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1. JT and Britney Infringe Patents?
Highest Court E.D. Texas
Year Ended 2011
Plaintiffs Individual(s)
Defendants Concert Promoter(s)
L.A. Lakers
Spears, Britney
Timberlake, Justin
Tour Manager(s)
Tour Promoter(s)
Other No Other parties on file
Short Description Patent litigation is not uncommon with music-related lawsuits. Since the earliest years of the Phonograph and Graphophone, technology has been central to the money-making aspects of music. However, very rarely (if ever) did these lawsuits involve actual musicians. This case, however, does. In an interesting patent infringement lawsuit brought against performers, Plaintiff, a patentee, sued Justin Timberlake, Britney Spears, and their assorted tour-related entities, for infringing his patented "entertainment technologies for projecting images into cylindrical screens for very large audiences, such as at sporting events or musical concerts held in large venues." However, the suit was brought in the Eastern District of Texas, which had little if no connection to anything relevant to the suit, including Plaintiff's own activities. Because, among other reasons, all parties and witnesses were based in the Central District of California, which is also where much of the alleged infringement occurred, the court granted Defendants' motion to transfer the suit to California. - LSW


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2. That Patent-Infringing Fergie!
Highest Court E.D. California
Year Ended 2011
Plaintiffs Individual(s)
Defendants Fergie
Interscope-Geffen-A&M Records
Other No Other parties on file
Short Description One of only two patent infringement cases in The Discography, this case is, among other reasons, quite an oddball. The court struggled through Plaintiff's complaint to find the basis for his action, and, after uncovering Plaintiff's theories, dismissed the action entirely. It appears Plaintiff invented a work-out device and consulted with an outside company that assesses the feasibility of inventions regarding his creation. Sometime thereafter, Plaintiff watched the music video for Fergie's "Fergilicious," and saw the Black Eyed Peas star using a device somewhat similar to Plaintiff's. Plaintiff sued Fergie and her record label, replete with spelling errors, alleging they'd violated some exclusive rights Plaintiff held to showcase the invention. The court held Plaintiff had not articulated any actionable legal theories: Plaintiff had no patent, so he could not sue for patent infringement; there was no contract, so Defendants didn't breach any agreement; and none of the elements for negligence were present. Defendants' motion to dismiss granted in its entirety. - LSW


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3. Death Metal As Evidence (II)
Highest Court Supreme Court of Oregon
Year Ended 2011
Plaintiffs State Prosecutor(s)
Defendants Individual(s)
Other Deicide
Short Description Over ten years after the lawsuit discussed in "Death Metal As Evidence," wherein several fans of death metal bands Deicide and Cannibal Corpse murdered and violently assaulted employees at a convenient store and the Defendants' interest in death metal and murder was presented as evidence at trial, one of the perpetrators, serving a life sentence, murdered another inmate and was sentenced to death. In a reprisal of his earlier trial, Defendant argued that the prosecutors' presentation of his Satanism and preference for death metal during the penalty phase of his murder trial was not relevant and should have been excluded. As in the earlier suit, the court found that Defendant's death metal-ness may have provided a motivation (even if one among many) for committing the murder, and was thus relevant for jury consideration, and that admitting it was not overly prejudicial. In deciding Defendant's proper punishment, the jury was properly allowed to consider it as aggravating evidence. Defendant's death sentence was affirmed. How appropriate. - LSW


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4. Grandma Run Over by a Copyright?
Highest Court N.D. California
Year Ended 2011
Plaintiffs Music Publisher(s)
Shropshire, Elmo "Dr. Elmo"
Defendants Individual(s)
Other Brooks, Randy
Irish Rovers
Trigg, Patsy
Short Description Elmo Shropshire, better known as Dr. Elmo, is a comedic singer who most famously sang "Grandma Got Runover By a Reindeer," a song written by Randy Brooks, with his then-wife Patsy Trigg, in 1979. After a Canadian citizen, Defendant, uploaded a video onto YouTube featuring a re-recording of the song by a Canadian folk group, The Irish Rovers, synchronized to images of reindeer, Dr. Elmo contacted YouTube and requested the video be taken down, saying it constituted copyright infringement of the song Elmo co-owned. After Defendant submitted his counter-notice alleging his actions were "fair use," and YouTube sided with Defendant, Elmo sued YouTube and Defendant. He soon dismissed YouTube but maintained his action against Defendant, alleging copyright infringement and misrepresentation under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, the latter based upon Defendant's counter-notice to YouTube. The court held, first, that no copyright infringement could be maintained because all the allegedly infringing activities took place in Canada. Regarding the DMCA, the court found that Defendant's compliance with DMCA takedown procedure conferred personal jurisdiction over Defendant, but that Plaintiff failed to specify any specific misrepresentations, and that Elmo's failure to join his ex-wife, Patsy, constituted a failure to join necessary parties. Though Plaintiff's DMCA claim was dismissed, he was allowed time to amend his complaint to address the deficiencies. - LSW


