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Top 5 Celebrity Justice Posts of 2018

By Christopher Coble, Esq. | Last updated on

Celebrities -- if certain magazines are to be believed -- are just like us. They sure do get into legal trouble just like us: they have public child custody disputes like us, sue their former attorneys like us, and pay tens of millions of dollars to settle a multitude of sexual harassment claims just like us.

Celebrities, and their legal woes, have been big stories in 2018, and here are the five biggest from the past year.

1. Brad Pitt Wins Custody Battle

Can you really say that either side "wins" a long, expensive, and contentious custody battle, half of which plays out in the courts and the other half in tabloid magazines? At least at this point, Pitt secured some visitation rights from the courts, allowing him time with his six children shared with Angelina Jolie. But the custody war is far from over.

2. Johnny Depp Wins Contract Fight With Ex-Lawyer

How did the mega-star burn through $650 million? He may have had some help. Last year, Depp sued his former lawyer, claiming Jacob Bloom and partners at his firm siphoned off almost $30 million from the actor's residuals. Bloom claimed funds were handled according to an oral agreement, but a judge found that agreement invalid. "I am aware that showbiz people think they live in a different universe," the judge opined, "but they don't. They're not a different universe."

3. Music Trademarks: What Is Fractional Licensing?

The music industry has been changing rapidly over the past decade, and old copyright laws weren't built for online streaming music services. Artists, music publishers, and even the Department of Justice, have been trying to drag music licensing into the 21st century. One such effort is fractional licensing, allowing co-writers of songs to license only their own share, and receive direct payment for that share.

4. Bill O'Reilly's Settlement Terms Revealed

The disgraced former Fox News host entered into numerous confidential settlements with women who had accused him of inappropriate sexual behavior. A federal judge ruled the details of those settlements -- including terms that barred women from cooperating with other O'Reilly victims -- could be made public.

Getting a couple funny people together and caffeinating them up seems like a no-brainer show idea. But two brains are fighting about which one actually came up with it first. Former collaborator Christian Charles sued Jerry Seinfeld, claiming his work on the pilot episode entitled him to part of its proceeds. But the lawsuit might be too late.

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