The sharps and flats of the music business

( / September 24, 2013) Also By Jon Healey This post has been updated, as noted below. September 25, 2013, 5:00 a.m. The line between a fair use of copyrighted works and an infringement is blurry, and sometimes it takes a judge to decide where a particular use falls. The dispute between Universal Music Publishing and Lauren LoPrete shows how copyright owners can use that lack of clarity to stifle creativity and defeat the purpose of copyright protection. LoPrete started a Tumblr page called This Charming Charlie in early August, posting cleverly altered panels from old Peanuts comic strips. Instead of author Charles Schulz ‘s words, the dialogue bubbles contained snippets from songs by the English pop band The Smiths . It was an inspired pairing. The Smiths’ melodramatic lyrics (sample: “Now I know how Joan of Arc felt”) become even more hyperbolic and funny when delivered by Charlie Brown as he sits up in bed at night, or by Snoopy sitting on his doghouse. LoPrete’s Tumblr feed has essentially one joke, but for fans of The Smiths (myself included), it’s a good one. But the music publishing arm of Universal Music Group, one of the three major record companies, apparently doesn’t find that joke funny anymore. Or at least its lawyers don’t. Last week, LoPrete posted a note on her page saying that she was going to have to stop the simulated music in the face of a growing number of requests from Universal Music Group to remove the material from Tumblr. She’d received a total of six takedown notices for three separate posts, and said more were coming in every hour. She’s received an outpouring of support online, though, and is pushing back. On Monday, her lawyer filed a counter-notice with Tumblr asking that the three posts be restored.

Photographer take pictures as the Soyuz TMA-10M spacecraft carrying the International Space Station (ISS) crew of U.S. astronaut U.S. astronaut Michael Hopkins, Russian cosmonauts Oleg Kotov and Sergey Ryazanskiy blasts off from the launch pad at the Baikonur cosmodrome September 26, 2013. REUTERS/Shamil Zhumatov  (KAZAKHSTAN - Tags: SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY)

Two blocks from FitzGerald’s Nightclub a 33-year-old spot that draws local and national acts,, four Chicago-area music professionals are partnering to open Wire, a venue, school and recording space described as an incubator for musical ideas. The endeavor is the latest in a procession of dining and entertainment destinations opening on Roosevelt Road, sparking some big hopes for the area. “The idea is, down the line, this could be Austin, Texas,” said Chris Neville, the principal investor in Wire and musical director of Tributosaurus, a popular Chicago group that pays tribute to well-known musical acts. As the city of Berwyn uses colorful billboards to encourage Chicago-area residents to “make the move” to the western suburb, FitzGerald said he is seeing results. In the last few years, diners from new restaurants such as Autre Monde and Capri have been showing up at his club, he said. He predicts Wire concertgoers and students also will fan out to other neighborhood businesses. “That whole destination thing, there’s something to that,” said FitzGerald, who compares what he is seeing to the game “Monopoly.” “This little strip here from FitzGerald’s down to the Wire you’re starting to see some houses on those monopolies,” he said, referring to the board game’s development options. “I think Berwyn wants to see hotels.” Boosted by a recent $10 million streetscape improvement project, Roosevelt Road is being developed as the town’s “entertainment corridor,” said Berwyn Development Corp. Executive Director Anthony Griffin. “We do have some thoughts of building upon the music scene of Roosevelt Road,” Griffin said. The corporation, which contracts with the city, dedicated about $230,000 in local taxes toward the $1.2 million Wire renovation, Griffin said.

4 music professionals team up to give Berwyn a new nightspot

Just a couple of everyday guys, hanging out before taking the stage in Richmond in front of 6,000 screaming fans. Fifteen months ago, these dudes didnt have a record deal. Now theyre shattering music records while taking Nashville by storm . On Sunday, the 20,000-plus expected to gather at Merriweather Post Pavilion for the annual Sunday in the Country festival will see Kelley and Hubbard right before they graduate to the next level of stardom: their first national headlining tour, which kicks off Thursday. Fans will pack in to hear feel-good party songs from the duos platinum-selling debut album, Heres to the Good Times , and especially the inescapable crossover smash Cruise, which recently spent 22 weeks at No. 1, making Billboard country chart history. As Florida Georgia Line keeps ascending, the duo is also being credited or blamed, depending on whom you ask for helping to change the sound of modern country music. The bands rise may seem rapid, but as everyone around them emphasizes, its the result of years of tough, behind-the-scenes work. Plus, its triumphant proof that doing things a little differently even if you start outside of the Nashville star-making machine, which has a methodical process of transforming singers into superstars can lead to success. It was a fast rise if youre looking at it only from the perspective of when the mass audience started paying attention, says Seth England, the duos manager. I dont mean that disrespectfully. Thats just when people first became aware of them. England laughs, We call it the five-year overnight success. Hit the road Five years may not seem like a lot to the countless songwriters gutting it out in Music City waiting for a big break. However, these singers, who spent their early 20s building bathroom stalls and working for a mobile carwash to earn money between singing gigs, feel like they paid their dues. We did things a lot different than Nashville, typically, Hubbard says. For those who cant tell the towering, tattooed duo apart, hes the one with long hair, clad in jeans, a tight black T-shirt and a giant silver belt buckle.