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

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

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

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

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…

Sony face fair use defence over alleged samples
Copyright , Music Publishing / July 2013

COPYRIGHT Recorded music   Sony Music has been told that it can take a copyright claim it made on an independent music label and “forget about it”. Sony sent the independent label Gummy Soul a copyright claim over the Bizarre Tribe album, a mashup of hip hoppers The Pharcyde and A Tribe Called Quest sample sources. The new recordings were made by Amerigo Gazaway whose label responded to Sony by “thanking Sony for its interest”. However, it says that it is unwarranted, and that the larger label has no real claim in the content saying “Thanks for reaching out. The fact that our small independent label warranted the resources of your legal team speaks to our work ethic and we appreciate the validation. In response to your copyright infringement claim over Gummy Soul’s Bizarre Tribe; A Quest To The Pharcyde by Amerigo Gazaway, understand the vast majority of the samples used to create Bizarre Tribe were not taken from the catalog of A Tribe Called Quest (“ATCQ”),” The letter goes on to say: “What your diligence failed to uncover is that Gummy Soul is not in the business of merging one artist’s instrumentals with vocals of another. Had one of…

Early Axl Rose tracks pulled from YouTube
Artists , Copyright , Record Labels / July 2013

COPYRIGHT Record labels, artistes   A 1983 demo by Axl Rose’s’ pre-Guns N’ Roses band Rapidfire that turned up online last week has been pulled from the web, due to a copyright claim filed by Axl’s lawyer. The snippet of the demo of the band’s recording on “Ready to Rumble” was posted on YouTube but is no longer playable. Instead it has a note that says, “This video is no longer available due to a copyright claim by Mark Music & Media Law, P.C.” “Whenever there’s unauthorized Axl Rose or Guns N’ Roses audio, video or merchandise, we take aggressive efforts to have it removed from the marketplace,” Doug Mark of Mark Music & Media Law told Yahoo! Music. Prior to the filing of the copyright claim and take down, the folks behind the release of the Rapidfiredemo were still hinting that that there could be an official release of the five demo tracks. “Over 72,000 hits! Keep ’em coming so we know there is enough interest to release!,” they posted on the Rapidfire 1983 Facebook page.

Pandora – BMI spat goes legal

COPYRIGHT Music publishing, Internet   Pandora, the US based digital innovator which has spearheaded the development of online radio services stateside and led the ‘interactive radio’ side of the expanding streaming music market, has bought a good old fashioned FM radio station in South Dakota. The acquisition of KXMZ-FM in Rapid City gives Pandora a seat at the table of the Radio Music Licensing Committee (RMLC) and seemingly would enable it to reduce the royalties it pays to the American music publishers via the music collecting societies, in particular ASCAP, in an escalating row over the ‘favourable’ treatment given to the major US terrestrial broadcasters such as Clear Channel. And in the wake of this news, and as expected, the other main US music collection society, BMI, has launched legal action against Pandora, asking for a ruling on the rates the streaming music service should reasonably be expected to pay on a blanket license for songs represented by the American royalty collection agency. Pandora has been pushing for a while to reduce its royalty payments to both the record companies and the music publishers, in the former case by lobbying in Washington to reform the statutory licensing system through which…

PRS for Music, STIM and GEMA to collaborate on new venture
Copyright , Music Publishing / July 2013

COPYRIGHT Music publishing   PRS for Music (UK), STIM (Sweden) and GEMA (Germany) have announced a major collaboration that the three music collection societies say will simplify both national and pan-European music rights licensing and processing. As part of the initiative, GEMA will become a shareholder and customer in International Copyright Enterprise AB (ICE), the company founded by PRS for Music and STIM in 2007.  ICE will extend its current copyright repertoire management services to include the processing of transactional licences to Digital Music Services, both for its shareholder societies and for other society customers. In due course ICE will also create a state of the art audio visual database for film and television music processing. PRS for Music, STIM and GEMA will in parallel establish a licensing hub that will combine the national repertoires of all three collecting societies as well as providing licensing services to other holders of multi-territorial European online rights, both publishers and societies. The combined repertoire available to license through the new hub will be amongst the largest of its kind in Europe, providing access to millions of works for download, subscription and streaming services. Slated for delivery in 2014, the proposed joint venture will use the copyright and…

