This is The Legal Beat, a weekly newsletter about music law from Billboard Pro, offering you a one-stop cheat sheet of big new cases, important rulings and all the fun stuff in between.
This week: Luke Combs apologizes after he accidentally sues a fan for $250,000; a Taylor Swift fan drops her lawsuit against Live Nation over the disastrous Eras presale; Lizzo fires back at one of the discrimination cases she’s facing; and much more.
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THE BIG STORY: Luke Combs Accidentally Sues A Fan
How on earth do you sue someone unintentionally? That’s what the entire music industry was asking last week after Luke Combs said he had been “utterly unaware” that he’d sued a Florida woman and won a $250,000 judgment against her — all over the sale of a few Combs-themed drinking mugs on the internet.
The answer: By adopting the same kind of mass-litigation tactics used by big retail brands to fight fake merchandise on the internet. Suing hundreds of people at once and notifying them by email gives companies — and, increasingly, music artists — a powerful tool to help stem a flood of confusing knockoffs, but some legal experts warn that such litigation can be “abusive.”
For more, go read our full story — on Combs’ apology to the fan, his underlying lawsuit, and the strange world of anti-counterfeiting litigation that it highlighted.
Other top stories this week…
YOUNGBOY HOUSE ARREST – A federal judge refused to alter the conditions of NBA YoungBoy‘s house arrest to let him spend more time in the recording studio creating music while he awaits trial on federal gun charges. The judge was unswayed by arguments from the rapper’s attorneys that his record sales have dropped because he has been unable to travel to the studio to “produce the quality of music that his fans expect.”
MJ ESTATE STRIKES AGAIN – Lawyers for the Michael Jackson estate quietly threatened to sue a pop culture collectibles website last week over plans to auction off unreleased Jackson studio recordings that the estate claimed were “unquestionably stolen,” resulting in the site withdrawing the materials from the sale.
MARILYN MANSON RULING – A California appeals court ruled that Marilyn Manson’s former assistant Ashley Walters could sue him for sexual assault, overturning an earlier decision that said she waited too long to bring her case. The appeals court said she potentially had “trauma-induced memory suppression” that rightfully delayed the filing of her case.
TICKETMASTER CASE SWIFTLY DROPPED – A Taylor Swift fan named Michelle Sterioff agreed to drop her class action against Ticketmaster parent Live Nation — one of two such cases filed in the wake of last year’s disastrous presale of tickets to the Eras Tour.
LIZZO HITS BACK – Lizzo’s attorneys fired back at a harassment and discrimination lawsuit filed by Asha Daniels, a former clothing designer for her tour — arguing that the accuser was nothing more than a “disgruntled” employee who had been fired after she “played hooky” on the day of a concert.