Country music songwriter seeks $1.3 million in premium payments from ASCAP
Contract , Copyright / April 2018
USA

COPYRIGHT / CONTRACT Music publishing, collection societies   Country music songwriter Shane McAnally is taking one of the USA’s big two collecting societies, ASCAP, to arbitration in a dispute over $1.3 million of “premium payments” that he says should have been paid for his top performing songs. Having left ASCAP for the new rights organisation, Global Music Rights, McAnally’s works were still administered by ASCAP for radio until ASCAP’s then current agreements with the broadcasters expired. The disputed payments stem from that period. The dispute relates to premium payments which are paid to writers by ASCAP in addition to standard royalties where certain “threshold numbers” are reached (in any one quarter). McAnally claims that once he was in the process of pulling his rights from ASCAP he no longer received the same premiums as his co-writers on certain songs that topped the country radio charts and was thus allegedly unpaid or underpaid premiums. The matter was initially heard by the collecting society’s ‘board of review’, which ruled that the organisation had applied its royalty payment rules correctly. But the writer disagrees and with the support of GMR is now taking the matter to arbitration. McAnally is quoted by The Tennessean as declaring ASCAP…

West wins payout in insurance battle
Contract , Live Events / April 2018
UK
USA

CONTRACT Live events sector   Rapper Kanye West has settled his battle against Lloyd’s of London, which began when insurers refused to pay out West’s claim stemming from the cancellation of several dates on his 2016 Saint Pablo tour.  The Stour ran from August to November. West performed 41 shows in 87 days before the stoppage. In all, 22 dates were cancelled. West has not ventured back on the road since those cancelled dates. According to TMZ, the insurer has agreed to pay most of what West was claiming. Initially, Lloyd’s had refused to make any payment on the grounds  that the mental health issues which West suffered had stemmed from his drug use, which would have voided the policy. West’s touring company Very Good Touring sued Lloyd’s for $9.8 million (plus interest) and Lloyd’s had originally counter-sued. West was admitted to a Los Angeles hospital in November of 2016 following a series of “bizarre incidents” including feuding with Beyonce and Jay-Z, telling a San Jose, California crowd that he would have voted for then President-elect Trump if he had voted, and stopping a show after two songs and 30 minutes in Sacramento. A source told NBC news at the time that police responded…

Enrique Iglesias takes legal action against Universal Music Group for “missing” millions in streaming royalties
Contract , Copyright / February 2018
USA

CONTRACT / COPYRIGHT Recorded music   Enrique Iglesias has taken legal action against Universal Music Group in the US to claw back an alleged “shortfall of millions of dollars” in streaming royalties. The lawsuit, filed in Miami relies on the accusation that Universal failed to assign a royalty rate for streaming in two contracts with Iglesias: one signed in May 1999 with Interscope in tandem with Universal’s global company, plus an additional contract signed in May 2010. Recording contracts usually provide artists with a percentage share of any money their recordings generate. However, the percentage paid to the artist often varies according to how the money is generated. A traditional distinction was between sales income (eg selling CDs and downloads) and licence income (eg synch deals). A common royalty on the former was 15%, while on the latter it would be 50% of net income (although the definition of net income in itself can be a battle.  Iglesias’s legal team say that Universal should be paying 50% of net receipts from services such as Spotify, YouTube, Apple Music and Pandora. UMG have (predictably) been paying a rate based on specified rate agreed for (sometimes) downloads and physical album sales – a significantly…

This is Spinal Tap – it’s gone past eleven
Contract / November 2017
UK
USA

CONTRACT Film & TV, recorded music   We previously reported about the ongoing ‘This is Spinal Tap’ litigation. In fact, I am sure that we are now running out of puns, I guess each time “it’s one louder, isn’t it?” But now the four creators, have amended their claim. The amendments have resulted in more specific claims against Vivendi and now Universal Music is also featured as a co-defendant.  The legal representatives for Harry Shearer, Christopher Guest, Michael McKean and Rob Reiner have stated that “The amended complaint details the fraud by concealment and misrepresentation conducted by Vivendi and its agent Ron Halpern and others. The co-creators contend there was longstanding and deliberate concealment by Vivendi of material facts regarding the actual gross receipts of the film, soundtrack, music and merchandise sales, plus expenses and the profits owed to them” and “Further compounding this fraud, improper expense deductions were made in Vivendi’s accounting to the creators, allegedly representing print, advertising and publicity expenses (undocumented) totalling over $3.3 million and a further $1 million in freight and other direct costs, more than half of which extraordinarily appears to fall some 20 years after the film’s release. Vivendi has also recently charged over $460k in ‘interest’ on…

Jackson’s 3D Thriller heads back to court
Contract / October 2017
USA

CONTRACT Film & Television, performers   Ola Ray, the then young actress who played opposite Michael Jackson in the iconic Thriller video has launched another legal against the Michael Jackson Estate on the back of news that director John Landis had reworked the original video as a 3D version of ‘Thriller’ and this short has now been premiered at the Venice Film Festival. Ray previously sued Jackson just before his untimely death in 2009, claiming that she had been promised a 2.5% share of the royalties generated by the iconic music-video-come-short-film, and although she had received some $200,000 this was an under payment. A settlement with the Jackson Estate followed in 2012, reportedly worth $75,000.  Landis settled his own legal action with the Jackson Estate in relation to royalties generated by the video.   Ray has now said she wasn’t consulted about the 3D version of ‘Thriller’. She told reporters: “I’m outraged, upset and in shock. When I heard rumours about a possible 3D version, I contacted the director and said ‘we need to talk about this’. But he never responded to my email. They haven’t tried to contact me or negotiate anything. How do they think they can just do this without…

Public Enemies
Artists , Contract , Music Publishing / October 2017
UK
USA

CONTRACT Artists, recorded music   Flavor Flav has launched a legal action against his former Public Enemy collaborator Chuck D and various other parties associated of the seminal hip hop group over allegedly unpaid royalties.  That said it seems Flavor Flav and Chuck D will still perform together in upcoming live shows. According to TMZ, the lawsuit covers unpaid royalties and revenue shares from recording income, publishing, live performances and merchandising income generated by Public Enemy, including monies from the recent album ‘Nothing Is Quick In The Desert’ and money relating to a deal that resulted in Public Enemy action figures being sold. In the lawsuit, Flavor Flav (real name William J. Drayton) claims that he and Chuck D (real name Carlton Ridenhour) had a long-established agreement that profits from their music, merchandise and concerts would be split between them. Despite that alleged arrangement, Flavor Flav claims that Public Enemy’s business management firm Eastlink has not been sending the earnings he is owed, which have “diminished to almost nothing, and Drayton has been refused accountings, even on the items bearing his likeness, Responding to the litigation, Chuck D told TMZ: “Flav has his rights, but took a wrong road on…

Martin Garrix freed from contract with Spinnin Records
Artists , Contract , Music Publishing / October 2017
Netherlands

