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First off today, Andy Maxwell at Torrentfreak writes that the UK ISP TalkTalk has announced that it has been ordered by a court to block access to the site Sci-Hub.
Sci-Hub has become famous for offering illegal downloads of scientific content including journals and papers. Unlike most pirate sites, Sci-Hub has become popular with academics but remained the bane of publishers. Now, two of those publishers, Elsevier and Springer Nature, have successfully petitioned a UK court to order ISPs to block it.
Though only TalkTalk has confirmed the blocking, such orders usually extend to all major ISPs in the country and will likely impact Virgin Media, BT, Sky, EE and O2 among others.
Next up today, Reuters reports that a European Commission spokesperson has said that the EU situation with publishers is “different” from that in Australia and that is why Facebook and Google are working with EU publishers but threatening to pull out of Australia.
Back in 2019, the EU passed a new copyright directive that requires search engines like Google to pay for the use of news content from publishers. That law goes into effect June 7. Australia has been working to pass a similar law but has been met with pushback by Facebook and Google, both threatening to pull out of the country if it is enacted.
The commissioner did not specify why the Australian situation was different, but others have noted that Australia is a much smaller market than the EU and the details about how the laws work are different as well.
Finally today, NMPA President David Israelite has penned an op-ed for Billboard where he discusses how the Music Modernization Act (MMA) has resulted in once-unclaimed royalties now starting to make their way to their rightful owners.
The MMA set up the Mechanical Licensing Collective (MLC) to handle the distribution of mechanical royalties from streaming services. The MLC has received just shy of $425 million in unmatched money. The MLC is now working to distribute that money, a process that represents a mammoth challenge.
According to Israelite, the transfer of royalties and the data shows that streaming services could have been doing much more to match up royalties but that, with the MMA, they can help grow a much more robust streaming economy for musicians.