Taylor Swift Ticketmaster Failure Leads to Legal Fallout: Legal Beat – Billboard

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That is The Authorized Beat, a weekly publication about music legislation from Billboard Professional, providing you a one-stop cheat sheet of huge new instances, necessary rulings, and all of the enjoyable stuff in between. This week: Reside Nation faces potential authorized fallout from Ticketmaster’s Taylor Swift fiasco, Journey bandmates sue one another over an American Categorical account, Mariah Carey loses a bid for ‘Queen of Christmas’ logos, and far more.

THE BIG STORY: Taylor Swift … Belief Buster?

Every week faraway from Ticketmaster’s disastrous presale for Taylor Swift’s upcoming Eras Tour, criticism of mother or father firm Reside Nation isn’t getting any quieter – and the specter of authorized repercussions is rising.

Reside Nation has apologized to followers and pinned the blame on a “staggering variety of bot assaults” and “unprecedented visitors.” And whether or not or not the star actually was pressured to make use of Ticketmaster is a complicated question, as Billboard’s Dave Brooks writes.

However the debacle, which noticed widespread service delays and web site crashes as tens of millions of followers tried (and plenty of failed) to purchase tickets for Swift’s 2023 Eras Tour, has nonetheless resurfaced some uncomfortable legal questions for the omnipotent live performance big.

Since they merged in 2010, Ticketmaster and Reside Nation have been dogged by accusations that they type a near-monopoly available in the market for stay concert events, doubtlessly violating federal antitrust legal guidelines. Federal regulators on the U.S. Division of Justice authorised that deal, however solely after Reside Nation signed a so-called consent decree that aimed to allay fears that they may abuse their dominant place. Amongst different issues, the settlement prohibits the corporate from retaliating in opposition to venues or acts that refuse to make use of Ticketmaster. These guidelines had been set to run out in 2020, however had been prolonged by 5 years in 2019 after the DOJ accused Reside Nation of repeatedly violating the decree.

Within the wake of the Swift fiasco, those self same monopoly questions are again within the highlight – and a few lawmakers need extra than simply one other extension of the consent decree.

On Tuesday, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) blasted Live Nation as a “monopoly” and referred to as for regulators to “break them up.” Two days later, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), the chair of the Senate subcommittee for antitrust points, warned that the corporate’s market share “insulates it from the aggressive pressures that usually push corporations to innovate and enhance their companies.”

Then on Friday, the New York Times reported that DOJ had already been investigating Reside Nation for months over potential antitrust violations, reaching out to venues throughout the nation to ask in regards to the firm’s conduct. Reacting to that information, Klobuchar and two different Democratic senators on Monday urged the Justice Department to take onerous motion in the event that they uncover extra violations, together with “unwinding the Ticketmaster-Reside Nation merger and breaking apart the corporate.”

“This can be the one approach to actually shield shoppers, artists, and venue operators and to revive competitors within the ticketing market,” the senators wrote.

Such motion might need been unthinkable only a few years in the past, amid a decades-long interval of comparatively lax antitrust enforcement that noticed airways and cellular suppliers (and sure, music corporations) merging into ever-larger conglomerations. However the Biden-era Justice Division and Federal Commerce Fee have launched into an aggressive new effort to crack down on such mega-mergers, together with efficiently blocking e-book writer Penguin Random Home from shopping for up rival Simon & Schuster.

Past the Justice Division probe, different authorized threats additionally doubtlessly loom for Reside Nation. The attorneys normal of Tennessee, North Carolina, Nevada and Pennsylvania have all launched investigations into whether or not state shopper safety and antitrust legal guidelines had been violated, together with a Tennessee state legislation that goals to struggle using automated “bots” on ticketing web sites.

And don’t neglect about class actions. Reside Nation is already facing an existing case that accuses the corporate of “blatant, anti-consumer habits,” and the remainder of the plaintiffs bar could possibly be desirous to attempt related instances within the wake of such a high-profile snafu. At the least one group of Swift-loving lawyers is already brainstorming how you can deliver instances.

