|MONDAY 20 MARCH 2017||COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM|
|TODAY'S TOP STORY: The popular hip hop mixtape sharing app that was recently sued by the Recording Industry Association Of America last week filed its response, calling for the case to be dismissed partly on safe harbour grounds, and partly on the basis that the labels keep asking it to promote their music... [READ MORE]|
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Spinrilla hits back at labels lawsuit
As previously reported, when it went legal against Spinrilla last month, the RIAA said that the app "specialises in ripping off music creators by offering thousands of unlicensed sound recordings for free". It added that "fans today have access to millions upon millions of songs from innovative platforms and services that pay creators" and therefore "this kind of illicit activity has no place in today's music marketplace".
Unofficial, unlicensed mixtapes have long been part of hip hop culture of course, with many acts first coming to attention that way. The record industry has generally turned a blind eye to the distribution of such mixtapes providing they are not commercialised, though as the labels got more rigorous at managing their content on sites like SoundCloud it became more common for unofficial mixes to be blocked on those platforms.
This is probably one of the reasons why Spinrilla became so popular, with mixtape makers and hip hop fans alike. And, it would seem, with at least some label marketers. Though the record industry's lawyers clearly reckon that the Spinrilla company, which offers a nominally priced premium option, is now in the business of commercialising the unofficial mixtape, and that's why it's time to cry foul.
In its legal response, published in full by Torrentfreak, Spinrilla argues that it has in the past had a good working relationship with the very labels that are now suing it.
The digital firm states: "Plaintiffs and defendants have been co-operating for years in a variety of ways to successfully prevent and remove unauthorised music from Spinrilla.com. Plaintiffs and defendants have also co-operated when plaintiffs have requested that its music be promoted and distributed by Spinrilla. This co-operation can and should continue as it benefits not only the parties to this lawsuit, but more importantly, it benefits independent artists and their millions of fans".
If the labels want to now play hardball - the legal submission continues - well, look at the lovely safe harbour we're dwelling in you litigious fuckers. I paraphrase slightly.
The legal filing says: "In the event plaintiffs no longer wish to partner with Spinrilla and instead prosecute infringement claims against defendants, defendants are shielded from liability by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. By enacting the DMCA, Congress recognised that valuable services such as Spinrilla would not exist if they were liable for content uploaded to their servers. For that reason, Congress wisely chose to protect services such as Spinrilla - protection Spinrilla has earned and deserves".
To get safe harbour protection from the DMCA, Spinrilla must operate a takedown system that enables rights owners to get unlicensed content removed. The digital firm, of course, insists it operates such a system and indeed it does. The question is, is it a good enough takedown system? Which leads us back to the debate as to what exactly constitutes a good enough takedown system, given the DMCA is pretty vague on that point.
Though, while the takedown procedure outlined on Spinrilla's website - basically encouraging rights owners to send them an email - looks pretty basic, in its legal filing last week the company said it also uses Audible Magic's content identification system to help rights owners police their content on its platform, a technology it says it employed at the recommendation of the labels. Meanwhile it insists that it responded promptly to the 400+ takedown requests it has received by email.
It remains to be seen how the RIAA now responds, though if the dispute does proceed to court, it will be another test of the safe harbours under America copyright law. With the extra fun of Spinrilla likely arriving at court with all the emails from marketing types at the labels pushing for promo on the mixtape platform.
Jimi Hendrix company sues his brother again
Experience Hendrix is run by the late guitarist's adopted sister Janie and has had a number of run ins with Leon over the years. Indeed the new lawsuit against Leon Hendrix and his associate Andrew Pitsicalis begins by noting the past disputes over unofficial Hendrix-branded products that he has been involved in.
The lawsuit filed with a New York court last week states: "Over the past ten years, defendants Andrew Pitsicalis and Leon Hendrix, and a variety of individuals and entities with which they have been associated, have attempted to hijack plaintiffs' trademarks and copyrights for their own personal gain. Federal courts have repeatedly prohibited those unlawful activities".
According to The Wrap, the legal filing then goes on: "Ignoring those prohibitions, defendants recently have renewed and expanded their infringements of plaintiffs' trademarks and copyrights through the creation, development, licensing, manufacturing, promotion, advertising and sale of cannabis, edibles, food, wine, alcohol, 'medicines', electronic products, and other goods".
Going for the kill, the lawsuit continues: "Undaunted by their previously failed and enjoined efforts to exploit the Hendrix marks, defendants have now aggressively escalated their conduct into a full-scale assault on the plaintiffs' trademark and copyrights that relate to Jimi Hendrix, through nothing less than a fraudulent business model and scheme designed to trade on the Hendrix marks and copyrights in a manner designed to confuse consumers, investors and licensees".
