TODAY'S TOP STORY: A group of organisations representing different American copyright industries have set out their top piracy gripes in a letter to the US Patent And Trademark Office. It confirms that stream-ripping is still the music industry's greatest concern, while also stressing that "reverse proxy services and the lack of meaningful access to domain name registrant data are ongoing challenges for the creative industries"... [READ MORE]

TOP STORIES US copyright owners outline key piracy gripes of today
DEALS Cooking Vinyl Publishing signs Her's catalogue
MANAGEMENT & FUNDING Ariana Grande is leaving Scooter Braun, despite denials
ARTIST NEWS Demand high as tickets go on sale for Taylor Swift concert film screenings
ONE LINERS Nicki Minaj, Timbaland, Kylie Minogue, more
AND FINALLY... WAP lyric theft lawsuit dismissed
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US copyright owners outline key piracy gripes of today
A group of organisations representing different American copyright industries have set out their top piracy gripes in a letter to the US Patent And Trademark Office. It confirms that stream-ripping is still the music industry's greatest concern, while also stressing that "reverse proxy services and the lack of meaningful access to domain name registrant data are ongoing challenges for the creative industries".

The trade groups add that tackling online piracy requires "strong legal incentives" to ensure that various stakeholders - especially the providers of internet services - are persuaded to collaborate with copyright owners in order to hinder and halt those involved in online copyright infringement. And "governments have a critical role to play in encouraging such cooperation".

The International Intellectual Property Alliance - which has the Recording Industry Association Of America as a member - was responding to a call for submissions made by the Patent And Trademark Office in order to inform "future strategies in anti-counterfeiting and anti-piracy". IIPA made its submission last month, with its letter published by Torrentfreak yesterday.

It runs though some specific piracy concerns for book publishers, movie studios, TV producers and gaming companies, before getting to stream-ripping, which has been a particular worry for the music industry in recent years.

This relates to websites that allow people to grab permanent downloads from temporary streams, in particular downloading the audio from videos on YouTube. The operators of stream-ripping services argue that they don't themselves infringe copyright, because they don't host any infringing material and have legitimate as well as illegitimate uses.

Nevertheless, courts in some counties have concluded that, by facilitating and/or encouraging the infringement of others, stream-ripping sites can be liable for authorising or contributory infringement. Meanwhile, in the US, more recently the key argument has been that stream-ripping sites circumvent technical protection measures put in place by platforms like YouTube to stop downloads, which breaks rules in the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

"Stream-ripping services infringe the making available right and circumvent the technical protection measures used to prevent download of music streams", the IIPA letter states. "These services have proliferated in the last few years, making stream-ripping the dominant method of music piracy globally".

The technical protection measure rules in the DMCA seem to be providing a way for copyright owners to tackle stream-ripping - with those rules being crucial in the legal battle between the US record industry and stream-ripper Yout. However, that approach isn't necessarily available in other countries around the world.

"While legal protection of technical protection measures, where properly implemented, enables effective enforcement actions against distributors of unlawful circumvention technologies", the letter goes on, "these efforts are often undermined by countries that have yet to implement adequate protections against circumvention activities and services".

As well as seeking legal powers to go after piracy sites through the courts, the copyright industries also want more help from legitimate internet companies whose services may be utilised by illegitimate operators.

That includes companies that provide so called reverse proxy services. These, the IIPA letter states, "are a serious concern ... because they act as a firewall and protect websites by hiding the IP addresses and hosting providers of these websites".

"While reverse proxy services serve a legitimate purpose, many pirate sites utilise reverse proxy services to hide true hosting information and to transmit large files faster", it adds. "Such uses make enforcement against these sites extremely challenging. IIPA requests that the US government include reverse proxy services in its efforts to address this widespread, systemic problem and to stop the misuse of such services".

Torrentfreak notes that the company that provides services of that kind which is most frequently criticised by copyright owners is Cloudflare. And while it isn't specifically mentioned in the letter, it would definitely be covered by that particular IIPA request.

An organisation that is specifically named in the letter is ICAAN, which oversees the internet's domain name system. This criticism relates to the challenges copyright owners face in identifying the companies or individuals operating at any one domain, which can be required when seeking to pursue a copyright action against the site or service using that domain.

The problem, reckons IIPA, is ICANN's "failure to establish and implement an effective mechanism for [domain] registrars to collect accurate data and for rights holders to access the data for the protection of intellectual property".

Keen to ensure that the Patent And Trademark Office considers the responsibilities of otherwise legitimate internet companies and organisations when developing its anti-piracy strategies, IIPA adds: "Governments have a critical role to play in encouraging such cooperation, ensuring that their laws are fit for the digital age, and confronting the services that promote, induce or benefit from infringers who exploit labourers and divert consumers from legitimate providers".

"Attention to these issues", it concludes, "is an essential element in correcting the present dysfunction in the online ecosystem that permits websites dedicated to infringement to continue to operate and be profitable".


Cooking Vinyl Publishing signs Her's catalogue
Cooking Vinyl Publishing has signed a deal covering the songs catalogue of indie-rock duo Her's, four years after they were killed in a car accident while on tour in the US.

