Wednesday 7 October 2015

COPYKAT - Sampling a polyphonic recital of musical antiphons

"Could majors get better Pandora rates than indies?" asks a U.S. rate setting board: This is the interesting news that the ongoing review of the rates paid by online radio services in the US that are licensed via the SoundExchange system - which includes personalised radio platforms like Pandora - has taken an unusual turn, after it emerged that the Copyright Royalty Board has asked the US Copyright Office whether it could set different rates for different content providers. Which many reckon could mean one rate for the major labels and another for the indie labels  ..... and interesting blog on licensing in the digital age by Andy Heath, chairman of the Beggars Banquet record label, can be found here and more here. WIN, representing independent labels, issued a statement saying "The worldwide independent industry calls for the maintenance of single rate collective licensing in the US as it ensures that there can be no discrimination towards artists and companies in an already highly competitive market place. To create imbalances in what companies and the artists signed to them receive from digital transactions will simply cause harm, and not serve expansion of choice for the consumer and for the creative community."

And the three judges who make up the Copyright Royalty Board have also approved the settlement between SoundExchange and the public radio networks. As a result of that settlement, NPR, American Public Media, Public Radio International, Public Radio Exchange and up to 530 originating public radio stations as named by Corporation for Public Broadcasting will pay $2.8 million annually, divided into in 5 instalments, through 2019. That rate is up from the $2.4 million in annual payments made during the previous term.

The Recording Industry Association of America is  seeking $22 million in damages from MP3Skull and the RIAA has asked a court for summary judgement in the absence of any response from MP3Skull. The major labels are now seeking $22 million in damages plus an injunction preventing domain registrars and registries from working with the site. In its motion to the court the record industry trade body says: "Defendants designed, promote, support and maintain the MP3Skull website for the well-known, express and overarching purpose of reproducing, distributing, performing and otherwise exploiting unlimited copies of plaintiffs' sound recordings without any authorisation or license. By providing to the public the fruits of plaintiffs' investment of money, labour and expertise, MP3Skull has become one of the most notorious pirate websites in the world". The $22 million is based on a claim for 148 tracks that are named as having been infringed in the RIAA litigation, multiplied by the maximum statutory damages allowed under US law for copyright infringement, $150,000.

Rightscorp has been hired by Sony/ATV in the US in the music publisher's ongoing batlle against piracy to “monitor the Internet for infringements of copyrights” on illegal download sites. MBW tells us that Sony/ATV has authorised the somewhat controversial Rightscorp to collect data on piracy activity – the sort of thing that will come in useful for any future legal cases – and to send notices to Internet Service Providers of infringements of its copyrights. Sony/ATC has also contracted Rightscorp to ‘negotiate and collect settlements on Sony’s behalf with each infringer’, from which Sony/ATV will be paid 50% of net revenues. Rightscorp already acts for music company BMG.

And finally, some blatant self publicity - The CopyKat has been extensively quoted in a new article on Thump / Vice (which I am told is very trendy with the yoof) about the 'Blurred Lines' copyright case and its ramifications, although readers will be aware an appeal is pending: "In March 2015, Marvin Gaye's family won a $7.4 million verdict against Pharrell Williams and Robin Thicke for copyright infringement. The suit alleged that their hit, "Blurred Lines," which spent twelve weeks at #1 on the Billboard charts in the United States, was a blatant copy of Gaye's 1977 track "Got To Give It Up"   .... "THUMP spoke with UK Music Lawyer Ben Challis, who has previously written on the case, to discuss future implications of the "Blurred Lines" case in electronic music: "We Talked to a Lawyer about How the 'Blurred Lines' case Will Impact Copyright Law in Dance Music"The CopyKat's also had an article published in the September edition of the WIPO Magazine on the legal ramifications of the same case - "Blurred Lines: The difference between inspiration and appropriation (first published in the Journal of Intellectual Property Law and Practice).

No comments: