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1. Plaintiff: "Too $hort Owes Me!"
Highest Court California Court of Appeal
Year Ended 2010
Plaintiffs Individual(s)
Defendants County Entity and/or Official(s)
Other Too Short [$hort]
Short Description This is a lawsuit resulting from Too $hort's bankruptcy proceedings, in which Plaintiff, a previously victorious Plaintiff in a suit against $hort, sued the County of Los Angeles, alleging negligence in their failure to secure a $50,000+ judgment he was awarded in his first suit. Since Too $hort's money is in too short supply, Plaintiff sought to attach wages earned from MTV, but the Sheriff failed to do so. The court here alleges Plaintiff has no cause against the county fpr failure to attach $hort's earnings; a finding of negligence by Country officials requires officials breaching statutory duties, which did not occur here. - LSW

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2. "The Man" vs. 2 Live Crew (IV)
Highest Court Fifth Circuit
Year Ended 2004
Plaintiffs 2 Live Crew
Concert Attendee(s)
Defendants County Entity and/or Official(s)
Other No Other parties on file
Short Description Rap group members, individual concert-goers, and concert promoters sued a sheriff's department for violation of First, Fourth, and Fourteenth amendment rights when the sheriffs set up road blocks and checkpoints outside of a concert planned in Mississippi. The court granted qualified immunity to the sheriffs on some, but not all of the constitutional claims. While several opening acts are reported to have performed, 2 Live Crew did not perform at the Mississippi concert. - SKR

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3. Jam & Lewis Property Valued
Highest Court Supreme Court of Minnesota
Year Ended 1994
Plaintiffs Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis
Defendants County Entity and/or Official(s)
Other No Other parties on file
Short Description Movants in this case are the phenomenal pop music super-producers, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, who have written and produced for Prince, Janet Jackson, Mariah Carey, and many more. They are based in Minnesota, where their early 1980s funk group, The Time, was also based, as is Prince, and where this lawsuit was brought, on behalf of the Minnesota tax authority, alleging the duo undervalued their recording studio and thus underpaid land taxes. The court found the assessor's estimated value of around $1,500,000 more accurate the producers' estimation of less that $700,000. Taxes must be recalculated accordingly. - LSW

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4. They Fought the Law, and They Won!
Highest Court Supreme Court of Washington
Year Ended 1994
Plaintiffs A&M Records
Alice in Chains
Atlantic Records
Bertelsman Music Group (BMG)
Capitol-EMI Music
Criminal Nation
Elektra Records
EMI Records
Estrus Records
Geffen Records
GRP Records
Island Records
MCA Records
Music Distributor(s)
Pearl Jam
Polygram Records
Priority Records
Record Label(s)
Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA)
Schuur, Diane
Seven Year Bitch
Sir Mix-A-Lot
Sire Records
Sony Music
Sub Pop Records
Tower Records
Warner Bros. Records
Defendants County Entity and/or Official(s)
State Entity and/or Official(s)
Other No Other parties on file
Short Description Soundgarden, as well as numerous other musicians and record labels, sought to declare a state obscenity statute regarding "erotic sound recordings" constitutionally void on its face, since it interfered with the artists' ability to freely express themselves, access their ideas, and manage their business . Ruling in favor of Soundgarden, the Supreme Court of Washington held that the statute was a prior restraint on the artists' protected speech, that the statute was overbroad since it reached constitutionally protected conduct, and that the statute violated due process. Judgment for Soundgarden. - SKR

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5. Religious Leaflets at a Priest Show?
Highest Court Second Circuit
Year Ended 1991
Plaintiffs Individual(s)
Defendants County Entity and/or Official(s)
Music Proprietor(s)
Other Judas Priest
Short Description Members of the Christian Joy Fellowship organization were annoyingly passing out religious leaflets outside an otherwise bad-ass Judas Priest gig at the Nassau Coliseum in New York in 1988. The leaflets encouraged Priest fans to participate in Bible studies (maybe they should have been passing out Jesus-bongs instead). Even more obnoxiously, the Fellowship had passed out leaflets at 15 different concerts, usually heavy metal and rock shows, perhaps handing out as many as 100,000 leaflets to music fans that, in their opinion, "required more spiritual guidance." It was purportedly Coliseum procedure to prohibit the distribution of all commercial and noncommercial materials on the stadium's property. Plaintiffs sued for a preliminary injunction preventing the Coliseum from preventing them from bothering more metal fans. While Plaintiffs were probably pretty annoying, this is, after all, America, and the right to annoy (i.e. engage in "expressive activity" in public forums) is among our basic freedoms. The stadium had been used in recent years "for parades, political rallies and speeches, religious weddings and circuses," and it was clearly within the "public forum" category. Because Defendants had previously allowed other noncommercial groups, such as veterans and the Salvation Army, to distribute materials, preventing Plaintiffs from similar expression violated the First and Fourteenth Amendments, as they were not the product of content-neutral "time, place and manner" restrictions. Long live heavy metal, but, more importantly, long live free speech. - LSW

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6. "The Man" vs. 2 Live Crew (I)
Highest Court Eleventh Circuit
Year Ended 1990
Plaintiffs 2 Live Crew
Luke Records
Defendants County Entity and/or Official(s)
Other No Other parties on file
Short Description A Broward County sheriff found probable cause that 2 Live Crew's third album, Nasty as They Wanna Be, was obscene, and arrested a black retailer for selling the album. The rap group sued the county for restraint and First Amendment protection, but were subsequently arrested for performing the song in a Florida nightclub. The court reversed the lower court's obscenity ruling, finding that the sheriff failed to apply the Supreme Court's obscenity standard in Miller v. California. The court was unwilling to concede that the last prong of the Miller test, which requires determination of whether a work "lacks serious artistic, scientific, literary or political value," was met in this case. - SKR & LSW

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7. Seeger: Controversial & Constitutional
Highest Court New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division
Year Ended 1966
Plaintiffs Music Promoter(s)
Defendants County Entity and/or Official(s)
Other Seeger, Pete
Short Description Plaintiffs organized a Pete Seeger concert to be held at Defendant's high school auditorium, and when Defendant canceled, Plaintiffs sued for violating their constitutional rights. The trial court found for Defendants and the court App. denied appeal on account the date of the concert had passed, but the court of last resort found the conflict justiciable. Defendant's actions eventually found unconstitutional. - [This entry is not yet complete or has not been edited/checked.]

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