Posts Tagged ‘music and musicians’

Intellectual property law roundup

  • The ethics (and law) of emergencies: heroic efforts to shore up medical equipment on the run, such as using 3-D printing to supply a missing ventilator valve in an Italian hospital, can run into knotty problems of IP rights [Jay Peters, The Verge]
  • “Plaintiff recognizes that the community is in the midst of a ‘coronavirus pandemic.’ But Plaintiff argues that it will suffer an ‘irreparable injury’ if this Court does not hold a hearing this week and immediately put a stop to the infringing unicorns and the knock-off elves…. The world is facing a real emergency. Plaintiff is not.” [Lowering the Bar on federal Northern District of Illinois case]
  • As churches scramble to shift their worship services online, a gnawing question: are you sure you have the right to stream that song of praise? [The Gospel Coalition] Beating hasty retreat, Disney apologizes for having sought $250 licensing fine against arents at California school who’d screened “Lion King” video to entertain kids during PTA event [Nat Orenstein, Berkeleyside; Isabel McCormick, ScreenRant]
  • “It’s still early in 2020. But this is my vote for most annoying copyright complaint so far: a map (thin copyright!) shown (apparently only in passing; I haven’t watched yet) in the background of a movie that not only flopped but did so 8 years ago” [Zahr Said on coverage by Kyle Jahner, Bloomberg Law]
  • Jury awards $1 billion to music labels against cable and internet giant Cox, after claims it didn’t do enough to combat infringement by its users [Chris Eggertsen, Billboard]
  • “Newspaper Can Talk About ‘Derby Pies’ Without Infringing Trademarks–Rupp v. Courier Journal” [Eric Goldman; my Cato podcast on that subject with Caleb Brown back in 2016]
  • “Musicians Algorithmically Generate Every Possible Melody, Release Them to Public Domain” [Samantha Cole, Vice “Motherboard”]

Gig/freelancer economy roundup

In an emergency that has made trucking, logistics, and home delivery uniquely important, fractured the schedules of countless parents and caregivers, and sent the services sector reeling, it would be nice if California and other states were not making war on the work arrangements needed for the situation. That’s why California’s AB5 fiasco (earlier here, here) along with similar moves in New Jersey and elsewhere, come at the worst time.

P.S. Related Cato post now up. Truckers especially have many more problems than this right this moment responding to the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak, read about some of them here (and help if you can!) They have begun getting direly needed removals of regulations. But don’t let this one slip off the list.

February 12 roundup

AB5: California’s much-predicted freelancer disaster

“California’s new employment law has boomeranged and is starting to crush freelancers” [Elaine Pofeldt, CNBC; Kerry Flynn, CNN Business] “As with many of my colleagues today, because I live in California, I was just told that I can no longer hold a paid position with SB Nation.” [Rebecca Lawson, Mavs Moneyball; Whitson Gordon thread on Twitter] “Separately, there’s some bit of irony in the fact that just a few months ago, Vox itself had a headline celebrating AB5 calling it a ‘victory for workers everywhere.’ Except, I guess, the freelancers who worked for Vox.” [Mike Masnick, Techdirt] “These were never good jobs,” claims the measure’s sponsor, Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego), but lots of freelancers have made clear they disagree [Billy Binion] “Mainstream politicians and pundits love to cite ‘unintended consequences’ when their preferred policies cause harm in the exact ways libertarians said they would.” [Elizabeth Nolan Brown, earlier]

More: impacts on music, theater, and the performing arts make AB5 a creative-unfriendly law [Joshua Kosman and Carolyn Said, San Francisco Chronicle]

The Boston squeeze

Earlier this month a federal jury found two Boston city hall officials guilty of conspiracy to commit extortion after prosecutors proved that they told a concert promoter that unless it hired members of a union that had supported Mayor Marty Walsh, it wouldn’t get a permit for its event. [Jerome Campbell, WBUR, AP/CBS Boston, earlier here, here, here]

So far, so Boston. Even more characteristic of the city’s political culture: ten Boston city councilors put out a statement decrying the verdict. The really perfect touch? “Some 70 nonprofit organizations, representing environmental, LGBTQ, housing, senior, education, and civil rights advocates,” have also denounced the verdict, claiming that it interferes with “democracy.”

