Tag Archives: legal affairs

Was this a smart move? Old Mr Fingers music was amongst Trax Records re-releases put out quietly over the New Year period – right in the middle of a court case brought by Larry Heard and Robert Owens against the label…

I speak frequently on this blog about how a fair few people in dance music are unable to see the wood for the trees. They’re so deeply immersed in their own little worlds that they have almost no concept at all of how anyone from the outside looking in might perceive things.

This is something true of several generations of producers. Those who are doing it now have to immerse themselves – you’re now a DJ, music producer, engineer, social media content creator, promoter and more in one. And too many of those who were doing it decades ago are convinced they’re worthy of “respect” because they had a hit record decades ago.

Several record labels also seem to have a complete inability to see how their actions look to the world. The latest example of this comes from Trax Records. No stranger to rinsing their own archives – mostly because next to nothing of what they put out today compares to it – they re-released a huge quantity of their early releases back on January 1st.

Was this date deliberately chosen because next to no one would be online buying music on that day? The question has to be asked – and my email putting it to Trax Records remains unanswered at the time of publication. But whilst labels reissuing past releases isn’t unusual, one aspect of this seems questionable.

The big batch of releases contained early songs from Robert Owens – such as “Bring Down The Walls” from 1986 – or numerous Larry Heard productions, including numerous mixes of “Can You Feel It” under his Mr Fingers alias. Trax Records are currently embroiled in a long-running legal case against Robert Owens and Larry Heard.

This blog posted an update on August 18th last year on the case, and I’m not aware of any other developments. So exactly why these were included remains unknown…

New year, same old tired tactics! The DJ who publicly posts anti-vaxxer propaganda yet had his booster jab last month – and he’s threatening to sue anyone who publishes his name…

It might be a brand new year and everyone might well now be packing away the dreary song that is Auld Lang Syne until the next New Year’s Eve, but some old habits from 2021 continue to linger. This one involves people in the dance music world making legal threats when caught bang to rights.

A pretty well-known house DJ known to post anti-vax on his social media channels occasionally threatened to sue this blog if I published his name alongside this story – despite essentially admitting the story is true. And the only reason I’m keeping his identity under wraps is because I don’t have bottomless pockets.

The DJ in question was recently photographed attending an event in a country where it’s essential to display evidence of having been fully vaccinated against Covid-19 in order to gain entry. It should be noted that he was attending the venue as a guest with a few friends, and not because he was working there.

I then emailed the venue to ask whether they grant any exceptions to the rules, to which they replied with “Absolutely not. Anyone who wants entry into the premises must provide evidence of full vaccination or evidence they’re explicitly not allowed to receive a vaccination on medical grounds. As a business which has been badly affected by Covid-19, we are making absolutely no exceptions to this rule”.

A pretty emphatic answer there – and my enquiries have confirmed that not only is he fully vaccinated, he also got a booster jab last month – with my source confirming he went in the early hours of the morning to reduce the odds of being spotted.

And the DJ’s response? In an email, he told me “You’ve got to understand some of the s*** I post on social media is just for likes and clicks. I didn’t mean those Covid posts, I was told to do it. You name me on your site, you’re gonna hear from my lawyer”.

You can make your own minds up on this one…

For legal reasons, comments are unavailable for this article.

I’m just surprised it’s taken this long before it happened! Berlin’s ban on dancing in clubs is being challenged in court – and Paul Van Dyk is spearheading the case…

When the pandemic started, Germany was seen as something of a role model in Europe as to how to handle it. Whilst Britain was in a strict lockdown and seeing around 1000 deaths per day at the peak of the first wave, Germany was testing on a large scale and keeping case numbers down. But since then, things have started to go wrong.

The latest move by the country is to close nightclubs. Due to a legal challenge currently taking place in the city of Berlin, nightclubs in the capital cannot be compelled to close. So the authorities have come up with the bizarre compromise where you’re allowed to attend, but you’re also not allowed to dance.

