|MONDAY 18 JULY 2022||COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM|
|TODAY'S TOP STORY: The granddaughter of the late Jay Livingston - a prolific songwriter perhaps best known from co-writing 'Que Sera Sera' - has gone legal in a complicated dispute with her mother over the management of her grandfather's rights and royalties... [READ MORE]|
Descendants of Que Sera Sera writer in dispute over rights, royalties and termination notices
Livingston had his own music publishing company called, simply, Jay Livingston Music, to which he assigned many of his copyrights, even though that basically meant he was assigning those rights to himself. He also set up a complex series of trusts, the key beneficiaries of which are his daughter Travilyn and granddaughter Tammy.
Travilyn Livingston and her husband Randy Talmadge now own and run Jay Livingston Music - also known as JLM - while both Travilyn and Tammy earn a share of the royalties generated by Jay's work via the trusts.
In her lawsuit filed with the courts in Nashville, Tammy says that her mother and JLM have failed to provide sufficient information for her to check whether she is receiving what she is due under the terms of the trust.
However, the dispute between mother and daughter seems to have gained momentum because the former has exercised the termination right available under US copyright law that allows creators who assign their rights to another party to terminate that assignment after a number of years.
That termination right is now regularly enforced in relation to song rights, although in this scenario Travilyn seemingly enforced the right as her father's heir against the publishing company her father founded and which she now runs. The termination right was initially enforced in relation to 'Que Sera Sera' - although termination notices have now been filed in relation to about 55 of Jay's songs.
In her lawsuit, Tammy questions whether the termination notices filed by her mother are valid, and also seeks assurances that that process will not affect the royalties she receives via the trusts her grandfather created.
Tammy's lawsuit states: "The trusts were specifically designed [based on] more than fifteen years of estate planning legal advice with competent estate planning counsel to hold the songwriter's royalties Jay Livingston, plaintiff's grandfather, retained at his death, and to assure his daughter and granddaughter received their respective shares".
"Because this was of particular concern to Jay", it adds, "Jay and his counsel meticulously stated in the trusts the shares of such songwriters royalties each trust beneficiary was to get upon his death, clearly employing the terms of the trusts as his testamentary intent identical to a will - ie, a will substitute - a common estate planning practice".
The legal action is required, the lawsuits goes on, because of Travilyn "filing notices of termination under the Copyright Act of 1976, with respect to the United States copyrights for approximately 55 of the songs written by Jay Livingston, including, but not limited to the song classic, 'Whatever Will Be, Will Be (Que Sera Sera)' ... one or more of these copyrights generate material songwriter royalties in which plaintiff presently shares as a beneficiary of the trusts, and directly as an individual".
"Plaintiff's shares of such songwriter royalties", it reckons, "may be diminished, eliminated or otherwise adversely impacted by the effect of the filing of the notices of termination and any resulting effective termination of the applicable copyrights for the applicable songs".
"Defendants have refused for years to provide adequate information to verify and determine whether plaintiff's appropriate share or amount of songwriter royalties pertaining to any of the songs has been paid to plaintiff in accordance with the applicable contracts and the terms of the trusts", it then claims. "In particular, defendants have refused to provide such information with respect to the terminated songs since the applicable specified effective date in the applicable notices of termination".
With that in mind, it concludes, "plaintiff seeks a declaratory judgment that the notices of termination and potential termination are ineffective as a matter of law, or if effective, that such terminations do not diminish, eliminate, or, adversely impact plaintiff's rights to receive, collect and be paid a share of songwriter royalties under the terms of the applicable contracts and the terms of the trusts, as she has previously prior to the effectiveness of any song copyright termination of any terminated song or otherwise".
It remains to be seen how Tammy's mother now responds. Will she be able to avoid the temptation to declare, simply, "whatever will be, will be"?
YoungBoy Never Broke Again found not-guilty of illegal gun possession in LA
The case being heard in the LA courts related to an incident in March 2021, which in turn was linked to the other criminal proceedings he is facing, in which he is among sixteen people accused of possessing illegal guns and drugs at a video shoot in Baton Rouge, Louisiana in 2020.
Police in LA were responding to an arrest warrant stemming from the Baton Rouge case when they found another gun in a vehicle being driven by the rapper, real name Kentrell Gaulden. He fled the scene after being chased by LA police, who then discovered the weapon in Gaulden's abandoned vehicle.
Lawyers for the rapper argued that Gaulden, unaware of the arrest warrant in relation to the Baton Rouge case, was confused by the scale of the police operation in LA, which is why he fled the scene. Meanwhile, they added, he had no prior knowledge of the gun that was in his car, meaning that someone else must have placed it there.