Veteran Boston Globe columnist Joan Vennochi calls it “bizarre” for these groups to “condon[e] threats from city officials as an acceptable standard for doing business in Boston”:

Supporters of Brissette and Sullivan argue that the case criminalizes advocacy. Suggesting that concert organizers hire union help might qualify as simple advocacy. But organizers of the Boston Calling concert were basically told there would be no permit unless they hired union labor. That’s wrong, and Brissette and Sullivan knew it. Joe Rull, the city’s former chief of operations, who testified under a grant of immunity, told the court that when Brissette wanted to employ that hardball tactic during a previous disagreement concerning the use of nonunion production workers he told him, “You can’t do that, it’s not legal.”

More from Josh McCabe:

June 19 roundup

  • Gorsuch: “A free society does not allow its government to try the same individual for the same crime until it’s happy with the result.” And yet he and Ginsburg were the only dissenters from the Supreme Court’s 7-2 decision Monday in Gamble v. U.S. to allow consecutive state and federal prosecutions over the same conduct, the so-called dual sovereignty exception to double jeopardy protection [Reuters, Ilya Shapiro, Cato brief (with ACLU and Constitutional Accountability Center) that had urged an end to the exception; and a conspiracy theory about Kavanaugh that wound up having absolutely no predictive value]
  • “When Should Plaintiffs Be Able to Sue Anonymously?” [Eugene Volokh]
  • 77-year-old antitrust consent decrees were designed for a music business that long since faded into history, DOJ’s decision to reconsider is welcome [Federalist Society podcast with Kristen Osenga and Mark Schultz, Osenga blog post]
  • Clarence Darrow once boasted a cult following among American lawyers. His manipulative speech in the Leopold/Loeb case leaves you to wonder whether much will outlive the hype [Bryan Caplan]
  • Federal aid-to-state programs have exploded in recent years, a good way to redistribute money and power into the hands of political elites with little taxpayer or voter accountability [Chris Edwards, Cato, new study and blog post]
  • Dear Caterpillar: do you think there is much likelihood of consumer confusion about whether this coffee shop t-shirt is promoting earth-moving machinery? [Timothy Geigner, TechDirt]

“‘Blurred Lines’ on Their Minds, Songwriters Create Nervously”

Four years after a shocker outcome on music and copyright: “The aftereffects of the “Blurred Lines” decision — which was upheld on appeal last year — have been felt most acutely by rank-and-file songwriters, who work in obscurity even as their creations propel others to stardom. The ramifications for them have been inescapable, affecting royalty splits, legal and insurance costs, and even how songs are composed.” [Ben Sisario, New York Times] Earlier on the case here and here.

Discrimination law roundup

  • New EEOC chief data officer says machine learning algorithms may soon enable agency to predict, and deploy resources against, workplace bias before it happens [Paige Smith, Bloomberg Law]
  • “The BSO, in a statement, defended its pay structure, saying that the flute and oboe are not comparable, in part because the oboe is more difficult to play and there is a larger pool of flutists.” [Geoff Edgers, Washington Post/Allentown Morning Call]
  • Even they can’t comply: “The case was ironic since the commission is charged with eliminating discrimination in Pennsylvania.” [Matt Miller, PennLive, on the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission’s jury loss in a race discrimination complaint] “Do as they say, not as they do: employees accuse Planned Parenthood of pregnancy discrimination” [Jon Hyman]
  • Fourth Circuit: maybe Title VII doesn’t create a right to swipe files from HR [Jon Hyman]
  • Although libertarians support legalizing marijuana, they should not support laws that bar employers from discriminating on the basis of marijuana use [Jeffrey Miron, Cato]
  • “Why do women earn less than men? Evidence from train and bus operators” [Valentin Bolotnyy and Natalia Emanuel via Tyler Cowen]
  • Minnesota jury orders women’s football team and league to pay $20,000 to transgender applicant turned away [Mary Lynn Smith, Minneapolis Star Tribune]