Ticketmaster’s fees potentially deceptive in Tennessee
Criminal Law , Live Events / May 2012

CRIMINAL Live events industry Tennessee’s law on deceptive practices applies to Ticketmaster and its parent company Live Nation  the Arkansas Supreme Court has ruled, but the court stopped short of offering an opinion on whether the company’s fees violated the statute. The court’s 4-3 split decision comes after Corey McMillan, an Arkadelphia resident, complained that he was charged nearly $50 in fees to buy four tickets to see country music singer Jason Aldean in concert. McMillan sued Live Nation Entertainment Inc. and Ticketmaster and Ticketmaster took the case to federal court, where a judge asked the Arkansas Supreme Court to determine whether the state law applies to an entity such as Ticketmaster. Writing for the majority, Associate Justice Karen R. Baker said the court “offer(s) no opinion on whether the additional fees or charges by Ticketmaster violate [the statute]”. In a dissenting opinion, Chief Justice Jim Hannah said that whilst the majority did establish Ticketmaster’s criminal liability, the law in question was intended to control ticket scalping and that “By any analysis, Ticketmaster is not scalping tickets; it is the seller in the first instance”.  McMillan said that at an advertised price of $42.75 each, the four concert tickets should…

French fans launch Jackson action
Artists , Criminal Law / February 2012

CRIMINAL LAW Artists   In another bizarre twist in the Michael Jackson story, a group of French fans of the King of Pop are launching a legal action in France against Dr Conrad Murray, who has now been convicted of involuntary manslaughter after the singer’s death in 2009 in the USA. They are each claiming symbolic damages of one Euro for the ’emotional damage’ the death has had on them. Murray was sentenced to four years imprisonment. http://edition.cnn.com/2011/11/29/justice/california-conrad-murray-sentencing/index.html and Leonard Watters, the 24 year old unemployed Irish dance instructor who wrongfully accused X-Factor judge and BoyZone/Westlife manager Louis Walsh of groping him in a Dublin nighclub toilet has been imprisoned for six months.

Corporate manslaughter appeal fails in UK
Criminal Law , Live Events / June 2011

CRIMINAL LAW Live events industry The first company in the UK to be convicted of corporate manslaughter, Cotswold Geotechnical Holdings Ltd, has lost an appeal against its conviction for corporate manslaughter. The firm was convicted in February this year after geologist, Alexander Wright, 27, died in September 2008 when a trench he was working in collapsed. The company became the first to be prosecuted under the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 and were fined 110% of their annual turnover (£385,000). In separate news, Network Rail has been fined  £3m for Heath & Safety legislation failings over the Potters Bar rail crash, in which seven people died. The company admitted breaching safety regulations that led to the West Anglia Great Northern train from London to King’s Lynn derailing just outside Potters Bar station in Hertfordshire in May 2002. The company had previously been fined £3.5m for failings in the Hatfield rail crash in 2000, which killed four and injured 102. http://www.hse.gov.uk/corpmanslaughter/

Reading ticket fraudster jailed
Criminal Law , Live Events / June 2011

CRIMINAL LAW Live events industry A ticket scammer who sold non-existent tickets to the 2008 Reading Festival has been jailed for three years after being found guilty of fraud and money laundering charges by a jury earlier this year.  Christopher Bundza claimed to have tickets to sell for the music festival both via his own website and on eBay, but had no tickets, and was found guilty of eighteen separate charges, some relating to the ticket scam, others to a fraud he committed in relation to the purchase of his home. His former partner Kathryn White avoided jail after admitting four offences of fraud.

Live Nation moves to stamp out ticket scams
Criminal Law , Live Events / June 2011

CRIMINAL LAW Live events industry Live Nation and Festival Republic have both said that they will support a plan put forward by the police to try to combat the sale of non-existent tickets for festivals with both organizations saying that they will send out tickets for their big summer events earlier than normal. Despite the higher risk of counterfeit tickets, police say that a bigger problem these days is ticket agents who take money off music fans online with no intent of sending them any tickets, real or fake. Deputy Chief Superintendent Steve Head of the City of London Police told the BBC: “We believe that [posting tickets early] would stop a lot of people being the victims, because we’d be able to act on it quicker, convicting the kind of people we want to convict”. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-13252777

Brazilian rappers arrested for glorifying drugs trade
Artists , Criminal Law / January 2011

