Avenged Sevenfold look to leave Warners
Artists , Contract , Employment Law / February 2016

CONTRACT / EMPLOYMENT Recorded music, artistes     After releasing four studio albums for Warner Bros. Records, Avenged Sevenfold are trying to end their as-yet-unfulfilled recording contract, using California’s “seven-year rule.” In turn, the label has filed a breach-of-contract lawsuit against the band, seeking compensatory damages. The “seven-year rule” enshrined in the California Labor Code allows parties to leave personal service contracts under certain circumstances after seven years have passed. Record industry lobbying led to amendments to the 70-year-old law in the 1980s, to allow record companies to claim lost profits on uncompleted albums. However record companies only have 45 days to do so after an artist exercises the right to terminate. “Avenged Sevenfold recently exercised the rights given them by this law and ended its recording agreement with Warner Bros. Records,” the band’s attorney Howard E. King said. Since the 2004 contract was signed, King says the label “underwent multiple regime changes that led to dramatic turnover at every level of the company, to the point where no one on the current A&R staff has even a nodding relationship with the band.”  In its lawsuit dated January 8th, 2016, Warner Bros. says Avenged Sevenfold’s decision to utilise the “seven-year rule” is unlawful: The label says…

J-pop ‘no-sex’ ban unconstitutional
Artists , Contract / February 2016

CONTRACT Artistes     Young pop stars in Japan have won the legal right to have boyfriends or girlfriends after a court ruled that provisions in management contracts banning relationships were unconstitutional. The Tokyo District Court said that a ‘no dating’ clause, standard for young performers, violated the right to happiness guaranteed by the Japanese Constitution. Chief Judge Katsua Hara threw out a 9.9 million Yen (£59,000) claim against a former singer brought by her management company, thought to be from the seven piece girl band Aoyama Saint Hachamecha High School. The suit was instigated back in September 2014 when Miho Yuuki (19) and Sena Miura (22) left the band.   The management company MovingFactory had said “The parental guardians signed contracts that said the members would not have relationships with fans and would not neglect their work” adding “They have betrayed the members of the group and all their fans. We cannot forgive this”  Last month the management company for idol group N Zero announced a lawsuit against a member and a fan for having “private contact”. In the current case Chief Judge Hara saidL “Relationships are a right exercised by an individual to enrich life. They are part of…

Pandora secures new deals with ASCAP and BMI
Copyright , Internet / February 2016

COPYRIGHT Broadcasting, internet   ASCAP and BMI have signed two separate multi-year licensing agreements with Pandora for their combined catalogues of more than 20 million musical works. Pandora claims that the new agreements will “modernise compensation in the US for ASCAP and BMI songwriters and publishers” and added that the deal would see it “benefit from greater rate certainty and the ability to add new flexibility to [our] product offering over time”. Before the new deal, ASCAP was taking just 1.75% of Pandora’s yearly income. BMI took Pandora to the US rate courts and secured a 2.5% royalty rate for its clients. Pandora then appealed this ruling, a move that it has now dropped in the wake of the new arrangement with ASCAP and BMI. “This agreement is good news for music fans and music creators, who are the heart and soul of ASCAP, and a sign of progress in our ongoing push for improved streaming payments for songwriters, composers and music publishers that reflect the immense value of our members’ creative contributions,” said ASCAP CEO Elizabeth Matthews. “We’re extremely pleased to reach this deal with Pandora that benefits the songwriters, composers and publishers we are privileged to represent,” said Mike O’Neill, President and CEO,…

Spotify face $150 million lawsuit from songwriter over infringement and non payment issues
Copyright , Internet / February 2016

COPYRIGHT Internet, broadcasting   A US recording artist has filed a US$150 million lawsuit against Spotify, alleging that the market leader in the streaming sector has knowingly reproduced his copyrighted songs – without permission or payment. David Lowery, best known for leading alternative rock bands Cracker and Camper Van Beethoven, has now asked a US judge to allow a class action suit on behalf of “hundreds of thousands” of potential plaintiffs he believes were similarly affected.   The lawsuit, filed in the federal court in Los Angeles, accuses the streaming giant of ignoring mechanical rights. The singer-songwriter and musician’s rights advocate, who holds a degree in mathematics and is a lecturer at the University of Georgia, accused Spotify of copying and distributing compositions for its online service without permission or informing the copyright holders, listing four tracks from Camper Van Beethoven and Cracker that he said were used without his permission. The lawsuit also alleged unfair business practices by Spotify saying that its payment structure was arbitrary and “depresses the value of royalties” overall: “Unless the court enjoins and restrains Spotify’s conduct, plaintiff and the class members will continue to endure great and irreparable harm that cannot be fully compensated or measured in…

