La-la-lawsuits: A Look Back at December’s Finest Litigious Moments

December 30th, 2011

Croatian journalist James Braddock has sued Angelina Jolie for copyright infringement of his book, The Soul Shattering (his website discusses the legal dispute in detail).  Braddock claims Jolie’s directorial-debut documentary, In the Land of Blood and Honey, infringes upon his 2007 book.  Braddock allegedly discussed the book in detail with the Bosnian producer of the film before the film was made.  The movie commenced production in 2010, and Braddock only recently filed the lawsuit, just weeks before the scheduled release.  Because of the late timing, the judge seemed reluctant to grant Braddock’s motion for a temporary restraining order and Braddock withdrew the motion before the decision was finalized.  The case was filed with the federal court in Illinois, but the judge has indicated a likelihood he will transfer it to California, given that the parties – Croatian and Californian – have pretty much no connection to the midwest state.

The Meester family will be having a peaceful Christmas, now that  the Gossip Girl star Leighton Meester and her mother Constance Meester have resolved their legal dispute.  The suit began over Leighton alleging that Constance misused the actress’s money, then developed into the issue of whether Constance was entitled to compensation for her alleged role in guiding her daughter’s career.  Most recently, Constance withdrew her claims leading to a default judgment in favor of Leighton.

The estate of Bruce Gary, drummer of the band The Knack (best known for the song “My Sharona”) has sued Capitol Records, claiming unpaid royalties for digital downloads.  The issue is whether digital downloads on platforms such as iTunes count as a ‘license’ of the master or a ‘sale’ of the phonorecords under the recording agreement.  Phonorecords implies the physical album sale, rather than digital and the label pays significantly lower royalties to artists on sales than licenses.  For a license, the royalty rate could be up to 50%, whereas for a sale the rate would likely be closer to 12%.

2011 has been a rough year for The Hangover II.  Earlier this year, Tyson’s tattoo artist sued over the use of the iconic face tattoo.  Now Louis Vuitton is suing, claiming that the bag carried by Zach Galifianakis marked LVM was a fake.  In the scene, Galifianakis says, ” “Careful, that is.. that is a Louis Vuitton.”  LV is suing under state and federal claims for unfair competition, false designation of origin, and trademark dilution. The full complaint can be read here.

December’s Notable Hirings, Firings & Promotions

December 29th, 2011

Hip-hop agent Cara Lewis is leaving William Morris Endeavor.

Vickie Nauman moved up to president of 7digital North America.

Don Ienner is working with Universal Music Group in a consultancy role.

Live Nation has been making some changes.  Alan Ostfield is now President, North Atlantic, covering the New York and Philadelphia regions.  Jason Miller is President of the New York operation, replacing Kevin Morrow, who moves to LA to join the North American Touring office as Senior Vice President.

Now-Bertelsmann exec Thomas Hesse joined the board of broadcaster RTL Group.

Bob Stohrer became CMO of Clear Channel Digital.

BMI promoted Tavi Shabestari and Nicole Plantin  to director-level positions in the Los Angeles office, with a similar promotion to Atlanta-based David Claassen.

Edgar Bronfman, Jr. is leaving his role of chairman at Warner Music Group, although he will remain a board member.

Live Nation owned BigChampagne just hired Ethan Kaplan, a music technologist and former SVP of Emerging Technology at Warner Music Group.

Former AMPAS president Sid Ganis is now working at Dolby Laboratories as a strategic advisor.

Wynton Marsalis has been named ‘Cultural Correspondent’ at CBS News.

David Foster is now chairman of UMG-owned Verve Music Group.

54th Grammy Awards Nominees Released

December 12th, 2011

I’m a little late on covering this one, but the final nominees for the 54th Grammy Awards have been announced.

Full list here, but below are a some of my thoughts.

Adele is most likely going to walk home with quite a few awards.  She and her collaborators are nominated 6 times, including Record of the Year, Album of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best Pop Solo Performance.  Two of the producers from the album, Paul Epworth and Ryan Tedder, are also nominated for Producer of the Year.

Bon Iver is also getting some recognition for their self-titled album.  Nomination include Best New Artist, Record of the Year, and Song of the Year.

Bruno Mars, Katy Perry and Lady Gaga unsurprisingly fill up many of the pop award nominations.

I complete missed that Seth McFarlane (Family Guy) released an album, Music is Better than Words, which received a nomination for best traditional pop vocal album.

Rock bands nominated include Foo Fighters, Coldplay and Radiohead.

In country, veterans Taylor Swift, Carrie Underwood, Lady Antebellum, Trace Adkins, George Strait, Martina McBride and Kenny Chesney get recognition.


Event: Women in Music Holiday Party – December 6 @ Le Poisson Rouge

December 5th, 2011

Women in Music is having its annual holiday party tomorrow night, December 6, at Le Poisson Rouge from 7 – 11.  The event’s platinum sponsor is Oxygen Media.  Complimentary appetizers and beverages from PBR, Absolut and VitaminWater.  More info below!

Tickets are $15 in advance; $25 at the door for non-members.  Or become a member of WIM and attend for free.

Tickets –