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First off today, Eriq Gardner at The Hollywood Reporter Esquire reports that The U.S. Department of Jusice may be taking a softer line on music licensing, saying in a recent brief that it is not against partial licensing of music tracks.
The issue at hand is the 70+ year old consent decrees that manage how ASCAP and BMI, the two largest performing rights organizations (PROs), operate. The PROs license compositions for public performance to bars, restaurants and other venues and the consent decrees control both how they issue those licenses and how they determine rates. Both ASCAP and BMI recently asked for a reevaluation of those decrees, saying that they were out of date in the digital age, but the DOJ upheld them and added the requirement of 100% music licensing.
Since many tracks are composed by multiple authors and those authors may be represented by different PROs, the PROs currently offer partial licensing, meaning you need a license from all PROs involved before you can perform a song. However, the DOJ plan would have required either PRO to offer 100% licensing and then ensure royalties were paid to the other artists. BMI sued over that interpretation and won a victory in the lower court, the DOJ appealed but now, under the new administration, has signaled a softer stance on partial licensing.
The DOJ, once saying that fractional licensing wasn’t in the public interest, is now saying that “the Decree does not prohibit BMI from providing fractional licenses for songs that are outside the repertory, as defined by the Decree, and separate from the blanket license.” Radio, media and tech companies were unhappy about this new interpretation and filed an amici brief in the case, but were denied the opportunity to speak at the hearing.
Next up today, Andy at Torrentfreak writes that, in Australia, the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment (ACE) and the Coalition Against Piracy (CAP) have shuttered a major pirate TV operation in the country, not through legal action, but through cooperation.
The service, which was unnamed, shuttered its doors after reaching a deal with the two anti-piracy outfits. The service had used set-top boxes, similar to Amazon TV boxes, to distribute unlicensed television over the internet to users, who had paid for a 12-month subscription.
However, rather than using legal pressure, ACE and CAP approached the service’s operators and demanded it closed. They struck a deal and did so, though the terms of the agreement bar discussion of the exact terms. The move comes as reports that ACE has been taking a similar approach with developers of Kodi addons used for piracy, forcing the closure and removal of many such apps.
Finally today, Chantal Fernandez at Business of Fashion reports that actress, model and now fashion designer Emily Ratajkowski has received a cease and desist letter from fellow designer Lisa Marie Fernandez over two of Ratajkowski’s swimsuit designs.
According to Fernandez, two of Ratajkowski’s swimsuts, a Leandra bikini and Triple Poppy Maillot, bear too close of a resemblance to her earlier, less expensive works.
However, in the United States, there is no protection for the functional elements of fashion, including the cut and shape. But, since Ratajkowski ships the Inamorata Swimwear Collection worldwide, Fernandez included two European Union Community Design Registration certificates, that give her exclusive control over those designs in the EU until at least 2020.
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.