|WEDNESDAY 31 AUGUST 2022||COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM|
|TODAY'S TOP STORY: Lawyers for Kesha have said that the court hearing for her long-running defamation legal battle with producer Dr Luke - currently scheduled for next February - can't go ahead until the New York Court Of Appeal has ruled on some side disputes. And, they claim, Luke's legal team are responsible for delays in the appeals court making it less likely that those matters will be addressed before next February... [READ MORE]|
Kesha lawyers insist appeal court matters must be resolved before Dr Luke defamation lawsuit goes to trial
Luke's defamation lawsuit against Kesha is all that remains of a long running dispute between the former collaborators, which began when Kesha accused Luke of rape. He denies those allegations and - arguing that Kesha's claims have negatively impacted on his career - he sued for defamation.
The side disputes relate to decisions already made by the judge overseeing the case which favour Luke. In particular, those decisions impact on whether the producer has to show that Kesha acted with actual malice when making her allegations against him. If he does, that would increase Luke's burden in court and make it harder for him to win.
The producer would have that obligation if the court considered him to be a public figure or if new free speech rules in New York state were applied retrospectively to lawsuits already in progress, like this one. However, the judge hearing the case previously decided Luke was not a public figure and that those new free speech rules should not apply.
It's those decisions - and another relating to whether the allegedly defamatory statements are protected by certain "litigation privileges" - that are being appealed. And, Kesha's legal team say in a letter sent to the court yesterday, "trial cannot proceed without resolution of these issues".
The letter adds: "It would be a monumental waste of party and judicial resources to proceed to trial when there is a very real risk that a new trial immediately would be required, as would be the case if the Court Of Appeals reverses as to any of the several questions currently before it".
That said, the letter goes on, it is currently Kesha's preference that the scheduled February court hearing can still go ahead, but that requires prompt resolution of the issues being appealed. And the Kesha side, the letter insists, has been doing everything it can to get such prompt resolution.
"Kesha has done everything in her power to try to ensure that trial will begin as scheduled, including by seeking to expedite proceedings in the Court Of Appeals", her lawyers insist. But, they add, "Dr Luke has obstructed her efforts at every turn".
The letter then outlines the back and forth between the two sides in relation to the appeals, and the delays allegedly caused by the Luke side. It also notes a letter from Luke's attorneys stating that that February court hearing should go ahead even if the appeal court matters have not been concluded, but, the Kesha side declares: "He does not explain how that could possibly be true".
With all that in mind, the Kesha letter concludes: "Given the many moving parts, including Kesha's pending request for calendar preference at the Court Of Appeals, it would be premature to determine now whether trial can proceed on 20 Feb 2023. Kesha respectfully requests that the parties and Court proceed in the meantime with a commitment to that date and evaluate the situation when there is additional timing-related information from the Court Of Appeals".
For their part, Luke's legal team were dismissive of the Kesha side's position, telling Billboard: "It is Kesha's attorneys who have delayed the case for years by endlessly filing meritless appeals, which they have lost time and again. If the case is not tried in February, it solely will be due to the fact that Kesha's lawyers decided yet again to take more appeals".
YouTuber who defamed Cardi B files papers calling for $4 million judgement to be reversed
Latasha Kebe was sued by Cardi B - real name Belcalis Almanzar - over various claims that were made about the rapper in her YouTube videos. That included 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".
When the dispute got to court in January, Kebe basically admitted that she didn't fact-check any of the allegations made about Almanzar on her YouTube channel, even when the rapper was actively denying those allegations, and even when they were being made by a guest that she suspected was lying. She also insisted that most of the allegations that featured in her videos were simply "opinions", even though that's not how they were usually framed in the videos themselves.
Almanzar and her legal team, meanwhile, discussed the impact that the various allegations had on the rapper's mental health - a defamation claim needing to show damage as well as untruths. The rapper herself discussed how the widespread public speculation sparked by the rumours that were spread by Kebe made her depressed and suicidal.
The jury considering the case quickly sided with Almanzar and then awarded her $4 million in damages. Following the ruling, Kebe returned to her YouTube channel to deliver a statement in which she vowed to fight that judgement, while constructing and developing her "the Hollywood machine is attacking my First Amendment rights" narrative.
That statement was long and rambling. Her new filing with the Eleventh Circuit is also long, but rambles less, generally focused on the legal arguments for why the January court hearing wasn't fair and didn't reach the right conclusion.
In particular, it argues, the lower court was wrong to exclude discussion of Almanzar's general "character" during the trial, because, "under Georgia law, when there is an assertion of damage to reputation - like in this case - plaintiff's character is substantively at issue".
Therefore, "the district court's erroneous exclusion of plaintiff's character evidence resulted in a very lopsided presentation of evidence to the jury. Because the jury did not get to learn the type of conduct plaintiff engages in or who the plaintiff truly is as a person, the jury returned a general verdict for the plaintiff".
