|TUESDAY 11 APRIL 2023||COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM|
|TODAY'S TOP STORY: Lambeth Council last week announced that the former CEO of Wandsworth Borough Council is leading a health and safety investigation into the fatal crowd crush incident that occurred at London's Brixton Academy late last year... [READ MORE]|
Lambeth Council confirms details of health and safety investigation and review of 'licensable activities' following last year's Brixton Academy crowd crush
Two people died as a result of the crowd crush, which happened during a sell out show by Asake. The venue has been closed ever since, with Lambeth Council - as the local authority overseeing the Brixton Academy - suspending its licence while London's Metropolitan Police got going with its investigation into the circumstances that led to the incident.
In a new statement, the council confirmed that "as an important part of investigations into the tragic crush at the [Brixton] Academy on 15 Dec last year which claimed the lives of two people and left a third in a critical condition, Lambeth Council is undertaking a thorough health and safety review".
"The council has appointed experienced former council chief executive Paul Martin to independently lead the council's health and safety investigation into the incident", it added. "He has been working closely with the Metropolitan Police on this important work since the start of the year".
In addition to the review, the council said it is "also reviewing licensable activities at the venue" in light of last December's incident.
The local authority's CEO Bayo Dosunmu stated: "We are very mindful of the profound impact this incident has had on many people who were present at the [Brixton] Academy on that night and on the family and loved ones of the two people who tragically lost their lives that evening, and the person that remains in a critical condition".
"In order that Lambeth Council rigorously and independently investigates what happened on that evening, I have asked one of London's most experienced former chief executives to lead on the health and safety investigation on behalf of the council, working closely with the Metropolitan Police. My commitment is to ensure that this is investigated thoroughly".
"I appreciate that the [Brixton] Academy is an iconic and much loved venue, and the impact of the current closure will be felt keenly by many people in Brixton and further afield", he went on. "However, we are acutely aware of our fundamental health and safety responsibility, and that this consideration overrides all others. We will provide updates on the situation as this develops".
As well as spending more than ten years as CEO of Wandsworth Borough Council, Martin also had stints as CEO of the councils for the London boroughs of Sutton, Richmond-upon-Thames and Ealing.
Court again dismisses Pandora's competition law claims against comedy licensing agencies
The streaming service is facing a number of lawsuits from comedians who allege that it has been making their comedy routines available to stream without licence.
Just like with music, where there are two copyrights in a track - one in the recording and one in the song - with a recorded comedy performance there are also two copyrights, one in the recording and one in the actual routine.
With music, streaming services secure two sets of licences, one for recordings and one for songs. But with comedy, to date digital platforms have generally only got licences covering the recordings, provided by whoever uploads the actual content.
Until recently, to license the rights in the actual routine - which in copyright terms is a literary work - a streaming service would have had to negotiate a deal directly with each comedian featured on its platform.
However, the two companies involved in this legal dispute - Word Collections and Spoken Giants - have started representing the rights of multiple comedians.
Although that actually makes life easier for the streaming services, when their clients started suing Pandora over unpaid royalties it hit back at the two agencies with the allegations of anti-competitive conduct.
In its antitrust lawsuits, Pandora said of both Word Collections and Spoken Giants, its "true business model is not that of a benign licensing agent or an advocate for comedians' intellectual property rights, it is that of a cartel leader".
Pandora's claims seemed somewhat optimistic from the start because both Word Collections and Spoken Giants each represent relatively small rosters of comedians. Plus the two agencies are clearly competing with each other.
To that end, legal reps for the comedians and comedy agencies saw Pandora's cartel claims as something of a distraction tactic and called for them to be dismissed.
A judge did just that in relation to the specific allegations that had been made against Word Collections last October, but gave Pandora the option to re-file its claims, which it then did the following month.
However, last week the court dismissed the claims again, this time in relation to both Word Collections and Spoken Giants. And this time it was dismissal "without leave to amend", meaning Pandora cannot refile again.
Welcoming that ruling, Richard Busch - legal rep for Word Collections and its clients - said: "These legendary comedians filed legitimate copyright infringement claims. Rather than defend against them on the merits, Pandora and it's lawyers decided to file antitrust claims that we believe were clearly meant to intimidate my clients and their families, and put Word Collections out of business. It didn't work".
"Even when the judge dismissed Pandora's claims the first time and told them that he was skeptical that they could plead valid claims", he added, "they were undeterred and brazenly pressed forward with a new complaint that we believed was just as bad, if not worse, than the first one".
"The court has now agreed", he went on, "and has rightfully dismissed Pandora's claims again this time with prejudice and specifically and explicitly without any right to try again. We now look forward to pursuing the infringement claims as should have been the case from the beginning".
Both Word Collections and Spoken Giants were actually so scathing of Pandora's competition law claims that they urged the judge to sanction the streaming firm and its lawyers for making them.
Those claims, said Spoken Giants in a legal filing earlier this year, were "based on fundamental misrepresentations of the record, allegations that lack any evidentiary basis, and frivolous legal contentions".
However, while dismissing Pandora's actual claims, the judge last week concluded that there were not grounds for sanctioning the company for having made them.
