LITTLE GLORIA

At the moment of her death this past June, it could fairly be said that Gloria Vanderbilt, at the age of 95, had been a celebrity longer than anyone on earth. My forthcoming book, Adventures of a Jazz Age Lawyer: Nathan Burkan and the Making of American Popular Culture, recounts the remarkable events, including the custody battle of the century, that first made Gloria Vanderbilt famous.

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CEASE AND DESIST LETTERS FROM BEYOND THE GRAVE – CIVIL RIGHTS HEROS EDITION

XWith the 50th anniversary of the 1964 Civil Rights Act fast upon us, the market for papers, ephemera, and memorabilia of the civil rights movement seems to heating up, bringing with it a wave of legal activity by the heirs, assigns, and executors of some of its most iconic figures, what we cheekily call “cease and desist letters from beyond the grave.” In just the past few weeks, disputes over the legacies of Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, and Malcolm X have all landed in court.

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CHUNGA’S REVENGE

floThe lead vocals for Frank Zappa’s fine 1970 Chunga’s Revenge album were performed by a duo billed  as the THE PHLORESCENT LEECH & EDDIE. It was a badly kept secret that this was actually Howard Kaylan and Mark Volman, founders of the 60s soft rock band the Turtles, who used the pseudonym due to a lingering contractual dispute with their former label. After a brief stint with the Mothers of Invention, they began recording and touring as Flo & Eddie. Now their corporate alter ego, Flo & Eddie, Inc., which owns the rights to all of the Turtles’ master recordings (including such bona fide classics as “Happy Together” and “Eleanore”) is taking the lead in the pursuit of one of the holy grails of pre-1970s recording artists–royalties for the use of their old records by digital transmission services. Its class action suit against Sirius XM, filed last week in a California state court, has the aura of a test case which, if successful, would have broad ramifications for other broadcasters offering interactive features.

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