After decades of corporate theft, Spinal Tap is finally getting paid by Universal

For years, Harry Shearer, Christopher Guest, Michael McKean and Rob Reiner have been suing Universal to get paid, citing Universal's blatantly crooked bookkeeping (Shearer received $98 in music royalties and $81 in merchandising income from the film). Read the rest

Taylor Swift makes a payout to all Universal artists a clause in her new record deal

Taylor Swift's latest record deal contained a clause in which Universal finally committed to sharing any gains from a future sale of Spotify (which the company invested in along with Sony and Warner) with all its artists, not just those whose accounts are in the black. Read the rest

Universal, having learned nothing from its "dancing baby" ass-kicking, is once again attacking Prince fans

In 2008, Universal Music fraudulently claimed that a short Youtube clip of a toddler dancing to Prince's "Let's Go Crazy" was a copyright infringement, leading to eight years of litigation and, eventually, a landmark ruling secured by the Electronic Frontier Foundation in which the court found that Universal had a duty to consider fair use before using the Digital Millennium Copyright Act to censor other peoples' media. Read the rest

Battlestar Galactica: the search for Universals' Sci-Fi film franchise

Universal can not sit quietly and let Paramount's Star Trek and Disney's Star Wars franchises rule the roost! It appears Battlestar Galactica is due for yet another reboot!

The 1978 series was wonderful! Colonial Vipers were even sexier than an X-Wing! The subsequent "movies" were terrible, and the 1980 series a horrible mistake. For decades Battlestar was limited to the 10-12 VHS cassettes I'd found at a Sam Goody clearance. Dirk Benedict became the Faceman, and Starbuck was forgotten.

The 2004 reboot started strong! Das Boot in space! I was emotionally tired after each episode in the first season or two! I was hooked, and then the writers got lost. Where the fuck were the daggetts? The series, and its subsequent spin off Caprica, offered too much Carlos Castenada and far too little desperate-survivors-trying-not-to-die-in-space. I can't really remember the last few seasons, but I watched them, I think.

Now Universal views Galactica as a multi-film franchise. I hope they destroy the 12 Colonies of Kobol in an epic manner!

Via Hollywood Reporter:

Battlestar Galactica is getting another shot at the big-screen.

Powerhouse producer Michael De Luca is teaming up with Scott Stuber and Dylan Clark of Bluegrass Films to produce the movie for Universal, which is hoping to launch a massive event franchise.

Read the rest

Universal's agents send Google a censorship demand for "127.0.0.1"

127.0.0.1 is the "loopback" address for your Internet stack, the address you tell your computer to visit when you want it to talk to itself. Read the rest

Universal Music claims it has a private deal with Google to take down YouTube videos it doesn't own

The saga of Universal Music's war on the Mega Song (a song and video recorded by several major artists in support of the online service MegaUpload, which Universal is trying to have censored in the USA through its support of the Stop Online Piracy Act) just got weirder. Many of us were baffled that Universal kept telling YouTube to take down this video, even though it was clear they didn't hold a copyright to it -- a fact reinforced by artists like will.i.am, who insisted that he hadn't authorized Universal to send the takedown notice.

Now, a court filing in the matter from Universal claims that the takedown wasn't issued because Universal claims a copyright in the Mega Song, but rather, they claim that they have a private contract with Google giving them the power to take down videos they dislike, regardless of whether they are the rightsholder.

Your letter could be read to suggest that UMG's rights to use the YouTube "Content Management System" with respect to certain user-posted videos are limited to instances in which UMG asserts a claim that a user-posted video contains material that infringes a UMG copyright. As you know, UMG's rights in this regard are not limited to copyright infringement, as set forth more completely in the March 31, 2009 Video License Agreement for UGC Video Service Providers, including without limitation Paragraphs 1(b) and 1(g) thereof.

No one knows what Paragraphs 1(b) and (g) say (except Googlers and Universal), but the letter excerpted above implies that Universal has some sort of special deal to arbitrarily remove stuff it doesn't like from YouTube, even if that stuff is legal. Read the rest