Gregg Allman reaches settlement with filmmakers
Contract , Image Rights / June 2014
USA

CONTRACT, IMAGE RIGHTS Artists, film Gregg Allman has settled his recently launched legal action, which was an attempt to halt the production of a film based on his 2012 autobiography. This followed the death of a camera assistant on the movie, Sarah Jones, who died when she was hit by a train during filming. The accident occurred on 20 Feb during the filming of a dream sequence involving a bed being placed on train tracks. The bed was to be passed by two trains, but a third appeared un expectedly, striking Jones, who was killed, while several other members of the crew were injured by flying debris. Investigators have said that the operator of the tracks on which the accident occurred claims that the production company did not have proper permission to film there. A decision is yet to be made on whether or not anyone will be charged over the incident. Following the accident, actor William Hurt, who was playing Allman, quit the film, and the production company, Unclaimed Freight Productions, postponed shooting indefinitely. However, there are now plans to begin filming again in June. In his lawsuit, Allman says that the company has lost its right to make…

Electric Picnic dispute settled
Contract , Live Events / June 2014
Ireland

COMMERCIAL, CONTRACT Live events sector   The founder of Ireland’s Electric Picnic festival, John Reynolds, has settled his legal action against the company that now operates the Electric Picnic. Reynolds took legal action against Festival Republic Dublin, alleging breach of a March 2009 shareholders agreement and oppression of the petitioner’s interests. Reynolds argued that management decisions made by Melvin Benn, the chief executive of FRD, relating to the 2012 and 2013 festivals were damaging to Reynold’s POD Music Ltd, the 100 per cent shareholder of EP Republic Ltd, but were to the benefit of the FRD Group. In 2009 FRD paid €4.2m on acquiring a 71 per cent stake in EP Festivals Ltd, then a subsidiary of POD. Reynolds also claimed he was kept out of volume discounting on sales of tickets and lost out as a result – estimating a discounting sum of €450,000 was involved over the five Electric Picnics between 2009 and 2013 which had a direct impact on the value of his shareholding. Reynolds had previously secured an order requiring Ticketmaster to provide him with information about volume discounts paid on the sale of tickets for five Electric Picnic festivals up to 2013. In response FRD alleged Mr…

Prince – the Legend and the Label kiss and make up
USA

CONTRACT Artists, sound recordings   Since the infamous fallout between Prince and his record label Warner Bros, which resulted in Prince changing his name to a symbol that was virtually impossible to pronounce, the legend and the label appear to have kissed and made up. The pair have partnered up and the new deal will see the re-mastered re-release of the album “Purple Rain” in the midst of its 30 year anniversary, with new material also hinted at by Prince, with his new backing group 3rd Eye Girl. However, and perhaps most importantly (because Prince has sold approximately 14 million albums through Warner Bros.), at the heart of the deal lies the transference of ownership in Prince’s back catalogue currently with Warner Bros…. but now moving to Prince. At first glance it may appear as though Warner Bros. were unprecedentedly keen to get the artist back on side and rid themselves of the ‘slave-masters’ title he’d once given them. Yet, on closer inspection, a piece of American Copyright Legislation made in 1978 may have acted as the initiator and mediator. Subject to certain conditions, this particular legislation allows creators to reclaim ownership of their copyrighted work, if it was previously…

Warners settle digital royalty class action, but Paisley sues Sony for underpayments
Artists , Contract / May 2014
USA

CONTRACT Artists, recorded music   Another digital royalties settlement seems to have been reached after Warner Music Group agreed to pay $11.5 million to settle a class action lawsuit that alleged the WMG failed to properly credit royalty payments to class members from the exploitation of digital downloads and mastertones of recordings under certain contracts. Sony have already settled a similar action. The plaintiffs, named as the members of Sister Sledge, Ronee Blakley; Simone Johnson Risko; Emlio Castillo; Mikael Johnston; and Gary Wright claimed Warner Music Group failed to provide proper royalty payments to them from digital downloads and mastertones and claimed the exploitation of digital downloads and mastertones should be considered a “license” instead of a “sale” resulting in a far higher share of income to artists. To compensate class members for downloads/mastertones that have already been the subject of a royalty payment, Warner will make available $11.5 million for settlement for income generated between January 1st 2009, and December 31st, 2012. The parties have stipulated that the total U.S. sales by WMG of subject masters as downloads and mastertones for the settlement class for the period is more than $381 million. As defined by the class action settlement, “Royalty Rate Basis” means a calculation based on…

Legal battle over US festival site could pitch SFX against AEG
Contract , Live Events / March 2014
USA

CONTRACT Live events sector   CMU Daily report that a a brewing legal squabble in the US could pitch acquisitive EDM firm SFX against live industry major AEG Live, and could impact on the 2014 edition of American music festival Electric Forest, which has already sold 21,000 tickets. According to EDM website Dancing Astronaut, the owners of the venue in Michigan where Electric Forest is staged, Progressive Resorts, have told the event’s promoters Madison House Presents that they can no longer use the property, even though said promoter seemingly had a 20 year lease to host a festival there. It’s reported that Progressive Resorts recently ran into financial problems and has restructured its finances as a result resulting in ownership of the site being transferred to two new companies, Antler Bar Amusements and Double JJ PropCo, which now claim that the change in ownership renders the two decade lease with Madison House Presents void, even though a $60,000 deposit was reportedly paid last October for this June’s festival. The matter is now with the Michigan courts. But it gets more interesting because Dancing Astronaut also reports that, according to legal papers it has seen, SFX has taken an interest in…

German Promoters Force Resale Take Down
Contract , Live Events / March 2014
Germany
UK

CONTRACT Live events industry   Secondary ticketing giant Seatwave has removed all tickets for the six upcoming Robbie Williams concerts in Germany after a successful legal challenge by the German Federal Association of Concert Organisers (BDV). BDV is vociferously fighting a battle against ticket resale platforms in Germany and has already obtained mandatory injunctions against other online exchanges, including the popular website Viagogo. The tickets that were removed were all personalised with the holders name and the concert was promoted by MCT, a staunch opponent of ticket abuse, who had previously taken action in 2011 after personalised tickets for three German Take That shows were offered for re-sale. Marek Lieberberg Konzertagentur have also brought actions: several years ago they obtained an injunction preventing ticket site Ventic re-selling large numbers of Depche Mode tickets and in another case took action to prevent SeatWave selling tickets for the Rock am Ring festival. Johannes Ulbricht, legal advisor for the BDV, insists the association will continue to take action against all unauthorised ticket trading in the country, to protect event visitors and ensure that the prohibition of resale is respected. ”We are moving closer, step by step, to our goal of returning control of…

