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The House of Representatives confirmed the passing of the CASE Act this week. The bill will help to simplify the process for US copyright owners seeking to enforce their rights in disputes where damages wouldn’t exceed $30,000. Not only would it reportedly be cheaper and quicker, but it would also stand to benefit grassroots creators including photographers, filmmakers, and musicians.
A centralized data exchange service called the Repertoire Data Exchange (RDx) has been formed as a result of a cross-industry collaboration between global trade body for the recorded music industry, IFPI, and The Worldwide Independent Network (WIN). Now, record companies and music licensing companies (MLCs) will be able to submit and access authoritative recording data in a standardized format via a single point. The service is expected to improve timeliness, accuracy, and efficiency of revenue distributions to rightsholders worldwide and it is set to launch in 2020.
Rapper Juice WRLD has been hit with a copyright infringement lawsuit this week by the rock group Yellowcard over his single “Lucid Dreams.” The complaint alleges that Juice WRLD and his team copied “melodic elements” from the band’s 2006 song “Holly Wood Died” without permission, and estimates damages in excess of $15 million as well as a “running royalty and/or ownership share” on all future exploitations related to the song, or alternatively, statutory damages “for each act of copyright infringement” and for defendants to be “permanently enjoined” from exploiting “Lucid Dreams” in the future.
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Compiled by Heidi Seo
Exploration Weekly - October 25, 2019
The CASE Act has been passed by the House of Representatives in the US this week, which aims to simplify the process for American copyright owners seeking to enforce their rights in disputes where damages wouldn’t exceed $30,000. The US Copyright Office would assign three judges to the copyright claims board, which would only hear simpler copyright infringement claims with the aim of making it quicker and cheaper for smaller copyright owners to enforce their rights, compared to pursuing traditional litigation through the courts. Critics believe the proposed new claims board could be open to abuse. However, supporters argue that the new system is to benefit grassroots creators including photographers, filmmakers, and musicians rather than major record companies and Hollywood studios. The proposals will now head to the US Senate for further scrutiny and voting.
Global trade body for the recorded music industry, IFPI, and The Worldwide Independent Network (WIN) have announced a cross-industry collaboration to create a centralized industry data exchange service called the Repertoire Data Exchange (RDx). The new entity will enable record companies and music licensing companies (MLCs), which collectively manage recording rights, to submit and access authoritative recording data via a single point. Technical support will be provided in the launch phase of RDx from a group of record companies (Beggars Group, PIAS, Sony Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group, and The state51 Music Group/CI) and MLCs (PPL, Re:Sound, SENA and Gramex Finland). The service is set to launch to all rightsholders and MLCs in 2020, and will offer a single registration point to supply repertoire data in a standardized format (DDEX MLC) that can be quickly and easily accessed by all MLCs, leading to improvements in data quality. As a result, this will help improve the timeliness, accuracy, and efficiency of MLCs’ revenue distributions to rightsholders worldwide. After a rigorous selection process, IFPI and WIN have selected PPL, the UK music industry’s collective management organization, to deliver and operate RDx.
The now-disbanded rock group Yellowcard has filed a copyright infringement lawsuit on Monday October 21 in US District Court in California against Juice WRLD (aka Jarad A. Higgins) over his breakthrough single “Lucid Dreams.” “Melodic elements” were allegedly copied from Yellowcard’s 2006 song “Holly Wood Died” for the rapper’s blockbuster 2018 single without permission. The band is asking for damages in excess of $15 million and a “running royalty and/or ownership share” on all future exploitations related to the song or, alternatively, statutory damages “for each act of copyright infringement” and for defendants to be “permanently enjoined” from exploiting “Lucid Dreams” in the future. In addition, the complaint also states they are owed damages from Juice WRLD’s concert tours and other public appearances given that the “overwhelming success” of “Lucid Dreams” launched the rapper’s career and provided him “substantial opportunities to tour and perform around the world.” Reps for Juice WRLD could not be reached at the time of publishing. “Lucid Dreams” peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 and has racked up more than 1.6 billion on-demand streams in the US, according to Nielsen Music, and has been certified 5x multi-platinum by the RIAA.
