The latest issue of Music & Copyright is now available for subscribers to download. Here are some of the highlights.
UK High Court orders ISPs to block servers of illegal streaming services
The handing out of blocking orders to an ISP by a court is nothing new in several developed countries. Rights holders have for several years applied to courts to force ISPs to prevent their subscribers from accessing websites or torrent trackers that host or provide access to unlicensed music and media content. However, in line with the shift in legal content distribution to access from ownership, illegal services offering streams of copyrighted content are now common. Website blocking orders are unable to prevent these streams from reaching consumers. In the UK, the first legal order to block access to unlicensed streaming service servers has been granted, effectively paving the way for rights holders to extend the use of blocking orders far beyond their current reach.
Georgia court clears iHeartMedia in pre-1972 master rights claim
The Georgia Supreme Court has ruled that iHeartMedia does not have to pay mechanical reproduction royalties for the broadcast of sound recordings fixed in copyright before Feb. 15, 1972. The class action claim was brought by Arthur and Barbara Sheridan, master-rights owners of several 1950s and 1960s recordings performed by influential musicians of the era such as the Flamingos, Little Walter, and the Moonglows. The Sheridans had claimed that iHeartMedia never received authorization to stream their owned recordings. However, the Georgia court ruled that the streaming services provided by iHeartRadio qualify as a related use to a radio broadcast transmission due to their substantial similarity and the fact that streaming of sound recordings and broadcast by AM/FM radio are essentially the same in nature. As AM/FM radio broadcasters have the right to transfer sound recordings as part of radio broadcast transmissions, the court sided with iHeartMedia.
Music begins to get serious about music tech startups
The music industry is pouring resources into technology startups, at the same time as venture capital money looks for opportunities in the music-tech space. More music companies are joining forces with investors to seek out and advance tech-based business concepts inside accelerator/incubator programs, with a view to being part of the “next big thing.” In addition, leading firms with startup mentalities in their own DNA are on the lookout for early-stage developments, with a view to boosting their operations in highly competitive sectors.
Russia country report
In addition to the usual set of music industry statistics and news briefs, the latest issue of Music & Copyright includes a detailed Russia music industry report. Russia’s two main music industry sectors, recorded and live, have endured contrasting fortunes for much of this century. Recorded-music sales have always struggled to reach anything close to their potential, while the live sector has gone from strength to strength. The last few years have seen a reversal of fortune, with recorded-music sales benefitting from increased consumer interest in streaming and the live sector suffering a downturn, largely because of the devaluation of the ruble.
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