Hollywood Docket: Madonna 'Vogue' Sampling; DJ Pauly Trademark; Stephen King's Ex-Lawyer
A roundup of entertainment and media law news.
Madonna's producer has responded in court to allegations she illegally sampled a tune on her 1990 international hit, "Vogue."
The original lawsuit was filed in July by VMG Salsoul, the copyright owner of a 1976 composition called "Love Break."
Just like in a sampling lawsuit that was filed against the Beastie Boys the day before Adam Yauch died, the plaintiff in this case alleged that it was only through new technology that the "deliberately hidden" sampling had been detected.
New technology has the potential to make musicians pay for past sampling sins, but Robert "Shep" Pettibone, who worked on "Vogue" with Madonna and is a co-defendant, has an answer to why recording artists should escape any liability for copyright infringement.
In a motion to dismiss, Pettibone's attorney argues, "VMG has conceded the alleged copying, if indeed it occurred (which Pettibone adamantly denies), was de minimis, as an ordinary observer cannot detect it, and therefore, is not substantial enought to sustain an action for cpyright infringement."
The motion to dismiss continues, "As the alleged copying is undetectable to the ordinary observer, it is impossible the works are substantially similar."
In other entertainment and media law news:
- Viacom has settled the Jersey Shore "DJ Paulie vs. DJ Pauly" dispute. As a refresher this was the case where a Connecticut man named Paul Lis, aka "DJ Paulie," claimed he had been in business since 1973 before the MTV reality show and Paul DelVecchio came on the air, thus causing plaintiff's website to be "wiped off the Google map.” Terms of the settlement aren't known.
- It looks like Live Nation is no more successful in escaping antitrust litigation than Ticketmaster once was. A new class action against the company asks a judge to settle the eternal question, "Can monopolist Live Nation overcharge ticket buyers with add-on fees to event ticket prices rather than selling tickets using a clear and conspicuous 'all-in' price?"
- Netflix has settled a class action lawsuit brought by the National Association of the Deaf over whether failure to caption its streaming content constituted a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Netflix will pay $755,000 to the lawyers who brought the case and will be required to caption all of its videos by 2014. According to a consent decree, Netflix currently captions 82 percent.
- Wayne F. Jeffries says he was the former manager of the reality stars of History Channel’s Pawn Stars series. He is now suing the cast-members. He alleges that after news of a spin-off Cajun Pawn Stars came out, he told TMZ at the request of one of his clients, that “the cast of Pawn Stars was blind sided.” The other cast-members allegedly were furious and blamed him for it all, so they fired him. But he says in the lawsuit that his oral agreement allows him various ways to participate in their ongoing financial success and he's seeking to collect.
- Speaking of getting fired, famous author Stephen King'a attorney is suing after getting axed. Since this is King we're talking about, no, not literally. Jay D. Kramer is suing King's agent Arthur Greene for $1 million, claiming misrepresentations and other misdeeds that resulted in the agent convincing King to allegedly improperly terminate him. Kramer says having the book shut on his 30 years of representing King damaged his reputation in the entertainment industry.
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