Bird & Bird Advises Oxfam in Launch of Online Music Site

25 June 2004

International law firm Bird & Bird has been advising Oxfam on their launch of www.bignoisemusic.com, a groundbreaking new venture which will enable the charity to build awareness of their “Make Trade Fair” campaign and raise money through an on-line music download site. Bird & Bird has been advising Oxfam on a pro bono basis.

The site, which has the backing of artists such as Chris Martin from Coldplay and George Michael, allows music lovers to download tracks from a wide choice with every 10p in the pound spent going directly to Oxfam. As the first ever charity to enter into the rapidly expanding market for online music distribution, Oxfam required advice on a number of legal issues. A key issue was the management of personal information including that of children, to whom Oxfam intend the site to be accessible, and how this might best be achieved. Copyright control and negotiation, compliance with recent EU e-commerce directives and data protection issues at large, were further important factors that had to be considered.

Bird & Bird advised Oxfam on all legal issues relating to their agreement with OnDemand Distribution (OD2), Europe’s leading digital distributor of music, who is providing the backend technology, licensing and billing. Bird & Bird partner Jane Mutimear who has advised Oxfam on intellectual property matters brought in Lance Phillips, lawyer in the firm’s international IT and Media sector groups to lead the work while data protection issues were addressed by partner Ruth Boardman.

Commenting on the work, Gareth Simpson, project manager of “Big Noise Music” at Oxfam said:

“We were delighted that Bird & Bird offered so much support to the project. As a new venture it was paramount that we had support from experts in the field. Bird & Bird have a long established reputation for this type of work and were able to provide us with expert legal and commercial advice across the whole range of legal issues that we needed to consider”.

Lance Phillips, added:

“This was a particularly challenging and interesting project to be involved in: it required considering and advising upon a wide range of legal issues, from music copyright and e-commerce law to the implications of allowing children to register for and access the bignoisemusic website. At the same time we had always to bear in mind that Oxfam, as one of the world’s most recognised charities, have a responsibility to be completely transparent in their commercial ventures and so our advice had to reflect their broader aims and concerns”.

For more information, please contact Lance Phillips on +44 (0) 20 7415 6000 or Larry Cattle on + 44 (0) 20 7415 6156.