Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Hives Sued for Copyright Infringement

Jason Shapiro, formerly of the glam-rock band Celebrity Skin, has filed a copyright infringement suit against Swedish rockers the Hives claiming that their song "Tick Tick Boom Boom" has infringed his song "Why You" which he recorded with his band the Roofies in 1997. Shapiro said the two tunes were analyzed by a musicologist who said "the part in question -the main riff and vocal melody- was very similar and its uniqueness led him to believe it wasn't just a coincidence.” You can check out the LA Times article on it here.

In order to prove Copyright Infringement, Shapiro must prove three things. 1) He is the owner of a valid Copyright, 2) there was actual infringement, and 3) the infringement was substantial. 1) Most likely Shapiro owns the copyright in the whole song but the most important thing here is whether the riff and piece of the vocal melody are unique enough to afford their own copyright protection. If the court says they are not because they are too minimal and not unique then there is no case. 2) If it is established that there is a valid copyright then they must prove there was actual copying and the court will look how similar the songs are and if the band had access to the original song. I think this will be the hardest thing for Shapiro to prove because the Hives being from Sweden probably have never heard Shapiro's local Los Angeles band therefore did not have access to their song. More facts will be need obviously to make this determination. 3) Lastly, if they can prove there was copying then it is up to a jury to decide how substantially similar the two songs are. More facts are need to know how this case will come out but I think there is a good chance that the Hives will prevail.

You can check out the Roofies song "Why You" here.

You can check the Hives music video for "Tick Tick Boom Boom" below:

Mtv gets back into the Music Video Business

Mtv has launched a music video site similar to YouTube. Mtv has one of the largest collections of music videos in the world and eventually the site will host their entire collection. Check it out here.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

President Bush Signs Controversial Anti-Piracy Law

President Bush has signed a controversial bill that aims to strengthen Anti-Piracy laws in the United States. The bill creates greater penalties, including asset forfeitures, for copyright infringement and creates an Intellectual Property Czar who will report directly to the President on issues of copyright and anti-piracy. The bill was strongly supported by the RIAA and MPAA. Click here for more info on the bill.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

CBS Censor No Age's Political View

CBS would not allow noise-punk's No Age to perform on the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson until guitarist Randy Randall took off his pro-Obama t-shirt. According to Randy Randall:

"I have recently come under what can only be called extreme censorship. I felt it was important to voice my choice for presidential candidate, Barack Obama, seeing as the episode would air eight days before election day. Dean and I decided that it would be better to take advantage of the stage we had at our disposal... Access to affordable health care is an issue very near to my heart for many personal reasons and I am sure that many of you can relate. I have lost and stood by as many of my close family members have battled with terrible illnesses. I have myself gone through traumatic hospitalizations only to come out the other side alive but horribly in debt."

For more info check out this article at Pitchfork.

License Music Through the Internet

Israeli start up company, YouLicense, has made music Licensing as easy as Ebay. Artist and companies will pay a certain fee for access to the site which through its search function will connect companies with songs for use in advertising and other licensing applications. Once companies find a song they like, they can then negotiate with the song owner for its license and pay for its use through paypal. For more details, check out this article from Wired.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

John McCain is not Dave Grohl's Hero

The Foo Fighters issued the following statement after John McCain's campaign used their song "My Hero" without permission:

"This isn't the first time the McCain campaign has used a song without making any attempt to get approval or permission from the artist. It's frustrating and infuriating that someone who claims to speak for the American people would repeatedly show such little respect for creativity and intellectual property. The saddest thing about this is that 'My Hero' was written as a celebration of the common man and his extraordinary potential. To have it appropriated without our knowledge and used in a manner that perverts the original sentiment of the lyric just tarnishes the song. We hope that the McCain campaign will do the right thing and stop using our song--and start asking artists' permission in general!"

McCain has been critized in his campaign for using songs from artists like Heart and Van Halen as well without asking the artist's permission.

Bing Back Punk Rock Satellite Radio Petition


"A number of punk fan have launched an online petition in order to convince XM/Sirius Satellite radio that there is an audience for the radio provider's former punk station, Fungus. The station has since been replaced with a 24-7 AC/DC station. While the all-AC/DC station is slated to expire in January, there is no word on what will replace it going forward. Sirius' former punk page is directing listeners to their Extreme Sports station which will include punk, hip hop and metal.

Both stations provided a mixture of vintage and recent punk rock, with Sirius promising acts like "Sex Pistols, Ramones, Misfits, Black Flag, The Clash, Circle Jerks, Dead Kennedys, Suicidal Tendencies, Pennywise, Fugazi and many more" while Fungus 53 hosted shows DJ-ed by Rancid, Joe Sib's Complete Control Radio and others. NOFX's Fat Mike even weighed in on the station, noting: "I hate the radio but I like Fungus/The only punk rock station, it's humongous." in their song, "Fungus" which appeared on the April 2005 7-inch in their monthly series.

You can sign the petition here."

Featured Artists Coalition Fights for Artist's Rights

Radiohead, Billy Bragg, Gang of Four, and other artists have banned together to form the Featured Artists Coalition. The Featured Artists Coalition is fighting for more copyright control and higher revenue sharing for artists, rather than music labels. Here is the group's manifesto:

No one knows what the structure of the music industry will look like in future. But all artists face the same challenges in today’s digital world, so we need to speak with one voice to help artists strike a new bargain with record companies, digital distributors and others. Together, the Featured Artists’ Coalition will stand up for all artists by engaging with government, music and technology companies, and collection societies, arguing for fair play and, where necessary, exposing unfair practices.

Interesting to note that the group is made up of mostly (if not all) British artists and performers.

Fall Out Boy Donates $50k to Fight Gay Marriage Ban

Fall Out Boy has reportedly donated $50,000 to fight California's Proposition 8; the proposed law on the ballot this fall would ban gay marriage in California. Fall Out Boy's Pete Wentz commented:

"I think proposition 8 is pretty lame- as many others do too. its f*cking lame."

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Album Sales Fall 20% in September

According to this article, albums sales fell 20% during the month of September (it usually has been falling at a rate of about 9% per month). CD sales overall for this year seem to be in a staggering decline. My theory about what happened in September: Economy crashes and no good albums released. Could it really be that simple?

Apple Threatens to shut down iTunes

Apple is awaiting a verdict this week from the US Copyright Royalty Board about whether it will be forced to raise it's iTunes royalty payout from 9 cents per song to 15 cents per song. Apple would like to decrease it's royalties to 4.8 cents per song and said "Apple has repeatedly made it clear that it is in this business to make money, and most likely would not continue to operate [the iTunes store] if it were no longer possible to do so profitably." For more information check out this article.

*UPDATE* US Copyright Royalty Board has ruled that it will not be changing royalty rates for the time being, therefore iTunes will not be shutting down anytime soon.