MONDAY 11 JULY 2022 COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM
TODAY'S TOP STORY: The Liaison Committee of the UK's House Of Lords has published a new report reviewing how the government responded to a previous Lords report on the 2003 Licensing Act, which regulates bars, clubs and live entertainment in England and Wales. The new report calls for better communication between different licensing and planning authorities, more training for decision makers, and a review and strengthening of the agent of change principle... [READ MORE]

TOP STORIES Lords report on licensing rules calls for more joined up thinking and strengthened agent of change
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LEGAL Kanye West sued over missing menswear
Another VPN sued over allegations it facilitates piracy

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DIGITAL & D2F SERVICES New partnerships team confirmed at Roblox
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MEDIA Rolling Stone announces Young Thug documentaries documenting legal battle
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GIGS & FESTIVALS The Weeknd apologises after mobile network outage forces him to abort Toronto show
Shawn Mendes postpones US tour dates: "I've hit a breaking point"

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AND FINALLY... Tyler, The Creator accuses former collaborators of selling early tracks without permission
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Lords report on licensing rules calls for more joined up thinking and strengthened agent of change
The Liaison Committee of the UK's House Of Lords has published a new report reviewing how the government responded to a previous Lords report on the 2003 Licensing Act, which regulates bars, clubs and live entertainment in England and Wales. The new report calls for better communication between different licensing and planning authorities, more training for decision makers, and a review and strengthening of the agent of change principle.

A Lords committee made a number of recommendations regarding licensing laws back in 2017 and the new report looks at what changes have been made since then. Among the priorities for further reform set out in the new report, the Liaison Committee states that: "The government should work with key stakeholders to establish a clear mechanism for the licensing and planning systems to work together and communicate effectively".

Meanwhile, more should be done to train local councillors who make licensing decisions, with the Lords saying: "The committee reiterated the original inquiry's recommendations for a minimum training standard to be established for councillors who participate in licensing committee or sub-committee proceedings".

One area where better communication and more training is needed relates to the agent of change principle, which says that - when property developers put new residential buildings next to existing venues - they need to consider and mitigate any issues that might occur between the venue and future residents, especially relating to noise. That principle was added to National Planning Policy Framework for England in 2018.

However, in their latest review, members of the Lords Liaison Committee heard that the agent of change principle remains somewhat vague and, as a result, is interpreted and implemented differently around the country. To address those inconsistencies, the Lords say that the principle should also be incorporated into so called Section 182 Guidance, which is the guidance the government issues to licensing authorities regarding their responsibilities under the 2003 Act.

Not only that, but the Liaison Committee also states: "The government should review and strengthen the 'agent of change' principle and consider incorporating it into current planning reforms in the Levelling-up And Regeneration Bill".

Responding to the new report, Anne McIntosh - who chaired the Lords committee that produced the 2017 report - says: "Our original inquiry concluded that the Licensing Act 2003 was fundamentally flawed and needed a radical overhaul. It is now five years since we published our findings and we have not seen the progress we had hoped. We urge the government to review our conclusions and recommendations and act now to tackle the issues that remain unresolved".

The CEO of the Night Time Industries Association, Michael Kill, also wants the government to deal with the various issues raised by both the 2017 report and the new report in relation to the Licensing Act.

"We welcome the follow up report on licensing by the Liaison Committee, but share the disappointment of the committee and industry representatives on the lack of meaningful progress", he says. "We are experiencing considerable inconsistencies in planning and licensing systems, and in the majority of cases we are still seeing siloed licensing and planning departments not engaging".

"It is still the case that identical licensing applications presented in different areas would result in different outcomes", he adds. "This highlights the differences in interpretation of national legislation by key stakeholders, local authorities and responsible authorities".

Welcoming other recommendations in the new report, Kill continues: "We commend the report for highlighting the need for further training for councillors, local authority and police licensing officers, particularly on industry specific knowledge and culture. It is also encouraging to see included within the report the continued recommendation that the agent of change principle be included within planning and licensing legislation to protect businesses and residents".

You can read the full new report here.

