Casino bill enactment to be deferred


Pro-casino lawmakers have given up on getting a bill to legalise casino gambling enacted during the current Diet session which ends Sept 27.

Members of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, the Japan Innovation Party and the Party for Future Generations submitted the bill for the second time in April and had hoped the bill would pass before the Diet session ends.

However, the Diet has been preoccupied with a debate on controversial security legislation, the Trans-Pacific Pact free trade talks and the Olympic stadium fiasco.

The casino bill, if passed, would establish an industry analysts say could generate 4 trillion yen a year and which Prime Minister Shinzo Abe sees as key to economic growth.

Attempts to legalise casino gambling in Japan, which industry experts say is one of the world’s last major untapped gaming markets, have been delayed repeatedly amid opposition from lawmakers worried about addiction and organised crime.

Some members of the Buddhist-backed Komeito, a junior partner in Abe’s coalition government, oppose legalisation. Lawmakers in the pro-casino camp have said this opposition made it hard for them to push for the bill even though supporters slightly outnumber opponents in the Diet.

Companies such as Las Vegas Sands Corp and MGM Resorts International are vying to win licenses to operate casinos in Japan, a market that brokerage CLSA estimates could generate annual revenue of $40 billion.

NDP was paying some Punjabi phone canvassers $13 (four bucks less than their English counterparts)

At the same time NDP leader Thomas Mulcair was railing about “equality” and demanding a $15-an-hour minimum wage, some of the party’s Punjabi-speaking phone canvassers were being paid $13 an hour — four bucks less than their English-speaking counterparts.

Now, after an investigation by The Province newspaper, the Punjabi-speaking workers are receiving back pay.

“We’ve now cleared that up,” said Bob Penner, president of Vancouver’s Strategic Communications, a key NDP consulting company.

“We will now ensure the employees in question are paid at a rate of $17 per hour, which is the rate of pay offered by the NDP.”

Nice to know. But I doubt these Punjabi-speaking NDP workers would have ever known they were being ripped off in the first place.

In Sunday’s paper, I told you about two NDP want ads that appeared on Craigslist. One ad sought English-speaking phone canvassers for the NDP at a rate of pay of $17 an hour. The other ad sought Punjabi-speaking phone canvassers for just $13 an hour.

The contrasting pay rates smacked of blatant discrimination. And with Mulcair campaigning for a $15-an-hour minimum wage, the cut-rate pay for Punjabi canvassers was also extremely hypocritical.

When I asked the NDP for an explanation, the party could not offer one, suggesting the Punjabi ad — placed on Craigslist by Burnaby-based employment agency Express Professionals — may have been a mistake.

Sing Pao to hit streets despite wind-up order

Sing Pao to hit streets despite wind-up order

Thursday, August 13, 2015

The High Court has ordered the parent company of Hong Kong’s oldest Chinese newspaper, Sing Pao Daily News, to wind up.

But this should not affect the publication of the newspaper founded in 1939 according to the court-appointed provisional liquidators from professional services firm KPMG.

It came after its creditor Korchina Culture Investment filed a petition to the High Court on April 14 to wind up Sing Pao Media Enterprises.

The court was informed by the petitioner yesterday that the cash-strapped company had made no repayments.

Master Reuden Lai Tat-cheung then instructed the winding up order be drawn up, after a creditor expressed a neutral stance.

The court had previously appointed KPMG’s Edward Middleton and Tiffany Wong Wing-sze to serve as joint provisional liquidators.

They confirmed in a statement yesterday the liquidation order was made.

“This means that the company, the holding company of the Sing Pao publishing business, is now in liquidation,” the statement read.

“However, the provisional liquidators wish to make clear that the liquidation of the holding company will have no impact on the operations of the business, including the publication of Sing Pao Daily News and magazines, which are conducted through wholly owned subsidiaries of the company.”

A similar pledge was made on July 16, but the newspaper temporarily stopped printing the following day.


Jay Z Will Testify at “Big Pimpin” Trial This Autumn

Sixteen years ago, the music producer Tim “Timbaland” Mosley worked with Shawn “Jay Z” Carter on a track for the album, Vol. 3 … Life and Times of S. Carter.

At the recording session, Timbaland grabbed a CD that contained Middle Eastern music he believed to be in the public domain. He found a particularly distinctive Egyptian composition — the kind of song one might expect to be played for a bellydance. Timbaland focused on a particular measure of this song with an amazing flute melody and looped it. Jay Z’s rap (“You know I, thug em, f— em, love em, leave em”) came on top. And so, “Big Pimpin” was created. Rolling Stone magazine has since called it one of the 500 greatest songs of all time.

