New issue of Music & Copyright with Finland country report

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

UMG fires back in US termination rights class action case
Major record company UMG has hit back in a case involving termination rights claims made by two musicians in the US. In February 2019, the musicians filed a class action lawsuit against UMG in a New York court claiming that the major label had refuted the artists’ claims on the grounds that the sound recordings are works made for hire and so not available for termination under US copyright law. UMG has now filed a motion to dismiss the claims. In its filing, UMG described the claims as without merit and detailed a number of reasons why. The major label said the two musicians did not execute any of the grants of copyright rights forming part of their termination requests. These grants were made by third-party companies, so only those companies could file for termination. UMG’s motion also claimed that the termination notices filed did not comply with statutory and regulatory requirements. The label also said the Copyright Act’s three-year statute of limitations barred the musicians’ claims.

TONO hits a new collection record; KODA reports a second year of DKK1bn+ receipts
Norwegian and Danish authors’ societies TONO and KODA have reported their financial results for 2018. TONO registered a second straight year of record collections and distributions, while income for KODA edged down but remained above the DKK1bn ($158.5m) mark. TONO’s results benefited from growth in all its main income sources. Digital registered the highest year-on-year increase, but there were also rises in collections from broadcast retransmission, live concerts, background music, and overseas. KODA’s results were largely shaped by a fall in broadcast income, which was the result of back payments being included in the 2017 total. Online receipts for the Danish society were up following gains in collections from interactive TV services and TV, film, and series streaming. However, a loss of certain repertoire saw music-streaming revenue decrease year on year.

How a no-deal Brexit threatens the free movement of touring musicians
Live events are an essential economic driver for musicians and performers, and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport said late last year that the creative and entertainment industries were worth £101.5bn ($130.8bn) to the UK economy in 2017. However, a no-deal Brexit could see all this running into serious trouble, and the touring of artists, festivals, musicals, sports events, and live events generally could be under threat.

Finland country report
In addition to the usual set of music industry statistics and news briefs, the latest issue of Music & Copyright includes a detailed Finland music industry report. Finland is not quite a top-20 music market, but despite its modest global stature, the country is a market leader with regards to progress in the digital transition from ownership to access. Subscription services already account for around three-quarters of recorded-music trade earnings in the country, and this share is expected to edge upward as the previous reliance on physical formats continues to fade and sales of downloads disappear. UMG enhanced its leading position last year, with a modest rise in market share. SME held on to second place, ahead of WMG, with both companies suffering a small dip in share. Royalty earnings collected by authors’ society TEOSTO returned to growth, with receipts from home and overseas rising year on year.

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