R. Kelly, the multiplatinum R&B artist whose musical legacy became intertwined with dozens of accusations of sexual abuse, was found guilty on Monday of serving as the ringleader of a decades-long scheme to recruit women and underage girls for sex.
The jury in New York deliberated for about nine hours before convicting the singer of all nine counts against him, including racketeering and eight violations of an anti-sex trafficking law known as the Mann Act.
The baby from Nirvana’s famous “Nevermind” album art is all grown up … and now he’s suing the band for child sexual exploitation.
A man named Spencer Elden claims he’s the naked baby famously pictured in a swimming pool on Nirvana’s groundbreaking 1991 album cover … and he’s suing the band, its surviving members and Kurt Cobain’s estate, 30 years after the album dropped.
What changed? According to a GQ interview:
In the past you’ve said it was cool. When did that change?
Just a few months ago, when I was reaching out to Nirvana to see if they wanted to be part of my art show. I was getting referred to their managers and their lawyers. Why am I still on their cover if I’m not that big of a deal?
Why’d you reach out to them?
I was trying to do an art show with the photographer who took the picture. I was asking if they wanted to put a piece of art in the fucking thing.
This morning, the Reykjavík District Court acquitted all members of Sigur Rós’ team in a large-scale tax evasion case. Jón Þór Birgisson, the band’s singer, was also acquitted of charges of tax evasion in connection with the French association. Legal costs amounting to almost ISK 56 million are paid from the state treasury.
Matt Fountain, writing at The Tribune:
A founding member of the pop-punk band New Found Glory was convicted of felony indecent exposure in San Luis Obispo Superior Court last month after accepting a plea agreement in a case that had idled for more than six years.
Stephen Lee “Steve” Klein, who lived in Atascadero, was charged in 2014 with five felony counts of lewd acts on a child, as well as a count each of contact with intent to commit a sex offense and possession of child pornography, stemming from sexual two-way chat room videos involving underage girls found on an external hard drive at Klein’s home.
At a trial-setting conference Feb. 9, Klein agreed to plead no contest to an added felony charge of indecent exposure, and the remaining charges were dismissed. […]
His attorney, Ilan Funke-Bilu, said Monday that if his client successfully complies with the terms of his probation for one year, his felony conviction will be reduced to a misdemeanor and his probation terminated.
The 41-year-old will be required to register as a sex offender for at least 10 years, however, Funke-Bilu said.
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.
In a statement, Busch noted that the decision to drop the case was made by the band.
“My clients are very sympathetic not only of Juice WRLD’s death,” Busch said, “but also needed time to decide whether they really wanted to pursue the case against his grieving mother as the personal representative of his estate.”
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.”
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.