WEDNESDAY 15 AUGUST 2018 COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM
TODAY'S TOP STORY: Warner/Chappell has gone legal in a dispute with a company called Bourne Co over the rights in works composed by Jimmy Van Heusen, probably best known for the hits he wrote for Frank Sinatra, which included 'Love And Marriage' and 'Come Fly With Me'. The dispute centres on reversion rights and the differences between US and UK law. Though not in the way you probably think... [READ MORE]
TOP STORIES Warner goes legal over Frank Sinatra songs and an often forgotten British reversion right
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LEGAL Disney shouts 'first amendment' and 'fair use' in response to Michael Jackson estate's copyright lawsuit
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DEALS Australian collecting society APRA/AMCOS announces Facebook licensing deal
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LABELS & PUBLISHERS Virgin EMI launches new imprint Lost Ones
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MANAGEMENT & FUNDING Blue Raincoat brings in two new artist managers
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ARTIST NEWS Aretha Franklin's family confirm she is "seriously ill" but in "good spirits"
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RELEASES Matthew Herbert to discuss his album that's a book at Edinburgh's book festival
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AND FINALLY... Aled Jones to walk in the air for Global's charity
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Warner goes legal over Frank Sinatra songs and an often forgotten British reversion right
Warner/Chappell has gone legal in a dispute with a company called Bourne Co over the rights in works composed by Jimmy Van Heusen, probably best known for the hits he wrote for Frank Sinatra, which included 'Love And Marriage' and 'Come Fly With Me'. The dispute centres on reversion rights and the differences between US and UK law. Though not in the way you probably think.

There has been much debate of late about the so called reversion right in US copyright law, which allows songwriters who assign their copyrights to third parties to terminate those assignment agreements after 35 years. Although that right originates in 1970s copyright law, it has only properly come into effect in recent years, leading to lots of debate about how exactly it should work.

Among the questions raised is whether or not British songwriters, who signed to British music publishers, can exercise the reversion right to reclaim their copyrights in the US. Duran Duran sued Sony/ATV on this very issue and, although the publisher won at first instance, the case continues to go through the motions.

However, this new case being pursued by Warner's music publishing division against Bourne Co is concerned with the reversion right in UK copyright law, and its impact both here, in the US, and elsewhere.

Now, there isn't a reversion right for songwriters who assign their works in the UK. Anymore. But there was until the 1956 Copyright Act, which came into effect in 1957. Though that reversion right benefited estates rather than songwriters themselves, in that it said assigned rights could revert back to a songwriter's estate 25 years after their death.

The dispute between Warner and Bourne centres on a 1956 agreement with Van Heusen and his publishing company. Bourne seemingly claims to control various songs previously published by Warner, on the basis it did a deal with the writer's estate around his posthumous rights.

There seems to have been disagreements regarding the 1956 contract since the 1990s, but things came to a head in 2015, which was 25 years after Van Heusen's death. Since then, Warner alleges, Bourne has been claiming royalties from Van Heusen's work, including from various collecting societies around the world, which - it argues - should still be going to the major. In other cases, Bourne's attempts to claim control of the works though the collective licensing system has caused some payments to be frozen.

There are various elements to the dispute. First of all, whether or not the 1956 agreement was properly terminated. Second, which songs in Van Heusen's oeuvre were composed on a 'work for hire' basis, in which case the reversion right arguably wouldn't apply. And third, even if some of the rights have reverted to Bourne via the estate, Warner reckons that a reversion right stemming from old English copyright law can only apply in the UK and Canada.

In the 'summons with notice' that it filed with the New York courts this week, Warner states: "Even if the British reversionary termination rights were applicable to any of the songs - and it is not, in any event, applicable to any of the songs written on a work for hire basis, nor is it applicable to songs written and delivered after 1956 and subject to post-1956 agreements, which Bourne has failed to provide - such termination rights would only be applicable, on information and belief, to Britain and Canada and not to any of the other countries in which Bourne has caused the income from the songs (including income payable by Bourne to the heirs of the songwriters) to be diverted and/or frozen, depriving Warner of, upon information and belief, hundreds of thousands of dollars, even without the addition of interest at 9% per annum since the date such payments were diverted and/or frozen".

Which is quite a sentence. Bourne is yet to respond to Warner's claims, but if it does get to court, it will be another interesting test of how reversion rights form one copyright system apply around the world.

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Disney shouts 'first amendment' and 'fair use' in response to Michael Jackson estate's copyright lawsuit
Disney has responded to a copyright lawsuit filed by the Michael Jackson estate over a programme its ABC subsidiary aired about the late king of pop.

Back in May the estate went to court in LA with a long list of complaints about the ABC show 'The Last Days Of Michael Jackson', which - its lawyers argued - made use of lots of copyright material owned by the estate without permission. The estate's litigation also pointed out Disney's long history of enforcing its own intellectual property rights.

