Celeb law watch: Pop stars in the news
It’s been a busy week for Madonna, Kanye West and Paul McCartney
It’s been a busy week, law-wise, for some of the world’s most famous musicians — so much so that you could be forgiven for thinking they’re getting to grips with Lord Denning’s famous aphorism:
Be you ever so high, the law is above you.
Take former Beatle and global superstar Paul McCartney. The 73 year-old reportedly launched legal proceedings in December, in a bid to claw back the rights to his and John Lennon’s songs, including classics like Come Together and Don’t Let Me Down.
The songs are currently Sony’s legal property but — luckily for McCartney — the US Copyright Act means that songwriters can reclaim the ownership of their songs after a certain time period. For McCartney that’s 56 years, meaning the pop star will have to wait until at least 2018 before he’ll be given his chance.
Perhaps things will move a little quicker for anguished pop star Madonna, who for the past few months has been involved in a high-profile, high-drama legal dispute with her ex-hubby Guy Ritchie.
The long-running squabble concerns who should get custody of the pair’s 15 year-old son Rocco, who is currently living with his father in London.
Following Madonna and Ritchie’s divorce in 2008, it was agreed that Rocco would live in America with his mother but also spend some time with his father. A family court judge approved this agreement, but it doesn’t look like Ritchie and his son have taken much notice, for the past few months anyway.
Rocco visited his dad in London last December and has ended up staying there, much to his 57-year-old mother’s upset and disapproval. The erratic behaviour demonstrated by the singer, who is currently on a world tour, since proceedings began has been well documented.
But is Madonna finally making some progress? British judge Mr Justice MacDonald ruled this week that the English legal proceedings launched by the singer just before Christmas could be halted. Court proceedings can instead continue in New York, where Rocco was previously living with his mother.
Trouble is, the judge also warned that Madonna and Ritchie face a “tragedy” if they continue their legal battle over their teenage son. Rebecca Harling, family law solicitor at Thomas Eggar, part of the Irwin Mitchell Group, says:
This is a very sad case and ultimately fruitless for Madonna, as Rocco, at the age of 15, will ultimately ‘vote with his feet’ and live where he decides. At 15, and considered to be ‘mature, articulate and reflective’ by the judge, his wishes and feelings would be a major factor for the court in deciding where he is to live. It is likely that Rocco originally chose to remain with his father in London following contact and Madonna would be well-advised to cease all litigation and try to resolve the matter amicably in order to salvage the on-going relationship with her son.
But our rock-star watch shows that things could be looking up for controversial rapper Kanye West.
In 2014, the judge threw the book at Kim Kardashian’s better half for his involvement in a shocking scuffle with a paparazzi photographer. West was placed on 24 months probation and was sentenced to 250 hours community service. He’s now looking to have his record expunged — to have the slate wiped clean — after he took his punishment extra seriously and even put in more community service hours than he was required to.
A decision has yet to be given on the matter but, according to the US press, it’s pretty much guaranteed that the 38-year-old will be successful in his request.