February 5, 2009

Motion to Amend Granted to Producer

Moman v. Sony BMG Entertainment, No. 604392/04, 2/5/09 N.Y.L.J. Decision of Interest (Sup.Ct., N.Y. Co. decided Jan. 20, 2009).

The court granted Plaintiff record producer leave to amend his complaint to add an additional cause of action for breach of a third-party beneficiary contract between defendant Sony and Willie Nelson in 1983. Producer argued the 1983 contract surfaced during settlement discussions, and stated that he would receive $225,000 advance royalty payment on his services for CBS Records for co-producing a single Nelson album. Sony argued the 1983 contract was merely a Letter of Direction (LOD) and was not an "open mutual account." It also argued the six year statute of limitations period expired on the claim. The court rejected Sony's argument that the breadth of a 1990 judgment audit of the CBS books and records would have also encompassed royalties from the 1983 LOD. The court noted that Producer claimed he was unaware of the 1983 LOD until 2007 when his current attorney and manager received a copy from Sony.

February 4, 2009

Cancelled Festival - Artist Damages?

News that this year’s Langerado Festival in Miami, Florida, was canceled due to "sluggish ticket sales" got OTCS thinking...when an artist agrees to perform at a festival, and the festival is thereafter cancelled, is the artist entitled to any damages? What are the terms of the performance agreement? Does it include a liquidated damages clause?

Last year OTCS contemplated that the over-saturation of festivals might lead to the inclusion of "exclusivity" clauses in festival agreements; in this year's economy, might an artist now demand a liquidated damages clause?

February 3, 2009

Copyright Suit Over Ringtones

WB Music Corp. v. Infospace, Inc., No. 09-cv-0682-ODW (C.D. Cal. complaint filed Jan. 28, 2009).

As alleged in the Complaint (paragraphs 14 and 17):

Defendants...are related companies that, collectively, are (or at all relevant times were) in the business of creating, selling, and distributing cell phone ringtones, including ringtones embodying Plaintiffs' copyrighted musical compositions. Defendants have represented themselves as agents of one another in their dealings with Plaintiffs...

Defendants have unlawfully, and without authority from Plaintiffs, reproduced, distributed, prepared, and sold cell phone ringtones embodying the Musical Compositions.

February 2, 2009

Foxy Brown - Gotta Serve Somebody

Raymond v. Marchand [p/k/a Foxy Brown], No. 13413/08, 2/2/09 N.Y.L.J. "Decision of Interest" (Sup.Ct., Kings Co. decided Jan. 23, 2009) - ordering a traverse hearing on the issue of service of process.

Hip Hop artist Foxy Brown moved to vacate a default judgment entered against her. The complaint alleged defendant assaulted plaintiff and criminal charges were filed against defendant. Upon appearing in Supreme Court on the criminal charges, plaintiff alleged Foxy Brown was served when she was leaving the courthouse. Foxy Brown denied the allegation, arguing she was never served with legal papers. The court noted the process server's affidavit did not address the manner of service, and that the facts surrounding the service of process as presented by both parties was "so unclear as to raise a question" of the validity of the service. Also, though courts look unfavorably on service of civil process in any part of the courthouse building, it was not unlawful to serve a defendant in a courthouse unless it was done in a manner that caused a disturbance to court proceeding. Where service was allegedly made outside the courthouse, there was no such claim, but ordered a traverse hearing on the issue of service of process.