CMU Digest

CMU Digest 12.04.21: Maria Schneider, Events Research Programme, Lil Nas X, Digital Markets Unit, Young

By | Published on Monday 12 April 2021


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

Musician Maria Schneider criticised YouTube’s policies for dealing with repeat infringers on its platform. Schneider is leading a class action which argues that YouTube should make its Content ID rights management tools available to independent creators, because the manual system for having copyright infringing videos removed from the Google site is not up to much. So much so, the litigation claims, YouTube shouldn’t enjoy safe harbour protection under US law. That protection could also be removed, a new submission to the court argued, because of YouTube’s repeat infringer policy which “fails to satisfy the reasonableness requirement to track and terminate repeat infringers as required for the safe harbours” and “encourages and incentivises users to continue posting infringing content”. [READ MORE]

The UK government published more details about its Events Research Programme that will test the best ways to allow higher capacity events to return as COVID restrictions start to lift. Researchers will monitor a variety of events over the next six weeks with increasing capacities in a variety of indoor and outdoor venues. Many of those events are in the sporting domain, although they will also include comedy, film, corporate and clubbing events in Liverpool, the latter a 3000 capacity night at the Circus club. Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said: “This science-led pilot programme will be the springboard in getting the buzz back of live performance”. [READ MORE]

Nike reached a legal settlement with the maker of Lil Nas X’s Satan Shoes. The modified Nike Air Max 97s were launched by art collective MSCHF to coincide with the release of the rapper’s new single – the video for which sees him giving Satan a lapdance. Both the video and the shoes caused some controversy among Christian groups in the US and Nike got caught up in it all, with some assuming the sportswear brand had endorsed the Satanic version of its Air Max 97s. It had not, and so went legal on the basis the Satan Shoes were causing consumer confusion and diluting its brand. However, a settlement was reached in which MSCHF would offer to buy back the 665 pairs of the limited edition trainers that it had already sold and shipped. Nike seems to think the settlement reinforces that is wasn’t involved in the project, while the legal action got MSCHF and Lil Nas X extra publicity. [READ MORE]

The UK’s Competition & Markets Authority launched a new Digital Markets Unit to better regulate major internet platforms like Google and Facebook. Although its focus will be the market dominance of such platforms and privacy concerns, it will also likely dabble in copyright matters, possibly in collaboration with media regulator OfCom. Indeed one initial focus will be the relationship between the platforms and news providers. That will likely include considering possible new obligations for platforms to get licences from news publishers when their networks are used to share journalism published by those companies, similar to those introduced in Australia and by the 2019 European Copyright Directive. [READ MORE]

Beggars Group allied independent label and management firm Young Turks announced a rebrand as simply Young. Founder Caius Pawson said he’d decided the rebrand was necessary after learning more about the early 20th century political movement from which his company ultimately took its name. He’d originally been inspired by the Rod Stewart track ‘Young Turks’, and how the phrase evoked the solidarity of youth, which seemed relevant when setting up the label in 2005 as “teenagers, wanting and waiting to do something, anything”. But, he went on, “we were unaware of the deeper history of the term and, specifically, that the Young Turks were a group who carried out the Armenian Genocide from 1915 onwards”. Given the name is therefore a “source of hurt and confusion for people”, rebranding as Young seemed like the sensible thing to do, he added. [READ MORE]

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