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UMG - The Story So Far
:: Posted by Sid Smith on Mon., Sep 3, 2012

UMG has been selling King Crimson material for years without rights or permission. UMG has been told of this on many occasions and has promised to cease. UMG continues to register sales of the material, reporting sales, as recently as April 2012. UMG is in the midst of a takeover of EMI. This has been referred to the European Commission as it would give UMG (already the largest record company by far), near monopoly status in many EU countries. It is also being scrutinised by the FTC in the USA. 

In August, UMG offered to sell some of its catalogues and some EMI catalogues in an effort to placate the EC. Listed among those catalogues as circulated for sale was the same King Crimson material that UMG has been selling without permission. When this was discovered we approached UMG who told us it was due to “an error of inclusion on an early list that had been corrected and the EC was aware of this”. The EC rejected this, stating that it had only circulated material “provided specifically by UMG” and “not by error on an earlier version”. To the best of our knowledge the King Crimson material was only removed from the EC lists following a complaint from Panegyric.

We wrote again to UMG. The senior lawyer who told us of the early lists (responding on behalf of the UMG CEO), wrote to us again yesterday repeating UMG’s “early list/error” position and refusing to address the broader issues of UMG copyright infringement. Panegyric’s latest response to UMG on the EC submissions and related copyright infringements on behalf of King Crimson, DGM and the label is detailed below:

Dear Mr. Carmel,

Thanks for your reply.

The "substantive difference" between the EC position and your own is that you sought, both in your initial reply on behalf of UMG CEO Mr. Grainge and now, to distance yourself from responsibility for the inclusion of King Crimson material with this "two lists" sideshow to which you appear to be the sole subscriber.

The European Commission sees no uncertainty here. Again, let me quote from the EC reply:

I would also like to indicate that contrary to Universal's claim the Commission relied on the formal documentation provided specifically by Universal for the purpose of the market test with third parties and not by error on an earlier version.

"Formal documentation provided specifically by Universal" - It's worth repeating as your stated position on behalf of your CEO contradicts this.

"Specifically", in my understanding, is not a word that leaves room for misinterpretation.

Furthermore, my specific understanding is that the King Crimson material was only withdrawn from the fully circulated list after I saw the lists and complained to the EC. Perhaps this is incorrect? I'll copy the EC officers on this reply in case I am mistaken.

It’s important that we can all be clear about the sequence of events.

By your own admission, UMG placed King Crimson rights, which the company does not control, on a list submitted to the EC for divestment purposes as part of its assurances to the EC that UMG’s takeover of EMI represents no threat to competition in the industry.

Irrespective of how many lists were submitted, the fact that rights to King Crimson still appear, incorrectly, on internal UMG lists in July 2012 is at the heart of many of the problems that UMG continues to cause to the musicians, owners and licensees of this material.

UMG's inaccurate rights lists have circulated within the company since the takeover of Sanctuary in 2007.

The reasons why this is important are numerous, but I'll briefly detail just three of them here:

1) Such inaccurate lists must be, in part, the basis for UMG's continued digital sales of the material up to and including sales in 2011, often without payment. Again I remind you that UMG never had such rights. Such sales may continue. We have no way of knowing just as UMG appears to have no way of determining whether or not such sales continue and no apparent method of stopping them if they do. Physical sales also continued into 2011, including sales recorded in the UK.

2) This is indicative of a systemic and continued failure within UMG to control its own digital or physical sales of the material and a key reason why the EC should take a more robust view of any plans for further expansion. If UMG cannot, in 2012, distinguish between that which it does and does not control as a result of a takeover dating from 2007, what chance is there that a far larger takeover now proposed can be managed correctly?

3) UMG's lawyers, Mr. Smith and Mr. Fisher, gave us repeated assurances that such sales could not continue. Sales continued. Mr. Smith in 2007, Mr. Smith (again) in 2008, Mr. Fisher in 2009 and later – each was adamant that sales would not continue. Sales continued. We complained. UMG chose not to address the issues but instead to appoint an expensive external lawyer, a Mr. Howard who, in the words of Mr. Fisher in 2010 "may take a far more aggressive stance". Mr. Fisher's solution did not correct the inaccurate documents claiming rights, did not prevent UMG's digital rights departments offering or accepting payment from further sales and did nothing to stop subsequent physical sales taking place. Mr. Fisher's appointment of Mr. Howard merely established a further block between the two companies with an implied bully boy ethos via the threatened "far more aggressive stance". Sales continued. These actions raise serious questions about UMG's ability to deal with its acknowledged copyright infringements. These actions raise serious questions as to the manner in which UMG deals with smaller competitors in the marketplace.

