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This is The Legal Defeat, a weekly newsletter about music regulation from Billboard Professional, offering you a a person-stop cheat sheet of significant new scenarios, essential rulings and all the enjoyable stuff in amongst.
This 7 days: A judge denies Lizzo’s request to dismiss a bombshell harassment lawsuit filed by her backup dancers an unpleasant flood of Taylor Swift deepfakes highlights a expanding issue an update on Earth Wind & Fire’s trademark lawsuit against a tribute band and a lot far more.
THE Major Tale: Lizzo Harassment Case Moves Ahead
Two days in advance of Lizzo showed up to present an award at the Grammys on Sunday night time, a Los Angeles choose dominated that the singer’s lawful difficulties would not be heading away any time quickly.
In a determination Friday, Judge Mark H. Epstein denied Lizzo’s movement to toss out a bombshell sexual harassment and discrimination lawsuit, filed by a few of her former backup dancers very last yr. Nevertheless he dismissed particular accusations – including a particularly loaded demand that Lizzo body fat-shamed a single of her dancers – the decide dominated that the remainder of the circumstance could go forward.
Lizzo argued in October that that situation must be dismissed less than California’s so-termed anti-SLAPP statute — a unique legislation that can make it less complicated to immediately finish meritless lawsuits that threaten cost-free speech, acknowledged as “strategic lawsuits versus community participation.” Her lawyers explained the dancers’ case was a “brazen try to silence defendants’ imaginative voices.”
As I reported at the time, that argument was an abnormal just one. Anti-SLAPP motions are utilized very routinely in defamation lawsuits that have been submitted by strong persons from their critics I can’t ever keep in mind observing 1 utilized by an employer who has been sued by their staff for violating labor guidelines.
In his final decision final 7 days, Decide Epstein mostly agreed. Even though he stated that obtaining the balance – concerning cost-free speech and unlawful worlkplace carry out – was “no simple job,” he in the long run determined that several of the allegations against Lizzo did not fit below the anti-SLAPP law’s protections.
Go study why in our comprehensive story on the Lizzo ruling, including a in depth breakdown of the conclusion and entry to the genuine ruling issued by the decide.
Other major stories this week…
TAYLOR SWIFT DEEPFAKES – Soon after X was flooded with bogus, sexually-specific images of Taylor Swift, I dove deep and attempted to get an knowledge of the lawful lay of the land. Were being these deepfake visuals illegal? Must new legislation be passed to quit them? Are social media web pages undertaking sufficient to halt them? Turns out, legal professionals say the hideous incident is a indication of factors to come, as synthetic intelligence applications make deepfakes less difficult to produce and tech businesses scale back again content moderation. Go examine the full tale right here.
‘GEORGE & TAMMY’ Case – Showtime was hit with a lawsuit over the 2022 television sequence centered on region songs legends George Jones and Tammy Wynette, submitted by the estate of Wynette’s later on spouse George Richey. The lawsuit claims that the producers offered a “disparaging” portrayal of Richey that turned him into the “villain” of the present. But it is not a defamation lawsuit…
RAP ON Demo? NOT IN BK – A federal decide overseeing Jam Grasp Jay’s murder demo in Brooklyn ruled that prosecutors could not cite rap lyrics published by the rapper’s alleged killer as evidence versus him – in the system, wading into just one of tunes law’s thorniest challenges. Right after providing a sweeping historical overview of hip hop’s past, the decide warned that typical themes of violence and criminal offense have turn into “so prevalent inside of the style that they have little, if any, probative value at trial.” As a end result, she reported they ought to only be admitted if they have a crystal clear, direct relationship to the facts of the scenario: “Music artists really should be absolutely free to create devoid of dread that their lyrics could be unfairly used towards them.”
TRIBUTE Trademarks – A tribute band that was sued very last 12 months by Earth, Wind & Fireplace for working with the identify “Earth Wind & Fireplace Legacy Reunion” received a tiny ruling in the ongoing trademark infringement circumstance, enabling them to carry on pursuing their eyebrow-elevating counterargument: That the legendary R&B group someway deserted the intellectual home legal rights to its identify.
Elegant MALPRACTICE Suit – The 90s rock band submitted a legal malpractice lawsuit in opposition to the prominent new music law firm King Holmes Paterno & Soriano LLP, accusing its previous lawyers of a “pattern of self-working.” Sublime’s surviving customers say the firm’s attorneys – such as famous music attorneys Howard King and Peter Paterno – had undisclosed conflicts of interest on a lot of issues, like brokering a merchandise deal with a person of the firm’s other clients that the band statements value it thousands and thousands of pounds. When arrived at for comment on the allegations, King explained to Billboard simply: “Welcome to Fantasyland. Make sure you delight in the trip.”
NIRVANA’S SMILEY Encounter Fight – A a long time-prolonged authorized struggle in excess of the grunge band’s famed smiley face logo could be headed for a major showdown, sparked by a former report label artwork designer named Robert Fisher who says he, and not Kurt Cobain, created the famed drawing.