19 take on Sony over alleged royalty underpayments
Artists , Contract , Music Publishing / March 2014
USA

CONTRACT Recorded music, artists   According to The Tennessean Simon Fuller’s 19, the owner of the ‘American Idol’ franchise is going to battle with its original record industry partner Sony Music in a lawsuit that seeks at least $10 million. 19 Recordings alleges that the major has short-changed both it and those ‘Idol’ champions signed by the label by underpaying royalties and adding too many deductions. 19 claims that it discovered what it calls “systemically incorrect calculations” on royalty payments during two separate audits, though adds that it is yet to fully audit the income of all the recordings in which it has a stake because Sony has allegedly not given them access to the files. 19 says that it has tried to reach a deal with the major on these issues, but that the record company won’t negotiate. 19 Entertainment’s Worldwide Head Of Music Jason Morey says: “We did not want to have to file this lawsuit, but Sony left us no choice, so this became necessary to protect our artists. Our complaint lays out the claims in great detail. Everything we have to say about the case is set forth in it”. Artists including  Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood,…

Survivor go legal over digital royalties
Artists , Contract , Music Publishing / March 2014
USA

CONTRACT Artistes, recorded music   Survivor are the latest band to go legal over the payment of royalties for downloads, mainly in relation to their 1982 ‘Rocky III’ soundtrack epic hit ‘Eye Of The Tiger’. Founding Survivor members Jim Peterik and Frankie Sullivan, the latter still performing with the band, have sued Sony Music for a ‘licensing’ cut of the revenue generated by their recordings, which they say should be 50% of the income. The  lawsuit also claims that the major still owes the duo money stemming from settlements the American record industry reached with the big file-sharing platforms of old like Kazaa, and also alleges a number if other accounting irregularities including improper deductions. According to Billboard: “A Sony representative threatened that in the event Survivor persisted in its objection, Sony would exercise what it termed ‘the nuclear option’ – removal of the Survivor masters from the songs licensed to iTunes for download by consumers, thereby wiping out that revenue stream altogether. By threatening ‘the nuclear option’, Sony has conceded that its transaction with iTunes is a license subject to termination, and not a sale of the Survivor masters to iTunes. If it was a sale, Sony would have…

MPs form All Party Group to investigate ticketing abuses
Contract , Criminal Law , Live Events / February 2014
UK

CRIMINAL / CONTRACT Live events sector   A new All Party Parliamentary Group has been sent up by MPs Mike Weatherley (Conservative) and Sharon Hodgson (Labour) to investigate the secondary market for event tickets and ‘industrial scale’ touting that involves promoters and artistes. The Group also includes Andrew Bingham MP (Con), Kerry McCarthy MP (Lab), Steve Rotheram MP (Lab) and Nigel Adams MP (Con). According t Hodgson the APPG will “build cross party consensus on the need to enable event organisers to protect their tickets and customers from being exploited by touts” and it is hoped that a new survey in 2014 will underpin new legislation to support the live sector and inquiry sessions have been set for January, February and March 2014 to hear from the re-sale sector, the live events industry and consumers as well as one meeting set aside for technology solutions. A study from UK consumer group Which? In December said that theatre-goers and music fans face massive mark-ups on the value of some online tickets. The study shows that compulsory charges are added to 72% of tickets sold online, and nearly half of those surveyed (49%) said the charges had put them off buying tickets…

Roller boys lose on appeal
Artists , Contract , Music Publishing / October 2013
USA

CONTRACT Artistes, recorded music   The CMU Daily tells us that three former members of the Bay City Rollers have failed, for a second time, to have themselves added to a lawsuit being pursued by other former Rollers against Arista Records, now part of Sony Music’s RCA. The band’s original vocalist, Gordon Clark, along with two other ex-Rollers, Ian Mitchell and Pat McGlynn, sued six other members of the band in a bid to be included in their separate case against Arista over unpaid royalties. The original lawsuit launched by Eric Faulkner, Duncan Faure, Alan Longmuir, Derek Longmuir, Leslie McKeown and Stuart Wood against the major label is still working its way through the courts. Clark, Mitchell and McGlynn were not included in that lawsuit, but feel they should have been. And so, they sued both the other band members and Arista, claiming anticipatory breach of contract and unjust enrichment. At first instance they lost on both counts. But the claimants felt that first time round the judge hearing the case made an error regards the unjust enrichment claim, and took that element of the case to the Second US Circuit Court of Appeals. But last week the appeals court…

Wylie vs Pagans – rapper won’t pay his £15K fee back after festival walk off
Artists , Contract , Live Events / September 2013
UK

CONTRACT Artists, live events   Wiley has said he has no intention of returning his (self) reported fee of £15,000 to promoters of the CockRock Festival in Cumbria, after organisers of the charity event said they were planning legal action after the rapper walked off stage after just 15 minutes of his 45 minute set and referring to the audience as ‘pagans’. As we reported in our August Update, Wiley (Richard Kylea Cowie) had received a hostile reception at the Cockermouth event after criticising the festival on Twitter ahead of his arrival with one tweet saying Just the name makes me not wanna go,” with Wylie adding: “My agent knows that there are cool places to play and other places are just not worth the hassle The rapper says he left the stage early because the audience were throwing things at the stage, adding that staff at the festival had advised him to walk if that happened. Organisers have countered that the atmosphere during the short Wiley set was not as hostile or dangerous as the rapper has claimed, and that security had it under control. The rapper told the BBC: “They say it’s a charity event and they want their money back….

Judge curbs Curb’s copyright claim against McGraw
Artists , Contract , Record Labels / September 2013
USA

CONTRACT Artists, record labels   A federal judge in Tennessee has dismissed a copyright lawsuit filed against Tim McGraw in his ongoing battle with Curb Records. The country star has been fighting Curb since 2011, when he was accused of violating the terms of his contract by turning in his album Emotional Traffic before the 18-month gap between projects had passed. Curb refused to release the disc, while MCGraw argued that the fifth and final album would have fulfilled his contract with the company. MCGraw countersued and last year he was granted permission by the courts to release new music through Big MAChine Records. His latest project, titled Two Lanes of Freedom, hit music retailers in February, but Curb then lodged new papers in U.S. District Court in Tennessee in April (13), claiming the tracks were recorded before their original contract was dissolved and therefore amounted to copyright infringement. However, U.S. District Judge William H. Haynes administratively closed the latest case insisting he cannot rule on the copyright allegations until the contract case is settled.   http://www.contactmusic.com/story/judge-dismisses-tim-mcgraw-copyright-infringement-lawsuit_3808763 and see our previous Updates here http://www.musiclawupdates.com/?p=5408 here http://www.musiclawupdates.com/?p=5102 and here http://www.musiclawupdates.com/?p=4509

