TODAY'S TOP STORY: A defamation action being pursued by Cardi B against YouTuber Latasha Kebe will proceed to court after a judge declined to issue a summary judgement in the rapper's favour. Although the same judge did dismiss some counterclaims that had been made by Kebe... [READ MORE]

TOP STORIES Cardi B's defamation case against YouTuber will head to court in September
LEGAL Texas court bounces Triller/TikTok patent dispute to California
Baseball team cancels Diplo show follow sexual assault claim

DEALS Chris Isaak signs to Primary Wave and Sun Records
Suede sign record deal with BMG

Warner Chappell signs new deal with the Cab Calloway estate

MEDIA New Jim Morrison documentary in the works
AND FINALLY... More than 25% of people would like to see nightclubs closed permanently
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Cardi B's defamation case against YouTuber will head to court in September
A defamation action being pursued by Cardi B against YouTuber Latasha Kebe will proceed to court after a judge declined to issue a summary judgement in the rapper's favour. Although the same judge did dismiss some counterclaims that had been made by Kebe.

Cardi B - real name Belcalis Almanzar - sued Kebe in March 2019 in relation to a number of videos the YouTuber had posted to her unWinewithTashaK channel. In a lawsuit filed with the courts in the US state of Georgia, where Kebe lives, it was claimed that the YouTuber had variously stated, in her videos, that Almanzar "was a prostitute ... was a user of cocaine ... had and still has herpes ... had and still has HPV ... engaged in a debasing act with a beer bottle and ... committed infidelity".

In her subsequent counterclaim, Kebe said that - since December 2018 - she had been receiving threatening messages, both on her social media and via phone calls, from both Almanzar's fans, and also an associate of the rapper who is a member of a violent gang. The threats forced Kebe - who was experiencing a high-risk pregnancy at the time - to relocate her family over fears for their safety.

These claims and counterclaims continued to work their way through the courts throughout last year until, on 20 Dec 2020, Almanzar filed a motion seeking summary judgement in her favour on the defamation claim and the dismissal of Kebe's counterclaims.

On the latter point, judge William M Ray II last week complied. He concluded that there was no proof that Almanzar herself had threatened - or encouraged anyone else to threaten - Kebe. And the YouTuber, he wrote in his judgement, had "failed to demonstrate ... that the threats she alleges occurred were directed by plaintiff or committed by an agent acting on plaintiff's behalf".

He went on: "The court acknowledges that Kebe may have been in a particularly precarious situation because of her high-risk pregnancy that plaintiff and others knew about. Yet, without proof that these alleged threats and comments were attributable to plaintiff, Kebe has failed to establish causation".

However, with regard to the defamation claims, a summary judgement would not be appropriate, Ray added. For starters, there are still too many questions over whether or not any of the statements made by Kebe were in fact true.

And, given that Almanzar is considered a public figure, under the laws of Georgia she must demonstrate that Kebe knew she was making untrue statements - or was reckless in failing to ascertain the truth of her statements - in order to prove defamation.

All of these things, Ray concluded, were matters for a jury.

"There is a genuine dispute of material fact about whether all the statements that defendant Kebe made were in fact false and defamatory", the judge wrote. "Although plaintiff vehemently denies the information contained in the statements, defendant Kebe has represented to the court through video evidence that plaintiff has at least admitted to being a prostitute and as to her use of drugs".

"For example, in a video produced in opposition to plaintiff's motion for summary judgment", he continued, "it appears that plaintiff is discussing engaging in sexual acts for money. In that same video, plaintiff discusses her use of drugs and about having to 'pop pills' sometimes when necessary".

"As to defendant Kebe's other assertions, such as claiming that plaintiff has herpes, Kebe allegedly saw a photo that plaintiff posted online in which plaintiff had visible cold sores".

The judge then concluded: "Assuming, of course, that Kebe's testimony is admissible, it is at least possible that a reasonable jury might believe that these alleged defamatory statements made by defendant Kebe are true".