CRIMIMAL LAW Artists Police in Rio de Janeiro have arrested four Brazilian rappers on charges that include glorifying drug traffic in their music. The four men, Wallace Ferreira da Mota, Fabiano Batista Ramos, his brother Frank Batista Ramos and Max Muller da Paixao Pessoa were indicted on charges of inciting crime, glorifying drug traffic and associating with drug gangs. Investigators say the four defendants have refused to comment until they are before a judge. http://www.lcsun-news.com/las_cruces-entertainment/ci_16866727 

Three arrested in UK ticket scam investigation
Criminal Law , Live Events / December 2010

CRIMINAL Live events industry Three people have been arrested in the UK for allegedly defrauding fans out of £1 million (E1.15 million) through two bogus ticket websites, worldwideticketstore.com andlivelinetickets.com.  premises of the first site was raided by Trading Standards Officers and the website for the latter closed by Police. Victims were usually told that their credit card had been declined and ask to send a cheque which was then cash but not tickets were forthcoming. The suspects, two men aged 68 and 54 and a woman aged 62 were arrested on suspicion of fraud by false representation in Surrey and Bromley. Police believe they have disrupted a ‘significant criminal network’ during the raids and arrests. In related news, after thre ticket resale problems at the last two Olympics officials in London are taking a hard line stance against ticket resellers. The London Organizing Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) has already set its sights on touts threatening legal action and the closing of illegal resale Web sites. In a recent meeting of National Olympic Committee delegates in Acapulco, Mexico, LOCOG Chairman Lord Sebastian Coe remarked, “The reputational damage for everyone across the board is huge if the…

Club doormen convicted of manslaughter
Criminal Law , Live Events / June 2010

CRIMINAL Live events industry  A Shropshire doorman accused of the manslaughter of a county father-of-four today told a jury he had acted properly when he restrained the man at a nightclub. Daryl Brown told the jury at Birmingham Crown Court today he had been a doorman for six years and on the night in question he had only tried to restrain 41-year-old Darren Griffiths to stop him acting aggressively. Brown, 33, denied the manslaughter of Mr Griffiths, who died following an incident at the Liquid & Diva nightclub on June 29, last year. Brown told the jury he had “acted properly” on the night when he restrained Mr Griffiths, from Harmer Hill, near Shrewsbury, along with other door staff including Neil Stokes. Brown said: “I didn’t realise how seriously injured he was.” Mr Paul Farrer, prosecuting, said: “Mr Griffiths had turned blue in colour from the neck up and despite you tending to him for eight minutes you claim you didn’t see the colour of his face. “This man was unconscious for at least eight minutes. Are you really maintaining you didn’t really know how seriously injured Mr Griffiths was?” But Brown said he was not aware how seriously injured…

Thimbleberry organiser cleared of permitting drug use
Criminal Law , Live Events / May 2010

CRIMINAL Live events industry Thimbleberry Festival organiser Andy Norman has been found not guilty of allowing the use of cannabis on his festival site in 2009 after a police investigation. Durham County Constabulary charged 51 year old Norman with permitting the smoking of a class B drug on his premises. The offence was said to have taken place between September 24 and September 28, this year.”  Officers arrested him shortly after the three-day festival, which sees hundreds of music lovers from across the UK camp at Thimbleberry Hall Farm twice a year. Judge Christopher Prince recorded the verdict at Durham Crown Court after concerns over the committal and the definition of the word ‘premises’. Norman, who runs the Festival in both June and September, has already cancelled the 2010 June event but plans to now run the September event. He is seeking to recover £3,513 confiscated by the Police at the September 2009 event as potential proceeds of crime. In Cumbria a number of supply of drug related cases against individuals reached the courts after arrests at Kendal Calling. Judge Peter Hughes QC sitting in Carlisle Crown Court warned of the dangers of young people being tempted into selling drugs…

Oasis stage invader sentenced to house arrest
Artists , Criminal Law / May 2010

CRIMINAL Artists The man who attacked Oasis guitarist Noel Gallagher on stage in Canada has been sentenced to 12 months’ house arrest. Gallagher suffered three broken ribs after Daniel Sullivan pushed him from behind during a show at the 2008 Virgin Music Festival in Toronto. The band later had to cancel concerts in Paris and New York. Sullivan, 48, had pleaded guilty to assault causing bodily harm. He said he was drunk and couldn’t remember how he got backstage at the concert. His sentence means he will be able to continue working. During the trial, Gallagher said in a statement that he felt like he’d been “hit by a bus” immediately after the attack. “I ended up in a heap on the floor,” he wrote. “I had no idea what had happened.” http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/8635811.stm

