David Bowie Song Catalogue Publishing Rights Sold For $250 Million

The publishing rights to David Bowie’s extensive and iconic catalogue of songs have been sold by his estate to Warner Chappell Music (WCM), the publishing arm of Warner Music Group. According to an anonymous source, the deal is worth at least $250 million. 

Guy Moot, chief executive of WCM, said: “These are not only extraordinary songs, but milestones that have changed the course of modern music for ever … We are looking forward to tending his unparalleled body of songs with passion and care as we strive to build on the legacy of this most extraordinary human being.”

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The deal itself means that Warner now owns all the rights to Bowie’s songwriting itself, as well as almost all of the recordings of it. In September of this year, Warner completed a deal to acquire Bowie’s recordings and songs from 2000 to 2016 when he passed away. 

Warner already owned all of Bowie’s recordings that were done between 1968 to 1999. There is now just a small number of recorded music that Bowie recorded before the late 60’s that Warner Music does not own. 

Warner Music has been repackaging Bowie’s back catalogue in a series of box sets in recent years, which happens fairly often when an older musical legend’s discography is purchased by a larger label. 

Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, and Fleetwood Mac are some other musical legends who have sold the catalogues of their music to various companies as a means of earning more money in exchange for the rights. 

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These deals and acquisitions allow publishing companies to acquire income from royalties, as well as when music is licensed for use in films, TV, and advertising as well. 

The specific terms of the Bowie deal have not been disclosed to the public, however, the Bowie estate in the past has been known for closely controlling the use of his music. The 2020 David Bowie biopic, Stardust, which was about the creation of Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust persona, was forbidden by the estate from using any of Bowie’s music in the film. 

WCM co-chair Carianne Marshall said: “We were pleased that the estate felt that Warner Chappell has the knowledge, experience, and resources to take the reins and continue to promote a collection of this stature. All of our global leaders and departments are incredibly excited and primed to get to work with these brilliant songs across multiple avenues and platforms.”

Another film has already been approved by the estate, and will be a documentary by Brett Morgan, who is using thousands of hours of rare and unseen live performance footage.

 George Orwell’s Estate Approves Feminist Retelling Of Nineteen Eighty-Four 

The estate of George Orwell has approved a feminist retelling of Nineteen Eighty-Four. The retelling reimagines the entire story from the perspective of Winston Smith’s lover Julia. 

Orwell’s original novel, which was published in 1949, is set in a dystopian future where Great Britain, referred to as Airstrip One, is a part of the totalitarian state of Oceania. Big Brother runs the state, and the Thought Police stamp out any individual thought within the community. Protagonist Winston Smith works for the Ministry of Truth and starts a love affair with Julia. 

Julia is known for working in the Fiction Department of the novel-writing machines, both characters are eventually captured for their affair and sent for re-education in Room 101. 

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In Julia by Sandra Newman, all of the incidents that occur throughout the original novel are told through the eyes of Julia, as opposed to Winston. 

“It was the man from Records who began it, him all unknowing in his prim, grim way, his above-it-all oldthink way. He was the one Syme called ‘Old Misery.’ Comrade Smith was his right name, though ‘Comrade’ never suited him somehow. Of course, if you felt foolish calling someone ‘Comrade’, far better not to speak to them at all,” writes Newman. 

Orwell describes Julia in Nineteen Eighty-Four as a “more acute person than Winston, and far less susceptible to Party propaganda … She also stirred a sort of envy in him by telling him that during the Two Minutes Hate her great difficulty was to avoid bursting out laughing. But she only questioned the teachings of the Party when they in some way touched upon her own life. Often she was ready to accept the official mythology, simply because the difference between truth and falsehood did not seem important to her.”

Publisher Granta said that when it comes to Julia, “she has known no other world and, until she meets Winston, never imagined one. She’s opportunistic, believing in nothing and caring not at all about politics. She routinely breaks the rules but also collaborates with the regime whenever necessary. She’s an ideal citizen of Oceania.”

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“One day, finding herself walking toward Winston Smith in a long corridor, she impulsively hands him a note – a potentially suicidal gesture – she comes to realise that she’s losing her grip and can no longer safely navigate her world.”

