A series of inspired encounters between creative forces from various worlds of sound and vision has resulted in “Hunter’s Moon,” the infectious first new track from GHOST since 2019’s Seven Inches Of Satanic Panic, and its phantasmagoric video directed by Amanda Demme.Continue reading GHOST release first new track in 2 years, “HUNTER’S MOON” + video
According the Linköping News” The four former members of Ghost lost the dispute against the band’s front figure and therefore also face the costs of more than 1.3 million.”
The ex- ghouls have to pay their own fees of about 3 million kr (335,000 USD) plus 1,3 million kr (145,000 USD) of Tobias Forge’s fees, which makes roughly 120,000 $ each.
Forge had claimed compensation for over 2 million kr, but the judge rules that about 700,000 kr were unnecessary costs and nothing that the ex-members
Simon Söderberg (Alpha) – member of GHOST since 2010
Mauro Rubino (Air) – member of GHOST since 2011
Henrik Palm (Eather) – member of GHOST since 2015
Martin Hjertstedt (Earth) – member of GHOST since 2014
should pay, so Forge ends up paying also about 80,000 $.
“TF has claimed compensation of SEK 2,025,053 including VAT, of which SEK 1 782 893 pertains to lawyer fee, SEK 50 000 TF’s work and SEK 192,160 expenses and costs. Of the latter amount SEK 15,000 refers to “professor’s fee,” SEK 16,160 to the lawyers travel and lodging, SEK 7,400 TF’s travel and lodging expenses and SEK 153,600 witness compensation.
The plaintiffs asked the district court to examine the reasonability of the requested compensation.
Tobias forge’s lawyer Sissi Hagald posted on her facebook today about the “victory”
Ghost‘s new album Prequelle is out on June 1 and the band start North American tour on May 5 in Riverside, Calif. Also band announce first ever Arena shows as a headliner.
“It will definitely be an upgrade,” Forge, who will be introducing his new character Cardinal Copia, tells Billboard.”
“We have a bigger band now in terms of personnel,” Forge says, “so it’s way more live now. Before we were doing a little bit of the modern trickery, with backing tracks and stuff to make the whole sound a certain way. Now we’re taking that away so we’re a little more like a Springsteen or Guns N’ Roses sort of band with backup singers and everything. It feels great. It’s gonna be the best version yet — but there’s still a lot to come after that.”
Ghost have released the following music video for their track “He Is“. The clip was directed by Zev Deans (Behemoth) . Papa
Ghost is in the studio at work on their next release. Expect that to come out sometime in 2018.
(TF Reply) Main document – part 1 (self.Ghost_Lawsuit)
Gothenburg, June 7, 2017
Case T 1213-17
Martin Hjertstedt et al. Vs. Tobias Forge
Tobias Forge will here explain the grounds for contesting the case.
I. SUMMARY OF REASONS FOR CONTESTING THE CASE
The operations of GHOST BEGAN in 2006-2008. None of the plaintiffs were present at the time of the formation of the operations, but received tasks as musician much later (Simon Soderberg at the end of summer 2010, Mauro Rubino early 2011, Martin Hjertstedt and Henrik Palm in January 2015). There has been no common commercial purpose. The plaintiffs have neither participated in the decicions of GHOST’s business purposes nor committed to working for the common commercial purpose.
The plaintiffs have neither contributed capital investments in the GHOST business nor been responsible to losses in the business. Tobias Forge has exclusively held decisions and control of the operations of GHOST.
The plaintiffs have only had the task of performing – executing – the musical works and the image in GHOST that Tobias Forge has created, produced and decided, all according to Tobias instructions. For their assignment, the candidates have received a fixed fees / salary.
Thus there is no legal partnership existing between Tobias Forge and the plaintiffs regarding the activities of GHOST. As no legal partnership exists, Tobias Forge is not required to report revenue, costs or assets in the GHOST business.
- Tobias Forge and GHOST
1.1 Tobias Forge
Tobias Forge has, more or less his whole life, acted as composer and author of lyrics as a singer, guitarist, drummer and bassist. As such, he has appeared in several famous rock bands such as Repugnant and Crashdiet, but also in Subvision, Magna Carta Cartel (where also one of the plaintiffs also played) and Superior. At the same time as Tobias Forge participated in various rock bands, he also created his music and wrote lyrics. Tobias Forge is the creator of the rock band GHOST. He alone founded and created GHOST, its image with anonymity and the special scene show as well as the first trademark associated with GHOST.
Tobias Forge is the main author of all GHOST musical works, with the exception of “Year Zero” and “Zenith” that was created on the initiative of Martin Persner. However, these two works have been revised, arranged and instrumented by Tobias Forge. The lyrics for “Year Zero” are written by Tobias Forge. Furthermore, Klas Åhlund has participated to some extent in the latest Meliora album (2015). All assignments of rights to works are registered at Svenska Tonsättares International Music Agency (STIM).
Tobias Forge has, in all cases, performed all vocal efforts on these recordings, with the exception of some choir singing performed by hired singers. With the exception of the Meliora (2015) album, the recording process has always started with Tobias Forge’s first recording of demo versions. On these he has arranged all the works and also covered all the instruments, which includes the creation and arrangement of eg riff / licks, instrumental solo, drumming, choice of rhythm and tempo. With a few exceptions, Tobias Forge has thus solely taken responsibility for the entire arrangement of how the instruments are to be handled, regardless of whether it was ultimately someone else who has actually recorded the final version. In the event that another musician has performed the works at the recordings, they have been given directives that the instruments should be treated in exactly the same way that Tobias Forge has recorded them on the demo recordings. There has thus been no room for self-interpretation, except in some cases when Martin Persner performed small so-called “licks” on a couple of recordings. ” Licks’ means short repetitive tones that are often played by the guitarist in hard rock.
1.2 GHOST – the business purpose and idea
Already when Tobias Forge, in 2006-2008, created the first songs with the unique sound that was the starting point for GHOST, Tobias Forge knew that a theatrically commercially viable image was needed for GHOST to succeed through the noise of the many other rock bands in the music market, as well as establish and achieve the successes he hoped for. Tobias Forge created an image and a scenery with a pope-like character in the lead role. All musicians would be disguised and the rock band would be characterized by anonymity and mystery where no activity – either on or outside the stage – would be done without wearing disguise. Participating musicians carried masks. The main character is called ‘Papa Emeritus’ (the name ‘Papa Emeritus’ was invented by Peter Hällje who in 2010 approved that it would be used by Ghost) and the musicians” Ghouls’ ‘.
Moreover, anonymity was maintained until the plaintiffs filed this case in court, where even the identity of Tobias Forge unfortunately was revealed. The result is that the plaintiffs now have destroyed the mystery surrounding the rock band GHOST. During this early period and at the same time as the development of GHOST projects, Tobias Forge drafted the design of the logo for the rock group as well as how the pale-like figure would look like, (see Appendix 1).
In summer 2010, another trademark “GRUCIFIX” was added. This later trademark was created by Erik Danielsson when he and Tobias Forge designed the album cover for the album Opus Eponymous. For Tobias Forge, it was very important to have a commercially viable trademark. The purpose was that the trademarks would serve as a basis for the commercialization of GHOST and contribute to the activities and development of GHOST, ie through the sale of merchandise products at concerts and to the band’s fans.
Selling products related to music groups is a very important source of income for artists and of great importance for the tour to be done at all. For GHOST, the sale of goods in connection with the concerts is an important income. These incomes help to cover the costs associated with concerts such as cost of scene decoration, scene building, staff, transportation, travel, boarding and lodging, etc. In order to give the hard rock fans a full-fledged experience, usually the income received at concerts do not cover this. For this reason, Tobias Forge has entered an agreement with one of the largest distributors of merchandise products, and it is Tobias Forge who has the final say on which products will be sold under the trademark.
Since he created GHOST, Tobias Forge has been very clear in relation to those involved in the GHOST business, that Ghost is not a joint project. GHOST is a constellation that he alone controls. This was the view – and still is – of GHOST by the people initially engaged until 2010, ie Gustaf Lindstrom and Jonas Olsson. Neither Gustaf Undstrom nor Jonas Olsson have ever claimed that they have had a part in the business. The musician who represented the plaintiffs in negotiations with Tobias Forge – Martin Persner – has also given a clear expression of that perception. All musicians formally and present engaged in GHOST are considered ”musicians for hire” who are tasked to perform – execute – the work Tobias Forge has created. As such, the musicians will have their own company, and from this invoice Tobias Forge for the agreed fee/salary.
Tobias Forge’s basic attitude has therefor always been nobody but he controls the activities of GHOST. For that reason, there is no economic equality that is commonly found in rock bands is, which means that all members are royalty-bearers with equal shares and thus decide to decide regardless of the effort. Any agreement of co-deciding the operations of GHOST’s activities have never been present between Tobias Forge and the musicians involved in GHOST. However, Tobias Forge has of course always discussed and advised on practical questions with the musicians, and has been engaged and listened to their opinions.
