Or, how to scare the victims of a theft
Peermusic has filed a motion in Puerto Rico Disctrict Federal Court for the purpose of forcing the heirs of Guillermo Venegas, plaintiffs, to pay them about $1 million in lawyer fees assuming the following alleged facts and theories:

1. Heirs sued Peermusic and the suit was not justified.
2. Peermusic won the lawsuit.
3. Peermusic spent that much money to win the case.
4. A big threat would force the heirs to to settle the lawsuit before appealing.
5. An interesting comment by the judge
6. Peermusic paid royalties to Guillermo Venegas, thus no contract rescision was granted.

The claim was made by Peermusic lawyer Francisco A. Besosa, now a judge in the same federal court where the case was heard, under the presidency of the judge who heard the case, Jose A. Fuste. Clearly the claim of $1,000,000 was both inflated (as the lawyer hourly rate was much higher than what lawyers in Puerto Rico typically charge) and morally wrong. And of course , it was ridiculous and absurd claim. Prior to this, lawyer Besosa had successfully connived to illegally join two different lawsuits with the help of Judge Jose A. Fuste.

Let us analyze each item:

1. Heirs sued Peermusic and the suit was not justified.
The lawsuit was justified because

a. Peermusic continued to illegally license songs belonging to plaintiffs. This was proven. The judge, Jose A. Fuste, biased as he was, declared Peermusic to be an intentional infringer.  Before the lawsuit Peermusic, under pressure of the Venegas heirs to produce the documents that their father had signed to assign rights to Peermusic, Peermusic instead told the heirs that they, the heirs,  owned all songs previously claimed by Peermusic. Peermusic asked for assignments of the songs from the heirs in 1997.

b. The heirs had no reason to think that Peermusic owned any of the songs they were licensing after 1997 because Peermusic had in 1997 told the heirs that they, the heirs, owned all the songs previously claimed by Peermusic.

2. Peermusic won the lawsuit.
Peermusic lost in part and won in part per the judge's questionable decisions. In part it won because the judge decided that the songs belonged to Peermusic:
   a. Songs which Peermusic stole 'without the author suspecting",
   b. Songs for which Peermusic asked assignments from the heirs-plaintiffs in 1997 and the assignments to Peermusic  were refused.
   c. Songs which Peermusic assigned itself by having someone sign as "Guillermo Venegas" without a valid power of attorney. While the judge said that the power of attorney was not required, the forgery of the signatures of Guillermo Venegas could be a crime nevertheless.
   d. Songs that Peermusic has never had a recording made in over 50 years. This is an incredible fact. 21 songs composed by one of the all time great songwriters anywhere and Peermusic, who self describes as the largest music publisher, could never get a single song recorded in 50 years of "trying". So, the judge thinks Peermusic should get more time to do what it does not know or want to do?
   e. Songs for which Peermusic has never paid any royalties to heirs.
   f. Songs Peermusic never copyright registered, even though, inexplicably, the judge said that Peermusic registered them "timely".

3. Peermusic spent that much money to win the case.
All that Peermusic did to "win" was to present a surprise 1964 two page document "agreement" signed by Guillermo Venegas, where purportedly the author assigns the rights to 21 songs on page 2. This document has these characteristics:
   a. Only page 2 is signed by the author. Page 2 says nothing of relevance.
   b. Page 1 is not signed by the author. So it may have been changed.
   c. Peermusic had not shown this documents to heirs when the heirs requested from Peermusic the proof it had that the author had assigned songs to Peermusic. Per Peermusic lawyyer Barry Slotnick, at trial, the heirs had no right to get any information from Peermusic.
   d. The letter was written by Peermusic and not by Guillermo Venegas.
   e.  The letter was written by Peermusic at the same time it wrote document 1387, a plan to get the same songs "without the author suspecting".
   f. The document is not signed by Peermusic and the document says it is invalid without that signature.
   g. Peermusic does not have any proof a copy was ever given to the author. So we must conclude that a copy of the document was never given to the author.
   h. Several songs in the list on page were not composed by Guillermo Venegas. Clearly he never the page that Peermusic presented to the court.

So actually Peermusic did not spend any money in proving the winning side of the case, by "proving" to Judge José A. Fusté that the songs listed in the surprise 1964 document.

Note: A second argument that Peermusic also "won", per the judge, was that the licensing to radio stations and other venues by a non owner of songs was not infringement and in any case, the damages should be minimal. Per Peermusic there had to be proof that the performances were actually made. Strangely, in another and current case, Peermusic, on the other side of the fence as plaintiffs, state the opposite, that licensing by a non owner is infringement and that Peermusic should be given the highest damage award. To laugh a little, if the development and presentation to the court of this theory, that licencing is not infringement, cost Peermusic 1/2 million dollars, then Peermusic also probably spent another 1/2 million dollars to develop the opposite theory, that licensing is infringement. The lawyer who pressed the two contradictory legal theories to two different judges is the president of the Copyright Society of the USA. Yes, the same lawyer that said that the heirs had no right to get infromation from Peermusic. A rather strange comment considering that under Peermusic's own ownership theory at present, the heirs are the beneficial owners of all the songs that Peermusic claims to own. Even stanger was Judge José A. Fusté's silence on the matter of right to information and the effect of the Peermusic policy on the judge's decisions.

