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1: Universal Music Publishing Group, Ole Pull Production Music Catalogs From ASCAP, Move Them to SESAC
First off today, Ed Christman at Billboard reports that Universal Music Group and Canadian music publisher Ole have pulled their catalogs from the performing rights organization (PRO) ASCAP and moved them to competitor SESAC.
Publishers, like Universal and Ole, represent songwriters and hold the publishing and performance rights to song compositions. PROs, such as ASCAP and SESAC, administer the performing rights for the compositions, ensuring publishers and songwriters are paid when their music is played in public settings such as bars, restaurants and stores.
Universal says its not attempting to move music controlled by songwriters to SESAC, but rather, is only moving songs created as a work for hire that they control the full copyright to. However, songwriters, who are protesting the move, claim that many of the songs were written by overseas composers working with foreign PROs. Since work for hire laws are different overseas, many are concerned that their rights may be violated. The move also comes at the Department of Justice, which holds consent decrees over ASCAP and its competitor BMI, is due to weigh in on whether or not songwriters and publishers can pull their music form a PRO and, if so, how the process works.
Next up today, Alyssa Sage at Variety reports that musician Justin Timberlake has been sued by Cirque Du Soleil claiming that he, without permission, sampled one of the company’s original songs in the Timberlake song Don’t Hold the Wall.
According to the lawsuit, Timberlake sampled from Steel Dream, a song that appeared in Cirque’s Quidam production and was also featured on a 1997 album of music from the show. Timberlake is accused of using the sample in Don’t Hold the Wall, a song that he released on the 2013 album The 20/20 Experience.
The lawsuit also names Timbaland, J-Rock and James Fauntleroy, the co-writers of the Timberlake song, as well as Sony Entertainment, Universal Music and WB Music Corp. It is currently seeking $800,000 in damages.
Finally today, Tim Kenneally at TheWrap reports that Lee Daniels and Danny Strong, co-creators of the TV show Empire, has emerged victorious in a lawsuit that accused them of infringing upon a treatment for a similar show.
The lawsuit was filed by Jon Astor-White, who accused the duo of basing the show on a treatment he had written for a show entitled King Solomon. According to Astor-White, the shows had many similar themes including black families who founded small record labels that turned into multi-billion dollar businesses.
However, the judge has decided that Astor-White alleged no facts supporting the claim that Daniels and Strong had access to the the treatment and that there were not enough similarities between the two to build a case. As such, he’s dismissed the lawsuit, bringing it to an end for now.
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.