CONTRACT Recorded music, artists   A Dutch court has sided with EDM producer and superstar Martin Garrix in a legal dispute with his former label and management firm, Spinnin Records and MusicAllstars. Both of the defendants were founded by Eelko Van Kooten.   In August 2015 Garrix said that he was parting company with both of Van Kooten’s businesses and then launched a legal action, accusing his former manager of having provided “false and misleading information” when Garrix, as a teenager, had signed his deals with Van Kooten’s companies.   The producer also alleged that, by signing an artist he managed to his own label in 2012, Van Kooten had a clear conflict of interest, and that he had signed a recording deal that was in Van Koote’s own interests, but that Van Kooten should have been representing the interests of his client  – Garrix. Garrix’s father countersigned the recordng agreement with the then teenager (he is now 21).    In the original lawsuit, Garrix sought to reclaim the sound recording rights that had been assigned to Spinnin Records and 4.35 million Euros in damages.  Spinnin counterclaimed, arguing that Garrix’s unilateral termination of contract had cost the label over 6.4…

“England’s loudest band will be heard”….in a courtroom in the US
Artists , Contract / October 2017
UK

CONTRACT Film & TV, Artistes   The ‘This is Spinal Tap’ litigation has been ongoing for some time and now and it looks like it will go ahead. Last week it was ruled that the case will proceed on the provision that some new paperwork is filed.  Harry Shearer, Christopher Guest, Michael McKean and Rob Reiner allege that Vivendi, owner of StudioCanal, who in turn is the rights holder of the ‘Spinal Tap’ movie, of deliberate under-payment of music and other royalties.  The action started when Harry Shearer began the lawsuit against Vivendi, and not long after Christopher Guest, Michael McKean and Rob Reiner followed suit. They turned it up to eleven, and claimed that Vivendi “wilfully manipulated certain accounting data, while ignoring contractually-obligated accounting and reporting processes, to deny [the] co-creators their rightful stake in the production’s profits”. Vivendi called the litigation ‘absurd’ and stated that they planned to have the case dismissed. In the ruling last week the Judge stated that the creators of ‘Spinal Tap’ had not done enough to substantiate the claims of fraud, Judge Dolly Gee explained that: although the creators had “vaguely alleged the elements of a fraud claim, they have failed to plead…

Foos fight the touts
Consumers , Contract , Live Events / October 2017
UK
USA

CONTRACT / CONSUMER Live events sector   Foo Fighters have risked a PR disaster by turning away fans who had brought tickets for their show at London’s September 19th O2 from secondary re-sellers. Whilst the band  apologised to fans who were turned away from the O2 Arena  buying tickets from the secondary sites they and promoters SJM Concerts said they had made it very clear at the point of sale that each buyer’s name was printed on each ticket for the show and that buyers would be required to show ID to prove it was their name on the ticket before being granted entry.    It was reported that 200 people were turned away at the doors. In a statement, the band said: “The Foo Fighters show that took place at The O2 last night had a strict ‘names on ticket’ policy. The stipulation that ID would be required for admittance to the show was clearly stated at the time of announcement and was explicitly noticed at the point of purchase”. The band added that a number of other measures to ensure that tickets were not resold by touts were also put in place adding “despite these requirements being in place, some purchasers listed…

Sweet home truths for Artimus Pyle
Artists , Contract / September 2017
USA

CONTRACT Artistes   You might have thought that having an ex-member of a legendary band involved in a film bio-pic would be an asset, but a new Lynryd Skynryd biopic has been blocked because of ex-drummer’s Artimus Pyle’s involvement.  Initially producers Cleopatra Records said that the biopic, Street Survivor: The True Story Of The Lynyrd Skynyrd Plane Crash‘ was not an authorised project, and that it should be free to make the film – arguing that under its First Amendment free speech rights, it was allowed to make a film about the band and the 1977 plane crash in which two band members died. Initially US District Court Judge Robert Sweet agreed that Cleopatra was free to make the film in its own right, but then found that the involvement of Pyle in the movie venture violated the agreement (a’consent order’) he had reached with his former bandmates back in 1988. In that agreement, Pyle was given permission to tell his own life story, but he couldn’t use the band’s name or exploit the rights of the two band members killed in the 1977 crash, Ronnie Van Zant and Steve Gaines. Granting an injunction, Judge Sweet said: “Cleopatra is prohibited from making its movie about Lynyrd Skynyrd when its…

Live on stage: Avenged Sevenfold face jury trial in battle with Warners
Artists , Contract / September 2017
USA

CONTRACT Recorded music, artistes   Metal band Avenged Sevenfold’s troubles with Warner Bros continue, stemming from a legal action brought by the major label in January 2016. The action began when the label sued the band over the band’s failure to deliver a new album. In response, Avenged Sevenfold cited the “seven-year rule” set out in the California Labor Code which allows parties to leave personal service contracts under certain circumstances after seven years have passed.  The Hollywood Reporter reports that intense record industry lobbying had meant the the Code was amended in the 1980s to allow record companies to claim lost profits on uncompleted albums. Record companies, though, only have 45 days to do so when an artist exercises the right to terminate. At the heart of the didpute is Avenged Sevenfold’s album The Stage which was released via Capitol Records, and at the same time Warner Bros. put out a Avenged Sevenfold ‘Greatest Hits’. Most commentators then presumed the legal dispute had been settled – but not so – and now the “seven-year rule” will be tested before a jury. The Hollywood Reporter estimate that if Avenged Sevenfold (ultimately) lose the court battle, it could cost them between $5 million and…

Quincy Jones wins $9.4 million in Jackson claim
Contract , Music Publishing / August 2017
USA

CONTRACT Recorded music   Quincy Jones has won a jury decision in the case he brought in the Los Angeles Superio Court against the Michael Jackson Estate, winning $9.4 million in what he alleged were underpaid or unpaid royalties. Jones had accused Sony Music and MJJ Productions (one of Michael Jackson’s companies, now controlled by the Jackson Estate) or depriving him of some $30 million in royalties, almost all from the period following Jackson’s death in 2009 and the utilisation of recordings which Jones had produced for Off the Wall, Thriller and Bad in projects such as the This Is It film and two Cirque du Soleil shows. At the trial Jones admitted he had not focussed on the contracts he signed in 1978 and 1985, but said the recordings had been re-edited and re-mixed to deprive him of an equitable share of income and that he had a contractual right to be offered and undertake at any re-edit or remix. MJJ had countered that Jones was incorrectly interpreting contracts he signed with Jackson on which the royalty claims were based and the Estate argued that the unpaid sums came to less than $400,000.  After the decision Jones commented: “As an artist, maintaining the vision and integrity of one’s…

Arcade under Fire
Contract , Live Events / August 2017
Canada

CONTRACT Live events sector   The Canadian indie rock group, Arcade Fire, has come under fire for requesting attendees to its Everything Now release show at Brooklyn’s Grand Prospect Hall to wear ‘hip and trendy’ clothes. Apple has plans to live-stream the event on Apple Music and it has been reported that they were the ones to send the notice to ticket holders.   The notice that was emailed to the ticket holders for the intimate gig asked that they refrain from wearing “shorts, large logos, flip flops, tank tops, crop tops, baseball hats, solid white or red clothing,” the notice went on to say “We reserve the right to deny entry to anyone dressed inappropriately.”   The notice did not stop there, ticket holders were asked to make the show a “phone-free experience”. The notice explained that “all phones and smart watches will be secured in Yondr pouches that will be unlocked at the end of the show”.   Now this is Music Law Updates, so naturally the question arises as to the legal standing of the notice. Disclaimer: for the purposes of this article I will pretend that the Arcade Fire gig is to be held in England, and therefore English law…

