3 Count: Going Dark

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1: Viacom, DirecTV Talks Fail; 26 channels Go Dark

First off today, Zack Whittaker at ZDNet writes that Viacom, the company behind such popular channels as Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, MTV, VH1 and more, failed to reach an agreement with television provider DirecTV causing the channels to go dark on DirecTV’s service. Both sides are blaming each other with DirecTV telling its 20 million subscribers that they are protecting them from an “unreasonable” rise in their bill due to Viacom’s demand for a 30% increase in licensing fees while Viacom says the increase would have only been pennies per day per subscriber and that DirecTV pulled the plug on the channels before the deadline. Both sides are said to be continuing work on a new deal, in the meantime the channels will be unavailable to DirecTV subscribers.

2: EU Copyright Law Plan Angers Radiohead, Pink Floyd

Next up today, Reuters reports that Pink Floyd’s Nick Mason and Radiohead’s Ed O’Brien, among others, signed an open letter to the EU Commission blasting a draft law that they say will result in more royalties being withheld from artists. The law, which still needs approval from both the EU Parliament and the member states, requires royalty collection societies to pay out royalties within 12 months rather than holding on to 5-10 percent for, often times, years after. However, the law would allow the royalty organizations to keep money uncollected after five years, meaning that artists that could not be located will have their funds go straight to the licensing body. In the musicians’ letter, they claimed that this was legitimizing “one of the most problematic forms of embezzlement” in the industry.

3: Old Records Are Outselling New for the First Time, Nielsen Says

Finally today, Chris Kornelis of Seattle Weekly reports that Nielsen, the organization that tracks sales of music and albums, reports that, for the first time since it started in 1991, that the sales of releases older than 18 months, named “catalog” releases, have surpassed current ones. In the first six months of this year, catalog sales numbered 76.6 million while current albums only sold 73.9 million. This is in part due to the lack of a blockbuster new release but also due to strong catalog performance, which was bolstered by the passing of Whitney Houston.


That’s it for the three count today. We will be back tomorrow with three more copyright links. If you have a link that you want to suggest a link for the column or have any proposals to make it better. Feel free to leave a comment or send me an email. I hope to hear from you.

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