3 Count: Class Termination

A real class act...

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1: Musicians Attempt Class Actions Against UMG, Sony to Reclaim Rights to Recordings

First off today, Eriq Gardner at The Hollywood Reporter Esquire reports that two separate class action lawsuits have been filed against UMG Records and Sony Music alleging that the two labels are refusing to acknowledge notices of termination filed by musicians.

Under current law, creators who license their works to third parties have the right, after a set number of years, to terminate those agreements and either reclaim their rights or negotiate new deals. Many musicians have been attempting to do that with both UMG and Sony, but the labels have been ignoring the notices saying that the artists don’t qualify for termination since the music was a “work for hire.”

Because of this, several artists have banded together to file class action lawsuits against the two companies with the hopes of forcing Sony and UMG to comply with the notices. The lawsuits not only aim to address the work for hire issue, but also timeliness issues related to copyright termination notices and various breach of contract issues that have been raised.

2: Article 13 Moves Forward With French-German Deal

Next up today, Ernesto at Torrentfreak writes that, in the EU, Article 13 is moving forward again after a deal between France and Germany seems to have solved the roadblock that was keep the legislation stuck.

Article 13 is a controversial amendment to a broader copyright bill. The article aims to force web site hosts to implement blocking technology to prevent copyright infringing material from being uploaded, rather than simply requiring them to remove it after notification. Though the article has drawn public outcry, it had seen smooth sailing through the legislative process until last month when negotiations were canceled after member states couldn’t agree to terms.

The specific issue was who should be bound by it. France wanted all commercial entities to be bound while Germany wanted to exclude small services, namely those with less than €20 million ($22.75 million) in annual turnover. Under the new agreement, companies would not be bound if they are less than three years old, have fewer than 5 million monthly unique visitors and an annual turnover of less than €10 million ($11.35 million). The agreement opens the doors for negotiations to begin again and, possibly, for the legislation to move forward.

3: YouTube Ripping Sites the New Piracy Site-Block Target

Finally today, Corinne Reichert at ZDNet reports that Australian copyright holders are hoping to use the country’s newly-updated site blocking laws to target YouTube and other stream ripping sites.

The move, which is being filed by the Australian Performing Rights Association (APRA), is the first to not target sites that infringe directly, but rather, to target sites that enable users to infringe content. These sites don’t host infringing material but enable users to download YouTube videos or convert YouTube videos into MP3s.

A hearing on this issue has been set for April 9. If it is successful, it will be the first time non-direct infringing sites had been blocked in the country.

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