Travis Scott takes action against former management
Artists , Contract , Employment Law / August 2017
USA

CONTRACT / EMPLOYMENT LAW Artistes   Travis Scott (Jacques Webster), the US rapper, singer, songwriter and record producer, has accused the artist management company owned by music industry veteran Lyor Cohen (now  top music man at YouTube) of violating California’s Talent Agencies Act. It’s a two way battle: LCAR Management sued Scott earlier this year claiming that the rapper, who had been a client, owed the firm $2 million. Now, according to Billboard, Scott has responded by accusing LCAR of Talent Agencies Act violations by allegedly booking shows for him without the approval of his actual talent agent, and therefore acting as if a talent agency in itself – without a licence from the California state Labor Commissioner. Scott is seeking to void his contract with LCAR on the basis of the alleged violations. There are further allegations including that LCAR allegedly used Scott to promote Cohen’s other business venture, even though he had no affiliation with that business. LCAR is yet to respond to Scott’s claims. http://www.completemusicupdate.com/article/travis-scott-accuses-former-management-of-violating-californias-talent-agencies-act/

Lil Wayne adds Universal to his ‘Cash Money’ litigation
Contract , Music Publishing / August 2017
USA

CONTRACT Recorded music   Lil Wayne has added Universal to his ‘Cash Money’ litigation in a New Orleans law suit that accuses the Cash Money record company and its major label partner of colluding to deny Lil Wyane royalties that are properly payable to him.  Cash Money co-owners Bryan “Birdman” Williams and Ronald “Slim” Williams are also added to the pending suit that asserts a conspiracy and seeks more than $40 million in actual damages.  Cash Money are Lil Wayne’s long-time label and the dispute includes both a complaint over the delayed release of his long awaited ‘Tha Carter V’ album, and the royalties Wayne claims are due from records released by his joint venture imprint Young Money, which includes albums from Drake. Last year Wayne sued Universal Music directly. In that case, the rapper argued that Universal, which distributes Cash Money and Young Money releases, was withholding monies generated by the latter label’s records in order to recoup advances previously paid to the former. Wayne argued that his share of Young Money income should not be applied be used to recoup Cash Money’s debts. That law suit, which also lists US collecting society SoundExchange as a defendant, was subsequently put on hold, because…

Connecting to free wifi at venues ? Make sure you read the small print!
Belgium

DATA REGULATION / CONTRACT Live events sector Some 22,000 people have agreed to undertake 1,000 hours of community service – including cleaning festival toilets and scraping chewing gum from the pavement – in return for free wireless internet, reveals an experiment designed to illustrate a lack of awareness among consumers signing up for free in-venue wifi. Purple, who launched the experiment, said “We welcome the strengthening of data protection laws across Europe that GDPR [General Data Protection Regulation] will bring. Not only will it give wifi end users more control over how their personal data is being used by companies, it will also raise the level of trust in the digital economy”. During the experiment users were given the chance to flag the unreasonable condition in return for a prize. But only one person did. In separate news, Belgium newspaper De Standaard reports that the Belgian Privacy Commission is investigating the way the Tomorrowland festival shares ticket buyer data with the federal police to screen attendees for security reasons. 8 ticket-buyers have been excluded from the Belgian festival this year https://www.iq-mag.net/2017/07/connecting-wifi-venues-read-small-print-purple/#.WX7ec4TyuM- –    

Sid Bernstein’s Estate fails in its copyright claim over the Beatles’ Shea Stadium film
Contract , Copyright , Live Events / August 2017
USA

CONTRACT / COPYRIGHT Live events sector, film, TV   A New York judge has dismissed a lawsuit brought the estate of promoter Sid Bernstein, who staged the Beatles’ legendary 1965 show at Shea Stadium. The Estate had argued that band’s Apple Corps had infringed on the copyright of Sid Bernstein Presents by including footage from the concert in ron Howard’s  documentary film Eight Days a Week – the Toruing Years which was released in September 2016.     The Estate’s action sought ownership (or joint ownership) of the master tapes and copyright by Bernstein’s company, Sid Bernstein Presents, arguing that, “[w]ithout Sid, the mastermind of the event, this film would never have been made”.   Copyright to the film, originally released in 1966 as The Beatles at Shea Stadium, was acquired by Apple Corps and the band’s Subafilms, from their management company, Nems Enterprises. In a ruling on the 26th July, Judge George B. Daniels, in the US District Court for Southern New York, said the company could not claim ownership of the footage as Bernstein did not himself film the concert, instead signing over the rights to do so to Nems. Judge Daniels held:  “The relevant legal question is not the extent to which Bernstein…

One for the scalpers! Connecticut prohibits ticket resale restrictions
Competition , Contract , Live Events / July 2017
USA

CONTRACT / COMPETITION Live events sector   Much to the dismay of those who are fighting back against ticket touts and scalpers, but in a move billed as “protecting consumers who purchase e-tickets”, the US state of Connecticut has passed legislation that will to prohibit terms that restrict the sale of non-transferable paperless tickets. Whilst a growing number of major artists, including, prominently, Iron Maiden, now use named electronic tickets which usually require proof of ID to enter the venue to clamp down on the rapidly escalating secondary ticketing industry (which regularly harvests large quantities of tickets before real fans can get their hands on them, forcing them to pay inflated prices to the scalpers), Connecticut House Bill 7114 (HB 7114) has been passed to block these moves and remove restrictions on the sale of entertainment event tickets on the secondary market. The Act has been signed into law by Governor Dan Malloy and outlaws the practice unless “the purchaser of such tickets is offered the option, at the time of initial sale, to purchase the same tickets in another form that is transferrable”. The new legislation also prohibits venues from denying admission “solely on the grounds that such ticket has been…

Fyre Festival failure prompts legal challenges
Contract , Live Events / June 2017
USA

CONTRACT Live events sector     Why anyone thought the partnership of rapper, a young technology ‘serial entrepreneur’, neither of whom had organised a festival before, and an unbelievable Instagram video featuring models Bella Hadid, Hailey Baldwin and Emily Ratajkowski sailing on a luxury yacht and posing on beautiful beaches would result in a mind blowing festival is anyone’s guess. Spending thousands of dollars on ‘artists passes’ is an equally misguided approach to the festival scene. The fact that the elite few who made the trip to the disastrous Fyre Festival had paid anything between $1,200 to over $100,000 to the two-weekend event on Great Exuma Island in the Bahamas for the promised “once-in-a-lifetime” musical experience with beach cabanas and gourmet cuisine was almost certainly a recipe for a lawsuit. Especially when festival-goers then complained of delayed and cancelled flights, being stranded for hours without food, water or shelter, luggage being “unceremoniously dumped from shipping containers” and allegedly left for thieves to to rifle through, and a so called luxury village which consisted of refugee tents, rubbish piled high and burst water pipes.    Now a new lawsuit also alleges Fyre’s organisers warned musicians and celebrities not to attend the…