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Kanye West sued over missing menswear
Another day, another Kanye lawsuit. Last week it was the New York-based David Casavant Archive - which is described as a "private collection of the world's rarest and most coveted garments" - that sued Kanye West, accusing him of borrowing and then failing to return thirteen "rare and esteemed" fashion items from said collection.

According to its official blurb, the Archive's collection features "the work of conceptual menswear designers of the late twentieth and early 21st centuries", but - rather than just displaying all those clothes in a museum, instead it "actively loans its pieces to carefully selected individuals who are significant leaders in contemporary culture".

And those carefully selected individuals include Paul McCartney, Rihanna, Lady Gaga, Kendrick Lamar, Pharrell, Travis Scott, Young Thug, 21 Savage, Solange and Lorde.

And, previously, West. He last borrowed items from the Archive in February 2020, paying a weekly rental fee to the collection until October that year. But since then the rental fees have not been paid and the items have not been returned.

With that in mind, the Archive filed a lawsuit with the courts in LA last week seeking $221,810 in unpaid rental fees and - if those thirteen items are not returned - an additional $195,100 to replace them.

West and his team "have not responded meaningfully to plaintiff's numerous inquiries about defendants' unpaid balance and the missing items", the lawsuit states, according to Billboard. Instead, West's reps have referred the Archive "to individuals without knowledge or authority to resolve the dispute" or told them to "send inquiries to inactive email accounts".

Still, makes a nice change from all the unlicensed sample lawsuits, doesn't it?

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Another VPN sued over allegations it facilitates piracy
Some of the independent movie producers that have been busy, busy of late filing lawsuits in the US against various internet companies for not doing enough to combat piracy have sued another VPN, this time VeePN.

This consortium of movie producers initially followed the lead of the music industry in going after internet service providers based on the argument those companies were not doing enough to deal with infringing content and infringing customers on their networks to benefit from the good old copyright safe harbour. And, without safe harbour protection, those internet companies could be held liable for the copyright infringement of their users.

However, these lawsuits have often gone further than those filed by the music industry, both in terms of the remedies being sought by the copyright owners, and also the kinds of internet companies being targeted. And that includes virtual private networks - or VPNs.

Music companies are also keen for internet companies beyond conventional ISPs to play a more proactive role in combatting piracy. However, the movie industry is often more focused on VPNs, which can also be used to circumvent the geo-blocking that is much more common with TV and film content on legit streaming platforms. Indeed, some VPNs actively promote the circumvention of geo-blocking as a reason to make use of their services.

That said, VeePN - the movie producers argue - goes even further than that, telling prospective users that their service means people can make use of out-right piracy platforms without the risk of being caught by litigious copyright owners.

"[Some] VPN providers emphasise in advertisements that they delete their end users' log access records so their identities will never be disclosed to copyright owners or law enforcement", the new lawsuit states. "Emboldened by these promises that their identities will never be disclosed, end users use the VPN services to engage in widespread movie piracy while openly boasting of their piracy and outrageous criminal conduct such as illegal hacking and theft".

VeePN is one such VPN provider, the movie producers claim. For example, they say, after earlier litigation by the producers forced another service called VPN.HT to stop actively promoting itself as a way for people to hide their use of movie piracy platform Popcorn Time, "VeePN began promoting itself as 'Popcorn Time VPN' and operating under a similar profitable scheme to take advantage of prolific pirates' fear of getting caught".

Not only that, but "VeePN takes it a step further and even promotes its VPN service on the notorious piracy website YTS as an essential tool to download copies of plaintiffs' movies without 'getting fined by legal action!'"

We await to see if and how the latest VPN to be targeted with anti-piracy litigation responds.

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New partnerships team confirmed at Roblox
Roblox has formally confirmed that Karibi Dagogo-Jack is now the company's Head Of Music Partnerships. Said confirmation came as the gaming platform unveiled a revamped partnerships team, which includes other execs focused on TV, film, sport, fashion and beauty partnerships.

