LN Blocks Rogue Madonna Site

Live Nation showed its willingness to use its legal muscle to stop touts by telling Seatwave to shut down a new Web site it apparently dedicated to Madonna’s European tour.

Although Seatwave denies it controlled madonna2008.com, founder and chief exec Joe Cohen confirmed that his company did receive a cease-and-desist letter from Live Nation’s legal department.

"Seatwave doesn’t own or control that site," he told Pollstar. He said the domain belonged to Affiliate Window, a marketing outfit that forwards ticket applications to his company on a commission basis.

"It’s an affiliate that was using Madonna tour artwork and that’s not abiding by the guidelines in which we operate," he explained.

He said his company passed on LN’s letter and told Affiliate Window not to use artists’ images on its ticket ads that link to Seatwave, although he claimed he wasn’t aware that the site had already ceased operating.

It’s the second time Seatwave has directly or indirectly upset a major European promoter. The company caused a fuss in the German media mid-April after apparently accusing Marek Lieberberg of using "Mafia methods" to control who can sell tickets for his Rock am Ring and Rock im Park festivals.

"If I was in your shoes I’d be saying the same thing," Cohen said when asked if he thought some would question Seatwave’s explanation that its German PR company released a press statement attributing the "Mafia" comments to local chief Veit Spiegelberg without approval.

He didn’t comment on whether the PR company took the fall in order to keep its Seatwave account.

On May 28 madonna2008.com claimed to have tickets for her autumn shows in London, Cardiff, Paris, Amsterdam and Rome. It said it would soon have tickets for Berlin, Frankfurt, Dusseldorf and Nice, although some of the show dates were wrong.

By the first week in June the site had disappeared, although Seatwave’s own Web site is offering tickets for 11 dates.