Showing posts with label court. Show all posts
Showing posts with label court. Show all posts

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

No more Plant stalk

Robert Plant got a restraining order a couple of weeks back, to stop a woman from coming within 100 yards of him. Now, he's gone back to court and had that upped to 300 yards.

I'm sure it's reassuring to Plant to have this distance, but 300 yards still doesn't seem like very much - it's less than a fifth of a mile which, with the wind in the right direction, would be enough for Plant to hear someone shouting "look over here, Robert".

The distance seems to be arbitrary and short - it's roughly the distance between Covent Garden and Leicester Square. Is there a set of rules for working out how far the safe distance should be set at?

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Pete Doherty: What is he like?

Two possible Pete Dohertys presented their face to the world yesterday.

The Guardian had a little fawn over him, as the promotional work for the film he's in starts to roll:

Now the enfant terrible of British rock has reincarnated once again as Doherty the actor. The singer has just finished shooting his first film in France, where he has attained cult status, not just as a musical star but as a poète maudit, a tragic literary figure and tortured soul.
Doherty is extraordinarily popular in France, where fans queue for hours to see him perform, and forgive him when – as frequently happens – he does not show.

Verheyde believes it is because he is seen through his lyrics as a "literary figure, a poet". Others liken him to the Gauloises-puffing, hard-drinking Serge Gainsbourg, seen as a talented but ultimately tragic figure. "Charlotte admitted Pete did remind her a bit of her father," said Verheyde.
It should be pointed out that Verheyde is not merely trying to promote her film, but to persuade Doherty's fans to cough up cash to finish off the making of the movie. Playing into the myth that Doherty is a tortured soul who only you understand is as much a part of her pitch as Tescos sticking up Half Price Beer signs is part of theirs.

But could it be true? Are we in danger of pegging Doherty as some sort of Mr-Bean-reads-Rimbaud figure when, in fact, he is really the greatest mind of our age?

Let's look at yesterday's other Doherty story, on Holy Moly:
Pete was at London's Snaresbrook Crown Court yesterday on charge for cocaine possession, to which he pleaded guilty. He's probably on his way to jail - for the third time - but doesn't really seem to give a shit about that, larking about outside the court and stealing his barrister's wig so he could take a hilarious photo of himself on his phone.
But, hey, apparently people queue up to see him in France, right?

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Dave McCabe granted conditional bail

Dave McCabe out of The Zutons has been granted conditional bail at a hearing yesterday. McCabe pleaded not guilty to a charge of assault occasioning actual bodily harm following a row outside the Korova club in Liverpool. He's accused of breaking a man's nose; he'll be back in court during the week of September 20th.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Jackson can't be used for any old charity

A US court has told that a charity to stop using the name 'Heal The World', the name of Michael Jackson's defunct charity, and Michael Jackson's face, the face of the defunct Michael Jackson.

The court agreed with the Jackson estate that this might confuse people - after all, if anyone is going to involve the ghost of Michael Jackson in a half-arsed charity, it's going to be them, right?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Pink Floyd sue EMI for allowing people to not buy the rubbish ones

You've got to love the irony: for years, the major labels have been trying to find ways of forcing people to buy digital music in bundles, only for Pink Floyd to get upset with EMI for, erm, allowing people to buy individual tracks:

"Pink Floyd [are] well-known for performing seamless pieces," said Robert Howe, the band's lawyer, at a High Court hearing yesterday. "Many of the songs blend into each other." To reflect this, Pink Floyd's renegotiated 1999 contract "expressly prohibits" EMI from selling songs out of context. And yet, Howe argues, EMI "[permit] individual tracks to be downloaded online and ... [therefore allow] albums not to be sold in their original configuration."

EMI's defence is the 1999 contract didn't even consider digital downloads. Seriously? Nobody at either EMI or on Pink Floyd's team considered selling songs online in 1999? No wonder the old labels are struggling to cope.

It's not clear why Pink Floyd are desperate to make people give them money for songs their audience don't actually want, but legal experts suggest it might be a mixture of "arrogrance, ego, and old-fashioned greed."

Monday, February 08, 2010

Canadian justice waits on Noel

Last week, the guy who pushed Noel Gallagher over on stage was due to hear his sentence.

In the end, though, there was no sentence passed, as Noel Gallagher announced that he wanted to make a witness impact statement.

