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BPI comments on UK's decision to leave European Union
"The outcome of the EU Referendum will come as a surprise to many across the music community, who will be concerned by the economic uncertainty that lies ahead and the impact this may have on business prospects", said BPI chief Geoff Taylor this morning. "However, the UK public has spoken, and once the short-term political and macro-economic consequences have played out, this decision will mean new priorities for the music industry in our work with government".
He continued: "We will, of course, press the government to swiftly negotiate trade deals that will ensure unimpeded access to EU markets for our music and our touring artists. Our government will also now have the opportunity to legislate for stronger domestic copyright rules that encourage investment here in the UK and which will protect UK creators from piracy and from tech platforms siphoning off value through copyright loopholes".
Concluding, Taylor said: "We are confident that British music will remain hugely popular across Europe and we will work hard to make sure UK labels are able to capitalise on that demand".
For a look at the possible future now facing both the UK and European music industries, read Laura Snapes' pretty comprehensive pre-Referendum report for Pitchfork and cry.
Jury sides with Led Zeppelin in 'Stairway To Heaven' song-theft case
As much previously reported, the Zeppelin were accused of ripping off 'Taurus' - four decades after they wrote their song - by the trust that benefits from the estate of the man who wrote the Spirit track, the late Randy California, aka Randy Craig Wolfe.
The Californian court case to consider the song-theft claim focused on two key questions, whether or not Led Zep's Robert Plant and Jimmy Page were exposed to the Spirit song back in the day, and whether or not 'Taurus' and 'Stairway' were similar enough to constitute copyright infringement.
Plant and Page denied ever hearing 'Taurus' before writing 'Stairway', despite the former being at venue where Spirit played in 1969, and the latter admitting he owned a copy of the album on which the song appears.
Meanwhile the two men also presented a musicologist who disagreed with the expert witness presented by the plaintiffs, who had said there was "substantial similarity" between the two songs. But Led Zep's expert disagreed, arguing that 'Taurus' and 'Stairway' simply used the same "musical building blocks".
On that latter point the jury agreed with the rockers. Although they felt Page and Plant likely had heard the Spirit song before they wrote their own hit, jurors decided the two works were not sufficiently similar to constitute copyright infringement, thus finding in Led Zeppelin's favour.
Welcoming the ruling in a joint statement, Plant and Page told reporters yesterday: "We are grateful for the jury's conscientious service and pleased that it has ruled in our favour, putting to rest questions about the origins of 'Stairway To Heaven' and confirming what we have known for 45 years. We appreciate our fans' support, and look forward to putting this legal matter behind us".
Meanwhile a spokesman for Warner Music, also targeted in the lawsuit, added that: "At Warner Music Group, supporting our artists and protecting their creative freedom is paramount. We are pleased that the jury found in favour of Led Zeppelin, re-affirming the true origins of 'Stairway To Heaven'. Led Zeppelin are one of the greatest bands in history, and Jimmy Page and Robert Plant are peerless songwriters who created many of rock's most influential and enduring songs".
Following last year's 'Blurred Lines' case - another high profile song-theft lawsuit, but where the party claiming infringement prevailed - lawyers will now be considering what this new ruling tells us about what American copyright law says about songs that sound rather similar.
On that point, J Michael Keyes, from the Californian office of law firm Dorsey & Whitney, told reporters: "The jury's verdict may have several noteworthy implications for current music copyright cases - such as those pending against Justin Bieber and Ed Sheeran - and future ones, too. Although teasing out exactly what swayed the jury is a bit like reading tea leaves, here are some observations".
Keyes also noted that in this case, jurors had to specifically compare the core compositions of the two songs, rather than the classic recordings, where the similarities are arguably stronger.
This is because, says Keyes, "the sheet music version of 'Taurus' is what was registered with the US Copyright Office. It may have been too much of a stretch for the jury to appreciate any similarities between a rather sedate piano composition [of 'Taurus] and the soaring, electric sound recording of one of the rock genre's greatest hits of all time".
Though, of course, the same limitation was applied to the 'Blurred Lines' case, and that time the song-theft allegations still stood.
One last issue in this case, Keyes reckons, is the time it took to sue. "The multiple decades delay in pursuing this case - especially given that the plaintiff who wrote the song has already ascended his own stairway - may have been too much for the plaintiff to overcome. The jury may have seen the plaintiff's estate as trying to cash in on 'all that glitters is gold'".
So, all in all, not a good day for the trustees of the Wolfe Estate. But hey, you can appeal your bad news. You lucky, lucky bastards.