When Jay Z’s hit came out, a foreign subsidiary of EMI identified the sample as coming from the Baligh Hamdi composition “Khosara, Khosara” from the 1960 Egyptian film Fata ahlami. EMI claimed rights stemming from a deal with an Egyptian outfit that had made its own agreement with Hamdi’s heirs. Timbaland then paid $100,000 to EMI for rights to use the sample, and that money was supposed to end any dispute. Except it didn’t.

Instead, what’s resulted is one of the longest-running active lawsuits in America — not just in entertainment. And it finally is scheduled to go to trial on October 13. Both Timbaland and Jay Z will testify, according to court filings submitted on Monday.

The lawsuit, filed in 2007 in California federal court, comes from Osama Ahmed Fahmy, the nephew of Hamdi who is targeting Jay Z, Timbaland, EMI, Universal Music, Paramount Pictures (over a Jay Z documentary), MTV (over a Jay Z special) and others. After all, “Big Pimpin” has been exploited by many.

If this case was as simple as determining whether “Khosara, Khosara” was illicitly copied, and the damage therein, it would be interesting enough. Here, for example, are some of the exhibits attached to a deposition that Jay Z gave in the case: A Live Nation touring business plan, royalty statements for Jay Z and his agreement with Roc-A-Fella Records.

The quirks of the case add to the intrigue.

The Jay Z side believes that it has properly licensed “Khosara, Khosara,” and even if not, it’s not for Fahmy to challenge. Soon after Timbaland made his $100,000 deal, Fahmy reached agreement with the Egyptian outfit that had given EMI rights. According to court documents, the Hamdi heirs got a “lump-sum buyout” in exchange for assigning song rights.  “Pursuant to the 2002 Agreement, Plaintiff gave up exclusive control of all rights in Khosara that have application in the United States, and therefore he has no standing to bring any claims,” states defendants’ memorandum on Monday.

Fahmy’s lawyers have a different story — and it’s one that leans on the moral rights of authors in Egyptian law and how this impacts licensing contracts.

“The evidence will show that the defendants did not enter into valid agreements that ‘expressly and in detail’ — including indicating the range, purpose, and period and place of exploitation — convey the right to useKhosara, Khosara in Big Pimpin‘,” states plaintiff’s memorandum. “The evidence will also show that the defendants did not obtain the consent of the author or his heirs to introduce modifications in or additions toKhosara Khosara; therefore, any license to economically exploit Khosara Khosara in Big Pimpin‘ would be null and void.”

The defendants respond, “Throughout the course of this litigation, Plaintiff has consistently tried to make this a case about so-called ‘moral rights,’ complaining for example that under Egyptian law, authors and their heirs can always refuse to permit use of a composition in manners deemed to be ‘objectionable,’ regardless of whether they previously gave up all of their economic rights in connection therewith. This Court, however, already has properly determined that moral rights have no application in the United States, and cannot support Plaintiff’s copyright infringement claims.’

Which deals are valid and which ones are not could be the starting point in figuring out the legitimacy of “Big Pimpin.” Other issues that could be tested include figuring out what expression in “Khosara, Khosara” is original enough to be copyrighted, whether rights were forfeited by general publication, whether the use of a sample was de minimus copying or fair use, whether there was any willfulness in the copying, and whether Fahmy waited too long to make a challenge over “Big Pimpin.” In the two months before trial, a judge could potentially narrow what is to be tried before a jury.

Fahmy’s lawyers will be calling to the witness stand Judith Finell, the same musicologist who testified during the “Blurred Lines” case on behalf of the Marvin Gaye family. They’ll also be presenting the testimony of Dr.Patrick Kennedy, an economist who has reviewed all of the accounting statements and digital download data and will summarize the defendants’ revenue and profit attributable to their exploitation of “Big Pimpin.” They’ll also be calling to the witness stand Dr. Michael Kamins, a marketing expert who has conducted a survey of those who have seen Jay Z in concert in an effort to determine if fans making ticket purchases did so with expectation of seeing “Big Pimpin.” And then there’s Sam Rubin, an entertainment reporter who will be called to offer his opinion on the significance of the song to Jay Z’s career.

The defendants are ridiculing the lawsuit’s reach. “The notion that people buy concert tickets to Mr. Carter’s concerts to hear one song —never mind an instrumental sample contained in one song that may or may not be played — is patently absurd,” they say in a brief.

The trial will feature many top entertainment lawyers including Peter Ross, Keith Wesley and Jonathan Gottfried on behalf of Fahmy. David Steinberg, Christine Lepera, Russell Frackman, Bradley Mullins, Daniel Rozansky and Andrew Bart will be representing the defendants.