Ed Money and the Doobie Brothers settle digital royalty claims
Artists , Contract , Record Labels / August 2013
USA

CONTRACT Record labels, artists   Both American rocker Eddie Money and the Doobie Brothers have reached out of court settlements with their record labels, Sony Music and Warners respectively, regarding the payment of royalties on digital revenues. The cases were two of the many that US heritage artists have brought against all of the majors following the landmark ruling in the case between FBT Productions and Universal Music over whether download money should be treated as record sales or licensing income – artists usually get a much bigger cut of the latter than the former. Doobie Brothers frontman Michael McDonald used lawyer Richard Busch (King & Ballow), who won a landmark digital royalties decision in 2010 when he represented rapper Eminem’s producers FBT against Universal (F.B.T. Productions v. Aftermath Records).  Busch has led the charge in the songwriters and recording artists  assault against labels over royalty money and Busch has reportedly negotiated confidential settlements for such clients as Peter Frampton, Kenny Rogers and Roy Thomas Baker, who produced albums for Queen, The Cars and others. Busch filed a $5 million royalties suit in April for “Weird Al” Yankovic, which is still pending. Having commented on Spotify and digital royalties in…

With Love From Me To You? Rival Beatles tributes shows head to court.
Artists , Contract , Copyright / August 2013
UK
USA

CONTRACT / COPYRIGHT Theatre, artistes   The producers of Rain: A Tribute to the Beatles have filed a copyright infringement suit against Broadway’s Let It Be – another Beatles’ tribute show that started life in London. The creators of Rain, which played on Broadway from October 2010 to July 2011 filed the suit last month against Let It Be producers Jeff Parry and Annerin Productions (amongst others) and are asking for a 50-50 split of the revenue from Let It Be, and asks that the Rain Corporation is listed as a joint author of Let It Be. The suit claims that Let It Be pulls much of its material from Rain, including musical arrangements, songs used in the show, artwork, staging, costume styling and more. Now readers might think – hang on – the songs – by the Beatles – costumes – by the Beatles – arrangements – by the Beatles! However, both shows include performances of The Beatles’ songs and dialogue between the actors playing the iconic band members. Rain’s score has 31 of The Beatles’ greatest hits, such as Yesterday and Hey Jude, and 28 of these appear in Let It Be. The Rain creators claim that “the artwork used as backround during the performance of many of…

Ferguson settles with Modest!
Artists , Contract / August 2013
UK

CONTRACT Artistes   Former X-factor finalist Rebecca Ferguson has settled her contractual dispute with Modest! Management. The 2010 ‘X’ runner had previously called the Modest! team “vile” and tweeted “Be nice to have a nice new responsible caring management team! Who care for me and my children’s wellbeing. See you in court!” Modest! sued Ferguson after she unilaterally terminated her contract with the company. In September 2012 the firm filed legal papers seeking damages and a cut of Ferguson’s future earnings to the end of the five year term of the singer’s original agreement with the company. And while disputes of this kind are usually settled out of court, for a time neither side seemed especially keen to budge. The parties have now “settled their outstanding legal disputes”.  Whilst confidential, Modest! noted that “Rebecca is a great artist and we wish her all the best for the future”, while Ferguson said: “I would like to thank Modest! for the contribution they have made to my career over the past years. They have done a great job”. http://www.thecmuwebsite.com/article/rebecca-ferguson-settles-with-modest/

Katy settles with GHD
Artists , Contract / August 2013
USA

CONTRACT Artistes, endorsement   TMZ reports that Katy Perry has settled her dispute with hair products giant GHD and has received “a significant amount of money”. The legal dispute began when GHD asked a court to confirm that a two year alliance was over.  Perry countersued, saying that the company had continued to use her image for promotional purposes after the original deal had ended, suggesting that the continuation of the $2 million deal.  Perry’s legal team also alleged that GHD wanted to delay the end of the deal because its parent company Jamella Group was in the process of being acquired with a spokesperson for Perry saying ‘They’re backing out of the deal because of an ownership change, and just throwing shade to hide their bad faith.’   http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-2357481/Katy-Perry-styling-tool-giant-ghd-2M-lawsuit.html  

Wylie faces legal action after festival fiasco
Artists , Contract , Live Events / August 2013
UK

CONTRACT Live events sector, artistes   Wiley has called the audience at the CockRock Festival in Cockermouth, Cumbria “pagans” after he was booed off stage just 15 minutes into his set. The grime MC had been tweeting all day with negative comments about the Festival and was met with jeers from the audience, before he told the crowd “This is the truth, if one more can comes flying I’m coming off stage. You cannot throw cans at me because of a situation that I had with my agent … you can’t be angry at me.” The audience jeered and laughed at the rapper before he left the stage. Wiley (real name Richard Kylea Cowie) had shared his dismay while en route to the event saying “Just the name makes me not wanna go,” he wrote, before adding: “My agent knows that there are cool places to play and other places are just not worth the hassle.” As well as slamming the festival’s name, Wiley said he was unhappy with his agent for making him play a farm in Cumbria tweeting to agent Billy Wood: “Billy please stop sending me to farms to perform please mate. I am a yardie man.” Following his…

Stone Temple Pilots take on former frontman Weliand over band’s name and future – and Weiland countersues
Artists , Contract / July 2013
USA

CONTRACT Artists   Stone Temple Pilots have commenced legal proceedings in their dispute with the band’s former frontman Scott Weiland: The lawsuit apparently attempts to stop the singer from using the band’s name or performing their songs, many of which he co-wrote. Weiland was formally fired from Stone Temple Pilots by his bandmates in February. The new lawsuit claims that the Weiland-fronted version of the band, which regrouped in 2008, imploded because he became impossible to work with, was frequently late for shows in 2012, often performed poorly due to drug consumption, and eventually would only communicate with his bandmates via his lawyers or manager. The band have now released a new track with Linkin Park’s Chester Bennington on vocals. In a post on his website last week, Weiland said he hadn’t known that Bennington would be performing with his former band, adding: “To tell you the truth, it took me by surprise. And it hurt. But the band that played last weekend was not Stone Temple Pilots and it was wrong of them to present themselves as that”. Insisting again that his bandmates didn’t have the power to ‘fire’ him back in February, Weiland’s statement continued: “First of all…

Vision sues Mary J Blige for return of deposit for cancelled show
Contract , Live Events / July 2013
USA

CONTRACT Live events sector   LA-based Vision Entertainment Worldwide is suing Mary J Blige in a bid to get back a deposit it says it paid the singer for a show in late 2012 that she cancelled at the last minute. Vision’s lawsuit says that Blige had been booked to perform in Dallas, Texas in December 2012, but pulled out with just days to spare, alleging that the cancellation was caused when a last minute opportunity came up for the singer to perform at one of the Rolling Stones’ big shows in New York on the day before the scheduled Dallas show. CMU Daily reports that Vision says it paid Blige a $145,000 deposit which is yet to be returned. The lawsuit seeks repayment of the advance and damages.

