One is always running into the bizarre intersections of entertainment law and other areas of the law but here is a case I didn't know about. Despite the fact that the Clash were one of my favorite bands ever (seeing them live in 1980 was life-changing) I did not know much about their history past the time they kicked Mick Jones out of the group.
Apparently sometime after the famous Bernie Rhodes quit managing the band, Paul Simonon's wife Tricia Ronane began to manage the group's affairs. When the couple's divorce was resolved in 2010, she was awarded a 50 percent interest in Cut Throat Productions, Ltd., a company which controlled all of Simonon's Clash income. Ms. Ronane recently went to court in London seeking permission to sell her interest in the venture to a British investment firm. One of Ms. Ronane's major issues was that her ex-husband won't communicate with her – which could in fact make it difficult to co-manage whatever assets they jointly own and control.
It appears that the issue before the court was whether or not the divorce settlement allowed either party to sell their respective interest in the company – and the court concluded that such a sale was "inconsistent and incompatible" with the terms of the divorce settlement.
These types of disputes arise all the time within closely held family businesses – be they involved with real estate, retail stores or the royalties fromLondon Calling and Sandinista. One can understand why the former band members would not want outsiders involved in their business dealings and it is ironic to think of British investment bankers having a say in the Clash's business affairs. On the other hand, one can sympathize with Ms. Ronane; its usually impossible for former spouses to continue to work together running a business. It would be interesting to see the actual language contained in the divorce settlement agreement or to know what day-to-day responsibility Ms. Ronane and Mr. Simonon had to deal with within the Clash organization. It would also be interesting to know what Joe Strummer would have to say about all of this.