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"Somebody has to put a stop to this crap. I’ve been evangelized. I’m ready to take this thing all the way to the Supreme Court."
COURTNEY LOVES LITIGATION
Industry Dealings Are The Only Thing She Hasn’t Exposed During Flamboyant Career
In what could be the trial of the century, Courtney Love is taking on the record industry.

Love has filed suit against Vivendi Universal to break her contract and expose what she deems the industry's "unconscionable and unlawful" business dealings, including accounting practices that skew sales figures and cheat artists out of royalties.

Love and Universal are scheduled to appear in Los Angeles County Superior Court Wednesday (2/28) for a status hearing on the suit.

As if that weren't enough, Epitaph Records has decided to "fund" Courtney's songwriting so that she can begin work on her next record.

"I need to start writing and recording because Universal has said that they will stop me from doing so," she said in a statement, before rambling on for an additional page.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the lawsuit centers on the music industry's standard of long-term contracts that often keep artists tied up for years. The suit also seeks to end the practice of buying and selling artists' contracts, often against their will.

In her suit, Love says she was coerced into signing away all of her rights, including ownership of her music, to the company under a boilerplate industry agreement. Among the 15 causes of action listed in her suit, Love is challenging the legality of her contract's assignment clause, a provision that allowed the label that owned her contract to sell it without her consent. The suit contends that mergers and consolidations have rendered artists' contracts as invalid.

Love's band Hole initially signed to Geffen Records in 1992. According to the Times, the suit claims they made the decision based on the label's success with Sonic Youth and Nirvana, and Geffen promised to take a similar approach with Hole. Since the band's signing, Geffen was sold to MCA, which was purchased by Japan's Matsushita Electric Industrial Inc., then scooped up by Seagram. The Canadian behemoth then folded the label into Interscope (a label Hole passed on in '92), before merging with Vivendi.

Love maintains she can't work for Vivendi because its agenda is different than the label she initially signed to. Said Love: "I've sunk from being marketed by an American label that understood how to sell my music to a huge Canadian corporation that knows nothing but how to sell booze and finally slid down into the sewers of Paris. Why? All because I, like every other recording artist I know, had the misfortune of being forced to sign an illegal contract."

The suit seeks precedent in California Section 2855, a law instituted 50 years ago after a legal battle by actress Olivia de Havilland to free actors from long-term studio deals. Under the so-called seven-year statute, entertainers cannot be tied to any company for more than seven years. The California Legislature amended the statute in 1987 at the urging of the major labels, giving them the right to recover damages from any artist who attempts to break his or her contract. Love intends to challenge that amendment, alleging in her suit that record company lobbyists and executives swayed lawmakers with false testimony.

Other artists, including Beck, Don Henley and Luther Vandross, challenged the statute, but made out-of-court settlements.

Back in 1999, Love notified Universal's Interscope Records that Hole would no longer record for the company. Universal countered with a lawsuit filed January 2000 for Hole's five undelivered albums. If Love loses the suit filed against her, she could owe the music conglom as much as $100 million for the undelivered albums.

While Vivendi Universal did not comment on the suit, the L.A.Times reported their legal papers dismiss Love's suit as a "meritless, inflammatory diatribe" designed to "attract media attention." Ironically, those are the same phrases used frequently to describe hitsdailydouble.

Still, Love shows no signs of backing down.

"I could end up being the music industry's worst nightmare: a smart gal with a fat bank account who is unafraid to go down in flames fighting for a principle," Love said in the Times. "Look, you show a music industry contract to any attorney in any other business, and their jaw just hits the floor. Somebody has to put a stop to this crap. I've been evangelized. I'm ready to take this thing all the way to the Supreme Court."

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