Variety Drops Its Insane Lawsuit Against The Band The Vandals

from the after-putting-them-through-hell dept

For a few years now, we've covered the rather insane lawsuit filed by Daily Variety (owned by Reed Elsevier) against the band, The Vandals because of an old version of an album cover that parodies Daily Variety's logo. Years ago, when the band originally planned this album, it was threatened by Variety and changed the logo to the one at the bottom:

I still don't fully understand why they agreed to change the logo, since they had a strong argument, but who wants to fight in court if you can avoid it? Either way, years later, versions of the original album cover appeared in various places online -- but not on the Vandals' own site. Variety still blamed them for this and sued the band. The band's bassist, Joe Escalante, who was an entertainment lawyer -- but not a litigator -- actually handled the case entirely on his own. He got himself admitted to practice law in Delaware, where the case was filed, and convinced the court there to transfer the case to LA where it belonged.

Now, just as the actual trial was set to begin, Escalante is saying that Variety has agreed to drop the case in a "settlement" that doesn't involve the band paying anything. The Hollywood Reporter has been following the story, and seems to enjoy tweaking its main competitor Variety. Escalante seems relieved that the whole ordeal is over:
"This was the worst thing that's ever happened to me, and to the band, and the hardest thing I've ever done," says Escalante, who represented The Vandals himself. "However, as my wife says, the crash course in federal court litigation made me a better lawyer."
For what it's worth, Escalante recently had me on his radio show, where we got to talk about SOPA, copyright and a variety of other issues concerning how IP laws can be abused -- things that Escalante has taken a much deeper interest in lately.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Feb 2012 @ 1:52pm

    So this band gives away all their music for free, right?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      :Lobo Santo (profile), 14 Feb 2012 @ 2:07pm

      Re: -sigh-

      0.1 of 5

      Barely humorous, not much else.
      Try harder.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      weneedhelp (profile), 14 Feb 2012 @ 2:08pm

      Re:

      Another douchebag comment from an AC. It is just killing your masters that soon there be no more labels, bands WILL give their music away for free. There will be (i predict) a tenfold increase in the amount of music available to the masses. And before you pull that oh more crap out there bullshit, remember, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Bands will continue to make the real money by touring, connecting with fans, and giving them a reason to buy. (Or maybe they will just be decent human beings) All without greedy scumbag music execs leeching every penny they can while denying to pay the actual creators.

      Na na na na, hey hey hey, goodbye!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 14 Feb 2012 @ 2:52pm

        Re: Re:

        Yeah, I can't wait to listen to 100,000 songs before I find the one song I like. Gee where will I find the time. I guess I could quit my job and become a full time music critic and then run an ad-sponsored (read sellout) website and get paid for my opinions like Mike Masnick.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          :Lobo Santo (profile), 14 Feb 2012 @ 2:57pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          You could--but unless your heart and soul was in it it'd likely be a dreadful flop.

          In your place, I'd stick to acerbic anonymous comments on other people's sites.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          weneedhelp (profile), 14 Feb 2012 @ 3:00pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          I know you dont have any friends to suggest things to you, you are incapable of searching by genre, and dont have a radio, but someday you will enter the 20th century and all those things will come to you.

          I smell hay:
          "Yeah, I can't wait to listen to 100,000 songs"
          The store has more than 20,000,000 songs,[15] including exclusive tracks from numerous artists.
          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ITunes_Store#Catalog_content

          Get busy.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 14 Feb 2012 @ 3:04pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Is this really the best you've got? It's just sad at this point.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 14 Feb 2012 @ 3:18pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          You gonna pay for all 100,000 songs first? Before you even hear them?

          I sure hope so, otherwise you would be a fucking hypocrite.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            The Groove Tiger (profile), 14 Feb 2012 @ 5:07pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Maybe you could use those Pandora-like sites that the RIAA is trying to kill with insane licensing fees to find music that you'd like based on the songs that you already like.

            You know, that immensely valuable music search algorithm that some "nerds" developed and the RIAA feels entitled to 99% of their profits.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 15 Feb 2012 @ 4:11am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Butthurt much?

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 15 Feb 2012 @ 9:48am

          Re: Re: Re:

          i guess you could; unfortunately, i do not think your opinions would be too popular

          friendly advice: don't quit your day job


          advertising rarely works online anymore; that mike is able to pay the bills with this site is very telling

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 14 Feb 2012 @ 2:17pm

      Re:

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Gwiz (profile), 14 Feb 2012 @ 2:35pm

      Re:

      So this band gives away all their music for free, right?

      Don't know about you, but I can get The Vandals for free here:

      http://grooveshark.com/#!/search?q=the+vandals

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Chosen Reject (profile), 14 Feb 2012 @ 3:10pm

      Re:

      Well, naturally, because if they didn't give their music away for free then the lawsuit would not have been insane.

      Wait, that doesn't make sense.

      I have no idea why you brought that up. Please explain.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 14 Feb 2012 @ 7:06pm

      Re:

      Thanks for proving, once again, that you shills really have nothing better to do on this site than insult everyone who doesn't agree with IP maximalists. You're not here to debate, negotiate or participate in anything civil. You're here as a troll, nothing more.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    gab4moi (profile), 14 Feb 2012 @ 6:09pm

    Excelente Escalante!

    btw does ACTA stand for Anon Coward Takes Acid? They sure are both trippin'...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Oback Barama, 14 Feb 2012 @ 9:05pm

    Hey, all you people

    Shut up. Nobody cares about this shit.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Wtf, 15 Feb 2012 @ 9:17am

    You guys are idiots ha

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Feb 2012 @ 10:37am

    I've never heard of this artist or album before, but now I'm going to track down a copy and add it to my music library. And I'm going to include the cover the artist originally planned to use with it. The Streisand effect in action!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Joe Escalante (profile), 1 Mar 2012 @ 6:33pm

    Variety Drops Case

    To answer Mike's question about why we didn't fight in the first instance. The band is a group of four friends. One of the friends REALLY wanted to settle the thing at any cost. He was freaking out, so we settled to preserve the friendship. I would do the same thing over again, but I don't think he would. It's really important to fight these things when they come. Now, thanks to sites like Techdirt, there are resources. Back then, we were in an uncharted wilderness. Techdirt really helped end this case. The accumulation of humilations on the Internet were a big part of our legal strategy. Now we can talk about this case for ever. In 2004, we were under a confidentiality agreement. Variety and their parent co. Reed Elsevier not only spent approx $800,000 plus, they lost the confidentiality clause from round one. Corrupt idiots.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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