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Protesting Irene too much

It didn’t really affect us here, but there’s been some talk recently about whether the media hyped Hurricane Irene.

To that, I offer some food for thought:

The storm will most likely prove to be one of the 10 costliest catastrophes in the nation’s history, according to the New York Times.

Industry estimates put the cost of the storm at between $7 billion and $10 billion.

Stax Academy is still knocking on wood

The Wall Street Journal gave some love in Wednesday’s paper to the Stax Music Academy with a story that included a reference to a visit earlier in August by Eddie Floyd.

Floyd is a former Stax star who recorded soul hits like “Knock on Wood.”

“For these kids, connecting with people like me changes things,” the 74-year-old Floyd told the WSJ. “I can see that in their eyes and faces.”

The piece goes on to mention recent performances by the academy’s students at Washington’s Smithsonian Folklife Festival and Kennedy Center, as well as New York’s Lincoln Center.

This photo shows a recent visit to the school by former college basketball coach Digger Phelps:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Elvis Presley Enterprises is now suing … Elvis’ old label

In previous articles, I’ve noted that Elvis Presley Enterprises has been aggressive in pursuing the late singer’s interests in court.

How’s this for a new example: Elvis Presley Enterprises is suing Elvis’ old record label, claiming Arista Music, formerly RCA Records, “unjustly exploited” Elvis during his lifetime.

It’s a multimillion-Euro lawsuit filed in Germany and only applicable in Germany thanks to an amendment to German copyright law that extends the term of copyright protection. The suit is limited to amounts earned since March 2002 on through 2023.

The suit demands “proper payment” for sound recordings in Germany featuring Elvis – including in new media outlets like ringtones and entertainment apps.

According to Elvis Presley Enterprises: “The central issue, as it relates to this German suit, is the 1973 buyout agreement, which terminated all previous agreements between Presley and RCA. On February 28, 1973, under the agreement, which was first initiated by RCA and arranged by Presley’s manager, ‘Colonel’ Tom Parker, rights to Presley’s entire back catalogue of more than 1,000 recordings were purchased by RCA for just $5.4 million. That money, inadequate as it was, had to be split equally between Presley and Parker. The suit alleges that the effect of the buyout agreement was that Presley only received an annual payment of about $10 – $15 per song for the German rights.

EPE says the amount of money Elvis thus received from the buyout agreement was “conspicuously disproportionate” to the revenue the record label got. And the suit asks for remedy under German copyright law, which it says provides for “equitable remuneration” in cases like this.

The case is being supported by the Calunius Fund, a $60 million private fund that’s conducted an independent review of the merits of the case. EPE says Calunius has committed an unspecified substantial investment to support the case.

Another Memphis bank repays TARP

Another Memphis bank is TARP-less.

Magna Bank has redeemed the shares Uncle Sam bought from the bank a few years ago as the economy was in danger of becoming completely unmoored and an industry-wide rescue of the banking sector became necessary.

Magna issued 14,485 preferred shares to the U.S. Treasury in December 2008. As of June 30, Magna had redeemed all but 7,575 of those shares.

The U.S. Treasury informed Magna at the end of July that its application for participation in the Small Business Lending fund had been preliminarily approved, so Magna used that money to help redeem the rest of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) shares. Meaning the bank can now return to business as usual, in a manner of speaking.

Of the three largest banks based in Memphis (in descending order: First Tennessee Bank, Independent Bank and Magna Bank) only First Tennessee and Magna accepted a TARP investment.

And both have now repaid it.

Magna’s TARP repayment was part of a wave of TARP repayment by 22 small and community banks that was made possible recently by borrowing from the government’s Small Business Lending Fund.

Gibson Guitars vs. Uncle Sam

Lots of people have retweeted and Facebooked about the story I wrote in Monday’s edition of The Daily News related to the fed’s recent raid of Gibson Guitar facilities in Memphis and Nashville.

It’s because the news took an unexpected turn with some seemingly off the cuff remarks at a press conference by Gibson’s CEO. He touched on a debate that’s increasingly spreading around the country about the size, power and limits of the federal government.

Gibson, for their part, is still hitting that theme hard.

@gibsonguitar tweeted on Monday: “Plz Retweet! Support Gibson Guitar vs. unreasonable raid by Feds by becoming a Gibson fan on Facebook: “http://t.co/Y0rpZKi

On Gibson’s Facebook page, one user wrote: “I think it would be cool if you guys should make a limited edition guitar that has a Don’t Tread On Me flag on it to symbolize the injustice done to the company recently. Just a thought.”

Dansette

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