Category Archives: News & Events

U.S. Golan Case Receives Final Verdict

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled against University of Denver music professor Lawrence Golan in a long-running copyright case. The Supreme Court upheld a 1994 law that granted copyright protection to a large number of foreign works that had been freely available in the public domain because they were published in countries that previously didn’t have copyright relations with the U.S.

The majority opinion, authored by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, stated “the majority opinion which held that Congress had acted within its powers in granting the protections and that the law does not violate the Constitution’s Copyright Clause, it does not violate the First Amendment rights of anyone, and it does not deviate from any long-standing historical practice or perception.

“Congress had reason to believe that a well-functioning international copyright system would encourage the dissemination of existing and future works.”

Record Royalties for Australian Collecting Societies

Australia’s APRA and AMCOS have reported a combined revenue of Australian $240 million ($233), with digital revenue rising 50% to Australian $30.2 million ($29 million).

APRA’s overall revenue for the period rose Australian $10.6 million ($10.30 million) to Australian $183 million ($177 million), but was adversely affected by foreign revenue results, which were down 8% to $20.2 million ($19.6 million).

During the latest reporting period, AMCOS achieved Australian $57.1 million ($55.5 million) in gross revenue for the most recent year, a 15% gain, due to a 67% rise in revenue from sales of digital downloads in Australia and New Zealand.

EMI Sold in Two Halves

EMI Group has been sold in two parts for $4.1 billion.  The deal announced Friday calls for Universal to acquire EMI’s recorded music division from EMI parent company Citigroup Inc. for $1.9 billion, and Sony to acquire the smaller but more lucrative music publishing business for $2.2 billion.

The two companies outbid Warner Music Group and BMG Chrysalis. Warner had vied for the recorded music unit whose roster includes Norah Jones and Lady Antebellum, while BMG Chrysalis bid for EMI Publishing, whose catalog includes classics such as “Over the Rainbow” and “New York, New York.”

Citigroup has owned EMI since February, when it seized the company from former owner Terra Firma Capital. The private-equity firm, which bought EMI in 2007, was close to a default on the massive debts it took on as part of that purchase.

Best Bidding Offer for EMI Deadline October 5 – Citibank

A select group of bidders have been asked to submit their best offers for the British music company by Oct. 5, according to reliable sources expert with the auction of EMI.  Citibank has been entertaining preliminary bids from private equity firms, such as Platinum Equity, as well as other music companies, including Warner Music Group, Sony Corp., BMG Chrysalis and Universal Music Group.

Certain bidders, including Warner, are interested in the whole of EMI, (published and recorded works) whereas others such as Sony and BMG are interested primarily in EMI’s publishing with catalogue including such hit makers as Beyoncé, Alicia Keys and Kanye West.  Universal is interested in EMI’s recorded legacy as it controls the masters of artists such as The Beatles, Radiohead, and Frank Sinatra.

EMI, with its sale expected to wrap up before the end of the year, would be the second major music company to be sold this year, following Access Industries’ acquisition of Warner in May for $3.3 billion in cash and debt.  Executives familiar with the bidding predicted that the sale could fetch over $3 Billion.

Possible Subpoenas for Colleges and Universities – Copyright Board

A recent ruling issued August 18th by the Copyright Board of Canada suggests that unless certain universities and colleges that have opted out of the Access Copyright tariff produce information about their use of protected works, they could be subpoenaed to do so.

Approximately 34 post-secondary schools in Canada have indicated they are opting out of the interim tariff (the existing fee - $45 per full-time student) and 27 of those schools have yet to answer interrogatory requests from Access Copyright regarding how they currently use materials.

In the ruling Gilles McDougall, secretary general of the Copyright Board of Canada stated that the absence of evidence on the copying practices of opt-out institutions “can only make it more difficult for the board to design the final tariff so as to respond to any legitimate concerns of these institutions.”

The Return of the Copyright Bill

Heritage minister James Moore has told the media that the government plans to reintroduce Bill C-32 in ‘exactly the same form’ as the legislation that died on the order paper with the election call earlier this year. Moore suggested that the government plans to pick up where it left off with the same bill and a legislative committee that will not call groups that appeared during the last round of hearings.

“We’ve taken a couple runs at it before in minority Parliaments, but we think that we have a very good formula with the old Bill C-32 and when we come forward with our legislative agenda this fall we want to pick up where we left off, which is to continue the study of the legislation,” Moore said.  “This is long overdue in Canada. We did so much consultation, so much preparation, there was such a depth of understanding of the legislation that we tabled that we want to continue the study of that legislation.”

One of the controversially debated issues surrounding the bill, concerning how educators are able to use copyrighted materials, has now popped up before the Supreme Court.  The justices will be hearing a case about whether grade school teachers who make copies of textbooks for their students should be shielded from paying tariffs.  Groups who represent educators and provincial ministers of education would like to see more explicit protection for classroom copying included in the “fair dealing” section of the Act, while those who represent publishers say they deserve to be compensated for the textbooks they create.

Village People Member Launches Landmark Lawsuit

Victor Willis, a member of the 1970s disco group Village People is launching a legal fight for the rights to 32 Village People classics including “Y.M.C.A.”  The companies that control the band’s hits, Can’t Stop Productions and Scorpio Music, claim Willis worked for them as a writer for hire.