UMG CEO Mr. Grainge is copied on this correspondence. Perhaps he could let me know if it’s acceptable for his legal representatives to hire outside lawyers who "may take a far more aggressive stance" to deal with legitimate complaints of copyright infringement, said infringements acknowledged as having occurred and accepted as continuing, in preference to dealing with the issues raised and preventing further infringements?

Is this official UMG corporate policy for dealing with such matters?

If not, what does Mr. Grainge, as CEO, intend to do to about it?

You state "we (UMG) do not think it would be constructive once again to go over old ground."

UMG reported sales of this material to DGM as recently as April this year. How recent do copyright infringements have to be in order for UMG lawyers to address them and not dismiss them as “old ground”?

Your statement is also somewhat at odds with that given by UMG representatives to The Financial Times (August 3rd 2012) in response to an interview given by Robert Fripp, although some of the wording is curiously familiar:

"This is very old ground. We have been working with Robert Fripp for some time to try to clear up some issues that he has raised with us and we believe that we are very close to completing that process."

Robert Fripp is unaware, as are our legal representatives, as am I, of any initiatives by UMG to resolve these issues.

Your letter makes it clear that UMG regards such issues as “old ground”

Is “old ground” some form of euphemism for copyright infringements that UMG refuses to address or resolve?

These are the "areas where you remain irreconcilable" referred to in your letter regarding Sanctuary/UMG and us.

UMG, the world's largest record company, sold (and may still be selling) King Crimson material without permission from the band, the copyright owners or the legal licensees of the material.

This is just one of several such examples of issues of copyright infringement by UMG labels of King Crimson/Robert Fripp copyrights, your “old ground”.

UMG offers no apology, solution, payment (beyond that made in 2009 for some of the sales) or, despite promises to the contrary from a variety of lawyers, ability to stop further sales.

Not content with mere copyright infringement and individual track sales, UMG recently included the very master rights to this material is its lists of proposed divestments to the EC.

As a senior lawyer, writing on behalf of the CEO Mr. Lucian Grainge, you don't wish to address any of this “old ground”, save to assure me that UMG is sorry for "the initial mistake" regarding the EC list inclusion, such expression of regret entirely dependent on acceptance of your "two lists" scenario which is, in turn, directly contradicted by the EC to whom the information was submitted.

Such avoidance of the issues that led to this on behalf of a senior lawyer representing the CEO of UMG, Mr. Grainge, is distinctly at odds with the publicly stated position of the UMG Press spokesperson who assured The Financial Times that the company “has been working with Robert for some time”.

Your statements, made on behalf of the CEO are contradicted by the EC, by UMG’s own PR representatives and by sales statements issued by UMG’s royalties department.

Who is to be believed in such a situation?

I am drawn again to UMG lawyer Mr. Smith's statement to me in December 2008 that “.. a company the size of UMG could not be expected to read or apply the details of  every contract of every catalogue it acquires."

It is a plausible, if hardly laudable, explanation for some of these incidents.

Had my company been selling UMG material without permission, full payment, or complete cessation when alerted to the true rights position, over a period of 5 years, repeatedly but inconclusively assuring UMG that such copyright infringing sales would stop, only for me to continue with the sales and then offer to sell the master rights to said material to a third party in order to justify another acquisition, I suggest that you, Mr. Grainge and the various other lawyers involved would be far less sanguine about the situation, far less prone to clichés about not wishing to go over “old ground”.

I have made a formal complaint to the EC detailing concerns about the issues raised above.

I am copying this response to the EC case handling officers as an addition to material previously submitted.

Kind regards,

Declan Colgan
Panegyric Recordings.


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David Cross Album Launch Special
:: Posted by Sid Smith on Sat., May 21, 2016
The David Cross Band will be launching their new album, Sign Of The Crow, at a gig featuring special guest, ex-VdGG sax player, David Jackson in London
on Tuesday August 9th. The show will also feature a rare solo performance by King Crimson lyricist, Richard Palmer-James. 

Thus sayeth the blurb...

The David Cross Band with special guest David Jackson will perform at The Lexington on Tuesday 9th August 7.30 pm. This is the London launch concert for 'Sign of the Crow' the eagerly awaited studio album from the legendary David Cross Band which goes on sale on August 5th.