The alleged "misrepresentations" were "nothing more than the kind of factual disagreement that is commonplace in any litigation" he reckoned, and "although Pandora's amended counterclaims fell short of the mark, 'an unsuccessful argument alone does not warrant sanctions'".
US court sides with jazz musician in Apple Music trademark dispute
Apple, of course, launched its music streaming service in 2015, going with the name Apple Music rather than some variation of its already established iTunes brand. With that decision made, the tech giant got about registering its new Apple Music brand with the US trademark registry.
However, Bertini had been staging shows in New York since the 1980s under the name Apple Jazz. He argued that if Apple was granted the Apple Music trademark - especially in the context of live music - that would cause consumer confusion.
And given he'd been using the Apple Jazz name since the 1980s, long before the launch of Apple Music or even the iTunes Store, he reckoned he had a stronger claim to the name.
It wasn't the first trademark dispute involving Apple and another company using the Apple name in the music space. Because, back in the 2000s, there was the headline-grabbing bust up between Apple the tech firm and Apple Corps, the company set up by The Beatles in 1968.
But that dispute resulted in a mega-bucks settlement which saw Apple Inc buy the Apple Corps trademarks and then license them back to the Beatles company.
All of which was relevant in the Bertini dispute. Because Apple argued that - via its acquisition of the Apple Corps trademarks - it was the owner of music-centric Apple marks that go back to the late 1960s, long before the jazz musician started staging his New York shows.
On that basis, in 2021 the US Trademark Trial And Appeal Board sided with Apple and knocked back Bertini's opposition to the tech giant's trademark registration.
But Bertini appealed and last week a court sided with the musician and allowed him to block Apple's bid to extend its Apple Music trademark into live performance.
That was on the basis that Apple Corps was in the business of recorded music, which is different to live music, so Apple Inc's ownership of the earlier marks is irrelevant when it comes to the live performance element of the Apple Music registration.
Bertini's legal rep - his brother James Bertini - told Reuters that they were both pleased with the latest ruling after a "long and difficult struggle", adding: "Perhaps this decision will also help other small companies to protect their trademark rights".
Italian competition regulator to investigate Meta's exclusion of SIAE repertoire amid licensing talks
Meta's previous licensing deal with SIAE - covering songs uploaded to Facebook and Instagram - expired at the start of the year, and negotiations were ongoing to agree terms on a new licence. It's no secret that the music community feels that social media and user-generated content services should be paying more into the music industry given the key role they believe music plays on those platforms.
That, presumably, was making the latest licensing talks particularly tricky. Nevertheless, SIAE said it was left "bewildered" when - seemingly out of the blue - Meta decided to exclude the society's repertoire from its platforms.
"This decision is striking", SIAE said in a statement at the time, "considering the ongoing negotiation, and the full availability of SIAE to sign a licence for the proper use of protected content under transparent conditions".
According to Reuters, the Italian competition regulator will now consider whether Meta "unduly interrupted the negotiations" for a new licence via its decision to exclude SIAE's music while those negotiations were ongoing, exploiting its market dominance to put unfair pressure on the rights organisation.
A spokesperson for the social media giant told reporters: "We will fully cooperate with the inquiry from the Italian competition authority. Protecting the copyrights of songwriters and artists is an important priority for us".
Former Since 93 Head Of Marketing launches new agency
Abdela previously had marketing roles at Sony's Columbia division and, more recently, was Head Of Marketing at its Since 93 label where she worked on campaigns for artists including Cat Burns, Tems, Khamari, Mette and Loski.
The new agency is called Noted. Commenting on the new venture, Abdela says: "With a dedicated full-service agency, we can provide our clients with the comprehensive support they need to take their careers to the next level".
"We are dedicated to developing the artist's unique proposition and building a musical world for fans to champion", she adds, "and our aim is to disrupt the status quo and break artists on their own terms".
Among other things, the new agency will offer marketing and consultancy services, team and campaign management, playlist pitching and creative commissioning.
Numerous European music organisations among new backers of Human Artistry Campaign
The campaign follows the recent spike in interest in creative or generative AI technologies - ie AI tools that can generate original content by crunching a load of data linked to existing content - which was in turn caused by the hype around certain generative AI platforms, not least ChatGPT.
With those technologies getting ever more sophisticated, long-standing questions around the licensing of data mining, the copyright status of AI-generated works and how transparent people and companies should be when such technologies are employed are becoming more urgent.
The Human Artistry Campaign - led by a consortium of US music industry groups, though also involving organisations that go beyond music and the US - has been set up to lobby on all those issues on behalf of creators and copyright owners.
It launched with seven core principles, which acknowledge the positive impact generative AI technologies will have, but also set out the concerns around copyright and transparency, and the potential negative impact the rapid evolution of those AI tools could have on creators and the creative industries.
Newly signed up to back the campaign are organisations representing music-makers and/or music copyright owners in Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and the UK.
Plus global organisations like the Independent Music Publishers International Forum, the International Confederation Of Music Publishers and the Worldwide Independent Network, as well as pan-European indie labels trade group IMPALA, and organisations repping photographers, voice actors, writers, journalists, literary agents and book publishers.