Legal reps for Almanzar told Law360 that they were pleased Kebe's "baseless" counterclaims had been dismissed, and that they were now confident they'd prove the defamation claims in court. The video in which Card B talks about being a prostitute, they added, was a Halloween prank.

Assuming no settlement is reached over the summer, the case is now due to reach a courtroom in Atlanta on 10 Sep.


Texas court bounces Triller/TikTok patent dispute to California
A judge in Texas has agreed to bounce a patent dispute between Triller and TikTok to the courts in California following a request by the latter's owner Bytedance.

Triller sued its rival video-sharing app in the Texas courts a year ago, accusing TikTok of infringing one of its patents. Specifically US Patent Number 9,691,429 which covers "systems and methods for creating music videos synchronised with an audio track".

TikTok and Bytedance responded in the Californian courts in October, seeking judicial confirmation that neither they, nor their products, nor their users "infringe the patent and that none of them are liable for damages or injunctive relief".

At the same time Bytedance argued that the Texan court where Triller had filed its lawsuit was not an appropriate forum for the dispute, give both app makers have key operations in California.

Seemingly convinced by those arguments, judge Alan Albright granted a motion on Friday to move the case to the Northern District Of California. All documents associated with that request remain sealed.

Law360 notes that Albright was recently criticised by the US Court Of Appeals For The Federal Circuit in Washington - which considers patent law appeals - over his handling of other requests to move patent cases out of his court, which may or may not have made him more open to Bytedance's motion in this dispute.


Baseball team cancels Diplo show follow sexual assault claim
The Baltimore Orioles baseball team has cancelled an upcoming post-game performance by Diplo, following an accusation of sexual assault against the musician.

In a statement posted on social media last week, the team said: "The Orioles will not hold the upcoming postgame performance on 24 Jul at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Fans who purchased field passes with game tickets to the Diplo concert on 24 Jul will receive a refund".

No reason for the cancellation was given, although the move came soon after the publication of a letter in local newspaper the Baltimore Sun, criticising the team for planning to go ahead with the concert.

"If the Orioles are such a family-friendly team, and truly care about women, they need to separate themselves from Diplo and stand up and cancel this post-game concert", said the letter.

The allegations against Diplo came to light earlier this month, when he was sued by a woman who says that he forced her to give him oral sex in his dressing room after a show in Las Vegas in 2019. She also says that he filmed the encounter without her consent.

In a statement to TMZ, Diplo's attorney Bryan Freedman said: "This complaint is completely outrageous, wildly untrue and yet also entirely predictable, given that it simply repeats the exact same claim already made by the plaintiff's friend Shelly Auguste, an individual who has been harassing [Diplo] and his family for more than a year and already has repeatedly violated the restraining order issued against her".

"We have irrefutable evidence that this is a completely meritless claim and we will be providing it to a court as quickly as we possibly can to put an end to this shakedown by Ms Auguste and her accomplices once and for all", he added.


Chris Isaak signs to Primary Wave and Sun Records
Primary Wave Music last week signed a new deal with Chris Isaak, which will see the company take a 50% stake in the musician's master recordings catalogue. Isaak will also sign new artists via a new joint venture, and will himself join Sun Records, which was recently acquired by Primary Wave.

"Life has a unique way of coming full circle", says Isaak. "I spent hours of my youth looking at secondhand singles at thrift shops, and while those old records might have been several generations before me, the impression they've made on me has lasted a lifetime. The most captivating of all the singles were always the ones with that coveted Sun logo. The label was, and still is, home to the voices of my heroes and icons".

"To now be officially part of the label and have the Sun logo on my music is humbling and gratifying in ways I cannot quite convey", he goes on. "Further to that, I feel it's important that we look to the future and go about creating the next generation of legends. I'm THRILLED to take on that task with Sun to both discover and curate new music".