Orwell’s estate stated that they’ve been looking for an author to tell the story of Smith’s lover, and Newman “proved to be the perfect fit.”

“Two of the unanswered questions in Orwell’s novel are what Julia sees in Winston, and how she has navigated her way through the party hierarchy. Sandra gets under the skin of Big Brother’s world in a completely convincing way which is both true to the original but also gives a dramatically different narrative to stand alongside the original,” said the estate’s literary executor Bill Hamilton. 

“The millions of readers who have been brought up with Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four will find this a provocative and satisfying companion.”

Granata is also gearing up to release Newman’s new novel, The Menian, next June. Julia will be published after that release.

Astroworld Victims’ Families Reject Travis Scott’s Offer To Cover Funeral Costs 

Travis Scott’s offer to pay for the funeral costs of Astroworld victims has been rejected by half of the bereaved families. One of them is the family of nine-year-old Ezra Blount, who was the youngest of the 10 victims who lost their lives from the Texas music festival. 

Scott made the offer last week after multiple lawsuits against him, his team, livenation, and others involved in the festival were filed. A lawyer for the family of 14-year-old John Hilgert responded to the offer recently to the media: 

“The gesture is demeaning and inappropriate. Of all the things this case is about, the cost of the funeral is the least of any concern. This family is set on making change, and ensuring this never happens at a concert again.” 

On Friday November 5th, a crowd surge occurred during Scott’s set at Astroworld. There were around 50,000 people attending the festival in Houston’s NRG Park Complex. 

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Ten individuals have now lost their lives due to the surging that occurred at the event, the oldest of which was just 27-years-old. Blount died nine days after the concert after being placed in a medically induced coma due to the severity of his injuries. 

Scott’s lawyer, Daniel Petrocelli, wrote to the nine-year-old’s family the day after the funeral, offering to pay for the entire service. 

“Travis is devastated by the tragedy that occurred at the Astroworld Festival and grieves for the families whose loved ones died or were injured. Travis is committed to doing his part to help the families who have suffered and begin the long process of healing in the Houston community. Toward that end, Travis would like to pay for the funeral expenses for Mr Blount’s son,” the letter read.

The family’s lawyer, Bob Hilliard, immediately declined the offer on behalf of the Blount family with a letter:

“I have no doubt Mr. Scott feels remorse. His journey ahead will be painful. He must face and hopefully see that he bears some of the responsibility of this tragedy.” 

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Other families have called out Scott, and claimed that the rapper’s offer was simply to repair his public image, and if he actually cared about his fans, this wouldn’t have happened in the first place. 

Philip Corboy, the lawyer for the families of Jacob Jurinek and Franco Patino, 21-year-old best friends who were at the concert together, said Scott’s approach to make amends through his legal team leaves the impression “that all he’s trying to do is lessen the public outcry against him.”

“If he’s trying to impress upon the families that he’s sincere and has concern for them and realize that funerals can be expensive, what Soctt’s team did is not the way to do it,” Corboy continued.

“You don’t get a piece of paper in the mail from a lawyer in Beverly Hills who says he represents Travis Scott. These families are raw right now; that lacks any personal touch.”

Tony Buzbee, who represents the family of Axel Acosta (21), also publicly questioned Scott’s motives in choosing to make the announcement that he would pay for the funeral costs through a “press release that everyone could see.” 

“He says he feels sorry for them but he’s quick to say it wasn’t his fault. He’s no different than any defendant pointing fingers to someone else. They don’t want funeral expenses from him. Whatever we get from him we’re going to get through the court system,” Buzbee exclaimed. 

Major Hollywood Union Votes To Ratify Contracts For Better Streaming Payments

The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE), a major Hollywood union, have ratified their new film and TV contracts this week after six months of contentious negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP). LA locals rejected the deal in a popular vote. 

“From start to finish, from preparation to ratification, this has been a democratic process to win the very best contracts,” said IATSE International President Matthew Loeb in a statement today. 

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“The vigorous debate, high turnout, and close election, indicates we have an unprecedented movement-building opportunity to educate members on our collective bargaining process and drive more participation in our union long-term.”

AMPTP released a statement as well, stating: “We congratulate IATSE President, Matt Loeb, the IATSE Bargaining Committee and Board for their leadership in achieving ratification of the new contracts. Throughout the negotiations, IATSE leadership advocated changes to improve quality of life for those they represent. These agreements meaningfully reflect the industry’s endorsement of those priorities and keep everyone working.”

