Ticketmaster face a new US action over scalping claims
Business , Consumers / December 2018

A class action lawsuit against Ticketmaster has been launched after a customer, Allen Lee, accused the ticketing giant of intentional fraud and over-charging consumers.The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, claims that Ticketmaster has violated the Cartwright Act, California Penal Code, and a handful of fraudulent business practices: “Have you ever wondered why Ticketmaster has been unable to rid itself of the scalpers who purchase mass quantities of concert or sports tickets from its website and then resell them for much more minutes later?” the lawsuit reads. “The answer: Ticketmaster hasn’t wanted to rid itself of scalpers because, as it turns out, they have been working with them. Taking the same approach as the recent Canadian CBC TV documentary on Live Nation and Ticketmasters’ activities which explained “Beyond running the official box office (and claiming to be anti-bot/anti-scalper), CBC reveals Ticketmaster’s secret program for industrial-scale ticket re-sellers. Our Dave Seglins poses as a scalper and gets a first-hand demonstration of Ticketmaster’s re-seller software, designed to help move millions of dollars in scalper inventories. The suit goes on: “Indeed, on its own website, Ticketmaster refers to the activity of professional scalpers as ‘unfair competition.’ But now it…

SFX oppose Sillerman claims
Business , Live Events , Record Labels / November 2016

BANKRUPTCY Live events sector, recorded music   SFX’s founder Robert FX Sillerman, who stood down as CEO shortly after the firm applied for Chapter Eleven bankruptcy protection, has filed a claim for monies to cover legal costs and financial guarantees he made on behalf of the business. According to Amplify, Sillerman has requested just over half a million dollars o pay the law firm he has hired to represent him in litigation where both he and SFX are co-defendants. The Company has objected to the claim. Sillerman is also seeking over $15 million in relation to guarantees he made as part of deals between SFX and both Spotify and Chicago-based promoter React Presents. Here lawyers for SFX argue that there is no evidence that Sillerman has, to date, made any payments to the beneficiaries of the guarantees, arguing that his claims against the company are contingent on such payments having been made. As well as seeking to block the claims for legal fees and other cash, SFX are also opposing several requests made by Sillerman to indemnify himself from future lawsuits in relation to his former business. It also seems that SFX Entertainment has fallen out with another high-profile brand partner –…

Thank God/IFPI It’s Friday – New Music Fridays have arrived
Business / August 2015

BUSINESS Recorded Music This update is from Leeza Panayiotou LLB(Hons)   Friday 10th July 2015 a.k.a the start of New Music Fridays, came and went and the world did not implode.   To remind readers, on 26th February 2015, the International Federation of Phonographic Industry (IFPI) announced that following “consultation with artists, musicians unions, records companies and retailers…the release day for new music will be aligned internationally on a Friday”[1]. This also saw the move of the Official BBC Radio 1 Chart show to a Friday, which has aired on a Sunday since 1987[2].   There were a whole host of people (especially in the USA – seriously, check Twitter) who were outraged that the music industry had the audacity to synchronise the release of new music across the globe to one specific day – a Friday.   But the IFPI and music industry’s reasons for making the change were both commendable and all encompassing; “As well as helping music fans, the move will benefit artists who want to harness social media to promote their new music. It also creates the opportunity to re-ignite excitement and a sense of occasion around the release of new music”[3]. They also had the hope it would “reduce…

Terra Firma ask for EMI re-hearing
Business , Record Labels / November 2012

BUSINESS Record labels   Lawyers for private equity group Terra Firma have asked a US appeals court to order a new trial in its client’s legal squabble with US bank Citigroup over it’s 2007 purchase of EMI. The $6.3 billion deal eventually went sour with Citi taking back control of EMI and selling on in two parts to Sony Music and Universal leaving Terra Firma with a massive loss.  Citi not only provided loan funding for Terra Firma’s acquisition of EMI acquisition, but then advised on it too, and it was that advice over which Terra Firma boss Guy Hands subsequently sued the bank. And lost. Meanwhile BMG, Warners and a consortium headed up by Simon Fuller including a major telecoms company all appear to be in the frame to buy divested EMI assets including the Parlophone label. Other assets which must be divested under EC approvals include the Chrysalis, Ensign and Mute labels and the EMI and Virgin Classics labels, its share in Now That’s What I Call Music business as well as Universal’s Sanctuary, King Island and Co-op Music labels. http://blogs.wsj.com/law/2012/10/04/terra-firma-asks-for-new-trial-lawsuit-against-citigroup-over-emi-buy/

Viagogo ups sticks and leaves the UK
Business , Live Events / June 2012

BUSINESS Ticketing, Live Events   In the wake of the Channel 4 Dispatches programme and a High Court order requiring disclosure of customer details, Viagogo has wound up its UK company and seemingly moved its base to Switzerland. On the 22nd March Viagogo changed its name to Consolidated Information Services Ltd and then put the company into liquidation 4 days later.  The Viagogo website is now operated by Viagogo AG.  The High Court order, obtained by the Rugby Football Union in May 2011 and confirmed on appeal, required the company to reveal details of customers re-selling ‘Six Nation’ Rugby Union matches. Viagogo maintains it will not release customer information.   http://www.musiclawupdates.com/?p=4631 and http://www.musiclawupdates.com/?p=4682