But, as expected, Disney is citing both the US Constitution's First Amendment and the principle of fair use in its defence, arguing that it was well within its rights to make use of clips of Jackson's music and videos in its documentary without licensing that material from its owners. Which is to say, it reckons that free speech provisions and copyright exceptions mean news organisations and documentary makers can use clips of this kind without getting permission from any copyright owners.

In its legal filing, Disney states: "This case is about the right of free speech under the First Amendment, the doctrine of fair use under the Copyright Act, and the ability of news organisations to use limited excerpts of copyrighted works - here, in most instances well less than 1% of the works - for the purpose of reporting on, commenting on, teaching about, and criticising well-known public figures of interest in biographical documentaries without fear of liability from overzealous copyright holders".

It goes on: "ABC News used and incorporated short excerpts of some songs, music videos and other material featuring Jackson within a two-hour documentary entitled 'The Last Days Of Michael Jackson' for the purpose of providing historical context and explanation tracing the arc and aspects of Jackson's life and career - precisely what is contemplated and permitted by the First Amendment. Plaintiffs' lawsuit, in violation of these legal principles, constitutes an attempt to exercise unfettered control over public commentary and opinion on Jackson's life and career".

The estate's lawsuit did always seem somewhat optimistic and Disney's defences are exactly what we expected to see bounced back in return. It will be interesting to see how the estate now responds.

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Australian collecting society APRA/AMCOS announces Facebook licensing deal
Is anyone still keeping count as the various Facebook licensing deals finally fall into place? If so, you need to add Australian song rights collecting society APRA/AMCOS to your list.

Why not highlight it in blue? No reason. You could use pink. Whatever. Just because Facebook's branding is all blue, don't ever think you're constrained as to what highlighter pens you can use when annotating your own personal list of Facebook licensees. I just happen to highlight all the collecting societies in blue. But that's just me. I'm a traditionalist. You're welcome to employ whatever crazy colour coding system you want. Just don't use green. Never use green.

"We are delighted to be working with Facebook to ensure the creative content of our members and affiliates that is used on the platform is fairly remunerated", says APRA/AMCOS CEO Dean Ormston. "This is a landmark deal not just for songwriters, composers and music publishers, it also provides the Australian and New Zealand public with peace of mind that music rights holders will be compensated for the use of their works on Facebook".

At last! The people of Australia and New Zealand can now sleep soundly at night knowing that Bruno Mars got paid for that clip featuring one of his songs on the Australian Facebooks. Because if you've ever wondered why everyone you've ever met from Australia and New Zealand has seemed constantly tired for years now, well now you know what's been causing their insomnia.

Unless they were being kept awake at night stressing over what colour scheme to use on their personal list of Facebook licensees. Well, I can help with that too. For collecting societies, it's blue.

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Virgin EMI launches new imprint Lost Ones
How about another new label imprint? "Why not?" say I! You can never have too many label imprints. I once thought you could, but then I did some science and discovered you can't. So, hey everyone, why not set up a new label imprint? Today's new label imprint comes to us via Universal Music UK's Virgin EMI division and is called Lost Ones.

It will be headed up by Barry Burt and Ashley Sykes, both of whom have worked in radio as well as at labels. The former began his career at BBC 1Xtra before moving into A&R and artist management, including a stint at Sony Music's RCA. The latter previously worked with Stellar Songs Publishing, but was most recently UK Music Manager for Apple's much-hyped if little listening to radio station Beats 1.

In their new roles they will report into Virgin EMI President Ted Cockle who is about to say some nonsense about "DNA", so brace yourselves. Cockle told reporters: "On too many occasions the DNA of Ashley and Barry were present somewhere in the mix of many of the artists we were courting. Hence it felt totally right to bring these two forceful characters together and harness their combined energies in this focused, boutique A&R cauldron and let them really nurture, stimulate and launch some super fresh new talent".

On, so hang on, this isn't a new label imprint after all. It's a new "focused, boutique A&R cauldron". Sorry, my bad. How about another new, focused, boutique A&R cauldron? "Why not?" say I! You can never have too many focused, boutique A&R cauldrons. I once thought you could, but then I did some science and discovered you can't. So, hey everyone, why not set up a focused, boutique A&R cauldron? I know I will.

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Blue Raincoat brings in two new artist managers
London-based independent music group Blue Raincoat has announced that two more managers are joining the artist management side of its business.

The first is LA-based Darin Harmon who, as well as continuing to manage artists within the Blue Raincoat business, will also act as a US representative for the company's label, Chrysalis Records. Harmin worked in A&R at various American record companies before moving into management. His appointment also brings artist Phoebe Bridgers to the Blue Raincoat management roster.

The second new recruit is Josh Fisher, who will boost the firm's dance music expertise on the management side. With a background in club promotion, Fisher brings Mexican techno DJ Hector with him to Blue Raincoat.

