CMU Digest

CMU Digest 16.09.19: Consent decrees, Deezer, Content ID, UK Music, Cox Communications

By | Published on Monday 16 September 2019

US Department Of Justice

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

The US Department Of Justice published the 877 submissions it received as part of its current review of the consent decrees that regulate BMI and ASCAP. The American collecting societies want the current regulations streamlined and a sunset clause added that could ultimately mean the end of DoJ regulation. The broadcast, venue and bar sectors oppose that proposal. The submissions also included arguments from rival society Global Music Rights as to why the consent decrees are necessary to allow smaller rights organisations to compete. Some songwriter groups also requested a new rule to stop publishers shifting works from one society to another without the writer’s consent. We now await the DoJ’s response. [READ MORE]

Deezer stepped up its support of the user-centric approach to distributing streaming royalties. Currently streaming services pool all monies and play counts for any one product type in any one market before calculating what each label, distributor, publisher and collecting society is owed based on their respective total consumption shares. Under user-centric, this process would be done on a user-by-user basis. Artists streamed by low-use subscribers would benefit, while those streamed by high-use subscribers would lose out. Deezer has been quietly supporting this approach for a while now, but last week launched a consumer-facing website setting out its arguments. It hopes to shift to user-centric for recordings in France next year. [READ MORE]

Eight members of US Congress wrote to Google with questions about YouTube’s Content ID system. The law-makers want Google reps to attend a roundtable to answer questions about its rights management technology. A key question is why it does not make it available to a wider variety of rights owners. In a letter, the Congress members said that YouTube’s current policy to only make Content ID available to those with large catalogues of content put smaller rights owners at a disadvantage. [READ MORE]

UK Music put the spotlight back on the issue of shared parental leave as Britain’s political parties prepared for their annual conferences. Campaigners want new flexibilities that were introduced in 2015 to allow parents to share parental leave and maternity allowances to be extended to freelancers as well as those in conventional employment. The current system disadvantages couples where one or both parents are self-employed. This is a particular issue for the music industry because of the very high levels of self-employment in the sector. [READ MORE]

Both Cox Communications and the Recording Industry Association Of America sought summary judgements in their favour in their ongoing legal battle. The RIAA wants to hold US internet firm Cox liable for its customers’ copyright infringement on the basis its deliberately slack system for dealing with repeat infringers means it should not enjoy safe harbour protection from such liability. In recently submitted court papers Cox said that the RIAA had presented insufficient evidence of the alleged infringements. In its motion, the RIAA said it was clear Cox had deliberately turned a blind eye to infringement on its networks, and that the ruling in the earlier BMG v Cox case backs up all of its arguments. [READ MORE]