Coffee Co. Considers Additional Taxes for Bonnaroo

Following the first sold out Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in seven years, questions have risen about its future in Coffee County, The Tennessean reports. The festival and municipality have long been embroiled in a love-hate relationship; however, the recent move by the Coffee County Commission to instill a 2.5 percent tax on hotel room bookings just two days prior to this year’s events —which would also be charged to onsite campers — had organizers up in arms. Bonnaroo staff eventually made a deal with the commission to exclude campers this year, but Coffee County remains resolute in obtaining additional funds to pay for road and bridge upgrades in the county. The festival nets the municipality around $1 million annually in tax money from ticket sales and on-site services, and contributes about 25 percent of the county’s annual sales tax.

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SCOTUS Agrees to Hear Racial Bias Case Against Comcast

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday agreed to hear cable television operator Comcast Corp’s bid to throw out comedian and producer Byron Allen’s racial bias lawsuit accusing the company of discriminating against black-owned channels, Reuters reports. At the heart of the case is the question of whether individuals who are refused a business contract can sue under the civil rights law without ruling out reasons other than discrimination for the denial. The 9th Circuit said lawsuits can proceed to trial if plaintiffs can show that discriminatory intent was one factor among others in the denial of a contract.
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Settlement Reached Between Estate of Michael Jackson, Former Manager

One battle regarding Michael Jackson’s assets is over, as the King of Pop’s estate reached a settlement with his former manager, USA Today reports. This comes five days into a trial over a dispute between the manager, Tohme R. Tohme, and the estate concerning commissions and proceeds from the posthumous concert film “This Is It.” Prior to the trial, the presiding judge denied Tohme’s interest in the film, but allowed his commissions claim to proceed. While the estate acknowledged efforts by Tohme, it contended that his contract ended with the singer's death and he was entitled only to a percentage of income Jackson himself received while he was alive. The settlement is confidential.

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Entertainment & Sports CLE Planned for TBA Convention

In addition to fun evening activities and networking opportunities, the TBA Annual Convention in Nashville will offer a number of valuable CLE programs. This year, the TBA Young Lawyer’s Division has brought together legal counsel and experts from some of Tennessee’s most popular sports teams to share their war stories, experiences and to answer your legal questions related to sports law. All practice areas are welcome to attend and cheer on their favorite sports team or panelist (no excessive heckling or air horns allowed). Register now for the June 12-15 convention and reserve your hotel rooms before the TBA special rate expires.
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Member Spotlight

For this member spotlight, the Entertainment & Sports Law Executive Council would like to introduce council member and past section chair Jeff Allen. Jeff is a senior attorney in the Nashville office of Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP. He focuses his practice on entertainment and intellectual property litigation, as well as entertainment transactional matters. Jeff has handled cases involving personal management and songwriting contract disputes, complex royalty disputes, copyright termination, copyright infringement, trademark infringement and right of publicity. Additionally, he has negotiated all types of agreements in the music industry, including personal management agreements, licensing agreements, exclusive recording and publishing agreements, and production agreements. Jeff also regularly prepares and files copyright registration applications for entertainment clients, has served as legal counsel on all stages of an independent film production, and works with clients in the television and sports industries.
Jeff currently serves as co-chair of the Nashville Bar Association’s Entertainment, Sports and Media Law Committee and assistant treasurer of the Nashville Bar Association. He is also a member of the Copyright Society of the South, the Troubadour Society Advisory Committee for the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, and the Country Music Association. Jeff has been listed in Mid-South Super Lawyers as a “Rising Star” in Entertainment and Sports since 2015 and was ranked in Chambers USAfor Media and Entertainment in 2018. Jeff lives in Sylvan Park with his wife, Jamie, and his two-year-old daughter, Everly, and is also an avid runner.

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TBA Recap: Entertainment & Sports Law Forum 2019

The Tennessee Bar Association's Entertainment & Sports Law Section recently held its annual forum at Belmont College of Law. Nearly 90 practitioners attended the forum and enjoyed top-notch programming, including two entertainment law panels, one sports law panel and a session focused on attorney well-being. The TBA would like to thank the section's Executive Council members for their time and assistance creating a unique and successful program.  

