Ozzy Lawyers Call AEG Motion to Dismiss Anti-Trust Suit ‘Baseless on the Facts and the Law Alike’
Back in March, Ozzy Osbourne by filing an anti-trust lawsuit against the concert promoter AEG. Now, in response to AEG's June 1 motion to dismiss the case, lawyers for the Prince of Darkness have fired back, calling the proposal "baseless on the facts and the law alike."
Earlier this year, Sharon Osbourne - Ozzy's manager and wife - claimed AEG Live was blackmailing the singer by using controversial "block-booking" practices to force him into performing at the AEG-owned Staples Center in Los Angeles and O2 Arena in London. Apparently, if Osbourne wanted to play the O2, he must also play the Staples Center during his 'No More Tours 2' farewell tour. Now, AEG is saying that an artist - Ozzy in this particular case - cannot file an anti-trust suit since the policy ties the promoter - Live Nation - to the agreement, not the artist.
According to Billboard, AEG pleaded their case by saying, "Ozzy is not a party to the agreement and is not subject to its obligations. Thus, the LN/Ozzy Commitment Letter does not deprive Ozzy of any ‘competitive benefits' whatsoever. Regardless of whether Live Nation enters the LN/Ozzy Commitment Letter, Ozzy remains free to ‘play venues off each other to negotiate more favorable deal terms.'"
Osbourne's attorney Dan Wall responded to the motion by saying, "An artist's promoter is his business representative, so agreements that a promoter signs bind the artist. "The resulting contract requires Live Nation to direct Ozzy's tour routing in a variety of significant respects, imposing an obligation on Ozzy to play or not play shows at various venues subject to the conditions established by the agreement."
AEG added that Osbourne doesn't have to use a different promoter for the Los Angeles show, while lawyers for the singer respond that since there is no specification in the agreement, there is less room to play venues off of one another for the most lucrative deal, and that moving a show of the 'No More Tours 2' magnitude across town to play a preferred venue while in Los Angeles would not be financially reasonable. The precedent set is that Osbourne and artists of his size would have to play all of their L.A. dates at Staples Center to draw the most money.
"Ozzy is threatened with a causal antitrust injury because he was forced to agree to the Staples Center Commitment to book the O2, which means he is no longer free to book the Los Angeles venue of his choice," the rebuttal continues. "As a result of the O2's London location, seating capacity, ability to host major events, and the absence of nearby arenas with similar attributes, the O2's owner, AEG, wields significant market power - likely monopoly power - in the market for arena-sized indoor venues for musical concerts in London or greater London. The point of this lawsuit is that AEG has market power in London, which it uses ‘to distort freedom of trade and competition' in Los Angeles."
Osbourne's 'No More Tours 2' picks back up again Thursday night (July 5) in Spain at Barcelona Rock Fest. The trek returns to North America at the end of August and runs through mid-October. To see the full list of shows, go to this location.
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