Since the musicians (The Ghouls) are anonymous, Tobias Forge is free to change the musician at will. Since the musicians always should perform the works according to Tobias Forge’s explicit instructions, they are not irreplaceable and are not considered crucial for the band.
In spite of this, Tobias Forge was initially of the opinion that the musicians involved, in addition to the usual payment, could receive some form of share in other incomes from GHOST’s activities. The share that was then mentioned should not be confused with share dividends in companies. Initially, it was talked about ” dividend ”, which was later reiterated and the parties discussed ‘bonus schemes’ depending on their respective efforts.
None of the musicians who have ever been engaged in GHOST have ever contributed to capital investment in the business or agreed to answer for any losses in the business. Tobias Forge has payed all investments in equipment and instruments unless a musician has used his private instrument that he uses.
1.3 Tobias Forge’s company
Tobias Forge runs the company Svensk Drama Pop AB, wholly owned by Tobias Forge, whose incomes are predominantly derive from GHOST’s activities. The company was formed at the end of 2010 as a so-called Ready-Made Company and the new Articles of Association were filed at the Registration Office on March 25, 2011. In addition, Tobias Forge runs the company Papastrello Ltd, registered in the United Kingdom, and the American company Santasma Touring Inc. The appellants have no insight, control or judgment to co-decide in any of the above-mentioned companies. No such insight has ever been demanded by the musicians.
Even third person parties have perceived GHOST as Tobias Forge’s own business. This is shown, for example, by the fact that the agreements related to GHOST has only been done between Tobias Forge companies and the contracting party in question. All agreements have been negotiated solely by Tobias Forge, without transparency, control or co-decision by any of the plaintiffs or other musicians. Tobias Forge has alone payed all legal costs in connection with contract negotiations. Tobias Forge is personally the contractor with Rise Above Records for the recordings of the album Opus Eponymous. Initially, two other persons were contractual parties (among them Gustaf Lindstrom), but in 2011, Tobias Forge was appointed as sole contractor. In addition, Tobias Forge’s contractual part with an American publishing house that publishes all the works created by him, also works that do not constitute music for GHOST. He has also, through his company Svensk Drama Pop AB, an agreement with all the producers who have produced the various recordings that have been released. As far as management is concerned, Tobias Forge has an agreement with the Rick Sales Entertainment Group in the United States. Swedish Drama Pop AB has had also agreements with various other record companies regarding GHOST’s recordings in addition to the album Opus Eponymous. Furthermore, Swedish Drama Pop AB had an agreement with Lucky You AB regarding concert production. Papastrello Ltd, Tobias Forge Company in Great Britain, is a party to the agreement with an English merchandising company with merchandise products and an English agent for booking agreements in all territories outside the United States. In addition, Papastrello Ltd is the contractor in the agreements with the musicians.
Tobias Forge US company Santasma Touring Inc is a contractual partner with an American agent for booking agreements in the United States.
This is not until the recent ‘Popestar 2017’ tour, launched on March 24, 2017 and ended April 30, 2017, as the tour business has made any profits. The revenue generated over the years has been used solely to pay fees / wages to musicians and to pay for the production of performances as well as costs for scenery, scene building, staff, transportation travel, boarding and lodging as well as the purchase of equipment and instruments for use in the company. Since the costs have always exceeded the income, the wages of musicians have always been guaranteed by Tobias Forge’s other income. Such other income derived from the publishing rights of Tobias Forge, which he receives as a composer and author of the text of all the works he has created – included the music not created for GHOST – and his royalties for record sales. Until 2017, Tobias Forge has not received any salary from income related to concerts or the sale of merchandise. Tobias Forge has only lived on the revenues from his publishing rights and the royalties that the firstalbum Opus Eponymous generates.
- The History of The success GHOST
The plaintiff’s history description is inadequate and contains a number of direct errors. For that reason, there is a need to reproduce a detailed history description from the time Tobias Forge created the constellation GHOST until the plaintiffs did not receive further musical tasks in November 2016. The description will explain in what respects and during what periods of time the respective plaintiffs had assignments as musicians in the rock group, respective plantiff’s participation in the group’s concerts and / or recordings of works as well as contractual discussions that have been held.
2.1 The plaintiffs’ involvement in GHOST
In order to make it easier for the person to follow the persons in the dispute, two illustrations are shown below. Gustaf Lindstrom and Martin Persner are two more people who often appear in this description, even if they are not plaintiffs. Furthermore, Sissi Hagald, who is Tobias Forge’s legal advisor in Sweden, is the mentioned. The first illustration shows all musicians who played in GHOST until mid-November 2016:
Tobias Forge 20006 – 2017 Gustaf Lindström 2010 -2011 Simon Söderberg 2010 – 2016 Aksel Holmgren 2010 – 2014 Martin Persner 2010 – 2016 Mauro Rubino 2011 – 2016 Rikard Ottoson 2011 -2014 Linton Rubino 2014 – 2015 Henrik Palm 2015 – 2016 Marin Hjertstedt 2015 – 2016 Megan Thomas 2016
(Translators remark: Reddit makes it difficult to post the illustration here. The illustration is a horizontal bar diagram with bars showing the years for each musician. For some reason the bars for Tobias Forge and Gustaf Lindström are colored red)
The illustration below shows the periods during which the plaintiffs had assignments in GHOST:
Tobias Forge 2006 – 2017 (red bar) Simon Söderberg 2010 -2016 Mauro Rubino 2011 – 2016 Henrik Palm 2015 – 2016 Martin Hjertstedt 2015 -2016
Simon Söderberg joined in 2010 in conjunction with three concerts in Germany. Mauro Rubino joined at the turn of the year, Henrik Palm and Martin Hjertstedt in January 2015. The agreements with Martin Hjertstedt and Henrik Palm were negotiated by Tobias Forge and intended only assignments as ” musicians for hire ”. Any discussions about income from the activities were not even mentioned in those negotiations.
2.2 Starting GHOST – 2006 – 2008
Already in 2006 Tobias Forge created the first music for Ghost – which can be said to be the starting shot for the band GHOST – namely ” Stand By Him ”. “Stand By Him” had a very special sound and a first demo was recorded. Tobias Forge and the friend and music colleague Gustaf Lindström agreed that it should be possible to succeed with the sound image created by Tobias Forge, if Tobias Forge was able to two more songs with the corresponding sound image. In 2007 and 2008, Tobias Forge wrote the songs “Prime Mover” and “Death Knell”. In March / April 2008, the three pieces “Stand By Him”, “Prime Mover” and “Death Knell” were recorded with help from Gustaf Lindström. Tobias Forge played all instruments and sang and Gustaf Lindström acted as a recording engineer. Later in 2008, the procedure was repeated and another two songs “Ritual” and “Genesis” were recorded under the same circumstances. All five works are featured on the first album Opus Eponymous and are regularly played by GHOST on concert performances. These recordings were spread and listened to by ten different people in Tobias Forges and Gustaf Lindström’s circle of acquaintance. This led, among other things, to GHOST being offered a concert as an opening act for the Dutch group THE DEVIL’S BLOOD at Tantogården in Stockholm on December 13, 2008, but Tobias Forge declined. It was important for Tobias Forge to set the peculiar image he drafted for GHOST (where the group would be anonymous and make a spectacular live show) and he did not want to perform any concerts before the image was ready and the project had a repertoire of mostly its own works. In addition, Tobias Forge and Gustaf Lindström needed more musicians to perform live. The goal of Tobias became writing more songs in 2009 and when an entire album could be recorded and released, GHOST could perform live. Tobias Forge knew that the music would appeal to the hard rock audience, but at that time he could not imagine that GHOST, a few years later, would become as popular as it is today. At that time, Tobias Forge did not know that he would be the singer in the band, as he had most thought about playing guitar.
2.3 The intermediate year of 2009
However, 2009 became a intermediate year for Tobias Forge because his newborn twins needed all the attention. By the end of 2009, Tobias Forge announced via social media that he would again play in the death metal band Repugnant. Tobias Forge’s intention with this was to spread the spread the knowledge of GHOST to his existing network the same time as he could develop the project further. Discussions about the project continued in the meantime with the friend Gustaf Lindstrom, who wanted GHOST to become a Stockholm band (and thus not with based in Linköping). Gustaf Lindstrom also wanted that a friend of his, Jonas Olsson, who had also participated in the discussions about GHOST projects, should join.
Plaintiff Simon Söderberg was not in any way included in the planning as a musician at this time.
