Ke$ha Claims Former Manager an 'Unlicensed Agent'

By Laura Strachan, Esq. on October 06, 2010 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Pop sensation Ke$ha (her real name does not have a dollar sign in it) claims her former manager is an unlicensed agent. So what? He got her jobs, right? Well, in the state of California it is a big problem when an unlicensed agent is working for their client. Such a big deal that Ke$ha has asked the California Labor Commissioner to declare her contract with her former manager void based on his lack of a license.

Reuters sheds some light on the case: Ke$ha was sued by her former manager, David Sonenberg (of DAS Communications) for unpaid commissions to the tune of $14 million. This suit was filed in New York and is still being fought. Ke$ha's current countersuit against DAS communications was filed in California because it is illegal to "procure" work for a client without a license. In her petition, Ke$ha claims that there was lots of California procuring going on, ranging from performing at house parties to songwriting gigs.

Specifically, DAS Communications would be in serious violation of the California Talent Agencies Act, which essentially serves to void contracts when the acts of procuring a job for an actor or singer was done without a license. The California Talent Agencies Act requires all managers to have a California license when making deals in California -- a protection mechanism for artists to ensure that the agents are working within the parameters set by the industry. As the entertainment capital of the world, it is no surprise that the rules and regulations dealing with talent agents and managers is the strongest in California. That also serves to explain why Ke$ha would filed her counterclaim in California and not New York.

The regulations under the Talent Agencies Act include: finger prints, references, having their office subject to inspection, submitting their commissions and client incomes, and submitting their contracts for approval by the California Labor Board. Ke$sha may have a valid argument here and be able to get her contract declared void or illegal, and potentially not owe her former manager any money made in California. There is an element of justice that will be looked at as well -- $14 million, if her former manager is actually owed that much in commissions, is a lot of money to lose under a voided contract. The work done by DAS Communications and the illegal nature of their activities will be looked at in relation to the amount of money the company helped the singer make in her rise to stardom. In the end, there are a lot of issues in both the original case and Ke$ha's counterclaim that will likely take some time to sort through. Tik Tok.

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