TODAY'S TOP STORY: TikTok yesterday filed a lawsuit challenging the US state of Montana's new law that will ban any distribution and downloading of the video-sharing app from the start of next year. The company argues that the ban violates the First Amendment rights of the company and its users... [READ MORE]

TOP STORIES TikTok sues Montana over ban
LEGAL Judge declines to grant Maria Schneider's Content ID lawsuit class action status
IFPI welcomes new European Commission report on copyright regimes around the world
LIVE BUSINESS Irish Health Service Executive unveils drug harm-reduction initiative at this summer's festivals
MEDIA Documentary on the Hipgnosis design studio to get UK premiere at Sundance London
AWARDS Stormzy among winners of this year's Silver Clef Awards
ONE LINERS Take That, Niall Horan, Zara Larsson, more
AND FINALLY... Smashed Kurt Cobain guitar sells at auction for over ten times its estimate
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TikTok sues Montana over ban
TikTok yesterday filed a lawsuit challenging the US state of Montana's new law that will ban any distribution and downloading of the video-sharing app from the start of next year. The company argues that the ban violates the First Amendment rights of the company and its users.

Montana Governor Greg Gianforte formally signed the ban into law last week, it having been passed by lawmakers in the state last month. It's a response to ongoing concerns in political circles that the Chinese government has access to TikTok user-data via the app's China-based owned Bytedance.

TikTok denies that there are any data security issues on its platform. And the ban in Montana, it insists, attacks the free speech rights of American citizens provided by the First Amendment of the US constitution.

When Gianforte formally backed the ban last week, a TikTok spokesperson said: "Governor Gianforte has signed a bill that infringes on the First Amendment rights of the people of Montana by unlawfully banning TikTok, a platform that empowers hundreds of thousands of people across the state".

Yesterday's legal filing also raises other issues with the ban. According to Reuters, TikTok also claims that the ban in Montana "is pre-empted by federal law because it intrudes upon matters of exclusive federal concern and violates the Commerce Clause of the US Constitution, which limits the authority of states to enact legislation that unduly burdens interstate and foreign commerce".

Five TikTok creators in Montana have also filed a lawsuit seeking to block the ban. But the office of the state's Attorney General, Austin Knudsen, which is tasked with implementing the ban, insists it expected these legal challenges and is ready to fight them.

Responding to TikTok's lawsuit, a spokesperson for Knudsen told reporters: "We expected legal challenges and are fully prepared to defend the law that helps protect Montanans' privacy and security".


Judge declines to grant Maria Schneider's Content ID lawsuit class action status
A US judge has declined to grant class action status to the ongoing lawsuit being led by musician Maria Schneider over who has access to YouTube's Content ID technology.

In the long-running legal battle, Schneider argues that - while YouTube's Content ID platform is a decent rights management system - it is only made available to larger rights holders and content aggregators, therefore unfairly creating extra challenges for independent creators and copyright owners.

Those independent creators have to manually monitor and manage the unlicensed use of their content by users on the YouTube platform.

And the manual system provided by YouTube is defective, it's alleged, meaning that the Google-owned company isn't fulfilling its obligations under copyright law to ensure that all and any copyright owners can stop the infringement of their works on its platform.

For its part, YouTube argues that it has invested over $100 million developing industry-leading rights management tools. But, given Content ID allows rights owners to block or monetise other people's videos, it has to be careful who has access to that system. However, independent creators can gain access by working with distributors or aggregators.

Schneider's original co-plaintiff on the case was removed from the litigation after it emerged that he had tried to game the system in order to gain access to Content ID. Some other copyright owners then joined the case as plaintiffs, they being Uniglobe Entertainment and AST Publishing.

If the lawsuit had class action status, any success in court would benefit other independent creators and copyright owners who have had to manually monitor and manage the unlicensed use of their content on YouTube.

However, judge James Donato has ruled that the case is not appropriate for a class action. That's on the basis that any one creator's claim would need to be individually assessed, for example to identify if said creator's content is actually covered by any of the licences YouTube has in place.

According to Billboard, Donato wrote in his ruling responding to the Schneider side's bid for class action status: "It has been said that copyright claims are poor candidates for class action treatment and for good reason. Every copyright claim turns upon facts which are particular to that single claim of infringement [and] every copyright claim is also subject to defences that require their own individualised inquiries".

"Whether YouTube has a licence for a particular work will be a matter of intense inquiry at trial", he also added. "The answer to this inquiry will depend upon facts and circumstances unique to each work and copyright claimant".

Donato's decision on class action status doesn't stop the litigation from proceeding. And the imminent trial should still provide some interesting insight on how rights management works within the YouTube ecosystem, the responsibilities of YouTube to deal with infringing content and the nature of its licences with the music industry.