Mary Lauren Teague | Chair | Middle
Reid Waltz | Chair-Elect | Middle
Molly Shehan | Past Chair | Middle
Jeff Allen | Council Member | Middle
Daniel Werly | Council Member | Middle
Alandis Brassel | Council Member | Middle
Jenna Harris | Council Member | Middle
Steve Gaches | Council Member | Middle
Jesse Harbison | Council Member | Middle


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Still Time to Register for Wednesday's Entertainment & Sports Forum

Join a distinguished group of speakers at Belmont University on Wednesday for an afternoon discussion of some of the most cutting-edge legal issues in the music and sports industries. The panels have been carefully crafted to provide timely and practical information that will benefit practitioners of all levels, showcasing a wide array of areas, including an in-depth discussion of the practical impact of new music legislation, legal issues related to live music and merchandising, sports gambling topics, and attorney well-being.
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NBC Picks Up Legal Drama Series Set in Memphis

"Bluff City Law," a Memphis-set legal drama starring Jimmy Smits, has been ordered into production as a weekly series by NBC, the Commercial Appeal reports. "Bluff City Law" is "a character-driven legal drama that follows the lawyers of an elite Memphis law firm that specializes in the most controversial landmark civil rights cases." It in unclear whether the show will be filmed on location entirely in Memphis, or only partially with the bulk of filming taking place in Georgia.
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Wife of Warner Bros. Executive Who Suffers from Alzheimers Accused of Elder Abuse

The son of former Warner Bros. chief and Alzheimers sufferer Terry Semel filed a petition in Los Angeles County Superior Court to appoint a temporary conservator for his father, accusing his stepmother of elder abuse, The Los Angeles Times reports. That son, Eric Semel, says that his stepmother is “in serious breach of her fiduciary duties” and “causing serious harm to Terry’s health and safety,” further accusing her of telling his father’s caregivers to change the dosage of his medications, refusing to take him to routine exams, refusing to let him leave the facility and limiting his social interactions, among other claims. The elder Semel is one of the most powerful men in Hollywood and has an estate valued at several hundred million dollars.

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Battle for Prince's Estate Has No End in Sight

The fight surrounding the estate of late musician, Prince, is still making its way through the courts three years after the rock icon’s death, Forbes reports. The artist died without a will, sparking a heated battle between family members over the estimated $200 million estate, which to date has reportedly spent around $45 million in administrative costs and legal fees. You can view the case history using this link.

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Lee to Allow Sports Betting Bill to Become Law Without Signature

Gov. Bill Lee says he will allow a Tennessee sports betting bill to become law without his signature, the Tennessean reports. The House and Senate both narrowly approved the legislation, which would allow online sports betting beginning July 1. Lee has stated in the past his opposition to the practice. Tax revenue from the sports gambling industry is projected to bring in an estimated $50 million each year, which will be set aside for education, local government and gambling addiction treatment.
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Major Music Labels Join Fight Against 'Slate of Hate'

Nashville-based record labels Warner Music Group and Curb Records are the latest additions to a growing opposition of the “Slate of Hate” legislation proffered by Tennessee lawmakers, Billboard reports. The labels signed onto a letter authored by a music industry leader, cautioning Tennessee's legislature of potential negative consequences that might arise if the laws are adopted. Almost 40 companies have voiced disproval of the legislation, along with another music industry powerhouse, Taylor Swift, who donated $113,000 to the cause.