2.4 Breakthrough 2010
In 2010, Tobias Forge had uploaded some of his recordings (‘Ritual’, ‘Prime Mover’ and ‘Death Knell’) to Myspace, a social community on the Internet, but had not published the songs. Myspace is a place where musicians can follow musicians and music groups without the need to be an accepted friend (ie unlike how Facebook works). Myspace features include the ability to present a presentation of the artist, his recordings of biography and images for those who want to present their musical performances. Tobias Forge had, under the name GHOST, “liked” about thousand people as a preparation for the release of the recordings on Myspace. On March 10, 2010 Tobias Forge released the recordings and simultaneously sent a message to GHOST’s followers on Myspace.
The recordings made instant success and GHOST’s page on Myspace completely exploded. The following day, GHOST had been noticed by a talented music blog in Norway who wrote about GHOST and predicted its successes and called GHOST “the band of the week”.
The publicity caused GHOST to sign a contract with Rise Above Records on May 15, 2010. Contracting parties were at that time Tobias Forge, Gustaf Lindstrom and Jonas Olsson (the latter, however, never appeared to be a musician in GHOST). The contract shows that the name of the artist was GHOST. Rise Above Records was informed about the image Tobias Forge outlined, ie that all public performances were to be made in disguise and with masks, and that the band was characterized by anonymity to create mysticism around GHOST.
GHOST, however, had a previous agreement with another record company, Iron Pegasus, on the release of the recordings Death Knell and Elizabeth. The single Elizabeth was released on June 20, 2010.
The new collaboration with Rise Above Records resulted in GHOST’s first album Opus Eponymous released on October 18, 2010. All recordings on the album have been created, arranged and produced by Tobias Forge (under the name Gene Walker). During the recording, only bassist Gustaf Lindstrom and the drummer Ludvig Kennberg participated as musicians. Tobias Forge acted as the single vocalist and instrumentalist, and thus handled all other instruments. Simon Söderberg acted as recording technician and rented his studio to Tobias. Plaintiff Simon Soderberg was thus not involved in the choice of Rise Above Records as a record label, in the negotiation with Rise Above Records, in the decision to record Opus Eponymous or what songs to be included in the album.
It is a thus incorrect, stated by Simon Soderberg, that he participated in any part of the decision making and recording of the album Opus Eponymous, other than being a recording engineer. By that time, Simon Soderberg was not involved as a musician in GHOST. Participation as a recording technician in itself does not give right the music recorded. The person who assists with technical assistance during a recording does, like a producer, not receive copyright protection for his work. The release of the Opus Eponymous record made it easier forTobias Forge to market GHOST to the concert organizers and Tobias Forge also received more requests for concerts. In order to be able to develop GHOST and its performances at the concerts that were booked in 2010 following the released album, two more guitarists were needed. Since Tobias Forge, on the recommendation of the record company Rise Above Records, chose only to sing in GHOST, two additional guitarists were now needed for Tobias Forge to consider the constellation optimized for the artistic elements. To ask the plaintiff Simon Soderberg became a emergency choice since he was both geographically close and knew the songs. He was asked by Tobias Forge to play the guitar that Tobias Forge had first intended to play, with the reservation that Simon Söderberg would play exactly as Tobias Forge’s played. Some time later, Tobias Forge was contacted by one of his best friends, Martin Persner. He also wanted to play in GHOST. Gustaf Lindstrom did not want that Martin Persner would get the assignment, but Tobias Forge went against Gustaf Lindstrom and Martin Persner got the place as a musician in GHOST. Martin Persner then gradually took on the role of spokesman for the other musicians.
In the time leading up to the concerts in October 2010, Tobias Forge had a tailor sew the pope-like outfit. Other outfits and masks for the musicians where bought by Tobias Forge at Buttericks. None of the participating musicians had any influence on how the outfits would look or on the general performance. That the musicians have later come up with developing proposals, is another matter. Any scenery was not used at that time. The record company Rise Above Records handled the cost of travel and lodging. Costs taken from the income generated in record deal between Rise Above Records and Tobias.
At that time, the size of the payment to the musicians was not discussed, as there were no actual income. Tobias Forge, however, made clear that he would make his best to pay the musicians when the touring generated revenues.
2.5 Concert years 2011 and 2012
During 2011 and 2012 Tobias Forge toured extensively with GHOST in Sweden as well as Europe and the United States. Tobias Forge had through its company Svensk Drama Pop AB entered into an agreement with Lucky You AB to produce the concerts. Lucky You AB was a company that provided so-called production, a kind of intermediary between the artist and the concert organizers who conduct concert activities. There was a smaller income from the tours during the summer, which Tobias Forge used to invest in equipment for an upcoming tour to with the band In Flames. Without that equipment, GHOST would not be able to accept the request to be opening act to In Flames and thus not to tour. Despite an extensive tour program in in 2012, the income from the concerts were largely matched with the cost of the concerts. This is nothing rare so sales of merchandise products and recordings from albums, etc., is an important source of income to make the touring reality.
2.6 Agreement and replacement discussions 2011/2012
2.6.1 The meeting on March 2, 2011
On March 2, 2011, the musicians in GHOST met for a review of practical questions. Memory notes from the meeting were taken by Martin Persner, who at this time had fully taken on the role of spokesman for the musicians in GHOST. The other musicians also accepted this. The plaintiffs have claimed that the memory note as meeting minutes (Annex 8a in the lawsuit). The minutes have not been reviewed, and thus may be considered only as Martin Persner’s own memory notes and interpretations of what was discussed at the motive. At the meeting, among other things, GHOST’s structure and governance was discussed. The memory notes say that Tobias Forge was a band leader, songwriter and one who had the full mandate of aesthetics and music. Any rights, obligations or economic distribution were not mentioned during the meeting. It was clear that Tobias Forge should take all the risks, but also take all the artistic as well as the business related decisions. The memory notes show that others (except Tobias Forge) were to be musicians, but were welcome to come with suggestions. That the musicians had some possibilty to influence gigs and comment in more general terms were due to their friendship with Tobias Forge. This did not imply that they had a right to co-decision or control of the business or became partakers of the business in any way. It is contested that Simon Söderberg has been responsible for the finding new musicians. Of course, ongoing practical issues were discussed during the tours. Furthermore, it was agreed on how and when Tobias Forge was to pay compensation to the musicians and what compensation would be paid. In correspondence, a partnership agreement is mentioned, but that is not the case. What it was about was an agreement with the musicians to formalize already made oral agreements regarding compensations and how they would be calculated, how the compensations would be paid, anonymity and confidentiality regarding GHOST, as well as clarifying that musicians that left the band had no right to future income in any form or right to keep instruments and equipment bought by Tobias Forge for the business.
2.6.2 The agreement with Rick Sales Entertainment – plaintiffs not a party
In the latter half of 2011, Tobias Forge was contacted, among others, by two well-known US management companies, 5 B Artist Management Inc and Rick Sales Entertainment Group (Rick Sales). Both contract proposals were negotiated by Tobias Forge adviser and lawyer Sissi Hagald. The deal was finally concluded with Rick Sales on October 1, 2011, which included all the musicians who then played in GHOST. Just a few weeks later, the agreement was replaced with a new agreement, where only Tobias Forge was a contracting party. The original agreement with Rick Sales was declared “deemed to be null and void” ab initio “, being fully replaced and superseded by this agreement (” Agreement ”) as of the effective date of October 1, 2011, as though this Agreement were executed in the first instance”. The reason was that Martin Persner and Simon Soderberg simultaneously played in the” TID “and” Magna Carta Cartel “and Rikard Ottoson in the band “Maim”. They did not want to risk paying the management commission To Rick Sales for their income from these groups and would also not risk the need to be bound exclusively if they would leave GHOST. Martin Persner was contacted by Sissi Hagald by phone at the end of 2011 and confirmed that he had no objection to the change of contractors. It is therefor incorrect that the plaintiffs claim that Rick Sales has acted on behalf of all members of GHOST and on behalf of a single company. Rick Sales has acted exclusively on behalf of Tobias Forge.
When Tobias Forge entered into the management agreement with Rick Sales, Tobias Forge asked Sissi Hagald to come up with a proposal for an agreement where the musicians, in addition to a music salary, would be rewarded in the form of a bonus. How the bonus would be calculated was not clear but it was clearly stated by Martin Persner that it would not be the same for all members.
2.6.3 Fall 2011 and the mail October 31, 2011
In 2011, Tobias Forge had no real income from the activities of concerts in addition to the surplus that came from summer festivals and advance payments from Global Merchandising Ltd for revenues on sold merchandise products of just over 400,000 kronor. The money from Global Merchandising was direly needed because it meant that Tobias Forge could pay out fees / salary to the musicians. For Tobias Forge, it was important that the musicians were keen to engage and he was willing at that time largely share the inputs that came into GHOST’s activities so that the musicians felt confident. At that time, GHOST did not earn more than 20,000 kronor per gig.