IFPI say new law ‘threatens anti-piracy activity in Italy
Copyright , Criminal Law , Record Labels / December 2005

COPYRIGHT / CRIMINAL Record labels In a somewhat short sighted and self absorbed press release (11 th November) The International Federation of Phonographic Industries (IFPI) has warned that a new Italian law passed on the 9 th of November ‘threatens music anti-piracy activity in Italy’. The IFPI called on the Italian Senate to reject the law when it comes up for final approval next week. The new bill of law, known as the Ex-Cirielli Law, could end three quarters of all pending criminal anti-piracy trials before they have the chance to be taken to court. This is because the Italian legislature are trying to reduce the time it takes for criminal actions to reach trial in Italy. Many readers (in the UK for example) would be astounded to know that cases can take up to nine (9) years to get to trial in Italy. The bill, approved by the Italian Lower Chamber, will shorten the period after which criminal cases pending trial are automatically dismissed to six years. Unfortunately the change, from seven and a half to six years will affect the majority of all pending criminal cases brought by the music industry. Of 471 cases pending in 2004, 382…

UK Teenager convicted for ‘race hate’ T-shirt
Criminal Law / November 2005

CRIMINAL Merchandising Wearing a Cradle of Filth T-shirt emblazoned with the slogan ‘Jesus is a c**t‘ has left a UK teenager with an 80 hour community penalty (unpaid work). The 19 year old teenager, Adam Shepherd, also has to pay £40.00 costs at Weymouth Magistrates Court. Shepherd’s girlfriend was wearing the T-shirt when this was reported by a member of the public. When approached by the police the two teenagers swapped shirts but Shepherd then refused to take of the offending T-shirt. The teenager was convicted under new UK race hate laws. In the punk era Stiff Records had product banned for being offensive (‘if it aint Stiff it aint worth a F**k‘ being one memorable T-shirt slogan) and even the Sex Pistols’ ‘Never Mind The B**locks‘ album was removed from many shop windows after a visit from the local police. http://www.ilmc.com (news)

German Court confirms prison sentence for Landser singer
Artists , Criminal Law / April 2005

CRIMINAL LAW Artists Germany’s Supreme Court has ruled that neo-Nazi rock group Landser spread racial hatred and was a criminal organization, upholding the first such judgment in the country against a music group. The court also upheld the three year and four month prison sentence against lead singer Michael Regener. A Berlin court had ruled in December 2003 that Regener, 39, had formed a criminal organization, incited racial hatred and spread Nazi propaganda in a case that set a legal precedent by bring a collective action against a group of musicians. The Supreme Court ruling upheld the lower court’s judgment, saying the group had acted together to produce and distribute right-wing, racist material. Two other group members had received suspended sentences of 21 and 22 months at the trial which lasted six months. Landser is an old German name that means soldier. Source: http://www.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?type=topNews&storyID=7872969

Rap label bookkeeper faces money laundering charges in the US
Criminal Law / December 2004

CRIMINAL LAW All Areas A bookkeeper for the hip-hop label Murder Inc has been arrested on charges of laundering drug money and hiding some of the label’s earnings from the Internal Revenue Service, according to an indictment in Federal District Court in Brooklyn. Cynthia Brent, pleaded not guilty and was released on bail. The indictment comes almost two years after federal agents raided Murder Inc.’s New York offices as part of an investigation into ties between its founder, Irv Gotti, and a Queens’ drug dealer, Kenneth McGriff. Investigators are trying to determine whether Mr. McGriff, currently serving a prison sentence, used his drug profits to help Mr. Gotti start Murder Inc. According to the indictment, Ms. Brent conducted financial transactions that involved money she knew to have come from drugs. She is charged with two counts of money laundering. The indictment also states that in the fiscal year beginning in October 2000, Ms. Brent divided large amounts into small deposits of less than $10,000 to avoid reporting rules. The small deposits added up to more than $100,000, the indictment states. See : http://www.nytimes.com/2004/11/09/nyregion/09rap.html?oref=login