Publishers awarded $189k in damages in Wolfgang’s case

A long-running legal action against Wolfgang’s Vaults over its streaming of archive concerts has resulted in music publishers being awarded $189,500 in damages. There were 197 separate songs listed in the suit, with 167 of them were deemed to have been wilfully infringed. That means that the per-song infringement worked out at $1,000 each, far below […]

Mixtape site Spinrilla sues RIAA over takedown notices

Usually when US industry body the RIAA is involved in a court copyright dust-up with a website, it’s the industry body doing the suing (or rather, working with labels who are doing the suing). The boot will be on the other foot in an upcoming case, however. TorrentFreak reports that mixtapes site Spinrilla is suing the RIAA […]

TikTok appoints US external advisors for content moderation

TikTok has been under a lot of scrutiny in recent months, in the US particularly, over how its content moderation policies work. Now the app has appointed what US general manager Vanessa Pappas described as “an external council of leading experts to advise TikTok on content moderation policies covering a wide range of topics… thought leaders who […]

Killer clown Pennywise pops up in a Spotify lullabies playlist

We’ve heard some weak excuses in our time, but suggesting that you “did not believe the playlist was designed primarily for children” when the playlist is called ‘Classical Lullabies’ and has several tracks mentioning children in their title? It’s not the strongest of defences, and especially not when what you’re defending is the appearance of […]

BPI has now asked Google to remove more than 500m search links

British music industry body the BPI has set a new milestone, but it’s announcing it in frustration rather than celebration. The body says it has just submitted its 500 millionth URL to Google, asking for it to be delisted from the company’s search engine on the grounds of copyright infringement. The BPI also says it has […]

Love ISN’T in the air as DSPs’ US royalty-rates appeal kicks off

David Israelite, president of the National Music Publishers Association in the US, has never been a man to pull his verbal punches when taking digital services to task. “Songwriters: This week, Spotify and Amazon are quite literally taking you to court,” is how his latest guest column for Billboard begins, and it doesn’t get any less […]

US regulator to toughen up its rules on influencer marketing

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) appears to be preparing for another crackdown on shady influencer marketing. Commissioner Rohit Chopra has published a statement that suggests the current regulations there need to be toughened up. “Misinformation is plaguing the digital economy, and recent no-money, no-fault FTC settlements with well-known retailers and brands to address fake reviews and […]

FTC to examine past acquisitions of big US tech companies

Whenever Apple buys a startup not big enough to ping any regulatory radars, it has a standard statement that it gives to journalists requesting comment on the acquisition: “Apple buys smaller companies from time to time, and we generally don’t discuss our purpose or plans.” Now, however, Apple – along with Alphabet, Amazon, Facebook, Google and […]

UK watchdog threatens StubHub with court action over website

The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has long been a thorn in the side of secondary ticketing firm Viagogo. Now it’s also training its sights on StubHub, the company that Viagogo is in the process of buying for $4.05bn. The CMA has told StubHub that it may face court action unless it makes some key changes to […]

Pro Music Rights extends streaming lawsuits beyond Spotify

In November 2019, we reported on the latest lawsuit filed against Spotify by music rightsholders: Sosa Entertainment and its sister firm Pro Music Rights. Sosa was claiming that it had not been paid the full royalties for more than 550m streams of its catalogue. Now Pro Music Rights is targeting Spotify’s rivals too, with copyright infringement lawsuits […]

Google boss: ‘Artificial intelligence needs to be regulated’

The artificial intelligence technology being developed by companies including Google needs to be regulated… thinks the CEO of Google (and now also its parent company Alphabet) Sundar Pichai. He published a guest column for the Financial Times yesterday that’s been widely shared since, outlining his views. “History is full of examples of how technology’s virtues aren’t guaranteed. […]

What do YouTube’s new harassment policies mean for music?

Spend any amount of time digging in to the comments on any public figure’s social-media accounts, and you’ll quickly realise it’s not all wonderful #engagement with fans. In fact, it can often be a cesspit. This is a challenge all the social networks (and streaming services with comments enabled) are trying to tackle. Yesterday, YouTube announced […]

TikTok settles children’s privacy lawsuit in the US

Yesterday, we reported on a lawsuit filed against TikTok in the US over its predecessor app Musical·ly’s handling of children’s data. There’s a speedy update on the case: it’s been settled. “TikTok is firmly committed to safeguarding the data of its users, especially our younger users,” a spokesperson told The Verge. “Although we disagree with much […]

We need to talk more about legal issues around training musical AIs

When most people think about the potential legal issues around AI-created music, they tend to think about the output – the music itself, and questions like whether an AI-generated track can attract copyright protection. Sophie Goossens, counsel at law firm Reed Smith, thinks that just as much attention should be paid to the input. “AI is […]