Primary Wave CEO Larry Mestel adds: "Our team couldn't be happier to welcome Chris to the Primary Wave and Sun Records family. Chris is a true iconic talent, and I was drawn to his almost encyclopaedic knowledge of the Sun catalogue and its rich history. We look forward to working with Chris and his amazing manager Sheryl Louis".


Suede sign record deal with BMG
Suede have signed a new recording deal with BMG, expanding on the publishing agreement they already have with the company. BMG also co-produced a Sky-aired documentary with the band back in 2018 called 'The Insatiable Ones'.

"I'm absolutely THRILLED because we have the publishing relationship, and we co-produced 'The Insatiable Ones' film with Sky", says Alistair Norbury, BMG VP Repertoire & Marketing UK. "So to now have the recordings [agreement] is really exciting, we want to be the right home for these iconic acts. It's an absolute pleasure, frankly, and it feels very confident and positive".

The band are currently working on new music, and in November are set to play a run of shows marking the 25th anniversary of their 1996 album 'Coming Up'. Here are the dates:

3 Nov: Edinburgh, Usher Hall
5 Nov: Nottingham, Rock City
6 Nov: Birmingham, Academy
7 Nov: Bristol, Academy
9 Nov: Leeds, Academy
10 Nov: Manchester, Victoria Warehouse
11 Nov: London, Alexandra Palace


Warner Chappell signs new deal with the Cab Calloway estate
Warner Chappell last week signed a new publishing administration deal with the estate of jazz vocalist Cab Calloway.

"Cab Calloway had an enormous influence on the course of modern music, from the swing era of the 30s to the hip hop of today", say Warner Chappell CEO Guy Moot and COO Carianne Marshall in a joint statement. "He was a pioneering artist whose wide-ranging talents crossed musical, racial, and cultural boundaries".

"Calloway literally defined what it meant to be hip, while writing and performing music that remains as irresistible today as it was nearly a century ago", they go on. "We're THRILLED that Warner Chappell has been chosen to represent this extraordinary body of work, and we're looking forward to bringing his groundbreaking music to a whole new generation of fans".

With a career that spanned more than 65 years, Calloway became the first black artist to sell over a million records with his song 'Minnie The Moocher' in 1931. He had US chart hits in five consecutive decades, including a disco version of 'Minnie The Moocher' in the 1970s. His style of mixing singing and rhythmic speaking has also been described as a precursor to rapping.


New Jim Morrison documentary in the works
A new documentary about Jim Morrison is in production. The film is a collaboration between the Gunpowder & Sky studio and the company that manages the estate of the late Doors frontman, Jampol Artist Management.

"Our job is to guide, protect and connect our clients' extraordinary legacies to fans both old and new, while always maintaining the highest standards of credibility and authenticity", says JAM founder Jeff Jampol. "I can't think of a better partner than Gunpowder & Sky to help us introduce the timeless art of Jim Morrison to potential new generations of fans around the world".

Gunpowder & Sky CEO Van Toffler adds: "Ever since the day my big bro brought home 'The Soft Parade' by the Doors, I was equally enraptured and scared by the prescient and sometimes haunting lyrics of Jim Morrison. He had such a wonderfully unique and fearless approach to it all, and as Jim said: 'One shouldn't take life so seriously, no one gets out alive anyway'".

Morrison, of course, died in 1971, aged just 27. The new film will use "unearthed" personal diaries and home movies, according to Variety.

As well as this, Gunpowder & Sky has a number of other music-based projects in the works, including a sequel to its Tekashi 6ix9ine documentary '69: The Saga Of Danny Hernandez', and a documentary about late rapper Lil Peep, titled 'Everybody's Everything'.


Setlist: Let's fix streaming by taxing the superstars
CMU's Andy Malt and Chris Cooke review key events in music and the music business from the last week, including the new research from the UK's Association Of Independent Music's arguing that paying popular tracks on streaming services lower royalties and less popular track more might be the key to a fairer system, and the news that supermarket chain Sainsbury’s is freeing up shelf space in its stores by ditching CDs and DVDs.