David Cross: A pioneer of rock violin and former member of the groundbreaking 'Larks' tongues in aspic' incarnation of King Crimson.

David Jackson was in UK Progressive Rock Band Van der Graaf Generator and is famous for his double horn parts and ferocious soloing.

Craig Blundell - one of the world's leading drummers is currently also working with Steve Wilson and Frost*.

The other DCB members are Jinian Wilde - vocals, Mick Paul - bass and Paul Clark - guitar.

The lyrics for ‘Sign of the Crow’ were written by King Crimson lyricist Richard Palmer -James (ex Supertramp) who will also perform a solo set on the evening.

This is a unique and very special prog rock event - to be sure there’s a space for you, book now!

The Lexington 96-98 Pentonville Road, Islington, London, N1 9JB (Angel tube). £12 on the door.

Robert & Toyah Say Thank You
:: Posted by Sid Smith on Thu., May 19, 2016
Toyah and Robert say Thank You for all the good wishes that have come their way following Robert’s birthday and the couple’s wedding anniversary earlier this week.

More Tour Dates!
:: Posted by Sid Smith on Thu., May 19, 2016
There are new additions to King Crimson’s forthcoming European tour with extra five gigs in Monaco and France. These come on top of those extra dates already announced yesterday.

Thursday 17th November Opéra Garnier, Monte Carlo
Friday 18th November Opéra Garnier, Monte Carlo
Sunday 27th November Le Silo, Marseille
Saturday 3rd December Salle Pleyel, Paris
Sunday 4th December Salle Pleyel, Paris

Tickets for Opéra Garnier, Monte Carlo, go on general sale Monday 30th May
10.00 a.m. CET

Tickets for Le SIlo, Marseille, go on general sale 23rd May
10.00 a.m. CET

Tickets for Salle Pleyel, Paris go on general sale Monday 30th May
10.00 a.m. CET.

So far the revised itinerary looks like this.

Sunday 4th September Friars at the Waterside Theatre
Monday 5th September Friars at the Waterside Theatre
Thursday, 8th September, Beethoven-Saal, Stuttgart
Friday 9th September, Beethoven-Saal, Stuttgart
Sunday 11th September, Admiralpalast, Berlin
Monday 12th September, Admiralpalast, Berlin
Wednesday 14th September, Forum Karlin,Prague
Thursday 15th September, Forum Karlin, Prague
Saturday 17th September, House of Music & Dance, Zabrze
Sunday 18th September, House of Music & Dance, Zabrze
Tuesday 20th September, National Forum Of Music, Wroclaw
Wednesday 21st September, National Forum Of Music, Wroclaw
Friday 23rd September, Falkoner, Copenhagen
Saturday 24th September, Falkoner, Copenhagen
Monday 26th September, Sentrum Scene,Oslo
Tuesday 27th September, Sentrum Scene, Oslo
Wednesday 28th September, Sentrum Scene. Oslo
Friday 30th September, Filadelfiakyrkan, Stockholm
Saturday 1st October, Filadelfiakyrkan. Stockholm
Monday 3rd October, Mehr! Theater, Hamburg
Wednesday 2nd November  Stadsschouwburg Antwerp 
Thursday 3rd November Stadsschouwburg Antwerp
Saturday 5th November Teatro degli Arcimboldi, Milan
Sunday 6th November  Teatro degli Arcimboldi, Milan
Tuesday 8th November Teatro Verdi, Florence,
Wednesday 9th November Teatro Verdi, Florence,
Friday 11th November Auditorium Conciliazione, Rome
Saturday 12th November Auditorium Conciliazione, Rome
Monday 14th November Teatro Coloseeo, Torino
Tuesday 15th November Teatro Coloseeo, Torino
Thursday 17th November Opéra Garnier, Monte Carlo
Friday 18th November Opéra Garnier, Monte Carlo
Sunday 27th November Le SIlo, Marseille
Wednesday 30th November Museumsquartier, Vienna
Thursday 1st December Museumsquartier, Vienna
Saturday 3rd December Salle Pleyel, Paris
Sunday 4th December Salle Pleyel, Paris

New Dates For King Crimson Euro Tour
:: Posted by Sid Smith on Wed., May 18, 2016
King Crimson have added a series of extra concerts to their European tour later this year, taking in Belgium, Italy and Austria. 

Tickets will be going on sale Friday 20th May at 10.00 CET.