The company's CEO Jeremy Lascelles says: "Bringing Darin on board demonstrates the ambitions we have at BRA in the world of artist management. Not only does he carry with him a wealth of experience across records and management, he brings us Phoebe Bridgers, one the most genuinely talented and exciting artists to emerge in the last couple of years".

He went on: "I am also delighted to welcome Josh to the company, where he will work alongside Jamie Smithson in continuing to grow and develop our exciting roster of DJs and electronic music artists".

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Approved: Daniel Brandt
Daniel Brandt of Brandt Brauer Frick has announced that he will release his second solo album, 'Channels', through Erased Tapes on 12 Oct. Like his previous work, both alone and with the trio he's better known for, it sees him push orchestral instruments into techno holes with typically impressive results.

For this record, he worked slightly differently, sketching out concepts for tracks and then rehearsing them with his band, rather than arriving with fully formed ideas.

"It was a great experience to do it this way", he says. "I have always wanted to have the chance to try out something in a live setting before recording it in the studio and not the other way round. The actual typical rock band recording style that I never had the chance to do before".

Watch the video for first single and album opener 'Flamingo' here.

Stay up to date with all of the artists featured in the CMU Approved column by subscribing to our Spotify playlist.

Aretha Franklin's family confirm she is "seriously ill" but in "good spirits"
The family of Aretha Franklin have confirmed media reports that she is "seriously ill", while thanking fans for the "love and support" they have shown in recent days.

The queen of soul's publicist told People magazine: "Aretha Franklin has been the matriarch of the Franklin family since the passing of all of her siblings. The love she has for her family is above reproach and was evident in the warm smiles she was able to share with her nephew during his very brief visit two weeks ago. She is seriously ill and surrounded by family members who appreciate the outpouring of love and support they have received".

Nephew Tim Franklin also spoke to the US magazine, stating that his aunt is in "good spirits". "She's alert, laughing, teasing, able to recognise people", he said. "I saw her a week ago Friday and we talked for about 45 minutes to an hour. My brother was there on Saturday and she was alert, talking, laughing, joking".

He added that the family remain optimistic, saying: "We believe she'll pull through it, she believes she'll pull through it, and that's the important thing".

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Matthew Herbert to discuss his album that's a book at Edinburgh's book festival
Matthew Herbert will be at the Edinburgh International Book Festival later this week to talk about his latest album. But why do that at a book festival? Because his latest album is a book. No, not a book of sheet music. A book that describes what this new album sounds like. That album will never be recorded. It will only ever exist in this form. And in your brain.

The book album has been unleashed to celebrate Herbert's own label Accidental reaching its 100th release. The official blurb describes the book thus: "Three years in the making, Matthew has written a description of his new record, an LP he has vowed to never record. Made without musical instruments, singing, or traditional musical notation, it is a user manual for the listener to create the sound world inside their head instead. Since no definitive version of the record exists, there are an infinite number of versions of the record".

The official description for the book, which is called 'The Music', goes on: "There are no guitars, synths or lyrics described in 'The Music' - instead, maybe the sound of Samantha Cameron rubbing sun cream into David Cameron's back on holiday in Ibiza, mixed in to the sound of 21,214 taxi drivers turning left at exactly the same time in Delhi, or mould growing in a fruit bowl in a recording studio in Dubai".

Intrigued? Then you should get yourself to the Edinburgh International Book Festival on 17 Aug to hear more about it from the man himself. And while you're there, why not check out more of the magnificent Edinburgh Festival? Our sister magazine ThreeWeeks Edinburgh is covering it all and has just published its Review Edition, available to pick up from all key festival venues around the Scottish capital.

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Aled Jones to walk in the air for Global's charity
Classic FM presenter Aled Jones is going to raise money for Make Some Noise - a charity initiative run by the station's owner Global - by doing some wing walking. Which, of course, is where you walk on the wings of a flying plane.

Which means - yeah, you got it - Jones will be walking in the air. Walking in the air! You know, because a young Jones famously launched his career by not singing 'Walking In The Air' in the 1982 animated film of Raymond Briggs' book 'The Snowman'.

And now he'll be actually walking in the air! Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!

"I can be a nervous flyer at the best of times - and that's when I'm sitting inside the plane!" says Jones. "To fly at up to 130mph standing on top of the plane is going to be a very different experience, but I'm up for the challenge and I want to be put through my paces. It's all in aid of a fantastic charity, Global's Make Some Noise. I've seen first-hand the difference they make helping disadvantaged young people, so the challenge will be worth it".

Think about it. He'll actually be walking in the air! Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!

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ANDY MALT | Editor
Andy heads up the team, overseeing the CMU bulletins and website, coordinating features and interviews, reporting on artist and business stories, and contributing to the CMU Approved column.
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CHRIS COOKE | MD & Business Editor
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