On October 31, 2011, Tobias Forge sent an email to the musicians with an update on news and changes in GHOST, Appendix 1 in the lawsuit, and containing information on how compensations should be paid. It mentions a person named Magnus Strömblad, who was an accounting consultant. It was Magnus Strömblad who proposed that the musicians in GHOST should form an economic association. That was never the case either for Tobias Forge or for other musicians, and the message shows that he invited all musicians to register their own companies so that they could invoice Tobias Forge’s company for the compensation agreed.
In the mail of October 31, 2011, it is talked about the division and distribution of revenues, which meant paying out the compensations Tobias Forge agreed with the respective musician. Something that was made possible by Tobias Forge receiving an advance from the merchandise company. However, the message does not express the distribution of profit or support for GHOST profits to be distributed equally between Tobias Forge and the musicians.
The message further states that no joint company would not be formed, because not all musicians could be included in the beginning. In addition, not all musicians would bind themselves because they also had engagement in other rock bands at the same time. Martin Persner also announced that he “went on soc” (public welfare) and therefore had difficulty in being a company man unless he had to lose his public welfare.
However, discussions on cooperation and retrenchments continued. Martin Persner explained to Sissi Hagald in a telephone conversation at the end of 2011 that the band members felt that the management Rick Sales was only working as a manager for Tobias, which was an accurate observation. On the question of this was a problem, Martin Persner replied that he did not think so since GHOST was Tobias Forge’s creation and that they had no problems with that at all. According to Martin Persner, he and the musicians were only “in for the ride”. However, only as long as it could be guaranteed that the fees / wages would be paid on a regular basis and that a bonus would be paid. According to Martin Persner, the bonus would primarily be for the musicians who provided extra services beyond the usual, ie other than playing concerts and participating in promotional activities. These members were, according to Martin Persner’s opinion himself and Simon Söderberg. Other musicians would only have fixed fees / salary.
In the conversation, Sissi Hagald suggested that Martin Persner take all the discussions regarding the fees and bonuses with the management company Rick Sales. The reason was the that it became too personal between Tobias Forge and Martin Persner to discuss compensations, but also because in the music industry it is customary for the management company to handle this type of question.
2.6.4 Martin Persners mail March 15, 2012
In the course of 2012, it was clear between Tobias Forge and the musicians that GHOST was not any joint business or that the musicians would have a joint venture. Furthermore, it was clear to the musicians that they only had assignments like ‘musicians for hire’, ie as employees.
This is evident from the email from Martin Persner on behalf of all the current musicians’, as an appeal to the manager Kristen Mulderig of Rick Sales, Tobias Forge and other musicians in GHOST, appendix 2. Below are the relevant extracts from this email and the message can be seen ended all previous discussions, relating partnerships, compensations, etc.
i’ve just talked to Tobias Forge about our (me and the boys in the orchestra) economical situation and means how to solve this affair. I’d like to start with severing the “group/band” from the “company” in order to get the semantics straight for the follwing message. As you are aware, none of us have any funds at all, and stand completely broke; many of us in debt to relatives and friends from having touring etc. Tobias Forge and foremost Sissi made me aware that having a discussion with Tobias Forge on our wages and on our membership/employee-deal with the company (Tobias’ company Ghost, in all it’s shapes) would only lead to further confusion. We have had several meetings and round up’s on how to function as a band, our roles, our goals and more. Now, since Tobias Forge and we decided on him owning the company as whole and us being employees and serve as hired musicians rather than being partowners of the actual company, with all it’s perks and risks, we came to the conclusion that this is doable if, and only if, we get paid for our label. We never quite came to a final solution on how to do this, but we very well came up with solutions fit for the group and the company on how to manage this. The solution we all could agree on (yes, this was a group decisions, for good and bad) was that we get paid per gig. This because Tobias Forge was unwilling to have us on payroll for periods of no work or gigs. Only fair. The model would be that each of us have their own small company and invoice him per gigAour. Also, and important for the verve and soul of the group, we decided that we, the employees, should in some form have the right to get per cent of the gross of something that measures the band’s growth – suggesting per cent per member of the group (not to mix up with the actual company) of the gross of one years total sum of the income of played gig’s. This, all in good will, in order for everyone to get the feel that they belong and work for results, rather than just the payroll – something all of us including Tobias Forge sense is of great worth for having a functional band. The feeling of membership of the group. Given this i adress you, sadly, at this point not so much as “our” management, but as Tobias’ management or CEO – since we have not yet come to a conclusion on what are exact roles are and should be in the company/companies of Ghost To addres another problem, surfacing when making attempt to look at this logically and per se: Even if we would have ownership in any of the companies that is Ghost, we could not do another gig without getting paid. It’s down to that by now. So, regardless on our economical role in this whole machinery, we are dead broke. Now, at this point. Since we no longer (if ever, but to that we all can agree – yes, that was the initial plan: us being part of the company and it’s growth) are members or have any ownership in the companies being Ghost – we should be bought out from what we helped building during the first year and some up until now. Some 70 gigs or so. Tobias Forge had an idea of giving us payment for the accomplished gigs retroactive, and thus buying us out of our share of the bands value we helped constructing by traveling, playing, rehearsing, having meetings. This is only fair given that we elsehow have been working fora long time without having nothing in return from it. Not ok for any of us. Because if we should turn to meaningless terms as “no band ever gets paid during first year” i’ll answer that by saying “no, that’s because they invest time and effort in it as band and company members – getting paid later on… or not – if the band fails on being a commercial succes. Risking money and other ways of living.” In any event – if we are not to have any ownership in the company, which a are decided upon that we shall not, why take any risks furthermore or even, as in this particular case, in the past? Risking for maybe getting a payroll in the future? Lot’s of strings are being pulled and lot’s of things happen at this moment as you if anyone, are aware of. All this because people and companies believe in the Ghost phenomenon. There are costs to having Ghost doing what they are, and these above mentioned are some of them. We are, unfortunately, or fortunatley, to be seen as expenses. Not risktakers with nothing in return. Since the band needs to function as group and individually doing this we needs funds. That will be given from the recordcompany as an advance of the expected value of this band. They nowadays serve as risktakers and financial muscels in order to get things working that would otherwise not work. That is handling and risking economy for a project they BELIEVE in. We are part of that project. We are expenses just like anything else, giving we are hired musicians Bottom line is – none of us neither can nor will risk anything more than already risked for this project
Summing it all up for overlook should be this: 1. We (the hired musicians of Ghost) need money to do the US tour. 2. We would like to now, or at a later occastion, have retroactive payments for effort and work done so far in order for Ghost to have us off from our share of the stock value at this given day 3. We need to make contracts on a.) how much our salary should be and for what kinds of efforts given by us b.) what our per cent of any grossvalue stating the bands growth should be. As you can see from my text i am no lawyer and neither i wish to be, so all this is to be considered a open letter to you and Rick explaining our, the members of the musical group Ghost, situation and thoughts as is per 2012-03-15 Kind regards, Martin Persner, and on behalf of Rikard, Mauro, Aksel and Simon”
2.6.5 The compensation
The solution was that the musicians received a monthly payment when the compensation was paid if they were not out on tour. The idea was that they would get the requested security but also get paid in case they were needed for rehearsals or something else. Throughout Tobias Forge has arranged, so that the musicians are the ones who have always been paid, even if it has meant that he has not been able to get salary from the activities of GHOST. In addition to the permanent salary, they have received regular allowances of 200 – 300 kronor per day (about 840 USD per month) as well as transportation, food and accommodation that have also been paid by Tobias.
In January 2013, the musicians received an email from Sissi Hagald about the fee / salary compensation that would be issued in 2013 and the bonus system discussed in this context, appendix 3. The proposed compensation exceeded what is customary for unsettled musicians, to whom plaintiffs are to be regarded. In order to secure the salary to the musicians in 2013, Tobias Forge got a advance on merchandise sales of Global Merchandising. The costs of running the project were still in loss or barely making even, and any surplus was needed in Tobias Forge’s business to continue the project. Discussions about any bonus could not happen at that time but this could possibly be relevant in the spring of 2014 if the incomes allow a profit. For that reason, there is mentioned a hope of earning, in e-mail correspondence, so that Tobias Forge could fulfill his desire to give the musicians a bonus in addition to the salary.
(TF Reply) Main document – part 2 (self.Ghost_Lawsuit)
During the years 2013 to 2015, GHOST toured extensively. A number of albums, EP and singles were also released during the period. Even though the plaintiffs have played in GHOST as musicians at concert performances, they have not participated in the same degree when the music was recorded. From the below charts, which is called out by SAMI data, the % share and musicians are shown to participate in recordings in relation to all recordings. The red shows the proportion of recordings they participated in:
Mauro: 38% red, 62% blue Martin: 21% red, 79% blue Simon: 48% red, 52% blue Henrik: 36% red, 64% blue
(Translators comment: Standard pie charts are shown in blue and red for each of the plaintiff)
Instead of the plaintiffs, freelance studio musicians were involved in the recordings. None of the plaintiffs have ever been asked about their consent for the appointment of freelance musicians. Although it may have been discussions about personal chemistry and the person’s skill as a musician, it is exclusively Tobias Forge who made the decision, no matter if it was regarding musician or another crew for GHOST.
