CMU Digest 2/20/22: Notorious Markets, AIF Chief Festival Sector Warning, AWAL, Dwight Yoakam, Lil Peep


Business News CMU Digest

By Chris Cooke | Posted on Sunday February 20, 2022

Last week’s key stories in the music business…

The US government released its annual Notorious Markets list of websites and physical marketplaces around the world that facilitate copyright infringement and the sale of counterfeit goods. Amazon — controversially added to the list two years ago — isn’t there this time. The web giant was previously listed following complaints about third-party sellers selling counterfeit goods through Amazon sites in Europe, although it argued its inclusion was politically motivated because of the feud between its CEO Jeff Bezos and then-US President Donald Trump. Though Amazon is now off the list, some legitimate web companies are still there in other countries — for example, in China, Baidu for a cyber-locker service allegedly used for copyright infringement, and Alibaba and Tencent for online marketplaces , which are also allegedly linked to the widespread sale of counterfeit products. Elsewhere on the list are more conventional piracy sites like The Pirate Bay and leading stream ripping operation FLVTO. [READ MORE]

The chief of the UK Association Of Independent Festivals warned the festival sector could be in for a “perfect storm” this year. Although it is to be hoped that there will be no COVID-related cancellations this year for the first time since 2019, the festival organizers still face many challenges. AIF estimates that the operational and infrastructure costs of hosting festivals could increase by 20-30% due to increased labor, staff, material and transportation costs. And promoters can’t easily pass those increases on to customers, not least because many festival-goers this year will be using tickets originally purchased for the 2020 or 2021 editions, which have been cancelled. AIF also says the lack of cancellation insurance remains an issue as the government program designed to help in this area is pretty much useless. The trade group has called for this to be settled, as well as other government support measures, including an extension of the VAT reduction on tickets during the COVID period and a government-backed supplier credit scheme. [READ MORE]

The UK Competition and Markets Authority gave the music industry one final opportunity to comment on Sony Music’s acquisition of AWAL. The regulator first said last year that Sony’s deal to buy Kobalt’s label services business and agency for neighboring rights raises enough competition concerns to warrant a deeper investigation into the transaction. However, following that investigation, the CMA recently announced that “our preliminary conclusion is that the deal is not likely to affect competition in a way that reduces the choice or quality of recorded music available, or increases prices.” Interested parties now have one final chance to comment on the AWAL deal by formally responding to this preliminary determination before the CMA makes a final announcement no later than March 17. [READ MORE]

Warner Music has settled a termination dispute with country artist Dwight Yoakam. He sued the major last year, accusing him of not accepting resignations he filed to reclaim US rights to his 1980s recordings. Although the termination right in US copyright law, which allows creators to terminate copyright assignments after 35 years, is now regularly used by songwriters to reclaim copyrights in their songs from music publishers, some labels still argue that it doesn’t apply to record deals. This is on the basis that such contracts are work contracts that make labels, not artists, the default owners of copyrights in sound recordings, so artists cannot cancel a copyright assignment. After Yoakam sued Warner, it meant all three majors were fighting lawsuits from artists who challenged that interpretation of US record deals. However, Warner’s big fight over termination rights won’t make it to court now. [READ MORE]

A US judge said Lil Peep’s negligence case could face a jury trial. The late rapper’s mother, Liza Womack, is suing his former management company, First Access Entertainment, alleging that the company and its employees were negligent in managing her son and his tour and contributed to his untimely death from an accidental drug overdose in 2017 First Access had sought to dismiss the case because Womack’s allegations of negligence, wrongful death and breach of contract were unfounded. However, the judge overseeing the case ruled that there was sufficient case to reply that the litigation could go to a jury, which is now likely to happen in March next year. However, Peep’s co-manager Bryant “Chase” Ortega was removed as a defendant because there was no evidence he specifically “directed” the alleged negligence that took place on the tour in the weeks leading up to the rapper’s death. [READ MORE]

READ MORE ABOUT: Alibaba | Amazon | Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) | AWAL | Baidu | Competition and Markets Authority | Dwight Yoakam | First Access to Entertainment | | Small look | List of Notorious Markets | Sony Music | Tencent | The Pirate Cove | US Trade Representative | Warner Music


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