CMU Digest

CMU Digest 13.04.20: COVID-19, Universal Music, Post Malone, You Raise Me Up, YouTube

By | Published on Monday 13 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. Eventbrite announced it was downsizing its workforce by 45% to weather the storm, while StubHub was sued for changing the terms of its FanProtect Guarantee as a result of the pandemic. On the up side, Apple Music announced it would advance $50 million to indie labels facing cash flow challenges and in the UK AIM launched a new fund to help freelancers who have lost work because of measures to combat the virus. [READ MORE]

A court in California dismissed the lawsuit over the 2008 fire at Universal Music’s Hollywood archive. A class action involving various parties was launched after last year’s New York Times report that said the major had covered up the scale of the losses incurred in the blaze and had never told most artists who lost masters in it. But by last week only one artist remained involved in the lawsuit – the estate of Tom Petty – and the court ruled that, under his record contract, he had no right to share in any insurance money or other damages stemming from the loss of master recordings. [READ MORE]

Post Malone was sued by a former collaborator who claims he co-wrote the 2019 hit ‘Circles’. Canadian musician Tyler Armes says the song was conceived during an all-night recording session he took part in back in August 2018. Armes alleges that Malone has acknowledged his involvement in writing the song but refused to give him a co-writer credit after he pushed for more than a 5% split of the copyright. [READ MORE]

A US court dismissed a plagiarism lawsuit over the song ‘You Raise Me up’. Made famous by Josh Groban and Westlife, the hit was written by Norwegian songwriter Rolf Løvland. He was accused of ripping off an earlier Icelandic song called ‘Soknudur’. But the judge ruled that the two songs were not sufficiently similar, while strongly criticising a report from musicologist Judith Finell that said otherwise. Finell is best known for her work for Marvin Gaye’s family in the big ‘Blurred Lines’ song-theft case. [READ MORE]

An Advocate General of the European Court Of Justice said that, under European law, YouTube only has to hand over the name and mailing address of a copyright infringing user. In a German case, movie firm Constantin Film hoped that the video site’s obligation to share the ‘address’ of such a user might also mean an IP or email address, or even a phone number. But Saugmandsgaard Øe said that, in his opinion, European law must be interpreted using “everyday language’ definitions, and the everyday definition of “address” is the physical mailing address of the user, nothing else. Judges in the ECJ must now decide whether they endorse Øe’s opinion. [READ MORE]

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