Former Gogo’s bassist sues ex bandmates
Artists , Contract / July 2013
USA

CONTRACT Artistes   The former Go-Go’s bassist Kathy Valentine is suing her ex-bandmates, alleging that they are attempting to cheat her out of her share of the money generated by the band’s brand and trademark. The new wave group, initially active from 1978 to 1985, but who have toured regularly since 1999, announced they were parting ways with Valentine in March, and that she would therefore not appear on their 2013 tour. Valentine played with the Go-Go’s for more than 30 years, contributing to hits including “Head Over Heels” and “The Whole World Lost its Head.” The band announced in March it had parted ways with her due to “irreconcilable differences.” In her litigation, Valentine says that all of the group’s business affairs have traditionally been managed via two business entities – Ladyhead LLC and Smith-Pocket Industries, Inc – in which all five members have an equal stake. More recently, says the lawsuit,  the other four members of the Go-Gos –  Belinda Carlisle, Jane Wiedlin, Charlotte Caffey and Gina Schock – have set up a third entity, in which Valentine has no stake. Controlling 80% of Ladyhead LLC, the other four members have then licensed the rights to exploit the…

Former Jackson family lawyer sues Sony Music
Artists , Contract , Record Labels / July 2013
USA

CONTRACT Record labels, artists   Sony Music is facing a legal action from a former co-manager of the Jackson brothers and an attorney for the Jackson Family. Richard Arons claims that Epic Records, now part of the major label, has failed to pay him the royalties he is due on Jackson’s early recordings when he was co-manager of the Jackson family’s business affairs. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Arons says that he became attorney to the Jackson family way back in 1969, and three years later became co-manager for the Jackson brothers alongside their father Joe. It was during this time that The Jackson Five left Motown and signed with Epic Records. Arons says that as co-manager of the Jacksons, he took 7.5% of all the brothers’ income, half of the 15% management fee. The management partnership with Joe Jackson ultimately broke down, but in a 1981 settlement it was agreed that he would continue to receive a 7.5% cut (but only of the Jackson brothers’ sound recording revenue) on sound recording output of the Jackson brothers from the early 1970s up to Michael Jackson’s first two solo albums, ‘Off The Wall’ and ‘Thriller’. A brief dispute with Michael himself…

Curb v McGraw – and this time it’s federal
Artists , Contract , Record Labels / June 2013
USA

CONTRACT Artists, record labels   Having lost its contract claim against country artist Tim McGraw at both first instance and on appeal in Tennessee, US label Curb Records is going federal in its ongoing legal dispute. The near two decades long relationship between McGraw and Curb ended in legal action in May 2011, with both sides suing the other. At the centre of the litigation was whether McGraw’s album ‘Emotional Traffic’ fulfilled his contractual commitments to the label regards new recordings, whether he was due an advance on it, and whether he was now out of contract with the record company. It was complicated, but ultimately the State courts sided with McGraw. With McGraw’s ‘Two Lanes Of Freedom’ now out (with the court’s permission) Curb Records has launched litigation in the federal courts, accusing McGraw and his new label Big Machine of breach of contract and copyright infringement.  The new lawsuit seeks ownership of the master recordings, compensation and an injunction stopping McGraw from recording until the ongoing dispute is resolved.   http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/tim-mcgraw-sued-by-label-449200

Alice in Chains face royalties claim from late lead singer’s Mother
Artists , Contract / June 2013
USA

CONTRACT Artistes   CMU Daily have reported that Alice In Chains are being sued by the mother of their late frontman, Layne Stayley. Nancy McCallum claims that the surviving members of the band are withholding money she is due on revenues earned outside of Stayley’s songwriting royalties. The report says that McCallum has filed a lawsuit saying that the band are now also trying to cut her out of future payments. She says that she was contacted by the band’s lawyer last September and informed that a revenue sharing agreement that had been in place since her son’s death was being dissolved. But lawyers for the band counter that she has already been paid more than was ever due – an accountant apparently working out that Stayley’s share of revenues stands at $341,000, while she has so far received $705,000. They also added that she has attempted to trademark the Alice In Chains name. Stayley’s estate, the band’s lawyers say, will continue to receive royalties from songs which he wrote.   http://music.msn.com/music/article.aspx?news=807484&affid=100055

Universal counter artist digital royalty demands with confidentiality claim
USA

COPYRIGHT / CONTRACT Artists, record labels   The issue of commercial confidentiality has been raised  in the ongoing legal battle between Universal Music and a consortium of its legacy artists in America over what digital royalties the major should be paying its acts, as the plaintiff artists try to gather information together to help justify their litigation being a class action. The mega-major continues to fight moves to give the case class action status (in addition to its efforts to have the entire claim dismissed). The main action, led by Rob Zombie and the estate of Rick James.  Are seeking to make their case a class action, which would mean that any artist signed to Universal  with a standard record contract would be able to claim higher digital royalties if the Zombie/James lawsuit was successful. Universal  treat income from downloads as “sales” instead of “licenses” allowing for substantially lower payments to be made to artists. The plaintiffs want access to digital accounts from Universal, outlining what kind of revenue different artists are receiving, both in terms of percentages and quantum of payments.  Understanding that such terms and data will be confidential,  the Zombie/James legal team say that only the plaintiff’s…

New EU rules may put pressure on unexplained ticketing charges
Contract , Live Events / May 2013
EU
UK

CONTRACT Live events industry   New regulations have come effect last weekend that will stop UK companies from including anything but ‘cost of sale’ in payment surcharges which may have a major impact on the ticketing business where a variety of additional costs are often added the cost of tickets including credit card booking fees, delivery, ‘transaction’ and ‘booking’ fees . The Regulations ban traders from charging consumers more than the cost borne to them for accepting a given means of payment. The Consumer Protection (Payment Surcharges) Regulations which stem from EU legislation were passed by the UK parliament last year and brought into effect on the 6 April  say that where credit card fees are added to purchases, a seller can’t use that extra charge to increase profit margin, ie the fee must only cover costs directly linked to the credit card transaction. The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has issued guidelines to try to define “costs directly linked to the credit card transaction. Fees charged to a seller by a credit card provider can be included, and according to the guidelines so can any costs directly related to fulfilment  – IT costs, risk management and anti-fraud efforts….