The deal has been agreed between Cooking Vinyl, the band's record label and management company Heist Or Hit, and the families of the two band members, Audun Laading and Stephen Fitzpatrick. It is the first time that the songs in the catalogue have been published.

"We are honoured to announce our new partnership with Cooking Vinyl Publishing in commemoration of the enduring musical legacy of Her's, a fantastically unique duo that has left an everlasting mark on music fans across the world", says Heist Or Hit's Martin Colclough.

"We're incredibly proud to have witnessed the hugely positive impact that Stephen and Audun's songs have made over the past four years", he goes on, "and this new collaboration will enable us to preserve their musical heritage and continue to inspire future generations".

Cooking Vinyl Publishing Managing Director Ryan Farley adds: "We're immensely proud to be entrusted with Stephen and Audun's amazing songs at Cooking Vinyl. It's an honour to represent the legacy of a great band who were undeniably one of the UK's most exciting new acts before they were cruelly taken from us. I look forward to working with Heist Or Hit, and the boys' families, to protect and promote Her's' music in the years ahead".

Laading and Fitzpatrick, along with their tour manager Trevor Engelbrektson, were killed as a result of a head-on collision in Arizona in 2019, while on tour in the US. They released two albums, 2017's 'Songs Of Her's' and 2018's 'Invitation To Her's', which have both remained popular in the years following their deaths, with almost 3.5 million monthly listeners on Spotify.


Ariana Grande is leaving Scooter Braun, despite denials
Ariana Grande is dropping Scooter Braun as her manager, despite claims to the contrary, according to reports. There was much speculation last month that both Grande and Braun's highest profile client, Justin Bieber, were seeking new management, although sources at his company SB Projects denied this.

Rumours about Grande and Bieber leaving SB Projects began circulating as it was confirmed that another client, Demi Lovato, had indeed ended a four year alliance with Braun's management firm. It also followed the departure of Idina Menzel in January this year and J Balvin in May.

As the Grande and Bieber rumours gained momentum, sources close to SB Projects said that the company was simply going through some restructuring as Braun stepped back from artist management in order to focus on his role as CEO of Hybe America.

South Korean entertainment company Hybe acquired Braun's Ithaca Holdings, which included SB Projects, back in 2021, of course.

"All of Scooter Braun's clients are under contract and negotiations have been going on for several months", one of those sources told Rolling Stone. "People are spreading rumours based on what they know, but they are off. Scooter's team at SB Projects are still handling both Justin and Ariana as they work through what this new structure looks like".

But now more unnamed sources are denying that this is the case, telling both Variety and Rolling Stone that "Scooter's team is spinning the story".

Regarding Grande and Braun, Variety's source continued: "They are friendly but she's outgrown him and is excited to go in a different direction. Yes, there are negotiations happening because of contracts. But this is her choice. It's time for something new".

If Braun is stepping away from management, then it would make sense that his high profile clients would seek to find new representation. Although a mass exodus would still not be a good look for SB Projects or Hybe America more generally, both of which presumably still want to attract big names to their rosters.


Playlist: Brand New On CMU
Every Friday we round up all the new music we've covered over the preceding week into a Spotify playlist.

Among the artists with brand new music to check out this week are Nicki Minaj, Timbaland, Lauren Mayberry, Bastille, Griff, Soft Play, No Guidance, VV Brown, Imagine Dragons, The Kills, Aïsha Devi, Join, Taking Back Sunday, Duran Duran, Luci, Jason Derulo, The Callous Daoboys and more.

Check out the whole playlist on Spotify here

Demand high as tickets go on sale for Taylor Swift concert film screenings
Tickets went on sale yesterday for screenings of a 'Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour' concert film, which will arrive in cinemas across North America next month. And, according to Deadline, ticket pre-sales have already topped $10 million.

"The Eras Tour has been the most meaningful, electric experience of my life so far and I'm overjoyed to tell you that it'll be coming to the big screen soon", Swift posted on social media yesterday, alongside a trailer for the film. "Tickets are on sale now. Eras attire, friendship bracelets, singing and dancing encouraged".

US cinema operator AMC Theatres is Swift's partner of the concert film screenings. It said yesterday: "In a groundbreaking programming initiative for AMC and the domestic theatrical industry, beginning Friday 13 Oct, music lovers throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico will be able to enjoy 'Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour' concert film at movie theatres, with their huge screens and state-of-the art sound systems".

"This marks the inaugural step of a new line of business for AMC Entertainment", it added. "In addition to exhibiting 'Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour' concert film at its own theatres, AMC is also acting as the theatrical distributor, securing locations and screens with numerous other movie theatre operators throughout the US, Canada and Mexico".

Obviously aware of what happened when tickets first went on sale for the actual 'The Eras Tour' - the issues that occurred on Ticketmaster's Verified Fan system making the entire ticketing business a political talking point again - AMC also cautioned Swift fans to expect some delays when buying their tickets for the screenings.