Dagogo-Jack - who, according to his LinkedIn profile, actually joined Roblox at the end of last year - basically takes over from Jon Vlassopulos, who was the firm's Global Head Of Music until his departure in April. Prior to joining the gaming platform, Dagogo-Jack was Head Of Music Business Development at Spotify, and before that had stints at both Warner Music and Universal Music.

Elsewhere on the partnerships team, Roblox's new Head Of Entertainment Partnerships is Todd Lichten, who joins from Meta, and will be responsible for forging partnerships in the film, TV and digital content domains. The rest of the partnerships team is made up of Winnie Burke as Head Of Fashion & Beauty Partnerships, Hayden Walling as Head Of Sports Partnerships, and Arvind Jayaram as Head Of Account Management, Partnerships.

They report into VP Of Global Partnerships Christina Wootton, who says: "We've seen a lot of success with top brands coming onto the Roblox platform, and our partnership work continues to accelerate as they experiment with new formats, launch persistent social spaces, discover new revenue streams, and push the boundaries of creativity".

"The growth in the number of persistent experiences especially signifies long-term commitment", she goes on, "and showcases that brands view our platform as the next-generation immersive social place for ongoing community engagement versus a place for one-time activations".

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Rolling Stone announces Young Thug documentaries documenting legal battle
Rolling Stone has announced a new TV and podcast series exploring rapper Young Thug and his YSL Records label, amid ongoing legal issues for the rapper.

Young Thug - real name Jeffery Williams - was charged last month, alongside fellow rapper Gunna and 26 others, with numerous counts of racketeering relating to the Young Slime Life gang in Atlanta. He is accused of co-founding the gang that went on to commit murders, shootings and carjackings – crimes he then allegedly bragged about in his music videos.

The documentary series will be co-produced with Jigsaw Productions and aim to document the criminal case "in real time", as well as delving into the history of the rapper and his label.

"We're THRILLED to partner with the talented team at Jigsaw to tell this ambitious and important story about one of the most compelling and controversial music scenes of the moment", says Rolling Stone CEO Gus Wenner.

Jason Fine, SVP of Rolling Stone Films, adds: "Rolling Stone's deep coverage of Atlanta hip hop gives us unique access and perspective on this story, and we're excited to tell one of the most fascinating cultural stories today as it unfolds in real time".

Meanwhile, executive producer Stacey Offman of Jigsaw comments: "Jigsaw is THRILLED to partner with the formidable team at Rolling Stone to explore Young Thug and YSL Records' story in a style that is both absorbing and journalistically rigorous. It's an intriguing narrative with engaging characters and enormous First Amendment consequences when song lyrics are applied in a criminal indictment".

The latest development in the ongoing case against Williams et al is that Gunna - real name Sergio Kitchens - has been denied bail for a second time. He was first denied release from jail on bond in May and again at a hearing on Friday. He is currently set to remain in jail until trial, which is currently scheduled for January 2023.

The arrests have put the spotlight on the so called 'Rap On Trial' campaign. Prosecutors in this case plan to use music and videos released by Williams and Kitchens as evidence against them. Critics argue that this is a common practice when rappers are accused of crimes in the US, but such evidence is often very misleading, and its use in criminal actions may breach the First Amendment and other free speech rights of the accused.

In New York State new legislation is being considered that would restrict the use of a defendant's music as evidence in criminal actions. And last month the bosses of 300 Entertainment and Atlantic Records US - both of which work with Williams, Kitchens and the YSL label - called on the music community to support similar legal reforms across the US, initially by signing a Protect Black Art petition they have set up online.

Commenting on his arrest last month, Kitchens said: "As a black man in America, it seems as though my art is only acceptable when I'm a source of entertainment for the masses. My art is not allowed to stand alone as entertainment, I'm not allowed that freedom as a black man in America. It is a sad reality that slavery is still alive in America today and still affecting my people. In twelve states more than half of the prison population is black, one of those states is Georgia".