Wednesday 2nd November  Stadsschouwburg Antwerp  
Thursday 3rd November Stadsschouwburg Antwerp
Saturday 5th November Teatro degli Arcimboldi, Milan
Sunday 6th November  Teatro degli Arcimboldi, Milan
Tuesday 8th November Teatro Verdi, Florence,
Wednesday 9th November Teatro Verdi, Florence,
Friday 11th November Auditorium Conciliazione, Rome
Saturday 12th November Auditorium Conciliazione, Rome
Monday 14th November Teatro Coloseeo, Torino
Tuesday 15th November Teatro Coloseeo, Torino
Wednesday 30th November Museumsquartier, Vienna
Thursday 1st December Museumsquartier, Vienna

Wine,Silence, Cups & Music
:: Posted by Sid Smith on Wed., May 18, 2016
In the wake of birthday salutations, Reporters Notebook rolled out one of Robert Fripp's most quoted misquotes, namely “Music is the wine that fills the cup of silence.”

The actual quote is as follows:

Music is the cup which holds the wine of silence.
Sound is that cup, but empty.
Noise is that cup, but broken.

The aphorism dates from the spring of 1980 when Fripp was playing in Paris with The League Of Gentlemen.

The origin of the phrase's popularity, albeit in a corrupted form, seems to stem from its misuse in a 2005 episode of the very popular  ITV detective series, Rosemary And Thyme entitled, The Cup Of Silence.

During the murder mystery show, writer Stephen Gallagher has one of the characters raise a glass and offer the toast, "Music is the wine that fills the cup of silence", even having the character attribute the phrase to Robert Fripp.

It seems likely that Gallagher found the quote via the internet where it enjoys a secondary life as an inspirational meme of sorts.

The mangled phrase also has its own page dedicated to explaining what it might mean.

The wrong quote even received a kind of municipal immortality when Southwark Council weaponised it as part of an anti-social behaviour strategy aimed at buskers. Who says irony is dead?

The Wine Of Silence was the title of the 2012 release by Fripp, Keeling and Singleton, an album of orchestral arrangements of Fripp's soundscapes.

All About Jazz's John Kelman said of the album "In collaboration with Keeling and Singleton, he's proven the continued relevance of his work on an album that stands alone in his discography, yet is the logical and inevitable consequence of a lifetime's work."

Coinciding with the launch of the album release, in May 2012 a special concert of the music was staged in Amsterdam with the Metropole Orchestra and the Crouch End Chorus under the baton of Jules Buckley. You can read my experience of the performance over on the blog and my take on the album here

The Wine Of Silence is available from Inner Knot and Burning Shed.

Happy Birthday Bill Bruford
:: Posted by Sid Smith on Tue., May 17, 2016
Let's give a big shout-out to Bill Bruford who celebrates his birthday today. The man who stoked the rhythmic engine room in King Crimson during the 70s, 80s and 90s is 67 years old today.

In case you've not been there, check out Bill's website for all sorts of fascinating archived interviews and commentary on the highpoints of his career from the man himself.

Happy Birthday Robert Fripp
:: Posted by Sid Smith on Mon., May 16, 2016
Raise a glass of your favourite tipple and send out your birthday wishes today to Robert Fripp, who in addition to being the birthday boy is also celebrating his wedding anniversary on the same day.

Here's Robert during King Crimson's 2014 rehearsals photographed by Scarlet Page

Burnin' Up Daryl's House
:: Posted by Sid Smith on Mon., May 16, 2016
My thanks to Chuck Benz who writes "It's always fun to keep an eye on Daryl Hall's show Daryl's House to see when a guest wants to do something from Sacred Songs or even Exposure - the latest is Cheap Trick joining on You Burn Me Up..., and at least for the next few days, the video of the show is up on the Daryl's House web site"

Ade Amped Up
:: Posted by Sid Smith on Sat., May 14, 2016
Adrian Belew discusses how he's gone post-amp and a lot more besides in this new interview. 

Theo's Guide To Good Sax
:: Posted by Sid Smith on Fri., May 13, 2016
Theo Travis recently appeared on Cliff Pearson’s Live From Progzilla Towers internet radio show talking about some of his favourite sax moments in progressive rock.

The show, which includes King Crimson’s Ladies Of The Road, can be downloaded or streamed here.

Last month Theo and Robert Fripp got together. Theo’s Facebook update noted "Just had a wonderful lunch, catch up and discussion about possible future plans with Robert Fripp."

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