Presumably aware that, during past disputes, Leon Hendrix has questioned the legitimacy of his adopted sister Janie as the chief overseer of his late brother's legacy, the lawsuit then explains that it was the siblings' father Al who set up Experience Hendrix and its related companies in 1995.
When doing so, it says, he appointed Janie Hendrix and some other family members to the companies' management team, while "expressly excluded" Leon from the business. And when Al Hendrix died in 2002 he left ownership of the companies to "family members other than Leon Hendrix".
Police investigating conduct of former BPI anti-piracy chief
The statement follows a report by Torrentfreak last week that says that Wood, a former policeman and regular commentator on anti-piracy initiatives while with the BPI, is accused of misappropriating funds before his dismissal from the trade body in late 2015. The BPI subsequently revamped its anti-piracy unit and appointed new leadership.
The specific allegations made against Wood are not currently known, though Torrentfreak's sources claim six figure sums are involved. Meanwhile bankruptcy proceedings were filed against him last year, and an intellectual property enforcement company he established a few months before his departure from the BPI is seemingly being wound down.
A spokesperson for the BPI said: "[We] can confirm that a former employee, David Wood, was dismissed for gross misconduct in December 2015. BPI has referred the matter to the Metropolitan Police who are investigating. As investigations are ongoing, it would not be appropriate to comment in any more detail at this stage".
Live Nation takes majority stake in Isle Of Wight Festival
The announcement comes after the future of the festival was called into question last year. As previously reported, Solo requested that Isle Of Wight Council waive the hire fee for the site on which the event takes place. The council said it was open to dropping the fee to £13,000 if the festival took on other logistical services currently provided by the council, which cost it around £42,000 per year.
Solo subsequently withdrew its request, following "incorrect media inferences" that the festival was struggling to sell tickets. At that point, tickets for the 2017 event had not yet gone on sale and - with costs still presumably needing to be cut - for a brief time it was unclear if there would be an IOW Festival this year. But shortly afterwards it was confirmed it would indeed go ahead in June.
Originally staged between 1968 and 1970, the festival was revived in 2002 with Giddings at the helm. The current agreement between Solo and the council runs until 2019. With Live Nation's investment, the event presumably now has some financial security in the long term, although it gives up its independent status in return.
"John Giddings and the Solo team have developed the Isle Of Wight Festival to be one of the most iconic festival brands in the world", says Live Nation UK chair Denis Desmond. "It's fantastic to be able to add it to our growing and diverse portfolio of festivals".
Giddings adds: "After fifteen hugely successful and glorious years, we have been looking at how we can elevate and take the Isle Of Wight Festival to the next level. This partnership with Live Nation will give us the ability to access the company's scale and talent pool, bringing more acts and a better experience to the UK".
Headliners for this year's festival will be David Guetta, Run DMC, Arcade Fire and Rod Stewart. Which I guess you could say is something for everyone.
FanFair launches guide for fans on avoiding ticket touts
"The guide is a response to the dark arts employed by the resale platforms Get Me In!, Seatwave, StubHub and Viagogo", says FanFar Alliance's Adam Webb. "These businesses not only fuel industrial-scale levels of ticket touting, they also use a range of manipulative marketing techniques that sow confusion when tickets go onsale and direct fans away from legitimate and authorised sellers".
He continues: "In response, FanFair has consulted widely to come up with ten simple tips that aim to empower audiences and help them better navigate the ticket buying process. We want to help fans identify legitimate and authorised ticket agents, and to promote the concept of ethical resale - where ticket purchasers who can genuinely no longer attend a show have a safe and secure mechanism to sell their ticket on at face value. The vast majority of artists and music businesses are with us on this issue".
The publication of this new guide follows a FanFair booklet aimed at artist managers last year, produced in collaboration with the Music Managers Forum.
Numerous artists, primary ticketing firms and politicians have welcomed the tips, including Ed Sheeran, Mumford & Sons, Amy Macdonald, Radiohead's Ed O'Brien, Imogen Heap, Royal Blood, Mark Knopfler, Wolf Alice, You Me At Six, Nigel Adams MP, Sharon Hodgson MP, Skiddle, Eventim, WeGotTickets, Songkick, PledgeMusic, Music Glue, Scarlet Mist, Dice, Twickets and See Tickets. You should all pick the three people or companies whose opinions you actually care about and consider the tips backed by them.
As previously reported, there will be further parliamentary scrutiny of the secondary ticketing market tomorrow in front of the Culture, Media & Sport Select Committee. This follows the government's recent commitment to follow recommendations laid out in the Waterson Review of the market that was published last year.
Chuck Berry 1926-2017
Born in 1926, Berry was pushing 30 by the time he became famous for writing songs about the hopes and fantasies of teenagers. He had begun performing music in high school and was working as a jobbing musician, performing country and blues, when he signed to Chess Records in 1955. His debut single, 'Maybellene' - which started both his major influence on rock n roll and his legacy as a pioneer in the genre - was based on a traditional country tune, 'Ida Red'.
