After graduating from Olean High School in 2000, Peter J. Speroni got his “start” in the music industry when Mariah Carey asked him to be in one of her music videos.
Asked to work on more projects with Carey, he worked in the entertainment industry about 15 years out of New York.
Today, Speroni is doing a different kind of work for the music industry — the Buffalo attorney is pursuing a lawsuit against the governor and the chief of the state Liquor Control Authority over the state’s ban on ticketed music shows, implemented as a measure to limit gatherings because of the coronavirus.
Speroni, who represents Buffalo-based musician Michael Hund, contends that Gov. Andrew Cuomo and State Liquor Authority Chairman Vincent Bradley overstepped their authority and are depriving musicians “of their personal and professional property without just compensation.”
The state’s prohibition of “advertised and/or ticketed shows” is unconstitutional under the First, Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, and does not serve the public health in any conceivable way,” the lawsuit insists.
Hund had been scheduled to play in about a dozen shows in 2020 until “the overstep of government authority” closed down music venues. Cuomo’s lockdown measures represent “an unprecedented abuse of his emergency powers,” that discriminate against musicians and music venues in New York state.
The 17-page complaint highlights the state’s dramatic drop in COVID-19 cases and deaths, arguing that the underlying goal of lockdown measures to prevent the healthcare system from becoming overburdened was achieved.
Speroni argues Cuomo has “selectively enforced” lockdown measures — including by failing to disperse non-socially distanced protests and by granting “political and personal favors to celebrities,” with the recent MTV Video Music Awards being allowed to proceed cited as an example.
Speroni, with the Buffalo firm of Parlatore Law Group LLP, says Hund, a Buffalo Music Hall of Fame musician, “represents a category of people that have been prevented from earning a livelihood during the shutdowns that have negatively impacted millions of people across New York state.”
The attorney says it’s vital to allow musicians and venues in New York state to charge for ticketed events, and to advertise upcoming shows to preserve the music industry in the state.
“We will ensure that governmental power does not remain unchallenged, and to bring music, an essential form of expression, back to the venues across New York state,” he says.
Speroni graduated from Buffalo State College with a degree in mass communications and earned his law degree from New York Law School.
Practicing in the fields of copyrights, copyright infringement litigation and trademarks, he formerly worked in the music industry on artist development, music publishing, media promotions and music consulting.
His specialty is intellectual property licensing, including complex music publishing, production, film and soundtracks, record label and artist management contracts.
He has advised on advanced copyright strategies for large music-based companies, helped assist music-based non-profits on their music campaigns, as well as provided his industry expertise to start-up music companies and independent record labels.
He says his work has allowed him to “put the music first” and to be an expert advocate and negotiator for his range of clients, which include Hall of Fame musicians and award-winning producers and filmmakers.