Sunday 15 February 2015

The CopyKat - The Sky's the limit in new football deal

Sky is paying £10 million per football match in a new deal with the England's Premier League. As the market digested the £4.176bn Sky is paying over three years for 126 live matches each year it seemed that many analysts think that Sky has overpaid. Sky’s share price fell by 5%, the biggest faller in the FTSE 100. The deal is an 83% increase over the cost of the existing contract and  includes a new Friday night slot.  BT’s shares, by contrast, were up by more than 4% in early trading on Wednesday. It will pay a total of £960m compared to £738m for two packages which would include 42 games each season, which is £7.6m on a per game basis, a rise of 18%. BT will show matches on Saturday evenings and and a handful of Sunday and midweek slots. The new contract which totals £5.136 billion begins in 2016. The combined figure for the 2013-2016 seasons was £3 billion, and for the 2010-2013 seasons was £1.8 billion.

Hmmmm - maybe ..........
Andrus Nomm, a 36 year old Estonian who lives in the Netherlands, and one of a small group of ex MegaUpload staffers who are facing extradition to the US for involvement in the running of the controversial file-transfer company, has pleaded guilty to criminal copyright infringement charges and has been sentenced to a year and a day in a U.S. prison. Nomm pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia to conspiracy to commit felony copyright infringement. District Judge Liam O’Grady accepted the guilty plea and imposed the sentence. Nomm is the first defendant to face charges in the U.S. in the Department of Justice’s long-running copyright infringement case against Megaupload, and Nomm voluntarily waived his right to fight extradition. The plea is “a significant step forward in the largest criminal copyright case in U.S. history,” Assistant Attorney General Leslie Caldwell said in a statement.  Speculation remains that he had done a deal with prosecutors, and will agree to testify against his former colleagues, including Kim Dotcom. Prosecutors agreed to a light sentence for his guilty plea, the DOJ said in a press release.The DOJ has accused the operators of Megaupload of running websites that wilfully reproduced and distributed movies and other products protected by copyright. In court papers, Nomm agreed with prosecutor estimates that the cost of Megaupload’s infringement was more than $400 million. The final indictment charged the defendants with conspiracy to commit racketeering, conspiracy to commit copyright infringement and conspiracy to commit money laundering. In addition, the defendants are charged with five counts of criminal copyright infringement and five counts of wire fraud. More on PCWorld here.

A New York federal judge has agreed to certify an interlocutory appeal by SiriusXM against the ruling that gave state copyright law protection to pre-1972 sound recordings.  As a result, the 2nd Circuit will now address the legal issue that copyrights in pre-1972 sound recordings didn't cover the right to exclusive public performance - a position successfully challenged by Turtle's musicians Flo & Eddie of The Turtles who filed filed 2013 lawsuits in California, Florida and New York.

And the latest skirmish in who pays what for streaming music in the U.S. has kicked of in a court in New York. Its a legal battle over what royalties the Pandora streaming service should pay American collecting society BMI. Against the backfrop of the major publishers seeking to withdraw their rights from BMI (And ASCAP) so they can licence streaming services direct, this case concerns the terms of BMI's current licence - Pandora wants to pay 1.75% of its revenue to BMI, while the collecting society wants 2.5%. Whilst Pandora wants to maintain the status quo, somewhat oddly given the background, BMI will argue that it should be able to increase the rate from 1.75% to approach the rates the majors have achieved.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has reversed a decision in a copyright lawsuit against two members of the Four Seasons and developers of the group’s Tony Award winning biographical musical “Jersey Boys.” Donna Corbello sued Frankie Valli and fellow Four Seasons band member Robert Gaudio in 2011 for copyright infringement, claiming the musical was based in part on an unpublished autobiography of Four Seasons band member Thomas DeVito that her late husband Rex Woodard ghost-wrote. Although initially registered in DeVito's sole name, Corbello amended the US copyright registration so Woodard and Devito were co-owners. She said she deserved to share in the profits from the musical's success.  The appellate court said there was contradictory evidence about whether Valli and Gaudio executed an agreement with DeVito to produce the play in time to avoid termination of their ownership rights but that “a co-owner of a copyright must account to other co-owners for any profits he earns from licensing or use of the copyright.” The case will now be sent back to Nevada federal court to determine if the musical infringes the autobiography, and Corbello is entitled to royalties from the theatre show which has run since 2005 and the Clint Eastwood film of 2014. More here and in the Hollywood Reporter here.

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