The Ninth Circuit appeals court has asked a lower California court to consider what the Music Modernization Act (MMA) means for any ongoing disputes involving unpaid digital royalties on pre-1972 recordings. Under US-wide federal copyright law, AM/FM radio stations aren’t obliged to pay any royalties to artists and labels for the recordings they play, but satellite and online stations like Pandora are. Recordings, however, released before 1972 are protected by state-level rather than federal copyright law, so digital services argued that that royalty obligation didn’t apply to pre-1972 tracks. As a result, artists and labels filed various lawsuits seeking to force the likes of Sirius XM and Pandora to pay royalties on pre- and post-1972 recordings. One case in particular was filed by Flo & Eddie, former members of The Turtles. Pandora took the case to the Ninth Circuit appeals court, where judges subsequently bounced some questions upwards to the state’s Supreme Court. The MMA at the time confirmed that satellite and online radio definitely did have to pay royalties on pre- and post-1972 sound recordings. When assessing whether Pandora faces liabilities for past non-payment of royalties, the Ninth Circuit responded by saying it’s a matter for the district court that first considered the original lawsuit.
Pandora announced a new feature, adding song details for millions of tracks across its library on Thursday. In order to find out who composed, performed and/or produced a track, simply navigate to the song’s page, where a partial list of credits is already visible. To see the rest, click on “See All Song Credits.” The feature is accessible to users across all tiers of Pandora on either the old school website or its desktop app. Credits will be added to the mobile app soon. On the other hand, Spotify added writer and producer credits to its platform in 2018, and YouTube also added some basic credits to official and fan-uploaded content containing recorded music.
YouTube Music subscribers will now have the ability to listen to their music when traveling in an unsupported country. Users confirmed in the past that previously downloaded tracks and offline playlists disappeared. These complaints were ongoing for months on Google’s support forums. However, two different people can confirm using the service in Taiwan and Belarus, according to Android Police. Both countries are currently unsupported for the app. Other users who traveled to Puerto Rico and Algeria also confirmed that the service now works there.
On Wednesday, Lizzo shot back at three songwriters who claim that they deserve a piece of her hit “Truth Hurts” with a lawsuit. Two brothers, Justin and Jeremiah Raisen, collaborator, Justin “Yves” Rothman, and their songwriting team went public with their claims last week. They had recorded demos with Lizzo back in 2017. According to the singer’s lawsuit, the brothers “expressly withdrew any claim to ‘Truth Hurts,’ in writing” last April, that Rothman never previously made any such claim, and that Lizzo requests that the court enter a judgement stating that the Raisens, Rothman and their publisher have no ownership rights or rights to any money earned in connection with “Truth Hurts,” that it does not “infringe any copyright interest purportedly held by Defendant Rothman in any unreleased demo song,” and awards Lizzo costs and reasonable attorney fees. Reached by Variety, reps for the Raisens, Rothman and their publisher did not immediately provide a response. Both sides both specify that the lyric in dispute originated from a meme they saw at the time, which apparently was first tweeted by singer Mina Lioness. Lizzo stated in a post that she intended to share a portion of the proceeds of the song with Lioness.
According to the “Music Use in Germany” study, released this week, respondents in the country reportedly were more willing to spend on a physical album (up 4%) or a digital download (up 12%) than they were just a year ago. The study was commissioned by a collection of music industry organizations, including trade group BVMI and collecting society GEMA. The use of paid music streaming services has also increased to 26%, while appreciation of live music spending has jumped 9% since last examined. Ownership of smart speakers has seen a bump (up 4%), with 14% of respondents now saying they own one of the AI-enhanced devices. As a result, the use of old school stereo systems are down 5%, according to the study. The data is based on interviews with 2,514 people between the ages of 16 and 70 living in Germany about their music use and buying behavior.
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