Sissi Hagald had, during a travel in USA in November 2015 where she attended GHOST’s concerts on several occasions, noted that Martin Persner was clearly dissatisfied and grundgeful. Something that emerged further on a couple of occasions when Martin Persner and Sissi Hagald encountered each other in Stockholm by the end of 2015 and the beginning of 2016. In early 2016, Sissi Hagald therefore discussed with Tobias Forge, but especially with Rick Sales, that the assignments of the musicians as’ ‘musicians for hire’ in GHOST must be formalized in writing. At the same time, it was intended to give the musicians a pay rise and specify the bonus.
A contract proposal was sent from Rick Sales on April 8, 2016 via email from Sissi Hagald to the plaintiffs. In her e-mail to the musicians, Sissi Hagald declared the main contractual content, that is, the musicians would receive a retrospective increase from 1 April 2016 to between 2,000 – 3,000 USD per month. To help the musicians judge the content of the agreement, Tobias Forge also offered to pay for six hours of advice from a Swedish lawyer.
In Straudsburg, USA, April 14, 2016, Tobias Forge was confronted by the plaintiffs with Martin Persner in the lead regarding the proposed agreement and, in a meeting later that day, the plaintiffs and Martin Persner expressed, in very strong language, their views on the agreement to Kristen Mulderig from Rick Sales. Tobias Forge therefore urged the musicians, because of the nature of the discussion, not to sign the agreement and that he would instead returning with a new, more balanced contract proposal which would be easier to understand and be written in Swedish.
The proposed agreement regulated what is standard in an international arena but was unfortunate enough perceived as complicated by Martin Persner and the plaintiffs. What was clear, however, was that the agreement would only formalize the agreements that had already been reached, ie a contract for ‘musicians for hire’ and nothing else.
In the beginning of September 2016, Tobias Forge and Sissi Hagald called the plaintiffs to a meeting September 7 in Solna. At the meeting, GHOST’s future plans were discussed and Tobias Forge presented the tour plan, announcing that, according to his plans, he could guarantee gigs and fixed monthly wages for another 2.5 years until December 2018, based on a new album cycle. Tobias Forge announced to the musicians that he could only guarantee a certain amount for salary to the musicians for a full-time job according to the system used. The compensation would be payed even when the musicians did not play. Tobias Forge insisted that he deserved to be free from January 1, 2019 and not be responsible for paying salary to the musicians. In that way he could freely plan for the future.
Sissi Hagald presented the proposal on paper in Solna. The agreement was identical to all. However, the individual compensations were not filled out, but had been blanked. In addition to the assignment, it also regulated to right for bonus on sales of albums and secured the intellectual properties of GHOST, to Tobias Forge’s company, Svensk Drama Pop AB. The agreement was presented point by point and the musicians were urged to ask questions. No questions came. The plaintiffs were urged to consider and come with any wage claims, as Tobias Forge wanted them to be satisfied and motivated for the 2.5 years the contract was valid. No one chose to do this on September 7th. They were invited you return by phone or email in the coming days.
Tobias Forge contacted Henrik Palm to urge him to negotiate his salary. Henrik Palm had switched to bass guitar bass replacing Martin Persner and Henrik Palm would learn the new bassist Megan Thomas the songs. Tobias Forge considered Henrik Palm to be an asset to GHOST and would reward him with higher salary, which pleased Henrik.
However, Henrik Palm returned a couple of weeks later and wanted to get more than the sum agreed in September. Henrik Palm thought that the wage negotiation had gone a little bit too quickly and that, along with his girlfriend, he thought that a higher specific sum would feel more appropriate. The increase was accepted by Tobias Forge and they shook hands and hugged after it, as both wanted to express their joy of agreeing with each other and satisfied with the Agreement. The plaintiffs Martin Hjertstedt and Mauro Rubino accepted the compensation offered by Tobias Forge and had no comments on the agreement. Plaintiff Simon Söderberg would consider his claim for compensation, but also did not comment on the contractual content.
However, on October 14, the plaintiffs returned via their lawyer, The Law firm Inter, and announced that the agreement was not accepted. The plaintiffs had, among other things, views on the agreement regarding the size of the monthly wage, shorter contract times and right to share in revenue from merchandise sales generated at concerts they participated in as well as royalties from recordings of exploitation of the recordings that the musicians have contributed to the recordings. In addition, the plaintiffs lawyer stated in the letter that no agreements would be signed regarding the involvement of the musicians in Ghost, for example the recently released DVD deal. The agreement concerned an audio-visual recording of the GHOST concert performed at the renowned The Wiltern Theater in Los Angeles in 2016. The cost and investment in the recording of the concert was too extensive to risk, if the musicians did not accept the agreement proposed by Tobias. Decisions were made to cancel it with immediate effect.
The atmosphere during the tour became more and more strained and Tobias Forge was at times completely frozen out of the group. The plaintiffs threatened Tobias Forge to leave the tour unless the terms they proposed were accepted. In order to ensure that the tour could be completed at the end, Tobias Forge felt obliged to negotiate some form of agreement for a limited time.
This agreement was signed on November 8, which regulated the candidates’ employment during the remaining period of the tour until November 12, 2016. In that statement, all the candidates received a severance payment amounting to a significantly higher amount than the individual allowance accepted by the musicians after the meeting in Solna.
During November, GHOST Tour Manager George Davidson was contacted by them as musicians, to announce their names to the guest list for the sold-out Stockholm concert on April 28, 2017. The plaintiffs showed at that time – ie after the agreement entered into on November 8 – they had not understood that their agreement and commitment in GHOST had ended.
Sissi Hagald was instructed by Tobias Forge to announce to the plaintiffs representatives that no further involvement was relevant and that the guest list was not available to the candidates. Sissi Hagald appealed in writing to the plaintiffs’ lawyer. “As there seems to be confusion about their commitment, I would like to clarify that by your announcement on October 14, 2016, you informed me that your clients did not accept the offers that had been made. My client has not accepted any counteroffers, so it should be made clear to your clients that any contractual commitment to them as musicians in Ghost does not exist. It should also be made clear to them that they will not be eligible for further engagement as my client does not intend to be blackmailed during future tours. ”
As late as December 16, 2016, the plaintiffs’ lawyer replied and then stated that there existed a legal partnership between the parties.
Tobias Forge immediately engaged new musicians so that the forthcoming tour that was due to start in March 2017 could be done.
III. LEGAL STATEMENTS
- Legal Partnership
3.1 The legal partnership can be seen as the original form of company if all definitions are reached. Failure to comply with any of the definitions, there is no legal partnership.
3.2 Definitions The definition for a company to be considered at hand is that an agreement has been entered between two or more legal subjects, with a common purpose and obligation to act for this purpose. The agreement between the parties can be negotiated in writing, orally or through concluding action. However, the agreement must in every case specify what the company is going to claim, ie the parties must take some form of opinion for what the company agreement should contain and what activities the company should conduct.
Regarding the purpose, it is considered to comprise two parts. First the purpose the partners have joined together to reach and, secondly, the activities they intend to do in order to promote this purpose. The most typical and common form of the company is the one that aims to make a profit for distribution between the partners. Profit is defined as income less costs. The purpose must be common to the partners, which clearly indicates in the case of a jointly agreed partnership that a profit is to be distributed equally between participants or in relation to their efforts. The equality principle sets the weight for legal partnerships, ie all partners are treated equally. If the purpose is to give the partners economic benefits in other ways than through the distribution of profits, it is require that these benefits will reach, or at least according to the agreement intended to reach, all partners. If only one of the partners will receive a profit or other benefits from the business, no company exists. Not even when the profit of an agreed joint business is to be shared between the parties, is there always a common purpose that it becomes a company. The dividing of profit can be tied to a common civilian relationship in such a way that this relationship retains its character and the profit only appear as part of this relationship. The important is if the profit is a relevant to the current civilian affair. The fact that a person employed by certain company receives bonus or shares in addition to his permanent salary does not mean that the relationship to the employment relationship or assignment relationship is changed to a company. In general, there is less reason to regard it a company if a person’s compensation for work in a company is not dependent on profit but of revenue. In particular, if the ground of appeal is the gross income of the defendant’s own work, the nature of the compensation raises more of the character of profit in common. The gross income does not regard costs in the business.