The union uses an electoral college system for ratification votes such as this one. During this particular vote, 359 (56%) voted in favor compared to 282 (44%) who voted against it out of 641 total delegate votes; the votes were taken from 36 local unions nationwide that were eligible.

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The Basic Agreement was rejected in the popular vote with 49.6% voting yes to 50.4% voting no. Overall 50.3% voted yes to 49.7% voting no for both contracts. In the end, “72% of the 63,209 eligible members cast digital ballots this weekend,” according to IATSE.

According to media reports, “there were actually two separate contracts that were ratified: the Basic Agreement, which covers 13 Hollywood locals, and the Area Standards Agreement, which covers 23 locals outside of Los Angeles.”

“For the LA centric Basic Agreement, the vote was 256 voting for the deal that IATSE made with the AMPTP last month, yes to 188 no. In regards to the non-LA based Area Standards Agreement the yes vote was 103 to 94 no votes for the more recent deal,” according to Deadline. 

“Our goal was to achieve fair contracts that work for IATSE members in television and film—that address quality-of-life issues and conditions on the job like rest and meal breaks. We met our objectives for this round of bargaining and built a strong foundation for future agreements,” Loeb stated. 

Almost 80% Of Americans Have Been Exposed To Misinformation Online Regarding Covid-19, Survey Says

Between social media and the plethora of news outlets reporting on the Covid-19 pandemic, many Americans aren’t sure what information to believe. New data from the Kaiser Family Foundation found that nearly 80% of Americans surveyed said they had heard of at least one of the falsehoods perpetuated by online misinformation and either believed it, or were unsure whether or not it was true. 

“Most commonly, six in ten adults have heard that the government is exaggerating the number of Covid-19 deaths by counting deaths due to other factors such as coronavirus deaths and either believe this to be true (38%) or aren’t sure if it’s true or false (22%).”

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“One-third of respondents believe or are unsure whether deaths due to the Covid-19 vaccine are being intentionally hidden by the government (35%), and about three in ten each believe or are unsure whether Covid-19 vaccines have been shown to cause infertility (31%) or whether Ivermectin is a safe and effective treatment for COVID-19 (28%),” the authors wrote.

The survey also found that “between a fifth and a quarter of the public believe or are unsure whether the vaccines can give you COVID-19 (25%), contain a microchip (24%), or can change your DNA (21%).”

Outlandish ideas such as vaccine microchips, trackers, or changes to DNA have been reported by “trusted” media outlets and have made a vast impact on many Americans in their choice to get vaccinated or not. 

“People’s trusted news sources are correlated with their belief in COVID-19 misinformation. At least a third of those who trust information from CNN, MSNBC, network news, NPR, and local television news do not believe any of the eight false statements, while small shares (between 11% and 16%) believe or are unsure about at least four of the eight false statements.”

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These results prove that traditional sources of media are helping people separate facts from falsehoods. However, Republicans have made it clear that sources such as CNN and NPR are not to be trusted. 

The survey found that “nearly 4 in 10 of those who trust Fox News (36%) and One America News (37%), and nearly half (46%) of those who trust Newsmax, saying they believe or are unsure about at least half of the eight false statements.”

The researchers cautioned, however, that “whether this is because people are exposed to misinformation from those news sources, or whether the types of people who choose those news sources are the same ones who are pre-disposed to believe certain types of misinformation for other reasons, is beyond the scope of the analysis.”

Post reporter Aaron Blake followed up with Kaiser and concluded that the overall numbers “obscure just how ripe the right is for this kind of misinformation. That’s because, “in most cases, if you exclude Republicans who haven’t heard the claims and focus on just who is familiar with them, a majority of them actually believe the claims.”

David Leonhardt of The New York Times wrote “Covid vaccines are remarkably effective at preventing severe Covid, and almost 40 percent of Republican adults remain unvaccinated, compared with about 10 percent of Democratic adults. In the Kaiser research, unvaccinated adults were more likely than vaccinated adults to believe four or more of the eight false statements.”