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Member Spotlight


For this member spotlight, the Entertainment & Sports Law Executive Council would like to introduce Jesse Harbison. Jesse is the Director of Legal Services for the Arts & Business Council of Greater Nashville. She oversees the Arts & Business Council's Volunteer Lawyers & Professionals for the Arts ("VLPA") program, which provides pro bono legal assistance to low-income artists and arts nonprofits. Through the VLPA, Harbison assists clients with a diverse range of issues, from copyright registration to non-profit incorporation. Prior to joining the Arts & Business Council, Harbison was an associate at Baker Donelson and served as Associate General Counsel for the Tennessee Human Rights Commission. Harbison currently serves on the board of the Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services. She is also the co-founder of the podcast Mirror Mirror. In her free time, she enjoys learning new skills (she is currently on an embroidery kick), and spending time with her husband, Jay, who is an associate at Neal & Harwell. 

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NFL Executive Will Take Part in Vandy Law Lecture Series During Draft Week

National Football League executive and Vanderbilt Board of Trust secretary Adolpho A. Birch III will visit the Vanderbilt campus for a suite of lectures and activities on April 23-24. In the days leading up to the NFL draft, taking place in Nashville April 25-27, Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos will host Birch, the NFL’s senior vice president of labor policy and league affairs, for a variety of discussions and panels on issues related to sports, law and society.
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5 New Job Postings on TBA’s Joblink

See who is hiring in Tennessee. Recent job postings this month offer opportunities in litigation, real estate, health law and more. See full listings or post positions in your firm on TBA’s Joblink.
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TBA Convention Kicks Off TOMORROW!

The big week is finally upon us: The Tennessee Bar Association’s Annual Convention begins tomorrow, June 12. This year’s Convention is chock-full of even better programming, exhibits and fun than last year! Look forward to:

  • Free Access to 9 Hours of CLE, including the Bench Bar Program, co-sponsored by the Tennessee Judicial Conference
  • Opening welcome reception
  • Bench Bar Luncheon (featuring keynote speaker, Ken Starr)
  • Law School and General Breakfasts
  • Lawyers Luncheon (featuring special honor for Sen. Lamar Alexander)
  • Thursday night joint reception sponsored with TLAW and TABL
  • Thursday night Dinner/Dance Party featuring My So-Called Band
  • Friday night TBALL/YLD Party
  • Access to activities and programming designed for well-being including massages, contemplative space and more.
  • Access to TBA's sponsorship hall to meet with exhibitors, participate in our special TBA Wellness Corner and win prizes.
• QUESTIONS: Just email to get help.
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Memphis Proposes Incentives to Keep Graceland

Memphis has proposed incentives to keep Graceland in town after news that the home might be moved to another location, reports. Though city officials asked said there were no plans to move one of the world’s most famous properties, a Wall Street Journal article on Sunday detailed considerations by the the Presley estate and corporation that runs Graceland to move the house to Nashville, Japan, China, or wherever else has the highest bidder. To keep Graceland around, Memphis will to give it a bigger cut of city and county property and sales tax revenues for an expansion project and feature between $194 million and $269 million in reduced taxes for stakeholders. This is not the first spat between the parties, with the conglomerate suing the city three times regarding construction of an arena on the property that would be funded by taxpayers.

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Tom Petty's Estate in a Free Fall

The widow of Tom Petty and two of his daughters from a previous marriage are ensnared in a battle over the late rocker’s estate, the Los Angeles Times reports. Trustee Dana Petty claims that the daughters are making it difficult to carry out important decisions, requesting the court to appoint a manager tasked with oversight of the estate and require a consensus be made between all parties regarding consequential business. One of the daughters, Adria Petty, has filed her own petition regarding the widow’s failure to incorporate the musician’s “artistic properties” into an LLC that, according to the will, would be divided between the three women. Court documents also allude to solo music recorded by Petty 25 years ago, the release of which has been stymied because of the feud.