An instant success, selling over a million copies, 'Maybellene' paved the way for a career which saw Berry write and record numerous classics of the 20th Century - 'Johnny B Goode', 'Roll Over Beethoven', 'Rock N Roll Music', 'Sweet Little Sixteen' and 'No Particular Place To Go', to name just a few.
His rise was interrupted by a lengthy legal battle and jail sentence in the 1960s. Berry was arrested in 1959, accused of having sex with a fourteen year old girl who had worked in his nightclub. He was convicted in 1960, but successfully had the ruling overturned on appeal, arguing that the judge had been racially prejudiced. However, following a second trial in 1961, he was convicted again, and, after another appeal which this time failed, he served 20 months of a three year sentence.
Following his release in 1964, he returned to his career, signing later in the decade to Mercury Records. Although this was not his most successful period as a recording artist, he remained a popular live performer, helped in part by a new wave of young acts like The Beach Boys and The Beatles citing him as an influence.
In 1972, having returned to Chess, he released a live version of novelty song 'My Ding-A-Ling', originally written and recorded by Dave Bartholomew 20 years earlier. It became his first and only number one single in the US and the UK. But rather than marking a resurgence, it marked a slowing of his output. After a four year gap following '1975's 'Chuck Berry' album, he released his final LP, 'Rock It', in 1979.
He continued to perform live up until his death however, and on his 90th birthday last October Berry revealed that he had recorded a new studio album, 'Chuck'. A release date for the record is yet to be announced.
Chuck Berry is survived by his wife, Themetta Suggs, and their four children, Ingrid, Chuck Jr, Aloha and Melody.
New Gorillaz tracks appear in PPL database
The title and tracklist for the new album are still to be formally announced, but in January the group did release a new single, featuring Benjamin Clementine, titled 'Hallelujah Money'. They also recently announced that they will hold their own festival, Demon Dayz, at Dreamland in Margate on 10 Jun.
The newly listed tracks are:
Andromeda (feat DRAM)
Goldie to publish autobiography
Publisher Faber promises an "uncensored, hard-hitting ... explosive story", while the producer himself says: "'All Things Remembered' is not just the story of how and why, it's everything from the children's homes to the Whispering Wheels roller-disco to rolling with the graffiti kings of New York to writing with David Bowie to reinventing myself as the Dorian Gray of fucking breakbeat".
The book is due to be published on 2 Nov.
MelodyVR, Clean Bandit, TLC, more
Other notable announcements and developments today...
• MelodyVR and Universal Music are teaming up to create VR experiences with artists on the major's roster. "Given the depth of engagement possible with VR, many of our artists are interested in producing more of this content and we have a robust pipeline of projects coming soon", says UMG's EVP Digital Strategy Michael Nash. Gotta love a robust pipeline.
• Bucks Music Group has announced a partnership with new music services company Monokrome. "We are delighted", says Monokrome's Kristian Davis-Downs. "We're delighted", nods Bucks MD Simon Platz.
• CD Baby has now integrated marketing platform Show.co, which it acquired last year, into its artist dashboard, offering online marketing tools to all of its users for free. "More than 6000 labels and artists have already used Show.co's services, so we know it works", says CD Baby marketing bod Kevin Breuner.
• Clean Bandit have released new single 'Symphony', featuring Zara Larsson.
• Feist has released the first single from her new album 'Pleasure'. It is also called 'Pleasure'.
• Babymetal have released the trailer for their new live film, 'Live At Tokyo Dome', which is out next month.
• Ed Sheeran's going to headline Glastonbury. In fact, I think he's going to take up nine of the ten top slots on the bill.
• TLC have announced that they will play their first ever UK show. They will play Koko in London on 9 May. Tickets go on sale this Friday.
Not even wood pigeons can stop Liam Gallagher from singing
Writing on Twitter that his solo shows will be "opening with 'Don't Look Back In Anger' [and] ending with 'Rockin Chair'", both of which have appeared in Noel's solo live shows. "Bout time they were done proper", he added, despite him having originally performed the vocals on the latter.
Responding to critics, he said: "To all you NG fanboys, I can and will sing any song he wrote bigger better than him even if I was kicked in the bollox by a wood pigeon".
Not sure if those pigeons that attacked Kings Of Leon back in 2010 can be retrained to test this theory. But anyway, Gallagher continued: "To the people who dig what I'm about, I know you'll freak out as it's proper. To the people who hate what I'm about, I hope it sends you mad".
Liam Gallagher signed to Warner Bros for his first solo album last year. Titled 'As You Were', the record will be out at some point this year. The musician recently revealed that the first single will be called 'Not For Sale'.