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5. Songwriter: "Jovi Sox Ripped Me Off!" (II)
Highest Court D. Massachusetts
Year Ended 2011
Plaintiffs Songwriter(s)
Defendants Bon Jovi
Individual(s)
Lawyer(s)
Major League Baseball
Music Publisher(s)
TBS, Inc.
Time Warner, Inc.
Other Boston Red Sox
Short Description Plaintiff previously brought a copyright infringement lawsuit against a gaggle of Defendants, including Bon Jovi, the Boston Red Sox, numerous record labels and television companies, and more, alleging that a Jovi-penned song used by the Red Sox in an advertising campaign infringed a similar song he'd previously written and popularized in the Boston area. After numerous court opinions (see "Songwriter: 'Jovi Sox Ripped Me Off!' (I)") the court found for Defendants, holding Plaintiff's theories of copyright infringement unsustainable. In this follow-up case, Plaintiff sued some of the same parties, and some new ones, for violating the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), alleging that the Defendants' concealed copyright infringement, removed correct copyright notice from the advertisement, and submitted false evidence to the court. As could be predicted, the court was unsympathetic. Plaintiff based his allegations on the same facts previously decided against him, and the court found his current claims were barred by the doctrine of res judicata. Furthermore, Plaintiff simply failed to allege any acts that violated any of his rights under the DMCA. Despite the pointlessness of the lawsuit, the court, in its discretion, denied Defendants' motion for sanctions, and instead gave Plaintiff an admonition. - LSW


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6. Songwriter: "Jovi Sox Ripped Me Off!" (III)
Highest Court D. Massachusetts
Year Ended 2011
Plaintiffs Songwriter(s)
Defendants Bon Jovi
Boston Red Sox
Individual(s)
Lawyer(s)
Major League Baseball
Music Manager(s)
Music Publisher(s)
Sports Organization(s)
TBS, Inc.
Television Producer(s)
Time Warner, Inc.
Other No Other parties on file
Short Description This is the third installment in Plaintiff's litigation campaign, brought against Bon Jovi, the Boston Red Sox, Major League Baseball, TBS, Inc., and numerous other entities and individuals, in which Plaintiff alleged a Bon Jovi song about the Boston Red Sox, used by the Boston Red Sox, copied his earlier-released song about the same team. In the first suit, "Songwriter: 'Jovi Sox Ripped Me Off!' (I)," the court found there was no substantial similarity between Plaintiff's song and the alleged infringement. He sued once again under the Digital Millennium Copyright act, and lost (see Songwriter: 'Jovi Sox Ripped Me Off!' (II)"). In this case, Plaintiff brought suit against many of the same parties, but also included some new ones, alleging mostly identical claims. The court dismissed Plaintiff's action this time as well. The outcome would not be stayed awaiting appeal in his first suit, and the claims brought herein were so close (even if not identical) to the first suit, and the parties all could have been sued the first time around, that Plaintiff's suit was barred by the doctrine of res judicata. Even if he adjusted his action slightly, it was not so different that it should not have been brought the first time. Plaintiff was not sanctioned, however, but only admonished. - LSW


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7. 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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8. Mike Love's Long Fight With Brian
Highest Court Ninth Circuit
Year Ended 2010
Plaintiffs Band Member(s)
Defendants Individual(s)
Newspaper Publisher(s)
Sanctuary Management
Sanctuary Records
Website Proprietor(s)
Wilson, Brian
Other Beach Boys
Short Description Mike Love sued Brian Wilson after Wilson released a successful album in 2004, Smile, with solo versions of Beach Boys songs and new solo material. Wilson went on tour in Great Britain, among other places, to promote his new album. Part of the promotion for Wilson's album and tour was a CD distributed by the British newspaper the Mail on Sunday containing some of his new material. Only 425 of those CDs were distributed in the U.S., and only 18 of those were distributed in California. Meanwhile, Love was touring on his own as The Beach Boys in Great Britain. Love was concerned that Wilson's tour would dampen his ticket sales and brought the present lawsuit. The court entered judgment for Wilson, holding that the court did not have personal jurisdiction over the British company that licensed and recorded the CD. The court also declined to apply the Lanham Act extraterritorially to encompass acts solely committed in Great Britain. [early suits are all jurisdiction, but later suits each address different issues] - SKR


