German Judges put secret EU-US trade negotiations into the spotlight
Restraint of Trade / March 2016
EU
Germany
USA

TRADE AGREEMENTS All areas     German judges have dealt a blow to US-EU free trade agreement talks after declaring a proposed arbitration court illegal. But the decision is a rare glimmer of good news for opponents of the secretly negotiated trade agreement, as the signing of the US-EU Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is imminent, and comes hard on the heels of the already signed Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) – another international trade agreement that was negotiated in secret between tweleve Pacific Rim nations including the US, Canada, New Zealand, Peru, Mexico, Vietnam and Japan.   As part of the TTIP, the European Commission had proposed setting up an investment tribunal court that would allow firms to challenge government decisions: these are the so called Investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) provisions –  instruments of public international law, which grants an investor the right to initiate dispute settlement proceedings against a foreign government. Critics says the new court, which is intended to replace the actual ISDS system, would be even worse – and would will pressure governments into clawing back consumer protection rights, pushing up the price of medicines and watering down environmental protection to favour of corporate interests. Now the German Association of Magistrates, the…

Rooney win highlights importance of restraint of trade considerations when contracting minors
Artists , Contract , Restraint of Trade / August 2010
UK

CONTRACT Artists Whilst Wayne Rooney might be one of the planet’s best known football stars, the England and Manchester United striker’s legal triumph is an important reminder about the role of restraint of trade in contracts, particularly those involving minors. Rooney was accused of withholding commission on multi-million pound deals that had been brokered by the sports management firm Proactive, which used to represent him in a claim totalling £4.3 million. Rooney made no payments after the football agent Paul Stretford, a director and founder of Proactive, left in October 2008, taking Rooney with him. The 24-year-old was signed by Stretford for Proactive in 2002 when he was then 17 and he went from being an £80-a-week Everton trainee living in his parent’s council house in Croxteth, Liverpool, to being a Manchester United and England star enjoying multi-million-pound sponsorship deals with the likes of Nike and Coca-Cola. Rooney was unhappy about certain financial disclosures in Court but the case revealed the value of his image rights – in addition to his weekly £90,000 club salary for playing football, he receives £700,000 a month for image rights, as well as £1 million per annum from Nike and £237,000 annually from EA…

Ongoing Management Commission gets Seal of Approval : Wadlow v Samuel
UK

CONTRACT Artists ARTICLE  By Charlie Anderson, Solicitor, Clintons  The Court of Appeal this week upheld the 2006 judgment in the case of John Wadlow v Henry Olusegun Adeola Samuel (pka Seal). The recording artist failed to persuade the Court of Appeal that a 1995 agreement ending his relationship with Mr Wadlow, his former manager, was procured by undue influence. The Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal on 28 February 2007 and confirmed the validity of   the contract for Mr Wadlow, who was represented by Clintons solicitors. Mr Wadlow discovered Seal in the 1980s and invited him to record some songs at Beethoven Street Recording Studios, which he then ran. In 1988 Seal signed a publishing deal with Mr Wadlow’s publishing company and in 1990 the pair signed a management agreement that provided perpetual post-term management commission to Mr Wadlow on the albums recorded during the life of the contract. In 1995, after the release of two highly successful albums, and as Seal’s career was increasingly based in the US, they amicably parted company and drew up a “settlement agreement” which terminated the management agreement. Under the settlement agreement Mr Wadlow made several valuable concessions, including the return to Seal of the publishing rights…

Judge refuses to bow to peer pressure Peer v Editoria Musical de Cuba
UK

COPYRIGHT Music Publishing ARTICLE: By Julian Turton & Stuart Barry, Swan Turton One of the world’s leading independent music publishers, Peer Music (“Peer”), has tried and failed to persuade the English court to declare that it is the owner of the entire UK copyrights in thirteen songs composed by six Cuban composers, all of whom are dead. Peer claimed its rights under original agreements entered into in the 1930s and 1940s with the composers and then under subsequent agreements entered into principally in the late 1990s and early 2000s with their heirs. All of these songs were subject to reversion under the 1911 Copyright Act which provided that rights for the final 25 years of copyright protection reverted to a “composer’s legal personal representatives“. These representatives were then in a position to assign or deal with those rights. Peer sought a declaration that the recent agreements it had entered into with the heirs of the composers constituted an effective assignment of those final twenty-five years of copyright protection under English law. The case was immensely complex and expensive. It involved a number of QCs and junior counsel addressing the court on issues of UK copyright and succession upon death. The…