Popcorn and Netflix

Carole Baskin Suing Netflix For Using Footage Of Her In Tiger King 2 

Carole Baskin and her husband, Howard, are accusing Royal Goode Productions and Netflix of breach of contract by using footage of the couple in the trailer for the sequel to the Netflix hit series ‘Tiger King’. 

The second season of the series was initially scheduled for release on November 17th. According to media sources, the lawsuit was filed on Monday in Tampa, Florida. The couple is arguing that they only signed appearance release forms for the first series, which Carole Baskin would go on to describe as a “reality show dumpster fire.” 

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The lawsuit states: “By utilizing the film footage of the Baskins and Big Cat Rescue secured by Royal Goode Productions under the Appearance Releases in ‘sizzle reels’ and promotional trailers for the sequel entitled ‘Tiger King 2,’ the Defendants are in breach of the terms of the Appearance Releases.”

The Baskins are looking for Royal Goode Productions and Netfliz to remove all footage of them being used in Tiger King 2. 

Carole Baskin also made multiple claims in the past that the first season of the series “perniciously implicated” her in the disappearance of her first husband in 1997; the first season alludes that Baskin potentially fed her first husband to one of her tigers, thus destroying all evidence that would implicate her in his disappearance. 

The entire first season of the series followed the rivalry that took place between Joe Exotic, owner of the Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park in Oklahoma, and animal conservationist Carole Baskin. 

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In 2018, Joseph Maldonado-Passage, Joe Exotic’s real name, was arrested after being accused of hiring two men to murder Baskin. 

In 2019, he was found guilty of multiple federal charges of animal abuse and two counts of attempted murder. Exotic was sentenced to a 22-year prison sentence in Fort Worth, Texas. 

Exotic has since sold his zoo and is currently appealing his sentencing, calling it “harsh.” Jeff and Lauren Lowe are the couple who now own Exotic’s old zoo. In January a federal judge ordered the Lowe’s to turn over all lion and tiger cubs in their possession, along with the animals’ mothers. 

The animals were then returned to the federal government after it was found that Exotic’s zoo had violated the US’s endangered Species Act and the Animal Welfare Act. 

In the meantime, the Baskins have teamed up with fiml-maker Michael Webber, most famously known for ‘The Elephant In The Living Room’, for their own documentary called ‘The Conservation Game’.

Music Awards

Morgan Wallen Banned From 2021 American Music Awards Despite Being Nominated 

The 2021 American Music Awards announced that they won’t have controversial country artist Morgan Wallen appearing at this year’s show. Wallen is nominated for “Favorite Male Country Artist” and “Favorite Country Album” at the AMAs this year. 

Show producer MRC Live & Alternative posted Wallen’s name on its nomination release with a side note explaining the decision to have Wallen nominated despite the fact that he’s not being invited to the event over his racist comments made in a video posted in February. 

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The show producers statement read, “American Music Awards (AMA) nominees are determined by performance on the Billboard Charts and are not chosen by a voting committee or membership organization.” 

“AMA  nominees are based on key fan interactions with music (including streaming, album sales, song sales, radio airplay, social engagement), tracked by Billboard and its data partner MRC Data. The AMA winners are voted entirely by fans.”

“Morgan Wallen is a nominee this year based on charting. As his conduct does not align with our core values, we will not be including him on the show in any capacity (performing, presenting, accepting),” the statement continued.

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“We plan to evaluate Wallen’s progress in doing meaningful work as an ally to the Black community and will consider his participation in future shows.”

Wallen has already been banned from various award shows and radio stations in wake of the February 2021 video which shows Wallen using a racial slur. 

After a few months Wallen went on an “apology tour” which included working with several Black organizations about his mistake and the harmful impact it has. Wallen has since been reinstated to his record label after a hiatus of several months as well. 

On July 23, Wallen publicly spoke of his racial comment on Good Morning America, saying that “[he] was around some of [his] friends, and [they] say dumb stuff together” and said that “he was wrong” to express those words.

Britney Spears Star

‘Controlling Britney Spears’ Documentary Further Exposes Singer’s Struggles Under Conservatorship

The New York Times released their follow-up to the ‘Framing Britney Spears’ documentary which detailed the abuse and struggles Spears has endured under her 13-year conservatorship. The newest installment is called ‘Controlling Britney Spears,’ which includes claims that her phone was monitored and recorded at all times and her security team even installed recording devices in her personal bedroom. 