Austrian court overturns web-block injunctions
Last year's ruling saw Austria join numerous other countries in providing the entertainment industry with web-blocking as an anti-piracy tactic against copyright infringing websites based outside the local jurisdiction.
Although not a perfect tactic by any means - it's relatively easy to circumvent the blockades - web-blocking has become popular with rights owners in countries where it is an option, and even some ISPs now see it as one of the more practical approaches to trying to curtail online piracy.
Though net firms in Austria were not impressed when web-blocking arriving in their country, and therefore they have welcomed the appeals court judgement cancelling the blockades.
According to Torrentfreak, the appeal ruling, actually made last month but only just made public, seemingly cites a judgement in the German courts in deciding that web-blocks were not appropriate in this case.
The local music industry has already confirmed it will now appeal the appeal, taking the matter to Austria's Supreme Court, with a rep insisting that the original web blocks "were clarified legally in a four-year procedure involving the European Court".
So maybe the good old European Courts Of Justice can step in here and help the Austrian music community in their bid to fight piracy. A nice little option to have, no longer available to the UK music community of course, now the ECJ's been resolutely told to go fuck itself. Good times.
Harry Styles reportedly signs to Columbia
It means Sony Music have managed to keep the One Direction star within the empire, alongside Zayn Malik - sorry, ZAYN - who released his debut solo record with another Sony label, RCA.
Specifics of the Styles deal are not yet known, nor is any sort of timeline for when he might bring out a record. And, we should note, neither Columbia nor his management Full Stop have as yet commented.
Plus, of course, with Styles being a young person keen to pursue his ambitions abroad, some old person could still come along and fuck it all up.
Cassette Store Day to return in October
"Every year around spring the emails and questions begin - will there be another Cassette Store Day?" says co-founder Jen Long. "When will it happen? Can I put out a tape? For a supposedly dying format there's still so much love and life for those little bits of plastic. I know come October there'll be another special release list and days of celebration planned around the world. Vive le cassette! As our partners in France might say".
Well, maybe neighbours more than partners now. Anyway, Long's US counterparts at Burger Records added: "When we completed Cassette Store Day 2015 we went back to the drawing board. We said 'We can rebuild it. We have the technology. We have the capability to make the world's best Cassette Store Day. 2016 will be that year. Better than it was before. Better... stronger... faster'".
Labels looking to get involved should visit the CSD website here. An initially list of releases will be published in August.
If you want a tape fix sooner than that - and why wouldn't you? - you can watch new documentary 'Cassette' at the East London Film Festival on 27 Jun. Details on that here.
Robbie may rejoin Take That for 25th anniversary tour and album
"We've been talking to Robbie about it", Howard Donald told the Brexit-supporting cunts at The Sun. "And it might be that if we do a 25th anniversary album, that we do some co-writing or some extra tracks on that".
It won't be a full reunion though, Jason Orange no longer being in the group either remember. Donald added: "We've been in touch with Jason and we've been in touch with Robbie. Jason is in his place where he is now and he's not got any intention at the moment to be back in the band".
Oh well, no one likes unions anyway anymore, do they? Take back control, I say. Expect the anniversary tour to be just Mark Owen sitting on a bin humming 'Clementine'.
Plans to move Glastonbury Festival "on the back burner", says Michael Eavis
According to the NME, Eavis was speaking to the event's own on site newspaper - the Glastonbury Free Press - as the festival got underway, and said: "It's really on the backburner now. But it's something we're looking at for the next fallow year, which is likely to be in 2019. It's important that we try another site. We could have all kinds of problems here with livestock, which could close us down. Longleat is only eighteen miles down the road, and it looks like a good place if we ever did [need] an alternative site".
Commenting on reports that her father had said that 2018 could be Glastonbury's final year at Worthy Farm, Emily Eavis told the BBC in May that, although her team was looking into setting up a new event, "the main thing to set straight is that Glastonbury Festival itself will always be at Worthy Farm".
MIA will still perform at Afropunk festival, despite threats of boycott over Black Live Matter comments
In an interview with the Evening Standard in April, MIA said: "Is Beyonce or Kendrick Lamar going to say Muslim Lives Matter? Or Syrian Lives Matter? Or this kid in Pakistan matters? That's a more interesting question".
She later said of her comments on Twitter: "I'm not Muslim. My question was, on American platforms what do they allow you to stand up for in 2016?"
Many threatened to boycott Afropunk, which takes place at Alexandra Palace on 24 Sep, unless MIA's headline set was pulled. This led her to tweet on Monday: "Sorry I'm not doin Afropunk. I've been told to stay in my lane. Ha, there is no lane for 65 million refugees whose lanes are blown up!" However, last night festival organisers issued a statement saying the MIA would still perform, while defending her earlier comments.