The Hives must re-pay The Cardigans £1.8 million in Swedish studio muddle
Artists , Contract / May 2013
Sweden

CONTRACT Artists   The Hives have been ordered to pay fellow Swedish band The Cardigans 18.5 million kroner (about £1.8 million), after a legal battle resulting from dubious financial management practices at the Malmö-based Tambourine Studios. According to local media reports, the Lund District Court heard that it was standard practice at Tambourine Studios to move money between the accounts of artists it represented to provide cheap cash flow. This was how 18.5 million kroner belonging to The Cardigans ended up in The Hives’ account. The Hives argued that they were never told by Tambourine that some of the money transferred into their band account was, in essence, a loan from other artists, in particular The Cardigans, and in a blog post ahead of the court hearing the band stated “there are no loan agreements, no signed documents, no agreements on interest rates”. The judge hearing the case agreed that the transfers made by Tambourine “shouldn’t be viewed as a loan”, given the lack of any formal agreements to that effect, but nevertheless the money that belonged to The Cardigans should be returned to them. The case is reportedly one of a number involving Tambourine Studios (“the greatest music studio…

Opera singer’s life ‘destroyed’ by childhood deal
Artists , Contract / March 2013
UK

CONTRACT Artistes Eliana Pretorian, a soprano who has regularly performed at Glyndeborne and Sadlers Wells, said an agreement made when she was just 17 had “derailed” her personal and professional life, leaving her fearing she could be jailed. Now, years after she became embroiled in legal disputes to overturn the deal, a judge has ruled a case against her was “doomed to failure”, with an application to commit her to jail “wholly without merit”. UK-based Pretorian appeared at the Royal Courts of Justice after Romanian businessman Ion Vasile applied for her committal to prison for alleged contempt of court for failing to provide him with financial details of her earnings, The case has its origins in a deal said to have been struck between Miss Pretorian’s father and Mr Vasile in 1999, which the businessman claimed entitled him to a share of her future earnings as a singer in return for financing her music studies. As she was 17, Miss Pretorian’s father is said to have agreed on her behalf to pay Mr Vasile 35 per cent of her professional income – ‘earned in such ten years as he might choose’ – in return for a $6,900 (£4,400) contribution to…

Taylor Swift faces legal call for advance paid on cancelled show
Artists , Contract , Live Events / March 2013
Canada
USA

CONTRACT Artists, live events   Taylor Swift is being sued over a $2.5 million advance she was paid for a Canadian festival appearance that never took place.  Swift was due to headline the Capital Hoedown in Ottawa in the summer of 2012, but it was cancelled by organisers. The legal action was instigated by the event’s ticketing company who were forced to pay out $1.8 million in refunds. A spokesman for the singer pointed out that she had no direct agreement with the ticketing firm: I would imagine that if cancelled for no good reason, Swifts own contract (or contract rider) would be the determining document here – and that would be with the promoter – and this would no doubt cover what would happen to any deposit in the event of cancellation. http://www.ctvnews.ca/entertainment/taylor-swift-sued-over-cancelled-ottawa-concert-tmz-1.1160933

Lawsuit against Britney Spears dismissed
Artists , Contract / December 2012
USA

CONTRACT Artistes   CMU Daily reports that the lawsuit being pursued against the Spears family by the one-time close friend of Britney, Sam Lutfi, was thrown out of court last week after two weeks of hearings. Lutfi was suing for defamation, assault and breach of contract; defamation over a book written by Britney’s mother that accused him of escalating her daughter’s very public mental breakdown in 2007/8; assault over an altercation between Lutfi and Britney’s father Jamie in 2008; and breach of contract in a bid to win a cut of pop star Spears’s earnings from 2007 and 2008, on the grounds Lutfi was her manager during this time and therefore was due a management commission. Although Britney herself was never due to testify, her mother had already taken to the witness stand as part of the trial, as had Lutfi himself, and the former boss of Spears’s record label. One time Jive Records boss Barry Weiss denied that Lutfi ever acted as Britney’s manager, saying that the singer managed her relationship with her record company herself while the star’s long term rep Larry Rudolph was out of the picture. Jamie Spears told TMZ he was “thrilled” by the quick ruling, adding that…

RFU wins another battle with Viagogo
Contract , Live Events / December 2012
UK

CONTRACT Live events sector   Viagogo has lost another battle in its battle to avoid handing over details of its ticket sellers to The Rugby Football Union, this time in the UK’s Supreme Court. The RFU ticket’s terms conditions prohibit their re-sale by original purchasers. Viagogo now say that despite the Courts ruling in their view this can can only apply to legacy ticket resales, because new data protection technology further protects the identity of current sellers. The case is important as whilst (with the exception of football tickets and Olympics 2101 tickets) it is not illegal to tout tickets in the UK, many sport and entertainment promoters include clauses in their terms and conditions that say that tickets cannot be resold, often refining this by adding that the condition would only apply to tickets sold by way of a profit-generating commercial transaction. Anyone who buys a ticket and resells it for profit can therefor be sued for breach of contract – but event organisers can only sue if they know the details of re-sellers on sites like Viagogo and eBay. After the Supreme court decision the RFU said “Today’s dismissal of Viagogo’s final appeal sets an important precedent for…

Ferguson sued by management
Artists , Contract / October 2012
UK

CONTRACT Artistes X-Factor runner up Rebecca Ferguson is being sued by her former managers for breach of contract. Modest Management and the soul singer were said to be experiencing differences this summer. There were tweets and emails fired off, one describing Modest as “vile” on Twitter, saying they had forced her to conduct interviews after she collapsed with exhaustion. The relationship came to an end. Modest Management has filed a High Court writ, asking for a declaration that Ferguson unlawfully ended her 5 year long contract which commenced on or about October 15th 2010, and asking for 20% of any future earnings. In June 2012 Ferguson wrote to Modest saying “I have lost all faith and trust in you as managers so I have no option but to terminate our working relationship with immediate effect.” Modest’s lawyers responded to Ferguson on 25 June 2011, saying it accepted her “renunciation and repudiation of the management agreement”. According to the court papers, Ferguson wrote back saying she “did not accept” this interpretation of events. Modest also represent One Direction and Leona Lewis. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-19558624

