Wolfgang’s Vault Counter Sues Labels, Rock Bands

SAN FRANCISCO (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — Entrepreneur William Sagan, owner of WolfgangsVault.com, is fighting to save his business after several lawsuits from the likes of Led Zeppelin, the Grateful Dead, Santana and the Doors, and has filed a counter suit against the rock legends and two record labels this week.

Sagan’s Wolfgang’s Vault website, which streams archived concert recordings and sells a wide range of rock memorabilia collected by legendary rock promoter Bill Graham, was sued in December by Warner Music Group and Sony BMG, as well as the rock bands, who all attached their name to the lawsuits as defendants.

The suit alleged that Sagan, who purchased Graham’s massive archive in 2003 for $6 million from Clear Channel, did not have permission to stream the recordings and that he was using the live concerts to sell the memorabilia.

Sagan’s countersuit calls the initial lawsuit “a blatant attempt by two of the largest record labels in the world – using artists as a front – to secure new income streams and destroy a legitimate business,” according to MP3.com. The counterclaim asks a judge to find that the archive owns the rights needed to do business. Sagan’s suit accuses the defendants of fraud, breach of contract, and conspiring to put the archive out of business.

Sagan and the plaintiffs negotiated over the licensing rights to the material prior to the launch of the concert streams last November. The complaint claims that Warner sought to acquire the archive but suddenly cancelled a meeting to discuss the deal, and filed the lawsuit against Sagan two weeks later.

The suit centers around what rights Graham had to the recordings and the promotional items in his collection. The artists and label claim that Graham was given a limited license to give away promotional items, not authorization to sell the archive to new owners.

The plaintiffs seek damages and reimbursement for all archive-related sales, and have asked a judge to bar Sagan from selling any memorabilia or tapes and order the seizure of the entire inventory, currently held in a warehouse in San Francisco. –by CelebrityAccess Staff Writers

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