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1. Songwriter's Royalties in a Bind
Highest Court California Court of Appeal
Year Ended 2011
Plaintiffs Financial Institution(s)
Defendants Financial Institution(s)
Pullman, David
Other Page, Gene
Short Description This lawsuit is one of several over the last few years involving the financial transaction of David Pullman, a somewhat well-known figure in the music industry for his role in creating so-called "Bowie Bonds," named after David Bowie, the artist who first used them. Bowie Bonds are investment vehicles wherein purchasers buy debt from recording artists, to be repaid, with interest, through royalty payments owed to the artist. This lawsuit appears to involve this same sort of transaction regarding the royalty interests of songwriter Gene Page. Page's family took loans from Plaintiff, a financial company that loans money to artists to be repaid from royalties, but was also involved, to some extent, with Pullman and his entities. Pullman's parties offered to investigate some suspect financial transactions between Plaintiff and Page's family, including a loan to a family member of Plaintiff's owners, and Plaintiff assigned to Pullman the rights to do so. After Pullman brought suit against Plaintiffs for numerous causes of action, including conversion, fraud, interference, civil conspiracy, and numerous equitable actions not specifically listed in this entry, Plaintiff sought to enforce an arbitration agreement contained in one, and only one, of the many loan agreements between Plaintiff and the Pages. The American Arbitration Association (AAA) found the arbitration agreement enforceable, and the parties submitted to arbitration, which ended in Pullman/Page's favor for over $1/2 million. This lawsuit was brought by Plaintiff to vacate the arbitration award, alleging no court of law ever found the agreement binding. Though the AAA had upheld the provision, the court agreed and concluded that no court of law had upheld it, and thus the arbitration was not binding. If a party objects to arbitration, the resulting award cannot be binding absent a judicial determination. The award was vacated, and a court must now determine whether arbitration is mandatory. - LSW

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2. Outkast Offends Rosa Parks (II)
Highest Court E.D. Michigan
Year Ended 2004
Plaintiffs Parks, Rosa
Defendants Borders Group, Inc.
Music Producer(s)
Music Retailer(s)
Video Producer(s)
Other Outkast
Short Description Related case to "Outkast Offends Rosa Parks (I)," Parks appears to have sued some other people who had almost nothing to do with the song, and the case was dismissed. - [This entry is not yet complete or has not been edited/checked.]

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3. Cetera Concert Booked by Fraud
Highest Court Eighth Circuit
Year Ended 1998
Plaintiffs Music Promoter(s)
Defendants Record Label(s)
Talent Agent(s)
Other Bernard, Crystal
Cetera, Peter
Henley, Don
Reeves, Ronna
Short Description Plaintiffs, booking agents, signed a contract to host a concert for Peter Cetera (one-time singer for Chicago), appearing with Crystal Bernard, The Don Henley Band, and Ronna Reeves (from the hit TV show "Wings"). The artists, except for Henley, were signed to the Defendant record label, River North Records. Before the show was scheduled to occur, Plaintiffs learned that Bernard would not actually be playing, and, hilariously, that the Don Henley Band did not even exist. It was all a fraud to promote Cetera. Defendants sought to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction, but the District Court refused, and the jury returned a verdict for nearly $150,000 in Plaintiffs' favor. On appeal, the Court of Appeals affirmed, finding 1) personal jurisdiction existed over all Defendants, including River North, who'd induced their agents to misrepresent facts to Plaintiffs, and the Defendant's agents themselves, and 2) Plaintiff's fraud claims were sufficient, since Plaintiffs reasonably relied on Defendants' statements as to which artists would perform. Further, the damages were appropriate; the jury had sufficient basis for their determinations. Still, shouldn't Plaintiffs have questioned why Don Henley would OPEN for Cetera?!? - LSW

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4. "Cunnilingus" Song Copy Midler?
Highest Court Second Circuit
Year Ended 1981
Plaintiffs MCA, Inc.
Defendants Music Proprietor(s)
Record Label(s)
Theatrical Producer(s)
Wilson, Earle (Jr.)
Other Andrews Sisters
Midler, Bette
Prince, Hughie
Raye, Don
Short Description Defendants wrote and performed the song, "Cunnilingus Champion of Company C" in the tune of Plaintiff's song, "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy," which was made famous by the Andrews Sisters and Bette Midler during World War II. Defendants argued that their use of Plaintiffs' song was a protected fair use. Defendants' fair use claim did not succeed, however, because their song was a competitor with Plaintiff's song in the entertainment field, and their song was not "parody," but "satire." Judgment for Plaintiffs. - LSW & SKR

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