Courtney Love Sues Record Company

Hole’s outspoken, unflinching lead singer has filed a cross-complaint against Universal Music Group, seeking to break her contract and expose what she claims is a corrupt system that enslaves artists and cheats them out of royalties.

“Artists who have generated billions of dollars for the music industry die broke and uncared for by the business they made wealthy,” Love said in a statement issued on Wednesday.

Standard recording agreements often lock in artists for many years, requiring them to bear many of their own production and marketing costs, taking a huge chunk of any financial returns they may enjoy, Love‘s lawyer, A. Barry Cappello, told Reuters.

“I’ve been evangelized,” Love said. “I’m ready to take this thing all the way to the Supreme Court.”

The cross-complaint was the result of a complaint filed by UMG Recordings against Love when she attempted to end her contractual relationship with the recording company.

Love told the Los Angeles Times that the major label’s business tactics are “unconscionable and unlawful.” By embarking on a legal fight, Love is hoping to give her music-making colleagues more freedom. She stated that artists such as Beck, Garbage and Sheryl Crow have also tried to leave or sue the company but have been shut down or threatened.

According to Reuters, Crow’s attorney Jay Cooper believes the case “will have an impact on the industry and can change the terms of contracts.” He added, “Many artists feel they are tied to the contracts for too long.”

In court papers, Reuters mentioned that Universal records described the complaint as a “meritless, inflammatory diatribe” designed to “attract media attention.” The company however, would not comment on Love‘s suit.

Puffy Testifies, J-Lo May Appear Tomorrow

Contradicting a public announcement issued by Jennifer Lopez and Sean “Puffy” Combs earlier in the week, Combs’ lawyer Benjamin Brafman said that although it’s unlikely, Lopez may testify tomorrow in the shooting case involving the rap star.

Reuters states that Brafman told Judge Charles Solomon that Lopez‘s testimony has “always been a possibility,” adding, “but as I anticipate right now, she will not testify.”

In a statement, Combs said, “I feel it is no longer necessary for Jennifer to be involved in these proceedings.”

On the witness stand today, the rapper claimed he thought he was the intended victim of shootings that occurred at Club New York on Dec. 27, 1999. The gunfire rang out shortly after Puffy, his bodyguard Anthony “Wolf” Jones and then-girlfriend Jennifer Lopez left the Times Square club’s VIP section toward the exit.

Combs said, “I thought I was being shot at. My hands were up. I started to go down. Everybody started falling all over each other.”

He added that he saw a man later identified as Matthew “Scar” Allen “mouthing off” at him. “I could tell that what he was saying wasn’t nice,” he said. “I could tell by his body language and facial expressions.”

“I had felt the shots were for me,” Combs said. “As fast as I could get down there, I was just trying to get away from danger.”

In the chaos, Combs said he became separated from Lopez, who ran up a flight of stairs to the club offices. He was ushered out of the club and into his Lincoln Navigator by Jones and a moonlighting corrections officer named Leonard Curtis Howard. Jones returned inside to get Lopez and they drove up 8th Ave.

After police caught up with them, they were taken to a police station where, Combs testified, he heard officers calling the press to announce his arrest.

Combs denied charges that he had a gun in his possession at the time. He also denied bribery allegations, answering “absolutely not” to the accusation that he offered driver Wardel Fenderson $50,000 or a diamond ring to admit the gun was his and not Puffy’s.

Prosecutor Matthew Bogdanos thinks that even if Lopez testifies, it would not exonerate Mr. Combs.

He referred to Lopez‘ grand jury testimony in which she claimed not to have seen Combs at the moment of the Club New York shootings. She also said she couldn’t hear conversations between Combs and Fenderson in the car.

When asked if Combs had a gun at Club New York, Lopez said, “I can’t say one way or another,” according to Bogdanos.

. “If Miss Lopez is to testify, she will follow Mr. Combs first thing Friday morning,” Brafman told the Judge.

In a statement, Lopez said if Combs and his lawyers require her to testify, she “will be there immediately to tell the truth.”

Michael Jackson Co-hosts “Heal The Kids” Charity Event

Despite a broken foot, the king of pop Michael Jackson still plans to travel to Oxford University to co-host a March 6 event for the “Heal The Kids” foundation.

“I am determined to speak despite my injury. The message of Heal the Kids is far too important to me to allow a broken foot to keep me from this commitment,” wrote Jackson, 42, in a letter to the New York Post. Jackson co-founded the program, which aims to improve the lives of children worldwide.

According to his publicist, Jackson broke his right foot in a fall at his Neverland Valley Ranch in central California, but is said to be resting comfortably.

The Post reports that more than 20,000 people are trying to obtain tickets to his speaking engagement, even though its not known how many people the university will accommodate.

Jackson’s long-delayed new studio album is slated for release later this year. The singer has not released an album since 1997, taking time off to raise his two children, Prince and Paris.

The pop star’s agenda also includes another big event – his induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Jackson, who has already been enshrined for his work with the Jackson 5, will be honored for his solo work. Boy band ‘N Sync will do the honors, presenting the award during the March 19 ceremony.

Shaggy Tops the Charts

Jamaican-born reggae singer Shaggy sits on top of the Billboard Top 200 for the fourth consecutive week, adding 271,650 units for the week ending February 25, according to SoundScan data.

His album “Hot Shot” was released last summer but didn’t get praise until the single “It Wasn’t Me” recently began dominating playlists. Holding the number two spot is the fifth installment of the World Wrestling Federation’s “WWF: The Music” compilation series (SmackDown).

The album shifted 177,000 units in its first week on the market, knocking the strong “Beatles 1” (Capitol/Apple) into the third spot, followed by Jennifer Lopez on the fourth spot.