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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.


30/08/12


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King Crimson In Japan 2015
:: Posted by Sid Smith on Wed., Jul 1, 2015
King Crimson will be touring Japan in December.  This follows on from King Crimson’s dates in the UK and Europe in September and Canada in November.
Tickets for the seven shows in Japan will be going on sale on August 29th.



Tokyo December 7(Mon)Bunkamura Orchard Hall

Tokyo December 8(Tue)Bunkamura Orchard Hall

Tokyo December 9(Wed)Bunkamura Orchard Hall

Tokyo December10(Thu)Bunkamura Orchard Hall

OPEN 18:00 / START 19:00  Ticket ,000(incl.tax/seated)
<info>Creativeman 03-3499-6669

Osaka December 12(Sat)Festival Hall
OPEN 17:00 / START 18:00  Ticket ,000(incl.tax/seated)

Osaka December 13(Sun) Festival Hall
OPEN 16:00 / START 17:00  Ticket ,000(incl.tax/seated)
<info>Kyodo Information 0570-200-888

Nagoya December 21(Mon)Nagoya Century Hall
OPEN 18:00 / START 19:00  Ticket ,000(incl.tax/seated)
<info> Sunday Folk Promotion / 052-320-9100







On This Day 41 Years Ago...
:: Posted by Sid Smith on Wed., Jul 1, 2015
David Cross, Bill Bruford, John Wetton and Robert Fripp played their final gig as King Crimson on this date in New York's Central Park 41 years ago.



You can download the concert here

Cuitar Circle Workshop
:: Posted by Sid Smith on Tue., Jun 30, 2015
The Berlin Guitar Ensemble’s gig at the Bath Komedia originally scheduled for 5th July has been cancelled. Instead, they will be running a Guitar Circle workshop, open to anyone with a guitar and the inclination get to grips with New Standard Tuning on Saturday afternoon from 3.00 p.m.

The concert at the Subscription Rooms in Stroud will be taking place on Friday 3rd July as planned. You can buy tickets here.

The team will be appearing on BBC Radio Gloucestershire on the afternoon of Friday 3rd and BBC Radio Bristol on the morning of Saturday 4th.



Soundscapes Tour Bundle Available
:: Posted by Sid Smith on Mon., Jun 29, 2015
Robert Fripp's entire run of soundscapes on the G3 tour in July 2004 are now available for download. Starting on July 1st and ending on July 17th, the performances come from Robert's opening slot on the tour that featured co-headliners, Joe Satriani and Steve Vai.



With some shows featuring contributions from Steve Vai and Billy Sheehan, the entire run of 14 soundscapes are just $46.00 for Flac and $32.00 for MP3.



Crimso At Glasto!
:: Posted by Sid Smith on Mon., Jun 29, 2015
My thanks to a pal who sent the following regarding King Crimson and the Glastonbury Festival. "Have your Glasto spies sent you this? - The Unthanks doing Starless. Something of a Crimson sandwich on the main stage on Saturday with them opening and Kanye doing something or other with a bit of Schizoid Man (at around 5.00 mins). Culturally significant!"


Chris Squire
:: Posted by Sid Smith on Sun., Jun 28, 2015
There’s been an outpouring of tributes paid to Yes bassist, Chris Squire, following the announcement of his death from leukemia today.

Bill Bruford has posted the following message online.

Really saddened to hear of the death of my old Yes band-mate, Chris Squire. I shall remember him fondly; one of the twin rocks upon which Yes was founded and, I believe, the only member to have been present and correct, Rickenbacker at the ready, on every tour. He and I had a working relationship built around our differences. Despite, or perhaps because of, the old chestnut about creative tension, it seemed, strangely, to work.

He had an approach that contrasted sharply with the somewhat monotonic, immobile bass parts of today. His lines were important; counter-melodic structural components that you were as likely to go away humming as the top line melody; little stand-alone works of art in themselves. Whenever I think of him, which is not infrequently, I think of the over-driven fuzz of the sinewy staccato hits in Close to the Edge (6’04” and on) or a couple of minutes later where he sounds like a tuba (8’.00”). While he may have taken a while to arrive at the finished article, it was always worth waiting for. And then he would sing a different part on top.

An individualist in an age when it was possible to establish individuality, Chris fearlessly staked out a whole protectorate of bass playing in which he was lord and master. I suspect he knew not only that he gave millions of people pleasure with his music, but also that he was fortunate to be able to do so. I offer sincere condolences to his family.

Adios, partner. Bill.



Pat's Projects
:: Posted by Sid Smith on Sun., Jun 28, 2015
The ever-busy Pat Mastelotto has several new projects going live at the moment. First up is his collaboration with guitarist David Kollar and trumpeter, Paulo Raineri, collectively entitled KoMaRa. Their album, Bloom features this handsome character as the cover star, drawn by Tool's Adam Jones.



You can order Bloom here and you can read my take on the album over on the blog.

Elsewhere, Pat also appears on an album entitled  Inflamed Rides  featuring multi-instrumentalist, Lorenzo Esposito (Obake & Berserk), guitar Carmelo Pipitone and Porcupine Tree's Colin Edwin on bass. Pat contributed drums to the entire album last year following King Crimson's tour in the USA.



There are 3 days left on their pre-order campaign. Find out more details here and take a peek at their video here



King Crimson Sell Out (Again)
:: Posted by Sid Smith on Fri., Jun 26, 2015
King Crimson's show in Brighton has sold out. There are still tickets for other parts of the UK tour available however, with second nights added to the itinerary Manchester, Birmingham and the last night of the UK leg, Edinburgh. Check out the tour dates here.

Elsewhere, King Crimson's dates in Utrecht are now completely sold out as well. If you're considering coming to see the Crim beast live better not to leave it too long before nabbing your ticket.   


David Cross On TV
:: Posted by Sid Smith on Fri., Jun 26, 2015
David Cross recently appeared on Vintage TV's My Vintage show where he chose some of his favourite music. It's available here. David also appears with Stick Men on a live album documenting their Japanese tour earlier this year. Check it out here. Finally, his album Starless Starlight is available from Inner Knot and Burning Shed.


King Crimson Nominated For Award
:: Posted by Sid Smith on Thu., Jun 25, 2015
King Crimson have been nominated in this year’s Progressive Music Awards which will be held in London on September 3rd this year.


King Crimson are included in the following categories.

Live Event - King Crimson’s US tour

The Storm Thorgerson Grand Design Award - Starless box set

Band/Artist of the Year - the appearance of the seven-headed beast of terror and joy.

Please take a minute to go and vote for the band in the above categories (registration is required).

You can check out the full list of nominees here.

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