CMU Digest

CMU Digest 06.04.20: COVID-19, Paradigm, Eminem, Spinrilla, termination rights

By | Published on Monday 6 April 2020


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

The music industry continued to deal with the impact of the COVID-19 shutdown. The Night Time Industries Association called on the UK government to put on freeze on financial commitments to banks so that landlords can afford to pause the rent commitments of venues, bars, clubs and restaurants. A plethora of pan-European music organisations called on national governments and EU institutions to provide specific financial support for the music community, arguing that the impact of the shutdown will be felt long after current COVID-19 measures are lifted. Meanwhile more music industry funds were set up to support those negatively impacted by the shutdown, including a Live Nation-led initiative to support production crews who work on live events. [READ MORE]

Talent agency Paradigm was sued by one of the agents it laid-off as a result of the COVID-19 shutdown. Long-term Paradigm agent Debbee Klein claims that her dismissal breached an oral employment contract she had recently entered into with the agency. Her explosive lawsuit also criticises her former employer’s rapid and severe response to the COVID-19 shutdown, which saw 250 people laid off, arguing that CEO Sam Gores has used the pandemic as an excuse to instigate a long-planned down-sizing. Gores is also accused of dodgy accounting, misogyny in the workplace, paying for prostitutes with company money and lying to his associates. Paradigm and Gores said Klein’s lawsuit was “littered with false, frivolous and scurrilous allegations” and that they would be “100% vindicated” in court. [READ MORE]

Spotify failed to have Eminem’s mechanical royalties lawsuit dismissed on jurisdiction grounds. Eminem’s publishing company Eight Mile Style is suing the streaming firm over unpaid mechanicals, even though the 2018 Music Modernization Act was meant to stop such litigation. The lawsuit was filed in Nashville, but Spotify argued that was inappropriate given Eight Mile Style is based in Detroit and Spotify’s main US base is in New York. But the court concurred with Eminem’s team who argued that the Nashville court had jurisdiction because the allegedly infringing Eminem songs had been streamed by users in Tennessee. Plus similar previous cases had been filed in Nashville and Spotify did not object. [READ MORE]

The Recording Industry Association Of America hit back at a lawsuit recently filed by mixtape sharing platform Spinrilla. That litigation accuses the RIAA of operating a flawed system for issuing takedown notices against sites like Spinrilla and – in doing so – failing to comply with its obligations under the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act. But the RIAA says that’s not true and that Spinrilla is simply trying to distract everyone from its earlier copyright lawsuit against the mixtape platform, and the fact that – in a court hearing on that earlier case – the judge said Spinrilla’s claim of safe harbour protection “is probably not going to stand”. [READ MORE]

The New York courts declined to dismiss the termination right cases being pursued by heritage artists against Universal Music and Sony Music. The artists want court confirmation that the termination right in US copyright law – allowing creators to reclaim assigned copyrights after 35 years – applies to their old record contracts. The labels argue that record contracts are work-for-hire agreements, so the termination right doesn’t apply. Though in their initial bid to get the cases dismissed the labels focused more on various technicalities in relation to the termination notices previously filed by the plaintiffs. Some of those technicalities worked, but most didn’t, meaning the lawsuits will now proceed. [READ MORE]

READ MORE ABOUT: | | | | | | |