3.2.2 Other circumstances
The importance of profit sharing for the distinction between companies and legal circumstances, of course, implies some uncertainty and the difficulty of assessing whether a company is present. Help may then be called in other circumstances in the parties’ interests. An important distinction is what the parties have agreed on regarding their internal responsibility for loss of business. The fact that a party to the agreement does not have any part in the loss of business is a contradiction that speaks against the existence of a legal company.
The right of co-decision and control of the business may have significance, especially if such right exists to a greater extent can indicate a company relationship. The parties’ name of the agreement may also be of importance. If the parties call their agreement a company, it can be a sign of the importance they attach to being a common spirit and a company. Corresponding effect may result in the parties calling the agreement as an employment or contract of employment. If someone is assigned or gets a job in a company against a fixed salary and / or a bonus on the revenue, the parties can not make the relationship to a company by calling it that.
3.2.3 In summary, the definition ” common purpose ”, depends on factors as such – simply expressed – is quite fuzzy and whose significance is also not established. A total assesment of all relevant considerations must be done based on the primary factor such as the distribution of profits. If this does not give a clear and decisive result, then other factors are included. If the proven profit share appears to be a minor significant element compared to the fixed salary / fee or other form of business, consideration will be given to other relevant factors. Among the other factors, involvement in loss is considered to be highly significant.
3.3 Does a single company exist between the parties?
3.3.1 Agreements and interests?
Tobias Forge shipped the GHOST operation already in 2006 – 2008. The business concerned a business consisting of a rock band with a strange image for the purpose to commercialize the music of Tobias Forge through recording, release of recordings and live concerts. As part of the business, the trademarks of the rock band would be commercialized by so-called merchandising. The purpose of the business was to create a profit for Tobias Forge through this commercialization of his works and brands. Any other partner did not participate, although Tobias Forge discussed his ideas with friend Gustaf Lindström who also listened to Tobias Forge’s music. It is thus incorrect when the plaintiffs claim that Simon Söderberg met with Tobias Forge and Gustaf Lindström in 2010 to conduct joint activities under the name GHOST. The activity was already in existence for a long time by Tobias Forge and Tobias Forge had already published works under the name GHOST, signed an agreement with Iron Pegasus and Rise Above Records on the release of discs as well as completed the rock group’s image of costumes and masks.
On the contrary, Simon Söderberg or the other plaintiffs were not even aware of when the activities in GHOST started and any agreement to conduct joint activities under the name GHOST is therefore not available, neither because of conclusive act or oral agreements.
Simon Söderberg had only a mission as a musician in GHOST, which was first borne two years after Tobias Forge had already recorded and spread most of his work through GHOST’s activities. The single Elizabeth had been released and the debut album Opus Eponymous had been recorded and would soon be published under the name GHOST in the context of Tobias Forge’s activities. Mauro Rubino received the assignment further some time later and the other plaintiffs as far as almost seven years after Tobias Forge launched the business in GHOST.
The plaintiffs’ involvement in GHOST has therefore only consisted of a civil rights contract, which included performing what Tobias Forge created, ie playing Tobias Forge’s musical work in accordance with his instructions, and on the occasions, he decided. In connection with these assignments, oral agreements have been reached on the compensation that would be paid to the respective musicians and that the respective musicians from their company would invoice the compensation. Initially, the fee / salary to the musicians corresponded to the gross income GHOST received at concerts. Tobias Forge, as stated above, did not pay himself any compensation at that time from GHOST’s operations in addition to the publishing income he received. Although the music fees were paid by money flowing into Tobias Forge’s company from the merchandise company, it does not mean that the musicians had part in that income. It was Tobias Forge who chose to use these revenues to pay the music fees / salary.
Later, when GHOST received higher payments, the musicians received higher fees / pay. During 2012, as discussed in Section 2 above, also a bonus was discussed in relation to the gross turnover of the company on the sale of the recordings. Not even the bonus would be equal to all musicians. At the conversation between Martin Persner and Sissi Hagald at the end of 2011 (see section 2.6.3 above), Martin Persner stated that he would get more than the others. Furthermore, Simon Söderberg would also be distinguished, but then to a proportion smaller than Martin Persner. The other musicians would only receive a fixed fee / salary for their efforts. It was, therefore, not a matter of equal liability. Moreover, in these discussions, the bonus was never related to the profit, nor was there any equal pay of the profit between the musicians and Tobias Forge. Nor has any equal distribution of the profits in the activities between the musicians and Tobias Forge ever been discussed at any time.
Between Tobias Forge and the plaintiffs there is a conflict of interests as far as the purpose of the business is concerned; For Tobias Forge was the purpose of commercially developing GHOST and generating profit on the works he created,
While the purpose of the musicians was to receive as high a fee as possible for their musician and if possible a bonus.
3.3.2 Capital and liability for loss? Another reason was that the parties did not enter into any other agreement on the assignment of musicians in GHOST, because none of the plaintiffs – or other musicians acting in GHOST – ever made any capital investment in the business or agreed to answer for any losses in operations.
The plaintiffs claim that they co-funded the business by the fact that part of the income received through the company Lucky You AB after the 2011 festivals summer was re-invested in GHOST. Tobias Forge disputes that it was an investment in the activities of the parties. The parties to the agreement were Lucky You AB and Svensk Drama Pop AB, and the entries therefore went to Swedish Drama Pop AB and not to the musicians to any extent. Swedish Drama Pop invested in a so-called ‘backline’, that is, amplifier and similar equipment, which required a forthcoming tour to the group In Flames. Otherwise, Tobias Forge could not have completed the GHOST tour.
3.3.3 Co-decisions and control?
As further stated in the above statement in section 2, the claimants have also not been able to co-decide or right to control of GHOST’s activities. It is exclusively Tobias Forge, who has decided strategy, negotiated and made all the agreements regarding GHOST, including the management agreement with Rick Sales. As stated in paragraph 2.6.2 above, the agreement with Rick Sales was changed only a few weeks after it was first drafted so that it explicitly indicated only Tobias Forge as the contractor. There is thus no agreement between the parties and Rick Sales and has never existed. It can thus be said that the plaintiffswere incorrect in the lawsuit claiming that Rick Sales negotiated deals on their behalf, including Universal, as the parties were not contractual parties. This had also been accepted by Martin Persner to Sissi Hagald at the end of 2011. Furthermore, the plaintiffs state that Rick Sales had the authority to represent GHOST as well as the musicians in contract negotiations with third parties. That is also wrong. Rick Sales has only the power of attorney to enter into agreements on the artist’s ‘personal apperance’ in relation to the concert and nothing else, as stated clearly in paragraphs 1C and 5 of the Management Agreement. Martin Persner also announced in March 2012 that GHOST was only Tobias Forge’s business and that the musicians are so-called. ” Musicians for hire ‘. In spite of this, it is also irrelevant that the parties in October 2011 denied the agreement they discussed as ” partnership agreements ”, as it can not make the make the parties a company agreement due to the other facts that show that no company has existed.
3.3.4 In summary, with regard to the above, it can be concluded that no agreement on a legal partnership exists between Tobias Forge and the plaintiffs. None of the plaintiffs were present at the time of the formation of the business and have neither participated in carrying out the business purpose nor were committed to working for the joint business purpose more than fulfill their task of performing – executing -the work Tobias Forge has created in the manner Tobias Forge has instructed. This, in the same way as employed persons, shall carry out their duties in the activity in which they are employed.
- Trademarks etc.
Tobias Forge claimed the GHOST trademark sometime during the period 2006-2008 and in any event, at the latest in connection with GHOST’s Myspace page and the publication of the music in March 2010. It is Tobias Forge who has designed the GHOST trademark. The GHOST trademark has not been elected jointly with the plaintiffs, but exclusively by Tobias Forge. Filing for registration of the GHOST and GRUCIFIX trademarks was submitted to the European office of patents on March 8, 2012. GHOST was registered on November 30, 2013 and GRUCIFIX on August 3, 2012. The cost of the trademark registrations and subsequent defense of the registrations has been paid by Tobias Forge.
The plaintiffs claim they have a right to the trademarks through incorporation that is alleged to have taken place through the business.
If the plaintiffs claim they, as musicians in Ghost earlier than March 8, 2012, have received a earlier right of the GHOST trademarks than Swedish Drama Pop AB, they should claim that in accordance to the laws regarding trademarks.
As far as music recordings are concerned, musicians play a very real part in the music recordings, insofar as they have participated as performers. Compensation will be received from the Swedish Artists and Musicians’ Association (SAMI). In addition, Tobias Forge holds the IP rights for the works.
- Proof from the plaintiffs
The plaintiffs have stated proofs with the sweeping expressions “mainly about” as well as “essentially to support”. Furthermore, as far as points are concerned, the points the plaintiffs intend to prove with the hearings, they formulate the conclusions they want the court to reach, and not the substantive allegations alleged that some action has taken place, and which will then lead the court to its conclusion concerning a certain relationship. The evidence of the appellants is therefore inadequate and Tobias Forge demands the plaintiffs to specify the evidence.