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9. Bob Marley Bootleggers Busted
Highest Court D. Nevada
Year Ended 2010
Plaintiffs Fifty-Six Hope Road Music
Zion Rootswear
Defendants Clothing Manufacturer(s)
Individual(s)
Music Merchandiser(s)
Other Marley, Bob
Short Description Bob Marley's children and the company they licensed to sell items bearing his image sued a company, Avela, that restored and sold artwork and other images. Marley's licensee, Zion, dealt with Avela at a trade show in 2005. The parties disagreed whether Avela had some images of Marley in their demonstration materials at that time. Another defendant sided with the plaintiffs in saying Avela did not. After the show, the parties did not reach a licensing deal. Avela claimed that the images in the book came from a photographer, Rabanne, who had been given licensing for the photos by Marley himself. The photographer denied given Avela these photos at the time and refused to backdate a contract for Avela; he also denied having Marley's permission to use the photos. After one abortive lawsuit in 2007, the plaintiffs learned Avela had licensed the images for clothes sold in Target and other retailers during 2008. The clothes usually had images or phrases like "One Love" on them. Avela noted that the retailers were the ones who would advertise the clothes as featuring Bob Marley - the clothes never said the name. The plaintiffs used an expert whose studies indicated a likelihood that consumers could be confused as to whether Marley's successors licensed the shirt. The plaintiffs were granted a restraining order and injunction on their copyright infringement suit. The defendants claimed to be careful never to use the words "Bob Marley" and that the plaintiff's have no trademark in Marley's image or particular photograph. They also denied the Nevada state publicity claim because Marley's people did not register the trademark timely. The Court first considered the trademark claim to the name "Bob Marley." The Court rejected the plaintiff's assertion that their trademark extends to every image ever shot of Marley. That argument would make the person a trademark, which is untenable. The exception would be if one particular image was used specifically, but Marley's own businesses used hundreds of different photos. Essentially, the name Marley and the image are different. The court then turned to the Nevada claim. The defendants argued that the plaintiffs waited too long to register a claim under Nevada state law, and the plaintiffs responded that the timing was not an issue because the violations were on-going. The Court found that a successor-in-interest can register a mark but that violations outside of Nevada do not trigger the clock. The Court rejected an argument that the estates of people predeceasing the statute are forbidden its protections. - JMC


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10. Producer: "Everyone Ripped Me Off!"
Highest Court D. District of Columbia
Year Ended 2010
Plaintiffs Music Producer(s)
Music Retailer(s)
Defendants 50 Cent
Atlantic Records
Atlantic Records
Baby/Birdman
Banks, Lloyd
Black Entertainment Television (BET)
Brandy
Cash Money Records
Dash, Damon
Def Jam Music Group
Ertegun, Ahmet
Fat Joe
G-Unit
Individual(s)
Interscope Records
Jay-Z
Juvenile
Legend, John
Lil' Wayne
Ludacris
MTV Networks
Paramount Pictures
Professional Athlete(s)
Reid, L.A.
Rock-A-Fella Records
T.I.
Talent Agent(s)
Turner, Ted
UMG Records
Universal Music Group
VH-1
Viacom
Warner Music Group
Warner-Chappell Music
West, Kanye
Ying Yang Twins
Other No Other parties on file
Short Description Plaintiff sued 45 industry defendants, including 50 Cent, Jay-Z, Ludacris, Fat Joe, and others for copyright infringement of songs he had sent to the labels for review. The Plaintiff had previously bought an educational CD made by a division of Universal, which explained how to succeed in music. After failing to serve most of the defendants, the defendant continued to file "baseless motions" and disregarded the Court's order to submit the list of infringed works as well as CDs containing his stolen music. The Court explained how copyright law works, dissecting the amateurish arguments of the Defendant. Essentially, every alleged theft was based on unprotectible elements, i.e. his "stolen song" and the defendant's song would both be about upset, urban young males. This was the case for every one of the fourteen songs. - JMC