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More than 25% of people would like to see nightclubs closed permanently
You may be itching to get back into a nightclub once England's pandemic restrictions are lifted next week. Not everyone is keen to join you though. New polling shows that 45% of Brits think the doors of the country's nightclubs should remain closed for another month. Caution is to be expected, I suppose. Although the survey also found that 26% of people think that nightclubs should never reopen, even if COVID-19 is completely eradicated. So maybe we should just stop surveying killjoys.

The research by Ipsos MORI aims to gauge public feeling about the lifting of almost all the remaining COVID restrictions in England next Monday.

The UK government is gleefully doing just that, despite another surge in coronavirus cases. Of course, the entertainment industry is desperate to reopen all of its venues at full capacity as soon as possible, after nearly eighteen months without any real income. However, this study reckons that neither the government nor the live sector are backed by public opinion at large on this issue.

Around 66% of people felt that social distancing in pubs, theatres and sports grounds should remain in place for at least another month, with 59% of those polled reckoning such distancing should remain the rule until COVID-19 is fully under control globally, which could take years. And about 34% reckon social distancing rules should never be relaxed in such venues. Never ever.

When it comes to nightclubs and casinos, 46% said that they'd be comfortable with these staying closed until August, with 43% reckoning that there should be no clubbing or gambling until the pandemic is under control worldwide. And then there's that 26% of people who think that, actually, it would be better if we just forgot about that type of establishment altogether.

Of course, more than 26% of the British population never go clubbing anyway. And while stats from the night-time sector usually demonstrate that clubs and such like are important drivers of local economies, there are those (perhaps more than you thought, if this study is to be believed) who reckon that all these places really enable is crime and anti-social behaviour.

Given that finding, at least some of the stats in this study are likely highlighting opinions that existed before, and have little to do with the pandemic.

Although, overall, the study does possibly also show that there is a relatively high level of anxiety about COVID restrictions being removed after such a long time of being bound by them. Rather than being desperate to get out and do whatever they want whenever they want, many would seem to be feeling more cautious. And, unless those people are horrendous hypocrites, they were presumably very concerned indeed about the crowds of football fans who were stomping around London this weekend.

Sufficiently cautious are some of the people surveyed, in fact, that 19% of respondents would be willing to accept a 10pm curfew, not just until the pandemic is under control but permanently. Though maybe that's another stat that tells us more about those people's views pre-COVID.

And it's possibly worth noting that another Ipsos MORI study asking a different set of questions about how comfortable people are with the lifting of COVID restrictions next week shows a more positive reaction to the impending move back to normality. That poll shows that 42% of people feel completely comfortable with the idea of going to a large gathering such as a music festival.

So maybe Brits aren't all nailing their doors shut in preparation for next week's big reopening after all. Though the killjoys are probably still busy preparing to kill some joy.


ANDY MALT | Editor
Andy heads up the team, overseeing the CMU Daily, website and Setlist podcast, managing social channels, reporting on artist and business stories, and writing the CMU Approved column. (except press releases, see below)
CHRIS COOKE | Co-Founder & MD
Chris provides music business coverage, writing key business news and CMU Trends. He also leads the CMU Insights consultancy unit and the CMU:DIY future talent programme, as well as heading up CMU publisher 3CM UnLimited. (except press releases, see below)
SAM TAYLOR | Commercial Manager
Sam oversees the commercial side of the CMU media, leading on sales and sponsorship, and also heads up business development at CMU Insights and CMU:DIY. or call 020 7099 9060
CARO MOSES | Co-Publisher
Caro helps oversee the CMU media as a Director of 3CM UnLimited, as well as heading up the company's other two titles ThisWeek London and ThreeWeeks Edinburgh, and supporting other parts of the business.
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