|THURSDAY 10 NOVEMBER 2022||COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM|
|TODAY'S TOP STORY: The Court Of Milan has dismissed an appeal by internet services company CloudFlare which was seeking to block an injunction forcing it to stop people from accessing three copyright infringing BitTorrent sites via its DNS resolver... [READ MORE]|
Italian court upholds web-blocking order against Cloudflare's DNS resolver
Although an entirely legitimate company, Cloudflare has been regularly criticised by copyright owners for not being more proactive in spotting and blocking any copyright infringing activity that occurs on its platform. Cloudflare remains resistant to proposals that it take action against allegedly infringing customers simply on the say so of a copyright owner, but does usually comply with copyright based court orders.
However, the court order secured by the Italian record industry back in July was a bit different, because it related specifically to Cloudflare's DNS resolver, aka 188.8.131.52. A DNS resolver is a key component of the so called Domain Name System which allows people to navigate the internet. Most people just use the DNS resolver provided by their internet service provider, but you can switch to an alternative if you know what you're doing.
There are various reasons for switching to an alternative, but one reason might be to circumvent any web-blocks put in place by an ISP, possibly on copyright grounds. Which is why copyright owners have recently started to focus on DNS resolvers, in a bid to make the web-blocks they have forced onto ISPs that seek to block access to piracy sites more effective.
In Italy, the dispute with Cloudflare related to the web-blocking of three piracy sites. Italian regulator AGCOM had ordered the blocking of said sites, an order which applied to ISPs in the country. But, the record industry argued, that order should also apply to the Cloudflare DNS resolver, to hinder any Italian users seeking to circumvent the blockade by switching to the 184.108.40.206 service. And the Court Of Milan agreed.
Cloudflare recently commented on efforts to force web-blocks onto its DNS resolver in a transparency report it published. It wrote: "Cloudflare has … received a small number of legal requests related to blocking or filtering content through the 220.127.116.11 public DNS resolver. Because such a block would apply globally to all users of the resolver, regardless of where they are located, it would affect end users outside of the blocking government's jurisdiction".
"Given the broad extraterritorial effect, as well as the different global approaches to DNS-based blocking", it went on, "Cloudflare has pursued legal remedies before complying with requests to block access to domains or content through the 18.104.22.168 public DNS resolver or identified alternate mechanisms to comply with relevant court orders. To date, Cloudflare has not blocked content through the 22.214.171.124 public DNS resolver".
In Italy, that meant appealing July's injunction. But the Court Of Milan has now dismissed the appeal meaning Cloudflare must now figure out a way of complying with the court order or risk being subject to fines. Needless to say, the latest ruling has been welcomed by the record industry.
Frances Moore, CEO at the International Federation Of The Phonographic Industry, says: "Cloudflare's services were making it possible for users to access copyright infringing websites that take revenues away from those investing in and creating music. By upholding the original order against Cloudflare, the Court Of Milan has set an important precedent that online intermediaries can be required to take effective action if their services are used for music piracy".
Meanwhile the boss of Italian music industry trade body FIMI, Enzo Mazza, adds: "This is an important decision for Italy and beyond. Cloudflare, as well as other intermediaries providing similar services, should step up their efforts in preventing users access to illegal websites which were ordered to be blocked".
New York court orders Drake and 21 Savage to stop distributing their fake Vogue cover
The fake Vogue cover is a key part of a spoof heavy album marketing campaign, it basically implying that the Condé Nast fashion magazine is editorially supporting the launch of the record, which it is not. As well as posting the fake cover to social media, posters of it have been put up in cities around the US, and in some places actual copies of Vogue, but with the fake cover added, have been handed out.
Condé Nast started issuing cease and desist notices against Drake and 21 Savage - and the communications agency leading on the campaign, Hiltzik Strategies - as soon as it became aware of the fake cover. But when those notices achieved little, the magazine firm went to court, accusing the artists and their marketeers of infringing its trademarks, as well as unfair competition and false advertising, among other things.
In its legal filing this week, the publisher stated: "Defendants' flippant disregard for Condé Nast's rights have left it with no choice but to commence this action and seek the immediate injunctive relief requested herein, together with any and all available monetary remedies to deter the type of flagrant infringements and false advertising in which defendants have engaged".
Quickly siding with Team Vogue, judge Jed Rakoff said in a ruling yesterday that Condé Nast had sufficiently demonstrated that, without its consent, "defendants Aubrey Drake Graham pka Drake, Sheyaa Bin Abraham-Joseph pka 21 Savage and Hiltzik Strategies LLC, and those acting in concert with them, have created and disseminated images of a counterfeit cover of Vogue magazine featuring the Vogue mark and an image of Drake and 21 Savage, as well as copies of a counterfeit magazine purporting to be a genuine issue of Vogue magazine".
