Country Star Jimmie Allen Faces Sexual Assault Lawsuit – Plus AI Rules, Champagne Heist & More

This is The Legal Beat, a weekly newsletter about music law from Billboard Pro, offering you a one-stop cheat sheet of big new cases, important rulings and all the fun stuff in between.

This week: An ugly sexual assault lawsuit against country star Jimmie Allen; a potential agreement between record labels and streamers over AI-generated fake songs; allegations that NYPD cops stole pricey champagne from a music festival; and much more.


THE BIG STORY: Jimmie Allen Sexual Assault Lawsuit

Country music star Jimmie Allen was hit with a civil lawsuit last week containing some truly ugly accusations: That he had repeatedly sexually harassed and raped a woman on his management team, and that her company then fired her when she complained.

In a complaint filed in Tennessee federal court, the anonymous “Jane Doe” accuser alleged that Allen “manipulated and used his power” over her job as a day-to-day manager in order to “sexually harass and abuse her” over a period of 18 months from 2020 to 2022.

Months later, when she says she was “on the verge of a nervous breakdown and considered committing suicide” and chose to disclose the problem to her employers — management firm Wide Open Music and founder Ash Bowers — she says she was promptly fired in retaliation.

Allen denied any wrongdoing, admitting to a sexual relationship with his accuser but saying it had been consensual. Bowers, too, strongly refuted the claims — saying his company had quickly ended its relationship with Allen after learning of the relationship with his accuser.

But the fallout was quick: Allen’s record label, BBR Music Group, announced hours later that it had suspended its work with the singer; the next day, his current management company, The Familie, and booking agency, UTA, both announced they were doing the same.

For more on the Jimmie Allen lawsuit, including access to the full legal documents filed in the case, go read our full story.

Other top stories…

MUSIC AI ON CAPITOL HILL – At a Senate hearing over potential regulation for artificial intelligence, Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) grilled Sam Altman, CEO of the company behind ChatGPT, over AI’s impact on the music industry — including whether music AI platforms should pay artists whose works are used to train the machines. “There has to be compensation to that artist,” Blackburn told Altman.

A TAKEDOWN SYSTEM FOR AI? – The major labels are in talks with Spotify and other streamers to create an informal process to deal with AI-generated soundalikes, similar to last month’s infamous “Fake Drake” song. The proposed system would operate similarly to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act’s notice-and-takedown process but would cite name-and-likeness rights rather than federal copyrights.

MARILYN MANSON CASE GUTTED – A Los Angeles judge dismissed much of Marilyn Manson’s defamation lawsuit against his ex-fiance, Evan Rachel Wood, ruling that many of his claims were barred under a California law aimed at protecting free speech. Manson’s case claimed that Wood orchestrated a conspiracy of false abuse accusations to destroy his career.

ELECTRIC ZOO CHAMPAGNE HEIST – Three NYPD detectives were hit with criminal charges over allegations that they stole nearly $3,000 worth of Jay-Z’s Ace of Spades brand champagne from the VIP area during last year’s Electric Zoo festival.

TIDAL CASE DISMISSED – A judge tossed out a lawsuit against Jack Dorsey and his Block Inc. over its 2021 acquisition of majority ownership in Jay-Z’s Tidal. The court ruled that Dorsey and Block didn’t violate their fiduciary duty to investors even though they made a “terrible business decision” to buy the failing streamer — a decision made after Dorsey vacationed with Jay-Z in the Hamptons.

VILLAGE PEOPLE v. TRUMP – Disco legends Village People sent a cease-and-desist letter to Donald Trump, threatening legal action over a costume-clad tribute band at his Mar-a-Lago resort that’s allegedly been performing “Macho Man” and other hit songs without permission.

MOFI SETTLEMENT APPROVED – A federal judge greenlit a $25 million settlement struck by vinyl producer Mobile Fidelity to resolve accusations that the company’s pricey “all analog” records were secretly created using digital methods, overruling objections from some customers that the settlement was “tainted by the stink of collusion.”

LETS TRY THIS AGAINT.I. headed back to court for a second trial in his lawsuit claiming that toymaker MGA stole the design of its “OMG” dolls from the OMG Girlz — a defunct teen pop trio created by his wife, Tameka “Tiny” Harris. The new proceedings kicked off months after the first trial ended in an abrupt mistrial.

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