New issue of Music & Copyright

The latest issue of Music & Copyright is now available for subscribers to download. Here are some of the highlights.

EC backs blockchain with the rollout of Observatory and Forum
The European Commission (EC) has created the EU Blockchain Observatory and Forum (BOF) to highlight key developments in blockchain technology and promote European stakeholders actively involved in blockchain activities. The BOF is set to work alongside established funding projects and research programs. Blockchain technology, on which cryptocurrency Bitcoin is built, is being held up by reformers in the music industry as a means of creating a fairer distribution system for content creators. Proponents say it could bring transparency to rights metadata, instant remuneration to artists, and new forms of monetization to music.

Appeals court orders new trial in Cox–BMG copyright infringement case
US ISP Cox Communications and music rights management company BMG must face each other again in a copyright dispute, following a decision by a Fourth Circuit panel of judges to remand for a new trial. Cox was sued for copyright infringement by music companies BMG and Round Hill Music in 2014. Round Hill was removed from the case on the grounds that the publisher had not proved exclusive ownership of the rights to the music cited as being infringed. A Virginia district court ruled at the end of 2015 that Cox was guilty of willful contributory copyright infringement and awarded BMG $25m in damages. The ISP appealed the decision, but the district court dismissed the claim. Cox subsequently filed an appeal with the Fourth Circuit. That court has now upheld the district court’s decision that the ISP is not entitled to the safe harbor protection defense, but ruled that a new trial must be held because of certain errors in jury instructions.

New York court rules no copyright infringement in U2 plagiarism claim
A New York federal judge has ruled that U2 did not copy any part of English songwriter and performer Paul Rose’s track Nae Slappin for the creation of the band’s hit song The Fly. Rose had claimed that U2 had infringed his copyright by willfully copying fragments from his track to create a guitar solo for The Fly. However, the judge found that Rose did not plead a plausible claim of infringement and that his claims were too vague. The judge also said that no reasonable juror listening to the entirety of the two songs could find that they were similar. Most music plagiarism cases rarely reach court given the difficulties for authors in establishing whether another author has copied their work. Equally problematic is the cost of bringing cases to court, particularly given that an accused will often have significant resources with which to defend any claim.

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