According to the 1976 Copyright Act, Willis can claim back his rights 35 years after publishing.  Stewart L. Levy, a US-based lawyer for the two publishing companies, recently told the New York Times that they had asked a court to declare Mr. Willis’s filing “void and of no force. The Village People were a concept group, created by my clients, who picked the people and the costumes.”

Representatives for a number of prominent musicians, including Barbara Streisand, Brian Wilson, and the Eagles, have been exploring their right to exercise the once-obscure termination provision of the U.S. Copyright Act.

No More CD Players in Ford Cars

Ford will no longer be offering the CD player with the Ford Focus in Europe in a move to remove CD players in all their other cars in the next few years.  In the CD players place will be a USB and iPod port, auxiliary input and Bluetooth.  The CD player is still an option but is on the way out.

The Sync “infotainment hub” will also allow drivers to access other music libraries via the Internet, such as Spotify or Apple’s iCloud.  Sheryl Connelly, Global Trends and Futuring manager at Ford, stated that the company wanted to keep up with its customers’ needs. “In-car entertainment technology is moving digital more rapidly than almost any other element of the vehicle experience.”

Ford said sales of in-car CD players were declining rapidly, in line with falling sales of the discs.   Ford expects two million cars in Europe to have its Sync system by 2015.

Unison Benevolent Fund Announcement

For Immediate Release

 

UNISON BENEVOLENT FUND PLEASED TO ANNOUNCE THAT DONATIONS CONTINUE TO ROLL IN

UBF expects to go live in late fall 2011

Toronto, Ontario – August 10, 2011 The Unison Benevolent Fund is proud to announce that donations continue to roll in and that the entire Canadian music industry is taking to this special cause with some unique and exciting fundraising ideas and opportunities. With an online fundraising platform (powered by Artez) now in place, Unison encourages members of the music industry to help drive donations to the $1 million mark – the threshold set for Unison to become operational.

Keeping in the true spirit of the Unison Benevolent Fund – that is has been created for the music industry, by the music industry, Shauna deCartier of Six Shooter Records has made a generous donation on her company’s behalf. Shauna comments: “The donation was made in lieu of Christmas gifts to our artists.  We are very interested in building a community of artists, and so I can’t think of a more appropriate charity to support during the holiday season – or any other season, for that matter.”

Earlier this year, Manitoba Music also took up the cause, along with their event partner, Manitoba Film & Music with their Manitoba Music Rocks Charity Curling Bonspiel. Over 100 musicians and members of the local music industry came out to participate and support the cause. The Bonspiel generated tremendous goodwill and awareness for Unison – and Manitoba Music is eagerly anticipating their “Second Annual” this winter.

Unison Founder, Jodie Ferneyhough has undertaken his own unique fundraising initiative – he will be participating in an IronMan competition later this month, and is collecting pledges which will be donated to UBF. If you’re interested in sponsoring Jodie in this endeavour, please visit: http://my.e2rm.com/personalPage.aspx?registrationID=1176165&langPref=en-CA

The Unison Benevolent Fund is an assistance and referral program – created and administered for the music industry, by the music industry. Unison is designed to provide discreet relief to music industry personnel in times of personal hardship and crisis. The first two priorities for Unison are the Emergency Relief Fund and the creation of a counseling service, similar to the Employee Assistance Programs often available to staff of larger organizations. Details on the launch of these services will be announced soon.

Those who are interested in: learning more about the Unison Benevolent Fund, making a donation, finding out how to help the cause, or accessing Unison’s services are encouraged to visit www.unisonfund.ca and register. Although registration is not required for services, it will expedite the process should an emergency funding request be made, and will also allow Unison to keep registrants up to date on discounts and benefits on offer.

www.unisonfund.ca

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Media Contacts:

Unison Benevolent Fund                                             D2 communications

Shelia Hamilton                                                              Dawn Dwyer

416.479.0675                                                                      416.583.5048

shamilton@unisonfund.ca                                          dawn@d2communications.ca

 

The Unison Benevolent Fund is an assistance and referral program – created and administered by the music industry, for the music industry. A registered charity established in 2010, the Unison Benevolent Fund was designed to provide discreet relief to music industry personnel in times of personal hardship and crisis. The Unison Benevolent Fund’s short –term objective is to provide emergency financial assistance and crisis management to those in need, as well as counseling services (personal, financial and bankruptcy, career and legal).  The long-term objective is to provide low cost group insurance (health, life, home, auto, gear, etc).

 

 

 

Grooveshark Faces Copyright Suit

A group of songwriters including Mark Farner (Grand Funk Railroad) and
Mark Weiss, the songwriter who penned the hit 1970s tune “Rhinestone
Cowboy, have filed a lawsuit against the digital-music service
Grooveshark claiming it enables users to obtain music illegally and
therefore is liable for copyright infringement, contributory
infringement, and vicarious infringement.

The suit claims “users and subscribers are actively infringing
plaintiffs’ copyrighted musical compositions,” the plaintiffs said in
their complaint, filed in U.S. District Court for the Middle District
of Tennessee. “Defendant neither sought nor obtained a license,
permission, or authorization from plaintiffs.”

Grooveshark claims that it obeys the rules of the Digital Millennium
Copyright Act and maintains that as a service provider, it is
protected against any copyright violations committed by its users.
Currently Universal Music Group has filed a suit against Grooveshark
and previously EMI was in legal battle with the downloading service.