Courtney Love Hits Speed Bump In Label Fight

Judge rejects many of her claims, but gives Hole singer 25 days to revise them.

Although a Superior Court judge tossed out some of Courtney Love's claims last week, the Hole singer's legal battle against the major record labels is far from over, her manager insisted Tuesday.

Judge Fumiko Wasserman sided with record label conglomerate Vivendi Universal in 11 of the case's 15 points on Friday, but he gave Love 25 days to amend rejected complaints.

Among the rejected claims was Love's targeting of a 1987 amendment to the California labor code, known as the "De Havilland Law," that could prove pivotal in freeing artists from long-term contracts.

The 56-year-old code states that anyone working under a personal-service contract cannot be held to a contract for more than seven years. Love requested that the judge issue an injunction to prevent enforcement of an amendment that makes artists under contract liable for albums still owed to labels even after seven years.

Love's manager, former Geffen executive James Barber, said the singer will amend the claim but that the seven-year law will remain fundamental in the case even if Wasserman eventually throws it out.

"The seven-year law is on trial here no matter what," he said, because the labor code is the entire basis of the suit filed by Vivendi Universal, the parent company of Geffen, the label Love walked away from.

Attorney Don Engel, who testified against the seven-year amendment, agreed with Barber. "It's up to the record companies to show that they have a right to damages if an artist [backs out of a contract after seven years]."

A spokesperson for Vivendi could not be reached for comment.

Wasserman gave Love the go-ahead for four claims, including her allegation that labels are fraudulent in their accounting practices. The singer has 25 days to file an amended complaint including new supporting evidence for other claims.

"We didn't lose on anything," Barber said. "This is a 15-round championship fight, and we're in, like, round two.

"None of it got thrown out, and some might not make it to trial," he added. "But we're confident some of it will."

Engel agreed, saying, "You may only need four causes of action to have a big victory in the end."

Love's suit claims major labels, acting together as an illegal trust, force artists to sign unfair contracts that give the labels the upper hand while leaving artists little means by which to collect what they have earned.