CMU Digest

CMU Digest 01.02.21: PRS, Cox Communications, stream manipulation, BOTS Act, Liberty Media

By | Published on Sunday 31 January 2021

PRS For Music

The key stories from the last week in the music business…

UK collecting society PRS was criticised over its new licence for small-scale livestreamed shows. Song right collecting societies around the world have been considering how to license such shows since the COVID shutdown sparked increased interest in livestreamed music. PRS was previously criticised by the Music Managers Forum and Featured Artists Coalition for a proposed licensing scheme that charges considerably more for livestreamed shows than real-world shows. MMF, FAC and the Music Venue Trust were similarly critical of the new scheme specifically for small-scale livestreamed performances, arguing that it had been launched without consultation and risked making such shows loss-making and unviable. [READ MORE]

Cox Communications asked a US court to pause the payment of a billion dollars in damages to the major record companies. The American internet service provider is appealing a court ruling that held it liable for the copyright infringement of its users, on the basis that because of a deliberately shoddy policy for dealing with repeat infringers it did not have safe harbour protection against that liability. As part of the ruling the majors were collectively awarded a billion dollars in damages. Cox has proposed setting up a bond covering the billion dollars instead of actually handing the money over to the music firms, pending the outcome of the appeal. [READ MORE]

The German record industry secured another injunction against a stream manipulation company. Such companies – which allow artists and labels to buy streams, likes and fans on streaming and other digital platforms – have become a particularly big talking point in the German music industry. By using such services, people can artificially boost the perceived popularity and chart position of artists, and also grab a higher portion of streaming royalties each month than they are actually due. German record industry trade group BVMI and global label organisation IFPI have already targeted a number of such companies through the courts in Germany, and this week got an injunction against [READ MORE]

It was confirmed that three New York based ticket-brokers had been fined $3.7 million for breaching the US Better Online Ticket Sales Act. It’s the first time the US Department Of Justice and Federal Trade Commission have enforced the 2016 law that banned the use of bespoke software to hoover up tickets from primary ticketing sites for sale on the secondary market. The targeted companies were Just in Time Tickets, Concert Specials and Cartisim Corp. The fines were reduced by agreement to the $3.7 million figure based on the three ticket brokers’ ability to pay. [READ MORE]

Liberty Media confirmed it had raised $575 million to fund the acquisition of media and entertainment businesses. The US conglomerate – which already controls Sirius XM and Pandora, and is the biggest shareholder in Live Nation – set up a new acquisition vehicle called the Liberty Media Acquisition Corporation last year. It then raised funds via a January IPO on the Nasdaq stock exchange. We don’t know if Liberty has its eyes on any specific acquisition targets yet, but it has confirmed that the monies will be used for deals in the “media, digital media, music, entertainment, communications, telecommunications and technology industries”. [READ MORE]

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