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11. Sex Machine Charity Broke Down
Highest Court C.D. California
Year Ended 2010
Plaintiffs Individual(s)
Defendants Estate of Artist(s)
Trust of Artist(s)
Trustee of Artist(s)
UMG Records
Other Brown, James
Short Description The facts behind this case aren't easy to discern from the text itself, but outside information helps. Plaintiff is a former business partner of James Brown, the Godfather of Soul; the two were equal partners in a nonprofit organization, the "I Feel Good" Children's Trust, an organization intended to raise money for needy children. After James Brown allegedly sexually assaulted Plaintiff, she moved to Illinois, though their partnership continued for some time. Upon Brown's death, Plaintiff initiated several lawsuits in different states, including one in Illinois and this one, in California, despite Brown's probate proceedings and subsequent settlement occurring in South Carolina. In this case, a California federal court found that the "probate exception," a jurisdictional rule that "precludes federal courts from endeavoring to dispose of property that is in the custody of a state probate court," barred the federal court's adjudication of the issue; Plaintiff filed this federal action to interfere with the pending state proceedings. - LSW


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12. Kid Dances on YouTube, Gets Sued
Highest Court N.D. California
Year Ended 2010
Plaintiffs Individual(s)
Defendants Universal Music
Universal Music Group
Other Prince
Short Description The facts behind this case--if not the case itself--are infamous. Plaintiff videotaped her son dancing to a Prince song, "Let's Go Crazy," which she then posted to YouTube. Universal Music sent a "take down notice" to YouTube, alleging the video was infringement. This lawsuit was brought by the Electronic Frontier Foundation on Plaintiff's behalf, accusing Universal of misrepresenting facts to YouTube under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, and including other, somewhat-related claims. Plaintiff, of course, claimed "fair use," while Defendant claimed "bad faith" and "unclean hands." Most court opinions involved only procedural issues, but the sole published opinion denied Universal's motion to dismiss. - [This entry is not yet complete or has not been edited/checked.]


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13. Songwriter: "Jovi Sox Ripped Me Off!" (I)
Highest Court D. Massachusetts
Year Ended 2010
Plaintiffs Songwriter(s)
Defendants A&E Television
Bon Jovi
Boston Red Sox
Fox Broadcasting
Individual(s)
Island Def Jam Records
Major League Baseball
Music Publisher(s)
Sony/ATV Music
TBS, Inc.
Television Producer(s)
Time Warner, Inc.
Universal Music
Universal-Polygram Music
Other No Other parties on file
Short Description Just prior to the Boston Red Sox's 2004 World Series win, Plaintiff composed a song called "Man I Really Love This Team," about the Sox, that gained popularity at Fenway Park and among the team's fans. Though Plaintiff wrote a derivative song from his first, called "Man I Really Love This Town," it was not copyrighted alongside the original. After the Red Sox won the series again in 2007, television station TBS aired a commercial about the Sox, featuring a song by Bon Jovi called "I Love This Town." Plaintiff sued everyone involved in the production and airing of the commercial, alleging copyright infringement, unfair competition under the Lanham Act, and several state law claims. His copyright claims were based on what he called "temp tracking," wherein the original song is used to produce an audiovisual work (e.g. the commercial), which is then used to create a new song (e.g., the Jovi tune). Thus, the final song may not have directly copied the original song, but indirectly. The court quickly held that this sort of action could not be based in the Lanham Act and that the state claims were preempted by the Copyright Act. On Defendants' motion for summary judgment, the court found that there was no musical or lyrical similarity between Plaintiff's "I Love This Team" and Defendants' song. Since Plaintiff never copyrighted "I Love This Town," it was not considered in the court's analysis. Furthermore, Plaintiff's "temp tracking" theory did not impress the court; there was vastly more similarities between Defendants' song and the TBS promo than between Plaintiff's song and the promo. After this ruling, Plaintiff moved for an entry of default against some of Defendants who had not answered his complaint, which the court denied; not only were the defaulting parties not named in the original complaint, but default would prejudice them. This holding was denied rehearing. Plaintiff did not give up; see also "Songwriter: 'Jovi Sox Ripped Me Off!' (II)" and "Songwriter: 'Jovi Sox Ripped Me Off!' (III)" - LSW


