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Los Angeles Entertainment Law Blog

Are commonplace celebrity endorsements now a thing of the past?

It’s one thing when an A-list celebrity takes money from a company to shill for its products or services.

It’s quite another when that high-profile figure pays the maker – not vice versa – for the privilege.

Lawsuit challenges unions’ right to money withheld from musicians

Famous musical artists often rely upon stellar musicians in the background to get their sound just right and turn it into a product that mesmerizes the masses.

Put another way: It is often the sounds created by top-notch session musicians that factor into a smash hit just as much as does a musical mainstay’s performance.

Here’s your lawsuit: denied use right, rapper samples song, anyway

What part of “no” don’t you understand?

That classic query aimed at individuals who don’t seem to be listening and push behaviors without necessary third-party permission can almost be heard coming out of Tracy Chapman’s mouth in tandem with a lawsuit she just filed.

California court to unwind complex studio contract-breach claim

Neal Moritz has a clear and unclouded take on the conduct of Universal Studios’ executives and attorneys: in his estimation, their behavior concerning interactions with him as a first-line movie producer has been egregious enough to warrant his filing of a lawsuit alleging breach of an existing contract.

For their part, affected studio principals counter with an alternative story that spotlights instead business negotiations that simply never gained sufficient traction to result in a firm understanding and legal agreement. In short, they view the Moritz complaint filed last week in a California court as meritless.

Researching celebrity endorsements a different ballgame these days

The rise of social media has changed just about everything conceivable in modern life, allowing the public instant, universal and multi-dimensioned access to subject matter, coupled with the ability to interact in real time with it.

Don’t like a high-profile figure’s online input on a particular matter? Fire back, with the capacity to reach an inestimably large audience. Send that input to friends and acquaintances for their comments.

Musical artists laud new protective legislation

“It’s a great day for music.”

So said one industry principal last Thursday, a day on which President Trump formally signed into law the Music Modernization Act. That legislation has reportedly been in the works for years, and is now being described in effusive terms by song-linked professionals.

What is defamation, and what can be done about it?

What do Tom Cruise, Cameron Diaz, James Woods, Jim Carrey and Hulk Hogan have in common?

Obviously, one slam-dunk answer is that they are all public figures who have commanded attention throughout their careers on tabloids’ front pages and relevant to widely encompassing behavior. We could add many hundreds of other names to the above list of individuals deemed celebrities who have been similarly accorded broad attention.

Round two: Did Zeppelin pirate that famous Stairway riff?

It’s unquestionably one of the most famous and iconic rock songs of all time. And it comes with a question: Who wrote it?

The song is Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven,” which has likely worn out the grooves on legions of baby boomers’ decades-old albums.

Music royalties at heart of federal class action litigation

Asking someone if they know much about Rick Nelson is akin to asking the same question about Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis, Roy Orbison or other musical icons of a bygone era. If you're of a certain vintage, you've likely got some memories. If not ....

However, a recent media spotlight on Nelson is less about his personal history and music than it is about money, flat-out. Specifically, Nelson's estate has filed a federal lawsuit against Sony Music Entertainment alleging bad faith in music-linked royalty distributions.

Was it “banal” or creative enough to merit copyright protection?

“The playas gon play.”

Just ask Sean Hall and Nathan Butler. They wrote those words and recorded them in a song produced back in 2001. As evidenced by their recent appellate court filing in California, they aren’t about to give up their claim that the lyrics were ripped off by megastar Taylor Swift. They want a legal recovery.