McGraw free of Curb
Artists , Contract , Record Labels / October 2012
USA

CONTRACT Artistes, record labels   CMU Daily has reported that an appeals court in Nashville has upheld the 2011 court ruling that said that country star Tim McGraw had fulfilled his contractual obligations to his long-term label partners Curb Records, and was now free to work with other labels. At the centre of the litigation was whether McGraw’s album ‘Emotional Traffic’ fulfilled his contractual commitments to the label regards new recordings, whether he was due an advance on it, and whether he was now out of contract with the record company, with Curb saying that the songs on ‘Emotional Traffic’ were not sufficiently new and McGraw’s arguing that the new album was in line with his contract, and that he now considered himself to be a free agent label-wise after a twenty year relationship with Curb. A spokesperson for McGraw told Billboard that “the Court Of Appeals has affirmed the [original judge’s] ruling that Tim McGraw is now finished with being an artist on Curb Records. He’s now a Big Machine artist and he is no longer a Curb artist”. According to Billboard, Curb could still appeal to the Tennessee Supreme Court, though could not then proceed to the federal…

Dev looks for release from manager and label
Artists , Contract / September 2012
USA

CONTRACT Artistes   Singer Dev, real name Devin Star Tailes – best known over here for her sampled vocals on Far East Movement’s ‘Like A G6’ and her guest vocals on JLS’s ‘She Makes Me Wanna’ – is suing her record label, whose owners became her manager, along with her former lawyer, asking that her record contract is declared “null and void”. Tailes claims that in 2008, then aged eighteen, she was tricked into signing a deal with Indie-Pop Music by its owners Benjamin Willis and Carlo Fox and lawyer Joshua Andriano. The deal also positioned Willis and Fox as her managers and was, legal papers filed this week say, “one-sided”, seeing Dev sign away 75% of her income from recordings, publishing, merchandise and touring. The suit adds that she later felt “pressured and manipulated” into signing amended agreements in 2011 and then again this year. The lawsuit argues that the men used “flattery and praise [and] made lofty statements to her regarding her future career, and manipulated her into believing that she could trust them fully”. However, it adds, she was never offered the opportunity of independent legal advice, and the contract extends beyond the seven year maximum allowed…

Facebook service for Flo Rida
Artists , Contract , Live Events / September 2012
Australia

CONTRACT Artistes, live events industry   By Iona Harding on the 1709 Blog In October 2011 Flo Rida failed to turn up to headline at the Fat As Butter Festival in Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia. As he was supposed to walk on stage the festival was forced to announce: “Flo Rida has slept in and will not be able to make the concert”. Understandably, fans were outraged. The festival organisers, Mothership Music Pty Ltd, sued Flo Rida and his manager for breach of contract: they had paid $50,000 for a performance that they had not received and alleged damage to their reputation. This isn’t a copyright case, however from it arise several interesting points of practice which will be relevant to all litigators. Because Mothership was never able to get close enough to Flo Rida to serve the claim on him whilst he was in Australia, it applied to court for alternative means of service. In April of this year Gibson DCJ ordered substituted service by email and by a post on Flo Rida’s Facebook page. The court order set out the text to be posted on Facebook. The Judge referred to the “international reach of Facebook” and to previous case…

Universal’s royalty reducers in the spotlight
Artists , Contract , Record Labels / July 2012
EU
USA

CONTRACT Artistes, record labels Attempts by Universal Music Group’s lawyers to hide their royalty reducing practices from court scrutiny in the FBT (‘Eminen’) case have failed and indeed have provoked fairly forthright comment from the judge, Philip Gutierrez. UMG had argued that any royalty that had to be paid to FBT would be paid on a “net receipts” basis – but this was latterly challenged by FBT who had discovered that only about 29% of international revenue (here from the sale of Eminen recordings) actually returns to the major’s Aftermath division, with the other 71% being kept by the local Universal companies that actually sell the music: and 50% of 29% is a lot less than 50% of 100%. UMG felt that the Judge had accepted the “net receipts” basis but Judge  Gutierrez has made it clear he has not, saying in a written judgement that [a] he did not mean to make a ruling on this matter when asked for clarification on “our net receipts” last year, and [b] he doesn’t believe that FBT were aware that Universal intended for the international royalties issue to be resolved via that clarification either, because there would be no logic in them…

European festivals launch standard contract terms
Contract , Live Events / May 2012
EU

CONTRACT Live events industry YOUROPE, the European festivals organisation that has a membership of over 80 festivals across Europe, has announced that 22 of its members will be introducing standard artiste booking terms for the 2012 festival season. The new terms cover areas such as force majeure, cancellation, insurance, security, the use of pyrotechnics and lasers, noise limits, curfews and payment terms and are designed to set out basic standards that festivals and performers have to adhere to. The association also said it was introducing simplified booking contracts for emerging talent with General Secretary Christof Huber saying “It was the wish of many of our members to create these Standard Terms for European festivals. It should make life easier for festivals as they will have standard terms for important topics, rather than a number of contract terms which they can’t fulfil“. The standard terms resulted from a series of meetings in Hamburg, at Eurosonic in Groningen in the Netherlands and finally in London in March and YOUROPE were advised by UK lawyer and Music Law Updates Editor Ben Challis, and insurance broker James Dodds (Doodson Entertainment). Participating member festivals include Melt! (Germany), Exit (Serbia), Sziget (Hungary), Oya Festival (Norway), Open…

Latino star latest to launch digital royalty claim
USA

COPYRIGHT / CONTRACT Record labels, internet Popular Latina music star Graciela Beltran has filed a class action complaint (Case # CV121002) in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California against EMI Music, Inc. The case arises out of the alleged failure of EMI to pay the full royalty rates to artists such as Ms. Beltran on revenue generated from the licensing of digital downloads and/or ringtones. Beltran’s attorney Joshua C. Ezrin of Audet & Partners, LLP said “From the information we have received, it appears EMI has failed to pay Ms. Beltran and its other artists the amount owed on the licensing of songs for digital downloads and ringtones,”  adding “Graciela Beltran is bringing this action to ensure all artists are properly paid for their work.” The Temptations have also joined a long group of heritage acts disputing their royalties, here with Universal, but elsewhere this month we comment on the proposed agreed settlement between Sony and a number of artistes in a class action. The Temptations are basing their claim on the precedent set in the FTB (‘Eminen’) case, successfully brought against Universal. And at South by South West in Austin Texas Gloria Gaynor suggested…

Sony and Cheap Trick agree settlement in digital royalty dispute
USA

CONTRACT / COPYRIGHT Record labels, artistes It seems that Sony and a group of artistes including Cheap Trick, the Allman Brothers and the Youngbloods have come to an agreed settlement in their dispute over the appropriate royalties the label should be paying the artistes – the label want to pay a ‘per unit’ royalty as they would with vinyl and CDs with various deductions meaning the royalty is reduced to a faction of the sale price, with the artistes arguing that their proper share was one half of all digital licensing income, less only publishing royalties. The settlement, proposed by the plaintiffs in a court filing, has yet to be approved by the court, but proposes that Sony will pay its recording artists a total $7.95 million to resolve outstanding claims in the case. Lawyers’ fees alone will account for $2.5 million of this (The case has been running since 2006). The deal also provides for a 3 percent “bump” in artists’ royalty rates with respect to digital income – seemingly acknowledging that digital royalties should be higher than those for physical product. My previous post on the recent Kenny Rogers claim over his royalties highlighted some of the more…