Plus there is also an interesting side dispute over the allegation that YouTube allows the removal of important copyright data as content is uploaded.

However, the impact of any ruling in court that might favour Schneider and her co-plaintiffs will be much narrower following Donato's latest ruling.


IFPI welcomes new European Commission report on copyright regimes around the world
The International Federation Of The Phonographic Industry has welcomed a new report from the European Commission which identifies issues and concerns with the way intellectual property rights are structured and enforced in various countries.

Published every other year, the EC says that its EU Priority Countries Report aims to identify countries outside the European Union "in which the state of intellectual property rights protection and enforcement - both online and offline - gives rise to the greatest level of concern".

The 'priority countries' identified in the report are "not necessarily those where intellectual property rights protection and enforcement are the most problematic in absolute terms but rather those where such deficiencies are deemed to cause the greatest economic harm to EU interests".

The report is similar to the Special 301 Report put together by the US government, the most recent edition of which was published last month. Both reports make China a high priority, noting that - while there have been definite improvements in the Chinese intellectual property regime in recent years - more needs to be done.

The EC report states: "China has amended its … legislation to strengthen intellectual property rights protection but legal certainty and uneven or inconsistent application of the laws remain a major issue, coupled with high levels of piracy and counterfeiting that would require further measures, even though China has made progress here as well".

Commenting on the EC report, the IFPI notes that some of the concerns it has raised are highlighted, including "the absence of effective performance rights in practice in Indonesia and South Korea, alongside ongoing issues such as the problematic Section 31D statutory licence in India".

The latter relates to a position taken by the Indian government in 2016 that on-demand streaming should be classified as 'broadcasting', meaning streaming platforms could in theory utilise a statutory licensing system originally intended for more conventional broadcasters.

In terms of positives highlighted in the new report, the IFPI notes that the EC "recognises the progress made in Nigeria in adopting the new Copyright Act. While there are still some concerns around the practical enforcement of rights in Nigeria, the act should help improve the protection of online content whilst strengthening the enforcement of copyright in the local digital environment".

"Similarly, whilst still highlighting Brazil's ongoing failure to ratify the World Intellectual Property Organisation treaties, it recognises the positive developments made around enforcement in the country over the last twelve months".

Commenting further on the report, IFPI boss Frances Moore, says: "We welcome the latest update from the European Commission and are pleased to be able to support its ongoing work in this area. Properly established and enforced intellectual property rights are fundamental to the sustainable success of a country's music sector and the essential economic and cultural contribution it makes".

"The US government recently published its Special 301 Report", she also notes, "which examines the adequacy and effectiveness of US trading partners' protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights. It similarly reflects IFPI's perspectives, and those of the European Commission, including around Brazil, China, India and Thailand".

"We hope that both reports will help to raise awareness of the deficiencies in intellectual property rights protection in these countries", she concludes. "We continue to work alongside our member record companies … to improve the situation for the benefit of music communities around the world".

You can download the EU Priority Countries Report here.


Irish Health Service Executive unveils drug harm-reduction initiative at this summer's festivals
Ireland's Health Service Executive yesterday announced details of a drug harm-reduction initiative that it will be running at music festivals across the country this summer, building on a pilot scheme run at Electric Picnic last year.

The initiative includes a drug monitoring programme, via which festival-goers will be able to anonymously submit drugs to experts through so called surrender bins, especially substances that might be a cause for concern. Those drugs are tested and if specific issues are identified - for example if drugs are circulating that are of a particularly high strength or have been mixed with other substances - real time alerts will be posted via social media.

Commenting on the scheme, Professor Eamon Keenan - National Clinical Lead for Addiction Services at the HSE - says: "This approach will improve our drug monitoring capabilities and help to tailor our harm-reduction services in Ireland ... We can access drugs in a safe, non-judgemental manner to quickly gain insight on what drugs may be in circulation and issue real time drug alerts about substances of concern to festival attendees via our social media channels".

"As shown at the first phase conducted at Electric Picnic last summer, this approach has the potential to identify trends otherwise unknown", he explains. "The HSE found trends of concern including high potency drugs, twelve new psychoactive substances and four drugs which had never been identified before in Ireland".

"As well as high strength drugs appearing, as seen recently in the UK, we are currently concerned about the possibility of new psychoactive substances being mis-sold as MDMA pills or crystal, cocaine and cannabis", he goes on. "New drugs are continuing to emerge and we must be aware of the risks they pose, in particular the risks of overdose and mental health problems".