The newest documentary is 70-minutes and aired last Friday Night. It’s currently available to watch on FX on-demand as well as Hulu. The documentary interviewed Felicia Culotta; Spear’s former longtime assistant, Latisha Yates; onetime head of wardrobe, Dan George; former your manager, and Alex Vlasov; a former security staffer. Vlasov especially revealed the extensive security measures Britney endured at the request of her father, Jamie Spears. 

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The individuals listed above detailed how Jamie would work directly with the head of Black Box Security, Edan Yemini, as well as Robin Greenhill, an employee of Tri Star Sports and Entertainment Group, which worked to handle the business side of Spears’ career. The insiders discussed how Jamie would meet with these individuals to oversee nearly every aspect of the singer’s life. 

Vlasov claimed that “the trio had a group chat that discussed every step she took, including closely managing her intimate relations. Greenhill proposed setting up an iPad to monitor her iCloud activity, including texts, notes, calls, and browser history. Conversations with her friends, her mother, and her then lawyer were all closely watched.”

Vlasov didn’t just make empty claims, however, he provided emails, texts, and audio recordings from his nine years as an executive assistant and operations/security manager. In the documentary, Vlasov shows an email from Ingham asking Jamie’s legal team for “confirmation that no one other than my client can access her calls, voicemails, or texts, directly or indirectly.” 

“Elaborate surveillance operation allowed almost every aspect of her life to be controlled by people, including her father and Greenhill. It really reminded me of somebody that was in prison, and security was put in a position to be the prison guards, essentially.”

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Vlasov discussed how Yemini had installed an audio recording device in Britney’s bedroom back in 2016 which captured more than 180 hours of audio; including conversations between the singer and her boyfriend and children. He then explained how Jamie was “fixated” on his daughter’s male friends and potential love interests, and would make countless individuals sign long NDA’s and contracts. 

Yates discussed how Britney was constantly denied small pleasures by her father and Greenhill. These pleasures included sushi, sneakers, or any other new products that caught her eye. Yates recalled a time where Britney was told “you had sushi yesterday, it’s too expensive.” The documentary also noted how, at the time, Jamie was paying himself $16,000 a month from Britney’s personal bank account. 

The newest film’s release comes just days before a court decides on the future of Britney Spears’ conservatorship, which has been instituted since 2008. Between 2008 and now, the pop star has barely had any time to rest because of how much she was being worked. One of the biggest points made in these documentaries is how a majority of the individuals in the legal field who have worked with individuals under conservatorships before, claim that they’ve never had a client under the control of a conservatorship who was also working; let alone constantly touring, promoting and releasing new music and business ventures, etc. 

In June, Britney was able to address the court herself for the first time. She spoke in depth about the flaws of the legal/judicial system that kept her in the conservatorship for more than a decade, while also condemning her conservators, managers, and family, calling the entire arrangement abusive. 

The judge then authorized Spears to choose her own lawyer, and on September 29th, the court will be considering Mathew Rosengart’s – her chosen lawyer – request to remove Jamie Spears as the conservator of the dinger’s estate. On September 7th, Jamie surprised the public by abruptly asking the court to consider whether to terminate the conservatorship entirely, which they will also be considering this week in court. 

ABBA Teases Comeback Music And Tour After 40 Year Hiatus 

Agnetha Fältskog, Björn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson and Anni-Frid Lyngstad make up the iconic Swedish-pop group ABBA. The group was made famous in 1974 after winning the Eurovision Song Contest with their entry of Waterloo. 

The music of Abba has been passed down from generation to generation as many young individuals today still love all the iconic hits the group released during their short time as pop stars. 

The group broke up back in December 1982, and while fans were constantly hoping they would make some sort of a comeback, it never came. Back in 2000 the group was offered $1 billion to do a reunion show, and they declined.  They also told Billboard magazine in 2014: “You will never see us on stage again. We don’t need the money, for one thing.” 

Under Attack was the last single the group ever recorded together, starting what would become a nearly 4 decade hiatus away from music. Well, fans who have been patiently waiting are having their prayers answered as the group recently took to social media to announce they would be releasing new music once again. 