SonyBMG rejects Toto digital royalty claim
Artists , Contract , Record Labels / April 2012
USA

CONTRACT Record labels, Artists Billboard reports that Sony BMG has asked a US court to dismiss the latest case filed against the label by 80s icons Toto, who are looking to challenge the basis of the way in which their digital download royalties are accounted for. With The Temptations having recently launched a new action against Universal, who have lost one case in the ‘Eminen’ action (actually brought by the rapper’s producers FBT), Sony BMG has now agreed to pay $7.95 million to settle a similar class action (see above, with Cheap Trick and the Allman Brothers amongst others) but is separately defending the lawsuit brought by Toto, who recorded the hit song “Africa”. The music company says the band is “dissatisfied with the bargain that it struck.” Billboard report that Sony have said that the argument that artistes should receive a share of ‘licence’ income from digital sales rather than a (much lower) per unit sales royalty is incorrect in this case because the “license” vs. “sale” dispute misses a third word — “lease” — which could play a role in determining whether musicians get roughly 50 percent of digital income or merely about 15 percent of the net sales…

A bauble for Bon Bon – rapper does have a reputation but it isn’t greatly damaged rules Aussie court
Australia
USA

COPYRIGHT / MORAL RIGHTS / CONTRACT Artistes, internet   This (again!) from the ever wonderful IP Kat: Question: what do you get if you cross an American rap artist with a digruntled Australian tour promoter and a song with the title ‘We No Speak Americano’? Answer: a moral rights dispute. If you have been on the dance-floor in recent times as many times as this Kat has, it would have been virtually impossible for you to miss hearing ‘We No Speak Americano’. This ditty, released in February 2010, was created by Australian duo Yolanda Be Cool and producer DCUP by sampling the 1956 Italian song ‘Tu vuò fà l’Americano’ (by Renato Carosone). This release soared to No 1 in the charts in many discerning nations and featured prominently in a number of Best Songs of 2010 lists. The combined song was further sampled in November 2010 by American rapper Armando Perez (stage name ‘Pitbull’) for the Spanish-language track  Bon Bon’ in his fifth studio album, Armando (the ‘Bon Bon Song’). Jamie Fernandez is a prominent DJ and live music promoter in Perth, Western Australia. Fernandez goes by the name DJ Suave and operates a website at http://www.suaveproductions.com.au (the ‘Suave Website’).Pitbull Perez was due to come to Australia to perform…

‘Jersey Boys’ author’s estate wins limited redress; Corbello v DeVito
Contract , Copyright / March 2012
USA

COPYRIGHT / CONTRACT Books, all areas   Rex Woodward was the co-author of a biography of Four Seasons member Thomas Gaetano DeVito, jointly created with the musician, and based on a series of interviews and discussions between the pair over a number of years. The pair agreed to be co-authors and share in any profits. Wood ward died in 1991 and subsequently DeVito registered the Work at the US Copyright Office, in his name alone. He subsequently granted defendants Frankie Valli and Robert Gaudio (also both Four Season’s members) an irrevocable, exclusive, perpetual, worldwide and assignable licence to freely use the Work and Gaudio and Valli further sub-licensed these rights, which allowed the Work to subsequently form the basis for the screenplay of the hugely successful ‘Jersey Boys’ musical. After the play was first staged in 2005, Woodward’s widow, Donna Corbello, learned of the link in 2007 and amended the US copyright registration in 2009 to include Woodward and brought a claim in the District Court of Nevada against DeVito and the other defendants including Valli, Gaudio and the show’s producers and directors for copyright infringement. DeVito and the other defendants argued that the claim was barred by applicable statute…

Sabbath reunion falters as drummer Ward demands ‘signable’ contract
Artists , Contract / March 2012
UK
USA

CONTRACT Artistes   Drummer Bill Ward has said that he may not take part in the much heralded ‘original line up’ Black Sabbath reunion indicating that he has pulled out, because he is still to agree terms. The band have a new album planned, a headline slot at Download 2012 and a World tour in place. In a letter to the band’s fans posted on his website, Ward wrote: “At this time, I would love nothing more than to be able to proceed with the Black Sabbath album and tour. However, I am unable to continue unless a ‘signable’ contract is drawn up; a contract that reflects some dignity and respect toward me as an original member of the band. Last year, I worked diligently in good faith with Tony, Ozzy and Geezer. And on 11/11/11, again in good faith, I participated in the LA press conference. Several days ago, after nearly a year of trying to negotiate, another ‘unsignable’ contract was handed to me”.  He continues saying “Let me say that although this has put me in some kind of holding pattern, I am packed and ready to leave the US for England. More importantly, I definitely want to…

Drake faces Marvin’s Room claim
USA

CONTRACT / COPYRIGHT Music publishing, artistes   Drake’s hits ingle, “Marvin’s Room” was not only a hot hit for Drake but also covered by a number of other artistes including Lil Layne, Chris Brown and even Justin Bieber. Now an alleged ex of Drakes’s, Erika Lee, is suing Drake for not including her in the co-writer royalties.  Lee’s voice is heard on the other end of a phone call at the start of Drake’s 2011 recording. She also claims that the two did more than work on a song together and that she and Drake were allegedly involved in a romantic relationship. Lee claims that during their time together they traded poems and songs and often spoke about making sweet music with each other. It was agreed that they would work on “Marvin’s Room” together and split the proceeds. It was also agreed that Erika would speak the opening of the song that set up the story about how Drake’s fame evoked his inner, drunken desire for his ex as the walls of fame and fortune got in his way and the suit claims that the  “Plaintiff’s contribution is highly significant to the overall work”. Unfortunately for Lee shortly after the…

Now Warners face digital royalty claim
EU
Japan
UK
USA

CONTRACT / COPYRIGHT Artistes, record labels With Sony and Universal already facing claims over the way royalties are calculated (with actions from artistes including The Allman Brothers, Cheap Trick, Rob Zombie, Whitesnake, Chuck D and the Estate of Rick James) and the successful action already won by FBT Productions against UMG (in the ‘Eminen’ case) which set a precedent that royalties for iTunes-style downloads should not be treated the same as selling CD singles or albums and should attract a higher payment – usually a share of the profits from licensing revenues  – rather than a ‘per unit’ royalty based on dealer price, Warners are now facing an action from Sister Sledge and singer  Ronee Blakely whose lawsuit claims: “Rather than paying its recording artists and producers the percentage of net receipts it received – and continues to receive – from digital content providers for ‘licenses’, Warner wrongfully treats each digital download as a ‘sale’ of a physical phonorecord … which are governed by much lower royalty provisions than ‘licenses’ in Warner’s standard recording agreements”. Universal continues to insist the ruling in the FBT case is only relevant to the wording of that exact contract, and does not set a…