As for the kinds of things Kebe reckons the jury should have heard about, that includes "evidence of plaintiff's admissions regarding plaintiff's gang membership; plaintiff's threats to other bloggers, especially when plaintiff doesn't like how she's being portrayed; plaintiff's hateful comments to strangers on social media; and plaintiff's Instagram Live videos posted around the time of plaintiff's alleged 'mental freaking crisis'".
Apart from that kind of thing likely making the jury less sympathetic towards Almanzar in general, it would probably have also aided Kebe in her bid to prove that she didn't act with malice when making the various claims about the rapper in her videos. And whether or not Kebe acted with malice is super relevant to defamation cases like this in the US.
As the new court filing notes, "to prevail in a defamation action, as a public figure, plaintiff must prove with clear and convincing evidence that the defendants acted with actual malice".
And, the YouTuber argues, she believed that the various statements she made about Almanzar were in fact true, an assumption which might have seemed more reasonable to the jury had they seen the character evidence. And if she reasonably assumed the statements were true, that could back up her claim that the publishing of said statements was not malicious.
"Plaintiff's claims were based on six statements, which she alleged were defamatory", the legal filing goes on. "However, plaintiff failed to prove, with clear and convincing evidence, that the defendants published any of those six statements with actual malice".
"The gist of plaintiff's evidence consisted of her testimony that those six statements were not true", it continues. "Meanwhile, the defendants presented a plethora of evidence, showing the origin of each one of the six statements and proving the defendants did not act with actual malice".
The new filing then goes through each of the six statements and explains why it was reasonable for Kebe to assume they were in some way truthful, often citing statements made Almanzar herself.
"Because the evidence showed the defendants did not act with a reckless disregard for the truth, plaintiff should not have recovered damages for defamation", the filing concludes, before requesting "the jury verdict must be reversed in its entirety and this case must be remanded for a new trial, with specific instructions that the defendants cannot be prohibited from presenting evidence of plaintiff's character and specific instances of plaintiff's conduct, in accordance with Georgia law".
We now await Almanzar's response.
The Monkees' Micky Dolenz sues the FBI
Dolenz has launched the lawsuit because, he says, he has exhausted all other avenues, despite being "entitled to timely receipt of nonexempt copies of all records responsive to his [request]", according to Law360.
He also hints in the lawsuit at what he plans to do with the information he seeks, saying that he "has the ability to disseminate information on a wide scale and may use information obtained through his request in an original work, particularly an independent film, documentary or book".
Now, you might be thinking, "Pfft! The FBI probably doesn't even have any files on The Monkees". But that's where you'd be wrong. Because the FBI's website acknowledges that it has at least two files: "A 1967 Los Angeles Field Office memorandum on anti-Vietnam war activities and a second document redacted entirely".
The first of those documents states that during a concert in 1966, "subliminal messages were depicted on a screen, which … constituted 'left wing innovations of a political nature'".
Dolenz's lawsuit also suggests that there may be other files, given that members of The Monkees "were known to have associated with other musicians and individuals whose activities were monitored" by the FBI, including Jimi Hendrix, John Lennon and other members of The Beatles.
The lawsuit adds that there is no reason for the FBI to withhold the files requested, because Dolenz "frequently tours around the world performing and is often a guest on radio and television programmes". And therefore, it goes on, "based on established criteria, Mr Dolenz qualifies for designation as a representative of the news media".
So that's them told. In a statement to Law360, Dolenz's attorney Mark Zaid said: "Most people might not think a lawsuit concerning the 60s rock band The Monkees would reveal what our government was up to, but this litigation actually demonstrates the intended power of the Freedom Of Information Act. The FBI was actively monitoring war dissenters, perceived radicals and anyone counter to J Edgar Hoover's cultural beliefs, and that included The Monkees".
It remains to be seen how the FBI responds.
Awesome Merchandise founder comments on firm's pre-pack administration
Speculation that there were problems at the merchandise outfit had been building in recent weeks as complaints about issues with orders and refunds increased online. Obviously, in music, a significant part of the merchandise business is linked to live activity, which means demand for the services of companies like Awesome dipped during the COVID pandemic. And that seemingly created challenges for the company that were ultimately insurmountable.
That said, the core Awesome business will continue to operate thanks to a so called pre-pack administration, which is where the sale of an insolvent company's assets is basically put in place before the administrators are formally appointed. When this approach is employed the buyer is often another entity controlled by the directors of the insolvent company, and that's the case here, the buyer being Print.inc Group Limited, a new company set up by Awesome founder Luke Hodson.