But prosecutor Ruth Kleinhenz on Friday requested an adjournment that would allow Mr. Gallagher to travel to Toronto from the United Kingdom to read his statement. As well, Ms. Kleinhenz said she needed to study a pre-sentencing report.

Reluctantly, Mr. Justice Richard Schneider agreed, calling the delay “unfortunate in the extreme.”

It's far from clear why, if making an impact statement was so important to Gallagher, he couldn't have turned up on the day.

The pushing man, Danny Sullivan, is now left hanging - not literally, the Canadian courts aren't that illiberal, while Noel gets his butt over to Toronto. The prosecution had been seeking a delay until April, when Noel was hoping to fit turning up in court into his busy schedule of... well, all those things that Noel fills his day with.

Interestingly, Liam hasn't asked to share with the court how he felt when he went running away like an elephant spying a mouse.

Noel is apparently planning to try and sue Danny Sullivan for two million dollars - money that he knows Sullivan can't possibly have, and which would be better supporting his family with. (If Gallagher really must sue someone, wouldn't the people who were supposed to be providing his security be a more obvious point for the lawsuits to be heading?)

Everyone - except Noel - will be back in court tomorrow to set a new schedule.

[Thanks to Alice P for the story]

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Men At Work weren't prepared for that

Bad news for Men At Work - an Australian court has just found them guilty of plagiarism.

And not just any old plagiarism. Oh, no - Men At Work have stolen from the Girl Guides:

The Australian band Men at Work are facing a big legal bill after a court ruled it had plagiarised a Girl Guides' song in its 1983 hit, Down Under.

Although, actually, the song doesn't belong to the Girl Guides at all; it's actually owned by Larrikin Music.

They're seeking between 40% and 60% of the earnings from the song.

The big question is why the company didn't come forward until over twenty years after the song was released. Perhaps its one of those where you go "this reminds me of something... ooh, what is it?" For a couple of decades.

The court decided that Down Under borrows a little too heavily from Kookaburra Sits in the Old Gum Tree.

Still, the sorry story does allow the BBC News website to explain the song as if it was part of the court report:
A number one in Australia, the US and the UK, the song tells the story of an Australian backpacker touring the world.

It pays tribute to "a land down under where beer does flow and men chunder".

The song also refers to the popular Australian food spread Vegemite.

"I said 'Do you speak my language?', he just smiled and gave me a Vegemite sandwich," says an Australian traveller in Brussels.

Now, in other news, upset following a cake being left out in the rain by persons unknown. The cake's owner is said to be struggling to come to terms with the event, a situation worsened as she is unlikely to have the recipe again.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Xiu Xiu Camel suit stubbed

Back at the end of 2007, Rolling Stone ran a piece about indie bands which looked oddly like a Camel cigarettes advert. There was an angry letter at the time, but Xiu Xiu and Fucked Up decided to take it further by launching a class action lawsuit.

Somewhat surprisingly, the case has been dismissed by Justice Robert Dondero on the grounds that he's apparently never heard of advertorials:

The justices found no evidence that R.J. Reynolds, Camel's parent company, influenced Rolling Stone's editorial content or decisions. What's more, the justices wrote, Rolling Stone's main purpose is publishing a magazine -- noncommercial speech -- not selling cigarettes.

"Simply put, there is no legal precedent for converting noncommercial speech into commercial speech merely based on its proximity to the latter," Justice Robert Dondero wrote. "There is also no precedent for converting a noncommercial speaker into a commercial speaker in the absence of any direct interest in the product or service being sold."

So, legally and in the US at least, slapping a load of text in a heavily-sponsored stand alone pull-out isn't meant to use the value of the subjects of the "non-commercial" text to add lustre to the sponsor.

Presumably, Justice Dondero would therefore be incredibly laid-back if someone ran a magazine about him sponsored entirely by massage parlours and escort agencies.

The complaint, surely, wasn't about 'being near some ads', it was about 'being in a sponsored section'; the judge seems to have failed to grasp the difference.