Court of Appeal confirms Viagogo ticket re-sale ruling
Contract , Live Events / February 2012
UK

CONTRACT Live events industry The UK’s Court of Appeal has confirmed a decision by the High Court ordering ticket resale platform Viagogo to hand over the names of suppliers of tickets which it then re-sold for rugby union football matches. The Rugby Football Union (RFU) has specific contract terms that prohibit the resale of its tickets above face value by individuals except to family or friends or to one of six official ticketing sites. The RFU argued that those who attended matches on resold tickets were trespassers and that those who sold the tickets had acted as accomplices in this act and sought the identity of a number of persons who had supplied tickets. Viagogo refused to supply these details as it has a policy of keeping sellers’ identities private. Having balanced the conflicting arguments the Court confirmed that the RFU was entitled to know about who was infringing its contract terms and ruled that the lower court (Mr Justice Tugendhat) was right to grant the RFU a “Norwich Pharmacal Order” against Viagogo to reveal the data. Despite both court rulings, Viagogo has so far refused to hand over any information and has said it will fight on and in…

McGraw wins first round of exit battle
Artists , Contract , Record Labels / January 2012
USA

CONTRACT Artistes, record labels Country star Tim McGraw has won the first round of a legal battle with his record label partners Curb Records. The relationship between McGraw and Curb, which began at the start of McGraw’s career in 1992, has seemingly been deteriorating for some time. In May 2011 both sides filed lawsuits against the other. At the centre of the litigation was whether McGraw’s latest work, the album  ‘Emotional Traffic’, fulfilled the artist’s delivery contractual commitments to the label regards new recordings, whether he was due an advance on it, and whether or not on delivery he was out of contract with the record company. Curb said the songs on ‘Emotional Traffic’ were not sufficiently new and that McGraw remained tied to the label when it came to recordings. McGraw’s lengthy countersuit said the new album was in line with his contract, and that he now considered himself to be a free agent label-wise. The label said recordings started in 2008: McGraw claims the studio work took place in 2009/10), Now the Nashville Tennessean reports that a judge has uled in McGraw’s favour  with regard to the singer’s contractual commitments, concluding that the artist had provided Curb with…

Artist’s digital royalty beef with Universal will go to court
Artists , Contract , Record Labels / December 2011
USA

CONTRACT Record labels, artistes A class action between a number of recording artistes and Universal Music over how digital royalties are calculated will go to court. A federal judge in California has given the green light for a class action lawsuit against Universal Music by a number of long established artists, led by White Zombie, Whitesnake, and the estate of Rick James. The music major had requested the case be dismissed.  The case will be a major test of how artiste digital royalties are calculated by record labels in the absence of specific contract wording:  The label would like to calculate the royalty based on the same accounting process as a normal (physical) sale – whilst artistes want a share of the income which will almost certainly be a substantially greater share of the revenues.  Almost all pre-internet contracts make no mention of digital releases beyond CD (and many predate CDs) let alone downloads and streaming and artistes have argued that because digital removes label’s manufacturing and distribution costs, the risks of sales are almost non-existent, and when a label makes its catalogue available to a service such as iTunes, it is actually a licensing deal and therefore the higher…

Popovitch estate sues for Bat Out Of Hell rights
Contract , Copyright , Record Labels / November 2011
USA

CONTRACT / COPYRIGHT Record labels CMU Daily reports that the estate of the late record label exec Stephen Popovich is trying to seize ownership of the sound recording copyrights in the iconic Meat Loaf album ‘Bat Out Of Hell’, currently owned by Sony Music. Popovich, whose Cleveland International Records released ‘Bat Out Of Hell’ in 1977 in partnership with the exec’s former employer Epic Records, had various run ins with Sony. Sony has owned Epic from the late 1980s onwards. Popovitch claimed that the major frequently misreported royalties and underpay him his share, and he also sued when Sony failed to fulfil a contractual commitment to include the Cleveland International logo on all releases of the album. A 1998 lawsuit ended in an out of court settlement, while in 2002 litigation – in part based on allegations Sony had breached the 1998 agreement – resulted in  Popovich being awarded $5 million in damages Popovich died in June 2011and his estate has taken up the ongoing battle with Sony. In a new lawsuit the estate claims that Sony continues to violate the terms of its agreements with Cleveland International Records, accusing the major of a number of fraudulent acts to underpay…

Cassidy sues Sony over merchandise share
Artists , Contract / November 2011
USA

CONTRACT Artistes CMU Daily reports that singer David Cassidy is suing Sony over unpaid royalties. Cassidy says that he is owed 15% of all monies generated by merchandise associated with ‘The Partridge Family’, the 1970s US sitcom in which he appeared and Cassidy’s lawyers reckon the Sony TV studio has made $500 million in profits from the show’s spin off merchandise, and has failed to honour a royalty cut included in their client’s 1971 contract. Cassidy told CNN that he has been informed he has only ever received $5000 from Sony for merchandise sales. Sony is yet to respond. CMU Daily 7th October 2011  www.thecmudaily.com

The sweet smell of success for Revelation as Prince sniffs at damages award
Artists , Contract / October 2011
USA

CONTRACT Artists, Merchandise In November 2008 diminutive poster Prince was the subject of a lawsuit from Revelations Perfume and Cosmetics Inc. who took action against the singer and Universal Music Publishing Group for damages, claiming they failed to help push a fragrance inspired by his 2006 album 3121. They were seeking damages of $100,000. Prince did not file a defence to the claim and Prince’s then lawyer withdrew,saying his firm has not been paid ‘for months’ and that Prince has dialed ti compy with discovery obligations. The Referee conducting an investigation into damages, Louis Crespo, has now awarded the perfume company $3.9 million to cover the expenditures it had made in reliance on Prince’s commitment to promote the perfume, 3121. Mr. Crespo, however, rejected Revelations’ claim for an additional $3.4 million in lost profits, finding they were too “speculative.” He also denied Revelations’ assertion that it was entitled to punitive damages. Revelations’ lawyer said he will ask Manhattan Acting Supreme Court Justice Bernard J. Fried to confirm the referee’s award next week. Prince’s attorney has said they will oppose this. The licensing agreement was signed on Dec 2nd 2006, according to the complaint, but immediately the complaint says that Prince started backtracking saying…