When will I see my royalties again?
Artists , Contract , Music Publishing / March 2017
USA

CONTRACT Recorded music, artistes   Three members of The Three Degrees, the female vocal group who had hits with  “When Will I See You Again”, “The Runner”, “Woman In Love” and “My Simple Heart”, are suing Sony Music Entertainment, seeking to recoup decades of royalties they say were withheld by a former manager and his widow. The Three Degrees were formed in 1963 in Philadelphia. The group’s membership has changed over the years, but for purposes of the lawsuit it is current members Valerie Holiday (a member from 1967 to present) and Helen Scott (1963-1966, and 1976 to present) and the estate of Fayette Pinkney (a founder member, and with the group until 1976). Pinkney died in June 2009. They were discovered by producer and songwriter Richard Barrett, who produced the original line-up on their first song, “Gee Baby (I’m Sorry)”, for Swan Records, in 1965. Barrett also signed Shiela Ferguson, who went to to become a member. According to the complaint, the group has “never received one penny” of royalties under an oral agreement struck in the mid- to late-1970s with former manager Barrett, for a 75% share of revenues. The plaintiffs say Barrett’s widow, Julie, and her company, Three Degrees Enterprises, have instead kept…

Battle for SOS 4.8 set to run
Contract , Live Events , Trade Mark / March 2017
Spain

TRADE MARK / CONTRACT Live events sector     Legal Music, the promoter of the successful Spanish festival SOS 4.8, has accused the Murcian government of illegally laying claim to the name of the event, and indeed the event itself, which it is says it is “sole and rightful owner” which has featured a host if international artistes over the last nine years including Pulp, Morrissey, The National, PJ Harvey, Franz Ferdinand, The Flaming Lips, Mogwai, The XX, Bloc Party, M83, Pet Shop Boys, Damon Albarn and Phoenix. In December 2016, Legal Music announced the April 2017 edition of SOS 4.8 would not go ahead following the withdrawal of funding from the Autonomous Community of Murcia (Comunidad Autónoma de la Región de Murcia, Carm), and the promoter accused the authority of violating its sponsorship agreement with the festival. It then emerged that Carm had trademarked the SOS 4.8 name in 2008, apparently without informing Legal Music, and Carm then said the festival would go ahead with or without Legal Music’s participation, and that Murcia would “not yield to any kind of threats” from Legal Music”  adding that Carm was “the sponsor of SOS 4.8 and the owner of the brand”. In turn…

Duran Duran granted leave to appeal against Sony/ATV
UK

CONTRACT / COPYRIGHT Music publishing   Duran Duran have been granted leave by the High Court in London to appeal against the decision of Mr Justice Arnold in December 2015 when he ruled against the pop band in their dispute against Gloucester Place Music, which is owned by US company Sony/ATV. Arnold J found that the band would be liable for violating its contract with Sony/ATV by trying to avail itself of provisions in U.S. copyright law allowing Duran Duran to terminate license agreements after 35 years. Mr Justice Arnold ruled “not without hesitation” that the contractual interpretation suggested by Gloucester Place was the correct one.   On Friday, February 3rd, Duran Duran issued a press release outlining the details of the appeal. In a statement, Duran Duran founding member and keyboardist Nick Rhodes said: “It was enormously disappointing that Sony/ATV decided to mount this aggressive and unexpected action against us to try to prevent the simple principles and rights afforded to all artists in America regarding their copyrights after 35 years. We are relieved and grateful that we have been given the opportunity to appeal this case because the consequences are wide reaching and profound for us and all other artists. In his…

Will Prince’s musical catalogue return to Tidal?
USA

COPYRIGHT / CONTRACT Recorded music, streaming     There is speculation that Prince’s catalogue will come flooding back to Tidal, as details of the dispute between Prince’s estate and Tidal, the music streaming service owned by the rapper Jay Z and a number if other artistes including , Beyoncé, Rihanna, Kanye West, Nicki Minaj, Daft Punk, Jack White and Madonna have surfaced.    In November, reports say that the Bremer Trust, the interim administrator of Prince’s estate, sued Tidal via Prince’s NGP record label and publishing business. The lawsuit claimed that Tidal’s deal with Prince, which was made prior to the superstars’ unfortunate death, gave Tidal the rights to exclusively stream his penultimate album and not his whole catalogue. Tidal and Rock Nation, also owned by Jay Z, claimed that oral and written agreements had been made between Prince and themselves for use of the catalogue.  In January, Tidal and Roc Nation filed a claim against Prince’s NGP and Bremer Trust. In this claim they alleged that it was agreed that Prince would deliver four albums, for which an advance was paid. ‘Hit and Run: Phase 1’ and ‘Hit and Run: Phase 2’, the superstars final two albums, were expected…

Viagogo faces fresh legal actions for ticket re-sales
Consumers , Contract , Live Events / March 2017
Italy
Switzerland
UK

CONSUMER / CONTRACT Live events sector   Hot on the heels of news that Viagogo were selling tickets for Ed Sheerhan’s Teenage Cancer Trust charity concert at the the Royal Albert Hall at vastly inflated prices, the now Geneva based secondary ticketing platform is facing fresh legal action from a coalition of Spanish promoters, “adding to its ever-growing collection of lawsuits”. The second lawsuit of 2017 follows the outcry over the speculative selling of tickets for a postponed show by Joaquín Sabina in A Coruña (Corunna), Spain, next July, and in a joint statement, the promoters of Sabina’s Lo niego todo (I deny everything) tour, TheProject, Get In and Riff Producciones, and his management company, Berry Producciones, say they are “outraged” and intend to bring legal action action against Viagogo for the fraudulent listing of “tickets that do not exist”.   A spokesperson told IQ magazine that the parties’ lawyers are currently in the process of filing the action and that the lawsuit mirrors one filed by SIAE in late January, in Italy in which the Italian collection society alleged Viagogo listed tickets for a Vasco Rossi show in Modena before they went on sale on the primary market in a move that dragged Live…

I Take the Dice – Duran Duran seek to reclaim their copyrights
Contract , Music Publishing / December 2016
UK
USA

CONTRACT Music publishing     Duran Duran have begun their action in the High Court in London in a case that will test the ability of UK songwriters to exercise their reversion rights under US copyright law.   The band are fighting Sony/ATV ownedEMI Music Publishing. EMI is seeking to block the band’s songwriter members from taking back control of the rights to songs on their early albums. Duran Duran members Simon Le Bon, Nick Rhodes, Roger Taylor and John Taylor, and former member Andy Taylor had put EMI Music Publishing subsidiary Gloucester Place Music on notice of the reversion of the American copyrights in songs on their first three albums and the James Bond theme ‘A View To A Kill’ in 2014. The publisher has argued that under the band’s (English) contract there is no option to reclaim American rights. According to the Press Association, EMI’s  lawyer, Ian Mill QC, said: “My clients entered into contracts and agreed to pay these artistes sums of money … in return for which the artistes promised to give them rights to exploit, subject to the payment of those sums, for the full term of copyright” and that  “these writers have agreed that they will…

