How Claremont College became a vocal school
By Lauren Smith, The HuffingtonPost.comThe vocal school Claremont University became the focus of a class action lawsuit in California against the school’s owner, vocalist Sean “Bobby” McNeil.
McNeil claims he is entitled to a royalty-free, non-exclusive license to use the school for commercial purposes, a provision that the school denied in a letter obtained by The Huffington, which McNeil filed in federal court in San Francisco on Friday.
McNeil sued in May 2017, claiming that Claremont failed to properly consult with him and his management company about his use of the school and that he was not informed that his use would not be commercially viable, nor that a license would be awarded to him.
McNeill, who is the son of the legendary singer Jerry McNeil, sued the school in February, alleging breach of contract and defamation, as well as breach of fiduciary duty, among other things.
McNeal alleges that in 2015, his manager told him that he would receive no royalties from his commercial use of a vocal college for the purpose of teaching vocal performance.
He claims that the manager also told him he would not receive any royalties for the use of his vocal college on his YouTube channel.
McNearn claims that he subsequently found out that his YouTube videos were being viewed by millions of people around the world, and that his channel has been viewed more than two billion times since 2015.
The lawsuit contends that Claremore College violated the Federal Trade Commission Act, which prohibits unfair and deceptive business practices.
It also alleges that the use in commercial advertising violates the Fairness Doctrine, a federal law prohibiting unfair and unreasonable practices that are used in commerce.
Mcnearn filed his complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California on Friday, which he says is the first time a class-action lawsuit has been filed against a vocal education company.
He also filed a motion to dismiss the case, citing that his complaint does not allege any direct violation of Claremore’s copyright or trademark laws.
McDonald said in a statement that he is disappointed in the ruling and looks forward to moving forward with his future commercial endeavors.
“We are thrilled with the court’s decision and look forward to pursuing our lawsuit against Claremont and its corporate partners as soon as possible,” McDonald said.
McKenzie Miller, a professor of law at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, said the decision is a significant win for vocal schools.
“This is a landmark decision that recognizes that the commercial rights to a school’s trademarks, logos and distinctive trademarks are not exclusive, and is a powerful deterrent to the use by vocal school administrators of commercial uses of the trademarks,” Miller said in an email.
“For instance, if a school is to promote itself as a vocal performance school, the school cannot use a trademark that is synonymous with its vocal school.
Similarly, the trademark of a school cannot be used to advertise itself as an audio or video recording school.
The court’s ruling is consistent with the principles of the Fair Use Doctrine, which allows schools to use their trademarks without infringing on commercial rights.”
McDonald has previously argued that his commercial uses have not been unlawful.
McMcNeil has not yet responded to requests for comment.
The vocal education program at Claremont began in 2015.
McNichols said he has had a number of vocal schools reach out to him about their commercial use plans, but he believes that the current lawsuit is the most aggressive lawsuit against an institution that has been in existence for more than 60 years.
McNatale said that he hopes that his lawsuit will prompt other vocal schools to follow his lead and begin to develop commercial plans for their vocal schools and campuses.
“I think this will be a wakeup call for other vocal school presidents and their teams to get real about the commercial possibilities of their schools,” McNatale told The Huffington.
“We all have to have a conversation about how we’re going to create a sustainable, long-term future for vocal performance schools.”