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While it hasn’t been officially announced yet, some believe the group will be releasing a new song as early as September 3rd. Word broke after a verified Twitter account, @ABBAVoyage, was activated with the bio: “Join Us.”

The initial tweet from the account showed a photo of four gold rings alongside the date September 2nd, 2021. The official website is just as cryptic as the social media posts, with very little information other than encouraging fans to sign up for their newsletter. 

Back in 2018 ABBA did tease the release of new music with a statement claiming they were reuniting in the studio to record new music, initially set for a 2019 release. 

Speaking at the premiere of Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, Ulvaeus spoke about two new songs set for release: I Still Have Faith in You and Don’t Shut Me Down

“One of them is a pop tune, very danceable. The other is more timeless, more reflective, that is all I will say. It is Nordic sad, but happy at the same time.”

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While speaking to the Swedish publication Expressen, Andersson discussed plans for the groups next tour as well: 

“We see each other every now and then, we’ve done a few different things, and now we’ve got a project ahead of us.”

Originally a virtual reality tour was being developed to also debut in 2019 alongside the five new songs. The members of the group would appear during these shows as “Abba-tars”.

The host of the podcast Reasons To Be Cheerful, Geoff Lloyd, discussed how the pandemic and technical difficulties delayed all of these plans, but the group is still planning a comeback.

“I got to spend an hour with Björn Ulvaeus from Abba via Zoom. He’s quarantining – he’s got an island in the Stockholm archipelago. They’ve recorded five new songs. They should have been out at the end of last year. Because of technical difficulties and the pandemic, it’s delayed things. However, the new Abba music will be out in 2021.”

Jamie Spears Will Retire As Britney’s Conservator, According To Court Filings

Britney Spears’ father, Jamie Spears, will eventually step away from his role as conservator to her estate once a proper plan is set in place, according to new court filings released this Thursday.

David Glass, a certified family law attorney who is not involved in the case, recently spoke to the media about what Britney and her team need to do next in order to give the pop star her proper freedom.

“The next step is that Britney and her legal team need to either propose the same person that they’ve been proposing, take over the conservatorship, or else work with Jamie and his attorney to find an agreeable third party who could step in as the conservator.”

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“Either way, that conservator is going to be a professional fiduciary, either an individual who does this for a living and is licensed and bonded or a financial institution like one of the big banks who do these things regularly,” added Glass.

Spears’ new attorney Mathew Rosengart shared the name of the individual that Britney wants to manage her conservatorship in court filings last week. The court documents claim that Jason Rubin has been nominated to be appointed as the conservatorship of her estate.

Rosengart spoke at a press conference after requesting Rubin as new conservator, in which he claimed that the Los Angeles Superior Court and his team “were moving aggressively and expeditiously to have Jamie Spears removed from the conservatorship.”

Rubin is a long-practicing certified public accountant who would have the power to “obtain all documents and records relating to [Spears] and her assets, whether held in her name or in the name of another, all contracts, information relating to credit cards, bank statements, estate planning documents, receivables, and any and all powers of attorney,” according to official documents.

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Christopher Melcher is another family attorney who’s not directly involved in the case, but has been following it closely. He claims that the Spears estate still has a lot of money on the line as it pertains to the expenses that Jamie Spears will be seeking payment for; earlier this year he requested his daughter pay nearly $2 million of his own legal fees.

“What Jamie Spears filed today is by no means an unconditional resignation. He’s asking for $1.2 million in attorney fees and additional compensation. It’s inappropriate for him to condition his resignation on receiving material benefits.”

Melcher explained that Jamie’s “resignation” reads more like a “condition-of-surrender.”

“The half-million dollars plus Jamie is asking for in crisis communication and PR fees is not something that Britney’s estate should pay for. To ask the estate to pay fees aimed at rehabilitating Jamie’s public image is ludicrous,” he explained.

In an Aug. 5 filing, Rosengart claimed that “Jamie Spears still seeks compensation’ from Ms. Spears — of $1,356,293 in attorney’s fees from Oct. 17, 2020, to June 30, 2021, including a shocking and inexplicable $541,065.50 for ‘Media Matters.'”

Britney Spears’ next court date regarding her conservatorship case is set for September 29th.