Shearer launches Spinal Tap lawsuit against Universal
Contract , Copyright / November 2016
USA

COPYRIGHT / CONTRACT Film & TV   This Is Spinal Tap star Harry Shearer is suing Universal parent Vivendi for alleged is deliberate under-payment of music and other royalties from the classic spoof rockumentary. His website, Fairness Rocks, opens with this Popular music and films make huge money for rights-owning corporations. Yet, too often, the artists and creators get a raw deal from exploitation of their talent. I want to help rebalance this equation. My case against Vivendi is simple, if perhaps a little shocking. It’s been 34 years since This Is Spinal Tap was released. Yet, the creators have been told that global music sales from the soundtrack album total just US$98. We’re also, apparently, only entitled to share US$81 (between us) from global merchandising sales. This shocks me, given Tap’s enduring popularity. So, Vivendi – it’s not a big ask. Just show us how you’re exploiting our creative work and pay us a fair share   In a lawsuit filed at the Central District Court of California Shearer accuses Vivendi of “fraudulent accounting for revenues from music copyrights” – through Universal – as well as mismanaging film and merchandising rights through UMG sister companies such as Studio Canal.   A press release from…

Avenged Sevenfold face a trial – AND a competing ‘best of’ from their former label
Artists , Contract , Record Labels / November 2016
USA

CONTRACT Recorded music, artistes   Avenged Sevenfold surprise announcement of the arrival of their seventh studio album, on Vivendi SA’s Capitol Records, after playing several songs on the roof of Capitol’s circular building in Los Angeles that was streamed online via a virtual reality app, may have come as some surprise to their former; record label, Warner Music Group, who sued the band earlier this year in California state court for breach of contract after the band left the label without delivering the final album that was apparently due under that deal. The Wall Street Journal says the battle centres on provisions in California’s state labor law that prevents contracts for “personal service” – and that includes recording artistes, actors and athletes –  from extending beyond seven years, but also explicitly permits record companies to sue acts for damages if the departing artiste fails to deliver the agreed-upon number of recordings during that time. Warner Music’s case against Avenged Sevenfold seems to be the first such suit claiming damages.   The surprise release of the new album, titled “The Stage,” by a rival label ahead of the trial could be a welcome development for Warner Music, as it will test the band’s current…

WSJ probe Bon Jovi’s China cancellation
Contract , Live Events / November 2016
China
USA

CONTRACT Live events sector   The Wall Street Journal has published an article which seemingly alleges that AEG Live used a video of Bon Jovi “performing in front of an image of the Dalai Lama” to convince Chinese censors to ban the rock act – and thus force the cancellation of a concert tour in China which was being promoted by AEG. The supposed reason?  The third party intervention by Chinese authorities would be an instance of ‘force majeure’ – forcing the cancellation of the tour which was not selling well, saving AEG some $4 million. WSJ say that whilst AEG did not offer any explanation for the cancellations at the time, it was widely reported at the time that the Chinese government withdrew permission for the tour after they became aware of a performance by the band a few years earlier in front of an image of the Dalai Lama – and WSJ say unnamed sources have said that individuals close to AEG Live ensured Chinese officials saw the videos with the intent of cutting potentially steep losses for the shows. Jay Marciano, chairman of AEG Live and chief operating officer of AEG, categorically rejected the account, telling the Journal….

Mobb Deep’s Prodigy looks to break free from UMG
Contract , Record Labels / November 2016
USA

CONTRACT Recorded music   Having seemingly settled a legal action with Universal last November, Prodigy of Mobb Deep (Albert Johnson) is taking the industry powerhouse to court again, in efforts to completely break free from the major. HipHopDX reports that Prodigy’s attorney Corey D. Boddie said “This particular case involves Prodigy actually looking to get out of his contract based on what is called a ‘mutual mistake.’ There was a term in the actual agreement that was overlooked by both parties and because of that, Prodigy is looking to get out his contract.” The suit was filed in New York and Boddie told HipHopDX that the only motivation behind the new case is the expiration of the contract and that this particular legal action is targeted against the publishing side of Universal. “There is no motivation, in the contract there was what’s called a mutual mistake,” Boddie explains again. “That is a term of the contract that states that they were in the fifth option period. That fifth option period was exercised and over. They continued to refer to the fifth option period, so the lawsuit is basically saying ‘that’s a mistake, what option period are we in?’ We contend that we’re…

APA take on Gersh over ‘poaching’ of agent
Competition , Contract , Live Events / October 2016
USA

CONTRACT / COMPETITION Live events sector   Two US booking agencies are battling it out in the Superior Court of Los Angeles over the alleged poaching of Beverly Hills-based agent Garrett Smith.  The Agency for the Performing Arts (APA), whose clients includes Paul Oakenfold, 50 Cent, The Proclaimers and Scorpions, is seeking damages for interference with contractual relations, interference with prospective economic advantage and unfair competition from the Gersh Agency, of which Smith is now an employee, despite being under contract with APA until September 2017. APA is also suing Smith himself for breach of contract, breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing, breach of fiduciary duty, breach of the duty of loyalty and unfair competition.   The APA complaint alleges that Gersh “hired Smith despite being specifically advised by plaintiff [APA] that plaintiff was entitled to Smith’s exclusive services for the duration of the employment agreement” and “Defendant knew of the economic relationship between plaintiff and Smith, and intended to disrupt and interfere with that relationship”   http://www.iq-mag.net/2016/09/us-agencies-war-poaching-claims-garrett-smith/#.V9J3TZgrKM9

SFX faces two decisions in the bankruptcy court
Competition , Contract , Internet , Live Events / October 2016
USA

CONTRACT / COMPETITION Live events sector, online   A US bankruptcy judge has allowed Viagogo to proceed with a legal action against SFX Entertainment. modifying the “automatic stay” applied to SFX. Under Chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code, creditors are usually barred from collecting debts from the debtor. and allowing the secondary ticketing platform to “assert and prosecute any and all counterclaims” against SFX. Having reviewed the request, Judge Mary F Walrath determined “sufficient cause exists to approve the motion”.  Viagogo is seeking “in excess” of US$1.6 million from SFX, which went into administration on 1 February, for allegedly failing to adhere to the terms if a five-year, $75m sponsorship agreement signed by the two companies in 2014. The deal granted Viagogo exclusive ticket resale rights some 50 SFX-promoted events and SFX agreed to “deliver exclusive marketing and ticketing rights with respect to a number of designated ‘major’ SFX events.   In other SFX news, an Italian EDM record label is requesting a probe into how third parties might be artificially influencing SFX’s digital music charts. Art & Music Recording (AMR) has requested the Delaware judge overseeing SFX’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy case order the company to reveal what it knows about…

