[UPDATE 12/29/21]: The Twenty-Nine Palms Band of Mission Indians struck a victory in court on Monday when a judge rejected Goldenvoice/AEG‘s motion to stop Live Nation from selling tickets to Day One 22. The event—formerly known as Coachella Day One 22—has been under fire by organizers of the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival for alleged copyright infringement.
This latest development comes after a judge awarded Goldenvoice a temporary restraining order against Live Nation, forcing the concert giant to stop advertising the event—set to take place December 31st at Coachella Crossroads in Coachella, CA—as “Coachella Day One 22”. AEG—which owns Coachella Music & Arts Festival founders Goldenvoice—then attempted to stop Live Nation from selling tickets to Day One 22 altogether, which Judge R. Gary Klausner has blocked.
Klausner blocked the motion because any further marketing materials promoting the event as Coachella Day One 22 are not coming from Live Nation but rather Twenty-Nine Palms, the Native American tribe promoting the event that enjoys sovereign immunity and was not named in the original suit. Klausner ruled that the tribe’s “continued conduct does not constitute a significant change in facts that warrants modification of the TRO.”
The judge also ruled that Goldenvoice was unlikely to prove that Live Nation “contributorily infringes”—secondary liability in copyright infringement—on Coachella’s trademark by selling tickets to the festival under any name. Klausner found that, while Live Nation can control how Day One 22 is listed on its platforms, the company doesn’t control “the general sale of tickets to the event” and that any secondary support they provide to the infringement is “not enough” to necessitate a change to the original restraining order.
“Today’s response from Judge Klausner is a win for the Tribe, the community and our ticketing partners at Live Nation,” Darrell Mike, Chairman of the Twenty-Nine Palms Band of Mission Indians, said in a statement. “As a community and nation who reside in Coachella, California — we are equally thrilled that our outdoor venue, Coachella Crossroads will be able to continue operation under its given name. The strongarming of Goldenvoice and its parent company AEG to take reign over a name of a region and businesses who choose to identify with it is disrespectful to small and large business operations, those under their employ and the indigenous people who live within the valley.”
Live Nation and Coachella did not immediately return Rolling Stone’s requests for comment.
[H/T Rolling Stone]
[12/23/21]: The Twenty-Nine Palms Band of Mission Indians has released a statement regarding the lawsuit between Goldenvoice/Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival and Live Nation over the tribe’s forthcoming Coachella Day One 22 event.
“[T]his suit is a direct attack on us and the region,” tribe Chairman Darrell Mike told Rolling Stone. “The event is developed as a thank you at no cost to the community and an attempt to bring people together safely to celebrate what we hope will be a prosperous 2022. AEG and Goldenvoice have taken ‘ownership’ of a name via trademark rights to an area they fully believe they ‘founded’, even though their event does not take place in Coachella, California, but rather in Indio, California.”
Goldenvoice—which claims that the use of the term “Coachella” in Day One 22’s branding materials is an infringement on its festival’s trademark—was recently awarded a temporary restraining order against Live Nation by Judge R. Gary Klausner in a U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. The judge posited that Goldenvoice and Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival would endure “irreparable harm” if Live Nation continued using the term “Coachella” in its branding and advertising materials.
“Amidst this matter, vendors are being threatened that if they work with the Tribe to produce Day One 22, they will be ousted as vendors for future AEG events. This puts local families at financial risk and crippling the community economically. This is wrong, especially at a time of challenge during Covid,” Mike continued.
“Our tribe and other nations have been in the region for thousands of years, relocated to reservations not of our choice, where we have had to develop businesses and governments to preserve our communities, culture, and heritage. Entertainment happens to be a part of our economic diversity for longer than Goldenvoice has produced their Festival. Although we were under no obligation to do so, we have respectfully removed ‘Coachella’ from the title of our event on marketing and sales materials living online. We hope that we can move away from this matter, so Day One 22 taking place at Coachella Crossroads, in Coachella, California, can be celebrated in the spirit for which it was created.”
This is a developing story.
[12/21/21]: A United States District Court Judge for the Central District of California has granted Coachella a temporary restraining order against Live Nation. The action will prevent Live Nation from selling tickets and advertising the Coachella Day One 22 New Year’s Eve event as it is currently branded.
Last week, Coachella and its parent company Goldenvoice—the AEG subsidiary that owns Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival—filed a copyright infringement suit against Live Nation for advertising and selling tickets to Coachella Day One 22. This action followed a pair of cease-and-desist letters sent to Live Nation and the Coachella Day One 22 website host, Bluehost, in October and November. The plaintiffs were barred from suing the event promoter, the Twenty-Nine Palms Band of Mission Indians, as it is a Native American tribe and is thus shielded from legal action due to sovereign immunity.
