Rant Of The Day THIS RANT 20/02/97

Rant Of The Day is where I get to mouth off about whatever I feel like for however long I like. Theoretically, I'll update my whinge/opinion piece every weekday; in practice, maybe not so often.

Pop stars and their lawyers

Pop personalities seem to spend an inordinate amount of time suing their record labels, their managers, themselves, or all of the above. Billy Joel enjoyed breaking up with his managers so much, he did it twice. George Michael spent five years getting out of his Sony contract (although he'll be releasing a Sony greatest hits album with new tracks later this year and the results of his Virgin/Geffen contract have been musically unremarkable, to say the least). Michael Jackson was sued by the children of the world for a lot of indeterminate things to do with his penis (although really he should be punished for the lyrics to 'Stranger In Moscow'.) Even ABBA sued their manager in the early 90s over royalty "issues".

So I'm used to this trend. What's frustrating is that it's very rare to find out the end results of such litigation. The George Michael case was one of the few that ever reached court, admidst a swelter of publicity. Two more recent cases are particularly annoying me, though, for their total lack of information.

The first concerns ex-Go Go's drummer Gina Schock (and yes, I know the picture above is of Belinda Carlisle, she's the one I had a promo transparency of). Schock filed suit in Los Angeles last month against the rest of the band, seeking 3% of all income from band compositions. She claims such a deal was made when she joined the band in 1979, but hasn't been paid up on since 1986. Since the original court case, though, there's been nothing, not even a whisper of gossip on the fan pages online.

Even older and more intriguing is the case of Sitwell versus Shakespear's Sister. To quote Music Week from July 8 of last year:

The sole surviving trustee of Dame Edith Sitwell's estate is suing Shakespears Sister, EMI Music Publishing, Island Music, FFRR Records and PolyGram Video International, after Siobhan Fahey and Marcella Detroit used the Bloomsbury group writer's poem Hornpipe in their song I Don't Care. The writ, issued by Francis Tarjan Sacheverell Sitwell, accuses the band and the companies of copyright infringement.

Now this has got to be interesting, especially as Marcella and Siobahn aren't speaking much these days. Sitwell receives a credit on the 'I Don't Care' single (pictured above), but not on the album. On the single, the exact phrasing is "quoted by permission of Duckworth". So is Sitwell denying this happened? Or was it done on the single but not on the album (which sold a lot more)? And why is it eight months later and I still don't know anything?

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