They may have been few, but they were mighty.
Between 20 and 50 protesters (depending which account you read) gathered outside Sony Music’s headquarters in New York City Friday afternoon, holding “#FreeKesha” signs and making a bit of a ruckus in support of the singer a week after her request to be allowed to record with a company other than Sony was denied by a New York State Supreme Court judge.
As one protester and student at New York University’s Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music, 18-year-old Devon Baran, told Business Insider, “As women who want to hopefully have a profession in this industry, I think it’s absurd that a woman be treated this way. I think that it also says that if you are a man in this industry and the more money you make, the more immune you are — especially if you’re a white man — and that’s not okay. I want to be in this industry and treated with respect,” she said.
That same day, in a classic Friday afternoon news dump, Rolling Stone published the 94-page injunction Kesha filed against Dr. Luke, the producer who signed her in 2005 and, according to her lawsuit, repeatedly drugging and assaulting her.
If you’re someone who finds legal documents fascinating (like me), it’s worth a read.
The document is a transcript of court proceedings, the words spoken in court, typed out syllable by syllable by the all-important court stenographer, and includes passages like this, from Judge Shirley Kornreich, talking to Kesha’s attorney, Mark Geragos:
“Well, let me ask you this,” Kornreich said. “You’re alleging that she cannot perform and it’s killing her career. And there are affidavits going both ways. There are also issues as to irreparable harm to Sony and Kemosabe Recordings, which basically have the right to her — to her recordings, and also to Prescription Songs, frankly, who have copyright interest. And you’re asking me, number one, to do away with the copyright, which is a very major thing, and I’m not even sure I’m not preempted by federal law, but we’ll just leave that aside for now.”
She then asks Geragos how many recording companies are in existence now– they agree that there are “three or four”–before asking “if a court blindly went in an did what you asked of me, what would that do to the industry?” Kornreich refers to “a good many papers” that reportedly say Sony and Kemosabe “don’t care” if Dr. Luke has nothing to do with Kesha’s recording work. If that’s all true and documented, why does Kesha need the injunction, she asks.
“You’re talking about all of the A&R declarations, all of the marketing, all of the promotion, everything else is controlled by them,” Geragos said, meaning Sony and Kemosabe, and, ultimately, Dr. Luke, who owns Kemosabe. “He can say ‘I’m going to stay out of it, I’m going to stay out of the recording.'”
Geragos continues, arguing that Sony’s claims are meaningless and illusory. “If he’s the one who is in charge of the company that does all of the things in producing. She can record. She can record right now in her bedroom, but nobody’s ever going to hear it. Part of the idea of being an artist, part of the idea of the irreparable harm that we’re talking about is that she has a window in which she can produce music that can– it can get out there and it gets promoted. That’s the whole side. So if it doesn’t get promoted, I’m going to go back to what–where you said it was irrelevant, because I do not think it is, he’s already shown by this litigation that his endgame here is to destroy her.”
It’s all there; take a look.