Seal ordered to pay commission to ex-manager Wadlow v Samuel pka Seal (2006) By Julian Bentley, solicitor, Swan Turton
Artists , Contract , Restraint of Trade / August 2006
UK

CONTRACT Artists ARTICLE:  Multi-million selling solo artist Seal was managed by John Wadlow under a management agreement signed in 1990. In 1995 Seal wanted out. The two of them signed a settlement agreement that year terminating the management agreement and providing for continuing commission to be paid to Wadlow on Seal’s first two albums, “Seal” and “Seal II”. Seal stopped paying the commission in around 2001. Wadlow issued proceedings. Seal defended the claim alleging amongst other things undue influence and restraint of trade. The judge (Mr Justice Gray) found that Wadlow was entitled to his commission. Under the management agreement Wadlow received commission at the customary rate of 20%. But the agreement was, by today’s standards, unusual in two respects. Firstly, Wadlow’s entitlement to commission after the end of the term of the management agreement went on forever at the full rate. Almost always these days, there is a tapering or “sunset” provision reducing and then extinguishing the former manager’s post-term commission over a period of years. Secondly, Wadlow was entitled to commission on Seal’s income from a publishing deal signed in 1989 between Seal and a Wadlow co-owned company. So Wadlow was receiving management commission on Seal’s publishing income…

Seal must pay £1 million to ex-manager
UK

CONTRACT Artists Seal ( Henry Olusegun Adeola Samuel) has been ordered to pay his former manager about £1 million of the money made from his early hits in a High Court action. The singer songwriter had argued said that he did not owe a penny in commission to John Wadlow, the manager he once regarded as a father figure and who gave the singer studio time when he was a struggling unknown. However, at a hearing at the High Court yesterday, Mr Justice Gray ruled that Wadlow was entitled to payment under a settlement agreement signed by the two men in 1995. Mr Justice Gray held that this agreement, signed to terminate formally their working relationship, gave Wadlow the right to the unpaid commission. The settlement replaced earlier agreements and Wadlow agreed to termination and agreement which would have otherwise provided substantial future earnings as Seal’s manager. The effect of the settlement agreement was that Mr Wadlow has a continuing entitlement to commission in respect of Seals first and second albums Seal and Seal II, both of which reached number one in the UK album charts. The judge rejected s counterclaim argued by Seal that even if he did owe money to his former…

Rapper Ras Kass Launches Action Against Priority Records, Capitol and EMI
USA

CONTRACT Record Labels, Artists, Music Publishers Rapper Ras Kass (real name John Austin) has filed suit against Priority Records, Capitol Records, EMI Music and two Priority executives, claiming breach of contract, unfair competition, restraint of trade and other abuses. The suit, filed in California Superior Court in Los Angeles, seeks a rescission of the musician’s contract, and compensatory and punitive damages to be determined. According to the suit, in 1995, Austin, who was then a 22-year-old Patchwerk Records artist, signed a contract with Priority requiring delivery of one album, with an option for five more albums. The action claims that Priority failed to market and promote the albums “Soul on Ice” (1996) and “Rassassination” (1998). It also alleges that two Priority executives maliciously interfered with Austin’s career. The suit further alleges that the releases of Austin’s third and fourth albums were sabotaged, and that Priority interfered with a proposed group project for Sony that would have featured Austin, Xzibit and Saafir. According to the suit, owing to “fraudulent accounting practices,” Austin has received only $100,000 during the nine years of his contractual agreement, an average of approximately $11,000 per year. The 32-page filing broadly excoriates standard record-industry practices, and calls…