4. A big lawyer fee threat would force the heirs to to settle the lawsuit before appealing.
No comment, other that Peermusic is a fraudulent gimmicky company, capable of anything.

Note: The Peermusic lawyer fee threat is in addition to the over $200,000 that the heirs have spent in defending their copyright inheritance in various lawsuits. To date the heirs have not earned a single cent from their copyrights and distribution efforts (the market for Venegas songs has been totally destroyed by Peermusic and ACEMLA-LAMCO's claims of ownership), while expenses may have exceeded over 1.2 million dollars (if peermusic is awarded the lawyer fee it is requesting), an amount that exceeds by far the heir's combined net worth. Needless to say, not a single cent has been received from Peermusic also, from the over 21 Venegas songs in their catalog. Now you know what copyrights are for and who benefits.

Note: Not a single one of the 21 songs in the surprise and so called agreement letter of 1964 has ever been recorded through a license issued by Peermusic as far as is known. In other words, all the Venegas songs were placed in a dead music vault, not to be exploited. Clearly the purpose was to destroy Guillermo Venegas because..... this will be covered in later publications.

Note: After the trial ended, heirs have written several letter to Peermusic questioning how it was that several other Venegas songs got to be in the Peermusic catalog. Let us call these "the additional stolen songs".These are songs which were not determined to belong to Peermusic in the trial or were not named in the trial at all. Peermusic has not replied to any letter. Peermusic is still following the idea that heirs have no right to  information. So here we have several songs in the Peermusic catalog and have no idea how they wound up in the Peermusic catalog. One of the songs is a Guillermo Venegas song but another composer (Edmundo Disdier) is credited as the composer by Peermusic. Maybe this is the game plan: Peermusic wants to induce the heirs into a trap for the second time by filing another lawsuit against Peermusic, who will then will win that lawsuit by sterring the case to their judge of choice and then showing that judge more surprise documents. Just as was was done the first time around.

More information here:

5. An interesting comment by the judge

Said Fuste in his decision of February 22, 2005, to award legal fees to plaintiffs:
"For the trouble of pursuing a case of uncommon complexity, Plaintiffs were awarded modestly with $5,000 in damages. This amount, without  accompanying legal fees, would hardly provide proper incentive to future plaintiffs asserting complex though successful copyright claims.".

What is so interesting?
a. There was nothing complex in the claim. The claim was that Peermusic licensed the song Genesis many times, directly of through ASCAP, without having a legal right to do so. In the process, Peermusic (jointly with others) it destroyed plaintiffs ability to exploit the song. As a matter of fact there was no controversy on that and Peermusic readily admitted the infringement.
b. The legal fees approved by the judge, $23,574, are not an incentive to make a claim, as the money is meant to cover legal expenses.
c. If the judge wanted to create an incentive so that when copyrights are abused the victim sues the infringer, why did he only give an award of $5,000, that is not even a fraction of the value of the personal time invested by plaintiffs?
d. Peermusic continues to license the song Genesis illegally, as of October, 2006. This proves how the alleged, "incentives" worked. In other words, the $5,000 award did not persuade Peermusic to stop infringing.

6. Peermusic paid royalties to Guillermo Venegas, thus no contract rescision was granted
A reason that Peermusic defeated plaintiffs's allegation of no Peermusic's non-performance as a music publisher was the evidenvce presented by Peermusic. The evidence was that the widow of Guillermo Venegas (who was also a defendante in the case and was in partnership with ACEMLA and shared the same lawyer as ACEMLA - Angel Caro Padilla) testified that Peermusic paid royalties to Guillermo Venegas. Fuste used that "evidence" to reject the rescision (anulment) of the assignments of the songs by Venegas to to Peermusic. This is what the judge said on page 40  of his opinion:

             In the he case at bar, Peer Defendants have shown, and Plaintiffs have not controverted, that GVL received royalties for Peer Defendants exploitation of
             the copyrights subject to the contract. Moreover, Defendant Chávez-Butler asserts that Peer Defendants have paid royalties. We note that Plaintiffs “may
             be rendered whole by an award of monetary damages,” Nolan v. Williamson Music, Inc., 300 23 F.Supp. at 1317-18, thus recouping any allegedly failed
             payments. 24Civil Nos. 01-1215 & 01-2186 (JAF) -40- Plaintiffs are, therefore, not entitled to rescission for nonpayment of royalties.

On a deposition on 5-21-09 Chavez stated that GVL never received royalties from any one while living.

Then why did Chavez lie to Fuste? Because she spoke to benefit ACEMLA who would benefit if plaintiffs (Venegas siblings) lost in their claims against Peermusic and because ACEMLA and Pee had a common enemy (plaintiffs) and had to join forces to defeat the Venegas siblings. A fundamental error by Fuste here was taking as good the word (without any documentary evidence) of the person that stole all the music of Venegas for the purpose of giving the music to the company where her current husband (Jose Lacomba) was an ACEMLA vice president. Also Fuste took Peer's word  (without any documentary evidence) that Peermusic paid royalties to Venegas as good.

Rafael Hernandez
Pedro Flores
Sylvia Rexach
Ricky Martin
Pablo Elvira
Pablo Casals