Author: Shani Harris

Use of Beastie tunes ‘dope?’ Nope, court says

Monster Energy Drinks contended that receiving “dope” in an email constituted permission to use a Beastie Boy master mix. A federal court in New York thought otherwise. Here’s the background: Zach Sciacca, know as DJ “Z-Trip,” created a master mix of Beastie Boys songs and made it available on his website for free download. DJ Z Trip had permission to publish this master mix. Monster is known for using hip-hop music and celebrities to market their product. In 2012, Monster reached out to DJ Z-Trip to request a song for a new promotional video. DJ Z-Trip sent them to his website to download the master mix of Beastie Boy songs he created. Monster then sent DJ Z Trip the video it created, which included the master mix; he responded “Dope.” So when Beastie Boys sued Monster for copyright infringement, the company sued DJ Z trip for fraudulently representing he had rights to provide permission to let Monster use the song. DJ Z Trip’s response to Monster? He asserted that “as a matter of law, he could not contract with Monster authorizing its use of the Beastie Boys recordings on his Megamix, because (1) he  lacked  apparent  authority  to  issue  a  license  for  the  Beastie  Boys’   music and (2) his perfunctory exchanges with Phillips cannot be read to reflect agreement on material terms of such a license.” He sought...

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Fo’shizzle, here’s a site for some legal giggles

Need a break from reading that thick case over and over again? Check out Gizoogle.net,  which Abovethelaw.com reports is “a website that converts web pages into Snoop-speak.” When checking out gizzoogle.net, you will find it has no relation to Google and the site strives to ensure that everyone knows this (must avoid trademark infringement).  But if you’re researching cases and need entertainment, try reading your case in “Snoop language.” Rapper Snoop Dog, now known as Snoop Lion, aka Calvin Cordozar Broadus Jr., rapper-entertainer extraordinaire, has popularized his own patois, adding an “izzle” to the end of his words. Gizoogle.net will take your text, izzle them and add other slang, providing a rapper translation. There’s even an app so you can “tranzizzle” at any time. Abovethelaw.com translated some  legal cases already for your entertainment. Be warned, there’s much profanity, so check it out carefully if you’re in a staid law...

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For lawyers, personal managers, talent act woe

While California’s Talent Agencies Act has been the law of the Golden State for more than a half century, it poses challenges still to lawyers working in Entertainment and is under recent and persistent fire from personal managers. §1700.5 of the state Labor Code says: “No person shall engage in or carry on the occupation of a talent agency without first procuring a license therefore from the Labor Commissioner.” And the act specifies that a talent agent is “a person or corporation who engages in the occupation of procuring, offering, promising, or attempting to procure employment or engagements for an artist or artists.” Crystal clear? It wasn’t so for James Blancarte, a lawyer who found himself on the wrong side of a recent ruling by the California Labor Commission for negotiating for sports broadcaster Mario Solis (right) over an anchor position with the NBC affiliate in Los Angeles. Blancarte had a contract with Solis stipulating a five percent commission of earnings. But the Labor Commission found the contract invalid under the Talent Agencies Act. While Blancarte is a licensed attorney, the Labor Commission found in this instance he acted as a talent agent, procuring employment for client: “By negotiating the KNBC agreements on petitioner’s behalf, respondent attempted to procure and procured employment for petitioner. As a consequence, respondent engaged in and carried out the occupation of a talent agency.”...

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Caveats on new law shielding celebrity kids?

After wrangling among celebrities, news organizations and even the movie industry itself, the Golden State has decided to give stars an even greater private space, in this case new protections from Hollywood photographers, nee the paparazzi, who try to take pictures of famous kids — a measure that Gordon Firemark, an attorney and Southwestern Law School adjunct professor, recently has turned his spotlight on As he points out, state Senator State Sen. Kevin de Leon, the Democrat from the 22nd District, got the legislature to amend California Penal Code § 11414, making it a crime for paparazzi to photograph children of celebrities in certain circumstances. The new law takes effect in January and carries steep penalties: First offenders could be charged up to  $10,000 and face jail time. A second offense comes with a five-day jail sentence and up to a $20,000 fine. That third strike nets offenders 30-days in jail and a $30,000  fine. Parents also can file a civil suits seeking punitive damages. Firemark questions whether this measure is constitutional, how and whether it will be enforced and if news and entertainment organizations need to issue guidelines to their photographers to stay on the right side of this pending law. The de Leon amendment already has attracted its share of attention from celebrities (actresses Halle Berry, Jennifer Garner — as shown in the Rich Pedroncelli,  Associated Press, photo...

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Mayweather KOs musical infringement claim

Boxer Floyd “Money” Mayweather might not knock everyone’s socks off with his novel business practices (keeping $123 million in a cash bank account?) or his curious posse members (Justin Bieber?), but he packs some serious pugilistic talent — and now he’s scored a legal KO at the appellate level over a musical contender who challenged him over copyright issues for music used when he entered the ring and at some big-time wrestling events. Let’s go to a speed round to see how only the champ could bring together copyright, rap, and boxing into one ring or shall we say courtroom. Until a recent falling-out,  Mayweather had rapper 50 cent as part of his entourage. And in 2008, when Mayweather fought and beat the “Big Show” it was no different. It was expected he would enter the ring, 50 cent with him, marching in proudly to one of the rapper’s creations. Plans changed. Mayweather entered to the song Yep, whose beat was produced by Anthony Lawrence Dash.  Mayweather also used the song at World Wrestling Entertainment shows, Wrestlemania XXIV and Raw Guest Host. As Courthouse News’ entertainment law site reports — and thanks to them for posting case documents online — Dash claimed that neither Mayweather nor the WWE had rights to his song and infringed on his copyright. Dash sued in April, 2010, in a federal court in South Carolina,...

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