Still, it's handy for Rolling Stone to be reminded that its main purpose is the articles it runs, and not the adverts it carries. Let's hope that news gets back to Rolling Stone.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Thomas award reduced from offensive to merely egregious

The award in the Jammie Thomas-Rasset has been reduced by District Judge Michael Davis from $1.92 million to "just" $54,000. Davis was unimpressed with the original level of the award:

“The need for deterrence cannot justify a $2 million verdict for stealing and illegally distributing 24 songs for the sole purpose of obtaining free music,” Davis wrote. “Moreover, although plaintiffs were not required to prove their actual damages, statutory damages must bear some relation to actual damages.”

$54k is still silly money, but let's at least be delighted that a judge has noted that the RIAA's current claims are unjustifiable. He could have reduced the figure even further - the minimum amount per song allowed by law is $750 (even that is a stupid figure) and there is a question as to why Judge Davis decided $2,250 isn't too much to deter in itself.

Thomas-Rasset says she still can't afford the lower amount; the RIAA can apply for yet another trial if they object to the judgement.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Alan Ellis: Oink man not guilty

The not guilty verdict in the case of Alan Ellis, found not guilty of conspiracy to defraud in charges relating from his Oink website, isn't entirely comforting news for the music industry.

The Crown Prosecution Service and the Police are also trying to put a brave face on things:

Chief Superintendent Mark Braithwaite, head of crime operations for Cleveland Police, said: "This has been a fair investigation.

"The jury has been presented with all the evidence and we abide by their decision."

The Crown Prosecution Service defended the decision to prosecute Mr Ellis.

"We believe we were wholly right to bring the prosecution against Mr Ellis and that there was sufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of conviction and that evidence was put before the jury," a spokesman said.

Perhaps someone should be asking why the public purse was funding this case, and not the copyright industry. This seems to be the sort of thing that civil courts are set up for. If EMI and Warners want to piss away their own money trying to shore up an outdated business model, that's their choice. At a time when public spending is facing a big squeeze, I don't see that the State should be joining in the cash-pissing.

Record companies still face price-fixing allegations

The American courts - Second Circuit Court of Appeals, to be precise - have reinstated a class action against the majors alleging price-fixing in the early days of download sales in the US.

The complainants point to how downloads were the same price across the two favoured legal services; the defendants insist that's just how markets work. The case had been tossed, but now it's back, and heading for a proper hearing.

Price-fixing? The record labels? It's not like they don't have form for it.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Leona Lewis attacker detained under Mental Health Act

The Leona Lewis fan who hit her during a book signing has been detained after pleading guilty to common assault. Peter Kowalczyk is a man with schizophrenia; he has been detained for an indeterminate period of time.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Noel attacker pleads guilty

Daniel Sullivan, the guy who pushed Noel Gallagher over on stage in Toronto, has pleaded guilty to assault.

His defence told the court he couldn't remember anything about the incident, except clambering over the fence. Sullivan was drunk at the time, which might explain why he never quite made it the double by pushing Liam over as well.

He'll be back in court in February for sentencing.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Eminem's publishers turn up in court

It's been a while since we've heard from the publishers of Eminem's music, who seem to be objecting to the presence of Eminem's tracks on legal download services. After a long period of bubbling discontent, they've finally got Apple and Eminem's label into court in what seems to be an attempt to legally enforce the ability of the tail to wag the dog:

Publishers Eight Mile Style, along with an affiliated company, Martin Affiliated LLC, allege that Apple had no right to sell the songs on iTunes. The company also says that Eminem's contract with Aftermath Records did not give Apple any rights to market his songs online.

The idea that a label can't market a track digitally seems to be an odd one, and while it's clearly a nonsense, it's nice to see a record label having to defend itself in the face of an irritating, grasping sort of legal action.

And, clearly, Eight Mile Style have some explaining to do as well:
Speaking in court in Detroit, Apple lawyer Glenn Pomerantz told US District Judge Anna Diggs Taylor that Aftermath Records have the rights to use Eminem's recordings as they wish, and added that despite taking Apple to court, Eight Mile Style had still cashed royalty cheques and hadn't asked Apple to stop selling Eminem's music, reports Associated Press.

Eminem, notes NME, was not in court for the business. The case is expected to last a week. Or possibly forever.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Paris Hilton fights poorly-drawn birthday cards

Yes, she was briefly trying to be a pop star. Remember?

Anyway, while no fan of the poorly-drawn celebrity birthday card sub-genre, some people seem to enjoy them. Paris Hilton, not so much - she tried to stop Hallmark making one with a bad drawing of her on.