He then concludes: "While the HSE recognises that it is safer not to use drugs at all and there is always risk, the campaign has been developed in response to a changing drug landscape in Ireland and aims to offer people who use drugs practical harm-reduction information on how they can reduce health harms if they choose to use".

Similar drug testing schemes have been run at festivals in other countries, including in the UK where the charity The Loop has done lots of interesting work over the years. Some such schemes also directly feedback to the individuals who provide the drugs to be tested.

Obviously the people running these initiatives need to work in collaboration with police, to ensure festival-goers who provide what are usually illegal drugs for testing don't face legal consequences. Like the HSE in Ireland, most police forces would officially prefer there to be no illegal drugs in circulation at festivals, but some also recognise that a pragmatic approach focused on harm-reduction is the sensible strategy to adopt.

The HSE's initiative also provides some practical advice for people taking drugs at festivals, including "tell your friends if you decide to use drugs at the festival; start low and go slow, take a small test dose; avoid mixing drugs, including alcohol and prescription medication; and if you or a friend becomes physically or mentally unwell ... be honest with medics about what was taken, they are there to help".


Documentary on the Hipgnosis design studio to get UK premiere at Sundance London
A documentary about the London-based music-centric design studio Hipgnosis - which was behind the distinctive artwork to a plethora of albums released from the late 1960s to the early 1980s - will get its UK premiere as part of the Sundance Film Festival London in July.

Originally premiered at the Telluride Film Festival last year, 'Squaring The Circle' was directed by Anton Corbijn. And, according to the official blurb, it "tells the story of Storm Thorgerson and Aubrey 'Po' Powell, the creative geniuses behind the iconic album art design studio Hipgnosis [who] were responsible for some of the most recognisable album covers of all time, including Pink Floyd's 'Dark Side Of The Moon', Paul McCartney and Wings' 'Band On The Run', and Led Zeppelin's 'Houses Of The Holy'".

Says Corbijn: "My life has been dominated by sound and vision as it were. At seventeen, I started taking photos of musicians who created the soundtrack of my youth, first for magazines and later for record covers, and then trying out moving images as a director for music videos from the early 80s onwards".

"It was a long road", he adds, "but I eventually made feature films: my first one, [Ian Curtis biopic] 'Control', dealt with music I loved, and now my first documentary deals with record covers and their beauty and power, and the craziness to get there. It has been an honour to tell Hipgnosis's, Storm's and Po's story in 'Squaring The Circle'".

Among those backing the film are BMG and the Hipgnosis Songs Fund, the latter being named after the design studio, its founder Merck Mercuriadis having been a big fan of the artwork it created and, for a time, Thorgerson's manager.

The documentary will be screened at the Sundance Film Festival London on 7 Jul before going on general release and becoming available online on-demand on 14 Jul. Here's a trailer.


Approved: Tonguetied
Elena Garcia releases 'Losing My Mind', her debut single as Tonguetied, today. A raw and emotional track, Garcia's electronic production builds in intensity along with the lyrics, which document a low point in her mental health.

"2021 was a tough year for me, a year of survival, a year of confusion, my brain felt like it was my own worst enemy", she says. "Whilst part of me craved being removed from it all, this feeling of detachment equally made me feel like I was starting to lose grip on my sanity".

"Looking back now it may have been one of the first times I had truly been honest with myself", she goes on. "I hit record and it all just blurted out. It was important for me to keep those original vocal takes, as I knew the emotion in that evening was not something that could truly be captured again".

"In the moment, sadness may have been the driving factor, but reflecting on the writing process now, many other emotions are interlaced into 'Losing My Mind", she concludes. "Relief, anger and, perhaps most surprisingly, planted by my honesty that night, a small but very mighty feeling of hope".

Watch the video for 'Losing My Mind' here.

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Stormzy among winners of this year's Silver Clef Awards
Organisers of the Silver Clef Awards - which raise money each year for music therapy charity Nordoff And Robbins - have announced some of the artists who will be honoured at this year's event, which takes place in London on 30 Jun.

Stormzy will be presented with the actual Silver Clef Award, while Wet Leg will receive the New Music Award, Ayanna Witter-Johnson the Classical Award and Biffy Clyro the Best Live Act prize. An Outstanding Achievement Award will go to Neneh Cherry and an Icon Award to Mark King of Level 42.

Says Stormzy said: "Throughout my career people have tried to box me in as an artist. That's why musical freedom is so important to me and I really believe that everybody in society, regardless of physical or mental barriers, should have access to the power that music brings".

"Nordoff And Robbins' music therapists really help people to break through communication barriers", he goes on, "so that they can experience freedom and connection through music. It feels great to be supporting this special charity and I'm delighted to receive the O2 Silver Clef Award".