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14. Photographer: "Marley Photos Are Mine!"
Highest Court California Court of Appeal
Year Ended 2010
Plaintiffs Photographer(s)
Defendants Individual(s)
Music Merchandiser(s)
Other Marley, Bob
Short Description In a different case, "Bob Marley Bootleggers Busted," Defendant A.V.E.L.A., a music merchandiser, was sued by the exclusive licensee of Bob Marley's publicity rights and trademarks for improperly using Marley's likeness and names on various merchandise. This related case was brought by the photographer who provided the infringing photographs to A.V.E.L.A. After the first lawsuit erupted, A.V.E.L.A. withheld royalty payments to Plaintiff, alleging any payments he was due to receive were offset by their litigation costs from the Marley lawsuit. Plaintiff alleged that Defendants' legal issues were unrelated to his own responsibilities under the parties' agreements, and costs should not have been counted against him. Plaintiff asked for and was granted a preliminary injunction preventing A.V.E.L.A. from using moneys owed to Plaintiff to cover legal costs from the other suit. On appeal, the injunction was affirmed. The injunction was not overly broad; though the licensing agreement dictated amounts Plaintiff was to be paid, Defendants were not able to show that these were the only amounts he would be granted if successful. Furthermore, the appellate court did not find the trial court abused its discretion in finding both that Plaintiff would suffer irreparable harm without injunctive relief and that there was a reasonable probability that Plaintiff would prevail on his claim. - LSW


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15. Christian Country Song in School?
Highest Court M.D. Florida
Year Ended 2009
Plaintiffs Individual(s)
Defendants Municipal Entity and/or Official(s)
Public Shool(s)
Other Diamond Rio
Short Description The family of a child sued to enjoin the practicing and performance of a song by country music artist, Diamond Rio, called "In God We Trust," which is absurdly favorable to religion, even saying "There are those among us who want to push [God] out and erase His name from everything," but that "it's time for all believers to make our voices heard," and "Here in America He's the one we turn to." Obviously, this cannot pass the Lemon test for state actions, which requires them to be secular in intent and impact, and the court granted the family's injunction. - LSW


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16. Korn's Singer: "Plaintiff is Demented!"
Highest Court California Court of Appeal
Year Ended 2009
Plaintiffs Individual(s)
Defendants Band Member(s)
Other Korn
Short Description Jonathan Davis, the lead singer for nu-metal pioneers, Korn, was once a fond collector of serial killer memorabilia, and even contemplated financing a museum for the purpose of displaying that kind of stuff. Plaintiff was the party with whom Davis contracted to organize and fund such a museum. However, when Davis changed his mind, the two entered a settlement in which Davis granted to Plaintiff a Volkswagen vehicle previously owned by Ted Bundy, two clown suits previously owned by John Wayne Gacey, four paintings by John Wayne Gacey, a confession signed by Albert Fish, and five drawings by Richard Ramirez. As part of the settlement, Davis promised not to disparage Plaintiff, his venture, or the materials. However, shortly thereafter, Davis did precisely that, calling the stuff "sick shit" and publicly distancing himself from such "negative" things. When plaintiff sued for violation of the agreement and fraud, Davis sought to dismiss, citing California's Anti-SLAPP act, which can dispose of complaints brought against protected expression unless Plaintiffs can demonstrate a likelihood of success. In this case, the court held Plaintiff met the burden. Davis's comments breached the settlement and caused diminution in the memorabilia's value. Further, Plaintiff made a prima facie showing of fraud. Defendant's Anti-SLAPP motion denied. Though, in all fairness, this is sick shit. - LSW