And, "defendants and those acting in concert with them have distributed and disseminated the counterfeit cover and the counterfeit magazine to the general public, including by posting the images of the counterfeit cover to social media, posting physical posters of the counterfeit cover, and by distributing copies of the counterfeit magazine in New York and other metropolitan areas across North America".
Given those facts, "Condé Nast has a likelihood of success on its claims for federal and common law trademark infringement, false designation of origin and unfair competition, false endorsement, dilution, false advertising, and violation of [New York General Business Law]".
"Among other things", Rakoff went on "defendants' actions are confusing consumers about the origin, sponsorship, or approval of the counterfeit cover and counterfeit magazine; misleading consumers to believe that these are genuine and authentic materials associated with Condé Nast and Vogue magazine; deceiving the public into believing that Condé Nast and Vogue are associated with and endorse the counterfeit cover and counterfeit magazine; diluting the ability of the Vogue mark to serve as a unique identifier of Conde Nast's goods and impairing the distinctiveness of the Vogue mark".
That means "Condé Nast has been irreparably harmed" and therefore a speedy injunction is warranted to stop Drake and 21 Savage's Vogue spoofing promo campaign. "Issuance of the requested temporary restraining order is in the public interest to protect the public against confusion, deception and mistake", Rakoff wrote, before adding: "The harm to Condé Nast in denying this application outweighs the harm to defendants in granting it".
With that in mind, Drake, 21 Savage and Hiltzik Strategies have been ordered to stop distributing the fake cover and to remove any social media posts featuring or referencing it. They also have to take down all those posters and destroy any remaining copies of the mocked up magazine. Fun times.
Having got its injunction, Condé Nast's wider litigation will continue because the publisher would also like some lovely damages.
What kind of damages? "Treble defendants' profits from the sales of the album and the counterfeit magazine, or treble plaintiff's damages, whichever is greater; statutory damages of up to $4 million; or defendants' profits and plaintiff's damages, increased subject to the principles of equity, in an amount to be determined at trial". That kind of damages.
It could all turn out to be quite a pricey album marketing campaign.
Phoebe Bridgers defamation case dismissed
Bridgers requested that the case be tossed earlier this year, saying that she believed the statements she made against Nelson to be true. Her request for the dismissal of Nelson's lawsuit was based on so called anti-SLAPP rules - those being rules designed to stop people limiting the free speech of others through unwarranted litigation.
Judge Curtis Kin has now formally sided with the musician and dismissed the lawsuit - having previously indicated that he was inclined towards Bridgers' arguments at a hearing in August.
Nelson sued Bridgers last September claiming that, in October 2020, the musician posted and promoted various defamatory statements against him on Instagram. In her post, Bridgers made a number of allegations of abuse and misconduct against Nelson, as well as directing her followers to his ex-girlfriend's account on the social platform where further allegations had been made - including that he had murdered a man in a racially motivated attack.
In his lawsuit, Nelson claimed that Bridgers "intentionally used her high-profile public platform on Instagram to publish false and defamatory statements … in order to destroy his reputation".
In a statement on behalf of Bridgers yesterday, a rep said: "We feel vindicated that the court recognised this lawsuit as frivolous and without merit. It was not grounded in law, or facts, but was filed with the sole intention of causing harm to our client's reputation and career. This victory is important not just for our client but for all those she was seeking to protect by using her platform".
The ruling was not accompanied by a written explanation of the decision to dismiss, but back in August Judge Kin said: "It seems like a he said/she said issue. It's hard to see, looking at the record, how the plaintiff could show that Ms Bridgers, when making the post, knew her statements to be false or had serious doubts as to whether they were true".
We await to see how Nelson responds.
Halsey signs to BMG for publishing
"I'm THRILLED to announce this partnership with BMG", says Halsey. "I was immediately drawn to their artist friendly, songwriter-first mentality and I'm looking forward to taking this journey with my new BMG family".
Thomas Scherer, BMG's President Of Repertoire & Marketing for LA and New York, adds: "Halsey is an inspiration, a multi-faceted creator with a voice that hits you straight in the heart. We are prepared to present them everything we can offer, with our team's full support around the world from Australia to Asia, Europe to LATAM, and all throughout North America".
"We welcome Halsey and their team to BMG", he goes on, "and look forward to working alongside with them to elevate them to a whole new level".
Halsey's last album, 'If I Can't Have Love, I Want Power', was released in 2021.
Adidas planning on releasing Yeezy products without Yeezy
The rapper's long-running partnership with the sportswear brand was already falling apart before West began his recent splurge of controversial bullshit.
