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Los Angeles Lawyer (December 2004) - Download PDF
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Steven T. Lowe will be a judge for Pepperdine's Entertainment Law Moot Court Competition.
Moot Court Competition
Pepperdine University School of Law
This film seminar will cover issues such as; Surviving and Prevailing in the Film Industry; Financing and Accounting in the film and Visual Arts Industries; Copyright/ Licensing Practices in Film and Interactive Media; and the Digital Realm: Cyberlaw and the Future of Film. Steven T. Lowe will be a speaker at the Surviving and Prevailing in the Film Industry panel.
California Lawyers for the Arts
Loyola Law School - Hall of the 70's
919 Albany St.
Los Angeles, CA 90015
Visual Artist Cam De Leon's Lawsuit Against Rock Band TOOL Allowed to Proceed
Los Angeles, California, April 2006 A United States District Court in the Central District of California has rejected a second Motion to Dismiss filed by the multi-platinum rock band TOOL*, clothing retailer Hot Topic, Sony BMG Music Entertainment, and other defendants in a lawsuit brought against them by visual artist Cam De Leon.
"Obviously, I'm glad that the Court is allowing my claims to proceed. I only regret that this had to be before the courts at all," said De Leon. "I was friends with the members of Tool for many years, and I thought together, we were successful in building a different kind of rock band, where the art mattered as much as the music."
Cameron De Leon is a visual artist and creator of Happy Pencil, a web-based art gallery which supports its growth as an art and clothing retailer found at www.happypencil.com. Cam also works as a concept artist, providing visual development and character design for the feature animation industry and interactive media. His book "HAPPY PENCIL: The Art and Imagery of Cam de Leon" was published in 2005.
De Leon sued TOOL and others in June 2005, alleging that he had worked as a visual artist with the band since as early as 1991, starting with his design of the band's famous "Tool Wrench" logo through his creation of nearly all of the artwork for TOOL's multi-platinum Aenima album. De Leon's work included numerous other works of visual art closely related to the band and which TOOL fans worldwide intimately associate with TOOL, including "Ocular Orifice," "Gnats," and "Medicine Man," as well as many of the characters of some of TOOL's most distinctive music videos. De Leon's contributions led Tool to ultimately describe De Leon as the "closet fifth member of Tool" on its website. However, De Leon claims, among other things, that he was either not paid by TOOL for their use of his work, or that TOOL paid him minimal sums and exceeded the scope of licenses granted.
The defendants filed a second Motion to Dismiss the ten claims filed against them by De Leon on February 16, 2006. However, on March 7, 2006, the Honorable Judge John F. Walters in the United States District Court of the Central District of California denied TOOL's motion, and held that De Leon's lawsuit could proceed.
"This is the first step, but an important one to insuring that TOOL finally recognize the contributions of De Leon to the success of the band," said Steven T. Lowe of Lowe Law, P.C., litigation counsel for De Leon. Kia Kamran, De Leon's entertainment transactional attorney, agreed: "I was a fan of the band's music, which is how I met Cam– Cam's contributions to the band were so singular, and set TOOL apart from so many other bands in the music business. When I found out how much the band had taken those contributions for granted, it just wasn't right."
Trial in the case is currently set for November 2006.
*Note: On Sunday, April 30, 2006, Tool will be headlining the annual Coachella Valley Music Festival. The festival is a two-day event and, generally, draws close to 100,000 people total for both days. The festival begins on Saturday, April 29, 2006.
Also, to coincide with the music festival, Tool will be releasing a full studio album entitled 10,000 Days on May 2, 2006.
Former Member Of Doggy's Angels Settles $100k Lawsuit Against Doggystyle/TVT
By Roman Wolfe - Date: 4/14/2006 10:45 am - [web.archive.org]
A former member of Snoop Dogg's female rap group Doggy's Angels has settled a $100 thousand dollar breach of contract lawsuit against the rapper, claiming unpaid royalties.
Chan Gains, along with Kola Marion and Kim Proby signed an exclusive agreement with Snoop's label Doggystyle Records in 2000. The imprint was distributed by New York- based label TVT Records.
The group hit it big with the single "Baby If You're Ready," but just before Doggy's Angels' debut, Columbia Pictures filed a copyright infringement suit against TVT and Doggystyle, claiming the group was appropriating the studio's Charlie's Angels trademark.
The lawsuit forced the group to rename themselves Tha Angels and interrupted the marketing and promotion of their debut album, Snoop Dogg Presents: Doggy's Angels — Pleezbaleevit.
The group was also forced to pull all artwork originally used to promote the album, due to similarities between the Charlie's Angels artwork and the materials used to market Doggy's Angels.