Roc Nation face claim for cancelled Rihanna show
Contract , Live Events / July 2016
Nigeria

CONTRACT Live events sector   A Nigerian concert promoter is suing Jay Z’s company Roc Nation for allegedly failing to pay back a US$160,000 deposit for a cancelled Rihanna show in Lagos. IQ report that The Barbadian singer is said to have pulled out of a May 2013 appearance in the Nigerian capital, booked by Chris Ubosi’s Megalectrics via Roc Nation, the Jay Z-owned label and production company. According to the New York Daily News, Megalectrics and Roc Nation agreed for Rihanna to perform a 65-minute set for $425,000, for which Ubosi made three deposit payments totalling $160,000. When Rihanna announced she had to postpone, Ubosi says he agreed as long as she listed a rescheduled date in her tour diary and on social media. The new date never surfaced, and Ubosi alleges that Jay Z – real name Shawn Carter – has ignored his repeated requests for a refund. However, a representative from Roc Nation toldTMZ: “Rihanna, Roc Nation nor anyone associated personally or professionally with either party was in contact with this person. Unfortunately this person was scammed. Rihanna nor Roc Nation collected any money for this event.” http://www.iq-mag.net/2016/06/scammed-nigerian-promoter-chris-ubosi-sues-jay-z-roc-nation-rihanna/#.V1hUivkrKM9     http://www.billboard.com/articles/business/7407909/foo-fighters-lawsuit-lloyds-of-london-robertson-taylor-tour-cancellations

Foos fight insurance underwriters and broker for cancellation pay out
Contract , Live Events / July 2016
Sweden
UK
USA

CONTRACT Live events sector   Billboard reports that the Foo Fighters have accused Lloyd’s of London and insurance brokers Robertson Taylor of ‘despicable’ behaviour in a lawsuit filed in Los Angeles, alleging they have “failed to pay amounts that even they appear to recognize are due and owing” on insurance claims the band made on several shows cancelled during its 2015 world tour. The cancellations resulted firstly after Grohl broke his leg on June 12th, 2015, during a show in Sweden (a show that Grohl finished before going to hospital). The injury resulted in the cancellation of seven shows, three of which are at the core of the band’s complaint — two shows at London’s Wembley Stadium and one at Edinburgh’s BT Murrayfield Stadium. After his leg was treated, Grohl went on to perform 53 shows from the “throne” he designed (or crutches). The complaint says: “After paying certain amounts owed under the Cancellation Policy for four of the cancelled performances, [the insurers] began searching for ways to limit their payment obligations on the other three performances, including the two Wembley Stadium shows, which represented the largest potential gross income” for the band’s tour. The complaint continues,(insurance broker) “Robertson Taylor failed to…

Lil’ Wayne looks to UMG for his share of profits
Artists , Contract / May 2016
USA

CONTRACT Artistes, recorded music     Regular readers will no doubt have noticed recent articles featuring claims from Lil Wayne that he is owed tens of millions of dollars for discovering and nurturing successful recording artists Drake, Nicki Minaj and Tyga – but that this money has been unlawfully retained by Universal Music Group according to a federal lawsuit filed by the rapper-producer’s attorneys Monday in California. SoundExchange, the not for profit  CMO that collects and distributes digital performance royalties on behalf of copyright owners, is also named as a defendant in the suit. Lil Wayne (Dwayne Carter Jr.) claims Universal diverted tens of millions of dollars of his profits to repay itself for the $100 million it advanced to Cash Money Records Inc. Carter’s Young Money Label is a joint venture with Universal’s Cash Money Records, designed to manufacture, distribute, promote and exploit performances of new recording artists discovered by Carter and signed to the label.  Carter claims that Universal and non party Cash Money entered into a series of agreements which, among other things, diverted his “substantial” profits – to repay Cash Money’s debts. According to the complaint: “With Universal’s knowledge of Lil Wayne’s rights to partial ownership and profits…

Jay Z seeks rebate over TIDAL sale
Contract , Internet / May 2016
Sweden
USA

COMMERCIAL / CONTRACT Internet, streaming   Jay Z, who purchased  TIDAL from Nordic parent company Aspiro for 464m Swedish Krona ($57m) in March last year, is taking action against the vendors for over estimating the number of subscribers at the time of sale. Whist TIDAL said “We are excited that one year after TIDAL launched, we have surpassed 3 million subscribers globally” they added “It became clear after taking control of TIDAL and conducting our own audit that the total number of subscribers was actually well below the 540,000 reported to us by the prior owners.” According to Swedish news service BreakIt – quoting an article in Norwegian title Dagens Næringsliv (“Today’s Business”) – Aspiro’s former major shareholders, including Schibsted and Verdane, have been contacted by TIDAL. TIDAL now says “As a result, we have now served legal notice to parties involved in the sale. While we cannot share further comment during active legal proceedings, we’re proud of our success and remain focused on delivering the best experience for artists and fans.“ It is thought Jay Z and his finance vehicle, Project Panther Bidco will try and to claim back a sum in the ‘region of 100 million Krona’.   Schibsted…

19 denied access to claim against Sony’s Spotify equity
Competition , Contract , Internet / April 2016
USA

COMPETITION / CONTRACT Recorded music, internet     Hot on the news that Sony had officially signed a licensing deal with SoundCloud, the last of the three major labels to sign an agreement with SoundCloud in an arrangement that involves the recording label major taking an equity stake in the streaming platform, comes the news that a federal judge has told 19 Recordings that it won’t be allowed to amend a lawsuit to address Sony Music’s equity stake in Sweden-based streaming giant Spotify. Between them, the majors – Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment and Warner Music Group – are believed to own somewhere around 15% in Spotify. In an ongoing US court case, Sony – which reportedly owns 6% in Spotify – was last year legally challenged by management company 19 Entertainment on the Spotify equity issue. Last June, in the midst of an ongoing lawsuit over royalties paid to artists including Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood, 19 attempted to add to their claim, saying that Sony had engaged in self-dealing by taking equity in Spotify, potentially worth hundreds of millions of dollars, in lieu of demanding fair-market royalty rates from the streaming company. 19 Recordings alleged this was a…

Supreme Court confirms Court of Appeal to block Bob Marley claim
UK

COPYRIGHT / CONTRACT Music publishing     The Supreme Court in London has confirmed the Court of Appeal and High Court of Justice’s decisions that it is Blue Mountain Music, and not Bob Marley’ original publisher Cayman Music (CMI)(BSI), who owned the copyrights in a number of Marley’s songs. CMI were Marley’s original publisher but it is commonly believed that Marley claimed various friends wrote a number of his songs to avoid the contract terms with CMI which would have automatically transferred the copyrights in his work to the publisher – for ‘No Woman, No Cry’ the credit went to Vincent Ford. CMI had previously said ““It is now common ground between the disputing parties that the songs – including ‘No Woman, No Cry’ – were actually written by Bob Marley but that the music publisher’s share was never credited to Cayman Music, who have now been denied their contracted entitlement for more than 40 years”. CMI claimed these songs were not included when it sold some of its rights in 1992 to Blue Mountain Music, as Marley, who died in 1981, had penned them under other people’s names-  the ‘Misattribution Ploy’. However High Court  agreed the copyright had “passed” under…

