matt has been a key part of Radiocentre's success in recent years and has an unparalleled breadth of knowledge and insight into the world of commercial radio and audio. We are delighted that he has agreed to become Chief Executive and ensure Radiocentre continues to demonstrate the value of radio to both government and advertisers".
Meanwhile, Payton himself adds: "It's a real privilege to be involved in the radio and audio business at such an exciting time with commercial radio revenues and audiences at record levels. I can't wait to get started and work with the brilliant Radiocentre team on how we can do even more to drive the success of this fantastic medium".
Glasgow Caledonian University renames building in honour of Annie Lennox
Lennox has been Chancellor of the university since 2018 and officially opened the building while she was in Glasgow for this year's graduation ceremonies.
"It's an incredible honour to have such a wonderful building on the Glasgow Caledonian University campus named after me", says the musician. "I'm looking forwards to taking part in GCU's graduation ceremonies this week in person, after the last two years, when the only way we could connect was via Zoom. I'm so proud of all the graduates, who've coped brilliantly with all the extra challenges, to finally succeed in reaching their goals and achievements".
GCU Principal Prof Pamela Gillies adds: "Glasgow Caledonian University is extremely fortunate to have Dr Lennox as its Chancellor. Her passion, wisdom, guidance and support for our community, especially through the recent challenges of the pandemic, have been transformative".
The building, if you were wondering, was previously named the Hamish Wood Building, after a former professor at the university who died in 2009.
Tainy has renewed his deal with Sony Music Publishing, continuing a partnership that began in 2005. "I am grateful that my career has allowed me to reach new heights not only on the artistic and creative side, but also on the business side", he says. "I appreciate having such great partners on the publishing end. Excited for the next chapter with the SMP family".
Live Nation boss Michael Rapino has signed a new five year contract with the live giant. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the new deal includes a significant pay rise that will see him earn up to $30 million a year - two-thirds in cash, one-third in shares. Though 90% of that package is performance related.
Bring Me The Horizon have released new single 'Strangers'. "The song came out of a long writing trip in LA", says the band's Oli Sykes. "As soon as the lyric 'we're just a room full of strangers' came it took on such a deeper double meaning – how it would feel to be performing it live as that's what it is, all strangers connecting on this mad level, and that it was like rehab".
Sophie Ellis-Bextor has teamed up with Wuh Oh for new track 'Hypnotized'. Says Ellis-Bextor: "'Hypnotized' is my favourite kind of wonky pop song. Fast paced, melodic and has a kind of 'what did I just listen to?!' brilliance to it too. There's also a dance routine if you fancy. It's a pleasure to collaborate with the very talented Wuh Oh and the song has been going down so amazingly when we do it live".
Keane's Tom Chaplin has announced that he will release new solo album, 'Midpoint', on 2 Sep. Here's the title track. He'll be touring in October, finishing up at the Palladium in London on 22 Oct.
Coldplay have released a video for 'Biuytiful' from their 'Music Of The Spheres' album. It's got all puppets and that in it.
Christine And The Queens will release new album 'Redcar Les Adorables Étoiles' on 23 Sep. A launch show will follow at Royal Festival Hall in London on 30 Sep.
Wet Leg have gone and got themselves a Soulwax remix of 'Too Late Now'.
Alvvays will release their third album, 'Blue Rev', on 7 Oct. Here's new single 'Pharmacist'.
Exit Kid have released new single 'Sura'. They've also got two London shows coming up at Paper Dress Vintage on 14 Jul and Jaguar Shoes on 4 Aug.
Attawalpa has released new single 'Ignore The Pollution'. "Lyrically, 'Ignore The Pollution' is about the desire of switching off from a loud world", he says. "Ignoring the constant stream of information one is subjected to".
M(h)aol have released new single 'Bored Of Men'.
Mikeneko Homeless have released new single 'Darling', taken from their upcoming new album 'Time To Love'.
GIGS & TOURS
Queen and Adam Lambert will livestream a new concert film recorded at the O2 Arena on 24 Jul. Tickets available here.
Caterina Barbieri will play the Barbican in London on 26 Oct. Tickets go on sale tomorrow.
Check out our weekly Spotify playlist of new music featured in the CMU Daily - updated every Friday.
Metallica "blown away" by Stranger Things sync
The 1986 song forms a prominent part of the final episode of the fourth series, as the character Eddie Munson (played by Joseph Quinn) performs it on the roof of a house to distract a horde of demonic bats. We've all done it.
In an Instagram post, the band said: "The way The Duffer Brothers have incorporated music into 'Stranger Things' has always been next level, so we were beyond psyched for them to not only include 'Master Of Puppets' in the show, but to have such a pivotal scene built around it".
"We were all stoked to see the final result and when we did we were totally blown away", they went on. "It's so extremely well done, so much so, that some folks were able to guess the song just by seeing a few seconds of Joseph Quinn's hands in the trailer! How crazy cool is that? It's an incredible honour to be such a big part of Eddie's journey and to once again be keeping company with all of the other amazing artists featured in the show".
Since the final two episodes of the series arrived on Netflix last week, streams of 'Master Of Puppets' have reportedly seen a boost that could propel the song back into the US Billboard Hot 100 chart.
This all, of course, follows the success of Kate Bush's 'Running Up That Hill', which featured in earlier episodes of the series. The song has now been at number one in the UK for three weeks, having initially been held back by Official Chart Company rules.