The case went her way; but Hallmark aren't taking it lying down. They're insisting that poorly drawn card with bad impressions in are a free speech issue, and asking for the whole case to go back to court.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Coldplay settle

The lawsuit which saw Joe Satriani claim to have written one of Coldplay's songs has ended. It looks like a deal has been done which leaves Coldplay admitting doing nothing wrong, but Satriani satisfied with the outcome. It's all a secret, though. So say nothing, right?

Monday, July 27, 2009

She hit me, and it felt like a writ

It wasn't, you'd have to say, the greatest courtroom victory when the judge in the Amy Winehouse assault case said he couldn't be sure if Winehouse had meant to hit the dancer and set her free. It was the first time "aw, bless, she's so far gone she doesn't know what she's doing" has ever been a verdict in a British trial.

Meanwhile, what of the hit-ee? She's worried:

Rex Features

A woman who claims that she was punched by Amy Winehouse has admitted that she fears for her career and reputation after the star was cleared of the charge.

Winehouse was yesterday found not guilty of assaulting burlesque dancer Sherene Flash following a trial at the City Of Westminster Magistrates' Court.

A burlesque dancer called Sherene Flash? Presumably Peekaboo Nopants was already taken.

Flash is worried that she'll now have a reputation as a troublemaker which might stop her being invited to take part in music industry jobs. Although that's never been a problem for Amy Winehouse, has it?

Friday, June 19, 2009

Jammie Thomas verdict: Ouch.

In a somewhat surprising move, the jury in the Jammie Thomas retrial has found her guilty and ordered her to pay $80,000 per disputed file.

Nearly two million dollars, in other words.

Even the RIAA realises this is absurd, presumably because it knows this sort of crazy judgement is precisely the sort of stinking decision that can help push for a change in the law; its statement is all about 'let's try and settle on a figure that's a bit more realistic, shall we?'

Thomas, for her part, also thinks the judgement is impossible:

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Sony lawyer insists $150,000 a fair price for an unlicensed upload

The retrial of Jammie Thomas, accused of breaching copyrights and destroying the US music industry, has got underway, already yielding one of those moments where music industry witnesses say the most amazing things with a straight face, as ArsTechnica reports:

Defense lawyer Kiwi Camara pressed Sony Entertainment's Gary Leak[...], trying to force him to [put a value on each infringement]. Leak refused to be baited. It was "impossible to determine harm" in this case, he said, which is why the labels want statutory damages that can range from $750 to $150,000 per song.

Camara pressed again. "A message should be sent," Leak said. But Camara wanted numbers; what, in Leak's view, did Thomas-Rasset owe Sony?

"You can't tell the jury a number?" he asked aggressively. No, said Leak, it's up to them to decide; the law allows these damages, and we are asking only what's allowed under the law. The jury must pick the award.

Camara wouldn't give it up. He asked if, by Leak's logic, even the maximum $150,000 per song damage award would therefore be an appropriate amount.

Leak at last gave in. "Certainly!" he said in apparent exasperation, milliseconds before an objection from recording industry lawyers put an end to that line of questioning.

Gary Leak is, by the way, a music industry lawyer. So that was one music industry lawyer having to rescue another music industry lawyer. But not before Leak had said - after making a promise on the Bible about God to tell the truth - that there was no reason at all to think that charging the equivalent of thousands and thousands of downloads was in any way absurd. Because, you know, the law lets you.

The case continues.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Michael Jackson lands another court case

Raymone Bain was, you'll recall, the woman who spent the best years of her life denying stuff about Michael Jackson; helping manage the press during his trial of child abuse, insisting that he wasn't at death's door. That sort of thing.

She did a lot of work to shore up his public image.

Now, though, she's undoing a lot of that work, by becoming the latest in the long line of Jackson associates to wind up taking him to court:

In a video statement released on the internet, Bain alleged that her erstwhile employer "elected not to honour the financial obligations of our contractual relationships", despite her "numerous attempts" to amicably resolve the matter.

She added that she was "sincerely disappointed in Mr. Jackson's failure to honor his obligations".

Frankly, you might have thought if you were spending your time dealing with press questions about Jacko and unpaid bills, you might have wanted to get your wages upfront.