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1. Oh, Poor Vinnie Vincent
Highest Court Sixth Circuit
Year Ended 2010
Plaintiffs Vincent, Vinnie
Defendants Band Member(s)
Business Entity of Artist(s)
KISS
Polygram Records
Simmons, Gene
Other No Other parties on file
Short Description Vinnie Vincent (nee Cusano) was KISS's lead guitarist from 1982-84, at which time he co-wrote numerous songs that appeared on albums. Though he's not too well known by the population at-large, he's well known in courts of law. Vincent sued the band and its members numerous times during the 1990s and 2000s (see, e.g., "Vinnie Vincent Wants In" (I) and (II), and "Vinnie Vincent vs. Metal Edge"). In the late 1990s, he sued his former band-mates for numerous causes of action, including violation of publicity, defamation, and nonpayment of royalties. He lost the case, and KISS were awarded $80,000 in fees and costs, for which the band members secured a judgment lien on Vincent's copyrights. Vincent filed this Chapter 13 bankruptcy case, as wells as numerous adversary proceedings against various parties, including one against BMI for which he was awarded $2,000 of the $20,000 he requested. After third parties motioned to convert his bankruptcy into Chapter 7, Vincent moved to voluntarily withdraw his petition. The court, noting that Vincent had filed in bad faith, barred him from filing for two years and held that no subsequent filing could impact matters relating to the prior litigation between Vincent and KISS. The appellate court, after addressing preliminary issues, upheld the lower court's finding as to "bad faith." Vincent had filed three times in three years and had withheld financial information from courts adjudicating his proceedings. (Ancillary issues were also discussed, but the "bad faith" issue was, according to the court, the most important.) - LSW


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2. TV Producer vs. KISS Documentary
Highest Court California Court of Appeal
Year Ended 2009
Plaintiffs Television Producer(s)
Defendants Television Network(s)
Television Producer(s)
Other KISS
Short Description Plaintiff, a segment producer from Gene Simmon's TV show, "Family Jewels," sued for misappropriation of identity and claimed his brief appearance as himself on the show "lacked consent." The court found for Defendant, Plaintiff consented. - [This entry is not yet complete or has not been edited/checked.]


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3. KISS's Concert Copyrights
Highest Court Ninth Circuit
Year Ended 2005
Plaintiffs KISS
Defendants Music Distributor(s)
Other No Other parties on file
Short Description Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons sued distributor of concert video and won (after many opinions). - [This entry is not yet complete or has not been edited/checked.]


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4. Vinnie Vincent Wants In (II)
Highest Court Ninth Circuit
Year Ended 2005
Plaintiffs Music Publisher(s)
Vincent, Vinnie
Defendants KISS
Music Publisher(s)
Polygram Records
Other No Other parties on file
Short Description The band KISS was sued several times by their brief guitarist, Vinnie Vincent, for various contractual issues. Vincent joined the band during their no-make-up phase and never had his own make-up design. Despite the ridiculous number of lawsuits Vincent brought against the band, all counts dismissed. - [This entry is not yet complete or has not been edited/checked.]


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5. Vinnie Vincent Wants In (I)
Highest Court Second Circuit
Year Ended 2005
Plaintiffs Music Publisher(s)
Vincent, Vinnie
Defendants KISS
Music Publisher(s)
Polygram Records
Other No Other parties on file
Short Description Case description not yet available


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6. Gene Simmons's Ex Sues
Highest Court New York Supreme Court
Year Ended 2005
Plaintiffs Girlfriend of Artist(s)
Defendants Simmons, Gene
Viacom
Other KISS
Short Description Plaintiff, now married, was a former sexual and romantic partner of Gene Simmons, lead singer for the glam/metal/theatrical rock act KISS, prior to and after formation of the band. Plaintiff sued various television entities for defamation and violation of her right of publicity when her relationship with Simmons was portrayed in a VH-1 documentary about the band. The caption for the segment in which she appeared was "24 Hour Whore" (classy, VH-1, classy), though this comment was intended to implicate Simmons as the whore, not Plaintiff. Plaintiff's photograph was shown on screen while Simmons discussed his promiscuity, sleeping with any woman, no "matter who they were, what size, shape or anything." The court denied Defendants' motion to dismiss, saying the feature was susceptible to defamatory meaning. Simmons' promiscuity could certainly be imputed by viewers onto Plaintiff (and even if not, it certainly made her seem "unchaste"). Regarding Plaintiff's publicity claim, however, the court found Defendants' use of her likeness was not "for advertising purposes," and thus the claim was dismissed. - LSW