Tobias Forge is currently referring to the following evidence and reserves the right to supplement the evidence. Tobias Forge will provide address information to the interviewees in question at a later date.
Hearing under the assurance of truth with Tobias Forge regarding the circumstances in 2006-2008 in the formation of the activities of GHOST, the works he created during that period and later; How the name and brand GHOST was created; GHOST’s page on the website Myspace and the publication of the works; The recording process of the music at the respective recording as well as the people who watched and played; The creation of GHOST’s image including the roles Papa Emeritus and Ghouls; The circumstances surrounding the negotiations with Iron Pegasus, Lucky You AB, Rise Above Records, Rick Sales Entertainement and Global Merchandising Services Ltd; The roles and tasks of the plaintiffs and other musicians in GHOST, compensation and its calculation; Decision making in the business GHOST; Investments and costs in GHOST as well as the events of the autumn of 2016 regarding contractual negotiations with the musicians, to support: None of the candidates were present at the time of the formation of the business,
That no joint operational objection between Tobias Forge and the appellants ever occurred, That the appellants have neither participated in the determination of GHOST’s operational purposes nor otherwise committed themselves to acting for the joint purpose, That the plaintiffs have neither contributed capital investments in the GHOST business nor agreed to respond to losses in the business, That enforcement and control of the activities of GHOST has been exclusively held by Tobias, That the plaintiffs have been assigned the task of performing – executing -in accordance with Tobias Forge’s instructions, musical works and the image in GHOST that Tobias Forge has created, That the parties have never been involved in the income from the merchandise company, That Simon Söderberg did not participate in the recording of Opus Eponymous more than as sound technician or in the election and negotiations with the record company Rise Above Records.
Testimonials with Sissi Hagald regarding the content of talks with Martin Persner at the end of 2011 including compensation and bonus discussions conducted with Martin Persner as well as circumstances regarding the negotiations between Tobias Forge and the plaintiffs in 2016 for the strengthening of: That the plaintiffs have only been assigned the task of performing – execute – the musical works and the image in GHOST that Tobias Forge has created, produced and robbed, according to Tobias instructions, That the candidates have received a fee / salary for their assignments That the agreements negotiated constitute employment contracts
Testimonials with Gustaf Lindstrom regarding the conditions in 2006-2008, his discussions with Tobias Forge about the work Tobias Forge created; regarding choice of trademarks and names for GHOST and his involvement in the this; His involvement and tasks in recording Tobias Forge’s works as well as concerts until the day he left to GHOST, the compensation he received in connection with his assignment to confirm that: None of the plaintiffs were present at the time of the formation of GHOST, That no joint action of action between Tobias Forge and the appellants never submitted or with him a soul, That the candidates have not participated in the compliance of GHOST’s business purposes, That enforcement and control of the activities of GHOST has been exclusively held by Tobias Forge and that the candidates have only been assigned the task of conducting, in accordance with Tobias Forge’s instructions- execute – the musical works and the image in GHOST that Tobias Forge has created, produced and decided, That Simon Söderberg did not participate in the recording of Opus Eponymous in addition to his role as sound engineer.
Tobias Forge waits with the indication of written evidence until the appellants have given their assent to the information contained in this opinion.
Ann-Charlotte Söderlund Björk
- Sketch brand and Papa Emeritus
- Email from Martin Persner dated March 15, 2012
- Email from Sissi Hagald tili musician January 2013
#darkartconspiracy #metal #music #news
After reading the whole thing, it seems Ghouls were trying to become employees rather than partners
Here is (Tobias Forges’ Reply) Appendix 2 – Email from Martin Persner 15 march 2012.
From: Martin Persner Date: Tuesday, March 20, 2012 at 2:36 To: Kristen Mulderig Cc: Tobias Forge , Simon Söderberg , Mauro Rubino , Aksel Holmgren ,Rikard Ottosson
Subject: Reply to Kristen (boys are cc’d)
I’ll check with the boys if Thursday or Friday will work – i’d very much like to see that everyone is available for this conferance call. I’m CC’n the boys rights now for this conversation. // M
From: kristen To: persner2 Date: Tue, 20 Mar 2012 17:11:01 -0500 Subject: Re: From the boys of Ghost
Hello Martin – Hope all is well. I wanted to give you an update that I have addressed the issue with Rick and we are working on getting you all a “Good Faith” payment before you leave for tour. I have my calls into the accountant to see what is possible to do. Unfortunately this is a bit more complicated than you would think we are borrowing money to make this happen and to finance the start up of this tour since we are still in label negotiations. It is taking longer than anticipated which is not ideal right now, but in the long run will be well worth it for the band GHOST and each of you individually. We are working on getting the best deal possible and securing the best home for GHOST.
By tomorrow I should have a clearer picture of what we can do and when you can expect a payment. I have been in touch with the US accountants and JoJo and I am awaiting some answers from them. Once received I will expedite the process as quickly as possible and will keep you updated.
I have also been speaking with Rick to try and figure out a time we can all get on the phone for a conference call, later this week. Can you let me know if you guys will be available on Thursday or Friday around 8PM your time? This would be noon our time, and I am assuming you haven’t changed the clocks yet for daylight savings correct? Let me know if either day works.
Thank you Martin…..
PS –Please share this with the rest of the guys….. Also let me know, I can add them on CC fo the rest of the corresponance if it makes it easier to disseminate the information.
The Rick Sales Entertainment Group Kristen Mulderig 6255 Sunset Blvd., Suite 1501 Los Angeles, CA 90028 P (323) 461-2360 F (323) 461-2363 “Where Metal Dreams Come True”
From: “kristen” Date: Fri, 16 Mar 2012 16:42:54 -0500 To: Martin Persner Subject: Re: From the boys of Ghost
Hello Martin –
Hope all is well. I received this late last night when I Got off the plane returning from London. I was there for meetings with Tobias and Sissi and needed to stay an extra day for some more meetings. I am playing catch up today, but will address this fully with Rick Monday. ( he had oral surgery and is still recovering) For the record , You or any other band member can reach out to myself or Rick at anytime. We are on the same team. We have known about the money situation and are doing our best to get you answers in a timely fashion.
Again – please let everyone know this is a priority for us and we are dealing with it as so.
Let’s touch base beginning of next week. Maybe we can arrange a conference call for all of you and Rick early in the week. Best,
Kristen The Rick Sales Entertainment Group Kristen Mulderig 6255 Sunset Blvd., Suite 1501 Los Angeles, CA 90028 P (323) 461-2360 F (323) 461-2363 “Where Metal Dreams Come True”
From: Martin Persner Date: Thursday, March 15, 2012 at 2:52 PM To: “kristen Subject: From the boys of Ghost
i’ve just talked to Tobias about our (me and the boys in the orchestra) economical situation and means how to solve this affair. I’d like to start with severing the “group/band” from the “company” in order to get the semantics straight for the follwing message.
As you are aware, none of us have any funds at all, and stand completely broke; many of us in debt to relatives and friends from having touring etc.
Tobias and foremost Sissi made me aware that having a discussion with Tobias on our wages and on our membership/employee-deal with the company (Tobias’ company Ghost, in all it’s shapes) would only lead to further confusion. Thus i see it fit to contact you and Rick by this mail. I do understand that this would best be settled via a lawyer or such from our side since none of us have any knowledge of how to deal with you or Rick on this matter, you beeing professionals. In any event – we do know this:
As much as we love playing in this great band we need to get paid. This because we have no money or income at all from having lost our jobs or having been unable to get one from touring and beeing able for teh band at all times when needed. The working situation in Sweden is, as
for most of the western world of today, down and damaged and if one would like to hold on to a job, one must at all costs be loyal to the company you work for – that is don’t go on tour and in other ways be absent from ones work duties. None of us choose this – we chosed risking it all for playing with Ghost. This given that we will grow as the band grown, econimically and fame- wise. We have had several meetings and round up’s on how to function as a band, our roles, our goals and more.
Now, since Tobias and we decided on him owning the company as whole and us being employees and serve as hired musicians rather than being partowners of the actual company, with all it’s perks and risks, we came to the conclusion that this is doable if, and only if, we get paid for our label. We never quite came to a final solution on how to do this, but we very well came up with solutions fit for the group and the company on how to manage this. The solution we all could agree on (yes, this was a group decisions, for good and bad) was that we get paid per gig. This because Tobias was unwilling to have us on payroll for periods of no work or gigs. Only fair. The model would be that each of us have their own small company and invoice him per gig/tour. Also, and important for the verve and soul of the group, we decided that we, the employees, should in some form have the right to get per cent of the gross of something that measures the band’s growth – suggesting per cent per member of the group (not to mix up with the actual company) of the gross of one years total sum of the income of played gig’s. This, all in good will, in order for everyone to get the feel that they belong and work for results, rather than just the payroll – something all of us including Tobias sense is of great worth for having a functional band. The feeling of membership of the group.