Tik Tok on the Ke$ha Appeal
Artists , Contract , Music Publishing / April 2016
USA

CONTRACT Artistes, recorded music by Leeza Panayiotou LLB(Hons)   As readers will remember, in February 2016 the New York Supreme Court refused to grant a preliminary injunction to the singer Ke$ha (real name Kesha Rose Sebert) that would enable her to record outside of her contract with Kemosabe Records, an imprint label of Sony. As a result of the Court’s decision, Ke$ha was left under contract with Kemosabe to produce a further 6 albums[1].  Now, Ke$ha has filed an Appeal, claiming that the Court’s decision is akin to allowing modern day slavery.   By way of background, Kesha signed to Kemosabe when she was 18 years old and “her 2009 single Tik Tok is the biggest selling single ever by a female solo artist”[2] and Kemosabe label boss Dr. Luke (real name Lukasz Gottwald), remains “one of the most successful songwriters and producers of the century so far, working on music for stars including Miley Cyrus, Britney Spears and Katy Perry”[3].   Ke$ha claimed in her 2014 lawsuit that she had grounds to be released from her record contract as Dr. Luke had sexually assaulted her, harassed her and intended to inflict emotional distress on her throughout her career[4]. Dr. Luke then countered with suits for breach of contract[5],…

AIF and the MU launch new terms for emerging talent at UK Festivals
Contract , Live Events / April 2016
UK

CONTRACT Live events sector     Fair Play for Festivals’ is a joint initiative between AIF and The Musicians Union (MU). It is a code of conduct intended for use between AIF members and emerging artists who are defined as ‘Artists without representation from agents, managers or other third parties’. It sets out a series of pragmatic guidelines for artists and festivals in various areas, including remuneration, logistics, promotion and performance details. You can Download the agreement.   http://aiforg.com/wp-content/uploads/Fair+Play+For+Festivals+Agreement.compressed.pdf

UK law firm launches lawsuit against Michael Jackson’s Estate over unpaid bill
Artists , Contract / April 2016
UK

CONTRACT Artistes     A British law firm has sent a $204,204.36 invoice to Michael Jackson’s Estate In the years since Michael Jackson’s death, The pop icon’s estate has faced a number of other claims, including a royalty row with Quincy Jones and a profit suit from the director of “Thriller.” The latest claims comes from a London-based law firm that claims it is owed more than $200,000 in fees for work it did for the music icon in the two years leading up to his death.  Atkins Thomson Solicitors have now launched the action in California against entertainment attorney John Branca and music executive John McClain who are the executors of Jackson’s estate. The claim is for breach of contract and Atkins claims it provided legal and other services to Jackson from 2007 through 2009, and in the months leading up Jackson’s  death the firm “provided hundreds of hours of services to Jackson across nearly a dozen matters.”  The suit says: “Defendants have failed to honor Jackson’s obligations under, and has materially breached, the agreement with Atkins, and any implied covenants therein, by failing to make the payments as required” In November 2009, the firm filed a creditors claim for $204,204.36 and…

Roc Nation files $2.4 million suit against Rita Ora
Artists , Contract / March 2016
USA

CONTRACT Artistes     Jay​ ​Z‘s Roc Nation is suing Rita Ora for breach of her 2008 recording contract and failing to deliver four of the promised five albums in the deal The $2.4 million Manhattan civil suit filed by Roc Nation comes just six weeks after Ora herself sued the company in California, claiming executives had ‘pushed her aside’ when they started representing professional athletes. In the new suit, Roc Nation counters that it’s spent over $2 million developing and marketing the British pop singer’s still-unreleased second album saying it took Ora from an “unknown singer” and “has tirelessly promoted [her] career, investing millions of dollars in marketing, recording and other costs, which was instrumental in guiding Ms. Ora to her current level of success and fame.” The Los Angeles suit is still pending. Roc Nation says it filed the countersuit in Manhattan because Ora’s contact specifies that any litigation between the parties must take place in New York. Ora’s attorney, Howard King, said, “Jay Z has personally and graciously promised Rita complete freedom from Roc Nation, the details of which are now being finalized. “We believe that Roc Nation’s distributor, Sony Music, has required Roc Nation to file this action…

Ke$ha’s rape allegation does not free her from her Sony recording contract
Artists , Contract / March 2016
USA

CONTRACT Recorded music, artistes     Ke$ha broke into tears when a Manhattan Supreme Court judge refused to let her walk away from a six-album deal with Sony — and the man she claims raped her. The singer had sought to nullify her recording contract because it brought her into contact with super-producer Dr. Luke, whose real name is Luke Gottwald. The 28-year-old, whose real name is Kesha Rose Sebert, claims that Dr. Luke drugged her with a pill that made her black out and raped her shortly after her 18th birthday in California. He was never criminally charged. Gottwald has countersued, claiming Kesha’s allegations were part of a “campaign of publishing outrageous and untrue statements”. Sony has offered to let her work with another producer, but Ke$ha said she feared the company won’t promote her music as heavily if she’s not working with Gottwald, their biggest hitmaker. Ke$ha’s lawyer, Mark Geragos, had argued that Sony’s promise to connect her to another producer was “illusory” because even if the recordings were made, the record company wouldn’t promote them. He contended that Sony had more invested in Dr. Luke than in Ke$ha, and it would do everything to protect him because he makes them…

Warners agree to share any Spotify equity windfall with artistes – but how much?
Contract , Copyright , Internet / March 2016
UK
USA

COPYRIGHT / CONTRACT Recorded music, internet     Warner Music Group has told investors that should the major ever sell its stake in Spotify, it will pay its recording artistes a portion of the proceeds. Warner is believed to own between 2% and 3% in Spotify – an equity position which it received via licensing negotiations – in effect for ‘free’ due to its position as the owner of a large catalogue of sound recordings. Warners also hold an equity stake in Soundcould on the same basis. Recent market analysis has given Spotify a valuation of $8bn – so the key question must be – WHAT percentage will they share with artistes – if they takethe ‘per unit’ rate from CD sales – npot very much … if they take a fair and equitable approach – upwards of half – a big difference! WMG CEO Stephen Cooper said “”As there is an ongoing debate in the media regarding how artists should be paid for use of their music on streaming services, we wanted to take this opportunity to address the issue head on” adding “the main form of compensation we receive from streaming services is revenue based on actual streams”, but acknowledged…

Backstreet Boys in China ‘scam’ results in $1.56 million claim
Contract , Live Events / March 2016
China