"To us, the fact that MIA's comments sparked dialogue about a global view of the Black struggle is not a failing", said the statement. "We also know that without the community that supports our platform and our events, there would be no Afropunk, so we would never elevate an artist or performer who we considered at odds with our ethos or not supportive of those we stand beside. We've read and welcomed the critique of MIA's participation... The debate is healthy and as people who have long been silenced, we refuse to participate in silencing of other voices".
It added: "MIA will still perform at Afropunk London, and there is a huge amount of UK / global talent still to be announced. We hope that this event also brings to light the experiences of black Brits, immigrants and refugees in the UK, who are continuously erased. To our community: trust that when your day standing in the circle of the criticised comes, we will have your back. Let's love and struggle along with one another - and turn up on the system".
Adele, KMFDM, Mayhem, more
Other notable announcements and developments today...
• KMFDM have signed to earMUSIC. The band will release 'Rocks - Milestones Reloaded', reworked versions of their greatest hits, in September.
• Ahead of her looming Glastonbury headline set this weekend, Adele's '25' album is now on Spotify.
• The BBC has published a guide to not fucking your ears up at gigs, in partnership with the British Tinnitus Association. Take heed.
• Black metal legends Mayhem have released a new video for 'Watchers'.
• Jakwob will release new EP 'Feel So Good' on 1 Jul. From it, this is 'Skup'.
• Seriously, fuck you if you voted Leave.
• Boo hoo, Nite Jewel's done a video.
• Pins have put out a video for 'I'll Get Mine'.
• So Below has released the video for 'Far', taken from her excellent debut EP.
• Ofelia K has released a new track, 'I Love My Lawyer'. And who doesn't?
CMU Beef Of The Week #311: Katy Perry v Taylor Swift
Oh, you thought it was gone, washed away with the rain of new gossip. But no. It's back. The feud between Katy Perry and Taylor Swift is back.
As you will no doubt remember, this all stems from an interview Taylor Swift gave to Rolling Stone, in which she said that her song 'Bad Blood' was about another female musician who had "basically tried to sabotage an entire arena tour". TMZ claims that this was all to do with a disagreement between the two singers over backing dancers.
It all blew up again when Perry wrote a tweet that was assumed to be siding with Nicki Minaj, after Swift entirely misjudged a response to comments Minaj had made about the nominees for Video Of The Year at the MTV VMAs last year. "Finding it ironic to parade the 'pit-women-against-other-women argument' about as one immeasurably capitalises on the take down of a woman", wrote Perry, which the world took to be a reference to 'Bad Blood'.
Prior to that, there'd been a whole thing about Kerry Perry planning to perform her own diss track at her Super Bowl half time show, which turned out not to be true then, or later when it was claimed that she had an anti-Swift single in the works.
Neither artist has ever explicitly come out and said they're actually having a feud, mind. Though Swift has come out and accused the media of whipping these things up in order to have something to write about. Journalists? Invent feuds between musicians - particularly female musicians - to fill space? Never.
No, because now there's conclusive proof that the Perry/Swift feud is real. And it smells lovely. Katy Perry recently unveiled her latest perfume. And what is that perfume called? It is called 'Mad Love'. As in, "Now we've got bad blood, it used to be mad love", aka the lyrics of Swift's 'Bad Blood' song.
Pretty conclusive, huh? What better way to get back at someone than through commerce? Every time Swift smells that fragrance, she'll be like, "Ugh, damn you Perry. Damn you to hell. We sure do have bad blood". And every time she performs 'Bad Blood', or it plays on the radio, or someone listens to it on Apple Music, it'll be like an advert for Katy Perry's latest smell.
It's a business plan that's worked well for Perry in the past. Who now can hear 'Killer Queen' by Queen without thinking of Perry's perfume of the same name? I sure can't.
Now, you might say that 'mad love' is a phrase that was commonly used before Taylor Swift ever thought of putting it in a song. But you're forgetting that as far as Taylor Swift is concerned, she owns all the words she has ever spoken. The fact that her attempts to legally confirm this have never worked is a daily source of immense anger for her. Probably. So think how she feels now that she knows that Katy Perry basically owns two of her words. Two of them!
Swift may also be annoyed that she didn't think to use the two word lyric for one of her own fragrances, which all have awful names, like 'Incredible Things' and 'Wonderstruck Enchanted'. 'Wonderstruck Enchanted' was Swift's follow-up to 'Wonderstruck', if you were wondering. Just like 'Mad Love' is Perry's follow-up to 'Mad Potion'.
Oh but the feud. The feuding. The terrible, terrible feuding.
Like I said, fuck Brexit.
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