|THURSDAY 23 MARCH 2017||COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM|
|TODAY'S TOP STORY: The Australian government has dropped plans to extend safe harbours from a new piece of legislation that will amend the country's copyright laws. As previously reported, the Australian record industry was among those who hit out at plans to extend the country's copyright safe harbour... [READ MORE]|
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Australian government takes safe harbour reform out of copyright bill
As previously reported, the Australian record industry was among those who hit out at plans to extend the country's copyright safe harbour. Unlike in the US and Europe, the existing safe harbour under Australian law is pretty narrowly defined, so that it only really protects internet service providers.
Companies protected by the safe harbour cannot be held liable if their customers use the internet services they provide to infringe copyright, providing they offer copyright owners some sort of takedown system via which they can demand infringing content be removed. In the US and Europe search engines, digital lockers, social media and user-upload platforms can also claim safe harbour protection.
The Australian government had planned to bring the country's safe harbour rules more in line with those in the US and Europe. However, the local media and entertainment industries hit out at that proposal, pointing out that the wider safe harbour had proven controversial in America and the European Union, and that moves were afoot in the latter to limit safe harbour protection for user-upload platforms.
With all that in mind, lobbyists for the content owners argued, a rigorous review should be undertaken before any changes to Australian safe harbour rules are considered by lawmakers. Yet the safe harbour reform hadn't been subject to a proper consultation like the other proposals in the Copyright Amendment Bill.
Making that point earlier this month, Dan Rosen of the Australian Recording Industry Association said: "The other schedules to the bill were subject to a proper consultation and review by the department and that would be the appropriate place for an evidence-based inquiry into the commercial and market impact of any reform to safe harbour".
In something of a u-turn, the Australian government yesterday dropped the safe harbour element of its copyright bill before introducing it in the country's parliament. Reps for the media and entertainment industries welcomed the decision - Rosen calling it a "positive development" - but, presumably aware that safe harbours are nevertheless likely to stay on the wider copyright agenda, those reps reiterated their call for a full review of the issue.
According to The Australia, Rosen said: "It is very important that the government now directs the Department Of Communications to have a full, independent and evidence-based review of the safe harbour scheme and its impact on Australia's digital markets".
Communications Minister Mitch Fifield said that the safe harbour proposal had been taken out of the copyright bill in response to "feedback" from the content industries, and that the government didn't want the debate around that specific issue to unnecessarily delay other elements of the copyright reform legislation.
Alabama lawmakers consider law protecting right to resell tickets
There are parallels between the proposals made by Alabama representative Paul Lee and the previously reported measures put forward in Virginia by delegate Dave Albo. The state-level laws would stop event organisers from cancelling tickets that have been resold or forcing customers to resell their tickets via a specific resale service.
As previously reported, defenders of the secondary ticketing market have, in the past, argued that a ticket is simply a product and people should be allowed to buy and resell products if they so wish.
Those who oppose touting often counter that, actually, a ticket is a contract between the promoter and the original buyer, and that contract usually includes a term that says the agreement is non-transferrable. Therefore the ticket becomes void if the buyer attempts a transfer, because they are in breach of contract.
The laws proposed by Lee and Albo would confirm a ticket as a piece of property that people can resell via a platform of their choosing. Both politicians position their proposals as attempts to protect consumers who buy tickets intending to attend an event but who then can't go, rather than to help professional ticket resellers.
Lee, in particular, seems to be targeting the practice of promoters having an approved resale partner, so that customers can resell their tickets but only via one platform, which usually pays the event organiser a share of the resale commission. Tickets resold via other platforms may then be cancelled. Partnerships of this kind between promoters and secondary ticketing sites are particularly common in the sports sector.
According to WSFA, Lee said: "I think, personally, once you buy [a ticket], it's yours to do with whatever you would like to do with it. Give it away, sell it, whatever the case may be, rather than have to turn it in back to the company, allow them to resell it and make more money on resale".
The new laws in Virginia and Alabama will make it harder for those promoters who are trying to stop the touting of tickets to their shows by threatening to cancel tickets bought via the resale platforms and/or by locking tickets to a credit card.
Lee's bill in Alabama has been passed by the state's house of representatives and will go before its senate next month.
Ukraine bans Russian Eurovision singer from entering the country
As previously reported, Russia threatened to boycott this year's competition when Ukraine won it last year. It then waited until the last minute to put forward Samoilova as its contender for 2017, a contestant on the Russian version of 'X-Factor' who previously sang at the Sochi Winter Olympics.
Ukraine immediately threatened to bar her from entering the country after it emerged that she had performed in Crimea since Russia occupied the region in 2014, as it already has done to around 140 other artists. Alternatively, the Ukrainian security service, SBU, said that she may be allowed to enter the country but be arrested once she is across the border. Either way, that's not great when she's just trying to sing a song in a competition.
SBU has now confirmed that Samoilova has indeed been placed on its blacklist, meaning that she will not be able to attend the competition in May. A Russian foreign ministry source reportedly called the move "cynical and inhumane"; while another Russian politician, Frants Klintsevich, has called on Eurovision organisers to speak up for the singer, or face future boycotts by Russia.
There are some, however, who say that this is exactly what Russia wanted to happen and that's why it put her forward as its entrant. It has also been suggested that had Samoilova been able to appear at the competition in Kiev in May, any animosity towards her within the local audience would then have been spun as disablist, she being a wheelchair user.
In a statement, Eurovision organiser EBU said: "It has been confirmed to the EBU that the Ukrainian authorities have issued a travel ban on the Russian artist chosen for the Eurovision Song Contest, Julia Samoylova, as she has been judged to have contravened Ukrainian law by entering Crimea in order to perform".