Spotify faces another digital royalties-related lawsuit

Will Spotify’s lawyers ever be able to enjoy their Christmas dinners without a looming royalties lawsuit? The latest comes from independent music company Sosa Entertainment and its sister firm Pro Music Rights. MBW reports that Sosa claims that it has not been paid the full royalties for more than 550m streams of its catalogue on Spotify. There […]

Former PledgeMusic CEO threatens legal action over allegations

There’s a new row involving collapsed crowdfunding service PledgeMusic, and specifically its former CEO Dominic Pandiscia. After a musician – Ken Andrews of the band Failure – made a series of allegations about Pandiscia in a Facebook post, they were picked up by music blog Brooklyn Vegan, in an article that has since been removed from […]

Big Machine settles Taylor Swift dispute for AMAs medley

The enmity between Taylor Swift and her former label Big Machine Label Group (not to mention its new co-owner Scooter Braun) isn’t going away any time soon, we sense. But one element of their latest dispute appears to have been settled: Swift’s ability to perform a medley drawn from her back catalogue at this weekend’s […]

Can AI-produced works qualify as ‘works of authorship?

Can an AI (or a non-human) be the ‘author’ of a piece of music –or other art / content – that it has created? It’s a question that has been bubbling for a while now, from selfie-snapping monkeys to the output from the growing number of AI-generated music startups. And often, certainly from the entities […]

FTC launches new guide to influencer-marketing disclosures

A number of social-media influencers have been reprimanded by regulators about not offering clear-enough disclosures about their commercial relationships. Now the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has published a guide – ‘Disclosures 101 for Social Media Influencers‘ – which aims to keep them on the right side of advertising regulations there. It’s a plain-language summary […]

UK’s CMA suspends plans for court action against Viagogo

British regulator the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has been harrying secondary-ticketing firm Viagogo for some time now over how it presents tickets to its customers. In July, the CMA announced plans to move forward with legal proceedings against Viagogo for contempt of court, claiming that it had failed to comply with a court order mandating changes. […]

Google and YouTube to pay $170m in child-privacy settlement

After months of speculation, the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) yesterday announced details of its settlement with Google and YouTube over alleged violations of child-privacy law. The big number: $170m. That’s how much Google and YouTube are paying to settle the allegations that YouTube “illegally collected personal information from children without their parents’ consent”. $136m of that […]

YouTube tipped to be fined up to $200m in child-privacy case

There has been gossip about an imminent settlement between Google/YouTube and the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for some time now. The latest burst of reports suggests that YouTube will be paying between $150m and $200m in fines, as part of  settlement of charges relating to children’s privacy – and specifically to data collection and […]

UK Music wants government to step in over PledgeMusic collapse

Yesterday saw PledgeMusic’s winding-up hearing in London, which had only been reported on (and thus made known to artists owed money by the stricken crowdfunding company) the day before. No surprise, then, that industry body UK Music is unhappy with the turn of events. Its deputy CEO Tom Kiehl wants the British government to step […]

Amid TikTok dispute, Bytedance hired ICE’s head of rights & repertoire

TikTok has referred licensing hub ICE and its three founders – PRS for Music, GEMA and STIM – to the UK’s Copyright Tribunal, in a dispute over licensing terms. The social app will have some expert help in its corner, it turns out. “Exciting times ahead in a truly inspiring company! Thank you TikTok / […]

Facebook reveals latest financials… and an FTC antitrust probe

“We had a strong quarter and our business and community continue to grow,” was the lead statement from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg last night, as his company revealed its latest impressive financial results. Revenues were up 28% year-on-year to $16.62bn in the second quarter of 2019, with the social network reporting a $2.62bn profit for the […]

Apple denies App Store search results favour its own apps

Apple is under scrutiny once more for the way it runs its App Store – and the sensitive question of whether its own apps and services are prioritised above those of other companies. This time it’s the Wall Street Journal with an investigation into the results of searches on the App Store. “Searches for ‘music,’ ‘audiobooks’ and […]

TikTok issues statement on its UK Copyright Tribunal music-licensing referral

Yesterday, Music Ally broke the news that social app TikTok has referred three collecting societies – PRS for Music, STIM and GEMA – and their joint-venture licensing hub ICE to the UK’s Copyright Tribunal, in a dispute over music-licensing terms. ICE issued a statement yesterday on the case, but this morning TikTok has also sent […]

TikTok takes on collecting societies at UK Copyright Tribunal

Social app TikTok is set for a battle with three European collecting societies and their joint venture, via the medium of the UK’s Copyright Tribunal. That’s the body that resolves copyright-related commercial-licensing disputes in the UK. Copyright Tribunal Ref 132/19 will be of intense interest to the music industry, then. “Notice is hereby given of a reference […]