Confirming that that deal had been done, one of the administrators appointed by Awesome Merchandise Ltd, Nick Holloway of Interpath Advisory, said: "We are pleased to have agreed this transaction which ensures continuity of service for Awesome Merchandise's customers and importantly, safeguards a number of jobs".
Meanwhile, his fellow administrator, Howard Smith, provided slightly more information, adding: "Awesome Merchandise is a bespoke business with strong B2B relationships across the music industry which, unfortunately, like many other companies, experienced significant financial challenges as a result of COVID-19. We're delighted to have completed this transaction which secures the future of the business, as well as safeguarding the jobs of 94 employees working out of the head office in Leeds".
Although the quick sale to Print.inc Group Limited should reduce the negative impact of the administration on employees and customers, that obviously doesn't help the people who invested in the Awesome company via a Crowdcube campaign in 2018. As the merch firm was approaching its tenth birthday, it raised over £650,000 on the crowdfunding platform in order to fund expansion, especially in the US market via a base in Austin, Texas.
Because the Awesome company has gone into administration, those investors won't get their money back or see any return. A spokesperson for Interpath confirmed to the Yorkshire Post: "Crowdcube funders as equity investors will not form part of the unsecured creditors".
Hodson updated those investors in a post on the Crowdcube website late last week, stating: "It's with a heavy heart that administrators have been appointed to Awesome Merchandise Ltd today. Awesome Merchandise Ltd had been greatly impacted by the pandemic, reduced market activity, internal and external factors".
"During recent times", he explained, "I have been quiet on Crowdcube because of directors duties, meaning my legal responsibilities shifted to a creditor focus, whilst trying to find a solution with a team of advisors. Unfortunately a solvent solution was not found despite months of efforts to refinance, find investment or sell the company".
"Awesome Merchandise's website, assets and IP have been purchased by Print.inc Group Ltd", he added. "This will allow the factory to remain open and for customer orders to be fulfilled. The current work in progress has now been picked up under the new company and will be processed over the coming two to three weeks. Credits will be offered to customers that cancelled orders. 93 employees' jobs have been saved and will transfer to Print.inc Group Ltd".
"I am deeply sorry that I was not able to carry Awesome Merchandise Ltd and its investment from the Crowdcube community to a successful exit or return on investment", he went on. "Many investors big and small are close friends and family. Many others are long term customers, partners and suppliers".
"Awesome Merchandise Ltd has been the almost sole focus of my life for seventeen years", he continued. "There are a lot of factors that contributed to the administration and a more detailed report will be made by the administrators".
"Those of you that know me personally have a good idea of the circumstances and pressures that I have been working under for a prolonged period and that administration is something I have made every effort to avoid. I worked to find any solution other than this, due to the impact it will have on investors and creditors, but nothing else was forthcoming".
"I am grateful to everyone that supported the Crowdcube [fundraising] and for the team that worked under difficult circumstances the last couple of years during the pandemic", he concluded. "It gives me some comfort that the huge support we have received over the years will not result in a complete waste".
Responding to criticism by some of the Crowdcube investors regarding the sale of Awesome's assets to Hodson's new company via the pre-pack administration, he subsequently wrote: "The funding for the new company came externally from family, after every other avenue had been exhausted".
"I am extremely grateful that my family helped at the last minute", he added, "to give a chance for me to continue working in an area I am passionate about and I believe I have helped benefit the UK print and creative markets on the whole. The belief my family has shown, ultimately has helped to save over 90 people's jobs".
He then stated: "Three weeks ago today I was in the position where I needed to liquidate the business completely. The deal that has been done had to go through a lot of diligence and external auditing, it met the requirements set out by law. This was the last type of deal or option left open".
BBC Radio 1 announces new Residency line-up
Kicking things off tomorrow night - and then appearing for the whole month of September - will be Uncle Waffles and Ahadadream. In October they'll hand over to Helena Hauff and Eliza Rose, and then November will be handled by Joseph Capriati and Skream.
But how do they all feel about this opportunity? Well, Uncle Waffles is "grateful", Ahadadream is "gassed", Helena Hauff is "more than excited", Eliza Rose is "so privileged", Joseph Capriati is "honoured", and Skream is "absolutely THRILLED".
Uncles Waffles' mix will start at 11pm, followed by Ahadadream at midnight. And, of course, you'll be able to catch up with everything on the good old BBC Sounds app.
Benjamin Clementine announces new album And I Have Been
"'And I Have Been' was conceived during COVID", he explains. "Like everyone, I was also confronted with a lot of lessons, complications and epiphanies to do with sharing my path with someone special. 'Part One' is just setting the scene, it's the tip of the iceberg which sets the scene for 'Part Two', which goes deeper".
The first single from the new album is 'Genesis', of which he says: "'Genesis' is a song about the constant denial of my roots. But as always no matter what we do in the new world our old world is buried in our subconscious. I found myself in a love hate relationship with my roots".
