British Comedian Faces Damages Claim For Show Cancellation
Artists , Contract , Live Events / December 2003

CONTRACTS Artists, Live Concert Industry The British comedian Jim Davidson faces a claim of £35,000 after he cancelled a show at Plymouth Pavilions. The comedian backed out of the show after audience members in wheelchairs refused to move from the front row of the theatre before the show began. The venue refunded 1,700 audience members with the cost of their tickets (£17.50 and £19.50) and the cost of programmes bought. However, Mr Davidson justified his actions because his show involves him ‘taking the micky’ out of the front row of any show and in the circumstances he did not want to appear to be insulting the front row which was wholly made up of disabled patrons. It appears that Mr Davidson did not want to compromise his show or be seen to insult disabled patrons. Source: The Times 22 October 2003

Van Morrison Ordered To Pay Damages For Cancelled Contract
Artists , Contract , Live Events / December 2003

CONTRACTS Artists, Live Concert Industry English pub landlord Gary Marlow has been awarded approximately £40,000 in damages after Van Morrison cancelled a concert at the Crown Hotel public House in 2002. The singer, and his production company Exile, claimed that the contract had been breached by Marlow publicly advertising the event – but the court thought otherwise. The damages included the return of a £20,000 deposit. However, the damages fell far short of what Mr Marlow had asked for – he claimed the failed concert severely damaged the business of his pub and wanted damages of £400,000 for the long term damages to his business. This was not accepted in the High Court and Mr Marlow faces a substantial legal bill – it is also thought he may have turned down an offer of more than £40,000 from the singer to pursue the claim. A review of the judgement by Richard Taylor and Emma Stoker can be seen at:http://www.simkins.com/ebulletins/archive/default.aspx and see: http://www.ilmc.com

Judgement For Damages In Holly Valance Management Dispute
Artists , Contract / December 2003

CONTRACTS Artists Holly Valance’s Australian ex-manager, Scott Michaelson, has been awarded AU$350,000 (approx £160,000) in damages after the singer wrongly terminated his management contract. Justice Clifford Einstein found that the artist had breached the contract and awarded the damages for loss of earnings and management commission. Ms Valance will also have to pay costs. Mr Michaelson’s damages were limited to Holly Valance’s first album and he will not receive commissions from her yet to be released second album. See: http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2003/11/06/1068013328625.html

Ex-manager wins case against Holly Valance
Artists , Contract / November 2003

CONTRACTS Artists Holly Valance’s ex-manager, sacked by the star when her pop career began to take off, has won his action against the star in an Australian court. The Court held that Vallance had unfairly terminated the contract of Scott Michaelson in January 2002. Lawyers for Valance claimed Michaelson – like Valance, a former Neighbours actor – had been ill-equipped to manage the star’s burgeoning music career. Michaelson is seeking £160,000 in lost income, a 20% cut of sales of Valance’s second album and exemplary damages. The Court will now assess damages. Valance first found fame in Neighbours. She released her first album, Footprints, in October last year. See: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/showbiz/3161392.stm

Limp Bizkit sued by irate fans
Artists , Contract / November 2003

CONTRACTS Artists Limp Bizkit are being sued by 172 rock fans who attended July’s infamous Chicago show, which ended after only 17 minutes when the band were booed off stage. A lawsuit was submitted yesterday to District Court in Illinois. The band were supporting Metallica on the Summer Sanitarium tour, at Chigaco’s Hawthorne Racetrack. The suit alleges that the plaintiffs were expecting a ninety minute show but the band’s front man, Fred Durst, fired-off a tirade against the city and the audience, before challenging the entire crowd to a fight. The breach-of-contract suit has been filed by Michael Young, the lawyer acting on behalf of the 172 aggrieved concertgoers, who are seeking a $25 refund from the July 26 show opening the door to up to 40,000 re-payment claims. See: www.dotmusic.com

DEAL MEMOS AND CONTRACTS: PRETTY PICTURES v QUIXOTE FILMS (2003)

CONTRACT LAW Record Labels, Music Publishers, Television, Radio, Artists, Internet With the quick-fire thrust and parry of email becoming increasingly popular as a means of communication, the possibility of inadvertently creating a binding contract is an ever present danger. However, a recent case which came before the High Court has reinforced the basic legal principle that if the parties only intend to be bound by signature of a formal legal document, then an affirmation of the principal terms of the proposed agreement in email correspondence will not suffice for that purpose. In Pretty Pictures v Quixote Films the question came before the court as a preliminary issue. The claimant, a French film distributor, alleged that a binding contract had been concluded with the defendant, the owner of a film called ‘Lost in La Mancha’. Over a period of two or three months the claimant and the defendant’s sales agent had corresponded by email culminating in an email from the claimant setting out his ‘revised offer’. This, in effect, was a bald statement of the principal terms: minimum guarantee, term, territory, rights granted and income splits. There followed further negotiations but ultimately an accord was reached and the defendant’s sales agent sent an…

DEAL MEMO IS NOT A CONTRACT BUT INVOICE CAN BE. RAP IS A ‘FOREIGN’ LANGUAGE

CONTRACT LAW Record Labels, Music Publishers, Artists Confetti Records & Others -v- Warner Music UK Ltd This UK case involved the purported licence of a sample of the track Burnin by the claimants to the defendants. The first claimant (Confetti) had been negotiating with the defendants about use of the track and had issued a ‘subject to contract’ deal memorandum which both parties signed. The first claimant then issued an invoice to the defendant and sent a recording of the track. Mr Justice Lewison held that ‘subject to contract’ had the same meaning in the music industry as other businesses and the document was not binding as such. It was for the defendant to prove otherwise. As the defendant had failed to do this, the deal memorandum was not binding. But Mr Justice Lewison went on to decide that the subsequent sending of an invoice with the track constituted an offer which was subsequently accepted by the defendant’s conduct in making use of the track and hence a contract had come into existence so there could be no copyright infringement as permission to use was granted. The third claimant, Andrew Alcee, brought a claim under Section 80 of the Copyright Designs and Patents…

FORMER MANAGER SUES DRU HILL
Artists , Contract / April 2003

CONTRACTS Management, Artists The R&B group Dru Hill have been served with a $30 million lawsuit from former manager, Kevin A. Peck, who claims the group owes him millions of dollars in management fees. The lawsuit, filed in Baltimore Circuit Court on March 20 2003, alleges unjust enrichment and is served against all of the original band members. Peck believes that his management contract entitled him to a percentage of the group’s income from all three of its albums, as well as the members’ solo releases. Dru Hill attempted to settle with Peck, but were unable to reach an agreement with him. Dru Hill achieved multiple platinum albums, several music awards and generated millions of dollars in publishing royalties and record sales, including ‘The Thong Song’ released by band member Sisqo in late 1999. See www.news8.com Meanwhile, former Guns N’ Roses songwriter and guitarist, Izzy Stradlin, has also filed a lawsuit in the Los Angeles Superior Court. He alleges that he mistakenly paid his management firm Big FD $231,575 in post-term commissions after the ‘old’ Guns N’ Roses broke up and that Big FD had no right to receive this, since according to the agreement he entered, the remainder of his…