"It was going to be Snoop Dogg's girl group, but all the girls kind of had their hopes of success in the music industry pretty much dashed at that point," Gaines' attorney Lowe told CourtTV.com. "You get your one shot in the music business ... There are a lot of sad stories."
Gaines said she was homeless for a period of time. "There were times I slept in my car. I would just pray to God I would make it to the next day and I'm still here because I know he has a bigger plan for me," Gaines said. "I wouldn't trade my experience because it allowed me to see the heartless actions of people I was involved with."
The group broke up in 2002, and in 2005 Gaines sued TVT and Snoop's Doggystyle imprint for unpaid royalties. The lawsuit was recently settled but due to a confidentiality agreement, Gaines cannot reveal the settlement amount.
Snoop Dogg's label settles royalties suit with former 'Doggy's Angel' rapper Snoop Dogg Hip-hop mogul Snoop Dogg signed rapper Chan Gaines in 2000 as a "Doggy's Angel."
By Lisa Sweetingham - [web.archive.org]
LOS ANGELES Doggystyle Records is finally throwing a bone to former "Doggy's Angel" Chan Gaines, who went from Snoop Dogg protégé to homeless plaintiff when she hit the "Doggfather" with a $100,000 breach of contract suit last year for unpaid royalties.
"The matter has been amicably settled to the parties' mutual satisfaction and everything else is confidential," Gaines' attorney Steven Lowe told Courttv.com.
Lowe refused to disclose any financial terms of the settlement agreement.
Snoop Dogg is currently on tour in New Zealand. An attorney for defendants Doggystyle Records and TVT Records also declined to comment, citing the confidentiality agreement.
Gaines says she's done with the dog days of her rapping career.
"I'm over the music business because of the pimp mentality it has and its partiality against women," Gaines told <http://Courttv.com>Courttv.com.
Gaines and her Angels counterparts Kim Proby and Kola Marion entered into an exclusive recording artist agreement with Doggystyle, a subsidiary of TVT Records, on Jan. 1, 2000, after an impressive audition for Calvin Broadus, the 34-year-old music, film, and merchandising entrepreneur better known as Snoop Dogg.
In her first year as an Angel, 26-year-old Gaines toured with Broadus, had a role in his film "Tha Eastsidaz," recorded a debut album, "Snoop Dogg Presents: Doggy's Angels — Pleezbaleevit!," which spawned a No. 1 hip-hop single, "Baby If You're Ready," and posed for a photo spread in Vibe magazine.
"The best part of that whole ordeal is when I was in the studio, and you hear that music and you start a creative process and these lyrics come to mind and before you know it a certain type of magic happens," Gaines told Courttv.com. "When you hit that stage and feel the energy of your fans — that's priceless."
Gaines said she knew the fairy tale was ending when TVT Records got served in a separate legal matter by the studio that owns those other "Angels."
"Pleezbaleevit!," set for release in November 2000, featured the faces of rap beauties Chan, Proby and Marion framed in the same sort of fiery rolling flames reminiscent of the "Charlie's Angels" TV and film series.
Columbia Pictures immediately filed a copyright infringement suit against TVT and Doggystyle, forcing them to pull the cover image and other artwork used to promote the album. The rap trio was eventually renamed "Tha Angels."
"It was going to be Snoop Dogg's girl group, but all the girls kind of had their hopes of success in the music industry pretty much dashed at that point," Gaines' attorney Lowe said. "You get your one shot in the music business ... There are a lot of sad stories."
Tha Angels officially disbanded in 2002, according to Gaines.
"Things got really rough. There were times I slept in my car. I would just pray to God I would make it to the next day and I'm still here because I know he has a bigger plan for me," Gaines said. "I wouldn't trade my experience because it allowed me to see the heartless actions of people I was involved with."
In June 2005, Gaines sued TVT and Doggystyle for owed and future royalties on more than a dozen songs she recorded as a member of Doggy's Angels. After months of waiting, her suit was finally settled, and a dismissal order was entered in Los Angeles Superior Court March 24.
"I can't be the label whore anymore," Gaines told Courttv.com.
With her hard-knock rapper's tale behind her, Gaines is focusing on a clothing line she's been developing and a book that's 10 years in the writing, which she hopes will "encourage young girls to aspire to their dreams."
"Hopefully my truth can redirect the paths of the misled," Gaines said. "I've been through so much, maybe it can be a blessing to someone else."
But this rap tale isn't a wrap yet.
A source close to the case says the other Angels are reportedly seeking legal counsel to investigate their financial claims.
Will attorney Lowe take them on?
"Possibly, possibly," he says.
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