Musicians Sign Open Letter Demanding Clearance for Campaign Songs

Rolling Stone

Rolling Stone:

The letter calls for major political party committees in the U.S. to “establish clear policies requiring campaigns to seek consent of featured recording artists, songwriters and copyright owners before publicly using their music in a political or campaign setting.” […]

The letter’s signees include the Rolling Stones’ Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler and Joe Perry, Sia, Regina Spektor, R.E.M, Lorde, Blondie, Elvis Costello, Sheryl Crow, Rosanne Cash, Lionel Richie, Pearl Jam and Green Day.

Anita ‘Lady A’ White Talks About Name Lawsuit

Legal

Anita ‘Lady A’ White has talked with Vulture about the lawsuit from the new Lady A:

With the pro bono support of intellectual-property attorneys from the Palo Alto–headquartered Cooley law firm, White is confident that justice will eventually prevail. If she has any concern about the way negotiations have crumbled for all the world to see, it is for the way she is being portrayed by the band, how she believes they are positioning her as “the angry Black woman.” But even that won’t stop her fight.

“I was quiet for two weeks because I was trying to believe that it was going to be okay and that they would realize that it would be easier to just change their name, or pay me for my name,” White says. “Five million dollars is nothing, and I’m actually worth more than that, regardless of what they think. But here we go again with another white person trying to take something from a Black person, even though they say they’re trying to help. If you want to be an advocate or an ally, you help those who you’re oppressing. And that might require you to give up something because I am not going to be erased.”

Lady A Are Suing Lady A

Legal

The now named Lady A are suing Anita White, the Seattle blues singer who has been using the name for over twenty years.

The Grammy-winning vocal group filed the lawsuit Wednesday in federal court after negotiations with Anita White broke down in recent weeks. According to the lawsuit, the band is seeking a ruling that their use of the trademark “Lady A” does not infringe on White’s alleged trademark rights of the same name. The band is not seeking monetary damages.

Roc Nation Files Copyright Claim Over Deepfake Videos

Jay Z

Andy Baio, writing at Waxy:

Over the weekend, for the first time, the anonymous creator of Vocal Synthesis received a copyright claim on YouTube, taking two of his videos offline with deepfaked audio of Jay-Z reciting the “To Be or Not To Be” soliloquy from Hamlet and Billy Joel’s “We Didn’t Start the Fire.”

According to the creator, the copyright claims were filed by Roc Nation LLC with an unusual reason for removal: “This content unlawfully uses an AI to impersonate our client’s voice.”

StubHub Hit With $5M Class Action Lawsuit Over Coronavirus Refund Policy

Legal

Billboard:

A Wisconsin man has filed a $5 million dollar federal class action lawsuit against StubHub for not refunding money he spent on a suspended NHL game.

Filed by plaintiff Matthew McMillan last Thursday in U.S. District Court in Wisconsin, the complaint accuses the ticket resale company of breach of contract and negligent misrepresentation, among other claims. McMillan is asking the court to prohibit StubHub from issuing coupons worth 120% of the purchase price in lieu of refunds and to order the company to reinstate its pre-March 20 refund policy.

Grammys Chief Calls Her Removal Retaliation for Exposing ‘Boys’ Club’

Legal

Ben Sisario, writing for the New York Times:

Deborah Dugan, the suspended chief of the Recording Academy, the organization behind the Grammy Awards, said in a complaint to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on Tuesday that she had been removed as retaliation for uncovering a range of misconduct at the academy, including sexual harassment, improper voting procedures and conflicts of interest among academy board members.

And:

According to the complaint, the nominating committee, when finalizing the ballot for the 2019 award for song of the year, for example, chose as one of its eight final nominees a song that had initially ranked 18 out of 20. The artist behind that song, the complaint alleges, was allowed to sit on the committee and was also represented by a board member.

The complaint also says that the committees can add artists to the ballot who had not first been chosen by the general voting pool. For this year’s awards, it says, 30 such artists were “added to the possible nomination list.”

And:

The document, filed with the E.E.O.C.’s Los Angeles office and technically called a charge of discrimination, alleges that Ms. Dugan’s predecessor, Neil Portnow, had been accused of rape by an artist, and that the academy’s board had been scheduled to vote for a bonus for him even though all of its members had not been told about the accusation. The complaint has little detail about the accusation, but said that a psychiatrist had said that the encounter was “likely not consensual.”