Once that splurge was underway, Adidas said in a statement: "The company has taken the decision to terminate the partnership with Ye immediately, end production of Yeezy branded products and stop all payments to Ye and his companies".
As it issued that statement last month, the sports company also noted that it is "the sole owner of all design rights to existing products as well as previous and new colourways under the partnership".
That was reiterated by the firm's Chief Financial Officer Harm Ohlmeyer during an investor call yesterday. And, according to Business Insider, the CFO added "we intend to make use of these rights as early as 2023".
Ohlmeyer was reluctant to provide any more information on what that meant, although was asked whether the firm had considered the potential reputation risk of releasing these products without West's involvement, and any angry ranting from the rapper that might instigate. The CFO responded: "We are working through all the options. When the time is right we will be more specific".
So, nice and vague then. Given Adidas has said cancelling its Yeezy partnership could reduce annual earnings by as much as a half, it will be hoping to get some benefit from those existing designs.
It will be interesting to see how the products perform without having the Yeezy connection, which is to say, to what extent were products created under the West partnership attractive in their own right, and to what extent was it entirely the rapper's brand that was securing sales?
It would almost be worth him not dissing Adidas at all on social media next year, so to see how much less money those products can generate simply without his involvement. Assuming there would be a sizeable slump in interest, that would neatly demonstrate the value of his brand.
What are the chances of that, do you reckon? Also, I guess that would only demonstrate the value of the West brand prior to his most recent meltdown. To what extent the West and Yeezy brands have been permanently tarnished by his most recent nonsense remains to be seen.
Elsewhere in Yeezy news, Rolling Stone has published an exposé of what it is like to work for the company, including the rapper's tendency to abruptly fire staff. In one case, says a former employee, they were fired for suggesting that they listen to Drake on the office stereo, rather than West's own music. Others say that they were fired or reprimanded for wearing the wrong colour.
Stormzy announces This Is What We Mean Day at All Points East festival
"I was thinking what's next, cos we've done three O2s, shut that down", says Stormzy. "I said to the team, we gotta do something bigger, something better, something different. We were having back to back meetings, bouncing ideas. Then it hit me, I started jotting down ideas thinking - live band, need a live band. August 2023, a summer time thing, outside, for the people, always for my people. So August 2023, Victoria Park, more info coming soon. This Is What We Mean Day. Hard".
As he noted there, Stormzy sold out three nights at the O2 Arena in London earlier this year, not to mention the rest of his UK tour. This Is What We Mean Day will be his only UK festival date in 2023.
'This Is What We Mean' is set for release on 25 Nov.
Deezer has hired Maria Garrido as its Chief Marketing Officer. "I am honoured to join Deezer", she says. "It's an exciting time to become a part of this tech and entertainment gem, as it steers a course towards transformational growth. I'm very much looking forward to building on its innovative and bold spirit, leading the marketing function as it continues to shape the brand's future and contribute to its accelerated expansion".
BandLab Technologies has hired Dani Deahl as Head Of Communications & Creator Insights. "I couldn't be more honoured to join the talented team at BandLab Technologies", she says. "It's such an exciting time for BandLab and the music industry at large - artists are rewriting rules and defining culture on a global scale. My goal has always been to help give a platform to creators, and I can't wait to jump right in to champion BandLab's mission to empower music creation around the world".
UTA has announced 67 promotions across the talent agency, including ten in its music department. "Over the past year, UTA has accelerated our momentum with new acquisitions, investments in our client capabilities and key hires", says UTA President David Kramer. "This growth could not be possible without the hard work, ambition and collaborative nature of the colleagues we promoted today. Providing opportunities for advancement is core to our culture and we are proud to share in this group's success and excited to see what their next chapters at UTA will bring".
Live giant AEG has hired Georgie Donnelly as its first Head Of Comedy. She joins from Moment House, where she was Head Of Comedy & Podcasts, and prior to that she was Head Of Comedy at Kilimanjaro Live. "I am absolutely delighted to join the team at AEG Presents who are synonymous with live music and entertainment", she says. "I am so excited to be expanding the live comedy aspect of the business and look forward to bringing some of the biggest stars and events in global comedy to the UK".
Live firm TEG Europe has hired Alex Simmonds as Head Of UK Touring & Special Projects. He joins from SJM Concerts. "I'm THRILLED to be joining TEG Europe, Toby and I have been friends for a while and I'm looking forward to working with him and the whole team at TEG", he says. That's TEG Europe's recently appointed MD Toby Leighton-Pope he's talking about there, by the way.
Universal Music Canada has promoted Craig Mannix to VP Black Music. He was previously Senior Director Of Urban Marketing. "Craig is a true pioneer", says UMC CEO Jeffrey Remedios. "On top of his decades of marketing experience, he is a smart, sharp and sought-after A&R advisor. With this new role, he is well placed to continue to lead in shaping the future of black music culture in Canada".
