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Friday, March 6, 2009

Phish Tour Opens With Obligatory Lawsuits

The AP reports that Phish is kicking off its reunion tour with a lawsuit against bootleggers in Virginia and across the country. Not a surprise at all.

Ever since the days of the Hollywood Sportatorium, big name acts prelude their performance with bands of roving lawyers seeking to enjoin the marketing of their name brands. Because concerts are not just about music. They are about lots of money, though Phish has always tried to avoid the Hollywood style marketing schemes.

Bands want to control the unlicensed sale of their merchandise, and Phish has a cult like following and fandom second to none. In fact there appearances are an open invitation for fed law enforcements to do proactive undercover work. Whenever they appear, the DEA is sure to follow, seeking out dealers and consumers of LSD and other friendly narcotics acquired by drug induced music worshippers seeking to spiritually enhance their concert going experience. Many wind up before federal magistrates. their lives scarred forever. Many are decent young kids, out for a high, but buy into a bust they never bargained for.

The first concert is tonite, Friday night at the Hampton Coliseum in Virginia. But first, Phish attorneys have a court date in United States District Court to block the sale of bootleg T-shirts, posters and other merchandise at its concerts.

"Because they are generally nomadic individuals without a business premises or other connection to the area, Bootleggers often flee the area permanently once they have sold Bootleg Merchandise," the band says in its complaint. So the prophylactic lawsuit names anonymous John Does.

Armed with the preemptive injunction, cops come to their concerts with civil seizure orders allowing for the confiscation of bootleg goods. Then there are the scores of police to patrol and control the sold out crowds. As I just wrote, the DEA teams will be going undercover to ferret out illegal drug abusers. Paramedics on call for the occasional overdose. And a fun time is not had by all. Not when you go to a concert and wind up a federal prisoner being read sentencing guidelines.

But if you are a Phish fanatic, like your neighborhood blogger, it is an experience, concert, and venue you simply do not miss. Suspect I will see John Marne there for sure. But when they set up the customary little village outside the concert venues, and have a mini three day festival, it needs to be populated by a group of criminal defense lawyers as much as guys and gals selling t shirts and beads.

The initial tour does not have them coming to South Florida soon, but there is a gap for them to do a few days at Bonnaroo in Tennessee. They are in Virginia. I can't wait for them to get here. Or I will just go to them. I know kids that will drop out of college for a semester to follow their tour. It is their first since they broke up in 2004, with their last concert at the American Airlines Arena.
You know if I had a month off, I would not go to Paris. I think just a bunch of the outdoor music festivals at Bonnaroo, in California, in Austin, would do fine. Barefoot in the park, no worries, no cel phones, no mortgages, no clients...what ever happened to the life we wanted when we were growing up? Where did it go? Oh, that's right Robin Williams is going for heart surgery. Maybe all those drugs don't go with the heart pills that Doctor Chizner gives me.
To be young again...ah, if it only could be so.....

1 comment:

  1. This truly has to be one of the most educative and entertaining legal blogs on the entire Internet. It is not only aesthetically pleasing and editorially articulate, you demonstrate Norm Kent a unique and incisive perspective, integrated with very real personal anecdotes, drawing upon the experiences of your friends and family. I not only learn about the law, get a cross section of great issues to read about, but see a brilliant mind at work, someone who has obviously enjoyed his life, but recognizes not only his own frustrations and failures, but the inherent weaknesses of the system, and the importance of challenging it at every level. I feel I know you now, and what I see is a person willing to lay it all out there, challenge the establishment and keep a song in his heart. keep up the good work. you will inevitably find a following bigger than you ever imagined, and you really should go back on the radio. No this is not your mother, just a fellow colleague who has come to appreciate your willingness to be cutting edge, controversial, caustic, but with a conscience.
    Good luck to you.
    Jefrey R.