· By Alisa Apps
MY LAWSUIT AGAINST UNIVERSAL MUSIC GROUP / JOHN NEWMAN | Q&A
Q: What is going on with your lawsuit against Universal?
A: I had – and still have – a great case… but there were complexities in the legal system and the court rules, that weren’t considered by my attorney, and my case was thrown out before I even got to a jury.
Unbeknownst to me – and to my lawyer as it turns out – Universal is a complicated web of parent and subsidiary companies, all with similar names but different locations and purposes, and my lawyer… sued the wrong one. I’ve since learned this is a frustratingly common tactic for large corporations to avoid being sued.
Believe me, I was pissed beyond belief when I found out about this, but unfortunately, the problem couldn’t be fixed, so the judge threw out the case. And to make matters worse, the statute of limitations had run by the time all of this was revealed, so I couldn’t simply start over by suing the right subsidiary of Universal.
Q: If you lost your case, how are you still able to say Universal stole your music?
A: This is a great question, because it’s somewhat misleading to say “I lost my case.” My case never got to a jury. I was never able to have my expert testify that John Newman’s song ripped off mine. I didn’t get to investigate the people at Universal who had my song years before Newman released his plagiarized version. I never really got a chance to even… present my case.
I still say, listen to the songs side-by-side. It speaks for itself. Universal had my song, they liked my song, but they gave it to another artist to sing without my permission. If this case got to a jury, they would hear exactly what you all have heard. Blatant plagiarism.
But, unfortunately, I’ve learned the hard way that the legal world isn’t quite as straight forward. Universal has a gigantic team of lawyers all waiting to pounce on anyone, like me, to make sure cases, like mine, NEVER get in front of a jury.
Q: What is next in terms of a lawsuit?
A: OK, so…I have found new attorneys. And they have presented some possible solutions, but I am MUCH more involved in the brainstorming and legal analysis going forward. I trusted my attorneys before… trusted that they knew the legal rules and would sidestep any landmines… but I’m not making the same mistake twice. This time I’m educating myself on the law and how my case should progress, and I’m definitely involved in the decision-making process.
In the meantime, all I can say is that I will be updating you all as things move forward, and if you have questions, I’ll do my best to answer them.