Madonna Sued By Sleepy Fans, MJ Estate Battles Vegas Show & More Top Music Law Stories


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This is The Legal Beat, a weekly newsletter about music law from Billboard Pro, offering you a one-stop cheat sheet of big new cases, important rulings and all the fun stuff in between.

This week: Madonna is sued by angry fans over concerts that started later than scheduled; Michael Jackson’s estate faces a lawsuit after threatening to sue a Las Vegas tribute act; Ice Spice is sued over allegations that her “In Ha Mood” ripped off an earlier track; and much more.

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THE BIG STORY: Madonna Fans Sue Over Delayed Concerts

Finally: a lawsuit for people who just want to get some sleep.

Madonna was hit with a proposed class action last week because the Material Girl allegedly started three New York City concerts later than scheduled, a delay that her accusers say caused real legal harm to ticket buyers who, among other things, “had to get up early to go to work” the next day.

Can you really sue over that? Madonna and Live Nation will probably argue that concert fans are on notice that shows sometimes start a little later than scheduled. But ticket buyers Michael Fellows and Jonathan Hadden claim that by making fans wait two extra hours beyond the listed start time, she not only breached her contract with them, but also committed a “wanton exercise in false advertising, negligent misrepresentation, and unfair and deceptive trade practices.”

For more, go read our full story, including Fellows and Hadden’s claims about “Madonna’s long history of arriving and starting her concerts late” and full access to the actual court docs filed against her.

Other top stories this week…

MJ TRIBUTE BATTLE – A long-running Michael Jackson tribute act in Las Vegas called “MJ Live” filed a preemptive lawsuit against the singer’s estate, asking a judge to rule that it could legally continue to perform the show. The organizers of MJ Live say the King of Pop’s attorneys have been unfairly threatening to sue even though the show has been running successfully for more than a decade. The estate called the case “beyond frivolous” and vowed to “vigorously” defend itself.

ICE SPICE COPYRIGHT CASE – The Bronx rapper was hit with a copyright lawsuit over allegations that her recent hit, “In Ha Mood,” was copied from an earlier track called “In That Mood” by a Brooklyn artist named D.Chamberz. The lawsuit claims the two songs share so many similarities — including beat, lyrics, hook, rhythmic structure, metrical placement and narrative context — that the overlap “cannot be purely coincidental.”

COULDN’T PICTURE THISThe Notorious B.I.G.’s estate reached a settlement with the widow of late hip hop photographer Chi Modu, resolving years of litigation over merch bearing Modu’s famed image of the late rapper standing in front of the World Trade Center. A judge had ruled earlier in the case that Modu was entitled to reproduce and sell his image, but that slapping it onto products likely violated Biggie’s likeness rights.

MILES DAVIS TATTOO TRIAL – A trial is set to kick off this week over whether celebrity tattoo artist Kat Von D violated copyright law when she inked a photographer’s portrait of jazz legend Miles Davis onto the arm of a friend. He says she chose to “precisely replicate” every aspect of his image; she says it was a legal fair use.

INFRINGEMENT ON THE RADIOIrving Azoff’s Global Music Rights (GMR), a boutique performance rights organization with a star-studded catalog, filed a copyright lawsuit claiming that a group of Vermont radio stations operated without a license for years. The allegations come after GMR spent years litigating against the Radio Music Licensing Committee, the group that negotiates music licensing deals for more than 10,000 radio stations.

TEKASHI 6IX9INE CHARGES – Authorities in the Dominican Republic arrested the embattled rapper on charges of domestic violence. This marks the latest in a long string of legal issues for the American rapper, who was arrested in October for a separate assault in the Dominican Republic, and faced federal gang charges in the United States before that.

JONAS-TURNER DIVORCE SETTLEMENT – Former Games of Thrones actress Sophie Turner dropped her “wrongful retention” lawsuit against ex-husband Joe Jonas over the custody of their two daughters after the former couple signed a co-parenting consent plan approved by a U.K. judge.

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