Given this i adress you, sadly, at this point not so much as “our” management, but as Tobias’ management or CEO – since we have not yet come to a conclusion on what are exact roles are and should be in the company/companies of Ghost.
By the time i write this none of the memers of the group have no funds as mentioned above. None at all. Hardly to make it to the rehearsal space. We are therefore in dire need of a solution really fast in order to, not only, do the upcoming US tour, but to be a part of this group further on. As mentioned above we all have to choose between playing Ghost or get a dayjob – doing both is just dreams and fantasies long gone passed. It is not a matter of some union-demands on our behalf, but the very sore fact that we are at the brink of economical collapse each and every one of us.
To addres another problem, surfacing when making attempt to look at this logically and per se:
Even if we would have ownership in any of the companies that is Ghost, we could not do another gig without getting paid. It’s down to that by now. So, regardless on our economical role in this whole machinery, we are dead broke. Now, at this point.
To look at it even clearer – broke because, all of us, just like Tobias and Rise Above, have taken risks bulding this thing up. Regardless of who in the band could have been replaced or is disposable, it was us, Martin, Mauro, Rikard, Aksel and Simon who took (takes) the risk together with Tobias building this thing up and have it float. Being able at all times, loosing jobs and whatnot. One could ofcourse spin the wheel and mention that we all did it because of the fun and games to it, and that we always had the choice of staying or leaving. Yes. True that. But adding the slight fact that we did this there should be no discussion on that all of us have put effort into this building it up and make it fly, and thus expect to have something in return. Which leads to:
Since we no longer (if ever, but to that we all can agree – yes, that was the initial plan: us being part of the company and it’s growth) are members or have any ownership in the companies being Ghost – we should be bought out from what we helped building during the first year and some up until now. Some 70 gigs or so. Tobias had an idea of giving us payment for the accomplished gigs retroactive, and thus buying us out of our share of the bands value we helped constructing by traveling, playing, rehearsing, having meetings. This is only fair given that we elsehow have been working for a long time without having nothing in return from it. Not ok for any of us. Because if we should turn to meaningless terms as “no band ever gets paid during first year” i’ll answer that by saying “no, that’s because they invest time and effort in it as band and company members – getting paid later on…or not – if the band fails on being a commercial succes. Risking money and other ways of living.” In any event – if we are not to have any ownership in the company, whicha are decided upon that we shall not, why take any risks furthermore or even, as in this particular case, in the past? Risking for maybe getting a payroll in the future?
Lot’s of strings are being pulled and lot’s of things happen at this moment as you if anyone, are aware of. All this because people and companies believe in the Ghost phenomenon. There are costs to having Ghost doing what they are, and these above mentioned are some of them. We are, unfortunately, or fortunatley, to be seen as expenses. Not risktakers with nothing in return.
Dealing with you and Rick on what these fare’s should be i could not. Not only because i don’t know how to and because i understand that you, as Ghost’s management must at all times se to keep the costs down. Only natural and only fair. Nothing bad to it at all. This leads to us probably having to send some type of person more in postition to lead our case in terms of legal discussion etc. I hate it to be that way, but i sense that is the only way possible. But ofcourse – IF we could solve it to everyones satisfaction just between us that would be great.
The deal right now (or the lack of one) is highly unballanced: (If and only if we still are considered by Tobias to be indisposal, otherwise, don’t bother reading the following)
Since the band needs to function as group and individually doing this we needs funds. That will be given from the recordcompany as an advance of the expected value of this band. They nowadays serve as risktakers and financial muscels in order to get things working that would otherwise not work. That is handling and risking economy for a project they BELIEVE in. We are part of that project. We are expenses just like anything else, giving we are hired musicians. Since we don’t have the muscles economically but THEY DO, it should only be a matter of transforming their belief of what this band can accomplish into what expenses the ongoing machinery takes. We are part of that machinery. Speaking of us having to wait another year of getting paid is returning to the debate on if we are to have ownership in the company or not, than risking rime and money and jobs for possible economical return in the future. However, we have decided that not to be the case. So:
In the search for a recordcompany other than Rise Above who have proven being insufficient due to lack om funds and strategy, Ghost pretty much look for an investor, with the function of taking a risk investing in us finacially and make us able to function though sometimes not having us covering our own costs. That’s what risking and investing means per se. Them covering costs by giving an advance for Ghost to use on expenses in order to function getting it back if the project leads to economical succes. If it costs them some more money for having THE WHOLE thing afloat that must not be a problem. Are they willing to invest in a car and then not see to it that i has wheels?
I don’t know who to addres with all this, as you, Kristen and Rick don’t handle money other than Ghost’s own and are bound to use them carefully building this ship. Still – the band just won’t function without us having money, however many Aerosmiths and Stone Roses didn’t make any money the first 25 years. It surprises me that companies are willing to invest money and effort in this because they believe that we will accomplish great stuff, but seems unprepared to see to it that the group as whole works, economically and socialy. It should very much be of great interest to them, us being the musicmachine. Maybe, and likely, it is not the recordcompanies task to attend to things like if the band are getting by allright or not (should be though, since they invested in us as a group) and if that is the case – i can only see that the management of the band, or rather as here, the company, should see to it that all ends are tied. I do understand very well that the sum put up in advance from any possible recordcompany is to cover all this and whatnot, but to be handled by someone appropriate to such means – that is you Kirsten and Rick. The management.
We are a band that right now needs help to be able to function. This time it is aid financially, maybe int the future it will be from a psycologist, who knows. Right now Ghost needs investments in order to function as a traveling and hard working band. That’s were it’s at. Expenses are everything from travels, staff on tour, management and musicians.
Bottom line is – none of us neither can nor will risk anything more than already risked for this project. We simply cannot. And why should we, as people all over shows interest and are willing to invest in us. First see to it so that we can function and eat and lead decent lives properly doing this work carrying the band to further heights. At this point we can not. Who got the muscles financially and thus should take the risk? Certainly not us at this point.
Just a short notice on Swedish economics:
Just to fill you in on my, and this is very much an example on how things look for us, or at least me, economical situation i would like to present to you my monthly income. I have about 1100$ a month from unemployment fare. I am considered POOR. In fact, the lowest range there is. This is considered by Swedish state to be absolute minimum on living costs for a citizen of Sweden. Lower than that i will never get here and if i do i will get a wellfarecheck in order to even eat or make the rent. So, that’s the lowest possible per month for someone living in Sweden. I have the cheapest possible apartment etc.
I don’t know hos much i would need per gig to match this given how many gigs we have, but i’d say, gaps and all about 440$ (half is eaten up by the government when having your own little company) per gig as they come during summer. I do not claim that that should be the per gig salary on the coming US tour, but that’s more or less what the summer pay should be in order for me to be able to do this. Then i’m on minimum, and cannot even guess what the other guys monthly expenses are. And as i said – i am used on living on minimum conditions – not everyone are and can do. I am only speaking for my own term in the above mentioned numbers and CANNOT stand responsible for what expenses or salary-demands the other members could possibly have. I’m not even sure on my own. Therefore: Consider this last part of the letter as just a hinch on what is to be claimed. Less is not an option, for any of us; more is likely to be asked for. If the companies of Ghost are unwilling (yes, in those black and white terms) to see us of with a solution such as the above mentioned there’s not much that we can do than exit this whole operation. This is not greed. This is Need. Differs…
Most of us has started individual companies (me being the only one still haven’t) and thus won’t, as long as holding a company, get ANY help from any governmental instance such as unemployment office. They all started their companies in trust and promise that they would be hired musicians before, on and after the US tour, since otherwise none of us could do this. And then we simply would have turned otherwhere, well in advance of the summer getting jobs that pay, since we have expenses like food and shelter. We have talked with Tobias on several occasions of all this, leaving nothing unsaid, and have asked him to talk to you on what to do. Now he returns and tells us to contact you ourselves to negotiate further. Somewhere the comminication broke, as did we. Thus this mail. But still – it can only be up or down to Tobias at the end of the line what he is willing to sacrifice having us around.
Summing it all up for overlook should be this:
- We (the hired musicians of Ghost) need money to do the US tour.
- We would like to now, or at a later occastion, have retroactive payments for effort and work done so far in order for Ghost to have us off from our share of the stock value at this given day
- We need to make contracts on a.) how much our salary should be and for what kinds of efforts given by us b.) what our per cent of any grossvalue stating the bands growth should be.
As you can see from my text i am no lawyer and neither i wish to be, so all this is to be considered a open letter to you and Rick explaining our, the members of the musical group Ghost, situation and thoughts as is per 2012-03-15
Martin Persner, and on behalf of
Rikard, Mauro, Aksel and Simon
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