Raiding the Rock Vault claim results in request for a court declaration
Copyright , Live Events / February 2016

COPYRIGHT Live events sector   Record producer David Kershenbaum alleged threats to shut down a Las Vegas show – which removed him as director – has resulted in a law suit from the show’s producer, Rock Vault. Kershenbaum was a co-director and co-writer of Rock Vault Tours’ show “Raiding the Rock Vault” staged at the Tropicana Las Vegas. Rock Vault says it had to ask him to “disengage from his duties in connection to “Raiding the Rock Vault.” It says he has no role in the show now playing at the Tropicana, nor in a new show, to be called “Raiding the Country Vault.” However Kershenbaum says he is co-owner of the copyrights for “Raiding the Rock Vaults.” He claims the shows infringe on his copyrights, and sent a cease and desist letter to Rock Vault, threatening to sue to stop the show and the second show unless Rock Vault brought out his interest in the copyrights, with the sum of $1 million reportedly claimed. Rock Vault says that “In light of Kershenbaum’s threat to seek an injunction to enjoin further performances of Raiding the Rock Vault and to prevent Rock Vault from launching its new show, “Raiding the Country…

Metallica provide practical help to tribute act
Artists , Trade Mark / February 2016

TRADE MARK Artistes     Metallica have overruled their own lawyers, who had issued a cease and desist letter against tribute band Sandman, ordering them to stop using the band’s name and logo to promote their entirely Metallica based act. To ensure that Metallica’s “overzealous attorney” would not start fresh proceedings against Sandman, the band agreed to license their logo to the tribute band for a fee of $1 which Metallica picked up the tab for that themselves. “I just got off the phone with Metallica’s management and they and the band had no idea their lawyers sent us the papers”, Sandman guitarist Joe Di Taranto told the One On One With Mitch Lafon podcast. “Lars [Ulrich, the Metallica drummer] got wind of everything today and was completely pissed that they sent us the papers for something so stupid. They are really sorry about everything and want us to go back to using any logos that we want. They are even going to license us the logo for $1 – which they said we don’t even need to pay. So all in all they were really cool and wanted to make sure we know that they fully support us. Pretty crazy. All…

Police arrest suspected Bieber ticket frausdster in Northern Ireland
Criminal Law , Live Events / February 2016

CRIMINAL Ticketing     Police in Northern Ireland have arrested a man over an alleged online ticketing scam. It’s claimed that an unnamed man was selling counterfeit tickets to upcoming Adele and Justin Bieber concerts, the former in Belfast and the latter in Dublin. It is thought that the fake tickets were being advertised on listings site Gumtree. Police in the Northern Irish town of Strabane arrested the suspect, who was subsequently released on bail pending further enquiries. Commenting on the investigation, Detective Inspector Lindsey Kitson told reporters: “As part of this ongoing investigation we want to ensure that we identify as many people as possible who may have been victims of this fraud”. The officer added: “We believe tickets for the Justin Bieber and Adele concerts were offered in a group of four from the Gumtree website and a subsequent face to face transaction took place involving the exchange of money for fake tickets. I want to hear from anyone who has bought tickets for these concerts from a man after seeing an offer on Gumtree”. http://www.completemusicupdate.com/article/northern-ireland-police-arrest-suspected-adele-and-bieber-ticket-fraudster/ 

Wood Dale Police ‘were aware’ of dangers of fast approaching festival storm
Health & Safety , Live Events / February 2016

HEALTH & SAFETY Live events sector     New allegations have been made in the USA against the local police in Wood Dale, Illinois, after the death of one festival goer and injuries caused to nearly two dozen more at a suburban festival near Chicago which it is now said could have been prevented had the festival site been evacuated by the police ahead of a major storm. Thirty-five-year-old Steven Nincic was killed when a tent collapsed at Prairie Fest on 2 August 2015. According to police communications obtained by the Chicago Tribune, Wood Dale Police Department was aware of the storm but decided against evacuating attendees to a nearby school, with which it had a “tentative agreement” to use the building for shelter.   A lawsuit on behalf of the victims – which also includes an 81-year-old woman, Lorraine Nocek, whose family claim later died of her injuries – states that the festival’s organisers shouldn’t have gathered visitors together under a poorly secured tent in the storm. The tent was supplied by a firm called Classic Party Rentals. “[Classic Party Rentals] supplied tents, tables and various equipment,” says the victims’ lawyer, Michael Progar, “but they obviously didn’t organise anything.” Classic Party Rentals…