Justin Bieber – talk about my parties and I’ll sue you for $5 million
Artists , Privacy / July 2013

PRIVACY Artists   “Here’s the good news … Justin Bieber wants to invite you to one of his house parties.  The bad news … if you talk about it, he’s gonna sue your ass for $5 million.” TMZ has obtained a copy of a document EVERYONE must sign before entering Bieber’s $6.5 million home in Calabasas, CA.  The document, a Liability Waiver and Release, warns that anyone who reveals about any of the “goings on”  inside the mansion will face legal action, and this extends to the “physical health, or the philosophical, spiritual or other views or characteristics” of Bieber or other guests.  Since more recently the Bieber does most of his idiotic stunts in public (to the annoyance of many including his long suffering fans and neighbours), one wonders what on earth DOES go on. Apart from an ongoing spat with neighbours about Beibers alleged habit of racing his cars around their private community, Photographer Jeffrey Binion has also reported Team Bieber to the police last week after a run in with the pop teen’s security in Miami on the 5th of June. Police have reportedly launched an investigation Binion was trying to take photos of the singer when, he claims,…

Buskers hope for law revisions in Atlanta
Licensing , Live Events / July 2013

LICENSING Live events sector   Atlanta’s strict laws to prevent begging are under review after the politician who crafted the law said it’s clear that law must be changed after.two street musicians were arrested for busking in Atlanta. They landed in jail for panhandling.  Eryk McDaniel was arrested on May 31 while playing his trombone outside of Turner Field  – police took McDaniel’s  trombone and cuffed him. McDaniel said his attorney told him he’s allowed to play on the city’s streets because there’s an exception in the law for musicians, but he’s not allowed to ask for money. McDaniel denies asking for donations, but  the police view is that an open case  was sufficient to justify the arrest. Violinist Johnny Arco, whose real name is Juan Pablo Chavez, was arrested May 9th and charged whilst he was playing in a MARTA station. An official from MARTA said Arco was arrested for breaking state law, which states a person cannot sell anything or panhandle at a transit station. Arco spent an extraordinary five days in jail. Atlanta City Council’s public safety committee chairman, Michael Julian Bond, is now crafting an amendment to the current law to specifically allow street musicians to…

England and Wales move to de-regulate some licensing – and others look to clamp down on lap dancing
Licensing , Live Events / July 2013

LICENSING Live events sector   The Licensing Act 2003 (Description of Entertainment)(Amendment) Order came into force of the 27rth June, effectively removing (a) theatre and dance events of up to 500 people and (b) indoors sports events for up to 1,000 people held between 08.00 and 23.00 from licensing law and reducing the list of regulated entertainment ion England and Wales. Further, mixed martial arts will become licensable as boxing or wrestling entertainment as opposed to being an indoor sport.  The Order does not reference proposed changes to live music or recorded music and a further consultation is still expected in respect of proposals to partially deregulate community film exhibitions And the Morning Advertiser reports that a ground-breaking case that is believed to cost Westminster City Council £2m could limit the scope of fees which licensing authorities will be able to charge under the Licensing Act 2003. Since 2009 local authorities have been prevented from charging anything other than the real cost of licences. In the case, a group of sex shops owners brought the action – one had been charged £29,102 for its annual licence from Westminster. More at In Malta, the Government is re-focussing on regulating…