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Setlist: Proposed AI laws "dangerous and damaging", UK Music warns
CMU's Andy Malt and Chris Cooke review key events in music and the music business from the last week, including UK Music's claim that a proposed new copyright exception in the UK that would cover all and any text and data mining is "dangerous and damaging" and would simply allow AI companies to "launder" music in order to generate new content, plus the removal of three Michael Jackson tracks from streaming services that some (although not the Jackson estate and Sony Music) have said were recorded by an impersonator.

Listen to this episode of Setlist here.

The Weeknd apologises after mobile network outage forces him to abort Toronto show
The Weeknd apologised to fans over the weekend after a show at the Rogers Centre stadium in Toronto was postponed at the last minute due to a mobile network outage affecting venue operations.

Headline sponsor of the venue, Rogers Communications, experienced a disruption to services on Friday when the show was due to take place, affecting mobile and internet services across Canada. As well as affecting the Rogers Stadium, some emergency service providers were unable to receive incoming calls.

"I'm crushed and heartbroken", The Weeknd wrote on social media. "Been at the venue all day but it's out of our hands because of the Rogers outage. Operations and safety are compromised and I tried my absolute best".

"This one hurts the most", he said of having to cancel a hometown show, "and we will make this show happen, but unfortunately not tonight. I know how long you've been waiting and how hard a lot of you worked to make it to the show and experience this special moment with me. I can't wait to see you all".

A statement from promoter Live Nation added: "The Weeknd was onsite and ready to play but due to the nationwide Rogers network outage the show planned for this evening at Rogers Centre will be postponed as the venue's operations and infrastructure are not possible until full service is back".

In a statement on Saturday, after services had been restored, Rogers CEO Tony Staffieri explained that "a maintenance update in our core network" had "caused some of our routers to malfunction early Friday morning".

It has not yet been announced when The Weeknd's Toronto show will now take place. His next scheduled show is at the Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia on 14 Jul.

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Shawn Mendes postpones US tour dates: "I've hit a breaking point"
Shawn Mendes has announced that he is postponing the US tour dates he has scheduled in until the end of this month in order to focus on his mental health.

"This breaks my heart to have to say this, but unfortunately I'm going to have to postpone the next three weeks of shows through Uncasville, CT until further notice", he wrote in a social media update last week.

"I've been touring since I was fifteen and to be honest it's always been difficult to be on the road away from friends and family", he continued. "After a few years off the road, I felt like I was ready to dive back in, but that decision was premature and unfortunately the toll of the road and the pressure has caught up to me and I've hit a breaking point".

"After speaking with my team and health professionals, I need to take some time to heal and take care of myself and my mental health, first and foremost", he concluded. "As soon as there are more updates I promise I will let you know".

Mendes is currently scheduled to resume the tour on 31 Jul in Toronto with dates then continuing to the end of October. He also has European shows in the calendar for next summer. No information on when the postponed dates will be rescheduled to has been provided as yet.

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Tyler, The Creator accuses former collaborators of selling early tracks without permission
Tyler, The Creator has accused two former collaborators of selling old music of his without permission. In a post on Twitter, he says that rapper Brandun Deshay and keyboard player Tyler Major have been offering his early tracks for sale via the Discord messaging app.

"B Deshay and Tyler Major selling old songs of mine is wild ha", he tweeted last week. "All them Discord kids are sus … copping stolen shit is like damnnnn u thirsty as hell OK".

He went on to say that the songs allegedly being shared are "true personal stolen stuff", adding: "Like damn bro, you that thirsty for two minute drafts / few hundred bucks? Get it together fellas".

He also suggested that he had tried to contact both Deshay and Major directly without success before turning to Twitter.

Deshay - who these days performs as Ace Hashimoto - was a member of Tyler, The Creator's Odd Future group between 2008 and 2010, and appeared on the track 'Session' on Tyler's debut mixtape 'Bastard' in 2009.

However, the pair fell out around the release of that record and Tyler later re-released the mixtape with a different version of 'Session' featuring Mike G. Although Deshay's vocals were subsequently restored and appear on the current version of the release.

Neither Deshay or Major have responded to Tyler's accusations.

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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.
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caro@unlimitedmedia.co.uk
 
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