Glastonbury admits sewage discharge
Environmental Law , Live Events / February 2016

ENVIRONMENTAL LAW Live events sector     The Glastonbury Festival has admitted causing a drop in water quality in a stream close to the festival’s site, after a sewage tank sprung a leak during the 2014 event. CMU Daily reports that Michael Eavis and the Festival’s Operations Director, Christopher Edwards, both appeared in court in Yeovil after a prosecution was brought against the event by the Environment Agency. Accepting that “significant” harm had been caused, the Festival challenged the levels of damage claimed by the Environment Agency – and in particular the death of protected brown trout. Representing the festival, Kerry Gwyther said an environmental report found the stream had a history of being of a “poor quality”. Of the 42 dead fish, 39 were recorded downstream and only 10 of these were brown trout, he said.They also disputed that a fine of up to £300,000 should be levied, based on the Festival’s turnover of £37 million that year, saying that the festival’s profit was actually £84,000 before tax. The Festival donates a large proportion of its annual profit to charity with three lead charities, Greenpeace, WaterAid and Oxfam all receiving six figure sums. In a statement, the Festival acknowledged the…

T-in-the-Park facing licencing scrutiny after 2015 mistakes
Licensing , Live Events / February 2016

LICENSING Live events sector     The Scotsman says that senior officials at Perth & Kinross Council have warned they will not allow T in the Park to be staged again at the Strathallan Estate unless there is an overhaul of the event.   The Scotsman says that “a damning dossier” has revealed “the full scale of problems, including traffic congestion, concerns over crowd safety inside the arena and campsite security, and disruption to residents.” The council report said confidence in promoters DF Concerts had been “undermined”. Environment director Barbara Renton told the Scotsman that although the council had taken a “can do approach” to major events, it was appropriate for T in the Park to be treated differently “until DF can demonstrate their capability to effectively manage this event in future.” Festival director Geoff Ellis, initially declared the event had a “great first year at Strathallan,” but later apologised for “challenges that we know impacted upon the weekend.” The council has now reported a string of “organisational blunders” which are alleged to include last-minute changes to the event’s layout, infrastructure, transport plans and security arrangements, as well as repeated breaches of the event’s planning permission. Plans were said to have been…

Mobile snappers evicted from NEC
Contract , Live Events / February 2016

CONTRACT Live events sector   Pollstar reports that twenty-three people were escorted out of Birmingham’s Barclaycard Arena after not complying with a phone ban during a gig by popular comedian Kevin Hart. Many comedians like to keep their ‘live show’ material secret so each audience gets a new show, and Hart had requested no pictures/videos to be taken and this was communicated to the audience before the show in various ways. The NEC Group, which owns the Barclaycard Arena, told the Birmingham Mail that “for Kevin Hart’s show the usage of mobile phones, cameras and recording devices were strictly prohibited in the arena bowl. This was at the request of both the artiste and touring production who hired the venue for their event.” Gig-goers were also informed that they wouldn’t be subject to a refund if caught using the banned devices. The newspaper highlights the fact that Hart finished his show by asking his fans “to light up the arena with the torches of their phones for a picture.” On its website the NEC added “The venue made every effort to ensure that the message was clearly communicated to customers via all avenues available, prior to the show and onsite. The security measures…

SFX settle class action
Contract , Live Events / February 2016

CONTRACT Live events sector   SFX Entertainment has settled one of the two outstanding lawsuits against it. Last August, Paolo Moreno, who claimed he was behind the original idea for SFX, filed a class action lawsuit against the firm’s CEO Robert Sillerman alleging fraud and breach of contract. Moreno, along with two other men, claimed Sillerman had cut him out of the business once it began to take off. Documents obtained by Mixmag, show the class action lawsuit has now been dismissed. The EDM promoter still faces a separate lawsuit seeking compensation for allegedly misleading investors in Sillerman’s bid to take the company private. The lawsuit refers to the acquisition proposal as a “sham process” designed to make the firm attractive to a third-party purchaser and maintain the share price before it was caught by its liquidity problems. SFX recently secured $20 million in new financing, later revealed to have come from Canadian private equity firm Catalyst Capital Group. SFX stock slid 12.01% to $0.10 yesterday valuing the company at least than $10 million. http://www.musicweek.com/news/read/sfx-settles-class-action-lawsuit/063940