Dr. Luke Sued for Copyright Infringement on a Jessie J Track

Songwriter and producer Dr. Luke is facing another lawsuit, but this time it’s for allegedly copying one of the most famous and widely-used percussive beats in music history.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, New Old Music Group is suing Dr. Luke for the “breakbeat” in the Jessie J hit “Price Tag,” claiming it was directly lifted from the 1975 song “Zimba Ku.”

The group’s president, Lenny Lee Goldsmith, wrote “Zimba Ku,” which was then recorded by the band Black Heat. The song’s main drum beat has gone on to become one of the most recognizable in music, with artists such as N.W.A., Kool G. Rap and more making use of it.

Court documents allege the similarities between Dr. Luke’s “Price Tag” and “Zimba Ku” come in the form of (via Scribd) “sixteen consecutive 16th notes on the hi-hat cymbal, a bass drum pattern consisting of two 8th notes on the first beat of the measure, followed by three syncopated notes on beats 2 and 3, snare drum attacks on beats 2 and 4 and a ‘buzz’ on the snare drum at the end of the measure.”

Dr. Luke’s attorneys have since argued that use of the individual aspects from the drum pattern from “Zimba Ku” is so widespread, there’s no definitive proof of copyright infringement.

Judge Ronnie Abrams, however, takes issue with this defense. He said, “The court disagrees. While many of the individual elements of Zimba Ku may be commonplace, Defendants have not shown that, as a matter of law, the combination of those elements in the drum part is so common as to preclude any reasonable inference of copying.”

Dr. Luke attempted to make his case by pointing out other songs written before “Zimba Ku,” that also had a similar breakbeat: Thelma Houston’s “Me and Bobby McGee” and the Jackson 5’s “ABC” and “I Will Find A Way.”

But Abrams disagrees. He said, “This is not to say that Plaintiff has proved that the similarities between ‘Zimba Ku’s and ‘Price Tag’s drum parts are so probative of copying that independent creation was not possible. To the contrary, a jury may well find that even though it has not been presented with prior art embodying precisely the combination of elements at issue, the similarities between Zimba Ku and Price Tag nevertheless do not sufficiently raise an inference of copying. At this point in the litigation, however, the Court cannot conclude as a matter of law that no reasonable juror could infer, on the current record, that the creators of ‘Price Tag’ copied ‘Zimba Ku.’”

If the case winds up going to trial, a jury will make the ultimate decision as to whether “Price Tag” is guilty of copyright infringement or not.

You can listen to both songs below, and let us know if there’s a case to made.

Read More: Dr. Luke Sued for Copyright Infringement on a Jessie J Track |

Mississippi Terrorist is Son of Immigrant Imam…

The FBI busted Muhammad Dakhlalla and Jaelyn Delshaun Young for trying to join ISIS.

Jaelyn Delshaun Young was the daughter of a cop before she converted to Islam and renamed herself Aminah Al-Amiriki. Muhammad is the son of a Mississippi Imam from a family of Palestinian Muslim settlers living in the United States.

Dakhlalla’s father, Oda H. Dakhlalla, is the longtime imam of the Islamic Center of Mississippi in Starkville, Harmon said, and has previously been reported to be a native of Bethlehem, in the West Bank.

The media is running all the usual stories about how shocked both families are.

Dakhlalla’s family is “absolutely stunned” by his arrest, said Columbus lawyer Dennis Harmon, who represents the family. He said Tuesday they have been cooperating with the FBI.

Here’s the stuff from the FBI complaint that the media is very deliberately leaving out.

Dakhlalla went on to state, “Aaminah (YOUNG) and I have our nikkah (Islamic marriage) approved by my father.”

Young also discussed her nikkah to Dakhlalla. She confirmed that they had his father’s blessing and she stated, “our nikkah will be this Saturday and in sha Allah will be in Dawlah (Islamic State) before end of July. Our story will be that we are newlyweds on our honeymoon.”

Young allegedly praised the July 16 attacks at military centers in Chattanooga, Tennessee, in which four Marines and a sailor were killed. “The numbers of supporters are growing,” she wrote.

Now this is not a clear confirmation that the father was aware they were joining ISIS, but he had to have known something was up.

Young and Dakhlalla weren’t just getting their nikkah on for true love. They wanted to avoid escort issues. It was part of their plan for joining ISIS. It’s unlikely that Young would have told her family, but it’s certainly an interesting question whether the Dakhlallas knew anything.

Muhammmad appeared to have a good relationship with his father. He certainly wasn’t rejecting his father for practicing a bad or flawed version of Islam. And that’s telling too.