With dancing obviously being one of the reasons why people go clubbing in the first place, it was almost inevitable this was going to attract a legal challenge of some kind. And indeed it has. The only surprise is that it’s taken this long to happen, if I’m honest.

The legal action is being spearheaded by the likes of Paul Van Dyk, Der Weisse Hase and Insomnia Berlin and is being carried out by lawyer and professor Niko Härting. They cite the irrational fact Berliners cannot dance in a nightclub which will require a vaccine pass at the front door and various other safety measures in place inside, yet they can go to a house party with no such measures and dance and mingle all night long.

They also mention people going to a sauna together wearing next to nothing is permitted, yet dancing in a nightclub fully clothed – okay, Berghain might be excused from that proviso – isn’t. The application was submitted to the Administrative Court of Berlin last Thursday.

I’ll keep a close eye on this one – I’m very curious to see which way judges would go…

Four Tet has been given permission to pursue breach of contract claim against Domino Recordings in their messy legal fallout – but could the case end up in the High Court as a result?

The falling out between Four Tet and Domino Recordings has been messy so far. The dispute is primarily about Four Tet disputing streaming royalties from three albums originally released in 2001 – when online streaming was still in its infancy and not taken seriously by record labels.

A few weeks ago, Domino Recordings took the albums off streaming platforms. They’ve refused to explain why – Four Tet believes it was a tactic to pressure him into dropping his legal action, whereas I’m told by a source Domino did it following “legal advice”. Exactly why might come out in a trial, due early next year.

Today, a pre-trial hearing took place and Music Week have covered it in some detail. As legal proceedings are live, I won’t be giving my opinion on matters – although I’ll be more than happy to wax lyrical once the case concludes. But there’s one detail at the end of the report which I found quite noteworthy.

And that’s the information that this trial could be getting moved to the High Court – something which Four Tet’s solicitor says could prevent him from pursuing the case any further. Things get very expensive when going up in the court system. So it’s quite possible this case will get dropped – and I’m unsure exactly what will happen if it does.

This one is likely to twist and turn some more before its conclusion…

For legal reasons, Amateur’s House cannot accept comments on this article.

The next big scam in the music industry? Criminals pretending they own the rights to records and coining it in – as two US men face charges of stealing $20million of royalties…

Criminality has never been a million miles away from the music world, as I outlined in an article recently about “dark forces” in the major labels working overtime to stop themselves having to give more money to artists. They’re practising what’s in their genes.

However, anyone under the impression that things are now different is sorely mistaken. The criminals are still there, but the tactics being used have changed. Nowadays, criminals take advantage of the fact finding out who owns someone’s publishing or masters isn’t always easy by simply pretending that they do.

I can confirm that I’ve been looking into one outfit for this. The matter is currently in the hands of the police whilst they investigate further, so I can’t reveal any details for now – but in the meantime, I see an interesting legal case taking place in the USA. According to Digital Music News, two men in the country have been charged with running a scam that fraudulently netted them $20million in royalty fees.

Obviously I won’t be commenting on this case whilst it remains in the courts. But mark my words – a number of schemes similar to the ones these men are charged with running exist elsewhere. It’s a growing problem and it remains to be seen whether the music industry is going to take it more seriously than at present…

Tip of the hat goes to Digital Music News over this one…

Is there something they’re not telling us here? They don’t want to pay Four Tet more in royalties – but Domino Recordings DO want to pay someone to assist the staff who pay out the royalties…

Over the past week, I have noticed that the long-running legal dispute between electronic musician Four Tet and Domino Recordings. The spat is over the way Domino appear to have interpreted how much to pay out from streaming royalties working off contracts written before the technology existed.

Early last week, Domino made the decision to remove three of Four Tet’s old albums from streaming services entirely. The decision by the label has been dismissed by many quarters as childish, petty and vindictive – and this blog happens to entirely agree that this is exactly how it looks.