Clementine has also said that 'And I Have Been' and its subsequent counterpart may be his final work as a musician, as he moves to explore other areas of creativity - particularly acting, having appeared in Denis Villeneuve's 'Dune' last year.
'And I Have Been' is set for release on 28 Oct. Watch the video for 'Genesis' here.
Music charity Help Musicians has named cellist Abel Selaocoe as a new ambassador and Abbey Road Studios MD Isabel Garvey as a new trustee. "Abel and Isabel are two of the very best in their respective fields. With very different backgrounds and careers, they both understand how to harness the power of music to delight and unite audiences the world over", says chief exec James Ainscough. "Both have strong track records in opening up music and careers in music to an increasingly diverse array of music-lovers and we are honoured to have Isabel and Abel with us as we continue to help musicians to recover and rebuild after the pandemic".
DIGITAL & D2F SERVICES
Bandcamp Fridays will return this week, and will see Bandcamp waive its fees on the first Friday of each month to the end of the year.
Arctic Monkeys have released new single 'There'd Better Be A Mirrorball', the first from their upcoming new album, 'The Car', out on 21 Oct.
Yungblud has released new single 'Tissues', which samples 'Close To Me' by The Cure.
Confidence Man have released a new version of their song 'Angry Girl', featuring Chai. The track is taken from a new remix EP, titled 'Re-Tilt', which is out on 30 Sep and will feature reworks of tracks from their 'Tilt' album by Tame Impala, Daniel Avery, Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs, Erol Alkan and more.
Architects have released new single 'Deep Fake'. The band's new album, 'The Classic Symptoms Of A Broken Spirit', is out on 21 Oct.
Enter Shikari have released the video for Wargasm collaboration 'The Void Stares Back'.
Låpsley has released new single 'Dial Two Seven', and announced that she will release new album 'Cautionary Tales Of Youth' on 20 Jan. She is also set to play her first headline show since before the pandemic at Oslo in London on 16 Nov.
Goat will release new album 'Oh Death' on 21 Oct, and have put out its first single 'Under No Nation'. "This year Goat were invited to the gods' annual feast at the 'Round Table Of Funk'", say the band. "After a very wet evening, and after Goat was pretty funked up, we were handed the manuscript to 'Under No Nation', and ordered to play this divine 'funk' to the humans - as the gods felt the human spirit is in deep need to get grooving properly again!"
Former Wu Lyf bassist Francis Lung has released new solo single 'Midland Hotel II - The Restaurant'. New EP, 'Short Stories', is set for release on 23 Sep.
Pulled Apart By Horses have released new single 'Sleep In Your Grave'. Their new album, 'Reality Checks', is out on 30 Sep.
Frankie Cosmos have released new single 'Aftershook'. Says frontwoman Greta Kline: "'Aftershook' is about processing the past, and grappling with maintaining a balanced ratio of emotional awareness and hopefulness. The clown represents my fear of growing up into the kind of stunted adult that toxically influenced my youth". Their new album, 'Inner World Peace', is out on 21 Oct.
Zzzahara has released new single 'Cupid's Out Tonight'. Their debut album, 'Liminal Spaces', is out on 21 Oct.
GIGS & TOURS
Alvvays have announced UK tour dates in October, finishing at the Islington Assembly Hall in London on 7 Oct - the same day that the band's new album, 'Blue Rev', is set for release.
Check out our weekly Spotify playlist of new music featured in the CMU Daily - updated every Friday.
Cradle Of Filth and Ed Sheeran collaboration update: "He's done some of it"
"We still have yet to finish our song with Ed Sheeran", he tells the Knotfest YouTube channel. "He's done some of it, but then he had a baby, and then he got obviously sidetracked with that and doing whatever Ed does, which is play massive shows around the globe. He's not at our beck and call. But he is gonna finish it, he assures me. Actually, I spoke to him quite recently".
As for what fans might say when the track finally sees the light of day, he adds: "They have to like it or lump it, really … We really appreciate the marriage of extremes. So, I'd rather do a track with someone like Ed Sheeran, than do a track with [someone more obvious]. The clash of interests, the marriage of extremes, that's interesting in itself".
Filth revealed last summer that he had been in contact with Sheeran, after the pop star said that he'd been a fan of Cradle Of Filth in his teens and "would not be opposed" to recording a bit of metal one day. Which he then did with Bring Me The Horizon, on a reworked version of his song 'Bad Habits'.
That led some to assume that any Cradle Of Filth tie-up was dead in the water. Then in February this year Filth said that they were "looking at some options" for how to work together.
Sheeran is now on tour until March, and Cradle Of Filth are also preparing for tour dates, gearing up to release a live album, and writing a new studio album. So who knows when we'll actually get to hear this collaboration. It had better be worth the wait.