The latest issue of Music & Copyright is now available for subscribers to download. Here are some of the highlights.
European Court of Justice rules on ageing cases with outdated copyright legislation
Despite the liability of online platforms changing in Europe following the passing of the copyright directive in 2019, the European Court of Justice (CJEU) has made a ruling based on years old legislation in two long-running joined cases referred to the Court by the German Bundesgerichtshof (Federal Court of Justice). The German court asked for clarification on the position of online video service YouTube and the upload and file hosting platform Uploaded with regards to the uploading of protected works by users to the services. The CJEU decided that under the old EU law, YouTube and Uploaded were not directly liable for any illegal uploads as they only acted as intermediary services. Also, the services were eligible for exemption from liability as they played no active role in the uploaded contents’ distribution.
Across the board fall in collections for Swedish authors’ society STIM
Swedish authors’ society STIM has reported a dip in rights receipts and distributable revenue for last year. The spread of COVID-19 and the subsequent restrictions brought in by the government to contain the virus took their toll on collections. Back payments and adjustments to prior year income totals also affected the overall performance. Actual online and new media service receipts were down last year, but STIM noted in its annual report that the sector registered underlying growth. Live music suffered the biggest decline with festivals and tours cancelled for most of last year. Furthermore, the slow return to live performance will dent live collections for this year also. Overseas income registered a similar rate of decline to domestic collections. However, payment levels from sister societies are likely to get worse before they get better due to administration and processing delays.
Uncertainty and confusion reigns as the live sector gears up to global restart
Live music businesses around the world are facing up to another tough year with new variants of the COVID-19 virus threatening to push up infection rates. Many festivals planned for the northern-hemisphere summer are on a knife edge as governments are forced to react to fast-changing conditions. Furthermore, with insurance policies highly unlikely to provide financial cover, a good number of events may well face the challenge of having to cling on until 2022 before they can once again stage full-blown live experiences. A good number of live-music events are insisting that fans are either vaccinated or can show negative test results, though that strategy has not gone down well with anti-vaccination/lockdown activists, especially in the US, which is another concern for organizers. To survive, the sector really needs government support, something that has so far been badly lacking in a number of markets.
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 four years in a row. Given the impact of COVID-19 on performance rights and synchronization, all the growth in 2020 came from streaming. Umbrella rights organization ECAD reported a fall in collections with the virus taking a bite out of public performance revenue. Distributions were also down year-on-year. Just how bad COVID-19 has been on the live sector in Brazil is evident in the financial results of local events promoter Time For Fun. The shutdown of live performance caused a collapse in revenue last year with little prospect of a turnaround in fortunes any time soon.
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