Sunday, October 14, 2007

Kittie cat's cradle legal mess

Great news for lawyers: an almost pointless legal row has exploded between Kittie and producers of America's Hot Musician.

The Oxygen TV reality show - which is attempting to discover a brilliant instrumentalist for some reason - includes Talena Atfield as one of the judges. To establish Atfield's bona fides to pass judgment on musicians, the opening credits of the show featured a snatch of her in a previous life, playing with Kittie.

Trouble is, Atfield's departure from Kittie wasn't entirely smooth, and they're annoyed she's using them to create this new life in front of small audiences on cable television. It might have been better to turn a blind eye, but instead, the band sent a cease-and-desist letter.

Now, the makers of the show are countersuing:

According to a press release issued by American Youth Symphony (AYS), producers of the show, federal court documents in AYS's lawsuit against Oxygen Media LLC recently revealed that Oxygen claims to have received notice of a cease-and-desist letter on May 14, 2007 from a law firm on behalf of the Canadian all-girl metal band KITTIE threatening immediate legal action if the program aired on the network. This allegedly took place one week before AYS received a cease-and-desist letter from KITTIE on May 21, 2007, which was subsequently posted on the Internet by the show's producers.

AYS Artistic Director Gregory Charles Royal said in a statement, "If we find out that what is alleged of KITTIE is indeed true, that they tortiously interfered with our business, notwithstanding the fact that they had no claim whatsoever to any infringement of copyrighted material within our program, they will be singing for their supper for a long time."

Nobody exactly comes out of this looking good, but if AYS had cleared the clip in the first place, there wouldn't have been a problem - and to repsond with a petulant and threatening press statement means, wherever the point of law lays, it's clear to see who has the moral high ground. (Clue: not the company threatening to bankrupt a band because they objected to uncleared use of their footage.)