Friday 19 June 2015

The CopyKat

In China the Sword Campaign - an annual nationwide special enforcement crackdown on online piracy and copyright infringement - will begin this month. The campaign is jointly operated by the National Copyright Administration of China (NCAC), Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), Ministry of Public Security (MPS) and Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC). The campaign will focus on music, film and TV, online literature and mobile applications. More here (in Chinese).

And also in China, the IPO/UKTI IP newsletter tells us that  the State Administration of Press and Publications, Radio, Film, and Television (SAPPRFT) has published for public consultation a set of draft Measures for the Administration of the Distribution of Audiovisual Programs over the Internet and other Information Networks. Following earlier requirements for SAPPRFT supervision of overseas content, the draft Measures describe the application process and eligibility criteria for service providers to show audiovisual content on the Internet and mobile platforms. The deadline for comments on the draft Measures is June 30. More here (also in Chinese).

The European Commission has given the all clear for European collecting societies PRS, STIM and GEMA - which represent publishers and songwriters in, respectively, the UK, Sweden and Germany - to form a central hub to license and process royalties from multi-territory digital services.
PRS For Music CEO Robert Ashcroft: "This is a very significant day for online music licensing as our new joint venture is uniquely positioned to deal with the rapidly transforming online music market. What this clearance means is that we are now able to work even more effectively on behalf of songwriters, composers and their music publishers, while at the same time helping to develop the Digital Single Market across Europe" whilst STIM CEO Karsten Dyhrberg Nielsen said: "Today's competition clearance announcement is testament to the incredible work that has gone into the design of this new offering, which will provide a seamless service for both music rights holders and pan-European digital service providers. It's the result of years of productive collaboration between STIM, GEMA and PRS For Music to deliver a solution that will help the digital market grow". 

A federal appeals court has revived a copyright infringement lawsuit against Justin Bieber and Usher, marking the latest in a string of high-profile decisions attempting to clarify the nebulous difference between inspiration and copyright violation in the music industry. A three-judge panel of the 4th Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals unanimously ruled that there is sufficient reason to allow a jury to consider whether "Somebody to Love," a 2010 chart-topper from usher and Bieber, bears too much resemblance to an earlier song of the same name recorded by two Virginia musicians, Devin Copeland and Mareio Overton. "After listening to the Copeland song and the Bieber and Usher songs as wholes, we conclude that their choruses are similar enough and also significant enough that a reasonable jury could find the songs intrinsically similar," Judge Pamela Harris wrote for the court.

In London the High Court has ruled against the UK Government in a Judicial Review brought by the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors (BASCA), the Musicians’ Union (MU) and UK Music.  These three bodies challenged the Government’s decision to introduce a private copying exception into UK copyright law, arguing that it was unlawful because it failed to provide fair compensation to rightholders.  UK Music's press release goes on to say "BASCA, MU and UK Music had welcomed a change to UK law which enabled consumers to copy their legally-acquired music for personal and private use. However, ahead of the introduction of the private copying exception, they consistently alerted Government to the fact that in such circumstances significant harm is caused to rightholders and European law requires fair compensation to be paid.  The High Court agreed with the music industry and found that Government’s decision not to provide fair compensation was based on wholly inadequate evidence – and that Government’s decision was therefore unlawful."  Commenting on the outcome of the case, Jo Dipple, CEO UK Music emphasised the value of the music industry to the British economy and said: “The High Court agreed with us that Government acted unlawfully.  It is vitally important that fairness for songwriters, composers and performers is written into the law.  My members’ music defines this country.  It is only right that Government gives us the standard of legislation our music deserves. We want to work with Government so this can be achieved.” You can access the judgment here.   BASCA v Secretary of State for Innovation and Skills [2015] EWHC 1723 (Admin) and more from Eleonora on the IPKat here

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