The UK Parliament's Digital, Culture, Media & Sport Select Committee has announced a hearing next week to consider developments since it published its report on the economics of music streaming last year, that report resulting in a number of initiatives coordinated by the Intellectual Property Office. MPs will question representatives from three music industry organisations - Ivors Academy Chair Tom Gray, Musicians' Union General Secretary Naomi Pohl and BPI CEO Geoff Taylor - plus economist Will Page, Brunel University Senior Lecturer in Intellectual Property Hayleigh Bosher and CMU MD Chris Cooke. It takes place on 15 Nov at 10am - info here.
Slowthai has released new track 'I Know Nothing'. The song, he says, "is a fight back against those people who are so quick to put the blame on the younger generation. In a world full of misinformation and judgment, it only reveals the true intentions of how miserable people's lives must be as they are so quick to jump on the bandwagon and applaud or point out people's failures or vulnerabilities".
Nell and The Flaming Lips have released 'Into My Arms', taken from a new album of Nick Cave covers, titled 'Where The Viaduct Looms', which is out on 16 Dec. Says Flaming Lips frontman Wayne Coyne: "It's always great to meet excited, young creative people. With Nell we could see she is on a journey and thought it would be fun to join her for a while and see if we could get things going. [Covering Nick Cave] was a great way to connect with her and help harness her cool attitude to making music".
Jockstrap have released the video for 'Greatest Hits', taken from their debut album 'I Love You Jennifer B', which is out now.
Sega Bodega has released new single 'Kepko'. You can catch him live at Koko in London on 22 Nov.
Dream Wife have released new single 'Leech'. "'It's an anthem for empathy", say the band. "For solidarity. Musically tense and withheld, erupting to angry cathartic crescendos. The push and pull of the song lyrically and musically expands and contracts, stating and calling out the double standards of power. Nobody really wins in a patriarchal society". The band have also announced that they will play Peckham Audio in London on 25 Nov.
Moonchild Sanelly has released two new tracks: 'Kokokokoko' and 'Mama's Love'.
Jen Cloher has released new single 'Mana Takatâpui'. Their new album, 'I Am The River, The River Is Me', is out on 3 Mar.
Albertine Sarges has released new single 'Hold On'. She supports Stella Donnelly at Electric Brixton tonight.
M(h)aol have released a new version of their song 'Asking For It'. "I wrote it initially in 2016 then revisited it in 2020", says the band's Róisín Nic Ghearailt. "I was shocked by how much internalised victim blaming there was in the lyrics. I re-wrote it, then we recorded it and it was released to raise money for Women's Aid in 2021. The album version is a lot angrier than the 2021 one and almost satirical insofar as it's highlighting how ludicrous the notion of anyone 'asking for it' is". Their debut album 'Attachment Styles' is set for release on 3 Feb.
Yaosobi have released new single 'The Blessing', taken from their new EP 'E-Side 2', which is out next week.
Check out our weekly Spotify playlist of new music featured in the CMU Daily - updated every Friday.
YouTube has 80 million premium subscribers
YouTube doesn't break down that 80 million into those who specifically signed up for the premium music service and those who subscribed to the wider YouTube premium offer, mainly to get rid of the endless annoying ads that are standard these days on the main YouTube platform.
The full premium package does include YouTube Music, of course, which means that the music service does technically now have 80 million people signed up. Though our survey of YouTube Premium subscribers revealed that 100% of those people have never used YouTube Music. OK, I surveyed myself. And a one-person survey isn't all that conclusive. But, for a certain slice of the YouTube Premium subscriber base, the music app won't be the attraction.
That said, there's no denying that YouTube Music is now a key service for the music industry, and the wider YouTube ecosystem is even more important.
After all, even those YouTube Premium users who don't use the YouTube Music app are likely consuming plenty of music through other YouTube channels. At least one of the Premium subscribers we surveyed occasionally falls into a music-centric reaction video hole on the main YouTube site, though it wouldn't be fair to reveal that sad person's identity. The survey was definitely confidential.
Either way, YouTube's Head Of Music, Lyor Cohen, sees the latest stat brag as being primarily a music stat brag. "I am so proud and humbled to share that we've reached over 80 million subscribers on YouTube Music and Premium", he says. "Alongside our music industry partners, we've been working hard to make YouTube the best place for every fan and every artist, and today's news marks a significant milestone in that journey. We're not stopping here. We've got lots to do and look forward to driving more growth and contributions back to the music industry".
So that's all good. Hey, Cohen even wrote another blog post to celebrate the 80 million milestone being passed. If someone makes a video of themselves reacting to it, maybe I'll tune in.