Phony Agent Works Nashville, UMG Says


     NASHVILLE (CN) - Angry musicians are trooping into Universal Music Group's Nashville office, asking what happened to the thousands of dollars they gave Robert Metzgar and why their careers are not taking off, UMG says. The music industry giant says Metzgar has been falsely advertising that he and his business, Platinum Plus Universal Records, are affiliated with UMG.      It ain't so, UMG says. UMG claims in Davidson County Chancery Court that it had no idea Metzgar was falsely claiming to be a UMG affiliate.
     It claims that singers have stormed into its office, demanding return of the money they gave Metzgar and Platinum Plus - "in some instances said to be $100,000, which they had paid to Defendant."
     UMG says the irate musician demanded to know why UMG had not lived up to Metzgar's promises, "because they believed defendant's misrepresentations that they were dealing with plaintiffs."
     UMG says that upon investigation, it found that Metzgar was misrepresenting himself as an "MCA Universal Producer," and that he "works as a music producer for MCA Universal."
     "Those representations are false," UMG says.
     UMG says Metzgar, of Nashville, made the false claims on at least four Web sites. One of them, capitolmanagement.com, contained this message this week: "Get ready to spend some money if you want to capture the attention of a manager, record label, or entertainment law firm. Being a star is not cheap!"
     Universal and UMG Recordings say they and the angry musicians are not Metzgar's only victims. UMG says Metzgar has hurt other people and businesses in the same way: "he has held himself out, falsely, as being affiliated with other reputable music companies in order to entice innocent third parties, yearning for musical success for an entrée to a major, well known music company, to pay him significant sums of money, believing that they were paying money to the reputable companies whom he was falsely representing himself to be. Only judicial intervention caused him to cease these fraudulent activities."
     Now he's doing it again, UMG says, abusing trademarks and doing "incalculable and irreparable harm."
     UMG demands a restraining order, ownership of Internet domain names containing the word "universal," and damages for unfair competition and trademark violations. UMG represented by Jay Bowen with Bowen & Unger.