Live Nation charged over fatal stage collapse

HEALTH AND SAFETY Live events sector   CMU Daily reported that the Ministry Of Labour in Ontario is pursuing charges against three companies and one individual in relation to the stage collapse that occurred ahead of a Radiohead show in Toronto last June which resulted in the tragic death of Radiohead drum tech Scott Johnson. Mr Johnson was killed after a scaffolding structure collapsed onto the open-air stage before any audience members had been admitted. The show was promoted by Live Nation, and the company and its Ontario subsidiary both face four charges under the Canadian province’s Occupational Health and Safety Act. Optex Staging & Services Inc has also been charged over four alleged breaches of health and safety laws, while engineer Dominic Cugliari faces one charge. Live Nation has already denied the charges, telling Billboard: “We wholeheartedly disagree with the charges brought against us by the Ministry Of Labour. We absolutely maintain that Live Nation and our employees did everything possible to ensure the safety of anyone who was on or near the stage involved in the tragic incident that led to the unfortunate death of Mr Scott Johnson” adding “We will vigorously defend ourselves and we are confident…

Unpaid intern brings class action against Warners

EMPLOYMENT Record labels   A former intern of Warner Music’s Atlantic subsidiary in the US is suing for unpaid wages as part of a class action which could extend to others in the same circumstances Justin Henry says he worked at the label for no wage between October 2007 and May 2008 in violation of New York labor laws. He also suggests that the practice of not paying interns had not always been company policy at Atlantic, and only began in June 2007. The lawsuit claims minimum wage for all hours worked, plus overtime, interest, unspecified damages and costs. Henry states that in his role tasks included answering telephones, photocopying and collecting lunch for permanent staff, which Henry and his lawyers argue this must constitute employment under New York law and doesn’t fit the regulations for classifying staff as unpaid interns. The lawsuit estimates that over 100 others could be due back pay under the class action and is calling for more former interns to come forward.

Toots brings case against alleged bottler
Criminal Law , Live Events / July 2013

CRIMINAL LAW Live events sector   Toots And The Maytals have had to cancel all their planned festival appearances this summer after Frederick ‘Toots’ Hibbert was injured when he was hit by a “large vodka bottle” at America’s RiverRock Festival in mid-May. He was struck in the head and is still receiving treatment and tests. The band  have said they are preparing a $21 million legal case against the assailant, one William Connor Lewis, who will also face trial on a felony assault charge on 1 July. Toots attorney Michael R Shaprio said: “Toots and his management team share with me the view that we should only sue those who we know to have responsibility for this vicious attack. At this moment in time, the bottle thrower, Mr Lewis unquestionably falls in that category and thus the $21 million civil action against him”.

Gottfrid Svartholm jailed on hacking charges
Criminal Law , Internet / July 2013

CRIMINAL LAW Internet   Gottfrid Svartholm , The Pirate Bay co-founder charged in Sweden earlier this year over various alleged hacking offences was last week sentenced to two years in jail. Svartholm fled to Cambodia when originally sentenced on copyright infringement charges alongside the  three other co-founders,  for their role in creating and running the controversial file-sharing website.  Last year he was extradited back to his home country after various hacking allegations were made against him. He was jailed, seemingly serving his Pirate Bay sentence while awaiting a court session to hear the hacking charges which centred on alleged attacks on the servers of the Nordea banking group and services firm Logica, during which the personal data of about some thousand Swedish citizens was taken and subsequently published online.  CMU Daily reported that Svartholm and his co-defendant Mathias Gustafsson claimed that while their computers had been used in the hack attacks, the hacking had been done by other parties. But experts testifying for the prosecution claimed data found on the PCs in question suggested the defendants had done the hacking, and neither men could, or were willing to, name who the alleged third party hackers might have been. Svartholm was…

Tenenbaum damages upheld on appeal
Copyright , Internet , Record Labels / July 2013

COPYRIGHT Record labels, internet The First Circuit Court Of Appeals has rejected the appeal by file sharer Joel Tenenbaum and has upheld the original damages awarded to the Recording Industry  Association of America (RIAA) against the post graduate students of $675,000, rejecting the argument that being ordered to pay $22,500 in damages for each of the 31 songs that were illegally uploaded was excessive. The US Supreme Court had refused to consider the case. The court said: “Tenenbaum carried on his activities for years in spite of numerous warnings, he made thousands of songs available illegally, and he denied responsibility during discovery. Much of this behaviour was exactly what Congress was trying to deter when it amended the Copyright Act”.