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George Clinton accused of suing his former producer to promote a book

By | Published on Thursday 23 January 2020

George Clinton

George Clinton and his one-time producer Armen Boladin were back in court in California this week in a legal dispute over a legal dispute. So that’s fun.

This is a long-drawn out legal battle that began all the way back in 2011 when Clinton sued Boladian and the record company he owns, Westbound Records, in a copyright dispute over the ownership of various old Parliament recordings. Boladian argued that contracts from 1972 and 1975 confirmed that his label owned the disputed masters. And Clinton’s copyright lawsuit was ultimately dismissed due to various legal technicalities.

Boladian then sued Clinton and his lawyers in 2015 arguing that the 2011 case had been pursued as a ruse to help the musician promote an autobiography. The 2015 lawsuit accused Clinton and his legal reps of malicious prosecution, invasion of privacy and defamation. Attempts to quickly dismiss the 2015 litigation failed and it’s been working its way through the system ever since.

According to Law360, while speaking for Boladian in court this week, lawyer Richard Busch said that the agreements between Clinton and Westbound from the 1970s clearly confirmed the label’s copyright ownership, meaning the 2011 litigation was entirely unnecessary.

Meanwhile, Clinton had admitted during a deposition that he hoped the 2011 case, and the accompanying media coverage, would help him sell his book.

However, speaking for Clinton, attorney Jordan Susman told the court yesterday that, while his client may have mused that the copyright litigation could help book sales, he never said that was the reason for pursuing said litigation in the first place. And while the 2011 copyright case may have been dismissed, that dispute wasn’t as clear cut as Busch is now claiming.

Clinton – Susman argued – has never recognised the validity of the 1970s agreements, and when the 2011 case was dismissed the judge doing the dismissing did not rule that the musician’s case over copyright ownership was meritless. Rather, “he simply concluded that Clinton didn’t connect all the dots to bring a successful complaint”.

The judge hearing the current lawsuit is now considering both side’s arguments and should issue a written ruling in due course. Here’s hoping Clinton sues Boladin for wasting his time with this lawsuit, so that we can have a legal battle over a legal battle over a legal battle.