Confirming the new members, a spokesperson for the campaign says: "Almost daily since we launched, new groups have reached out to join the cause. It's a testament to the unifying power of the Human Artistry Campaign's seven core principles and the broader creative community's intense focus on this issue".
"While creators in the past have waited out emerging technologies hoping they would be used in responsible ways, the Human Artistry Campaign is moving aggressively to join the AI debate at the front end", an official statement from the campaign adds.
"Creators aren't waiting to be invited to the table this time", its spokesperson then confirms. "We are claiming our seat and speaking up now, while there is time to work together with tech to ensure AI is trained and deployed in ways that follow all relevant laws and respect creators' and performers' rights".
S Club's Paul Cattermole dies
The other members of S Club confirmed in a post on Friday that Cattermole had died, stating: "We are truly devastated by the passing of our brother Paul".
"There are no words to describe the deep sadness and loss we all feel", they added. "We were so lucky to have had him in our lives and are thankful for the amazing memories we have".
"He will be so deeply missed by each and every one of us", they went on. "We ask that you respect the privacy of his family and of the band at this time".
With an interest in both music and acting, Cattermole joined the National Youth Music Theatre and trained at the Mountview Theatre School in London before auditioning to become a member of S Club 7 in 1998.
The brainchild of Simon Fuller, who conceived the venture shortly after being sacked as manager of the Spice Girls, S Club rose to fame via a BBC TV series, with Universal Music's Polydor handling the release of the chart-topping pop records that also featured in the show.
Despite the success of the franchise, Cattermole quit in 2002, citing "creative differences". Of all the group's members, he seemed most frustrated with the control Fuller and his team had over their output.
He also later criticised the commercial set-up of S Club, which seemed to make Fuller and Polydor a lot more money than the group's members.
The rest of S Club continued after Cattermole's departure, dropping the '7' from their name, but only for a relatively short time, confirming they were splitting up in April 2003.
Cattermole did subsequently reunite with his former bandmates though, initially as part of S Club 3 in 2008, and for a full reunion during the BBC's Children In Need fundraiser in 2014 and for an arena tour in 2015. Another reunion tour was also planned for later this year.
Both Blue and Steps, who enjoyed their initial pop success at the same time as S Club, paid tribute to Cattermole this weekend.
A short statement on Blue's Instagram said: "Rest in peace Paul Cattermole. It was a pleasure knowing you and sharing this journey with you! You will never be forgotten, Antony, Duncan, Simon and Lee".
Meanwhile Lisa Scott-Lee from Steps said on social media: "I'm heartbroken to hear of the passing of Paul. My love goes out to all his bandmates and his family, friends and followers".
Diddy says he was joking about paying Sting $5k a day
This all relates to one of the music industry's most famous 'don't forget to clear your samples in advance' stories.
Diddy's hit prominently sampled Police track 'Every Breath You Take' and also interpolated the vocal melody from the earlier song. With none of that cleared ahead of release, Sting - as the writer of 'Every Breath You Take' - ended up with a 100% of the copyright in Diddy's song too.
This all became a talking point again last week after the website Black Millionaires dredged up a 2018 interview with Sting in which he was asked to confirm reports from 2014 that Diddy was basically paying him $2000 a day as a result of the copyright settlement around 'I'll Be Missing You'.
In said interview, Sting seemed to confirm that report, adding that Diddy will be handing over said money "for the rest of his life", before then insisting that he is nevertheless good friends with his fellow musician.
It was in response to the Black Millionaires post that Diddy last week clarified in a tweet that he was now paying Sting "5k a day".
Both that remark, and the 2018 interview, implied that Diddy was actually sending Sting daily cheques, which obviously isn't the case. It's just that whenever 'I'll Be Missing You' is played, the song royalties that are due are collected by Sting and his publisher Universal.
But maybe Diddy has insider knowledge on how much that nets Sting and Universal? And maybe with the streaming boom the song royalties generated by 'I'll Be Missing You' are now topping five grand a day. But can that possibly be true? I don't know. And neither does Diddy.
"I want y'all to understand I was joking!", he tweeted on Friday, following on from his earlier remark. "It's called being facetious! Me and Sting have been friends for a long time! He never charged me $3K or $5K a day for 'Missing You'".
Though, Diddy then mused, "he probably makes more than $5K a day from one of the biggest songs in history".
Which might be true if - by "he" - Diddy means Universal, which did one of those big rights acquisition deals with Sting last year.
And if - by "one of the biggest songs in history" - he means 'Every Breath You Take', which remains super popular to this day. Mainly because many people believe that what is basically a song about stalking and obsession is a much more innocent and romantic love song.
Indeed, it seems that "$2k a day" claim mentioned in the 2018 interview originates in a statement made by Sting's manager regarding how much 'Every Breath You Take' generates in royalties in total. Which might also include the monies from 'I'll Be Missing You', but is mainly the cash generated by the streaming and broadcast of the Police classic.
So there you go. Diddy was joking. We don't really know how much 'I'll Be Missing You' generates in song royalties each day. And please everyone remember to clear your samples before release.