The final of the competition is due to take place on 13 May.
Live Nation fined over refunds for AC/DC show in Seville
As previously reported, AC/DC's 2016 tour was substantially changed mid-way through after vocalist Brian Johnson was forced to pull out of live shows after being warned that he risked "total hearing loss" if he continued to perform. Axl Rose was subsequently signed up as a replacement.
People who already had bought tickets for the Seville show expecting Johnson on stage were given the option of getting a refund if they didn't fancy watching Rose sing along to the band's hits. However, according to Spanish consumer rights group Facua, the promoter of the show then instigated a deadline on refund applications with minimal notice, meaning many consumers wishing to cancel their tickets missed out.
In its formal complaint to Seville's Economy And Commerce Department, Facua said that Live Nation didn't initially set a deadline for refund applications, and then only gave three days notice of the deadline, which included a Sunday and a bank holiday.
According to Pollstar, the consumer rights body added that Live Nation was obliged to offer refunds under local laws that say promoters must provide the option to customers where a show is "substantially changed" after a ticket is sold. Facua reckoned the replacement of Johnson with Rose was a pretty substantial change.
Writers of TLC's No Scrubs given credits on Ed Sheeran's Shape Of You
Oh, perhaps you have. The writers of TLC's 1999 hit have seemingly been awarded songwriting credits on Sheeran's 'Shape Of You', one of the '÷' tracks given a single release back in January. Songwriters Kandi Burruss, Tameka Cottle and producer Kevin Briggs are now listed as co-writers of the song on the database of US collecting society ASCAP. It's not yet clear exactly what circumstances have led to that listing, although similarities between the two songs have been noted ever since Sheeran's track was released.
As previously reported, Sheeran was sued twice by songwriters who accused him of ripping off their work on his second album 'x'. The writers of Matt Cardle track 'Amazing' - Martin Harrington and Thomas Leonard - claimed that he borrowed from their song for his hit 'Photograph'. Meanwhile, the estate of songwriter Ed Townsend claim that Sheeran's 'Thinking Out Loud' borrowed from Marvin Gaye's 'Let's Get It On', which Townsend co-wrote.
Both cases are still pending.
Dice announces Girls Music Day 2017
Fewer than 5% of recognised record producers are female, only 13% of PRS's 95,000 members are women, and men occupy 68% of music industry jobs. Hoping to shift these statistics in a more positive direction, speakers at the event will include singer-songwriters Rae Morris and Rosie Lowe, 1Xtra's Sian Anderson and Latitude's Lucy Wood.
"It's always very inspiring to me when I get to talk in depth to other women in the music industry", says Morris. "The only problem is that these conversations are few and far between. You can learn so much from other people's experiences. I look forward to meeting and talking to the next generation of girls in music!"
The event takes place on 8-9 Apr. Places are free to women aged 16-24, click here for more info.
Sweet Baboo announces anti-2016 album
"I think everyone agrees 2016 was a pretty shitty year", says the musician, real name Stephen Black. "I kept thinking about my son - he's nearly three - and wanting to protect him from the world, so I decided to try and make an album full of positivity because that's what I know I can do. And at the moment, I don't know what else to suggest. As an aside, the album was originally going to be called 'Positive Recordings'".
He'll also be touring in June. Here are the dates:
13 Jun: Ramsgate Music Hall
Eyedress announces new album
"I think this album represents everybody in the Philippines", says Vicuña. "My girlfriend really helped me finish this album. She just told me to keep going. So this album is for her and our baby girl".
He'll also be touring in June. These are the dates:
8 Jun: Leeds, Headroom House
ASCAP, Stefflon Don, Run The Jewels, more
Other notable announcements and developments today...
• US collecting society ASCAP has relaunched its administration services business as Songwize. The unit works for music publishers which directly license the performing rights in their songs to digital services in America, so don't need the society to do the deal but still need someone to process the money.
• Stefflon Don has announced that she's done a deal to make her V-IV London label an imprint of Universal Music. "Signed my label to Universal, then I signed myself", she said on Instagram. Smart move.
• Run The Jewels have released the video for 'Legend Has It'. "This video is a worst nightmare scenario", say the duo. "High on acid and caught in the system. Pitted against icons of innocence in a police line up that doesn't feel real. No bunnies were hurt on the making of this video". So now you know.
• Ratking's Wiki is back with a new solo single, 'Icarus'.
• !!! will release their new album, 'Shake The Shudder', on 19 May. From it, this is 'The One 2'.
• Thurston Moore will release a new album, 'Rock N Roll Consciousness', on 28 Apr. From it, this is 'Smoke Of Dreams'.
• Black Lips will release their new Sean Lennon-produced album, 'Satan's Graffiti Or God's Art?' on 5 May.
• Punk weirdos The Garden have released the video for 'Clay' from their 'U Want The Scoop?' EP.
• Mogwai are playing some shows. One of them at Brixton Academy on 15 Dec. Another is at The Hydro in Glasgow on 16 Dec.
Brixton's David Bowie memorial fails to reach crowdfunding target
As previously reported, the plan was to erect a three storey 3D rendering of the lightning bolt from Bowie's 'Aladdin Sane' album next to artist Jimmy C's 'Aladdin Sane' mural, to which many fans flocked immediately after the musician's death last year.
A total of 689 people put in money for the project, though several paid the £1 minimum just to be able to leave a comment on the crowdfunding page saying what a terrible idea they thought it was. Many of those in favour of the project still questioned the massive cost.
The organisers of the campaign have not commented on what plans they have, if any, for the project now that it has failed to secure funding.