Report: Facebook to be fined $5bn in FTC privacy settlement

There is no shortage of snark around claims – originally published in the Wall Street Journal – that the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has approved a $5bn settlement with Facebook over the social network’s “privacy missteps”. The snark concerns just how much of a punishment a $5bn fine represents for a company that in the first […]

UK regulator pursues Viagogo for contempt of court

Secondary ticketing firm Viagogo has been under fire in the UK for some time from politicians, regulators and anti-touting campaigners alike. The latest development sees the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) announcing plans to move forward with legal proceedings for contempt of court against Viagogo, claiming that the company has failed to comply with a court […]

How to prepare for ‘deepfakes’ of musicians? ‘Above all, have a plan’

A recent video that falsely appeared to show American politician Nancy Pelosi slurring her words as if drunk has brought the issue of ‘deepfakes’ back into the spotlight. Prominent musicians and their teams should be taking note, thinks Gregor Pryor, co-chair of the entertainment and media industry group at law firm Reed Smith – because they […]

Swedish data-protection authority launches Spotify GDPR investigation

There may be trouble brewing for Spotify in its home country, with the Swedish data-protection authority (Datainspektionen) launching a review of how Spotify handles requests for people to see what information it holds about them. “The authority has become aware that there may be some shortcomings in how the company handles registry extracts, including that […]

Facebook co-founder argues that the company should be broken up

There have been a few calls from prominent figures in recent months for Facebook (and other tech giants) to be broken up. The latest person suggesting this fate for the social network is its own co-founder though: Chris Hughes, who worked on Facebook with Mark Zuckerberg in its earliest days at Harvard. In an op-ed for […]

Music service Wynk loses statutory licensing case in India

A judge in the Bombay High Court in India has ruled against streaming and download service Wynk in its long-running licensing dispute with record company Tips Industries. It is a protracted story but, in brief, Tips and Wynk had failed to agree licensing terms back in 2017 and this saw Tips requesting that its catalogue of […]

EU to formally investigate Apple following Spotify’s anti-trust complaint

It is a dispute that has been brewing for a long time and which went public in recent months. Now, according to the FT, the European Union is preparing to formally investigate Spotify-led anti-trust complaints about Apple and its App Store. In brief, Spotify is arguing that Apple is “tilting the playing field to disadvantage competitors” […]

Apple CEO renews his call for more regulation of big tech

Apple CEO Tim Cook has returned to the theme of stronger regulation of big technology companies, although it’s clear he’s thinking mainly of *other* big technology companies like Google and Facebook. “I think there are some serious issues with tech. I think that even though I’m deeply a free market person in mindset and believe […]

European Parliament backs continent-wide ticket-bot ban

Sorry, make that *three* pieces of new legislation in Europe that have implications for the music industry. Alongside the new copyright directive and new platform-to-business regulations, there’s also a crackdown afoot on ticket-buying bots. Yesterday, members of the European Parliament (MEPs) voted to outlaw the use of bots to get around maximum-limits on buying tickets, […]

Lawyers outline ‘messy questions’ around AI-created music

If you, like us, are curious about the implications of music generated by artificial-intelligence, then we can thoroughly recommend the latest article by The Verge journalist Dani Deahl. She’s been talking to lawyers about some of the “messy questions” around authorship of AI-generated music, particularly when the AIs have been trained on a body of copyrighted […]

European Parliament approves new ‘platform-to-business’ rules

The European Parliament has voted to approve its *other* big piece of new legislation that has significant implications for the music industry. That would be new regulations “to improve fairness and transparency of online platforms” – referred to as ‘platform-to-business’ legislation for short. The rules will apply to technology companies running online platforms of all kinds: search […]

US speaker Nancy Pelosi warns tech firms could lose Section 230 protection

With the European Copyright Directive having made it through its approval vote in the European Parliament, could attention be about to switch to the US in the arguments over safe harbour? Maybe not straight away, but an interview with the US speaker Nancy Pelosi by tech site Recode is worth a read. In it, she’s asked about Section […]

Australia passes tougher social media laws in wake of NZ terrorist attacks

In the wake of the white supremacist terrorist atrocity in Christchurch, New Zealand, last month in which 50 people were killed and 50 more were injured, the Australian government has passed strict new laws around the type of content that can be streamed on social media channels. This was in response to the terrorist in […]

Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo under investigation over online gaming subscriptions

The Competition & Markets Authority (CMA) in the UK is investigating how three major companies – Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo – are handling renewals for their online gaming services. The CMA will look at the T&Cs they offer users alongside how they process subscription cancellations and refunds. At the heart of this is the issue […]

Apple hits back at ‘misleading rhetoric’ of Spotify anti-trust complaint

Spotify filed a complaint with the European Commission over Apple’s stewardship of its App Store earlier this week, but now Apple has hit back with a statement criticising Spotify’s “misleading rhetoric” – including jabs at the streaming service’s recent appeal against new songwriter-royalty rates in the US. “At its core, the App Store is a […]