Confronted with all that, can Reside Nation shake it off? Keep tuned…

Different prime tales this week…

JOURNEY’S CREDIT CARD CLASHJourney guitarist Neal Schon filed a lawsuit in opposition to bandmate Jonathan Cain over allegations that he’s blocking entry to “important” monetary information for the band’s American Categorical account, by means of which “tens of millions” in Journey cash has allegedly flowed: “This motion is dropped at flip the lights on, so to talk, and procure important monetary info Schon has been making an attempt to acquire however has been denied.” The case is the third legal battle among Journey members previously two years, however the first to divide Schon and Cain — the one core members remaining within the band from Journey’s heyday.

I FEEL SUED – Major Wave and the property of James Brown had been hit with a lawsuit claiming their $90 million catalog sale final 12 months violated an settlement that the long-lasting singer had struck many years earlier with one other firm. The case was filed by David Pullman’s Pullman Group (greatest recognized for creating so-called Bowie Bonds within the Nineties) over allegations that the blockbuster sale breached a contract that Pullman firm struck with Brown manner again in 1999, which allegedly assured the corporate the correct to dealer any such deal sooner or later.

YOUNG THUG GANG TRIAL SET FOR JANUARY – A Georgia decide refused to delay the closely-watched prison case in opposition to Young Thug, Gunna and others accused of taking part in an Atlanta gang, that means their trial is now locked in to begin on January 9. Prosecutors needed to maneuver the trial again by almost three months as a result of just a few defendants had not but been appointed a lawyer. However with Younger Thug, Gunna and plenty of others stuck in jail until trial, protection attorneys strongly opposed the delay: “It’s unjust that [Young Thug] rots within the county jail and … is being required to attend on the appointment of counsel for co-indictees.”

DUA LIPA RIPS COPYRIGHT SUIT – Attorneys for Dua Lipa asked a federal judge to rapidly toss out a lawsuit claiming she stole her smash hit track “Levitating” from a little-known reggae observe referred to as “Reside Your Life.” Florida band Artikal Sound System sued the star for copyright infringement final 12 months, arguing the songs had been so related it was “extremely unlikely that ‘Levitating’ was created independently.” However of their response final week, Lipa’s attorneys stated these allegations had been filled with “imprecise, boilerplate labels and conclusions” and “devoid of a shred of factual element.”

MARIAH CANT GET ‘CHRISTMAS’ TRADEMARKS – The U.S. Patent and Trademark Workplace rejected Mariah Carey’s software to register “Queen of Christmas” as a federal trademark, siding as a substitute with Elizabeth Chan, one other singer who says she’s used the identical title for years. Repped professional bono by BigLaw attorneys, Chan had argued that no single singer or firm ought to be capable to lock up the title. “It’s flawed for a person to try to personal and monopolize a nickname like ‘Queen of Christmas’ for the needs of abject materialism,” Chan stated in a press release after the ruling.

R. KELLY MANAGER SENTENCED Donnell Russell, R. Kelly’s buddy and former supervisor, was sentenced to 20 months in prison after pleading responsible to fees that he stalked one among Kelly’s sexual abuse victims in an effort to maintain her silent. Prosecutors stated Russell used “reprehensible” techniques in opposition to the unnamed sufferer after she filed a civil lawsuit in opposition to the disgraced singer in 2018, together with threatening messages to her mom and leaking specific pictures on-line.

SLACKER ON HOOK FOR HUGE ROYALTY JUDGMENT – A federal decide refused to undo his own earlier ruling that Slacker owes almost $10 million in unpaid music royalties to SoundExchange, regardless of the steamer’s warnings that the huge judgment might set off monetary smash for the corporate. SoundExchange urged the decide to disregard these pleas and final week he obliged – ruling that the seven-figure judgment was merely the results of an settlement that Slacker itself had signed.





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