CONTRACT Live events sector     Chinese promoter Guangzhou Love Life Culture Development Ltd is taking legal action to reclaim the money it says it paid over to Belinda International Entertainment Group. Guangzhou says it paid over $2.2 million to promote a series of shows by the veteran boy band Backstreet Boys in China, with Belinda, which was said to be based in Flushing, Queens, but the offer “turned out to be a fraud.” The suit states that the defendants were never at any time “ready, able or in a position” to provide the Backstreet Boys for performances.  It is alleged that Belinda was operated by a person named Kam Yan Leung, who promised to get the group to play dates in China, Macau and Hong Kong. However, it turned out that Yeung had “no relationship with the band”. When Guangzhou realised the “subterfuge” and demanded a refund, Leung only returned $640,000. Guangzhou is now suing for the balance of $1.56 million.   http://blog.wenn.com/all-news/backstreet-boys-at-center-of-concert-promoter-lawsuit/

Avenged Sevenfold look to leave Warners
Artists , Contract , Employment Law / February 2016
USA

CONTRACT / EMPLOYMENT Recorded music, artistes     After releasing four studio albums for Warner Bros. Records, Avenged Sevenfold are trying to end their as-yet-unfulfilled recording contract, using California’s “seven-year rule.” In turn, the label has filed a breach-of-contract lawsuit against the band, seeking compensatory damages. The “seven-year rule” enshrined in the California Labor Code allows parties to leave personal service contracts under certain circumstances after seven years have passed. Record industry lobbying led to amendments to the 70-year-old law in the 1980s, to allow record companies to claim lost profits on uncompleted albums. However record companies only have 45 days to do so after an artist exercises the right to terminate. “Avenged Sevenfold recently exercised the rights given them by this law and ended its recording agreement with Warner Bros. Records,” the band’s attorney Howard E. King said. Since the 2004 contract was signed, King says the label “underwent multiple regime changes that led to dramatic turnover at every level of the company, to the point where no one on the current A&R staff has even a nodding relationship with the band.”  In its lawsuit dated January 8th, 2016, Warner Bros. says Avenged Sevenfold’s decision to utilise the “seven-year rule” is unlawful: The label says…

J-pop ‘no-sex’ ban unconstitutional
Artists , Contract / February 2016
Japan

CONTRACT Artistes     Young pop stars in Japan have won the legal right to have boyfriends or girlfriends after a court ruled that provisions in management contracts banning relationships were unconstitutional. The Tokyo District Court said that a ‘no dating’ clause, standard for young performers, violated the right to happiness guaranteed by the Japanese Constitution. Chief Judge Katsua Hara threw out a 9.9 million Yen (£59,000) claim against a former singer brought by her management company, thought to be from the seven piece girl band Aoyama Saint Hachamecha High School. The suit was instigated back in September 2014 when Miho Yuuki (19) and Sena Miura (22) left the band.   The management company MovingFactory had said “The parental guardians signed contracts that said the members would not have relationships with fans and would not neglect their work” adding “They have betrayed the members of the group and all their fans. We cannot forgive this”  Last month the management company for idol group N Zero announced a lawsuit against a member and a fan for having “private contact”. In the current case Chief Judge Hara saidL “Relationships are a right exercised by an individual to enrich life. They are part of…

Mobile snappers evicted from NEC
Contract , Live Events / February 2016
UK

CONTRACT Live events sector   Pollstar reports that twenty-three people were escorted out of Birmingham’s Barclaycard Arena after not complying with a phone ban during a gig by popular comedian Kevin Hart. Many comedians like to keep their ‘live show’ material secret so each audience gets a new show, and Hart had requested no pictures/videos to be taken and this was communicated to the audience before the show in various ways. The NEC Group, which owns the Barclaycard Arena, told the Birmingham Mail that “for Kevin Hart’s show the usage of mobile phones, cameras and recording devices were strictly prohibited in the arena bowl. This was at the request of both the artiste and touring production who hired the venue for their event.” Gig-goers were also informed that they wouldn’t be subject to a refund if caught using the banned devices. The newspaper highlights the fact that Hart finished his show by asking his fans “to light up the arena with the torches of their phones for a picture.” On its website the NEC added “The venue made every effort to ensure that the message was clearly communicated to customers via all avenues available, prior to the show and onsite. The security measures…

SFX settle class action
Contract , Live Events / February 2016
Canada

CONTRACT Live events sector   SFX Entertainment has settled one of the two outstanding lawsuits against it. Last August, Paolo Moreno, who claimed he was behind the original idea for SFX, filed a class action lawsuit against the firm’s CEO Robert Sillerman alleging fraud and breach of contract. Moreno, along with two other men, claimed Sillerman had cut him out of the business once it began to take off. Documents obtained by Mixmag, show the class action lawsuit has now been dismissed. The EDM promoter still faces a separate lawsuit seeking compensation for allegedly misleading investors in Sillerman’s bid to take the company private. The lawsuit refers to the acquisition proposal as a “sham process” designed to make the firm attractive to a third-party purchaser and maintain the share price before it was caught by its liquidity problems. SFX recently secured $20 million in new financing, later revealed to have come from Canadian private equity firm Catalyst Capital Group. SFX stock slid 12.01% to $0.10 yesterday valuing the company at least than $10 million. http://www.musicweek.com/news/read/sfx-settles-class-action-lawsuit/063940

Radiohead sue Parlophone over unauthorised deductions
Artists , Contract , Music Publishing / December 2015
UK

CONTRACT Recorded Music, Artistes     Radiohead are suing their former record label, Parlophone, over a deduction of £744,000 from digital download royalties which had been paid to the band from 2008 and 2009 sales, and which they contend were unauthorised. Radiohead’s contract with Parlophone ended in 2003 with the album Hail to the Thief. At the time the deductions were made the band were signed to EMI – but that catalogue has now moved to Warners.   Explaining the case, lawyer Howard Ricklow from Collyer Bristow said: “Most recording contracts contain a provision that royalties for recordings on ‘future formats’ will be paid at a rate to be agreed. The band contends that no such rate was agreed with Parlophone for digital downloads and that the deductions made in 2008 and 2009 for costs apparently incurred in 1992 and 1998, long before the advent of digital downloads, were in breach of the contract”. Warner Music had tried to have the matter dismissed on the basis that there is a contractual time limit for the band to dispute deductions made against their royalties, and that deadline had passed. But Radiohead’s team argued that, as there was no specific agreement about the band’s digital…

Hook looks to former bandmates for a revised new order
Artists , Contract , Trade Mark / December 2015
UK

CONTRACT Artistes, Trade Mark   The BBC reports that former New Order bassist Peter Hook is suing his ex-bandmates Bernard Sumner and Stephen and Gillian Morris for millions of pounds in a row over royalties. Hook claims he has lost out on more than £2.3m since the three other band members set up a company without him to handle the band’s income in 2011 and Hook has accused them of “pillaging” the group’s assets. The trio say they have treated Hook fairly and that the guitarist’s stake of the royalties is reasonable. At a High Court hearing, Judge David Cooke ruled that Hook was not acting out of “spite” and cleared the way for him to take his complaints to a full trial.   When record label Factory collapsed in 1992, the original bands members (including Hook) formed a company named Vitalturn to hold all of New Order’s rights. Hook leftr the band in 2007, but the other members carried on without him, and continued to use the New Order name. Hook still owns 25% of Vitalturn but was not involved when the other three – who own 75% – set up a new company, New Order Ltd, in 2011. They granted the new company worldwide…