Gimlet Media staff plan to unionise after Spotify acquisition

Fresh from being bought by Spotify, the staff of podcasting firm Gimlet Media have announced plans to unionise – which would make them the first US podcasting company to do so. “As Spotify’s reported $230 million acquisition of Gimlet makes clear, however, Gimlet is no longer the small, scrappy operation memorably documented on the first […]

Japan goes back to square one with planned anti-piracy law

Japan was set to introduce a new law cracking down on illegal downloading of copyrighted content, but the government is now going back to the drawing board, after complaints from both sides of the debate around online piracy. “We have yet to eliminate the worries of both copyright holders and users. We should work on […]

Should streaming services ban R. Kelly and Michael Jackson?

The controversy last year around de-playlisting R. Kelly and XXXTentacion has likely put Spotify off the idea of going further and removing artists’ music from its platform unless the content itself is hateful (e.g. neo-Nazi lyrics). But the recent documentaries about R. Kelly and Michael Jackson is spurring a debate about what role (if any) […]

Spotify files complaint with European Commission against Apple

Spotify is filing a complaint against Apple with the European Commission, accusing the latter company of anticompetitive behaviour in the way it manages its App Store, and thus gives its own Apple Music streaming service an advantage over rivals. “In recent years, Apple has introduced rules to the App Store that purposely limit choice and […]

BMI and ASCAP publish thoughts on replacing US consent decrees

We reported earlier this week on moves afoot in the US to modernise / replace the longstanding ‘consent decrees’ governing licensing in the US. Now collecting societies BMI and ASCAP have published an open letter setting out their views on what should happen. They are calling for an “orderly transition” with new decrees that would […]

TikTok pays $5.7m in FTC settlement over children’s privacy

Early on in our coverage social-video app Musical.ly, we warned that its large audience of pre-teens represented a big risk for the company, in terms of staying on the right side of children’s privacy legislation like COPPA in the US. Yesterday, that particular hammer dropped – on TikTok, whose parent company Bytedance acquired Musical.ly before […]

FTC to focus more attention on competition in tech industry

US regulator the Federal Trade Commission has created a new task force which it says will be “monitoring competition in US technology markets, investigating any potential anticompetitive conduct in those markets, and taking enforcement actions when warranted”. This, after a succession of news stories about how the biggest US technology companies are running their businesses […]

US could overhaul its music-licensing rules for publishing

Even as the row over Spotify’s publishing licensing in India rages, so attention is switching back to the US, where the Department of Justice is mulling a shakeup of the long-established ‘consent decrees’. “The Justice Department in the coming weeks is expected to call for public input on whether it should modify or terminate two […]

Legal & Business Affairs Manager – Primephonic – Amsterdam

Job description Who are we? Primephonic is a digital music start-up that has been dubbed by the media as ‘the Spotify of classical music’. With the best 100% classical music streaming service we are reinventing the digital classical music experience and reigniting a global passion for the genre. Classical music lovers are currently heavily underserved […]

UK music-maker bodies slam labels and publishers over Article 13

Yesterday, music-industry bodies the IFPI, Impala and ICMP published a letter calling for the European copyright directive to be scrapped. Now a group of bodies representing musicians, songwriters, managers and producers have criticised the intervention, and the gloves are truly off. “It is hugely disappointing to see the music labels and publishers disregard the interests […]

Universal Music and Sony Music face new artist lawsuits

Two of the three major labels are facing new class-action lawsuits filed in New York, which focus on the right of artists under the so-called ’35-year law’ there. That’s the legislation that in theory allows artists to file Notices of Termination to regain ownership and control of their copyrights 35 years after that music was […]

New York cracks down on companies selling fake socials activity

If you’ve ever been tempted to spend money inflating your Instagram followers, SoundCloud streams or other social metrics, here’s the latest useful warning not to. The state of New York has reached a settlement with a now-defunct firm called Devumi, after attorney general Letitia James launched an investigation into the company last year. In an […]

Spotify bars ads from right-wing organisation PragerU

Thought for the day: “Women want real men, men they can count on and yes, look up to. No amount of feminist theory will change that.” Or here’s another one: “Intersectionality is a form of identity politics, in which the value of your opinion depends on how many victim groups you belong to.” And just […]

The curious tale of Spotify, ‘mysterycore’ artists and (possibly) fake streams

Spotify’s ‘2018 Wrapped’ promotion had plenty of people boasting about how much time they’d spent listening to their favourite artists last year. But for some Spotify users, the Wrapped microsite was more baffling: if some of their ‘favourite’ artists were acts they had no memory of listening to. An investigation by the BBC Trending team […]

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