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17. Paul Wall Gig Raided
Highest Court Fifth Circuit
Year Ended 2009
Plaintiffs Individual(s)
Music Proprietor(s)
Defendants Police Officer(s)
Other Wall, Paul
Short Description As this court opinion makes clear, racism among governmental entities is not a thing of the past, though perhas we'd like to think it is. In the world of music, where racial lines sometimes delineate musical genres' intended populations, these prejudices may unfairly impact people who create, support, and promote specific genres. Hip-hop music, of course, is often the preferred target. In this case, Plaintiffs were two individuals who owned and operated Club Retro, a hip-hop club in Alexandria, Louisiana, operating legally under license from all appropriate agencies. Specifically, the Retro was allowed to admit patrons between the ages of 18 and 21, so long as they did not drink alcohol. The club took appropriate precautions to prevent the admission of illicit drugs, firearms, etc., and complied with governmental restrictions. Regardless, Club Retro was the subject of an excessive, violent S.W.A.T.-style raid, in which a group of police officers burst into the club with shotguns, handguns, and protective gear, physically, verbally, and arguably sexually assaulted numerous Plaintiffs, detained attendees for hours on end, denied patrons access to bathrooms, searched the entire establishment and everyone there, and committed other egregious acts in the process. Despite the intensity of the raid, the club, at the time the officers arrived, was operating legally: it was NOT overcrowded (only 500 people were there, though the capacity neared 700); underage patrons, who were fined by the officers, were present under governmental sanction; and only 7 people (less than 1%) were found with any illicit drugs, which is likely less than at a Phish gig. To make matters worse, the police blockaded a second concert, featuring Paul Wall, the following month, which prevented all but 67 people from attending. Plaintiffs sued, alleging First, Fourth, and Fourteenth Amendment violations, and the governmental entities claimed "qualified immunity." Thankfully, the federal courts sided with Plaintiffs regarding Fourth Amendment accusations: the officers' actions were not supported by and plainly exceeded any administrative or inspective authority claimed by Defendants, and, in citing underage drinking and fire code violations as jusitications, the raid, arrests, and searches and seizures were objectively unreasonable and unsupported by even an inkling of probable cause. However, the court refused to find Defendants liable under First and Fourteenth Amendments, despite the officers' use of racial epithets during the raid. Though it's sad Defendants were allowed excuses for some of their actions, it's good to know their unacceptable behavior was sanctioned to a large extent. - LSW


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18. Amr Diab's Concert Cancelation
Highest Court D. New Jersey
Year Ended 2009
Plaintiffs Music Promoter(s)
Defendants Diab, Amr
Individual(s)
Music Promoter(s)
Talent Agent(s)
Other No Other parties on file
Short Description Plaintiff is a small-time New Jersey promoter of Middle Eastern acts, according to the court, who alleged he entered an oral contract with Diab's agent for a performance, which was later breached with Diab contracted with another promoter, who is also Defendant in this litigation (for interfering with Plaintiff's contract). After several holdings regarding initial matters (the court denied Plaintiff's requests to amend his complaint and dismissed one count without prejudice), the court granted summary judgment for Defendants on all counts. Plaintiff had only asserted there was a contract, but assertions are not evidence. In fact, all available evidence (including Plaintiff's summary of the vague agreements they reached), indicates there was no contract. Thus neither Diab, his agent, nor any other promoter alleged to have "interfered" with Plaintiff's contracts are liable. - LSW


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19. Star's Memorabilia Scam Busted
Highest Court W.D. Tennessee
Year Ended 2009
Plaintiffs Family of Artist(s)
Freeman, Bobby
Defendants Individual(s)
Journalist(s)
Newspaper Publisher(s)
Other No Other parties on file
Short Description Plaintiff Robert Gallagher is better known by the name Bobby Freeman, with which he had several R&B hits. Apparently Mr. Freeman has had a history of perpetrating fraudulent transactions involving musical memorabilia from artists like Elvis Presley. He was sued in multiple states by multiple parties and received negative publicity in Defendant newspaper's pages. Plaintiff sued various parties alleging, essentially, they had defamed him (although he brought numerous other counts) through their statements and publications. The court found for Defendants on all counts. - LSW


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20. Andre 3000 vs. Cybersquatter
Highest Court E.D. California
Year Ended 2009
Plaintiffs Andre 3000
Business Entity of Artist(s)
Clothing Manufacturer(s)
Defendants Individual(s)
Other Outkast
Short Description Plaintiff is Andre Benjamin, better known as Andre 3000, half of the hip-hop duo Outkast and owner of a clothing line called Benjamin Bixby. Defendants are father and son, the latter named Ben Bixby. After Andre announced his plans to launch the Bixby clothing line, Defendants registered domain names like benjaminbixby.com, benjaminbixbyclothing.com, and other similar names. When Plaintiffs inqured, Defendants alleged they intended to use the sites to showcase little Ben Bixby's motocross photography, and said Plaintiff's $5,000 offer for the domain names was insufficient. Then (here's where it gets ridiculous), Defendants posted on their website images of clothing and messages indicating the intent to sell clothing, but nothing about motocross. Further, they used "Andre 3000," "Outkast," and other similarly confusing terms as metatags, so the site would come up in search engines for Plaintiff and his companies. Man, that's bogus. Of course, this opinion doesn't discuss the substance of the complaint, but merely granted Defendants' motion to transfer the action to Michigan, where Defendants reside and where their infringing acts took place. While Defendants' case seems pretty weark, they most likely succeeded in annoying the hell out of Andre 3000. - LSW


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