Nordoff And Robbins CEO Sandra Schembri adds: "The O2 Silver Clef Awards is our biggest fundraising event of the year. It's incredibly special to us and we are ever grateful for the level of support we receive from the music industry".

"Every penny raised from the O2 Silver Clef Awards helps Nordoff And Robbins support more people, through the power of music, to break through the barriers caused by life-limiting illness, mental health challenges, disability and social isolation", she adds.

"We believe that everyone who needs it should have access to music therapy, because our work can be transformative, from an adult with dementia reconnecting with family, to a child with autism finding their voice".



Take That have signed themselves to Universal Music's EMI Records in order to release some new music. You know, on the off chance somebody somewhere wants some. Say Gary Barlow, Howard Donald and Mark Owen in perfect unison: "It's very clear that the team at EMI share our love and passion for music, and our ambition, and we are very excited about working together".

Music publisher OTM has announced a bunch of new signings, having recently done deals with Slinger, The Heavy, Poter Elvinger, Flyte and Moa Moa. Says founder Alex Sheridan: "As a growing independent publisher, our focus has always been on building a roster of the best up-and-coming songwriters and producers in the world, so we are THRILLED to welcome these artists to OTM".

Music publisher the Wise Music Group has signed DJ/Producer Ron Trent to its Campbell Connelly imprint. Says he: "In this business, partnerships are everything. I am looking forward to a great alliance with Wise Music and their creative forces to forge forward into more powerful foundational ventures".



Music lawyer Victoria Wood has rejoined the team at Clintons, where she trained ten years ago. "I had unfinished business with Clintons and I am THRILLED to re-join the highly accomplished team", she says. "Clintons has such an established roster of clients and the move offers me a platform to be expansive and evolve and grow my practice further". With her she brings her own roster of clients, including Rina Sawayama, Self Esteem, Shygirl and Sigala.



Zara Larsson has released new single 'End Of Time'. "I have been working on this song for a long time and as soon as it was finished, we all knew that it was really special", she says.

Bonnie 'Prince' Billy will release new album 'Keeping Secrets Will Destroy You' on 11 Aug. Out now is new single 'Bananas'.

Dot Allison will release new album 'Consciousology' on 28 Jul. Out now is new single 'Unchanged'.

Ama Lou has released new single 'Caught Me Running'.

Bad Dreems have released the video for 'Mallee' from their new album 'Hoo Haa!', which is out now.



Niall Horan has announced UK and Ireland live dates in February and March next year, including a performance at Wembley Arena in London on 1 Mar. His new album 'The Show' is out on 9 Jun.

This year's Eurovision winner Loreen will be back in the UK and Ireland for live shows later this year, as part of a wider European tour. The run will include a show at Electric Brixton in London on 10 Nov. "I'm so THRILLED to finally go on a European tour and to invite you all into my universe", she says. Tickets go on general sale on Friday.

Check out our weekly Spotify playlist of new music featured in the CMU Daily - updated every Friday.


Smashed Kurt Cobain guitar sells at auction for over ten times its estimate
A guitar smashed by Kurt Cobain has sold at auction for almost $600,000 - around ten times the original estimated price.

The black Fender Stratocaster was used by Cobain during touring for Nirvana's 'Nevermind' album and shows signs of having been broken and repaired a number of times. Eventually it was gifted to Screaming Trees frontman Mark Lanegan in late 1992, with inscriptions from each band member written to him on the body of the guitar.

While the electronics in the guitar still work - making it technically playable - part of the neck and half of the headstock is missing, leaving it less than fully functional.

Originally it was estimated that the guitar would sell at auction in New York for $60,000 - $80,000. Following 31 bids, it eventually reached $596,900 (just over £480,000).

Last year the same auction house, Julien's Auctions, sold the guitar Cobain used in the video for 'Smells Like Teen Spirit', which similarly sold for well over its estimate - raising over $4.6 million.


ANDY MALT heads up our editorial operations, overseeing the CMU Dailywebsite and Setlist podcast, managing social channels, reporting on artist and business stories, and writing the CMU Approved column.
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CHRIS COOKE is co-Founder and MD of CMU - he continues to write key business news stories, and runs training, research and event projects for the CMU Insights consultancy unit and CMU:DIY future talent programme.
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SAM TAYLOR leads on the commerical side of CMU, overseeing sales, sponsorship and business development, as well as heading up training, research and event projects at our consultancy unit CMU Insights.
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CARO MOSES is Editor of CMU's sister media ThisWeek Culture and ThreeWeeks Edinburgh. Having previously also written and edited articles for CMU, she continues to advise and support our operations.
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