Business, Legal Drama

Industry News: Adele’s Music Rights Agency, Merlin, Wins Illegal File Sharing Battle with LimeWire

As music digital distribution increases in the African music space, we need to begin having a discussion on what lies ahead for AML artists, labels etc. Several news stories I will keep posting as we lead up to a full discussion on those issues looking at Spinlet, Irokoing, Gidilounge, Truspot, Iwantairplay and other digital distributors in Africa’s market. From where I sit, it does not take much to see the trends and where the legal issues will arise in the nearest future. Read what is happening in the international music space below, “I dey come” . . . :

“Merlin, the rights agency for independent record labels representing acts including Adele and Arctic Monkeys, has reached a landmark deal with LimeWire worth millions of dollars to artists to end a long-running legal battle over illegal file sharing.

The out-of-court settlement, which is thought to be worth between $5m and $10m, is the largest the independent music sector has won in its battle against digital music piracy.

Last year the major music labels won a $105m (£64m) settlement with LimeWire.

However, Charles Caldas, the chief executive of Merlin, said that smaller labels had been “totally left out in the cold on a deal with a service that infringed their rights as much as the major labels”.

“The exclusion of independents from past major settlements such as Kazaa was a key factor in the formation of Merlin, and I am proud to say that this time, via the actions of Merlin, our members’ rights have been properly protected,” added Caldas.

Details of LimeWire’s deal with Merlin were not disclosed beyond that the multi-million pound settlement is the largest the agency has struck to date, and its first global action.

However, according to Merlin it is “commensurate” with the deal struck by the major labels, taking into account the smaller market share of its members.

Merlin’s previous biggest deal was a $3.6m payout by US-based XM Satellite Radio, which has DJs including Howard Stern, struck last year. Merlin’s members account for about 10% of the US music market. . .” – Guardian Co. UK


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Credited for several firsts in the fashion and entertainment industry, Uduak Oduok (Ms. Uduak) is a fashion and entertainment lawyer, speaker, visionary, gamechanger, trailblazer, and recognized thought leader, for her work on Africa’s emerging global fashion and entertainment markets, and the niche practice of fashion law in the United States. She is also the founder of ‘Africa Music Law,’ an industry go-to music business and law blog and podcast show empowering African artists. Her work in the creative and legal industries has earned her numerous awards and recognitions, including an award from the American University Washington College of Law for her “legal impact in the field of intellectual property in Africa." She has also taught as an Adjunct Professor at several institutions in the United States. For more information, visit her at

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