Coachella promoters win restraining order against Live Nation over ‘copycat’ festival
A U.S. court has sided with the promoters of Coachella music festival today, issuing a restraining order preventing Live Nation from selling tickets to a ‘rival’ New Year’s Eve event.
The decision, handed down by U.S. District Judge R. Gary Klausner on Monday local time, ruled that planned New Year’s Eve event Coachella Day One 22 would likely confuse people into thinking it was connected with the popular yearly festival.
AEG-owned Goldenvoice sued Live Nation for trademark infringement last week, accusing the company of infringing its trademark rights to the ‘Coachella‘ name.
Although Live Nation is not the promoter of the event, the real promoters – the Twenty-Nine Palms Band of Mission Indians, a Native American tribe that owns venue Coachella Crossroads – could not be named because the tribe is shielded from legal action due to sovereign immunity.
Live Nation was instead accused of ‘contributory infringement’ for its role in advertising and selling tickets to the event via TicketMaster.
Today’s ruling was not based on the final merits of the lawsuit; instead, the ‘temporary’ restraining order will prevent the sale or advertisement of tickets whilst the case is further contested.
Live Nation had argued such an order was unnecessary as 20-year-old festival Coachella was unlikely to suffer much detriment from a similar-sounding event, but the judge had a different point of view.
“Live Nation advances only one, uncompelling argument [that] Coachella’s incredible success demonstrates that its reputation will not suffer material harm from [a] ‘one-night New Year’s celebration,’” he wrote.
“This argument is simply unpersuasive.”
He ruled that Goldenvoice will likely eventually win the whole lawsuit, and that it would suffer ‘irreparable harm’ should the event continue under the Coachella Day One 22 moniker.
Goldenvoice is also suing Bluehost, the web host provider for the domain name ‘coachellacrossroads.com’.
The lawsuit contends that “Twenty-Nine Palms has gone to great lengths to imitate” Coachella and its associated trademarks.
Goldenvoice says it doesn’t mind if the tribe hosts a festival or events at its venue – as long as they don’t mention ‘Coachella‘.
The event can – and will – still go ahead.
Live Nation had already re-branded it as Day One 22, well before today’s decision.
Lil Wayne has replaced Saweetie as a headliner for the event, which will also feature DJ Diesel (the DJ persona of basketball Shaquille O’Neal), E-40 and Getter.
Although they were never the promoters of the event, Live Nation found their stocks dropping hard last week.
According to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence, shares of Live Nation Entertainment dropped 9.4 per cent between close of trade Friday 10th and Friday 17th December.
This article originally appeared on The Industry Observer, which is now part of The Music Network.