Thursday, December 6, 2012

Basic Contract Law Challenged and Why Ryan Leslie Must Pay Up

When you are a talented producer or songwriter, you cherish the lyrics and records you make. They are the product of laborious hours and can make you a fortune. As song lyrics and records are an artist’s intellectual property, he or she goes to many lengths to protect them. But would you offer $1 Million dollars if you lost your laptop filled with your songs; and would you really have to pay such a large quantity of money?

That is surely what Grammy-nominated, musical genius, producer, and singer-songwriter Ryan Leslie did, reports. While on his European tour in Cologne, Germany Leslie lost a bag containing his MacBook, a passport, and $10,000 in cash.  He said his laptop contained his whole new album and publicly announced a reward of $1 million dollars “in the interest of retrieving the invaluable intellectual property” to him.

Sometime later a man named Armin Augstein responded to Leslie’s announcement claiming he found the laptop while walking his dog; but Leslie refused to pay him claiming that Augstein’s find was “fishy” because the laptop no longer contained his songs. Naturally, the lost and found men took this argument to a Manhattan Court and the jury agreed with Augstein and ordered Leslie to pay up the $1 Million Dollar reward offer.

The jury correctly decided this issue of basic contract law in regards to an offer and an acceptance of that offer. When a person makes an offer in exchange for another person’s performance , as Leslie did, then the person making the offer is legally bound by the offer if the other person so performs.  In this case, Leslie made a $1 Million offer in exchange for another person to find and return in his laptop, the performance.  Therefore, since Augstein performed the terms of Leslie’s offer by finding and returning his laptop, Leslie is legally bound to pay him.

However, Leslie is not the only artist to lose his songs.  Multi-Platinum selling rapper Drake has lost 3 Blackberries filled with his lyrics. The blog “Much Music” interviewed Drake and he told them, “Yeah, I’ve lost a lot of great stuff.  [I] Lost some of my hottest versus down at Cabo.”  Drake also admitted that if he backed it up and was responsible then he would not lose his work.

Fashion Legallaire's Take: Hopefully Leslie learned two valuable lessons: do not make offers he will not keep and to back up his music  files just in case he loses his laptop. 

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