"In anticipation of this announcement, AMC has upgraded its website and ticketing engines to handle more than five times the largest influx of ticket-buying traffic the company has ever experienced before", it stressed.

"But AMC is also aware that no ticketing system in history seems to have been able to accommodate the soaring demand from Taylor Swift fans when tickets are first placed on sale. Guests wanting to be the first to buy their tickets online may experience delays, longer-than-usual ticket-purchase waiting-room times and possible outages".

Of course, with a movie version of the show, the advantage is that it can just be screened and screened until demand runs out. As it is, in the initial weeks after the film premieres, "every US AMC Theatre location will run at least four showtimes per day on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays".



The Scottish Music Industry Association has announced that its Creative Director Robert Kilpatrick will take on the additional role of Interim CEO following the departure of Ronnie Gurr from the top job. The association's Interim Chair, Nick Stewart, says: "Robert understands the SMIA's importance better than anyone else. Hard-working and driven, he has been instrumental in achieving the organisation's aims".



Nicki Minaj has released new single 'Last Time That I Saw You'.

Timbaland has released new single 'Keep Going Up', featuring Justin Timberlake and Nelly Furtado.

Kylie Minogue has released new single 'Tension'. Her new album of the same name is out on 22 Sep.

Chvrches' Lauren Mayberry has released her debut solo single, 'Are You Awake?' "For a long time, I couldn't imagine doing anything outside of Chvrches but I think some things that I needed to write had to be done from purely my own point of view", she says. "I never really thought I'd write a piano ballad, or a solo album full stop, so life really is full of surprises".

Bastille have teamed up with Han Zimmer to record a new version of their song 'Pompeii'. "Having the opportunity to work with the living legend that is Hans Zimmer, and his brilliant team, has been an absolute dream", says frontman Dan SMith. "Working with them on this new version of 'Pompeii' has been incredible and has put the biggest smiles on our faces throughout the whole wonderfully surreal experience".

Griff is back with new single 'Vertigo'. "Experiencing love and growing up, it always feels like the world and my emotions are spinning faster than I can keep up with", she says. "'Vertigo' is the beginning of a new creative chapter for me and I'm excited for us all to go on this journey together".

Soft Play - the duo formerly known as Slaves - have released new single 'Punk's Dead'.

No Guidnce have released new single 'Yeah Yeah'.

VV Brown has released new single 'No Fear', featuring Liam Bailey, taken from her upcoming new album 'Am I British Yet?'



The 1975 have announced UK tour dates in February next year, which will include two nights at the O2 Arena in London. Tickets go on general sale on 8 Sep.

Loyle Carner will headline the Royal Albert Hall on 6 Oct, performing his latest album 'Hugo' in full. Tickets go on general sale on 7 Sep.

Venbee is set to head out on a UK tour this autumn, including a show at Heaven in London on 1 Nov. Tickets go on general sale on 8 Sep.

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


WAP lyric theft lawsuit dismissed
A court in New York has dismissed a lyric theft claim made against Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion because, and let's be clear about this, standalone lyrics about wet pussies are not sufficiently original to enjoy copyright protection. And that, people, is the law.

"The concept of using 'pussies so wet' as a rhetorical device in a song is neither original nor unique to plaintiff", district judge Andrew L Carter Jr declared in a ruling earlier this week, "and in any event, copyright does not protect ideas or themes".

You might have guessed that the Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion song subject to this particular lyric theft claim was 'WAP'. Denise Jones, who performs as Necey X, alleged that the 2020 hit ripped off lyrics she wrote the previous year as part in a song called 'Grab Em By The Pussy'.

Additional claims were also made that other Megan Thee Stallion tracks - including 'Thot Shit' and 'Don't Stop' - lifted lyrics from either 'Grab Em By The Pussy' or other songs Jones had written. And there was another rapper named as a defendant alongside Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion, that being 'WAP' co-writer Pardison Fontaine, aka Jordan Thorpe.

Jones claimed that she had previously been involved in a business venture with Thorpe's father which ended in a legal dispute. This, she theorised, provided a motive for "defendants to retaliate against her by infringing on her copyrighted works".

However, the motives of the defendants in the case - and whether or not they had had access to 'Grab Em By The Pussy' before writing 'WAP' - wasn't really relevant.

Why? Well, because none of the identified songs were substantially similar to Jones's work, and while some individual lyrics were similar - as you will all surely remember - "the concept of using 'pussies so wet' as a rhetorical device in a song is neither original nor unique to plaintiff".

And while it wasn't just lines about wet pussies that the various songs named in Jones's lawsuit had in common, the other similarities were also too generic for any claim of copyright infringement.

"Plaintiff claims", Carter added, "that her lyrics 'from east or west coast all the bosses fuck with me' were infringed upon by defendants' ['Don't Stop'] lyrics 'real niggas love me from the H to the D'".

"While these lyrics might use a similar rhetorical device to demonstrate their respective rapper's wide geographical appeal, they are in fact different sentences which communicate similar, yet clearly distinct messages".

And with all that in mind, Carter dismissed Jones's lawsuit.


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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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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