Domino have not replied to my emails asking what was behind their decision. So in the absence of this, I believe it was done for one of two reasons. One, Domino’s lawyers have decided this is some kind of leverage they can use against him – and it also stops the amount of royalties potentially due from piling up due to the interest the legal action is bringing.

Or two, the relationship between Four Tet and Domino is appallingly bad. If this is the case, a straightforward divorce might be the best thing they can do. Whatever the truth, I find it a little ironic they were recently recruiting for a Copyright and Royalties Assistant right now…

I’ll be watching this case closely. Because there could be precedents for others here…

EXCLUSIVE: Plague rave agency which tried to shut me up has to pay out AGAIN as someone caught Covid and almost died after being at their event – and wait until you read their charming reply!

Quite a few months ago now, this blog published an account by a plague rave DJ of his activities during the pandemic. The deal was simple – I would allow him to publish his story totally unedited. In exchange, I would get to do a Q&A on him and he’d keep his anonymity.

The agency weren’t best pleased when they found out he’d spoken to me and tried to get me to sign a gagging order to prevent any more disclosures. After telling them several times to get lost, they stopped contacting me – and a few weeks ago, they paid out a five figure sum in an out of court settlement after someone brought a case against them.

Well, it appears they’re trying to fight off several other cases at the moment – and a second one has now been settled. Again, it’s another five figure sum, but it’s likely to be significantly closer to six figures by the time all the legal fees associated with the case are paid – and they’re coughing up legal costs for both sides as part of the deal.

The circumstances of the case are surprisingly similar to the first. Whilst I can’t reveal all the details for legal reasons, the gist of it is this woman caught Covid-19 at a party organised by this agency – at which the plague rave DJ was present – and she ended up on a ventilator for three weeks. A contact tracing team was able to prove almost definitively that she contracted the virus there.

I reached out to the plague rave agency – which they hate being called, apparently – and asked them if they’d like to comment on their latest payout. The response from the boss? He simply said “F*** off. And you can stick that on your s*** little blog. C***.”.

Calm and composed as ever…

“Dancing was her passion and now she’s dancing her way to heaven’s pearly gates”: just one heartbreaking tribute paid after eight die at Astroworld disaster – so are they ready to stop hiding behind their lawyers yet?

We already had an idea what the human cost was of the Astroworld disaster late on Friday night. Eight people are confirmed as dead and some 300 people were checked over by the authorities for various cuts and bruises. But now, the names of the eight who perished are being released – and the words are harrowing.

One girl who died was called Brianna Rodriguez. She was only 16 years old – her family left a tribute saying “dancing was her passion and now she’s dancing her way to heaven’s pearly gates”. Or the story of 27-year old Danish Baig. He was killed whilst trying to save the life of his fiancé. Listen here to the grief-stricken, heartbroken words of his brother Basil.

I apologise if any of you out there have been upset by this – but when terrible events such as this happen, the human cost tends to be overshadowed. Over the next days and weeks, much will come out about the circumstances on the fateful day – and yes, it’s only right the details are inspected with a fine-tooth comb.

And the Americans don’t waste any time when it comes to these matters. According to Billboard, “Astroworld attendee Manuel Souza [is suing] Travis Scot himself, as well as organiser ScoreMore and concert giant Live Nation” and the case has already been filed with Harris County District Court. Something tells me there will be many, many more soon to follow.

So, are Astroworld going to stop hiding behind their lawyers – like they were with their initial response on Saturday? Judging by what I’ve seen since, no. It very much looks like the advice – actually, make that demands – of the legal department are to keep their mouths firmly shut and be seen to encourage everyone to co-operate with the police.

This one is going to run and run for a long time – and these legal actions could potentially have ramifications not just in the USA but elsewhere in the world, too. But let’s not forget that eight people died amidst all this – all aged between 14 and 27. They were taken far too early. That’s the biggest tragedy of them all…