Opinion and analysis of the day’s music news.
IMA Wants William Morris Endeavor Documents
— A California judge must decide if the William Morris Endeavor talent agency must turn over documents related to about 30,000 performances by its artists. In 2009, Seth Hurwitz and his companies It’s My Party (IMP) and It’s My Amphitheater (IMA) sued Live Nation, alleging the promoter illegally coerced artists to appear at venues owned, operated or booked by Live Nation. According to the Hollywood Reporter, IMA believes WME can prove its case.
“(It’s) My Ampitheater Inc., is asking a California judge to compel WME to turn over documents that it says may prove crucial to showing that Live Nation has been coercing musicians towards playing only certain concert venues.
WME is fighting the request tooth and nail. The talent agency headed by Ari Emanuel, who also sits on Live Nation’s board, said it would cost $3 million to comply with the request. For the that reason and others, WME is begging a judge not to order it to comply with a subpoena…
IMA says WME is a potential source for figuring out whether Live Nation was implicitly threatening to harm a national tour in order to get cooperation on venue bookings.” (The Hollywood Reporter)
Opposition To New Anti-piracy Bill Cries ‘Censorship’
— Opposition to a new anti-piracy bill is using a thorny word to further its message: censorship. Dozens of the engineers who built different aspects of the founding Internet technology have written an open letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee in opposition to the Leahy bill, also known as the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act. Here’s a section:
“All censorship schemes impact speech beyond the category they were intended to restrict, but this bill will be particularly egregious in that regard because it causes entire domains to vanish from the Web, not just infringing pages or files. Worse, an incredible range of useful, law-abiding sites can be blacklisted under this bill. These problems will be enough to ensure that alternative name-lookup infrastructures will come into widespread use, outside the control of US service providers but easily used by American citizens. Errors and divergences will appear between these new services and the current global DNS, and contradictory addresses will confuse browsers and frustrate the people using them. These problems will be widespread and will affect sites other than those blacklisted by the American government.”
(EFF Deep Links blog)
Author Offers Support For Leahy Bill
— Writing a guest op-ed for the San Jose Mercury News, Andrew Keen offers support for the Leahy bill. Although he doesn’t specifically use the word censorship, he dismisses complaints the bill would violate free speech rights.
“Critics carp that Leahy and Hatch are stomping the First Amendment’s guarantee of free speech. But trademark infringement and theft of intellectual property are no more about free speech than any other type of stealing. Certainly, online thieves deserve the same opportunity of any defendant to be heard. The bill includes numerous safeguards to assure the rights of the accused, including a requirement that a judge rule whether the evidence is strong enough.
All in all, this bill bends over backward to protect legitimate online activity while providing some new remedies to address the worst Internet crooks. In a political era in which partisan warfare seems the rule, Leahy and Hatch are making a welcome exception to reach across the aisle and stand up to thieves — just like the civics books and common sense says they should.” (San Jose Mercury News)
Spotify Releases New Mobile App
— On Monday, Spotify released its mobile app for Windows Phone 6. The app has the same features as the iPhone, Android, Palm and Symbian versions. The company added that the app “will be available on the upcoming Windows Phone 7,” Microsoft’s innovative new mobile platform due out this fall. (Spotify blog)
Almost 40 Countries Onboard With ACTA Agreement
— Almost 40 countries have reached an agreement in principle on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) that aims to reduce intellectual property theft. A US trade representative says the negotiations are “almost across the finish line.”
The substance of the negotiations, as well as their secrecy, has been controversial. Many critics see ACTA as an attempt by the US to impose its vision of copyright enforcement onto other countries. Some are concerned member countries will impose some sort of “three strikes” system for dealing with repeat infringers. In addition, there have been many complaints that stakeholders were not asked for their input.
In the end, ACTA will have been negotiated with the opacity typical to international trade agreements. As for the content, we’ll have to wait and see what achieves final approval. At the very least ACTA will harmonize what are now different laws and approaches to dealing with digital piracy and counterfeiting. (Reuters)
— Nokia’s Ovi store is getting 2.3 million downloads a day. (mocoNews)