Tag: music

Joyful sounds. Chet Baker. Billie Holiday. Lena Horne.

Pub Owners Raise A Pint

Publicans across the British Isles stand to recover as much as £20 million in their ongoing legal battle over the payment of copyright fees for playing music at their pubs. A High Court ruling yesterday found in the favor of pubs, restaurants, and hotels, and dismissed the appeal by Phonographic Performance Ltd, which had introduced new tariffs on the music in 2005, raising fees fourfold. The ruling saves the pubs at least £3 million per annum going forward, and opens the door to refunds of up to £10 million for overcharges going back to 2005.

“Men” Down in Case Down Under

The 80’s Australian pop-rock band Men at Work, whose vegemite-themed hit “Down Under” vaulted them into superstardom — winning them a Grammy for Best New Artist, and earning them a place in rock history as the only Aussie band to have ever concurrently had a No. 1 album and single in the U.S. —  has been found liable for infringing the copyright of the 1935 children’s campfire tune “Kookaburra Sits in the Old Gum Tree.”  An Australian court ruled today that the band had copied substantial portions of ‘Kookaburra,’ specifically finding that the flute riff in “Down Under” replicated a material section of the earlier work. The band was ordered to pay some 27 years of royalties earned by their hit song.

Attorneys for the company which owns the rights to ‘Kookaburra’ stated out of court that they may seek up to 60 percent of the royalties earned by “Down Under” since its release. Considering that the song has sold more than 20 million copies since its release, the anticipated damages could force the aging rockers into yet another round of reunion concerts.

Baidu Beats Piracy Charges

A Chinese court found no wrongdoing by Baidu in a copyright infringement case launched against the largest search engine in China some two years ago by Universal Music, Sony BMG Music Entertainment Hong Kong and Warner Music Hong Kong. The Beijing court ruled that the search engine had not broken the law by linking downloads that infringe copyright.

The IFPI expressed disappointment with the ruling, which left them contemplating their next steps in the face of yet another adverse ruling against the music companies by Chinese courts. In the view of IFPI, the verdict did not comport with their belief that Baidu had created its music search businesses “on the basis of facilitating mass copyright infringement, to the detriment of artists, producers and all those involved in China’s legitimate music market.” Given that Baidu now has a music partnership with seven labels (including EMI) that allows it to legally stream music, this may be the end of their legal woes with the recording industry.