On Monday, December 20th, Judge R. Gary Klausner granted the temporary restraining order, ruling that Coachella and Goldenvoice are “likely to succeed” in proving their case, as reported by Rolling Stone. Judge Klausner’s ruling will compel Live Nation to change the way it brands and advertises the event.
Klausner also noted that the plaintiffs would endure “irreparable harm” absent his restraining order and that the defendant’s argument—that “assertions about Coachella’s incredible success demonstrate that its reputation will not suffer material harm from Twenty-Nine Palms’ ‘one-night New Year’s celebration'”—was “uncompelling.”
Despite the ruling by the District Court, Coachella Day One 22, which is set to feature performances by DJ Diesel (Shaquille O’Neal), Lil Wayne, E-40, and Getter, will go on as planned. Live Nation, however, will not be able to sell any tickets with the term “Coachella” attached or use the term in any of its branding or advertising materials.
Lawyers for Coachella, Goldenvoice, and Live Nation did not return Rolling Stone‘s requests for comment.
[H/T Rolling Stone]
[12/15/21]: A festival dubbed Coachella Day One 22 in Southern California has sparked a legal dispute of biblical proportions between the country’s two leading concert promoters. AEG subsidiary Goldenvoice—which has hosted the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival at the Empire Polo Club in Indio, CA since 1999—is suing Live Nation for advertising and selling tickets to the festival AEG claims infringes on the original Coachella’s copyright.
As reported by Billboard, AEG is not suing the promoter of the “fake” Coachella festival, the Twenty-Nine Palms Band of Mission Indians, as it is a Native American tribe shielded from legal action due to sovereign immunity. Instead, the concert giant—which is second only to Live Nation in the U.S.—is suing its main rival for alleged contributory infringement for selling tickets to and advertising for Coachella Day One 22 on the Ticketmaster website and mobile app. AEG has already issued two cease and desist orders which have gone unheeded.
The legal complaint also states that Ticketmaster advertises and sells tickets for other events at Coachella Crossroads, where Day One 22 and other events are set to take place. Also named in the suit is Bluehost, the internet service provider responsible for hosting the Coachella Crossroads website. The defendants are accused in legal filings of “contributory trademark and service mark infringement, contributory false designation of origin, and unfair competition.”
In addition to shutting down the alleged copycat Coachella, AEG is asking for punitive damages from the defendants for infringement and unfair competition. AEG is also requesting all profits Live Nation and Bluehost gained from the promotion of “a directly competitive live music event.”
Though the similarities between Coachella and Coachella Crossroads are unmistakable, in its complaint AEG goes pretty far to lay proprietary claim to the most basic forms of festival marketing. These include describing Day One 22 as “part festival, part carnival, and part circus,” which allegedly infringes on Coachella’s original mixture of art and music, as well as using “Day One” in the knock-off event’s title, which is supposedly similar to Coachella’s “Day One”, “Day Two”, and “Day Three” scheduling.
Coachella Day One 22 is set to take place on December 31st in Coachella, CA, roughly five miles from Empire Polo Club. The lineup features DJ Diesel (Shaquille O’Neal), Lil Wayne, E-40, and Getter.
The legal dispute began back in April 2018 when the Twenty-Nine Palms tribe filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to register the name Coachella Crossroads. The USPTO quickly filed an “office action” against the application, citing a likelihood of confusion with the nearby Goldenvoice event. In October of that same year, the tribe responded by amending Coachella Crossroads’ services to “providing sports facilities for sporting events, sports and athletic competitions.”
The application went through in December 2018, after which Goldenvoice soon became aware of the attempted filing. The AEG subsidiary engaged in “informal discussions” with Twenty-Nine Palms, during which the concert promoter claims it was misled by the tribe who said that Coachella Crossroads’ main purpose would be for community events and any entertainment would be “incidental”. With those assurances, Goldenvoice let the application go through.
Coachella Crossroads allegedly began using the Coachella trademark earlier this year for promoting concerts by artists such as Toby Keith and Miranda Lambert. After learning of the Day One 22 festival, AEG sent a cease and desist letter on October 28th, 2021, after which point Live Nation allegedly dropped the “Coachella” from its marketing materials, referring to the festival simply as “Day One 22”. However, Goldenvoice claimed the registered Coachella trademark could still be seen in some adverts and issued another cease and desist to Live Nation on November 12th. This second letter—much like the first—was allegedly ignored.
Representatives for Live Nation and AGE have not responded to Billboard’s requests for comment.