It also says that Ms. Dugan herself had received unwanted sexual advances from Joel Katz, a powerful industry lawyer who represents the Grammys.

How Music Copyright Lawsuits Are Scaring Away New Hits

Legal

Amy X. Wang, writing for Rolling Stone:

In the five years since a court ruled that “Blurred Lines” infringed on Marvin Gaye’s 1977 “Got to Give It Up,” demanding that Thicke and Williams fork over $5 million to the Gaye estate for straying too close to the older song’s “vibe,” the once-sleepy realm of music copyright law has turned into a minefield. Chart-topping musicians have been slapped with infringement lawsuits like never before, and stars like Ed Sheeran and Katy Perry are being asked to pay millions in cases that have many experts scratching their heads. Across genres, artists are putting out new music with the same question in the backs of their minds: Will this song get me sued?

And:

Lucas Keller — the founder of music management company Milk and Honey, which represents writers and producers who’ve worked with everyone from Alessia Cara and Carrie Underwood to 5 Seconds of Summer and Muse — recently began encouraging all his songwriter clients to purchase errors-and-omissions insurance, which protects creative professionals from legal challenges to their intellectual property.

Cool system we got here.

Yellowcard Lawyer Releases Statement Regarding Lawsuit

Legal

Richard Busch, of King & Ballow, the law firm representing Yellowcard in the previously written about copyright lawsuit, has issued the following statement:

First of all, we were as shocked and saddened by Juice WRLD’s death as everyone else. It is a tragic loss to his family, his fans, and to the music world at large, and we understand why people may be confused about the decision to continue with this lawsuit. My clients are certainly torn about proceeding, and understand the optics involved. But it is important to remember that this lawsuit was filed before this tragic event, and was filed because all of the defendants (and there are 2 other writers and several music publishers and record labels), profited off of what we believe was clear copying and infringement of Yellowcard’s work. We have an expert report making that clear. So while they are absolutely aware of how this may be perceived, and truly have incredible mixed emotions, the question is whether it is fair that all of those many parties profited, and will continue to profit, off of what my client’s believe strongly was their work. We should also mention that it has been falsely reported that Yellowcard is demanding a specific amount of damages. They are simply seeking what the law allows, and what parties in their position have sought in similar cases, which at this point is not determined.

Yellowcard Lawyer Files Motion to Extend Lawsuit Response Time

Legal

XXL is reporting that the lawsuit from members of Yellowcard against Juice WRLD appears to still be going forward:

Today, the pop-punk band filed a motion to extend the amount of time parties for Juice Wrld and his co-defendants Taz Taylor, Nick Mira, and the two labels Juice’s is signed to—Grade A Productions and Interscope Records—have to respond to the complaint filed against them. The original due date for the defendants’ response to the lawsuit was Dec. 9, but now they have until Feb. 4, 2020.

Yellowcard Suing Juice WRLD

Yellowcard

Chris Eggertsen, writing at Billboard:

According to a complaint filed Monday (Oct. 21) in U.S. District Court in California, former Yellowcard members William Ryan Key, Peter Michael Mosely, Longineu Warren Parsons and Sean Michael Wellman-Mackin allege Juice WLRD and his collaborators copied “melodic elements” from their 2006 song “Holly Wood Died” for the rapper’s blockbuster 2018 single without permission. They’re asking for damages in excess of $15 million and a “running royalty and/or ownership share” on all future exploitations related to the song or, alternatively, statutory damages “for each act of copyright infringement” and for defendants to be “permanently enjoined” from exploiting “Lucid Dreams” in the future.

And:

Yellowcard’s attorney, Richard Busch, issued a statement about the lawsuit in which he explained, “This was not a lawsuit the guys wanted to file. They put all of the parties on notice a long while ago and gave them every opportunity to try to resolve it. That notice was pretty much ignored leaving them with no real choice. As alleged in the Complaint, this is not just a generic Emo Rap song, but is a blatant copy of significant original compositional elements of Holly Wood Died in several respects. Beyond that, everything we have to say is in the Complaint.

Icelandic Rock Band Sigur Ros Charged With Tax Evasion

Sigur Ros

Associated Press:

Members of the Icelandic avant-garde rock band Sigur Ros have been charged with tax evasion three years after authorities launched a probe of the group’s finances.

An indictment issued by the district prosecutor Thursday accused the prominent musicians of submitting incorrect tax returns from 2011 to 2014, evading a total of 151 million Icelandic Krona ($1.2 million).