With no fingerprints or DNA connecting Gaulden to the weapon, prosecutors presented images from social media that showed the rapper handling a similar gun. However, his legal reps said that the weapon in those images was identical to an airsoft replica and could not be confirmed as being the same gun police found in their client's car.
The prosecution also wanted to present in court lyrics from three of the rapper's tracks which, they said, proved he was familiar with the specific kind of gun they had located in his vehicle. However, the judge hearing the case declined to allow those lyrics to be presented as evidence.
That was an interesting decision given the mounting campaign to stop prosecutors in the US from using lyrics or videos created by defendants in criminal cases as evidence in court, on the basis that doing so is usually prejudicial to the defendant, rarely adds anything of substance to a case, and is a breach of the defendant's free speech rights.
The jury considering the LA case against Gaulden ultimately concluded that the prosecution had not proven that the rapper was in possession of an illegal weapon on that day in March 2021.
Responding to the judgement, a spokesperson for the US Attorney's Office in LA told reporters: "We believe the evidence presented in this case supported the charges [previously] brought by the grand jury. While we are disappointed with the verdict, we respect the jury's decision".
The criminal case in Louisiana is ongoing.
Paulette Long becomes Chair of the Music Publishers Association
Welcoming his successor, Neri - the former Downtown Music exec who joined Utopia Music during his stint as MPA Chair - said: "It has been the biggest honour to serve as Chair of the MPA and to represent the UK's stellar music publishing community. I could not be happier to pass the baton to the amazing Paulette and to see the MPAs reinforced commitment to diversity and inclusion".
"I have no doubt that Paulette will continue the MPA's meaningful work towards ensuring the publishing sector is truly advocated for and represented", he added. "Given my role as Chief Operating Officer at Utopia Music, I have also made the decision to step down from the [MPA] board to ensure neutrality, as we continue to serve all parts of the music industry equally and work with all trade bodies represented at UK Music".
Long - already a long-term MPA board member - added: "I'm really pleased to be taking on this role as Chair of the MPA. I would like to express my thanks to my predecessor Roberto Neri for his vision, hard work and entrepreneurial style during his time as Chair. I look forward to working with the board and the entire MPA team, along with the MPA publisher members, as we work towards creating a more dynamic organisation and a stronger, more balanced industry".
The MPA also owns two collecting societies - the UK's mechanical rights society MCPS, plus PMLL, which licenses the copying of sheet music, mainly in the education space. The latter also has a new Chair, with Rachel Lindley from Oxford University Press taking over from Richard King, who has chaired PMLL since its creation ten years ago.
Lindley said: "I am delighted to step into my new role as chair of PMLL. To witness the success and growth of PMLL over the past few years has been incredibly exciting and I thank and congratulate Richard King on his dedication to his role as Chair over the past ten years".
Southwark Councillor comments on decision to turn Printworks venue into offices
Printworks opened in 2017 on the site of a former newspaper printing plant, hence the name. It became a popular venue, appearing in DJ Mag's top ten clubs between 2019 and 2021. Which meant that when the owners of the site, British Land, submitted plans to Southwark Council last year to replace Printworks with an office complex, thousands of clubbers signed an online petition calling for those plans to be rejected.
Nevertheless, the plans were approved by the London council last week. Recommending that approval to the borough's planning committee, council officials said in a report: "It is noted that a significant number of objections have been received in respect of the loss of the club/music venue currently operating on the site".
"It is acknowledged that this use has been very successful", the report conceded. "However, the events use was initiated as a short term interim (meanwhile) use in 2016 pending development of the building within the masterplan. It was never intended to be a permanent use of the site".
The plan to build offices and shops on the Printworks site is part of a wider scheme in the London borough which will also see British Land build 3500 new homes. The property developer adds that that wider scheme will include some new cultural spaces, possibly involving the Broadwick Live team who ran the Printworks venue. Though any future cultural activities will presumably be on a smaller scale than what was seen at Printworks.
Commenting on all this, local councillor Helen Dennis, who is Cabinet Member For Climate Emergency & Sustainable Development, told the Evening Standard: "Southwark Council's planning committee unanimously approved British Land's planning application to develop the site of the former printing press in Canada Water, which has been used temporarily as Printworks nightclub for the last few years".
"The site is part of plans to build thousands of new homes", he went on, "particularly hundreds of much-needed social rent homes, new open spaces, offices, a new public leisure centre, and places to shop, eat, drink and socialise".
"We know that one of the challenges with 'meanwhile uses' of vacant land is that people become very attached to the temporary use", she added, "but everyone involved in Printworks knew their time on the site would come to an end, and focused on making its tenure there as successful as possible".
"We are excited to be working with British Land and Printworks operator Broadwick Live to keep a presence on site that will build on Printworks' success", she went on, "ensuring that residents current and new benefit from a permanent cultural offer … which has been our intention from the start".
