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First off today, Andy at Torrentfreak writes that six years after the closure of the Movies2K pirate site, German police have made a pair of arrests in the case.
The site, which was a wildly popular pirate that was opened in 2008, suddenly closed in May 2013. Though it was followed up by imitator sites, including Movies4K, many wondered what had happened to the original and if there had been any arrests. However, now we learn that the investigation into the site had been ongoing and, according to the Attorney General’s office in Dresden, two men aged 37 and 44 have been arrested under suspicion of having operated the site.
The site itself is accused of distributing more than 880,000 movies and TV shows and became the 240th most popular site on the internet for a time. Of the two men arrested, one is a real estate entrepreneur that is accused of managing revenue for the site. The other’s role is unknown.
2: Music Artists Coalition & Songwriters of North America Urge Appeals Court to Uphold Copyright Royalty Rate Hike
Next up today, Chris Eggertsen at Billboard reports that the Music Artists Coalition (MAC) and the Songwriters of North America (SONA) have filed a joint petition with the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals asking them to uphold the royalty rate increase for copyright owners.
The Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) oversees the royalty rates charged on the compulsory license for mechanical royalties, which are paid to songwriters and publishers when music is sold or streamed. Back in 2018, the CRB approved a significant rate increase that would see those rates rise by 44% by 2022. The increase would also be retroactive to January 1, 2018.
This prompted an appeal from Spotify, Amazon Music, Google Play and Pandora, who all claimed the hike was too much. Now the MAC and SONA are writing to ask that the new rates be allowed to stay, noting that artists now make the bulk of their living from digital services but do not earn nearly the same amount they did from physical media.
Finally today, Todd Spangler at Variety reports that Amazon is opening up its free music streaming tier to more areas, including the United States, U.K. and Germany among others. The service is now also available on more platforms including iOS, Android and FireTV as well as the Web.
The tier, which is aimed at competing with Spotify’s free tier, allows users to stream music from stations and playlists but not pick specific songs. For that feature, Amazon offers an unlimited streaming service for $7.99 per month to its Prime members. $9.99 per month for non-members.
News of the move caused shares in Spotify to drop 4.9%, indicating that many are worried about Spotify’s future as Amazon enters this market.