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7. Vinnie Vincent vs. Metal Edge
Highest Court Court of Appeals of Tennessee
Year Ended 2002
Plaintiffs Vincent, Vinnie
Defendants Magazine Publisher(s)
Metal Edge Magazine
Other KISS
Short Description Vinnie Vincent, a temporary guitarist for KISS during their no-make-up phase, sued "Metal Edge" magazine after his proposed ad for the special KISS edition of the magazine was rejected by Gene Simmons. He saw the magazine as a premier opportunity to advertise his new CD, and the magazine accepted his proposal initially. When Gene Simmons (of KISS) found out, he told the magazine they could not run the advertisement, and they returned Vincent's money and apologized, saying there was a conflict with KISS. Vincent, of course, sued. (He'd been kicked out twice, so he had a bit of a grudge). The court held that no contract existed between Vinnie and the magazine; the advertising personnel he'd placed his ad with had no authority to bind the magazine, and Vinnie could not reasonably have thought he did, so no apparent authority existed either. No contract breach, no breach, no Vinnie ad. - LSW


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8. KISS's Real Estate Trouble
Highest Court New York Supreme Court
Year Ended 1992
Plaintiffs Realtor(s)
Defendants Business Entity of Artist(s)
Individual(s)
KISS
Other No Other parties on file
Short Description KISS's central core, Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons, were sued by a New York realtor alleging they abandoned property they leased from Plaintiff, seeking rent and damages. Defendants moved to dismiss, but the court found for Plaintiff, denying jurisdictional challenges. - [This entry is not yet complete or has not been edited/checked.]


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9. Bootlegged 70s Records Busted! (II)
Highest Court E.D. New York
Year Ended 1988
Plaintiffs Casablanca Records
RCA, Inc.
RSO Records
Warner Bros. Records
Defendants Bootlegger(s)/Counterfeiter(s)
Other Bee Gees
Fleetwood Mac
Gibb, Andy
KISS
Summer, Donna
Short Description Plaintiff successfully sued Defendants for infringing it's copyrights in the albums "Saturday Night Fever," "Live and More," "Thank God It's Friday," and "Kiss Double Platinum." In the present case, Plaintiff sought to collect on its debts for the judgment it received in the amount of $1.3 million. The court ordered Defendants to turn over the money owed to Plaintiff. - SKR


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10. Bootlegged 70s Records Busted! (I)
Highest Court S.D. New York
Year Ended 1984
Plaintiffs Casablanca Records
CBS, Inc.
Elektra/Asyum/Nonesuch Records
MCA Records
RCA, Inc.
RSO Records
Warner Bros. Records
Defendants Bootlegger(s)/Counterfeiter(s)
Other Bee Gees
Boston
Clapton, Eric
Denver, John
Gibb, Andy
Kansas
KISS
Loggins, Kenny
Lynyrd Skynyrd
Meat Loaf
Newton-John, Olivia
Rondstadt, Linda
Springsteen, Bruce (and the E Street Band)
Village People
Who
Short Description The Plaintiffs were a group of producers, manufacturers, and distributors suing for copyright infringement because of counterfeiting records of, among other 1970s stars, Bee Gees, Kiss, Boston, Kenny Loggins, Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Who, and John Denver. The Defendants were the officers and manufacturer of records and the company that prepared the images and labels used in the records' packaging. The Plaintiffs complained that the Defendants violated the Copyright Act in two ways. First, the Defendants made counterfeit copies of the records by creating a "stamper" (a new master, essentially) by taping the legit record. Second, the Defendants copied the "graphics" used as the label and packaging, and cardboard boxes for cassettes. The Defendants would take pictures of the legit graphics and make a "color separation." This is a set of photographs in different colors that are used in making the four-color printed copies of the legit graphics. There was no doubt that the counterfeit records were infringing, but the court then wrestled with the copied graphics. The FBI had gathered large amounts of evidence of the willful nature of the counterfeiting and color separations. The Defendants argued there was insufficient evidence to show infringement on the graphics because some of the separations were useless. The Court noted the separations were still being created when the agents halted the operation. The Court relied on the defendants invocation of the Fifth Amendment and the fact that the main use of the separations was in printing these type of graphics. The Court then found that most of the individual defendants were personally involved in the aspects of the operation. To be held liable, the defendant must be shown to be personally involved or have the right/ability to supervise the infringement. The Court finally examined the issue of damages. The Plaintiffs were entitled statutory damages or actual damages plus the defendants' profits. The Court looked at the evidence for actual damages, noting that there was a lack of detail and accurate information to determine which Plaintiffs suffered what. The Court awarded the maximum damages noting that would achieve the purpose of compensation and deterrence. - JMC


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