A spokesperson for British Land added: "We are pleased that Southwark Council has voted unanimously to grant planning permission for the Printworks. The redevelopment of the Printworks will result in the retention and reuse of this iconic building, to create a best in class and flexible workplace, and alongside this, our intention is to work with Broadwick Live and Southwark Council to explore retaining a cultural venue in part of the Printworks".
As its time running Printworks in South London - and, as it happens, its North London events complex The Drumsheds - all comes to an end, Broadwick Live is now involved in a new London venue called The Beams, this time in East London at the Royal Docks, with a music programme kicking off there this autumn.
Electric Group boss says he's not worried about possible boycott of all-new Leadmill venue
The team currently running The Leadmill announced in March that they will basically be evicted when their current lease with The Electric Group - which acquired their building back in 2017 - comes up for renewal. That news has caused controversy within the music community in Sheffield and beyond, though The Electric Group has insisted that the venue will continue pretty much as before, just with a new management team in place.
Electric Group already runs venues in London and Bristol - Electric Brixton and SWX respectively - with a third one opening in Newcastle this autumn. The plan is to make The Leadmill the fourth venue in that network.
Again defending the decision to takeover the running of The Leadmill from the current management team, Electric Group CEO Dominic Madden told local newspaper The Star last week: "I am firmly committed to ensure that the Leadmill continues to thrive and play its part as a leading Sheffield music and arts venue".
He added: "If you look beyond the headlines and social media campaign orchestrated by Leadmill management, which incorrectly paint me and my team as some faceless corporate group, and check our track record of operating music spaces and the type of work we do, I believe that music fans and stakeholders in the creative sector and wider community in Sheffield should rest assured that the Leadmill premises' future is in safe hands".
As for talk about artists and local promoters in Sheffield boycotting the venue once it's under new management in solitary with the current Leadmill team, Madden went on: "Certainly, my discussions with national and influential local music promoters in Sheffield have given me full confidence that the venue will flourish under our management".
It's still not clear whether the venue will be able to continue operating under the name The Leadmill once the new management team is in place, and Madden told The Star that he couldn't comment on that at this time.
Though the Electric Group started the process of trademarking the brand Electric Sheffield earlier this year, so presumably has a plan in place should it turn out that only the current management team are allowed to use the Leadmill name.
Ne-Yo still listens to R Kelly songs because he can "separate the artist from the art"
Whenever creators are accused of committing particularly heinous crimes - and especially if they are convicted of said crimes - there is usually a big debate as to whether that means people should subsequently boycott that person's creative output. Does continuing to consume that person's creative work somehow mean you are endorsing their bad behaviour? And even if it doesn't, are you inadvertently financially supporting them, and should that in itself be a cause for concern?
Kelly, of course, was recently sentenced to 30 years in prison after being found guilty in the New York courts last year of establishing and running a criminal enterprise in order to sexually and physically abuse women and teenagers. That conviction followed decades of rumours and allegations against Kelly, and is only one of several legal cases he is currently fighting, with another criminal trial in relation to the abuse charges due to kick off in his home town of Chicago next month.
In an interview with The Independent this weekend, Ne-Yo - currently promoting new album 'Self Explanatory' - said he was not surprised about Kelly's conviction and sentencing, adding: "I pray this gives everybody who feels they were victimised by him a little bit of closure, on whatever pain was caused".
But, he added, he does still play Kelly's records from time-to-time because "you just can't deny the quality". Actually, I think you definitely can, but, in the wider scheme of things, it seems pointless laying into Kelly's musical output.
"I have always been a person that can separate the artist from the art", Ne-Yo told The Independent. "I don't give a damn about your personal life, I don't give a damn about what you've done wrong, or what you've done right - if I like the song, and it's attached to a memory that means something to me, it has nothing to do with [the artist] as a person any more. It's what this song means to me".
He conceded that not everyone agrees. "I've been in parties where someone will turn on an R Kelly record and people will be like 'boo!'", he added. "[But] that's [bullshit], because you know good and well that before this happened, you'd be rocking out to this song, just like everybody else. Anybody who tries to say R Kelly isn't one of the best songwriters on the face of the planet because of what he did in his personal life, you're looking at the wrong thing".
Utopia Music has appointed Tracy Maraj as its Chief People & Culture Officer. "I am excited to join Utopia at such a key stage in its growth journey", she says. "With such an ambitious mission and vision it's vital that Utopia continues to cultivate a culture where everyone can grow and excel".