Terra Firma fails in High Court bid to re-open EMI forced sale
Business , Record Labels / February 2012

BUSINESS Record labels   CMU Daily reports that private equity group and one time EMI owner Terra Firma has failed in its bid to force PricewaterhouseCoopers to hand over documents relating to the winding up of the music major’s holding company last January, the move than enabled US bank Citigroup to take control of the London-based music company off the equity firm, and put it up for sale. Terra Firma has questioned the decisions made by PWC that enabled Citigroup to repossess EMI, and also questioned the accountants’ valuation of the music business at the time the equity company lost control, and that PWC was not validly appointed as administrator for the EMI holding company. Terra Firma lost the entirety of its investment after CitiGroups takeover, totalling some £1.85bn. Terrra Firma had previously lost an action over the way Citi behaved when the equity group first acquired the music company in 2007. In the current case, Mr Justice Nicholas Warren has ruled that there is no case to force the accountancy firm to hand over any documents at this time, partly because there isn’t “the slightest suggestion [Citi] effected sales at undervalue” because it wouldn’t make commercial sense for them…

EMI – a deal that struck a discordant note
Business , Record Labels / May 2009

BUSINESS Record labels ARTICLE LINK:  On the day it was announced that Pink Floyd are taking legal action against EMI over the alleged underpayment of royalties and join a long list of dissatisfied artists including Radiohead and Paul McCartney, Simon Bowers looks at Terra Firma’s acquisition of the troubled major label and asks “Guy Hands called securitisation the crack cocaine of finance, so why didn’t he kick the habit” The Observer (Business, p9) 19th April 2009 http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2009/apr/19/emi-securitisation-guy-hands

Imagen buys Rodgers and Hammerstein catalogue
Business , Music Publishing / May 2009

BUSINESS Music Publishing Imagem Music Group, owned by ABP, the Dutch pension fund, which has already bought up some of the pop catalogues of the now defunct BMG Music Publishing, and prominent classical publisher Boosey & Hawkes, has announced it has acquired the Rodgers & Hammerstein Organisation which owns and administers all the songs and musicals written by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II – which includes the likes of ‘Oklahoma!’, ‘Carousel’, ‘South Pacific’, ‘The King And I’ and ‘The Sound Of Music’ – as well as the works of over 200 other writers, including many other stage musicals. They also currently represent Andrew Lloyd Webber’s catalogue of tunes in North America. The deal will see Imagem take ownership of both the Rodgers & Hammerstein catalogues, and its New York based business operations. The publisher’s existing management team, including President Theodore S Chapin, will continue to run the company. The Times  21 April 2009.

Intellectual Property licensing issues in bankruptcy or insolvency
Business , Copyright / September 2006

INSOLVENCY / COPYRIGHT Artists, record labels, music publishers ARTICLE LINK From the Intellectual Property Institute of Canada This is a link to the very comprehensive 2003 Report by the Intellectual Property Institute of Canada which investigates the thorny issue of ownership and exploitation of intellectual property rights when one party in a contractual relationship is declared bankrupt or insolvent. Whilst primarily looking at Canadian law, relevant laws from the United States, The United Kingdom and Australia are also commented on. The report covers patents, copyrights (including moral rights) and trade marks. Whilst over 170 pages long may be of particular interest to lawyers and managers who represent recording artists and songwriters who sometimes wonder what they can do about unpaid royalties which have disappeared into the ether after the bankruptcy of a recording label or music publisher or find that their A&R manager is now an accountant! For a brief synopsis of UK and Australian law see pp86-87. http://www.ipic.ca/french/member/issues/f_Final_Report_on_Bankruptcy_Sept_16_2003.pdf

Music Linked Cigarette Sponsorship Challenged in Maryland, US
Artists , Business / August 2004

SPONSORSHIP Artists, Sponsorship, Merchandising The Attorney General of Maryland has filed a lawsuit against the maker of Kool cigarettes, charging that the company is illegally targeting young people with a marketing campaign built around hip-hop music.The suit announced by Attorney General J. Joseph Curran asked that the marketing campaign organisers, Brown & Williamson, be fined at least $5.3 million and prohibited from continuing with its Kool Mixx 2004 promotional campaign in Maryland. Brown & Williamson defended the campaign saying that it celebrated hip-hop music and the art form of the mixers, and the DJs, who mix music. Contests are held in bars where alcohol is sold and young people are not admitted. The suit was filed in the Baltimore Circuit Court. Maryland is the second state to file suit against the Kool Mixx campaign. The New York attorney general got a preliminary order last month from that state’s Supreme Court, halting use of the Web site and a live audio webcast of DJ contests along with the recall of special cigarette packs and brand merchandise. See : http://www.bradenton.com/mld/bradenton/business/9058942.htm