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Help4TNDay Kicks Off Saturday

Tennessee lawyers are invited to participate in Help4TNDay activities throughout the month of April. Events will bring attention to the ongoing need for free and low-cost legal services and highlight the groups that provide these services to disadvantaged Tennesseans. Opportunities include volunteering to help clients in need through Tennessee Free Legal Answers (TFLA) or at a local legal clinic. The events kick-off this Saturday with a statewide virtual legal clinic, where attorneys across the state will answer questions on TFLA from noon to 2 p.m. Simultaneously, the TBA will host an on-site TFLA Clinic and Luncheon in Nashville. To participate in the TBA event, contact Liz Todaro. Help4TNDay is a joint effort by the Tennessee Supreme Court Access to Justice Commission, the Administrative Office of the Courts, Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services and the Tennessee Bar Association. 
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Memphis Mayor Appoints Holder as Mediator in Park Redesign Dispute

Following disagreements regarding the planned redesign of Tom Lee Park, Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland has appointed retired Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Janice Holder to mediate discussions between the organizers of Memphis in May International Festival and Memphis River Parks Partnership, the Commercial Appeal reports. Construction on the park is slated to begin in June and will be underway during the 2020 Beale Street Music Festival. Festival organizers believe there will not be enough space for the music festival and BBQ contest while leaders of the redesign claim the opposite. In a written statement, Strickland advocated the use of experienced mediators to get opposing parties back on the same page. Justice Holder has mediated for the City of Memphis before, including the removal of a Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest statue.

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Registration Now Open for TBA Convention in Nashville, June 12-15

The TBA's annual Convention returns to downtown Nashville this summer! Mark your calendars for June 12-15 and prepare for four days of CLE, networking, entertainment and more at the Renaissance Hotel, 611 Commerce Street. Registration is officially open, with early bird rates available until April 30.
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Member Spotlight this member spotlight, the Entertainment & Sports Law Executive Council would like to introduce Alandis Brassel. He is the principal attorney at The Brassel Firm PLLC, a boutique law firm for entertainers, artists and entrepreneurs. His practice focuses on transactional entertainment and corporate matters and estate planning for creatives and entrepreneurs.

Prior to establishing The Brassel Firm, Alandis worked as a lawyer in the public and nonprofit sectors, first as legal counsel to U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper, then as program director at the Arts & Business Council of Greater Nashville, where he supervised the Volunteer Lawyers and Professionals for the Arts and Artist Education programs. He worked as professional audio engineer for clients such as Bloomberg Television, Warner Music Group, Island Def Jam and Timbaland before moving to Nashville to attend Vanderbilt University Law School.

Alandis is an adjunct professor of music business at Belmont University and The University of Memphis. Active in the Nashville community, he is a board member of the Tennessee Youth Courts program and the Northwest YMCA. When he's not working, he can be found at the house rifling through his vinyl collection with his wife Thallen and schooling his sons, Alandis Jr. and Theodore, about what "real music" is.

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Peloton Faces $150 Million Music Licensing Suit

The National Music Publishers’ Association has sued exercise bike maker Peloton for $150 million in damages over its improper use of songs, Billboard reports. The suit claims the company used more than 1,000 songs for its streaming exercise classes without obtaining the correct music licenses. CEO John Foley sent a letter to Peloton members on Monday responding to the lawsuit and informing them that classes featuring songs named in the lawsuit would no longer be available.

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Sen. Kelsey Introduces Bill Supporting Pay for Student Athletes

Sen. Brian Kelsey, R-Germantown, introduced a resolution earlier this month that, if passed, would instruct Tennessee’s public universities to work with their athletic conferences to oppose the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s prohibition on compensation for student athletes, The Nashville Post reports. Kelsey is citing this weekend’s American Athletic Conference and Southeastern Conference basketball tournaments in the state as a reason for the call to pay student athletes. He said that "exploiting these athletes is a violation of their economic liberty and civil rights."
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Actor Luke Perry's Estate in Good Order

Tennessee resident and 90201 actor Luke Perry, who died on March 4 after suffering a stroke, bucked the recent trend of celebrities’ who do not leave a will, Forbes reports. Perry reportedly created a will in 2015, after doctors discovered precancerous growths in a colonoscopy, leaving everything in his estimated $10 million estate to his three children. The news magazine highlights that Perry likely had an Advance Care Directive, otherwise, the decision of his family to terminate life support would have been a public battle in probate court. Perry was laid to rest on March 11 and buried just outside of his farm in Dickson County.

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