Ellie Goulding has released new single 'Easy Lover', featuring Big Sean. "I wrote 'Easy Lover' in LA with Julia Michaels after conversations about the age-old tale of being infatuated by someone cool and beautiful knowing that they will never quite feel the same", she says. "It's about going back to the same dangerous person to feel alive when you know they have hurt people again and again before you".
UB40 have released new single 'Champion', which serves as the official song of this year's Commonwealth Games, and also the first single from the band's new album 'UB45', which is due out next year. It's also the first release to feature new frontman Matt Doyle, who says: "I have loved UB40's music for as long as I can remember. The audience has welcomed me with love and open arms and I can't wait to hear them singing the classics back to me".
Gwylim Gold has released new single 'Hover'. "I'm not sure where the songs are coming from when they are being written, they just sort of emerge out of the process", he says. "When I reflect on this one I feel like it could be about fatherhood, from the perspective of both son and father". His new album, 'Blue Garden', is out on 26 Aug.
Liraz has released new single 'Doone Doone', taken from her new album 'Roya', which is out on 7 Oct. "How much do you trust your love so you can fall free on his shoulder?" she says, discussing the inspiration for the song. "How much can you really expose your feelings to the one who is supposed to know who you really are? I am different from what you see in me. See me as I see myself. The song talks about the opportunity to see each other for real with no masks".
Check out our weekly Spotify playlist of new music featured in the CMU Daily - updated every Friday.
BTS "definitely not on hiatus", says J-Hope as he tries to promote his solo album
"When we talked about the temporary break, or focusing on solo projects, we really just were trying to be honest with how we feel and what we want to pursue going forward", he says in an interview with Variety to promote his new solo album.
"I was a little surprised that people took it in a different way than … how we expected them to receive or understand that news. I think there was a little bit of loss in translation as we conveyed that message. And definitely we're not on hiatus. The [group] is going to remain active".
The word "hiatus", of course, first cropped up during an hour long video discussion between band members last month, which marked their ninth anniversary as a group. It actually came up in the English subtitles on the video, but - as talk of the hiatus dominated reporting of that conversation and panic set in amongst fans - those subtitles were changed to say "temporary break".
In addition to this, the band's management company Hybe and its Big Hit record label both put out statements insisting that there was no hiatus whatsoever. The band's members are just focussing on their solo careers instead for a while. Nothing to worry about.
You might be thinking that that temporary break to release some solo records sounds quite a lot like a hiatus. After all, 'hiatus' basically means temporary break. But you're forgetting that in the world of boy bands, 'hiatus' generally means something more like: "That's it, we're splitting up now, see you in ten years for the cynical reunion tour when we've all run out of other options".
And, to be fair, some of the reporting about the hiatus, or temporary break, or whatever it is, did veer towards that sort of thing. It's the end of BTS, the headlines cried, even though the band's discussion had made it fairly clear that, while they were all a bit worn out, they had no intention of stopping.
Reiterating this, J-Hope says in this new interview: "We just learned a lot and we grew together as a team over the last decade, and I believe that was the Chapter One for BTS. So for BTS to sustain longer and to even leap forward, we thought that Chapter Two was definitely needed".
"So although we grew together and we worked together as a team for the last ten years, now perhaps it is our time to grow and to pursue what we wanted to do as individuals and focus more on personal growth as individuals. So we would like to embrace and experience many different things as we work on solo projects".
"We expect that after gaining all these experiences and having individual projects, we will have a greater synergistic effect as a team, and we believe that that is the sustainable and healthy way for us to grow as a team", he goes on. "So I think we are on the verge of starting the Chapter Two for BTS - and going forward, we will definitely be working on group projects as well as solo projects".
So that all makes sense, and actually sounds pretty sensible. But what if that's just talk? What if he's just trying to soften the blow and BTS won't ever actually do anything together again? Well, you're forgetting that they have a big concert coming up. Silly of you, really.
The group are set to play a show in Busan, South Korea in October, as part of their recently appointed role as ambassadors for the city's bid to host the 2030 World Expo.
"This event will be very meaningful to us", says J-Hope. "So I just hope that there's no misunderstanding about where we are going and what kind of directions we're taking as a team".
Yeah, it must already be getting a bit tedious having to talk endlessly about how your band hasn't split up, while trying to promote your solo work. Although, actually, in BTS terms, just a few months apart is kind of big news in its own right.
By the time BTS take to the stage in Busan, it will be four months since they accidentally said that they were going on hiatus. In that video, they also said that they'd been working away from each other for several weeks already. So, given that when they previously went on an "extended period of rest", that lasted less than three months, this latest pause is going to be something of an epic period.
Anyway, I'm sure J-Hope would prefer me to be talking about his debut solo album, 'Jack In The Box', which came out on Friday and takes some interesting turns away from the BTS sound. Here's the video for latest single 'Arson'.