The New Jersey crew led by Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora needed an 11th-hour reprieve to get their new album, Bounce, on shelves Tuesday after an Internet company sued to block the release.
Fortunately for the band, a federal judge on Friday shot down (minus the "blaze of glory" part) DownloadCard Inc.'s request to block Universal Music Group's sale of Bounce. U.S. District Court Judge Chares Haight ruled that an injunction could harm the CD's sales and cause significant financial loss to Universal's Island Def Jam label.
The New York-based DownloadCard, a technology company that puts together online advertising packages, filed a lawsuit against Universal claiming the music company ripped off DownloadCard's idea.
The Internet company said it created a promotion based on a unique PIN that comes stickered on each album and allows fans to access exclusive online content. By offering bonus goodies on the Web accessible only by those who purchase the disc, the reasoning goes, fans will be more apt to plunk their money down for a legitimate copy, rather than resort to MP3-swapping. DownloadCard claimed it worked with Universal on similar promos for artists like Shelby Lynn and Rusted Root, and pitched the program for use for future releases.
Univeral ultimately turned down the idea for Bon Jovi. But, DownloadCard claims, the record company then launched its own "American XS" promotion with Bounce using, according to the suit, "precisely the program" DownloadCard created and offered to Universal.
The American XS promo allows those who buy Bounce the ability to log on to the Bon Jovi Website (www.bonjovi.com) and be able to purchase concert tickets early, listen to unreleased tracks and streamed concert footage from the band's upcoming world tour, receive discounts on merchandise and have the chance to join the band onstage during one of its shows.
The goal, according to the band's Website, is to introduce "the concept of the 'living album,' giving fans a real, on-going relationship with the artist."
In his decision Friday, Haight determined that if Bounce were bounced, Universal and Bon Jovi would stand to lose more than DownloadCard. However, the judge determined the lawsuit raised enough questions to go to trial, if DownloadCard so choses.
And it sounds like the company will. "We remain confident in the merits of the suit and plan to go forward aggressively," attorney Stephen Kramarsky told Reuters.
Universal seemed satisfied with the initial ruling, releasing a statement saying, "Download's claims are completely without merit and should never have been brought in the first place."Bounce is the eighth studio album released by Bon Jovi. The now reformed hair band hit big in the 1980s but petered out in the '90s as members pursued solo projects and Jon Bon Jovi got bitten by the acting bug. The Jersey boys reunited for 2000's Crush, which sold 7.5 million albums and reestablished them as a bankable band. The group also put out a live album, One Wild Night--Live 1985-2001 last year.