The latest issue of Music & Copyright is now available for subscribers to download. Here are some of the highlights.
Tencent makes its assets sing in the global music business
China’s Tencent Holdings is building an impressive portfolio of entertainment assets, including stakes in recorded-music companies, in its home market, in Asia, and in Western markets. The technology giant certainly has global ambitions, and music sits at the heart of its entertainment empire. Interestingly, Tencent, which is on one long acquisitions spree right now, has been successful in monetizing music content in China—no mean feat—and is seeking to squeeze even more value out of the segment by combining it with its significant social media and gaming operations. Always quick to spot opportunities, Tencent has been using the dearth in live music performances due to COVID-19 to launch a live-streamed concert business. The group is well on track to becoming a major global music industry player.
Jay-Z and Beyoncé accused of copyright infringement over Black Effect intro vocal
Rapper Jay-Z, his performer wife Beyoncé, and company BJC Touring are being sued for copyright infringement, a violation of publicity rights, and unjust enrichment by a Jamaican choreographer who claims she was duped into providing a vocal that was used on the track Black Effect. The track was included on the Jay-Z/Beyoncé collaboration album Everything is Love, which was released in June 2018 and went on to achieve commercial success. The choreographer said in the court filing that she was required to sign an agreement to provide services to the defendants without having any legal counsel check over the agreement. Also, the use of the vocal was supposed to be limited to a promotional video but found its way on to the track without permission or credit.
Washington district court grants Amazon motion to dismiss copyright infringement claims
A district court in Washington has dismissed copyright infringement claims made by the heirs of three US authors against the online retail giant Amazon. The heirs had claimed that Amazon was part of an unlicensed process to make available numerous classic works by the authors. Although Amazon did not source the recordings, a separate company pulled together the tracks and through a distributor, made the albums available for sales through Amazon’s download store. Amazon filed a motion to dismiss the authors’ claims and the in June the court granted Amazon’s request. In a published opinion, the judge in the case decided that for a copyrighted work to be considered as distributed as defined by section 106 of the US Copyright Act, actual dissemination of the work must have taken place, rather than simply placing the work in a store for purchase.
Brazil country report
In addition to the usual set of music industry statistics and news briefs, the latest issue of Music & Copyright includes a detailed Brazil music industry report. Following two consecutive years of contraction, retail sales of recorded-music in Brazil have risen for three years in a row. Streaming, and to a much lesser extent vinyl and synchronization, were the growth drivers with income from access services more than offsetting a collapse in sales of physical formats as well as a dip in performance rights. Umbrella rights organization ECAD reported a return to growth for collections and distributions following a decline in 2018. Brazilian events promoter Time For Fun (T4F) registered a big fall in revenue from live music promotion in the first quarter of this year due the shutdown of the live performance sector.
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